Friday, January 29, 2010

Family Date Night

Bruce and I treated Charlotte out to a rare dinner out with us at Steak 'N Shake. Taking her out to eat hasn't been as fun in recent months since she is so darn wiggly and doesn't like to sit still long enough to wait for her food and actually eat the $6 meal! But tonight we wanted to do something special together so we ate some burgers and skinny fries then chased it all with strawberry milkshakes.

BJ's Wholesale Club Winner

Fortunately, I use Random.org to choose my winners because everyone who entered was a friend! Random.org picked commetn #10 to win the $25 BJ's Wholesale Club giftcard. Go Michelle! She also has a new blog so if you have a spare moment, head on over to say hello. Michelle blogs at Momma of Two Girlies.
 
True Random Number Generator 10 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Thursday, January 28, 2010

To Anna the Commentor

There is someone named Anna who comments on this blog (mostly the giveaways), but never leaves a way to reach her. So... in case you win this or any other giveaway I host, you might want to update either your Blogger profile to make it public, or share your email address in the comments.

That's it.

What To Feed My Baby

When I first realized that Mary was not able to nurse properly I immediately called my favorite lactation consultant and followed her advice to begin pumping so Mary could receive the best nutrition possible.  In the days that followed after visiting speech therapists and trying to nurse repeatedly, it became clear to me that I would become a full-time pumping momma.

Never in a million years would I claim those first weeks were easy. In order to establish my milk supply I had to pump 10-12 times a day in the beginning. Each time I thought I had reached my breaking point of feeding my "ugly baby" (the pump), I would consider how expensive quality formula is and decide that if I could just drop one pumping session I think I could make it another month.

Now, I've settled into a routine of pumping twice a day, which I feel I could maintain indefinitely. However, if my job as a "full time pumping momma" were to change (and at times I've seriously considered it), a recent court decision can give me a break on the cost of formula. And this is surely welcome news to those mommas that are already feeding their babies formula. It might be time for you to reconsider the store brands.

The US District Courtfound that store-brand infant formulas are nutritionally equivalent to, and confer the same developmental benefits as, the more expensive national brands like Enfamil. If you are interested in reading up on and learning more details about the landmark court case that confirmed this fact, check out the following links and articles to gain more information.

Official Press Release:

Giveaway: Shopping at BJ's

Right before Christmas, I was given a $25 gift card to try out shopping at BJ's Wholesale Club. It took me a couple of weeks before I got to visit the nearest club, but I am glad I did. My only experience with this type of store is Sam's Club, and I find that I can often match or beat their prices by using coupons at my regular stores.

I was surprised to learn that BJ's Wholesale Club takes coupons. Not only that, but they give you coupons to use in store and you can stack store and manufacturer's coupons! I went back this week and bought Pull-ups at my target price, but in 2 large boxes instead of several small packages. They also have a nice selection of baked goods and carry some children's toys that I haven't seen other places.

The kind folks at My Blog Spark are providing an extra $25 BJ's Wholesale Club gift card for one of my lucky readers. But well, in the wind down after the holidays I forgot about it and the deadline to submit a winner is tonight! Yikes!

This is going to be a super fast giveaway!

How to Enter: There are four ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to four entries:

  1. Leave a comment telling me you want to win.
  2. Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed,
  3. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post, or
  4. Share this giveaway on Twitter and leave a 4th comment letting me know you did (copy & paste this suggested text: Win a $25 BJ's Wholesale Club giftcard from @FamilyMusings http://bit.ly/b0exAJ)
That's it. 4 ways to win and 1 lucky winner. This giveaway will end tonight at midnight. Read all contest rules here.

************************************
Some more info from My Blog Spark, the sponsor of this giveaway.
BJ´s Wholesale Club is a one-stop shop that offers great savings (more than 30% over supermarkets) on the highest quality items, carries family-friendly supermarket sizes and accepts all manufacturers´ coupons. Here's what you get when you sign up:
  • A Member Savings Book with more than $1,000 in coupons and instant rebates
  • "Sign up and Save" coupons worth $117 in savings
  • 2 cards (one for you and someone else in your household)
  • A no risk 100% money back guarantee on the fee if you are not satisfied

Click here to locate your nearest club - http://www.bjs.com/general/locator/index.

Check out some of the newest items from General Mills to hit shelves and sure to be useful during the upcoming months:

  • Nature Valley Nut Clusters - 100% Natural, bite-sized clusters with granola, nuts and a touch of honey - and a resealable package which makes it great for sharing
  • Progresso High-Fiber Soups - This 6-pack of soup is a great way to get your fiber with the great taste you know and love from Progresso
  • Green Giant Complete Skillet Meal - A convenient and great tasting solution for a quick and delicious dinner for the family
  • Pillsbury "Big Deluxe" Chocolate Chip Tub - Perfect for entertaining or as an everyday treat.

The gift card, information, and giveaway have all been provided by General Mills and BJ's Wholesale Club through MyBlogSpark.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Potty Day!



Day 1 - 11 times successfully in the potty with only 5 wet pull-ups
Day 2 - 11 times successfully in the potty with only 2 wet pull-ups (on awakening from overnight and nap time)

I think this is a good start... I'd share what is working so far, but since I don't know if it is going to stick I don't want to get ahead of myself. (Though you can see one of my ideas in the picture - gel clings on the back of the bathroom door for her to play with. $1 from the Target Dollar Spot)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Potty Training Charlotte - Day 1

It is 11:15 am and Charlotte is in her high chair eating lunch. She seems to be dawdling, but that is only because she knows nap time comes after lunch. And maybe because I broke potty training protocol and am letting her watch some PBS Kids while she eats. I needed a break as she's been up since before 5 am this morning. Giving her constant attention for 5 hours is hard work folks. I think I'll be joining her for a nap today.

The good news is that as of right now, she has peed in the potty 4 times! Even though we've also had 4 wet pull ups, I am not bothered me at all, and I am sure she had them because I was not able to get her to the potty in time. Once while feeding Mary, once while pumping, once just after we'd sat on the potty for a few minutes with no results, and then just one random time. I think for our first morning of potty training those results are pretty good.

Thanks so much to all my friends who emailed, commented, or messaged me on Facebook with their advice. I am remarkably low key about the whole thing, except when I exhibit gobs of excitement for a dry pull up or success on the potty. My degree in Communications from the fine University of Miami is finally coming in handy. :)

I'm not sure entirely what Charlotte's "potty love language" is, but the chocolate chips and new flower stickers seem to be helping. Plus the idea that we are having a potty party with fun bendy straws to drink out of mommy's glass works for her too.

Haitian Orphans to Come to the US

At MOPs today we were discussing the new decision by the US State Department to bring Haitian orphans to the US. Immediately, I became concerned and had visions of children being brought here even though they were not truly orphans.

While I hope everyone involved will work hard to make sure children aren't separated from their parents or other family that might care for them, I hope you will join me in covering this situation in prayer.

Dear God, we ask that you guide the feet of your Haitian orphans to the places where they can get food, clean water, and a safe place to sleep. For those that are without children or other family to care for them, we ask that you place them in the watch care of people who will love them into safety, whether that is in Haiti, or means they come to a temporary camp or home in the US. Lord, please keep the process full of integrity and honesty while these children mourn the loss of their parents and life as they knew it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tomorrow Is The Big Day

There is a day in every first time mom's life that looms large on the horizon. It is a day that we take an incredible step towards pushing our children into their independence. It is the day we begin to tackle the task of potty training.

Ugh!

Now honestly, we've been working slowly towards this goal for several months. Dropping hints here and there. Putting a pretty pink potty in the downstairs bathroom.

But like most moms, I dread the process after hearing so many horror stories. Now though, after some serious procrastination the last 2 months, it is time.

How do I know that? How can I be certain that Charlotte is ready for potty training?

Today when I picked her up at MOPs, she was sitting on a potty. It caused me to burst out laughing as I ran from her line of sight. But there she was anyway. She had asked to go potty and the teachers, not knowing any better, put her on it.

So I canceled a play date for tomorrow. Bought cute flower stickers and chocolate chips as a reward. Stocked the pantry with pretzels and lemonade. And am going to spend the rest of my evening reading the book "Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day," by Teri Crane.

Feel free to leave comments with any advice or horror stories. I'll need a good laugh by the end of the day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Funny Charlotte Tidbits

Over the last couple of months, Bruce and I have shared cute litte stories about Charlotte on our Facebook pages. Then recently, my friend Minda pointed out that not everyone who reads our blogs are on Facebook. So, like her, I decided to share some of our Charlotte stories here. It will also be easier to find them some day as well.

These are a mix from Bruce and I and only edited enough for them to make sense apart from the status update format of Facebook.

  • After a day full of painting with feet, riding her power wheel with Daddy, and baking a cake for Grumpy, I asked Charlotte what her favorite part of the day was. She replied, 'picking my nose." How is it that she is my daughter? I let her lick cake batter off the beaters! And I even turned them off for her!
  •  I just bought Charlotte a $0.50 angel bell @ Michael's and she declared it her favorite toy ever. Guess I should return her other gifts!
  • Charlotte just told me, after making a bubble Jesus in the tub, complete with bubble stable, that Jesus is her favorite boy. :)
  • As we were getting in the car, Charlotte yelled, "I left my coupon at home!" A girl after my own heart.
  • Charlotte said her first naughty word today - doodoo. And she wasn't referring to her diaper.
  • Charlotte was very proud of herself when I went to get her out of her crib today. She had stripped down to her birthday suit and was ready for a dry diaper!
  • I just had an interesting parent/toddler conversation. Charlotte farted and announced, "It was gas, Daddy." "Yes, I heard it," I told her. "It was heard all over the world," she said. Surprised, I asked her to clarify, "All over the world?" "Yes, it was heard all over the place," she assured me.
  • Bruce had a funny interaction with his 2-year old. Charlotte: "Daddy, more animal crackers please." Bruce: "Can you wait a minute?" Charlotte: (in a sincere tone) "No!" Bruce: "Yes, you can." Charlotte: "OK, Daddy."
  • Jennifer has a modern daughter. Charlotte, and her mother, Jennifer, were building with Legos and Charlotte said she built a house. Jennifer asked who lives in the house. Charlotte replied, "Charlotte, Mommy, Mary and 'puter." She said this while pointing to Mommy, her little sister Mary and a laptop. Sadly, I might need to be ...worried because the laptop was in my lap, but Charlotte didn't mention I lived in the house.
Guess that last one explains the recent doll house story too. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Southern Girls Cooking Club - Lesson 1

In the spirit of Titus 2, my new friend Belinda started a Southern Girls Cooking Club for women to get together and learn new ways to bless their families with yummy meals. We even have a Facebook group!

Last Saturday night we met for the first lesson - potato soup and quiche. Both recipes came together so easily I was kind of embarrassed that I don't make either one of them.

The basic quiche recipe is 5 eggs, 2 cups of milk, and then whatever else you want for your quiche, usually, cheese, a meat, and a veggie or two. And no need to get fancy, we used store bought crusts.  Lynda demonstrated a cheddar and ham quiche as well as a cheddar and spinach quiche.

Lynda also taught me something about celery I didn't know. The majority of the flavor is in the leaf and it is okay to chop it up and add it to your dishes.

I don't have the potato soup recipe just yet, but tried to make my own version of it today and posted that on my other blog, Eating It Up.


Here are the beauty shots of the three yummy dishes we helped Lynda make.





I can't wait for our next lesson. Any suggestions about what we should learn? I want to know how to make a biscuit that doesn't crumble.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Strawberry Picking

While Bruce was home for his 2 weeks of "Winter Break," I made him take us strawberry picking at a local organic, hydroponic farm. We ended up only paying $1 per pound of strawberries and came home with 30 pounds! I canned about 10 pints and then froze another 6 pounds, leaving the rest to be eaten until we turned red!

Unfortunately, not quite all 30 pounds were edible. It took Charlotte a little while to understand that we didn't want green or white strawberries. Even after Bruce had her taste an unripe one, she still tried to pick them.



Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mary's 4-Month Well Baby Visit

I got some good news at Mary's 4-month well baby visit this week. The doctor seems to think that we should be able to graduate from therapy in a couple of months after the next evaluation.

Mary is on track with the major developmental milestones at this point. Her social skills and responses are excellent and sure sign that she is super-duper intelligent. :) Plus, she rolled over last week for the first time, and as seen in the video below, is now a pro at it!



(here is a link to Mary rolling over in case the embedded video won't work for you)

If you want a good laugh, here is a video of Mary *trying* to roll over.


(And the link in case the embedded video of Mary *trying* won't work)

Here is Mary trying to stay warm while we wait for Dr. Enlow to come in.

The pretty pink and white blanket was made by our family friend Nicole and goes with us just about everywhere, especially in this cold Florida weather.

And here is Charlotte making a funny face for Mommy's cell phone camera.



Finally, and just for posterities sake, here are the 4-month stats:
13 lb 8 oz and 24 inches long

Friday, January 08, 2010

Christmas Morning

I had big plans for Christmas morning. Thanks to a Facebook contest, I won a free night's stay at a local hotel for my parents so they could be at our house when Charlotte came downstairs. I bought things for her that I thought she would really enjoy.

And then, my husband forgot to wake me up before he took Charlotte downstairs to her awaiting grandparents and presents. It made me cry. Not the way anyone wants to start their Christmas morning. But he apologized and we moved on to the gift giving.

Charlotte got books...


G-ma got a lot of big boxes.


With small gifts inside. Like her Kindle.


Charlotte received her first keyboard. It plays kitty sounds too.


My lack of a list and my stockpiling converged so that I received a a box of cereal from my pantry. Thanks Bruce.


Charlotte opened all of her own gifts and didn't really need any help at all.


Grumpy celebrated by receiving gifts to go with his gift to himself - a 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 custom.

And Mary got in on the action by trying to help open her own gifts as well. Fortunately, her big sister was more than happy to help.


I guess you could say that these are pictures that only family might appreciate. It was dark at 6 am when Charlotte woke up so the lack of natural light left me with few pictures to choose from.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that your new year is off to a great start!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

December Crafts

I like to do fun things with Charlotte. I even like to take pictures when we do it. And sometimes, I eventually get around to sharing those fun things and pictures with you here on this blog. I won't apologize though for the delay though. That is one of my blogging pet peeves.

But I won't try to overload ya'll with pictures, I'll just share one fun thing we did - playing with shaving cream and paint.

"This seems like a super exciting thing to do. Mommas has never let me play with the shaving cream before."


"Look at those pretty dots of paint. I really get to touch them!"


"Hmmm... this feels funny."


"And it sticks on my hands!"


"Now I have shaving cream on both hands! How cool!"


"Uh, is it supposed to be so gloppy on my hands? It won't come off."

"I don't like it. Get it off!"



Now you know how to torture a toddler with shaving cream. :)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Charlotte's Favorite Christmas Gift



The second picture is where she put me all by myself... that is why I hadn't been blogging so much lately. The picture shamed me.

Wordless Wednesday

2:00 pm



2:16 pm



For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit

2009 - In Calendars

As I did last year about this time, let me share with you the desktop calendars I use on my laptop each month. This is a good way for me to review how my family has grown over the last year.

Each picture in these calendars comes from something that happened the month before.







I couldn't make a decision about which picture to use for September, so I made too and let the family pick which one they wanted for their computers.





If you like these and would like to make your own, just visit The Shabby Princess blog for the January 2010 desktop. These are great to send to family so they remember just how cute those little ones are!