Category Archives: kid stuff

Baby Philosophies

baby philsopiesI write this as a mother in process. I have not learned or experienced it all. I have only experienced my 2 boys (ages: 2.75 years and 4.5 months) and a few dozen more as a nanny. There are many “right” ways to raise your babies and I respect a mom’s (and dad’s) choice to do what they feel passionate about. And, I hope they respect mine. So this list is compilation of things we’ve discovered and done in this family. It is a hodge podge of learned methods, books read, conference lectures, spiritual practices, observing families, and gut feelings.

I write this not to say my ways are best, but to remember what I believed at this stage in my life. I might look back and say “oh, you were so naive” or “yeah, you got that right.” But either way, these have been floating around in my head for months and it’s about time to set them down here. I write as I would write to myself…to the me before I had my babies. So in no particular order, here are my Baby Philosophies.

  • The first 2 weeks are the hardest. Power through. You will sleep again.
  • It’s OK to stare. That baby is perfection.
  • Receive meals, receive help.
  • Make time to shower and brush your teeth… and sleep. (And do it every day.)
  • Babies don’t understand our world. We get to teach them.
  • That man you have loved all this time just got 10 times hotter holding your baby.
  • E.A.S.Y.! Eat, Sleep, Play, & You. A great method without being hyper-scheduled.
  • Leave your baby and the house in the first month.
  • Babies can soothe themselves to sleep. (Mine did at 5 and 6 weeks) 
  • Babies can sleep through the night. (Mine did a 8 and 10 weeks)
  • Be thankful and joyful everyday.
  • Establish a start time to the day. Wake the baby at the same time and feed (7:00 a.m. for me) then note his cues and rhythms for eating and sleeping.
  • You don’t have to follow “baby-led” or “parent-led” techniques you can be a fusion of both.
  • Work towards a 12 hour night of sleep and age appropriate naps through the day.
  • Keep learning. Listen to moms. Read books and blogs.
  • Babies are communicating to us, and it is our job to be flexible to them.
  • Baby gas is painful… for both of you. Learn methods to relieve that gas. Massage, movements, diet change, etc.
  • Don’t let them rely to heavily on “props” – whatever they need to sleep, calm, etc. they will need every single time.
  • Let that baby sleep on your chest. In a rainstorm. Close your eyes and enjoy.
  • Routines promote predictability and trust. It is a gift I can kids.
  • Breastfeed as long as you can to a year.
  • Breastfeeding is hard, great, a sacrifice, a gift, work, time…. and it is only a short season.
  • It’s OK to feel sad when you lose your milk supply, but you are not a failure.
  • Bins and labels and drawer organizers will calm the toy and clothing chaos.
  • Buy gender neutral when possible: toys, blankets, cups, etc.
  • Sleep sacs are genius. Zip down blanket and hinders climbing? Uh huh.
  • Wubbanubs, also genius. Baby can find and place paci. Cut off the paci and baby still has stuffed animal.
  • Video monitors are the most genius. Worth every penny.
  • Start solids when baby can sit up on their own, around 6 months. No need to force feed early.
  • Keep a simple log for the first year.
  • Note milestones, cute phrases, and stories. Compile them for a memory book.
  • You will not regret taking pictures.
  • Make time for fun as a family.
  • Make time for yourself: the occasional haircut, massage or pedicure will energize you!
  • Kiss, hug, snuggle, wrestle, hold hands, high five. Affectionately touch your kids.
  • Treasure grandparent time. Start it young.
  • Praise them. Encourage. Tell them what they are good at.
  • A small house has it’s benefits. We all know what’s happening all the time.
  • Maintain and add healthy habits. Be active. Have a hobby.
  • Teach your kids to transition well, early on. Leave them with family and friends.
  • Choose toys that promote imagination. Limit noisy toys and screen time.
  • Take your kids to a quality church. (Make sure they screen their volunteers!)
  • Encourage your kids to play with friends, play outside, play with siblings.
  • Read all the time. Find books your kid loves. Put them all over the house.
  • Spend time in community with other families.
  • Discipline early. Use a strong serious firm voice as to not confuse them.
  • When possible tell kids what TO do rather than what NOT to do.
  • Pray, sing, and share your God from the start.
  • Teach them to be helpers. Teach them to serve God and people.
  • Teach them to play independently.
  • Don’t undermine your spouse. Even when they are too lenient or too harsh. They are learning too. Give grace.
  • Bring kids along with you on errands and chores. There is much to learn in daily life.
  • Let your kids choose sometimes. Don’t let your kids choose all the time.
  • Protect your marriage as you would protect your kids. It is a treasure. Shut the bedroom door and hold onto your covenant.
  • Hide toys in pretty baskets. 
  • Let your toddler tell you when he’s ready to potty train. Seize the day and start 3 day bootcamp.
  • Promote sleep. Keep a bedtime routine.
  • Family dinners are valuable.
  • Share your clothes. Bargain shop. But, buy new shoes.
  • Kids do not have to have everything or every thing new.
  • Listen to that voice inside and learn what God would teach your through your kids.
  • Understand God’s love for you as his child. A whole new meaning when you have kids of your own.
  • Start each morning with coffee and prayer, your kids will wake with more energy than you.

I am only 3 years in as a mom. So much more to learn. So much more to experience. I am thankful to be on this journey. My boys are gifts that bring me joy each day.

Isaac 2.75

isaac 2.75 with textMy boy. My tall, smart, fun boy! His newest shoes we bought in spring are already getting small. This kid is as tall or taller than his 3 year old friends. He is super strong too.

He continues to surprise me. He is such a fun little person and certainly has his own mind. He is challenging, sensitive, loud, and authentic. He loves his friends, family, and life. This kid doesn’t slow down much. He  bounces from toy to toy, but then will sit and read with me for a half. What a joy he is.

What has surprised me most about him in these last few months is how well he adjusted to his little brother coming into the world. He simply acts like he has always been. He likes him around. He likes Luke to watch him and so desires to communicate and play with him. Some day.

isaac 2.75 collage 1LIKES:
Sandwiches cut into shapes
Running ahead and waiting between the door
Hiding from us – me at the kitchen table, dad under moms dress.
Flirting, hugging and occasionally kissing girls
Ice cream at dairy whip
Picnics at the park
Kings Island with his friends. He rides all the rides he is tall enough to.
Playing outside.
Swinging and spinning, but getting too big for the baby swing.
Riding his quad through the yard. Down and around the tree.
Singing – loving 123s CD
Roaring: at his friends, at Luke. Says he is a lion or spiderman.
Dancing. downtown Cincinnati
Entertrainment junction
His light up Pumas the mailman brought him.
Puzzles, coloring with marker, stickers, bubbles, cars, blocks, TRAINS.

isaac 2.75 collage 2

MEMORIES:
Easter egg hunt in our yard
Milkshakes at UDF
Beginning time outs in his room

FAVORITE FOODS:
MILK! donuts, grapes, yogurt, popcicles, cheetos, choc chip mini muffins, cheese and pepperoni, orange juice.

isaac 2.75 collage 3WITH HIS BROTHER:
Calls him “Yuke”
Has a baby yuke song
Says “I want to hold him on my tummy” and pulls up his shirt.
Putting toys in his mouth and trying to play with him.
Sings for him.
Luke is starting to get more used to him.

 

Luke .25 (the first 3 months)

My baby is 3 months and changing so fast. I have kept track some of his milestones and moments to share with weekly pictures! I did this project for Isaac too (minus the notes). I never want to forget these treasured moments. Did I say it is going too fast?! Oh we love him so!

luke_week 1 logo[ Week 1 ]
Weighed 7 lbs 15 oz at birth, Lost 7 oz in first week
Day 4 – first smile while asleep during “milk comma”1 Jaundice test – billirubin 10.2 – OK!
Sleeping swaddled
Days and nights confused, but sleeping.
His brother loves him. Though he did try to steal his blanket at first sight.
Projectile poop!

luke_week 2 logo[ Week 2 ]
Pedi appt on day 10. Weighs 7 lbs. 14.6 oz.. almost back up to birth weight.
Dr. Broderick says he has big ear canals and is strong
Makes a mess on scale (again) for the nurse.
Crying and grumpy in carseat!
Belly button fell off
First bath in kitchen sink – Isaac thought this funny! Luke did not.

luke_week 3 logo[ Week 3 ]
Propane low, first sleepover at Grandma & Grandpa’s
Mom is re-reading books: Baby Whisperer!
Seeming hungry every 2 hours – I am confusing hunger/sleepy cries
First coos and sounds on-purpose!
Playmat and tummy time
Offered him the paci and he loved it! (uh-oh) Really helps him relax when tired.
Move up to Size 1 diapers
Sleeping 2-3.5 hours at a time
Holding on during nursing like he is helping.

luke_week 4 logo[ Week 4 ]
Slept through dentist with mom
I locked the boys in the car!
Laying in crib semi-awake to fall asleep
Newborn and family pictures taken
First family outing: buy Dad’s phone, skyline & car wash
Tried tummy sleeping in crib unswaddled – then went back.
First 5 hours sleep & 6 hours between feeds!
Visited mommy’s work. Slept most of the time.

luke_week 5 logo[ Week 5 ]
1 month Pedi Appt: 10 lbs (70%), length 22 in (80%), and head 37 in (35%)
Started using swaddlers at night instead of blankets – stronger!
Fell asleep on his own when I had to lay him down crying. (good sign)
Started Vitamen D drops
First small smiles!
First trip to park – Lunken playfield

luke_week 6 logo[ Week 6 ]
First day of spring. Still snowing
Thinking he is overtired and that is why he is crying.
Try putting him down earlier: first yawn or grump. (1-1.5 after feed)
Attended first party – wedding shower.
Following you with his eyes as you move.
Stayed home with Daddy and Isaac first time without mom!
Sleeping 3-5.5 hour stretches as night, up to 6.5 hours between feeds

luke_week 7 logo[ Week 7 ]
Holding head up well
looked at himself in the the phone camera
Smiled after he sneezed
Loves his paci
Letting him soothe to sleep with swaddle and paci
Rocking and bouncing and patting seems too much stimulation when overtired
Congestion and runny nose
Watching for 3 phases of sleep (squirmy, stare, heavy eyes)
Started wake up routine: 7:30 nurse to start his day

luke_week 8 logo[ Week 8 ]
Trying to not put paci in after he spits it out, self-soothe
Mom starts teaching dance again – Daddy with both boys
Facetime mom with both boys!
2 month appt – lots of shots!
Slept 8 hours!
Cut nails for the first time
Family outing for mom’s birthday dinner
Easier to sleep- mom noticing cues!
First sickness (virus) – threw up about 7 times. Poor baby.

luke_week 9 logo[ Week 9 ]
Really enjoying mornings – happy, smiley boy!
Watching and smiling at Isaac as he talks
Last daily segment he takes a short nap in chair, carrier, or held
Up to 5.75 hrs sleep/7.5 between night feeds
2 month Pedi appt: 11.6 lbs (58%), 23.5 in long (80%) – lost a few oz since sick :(
First babysitter – Aunt Katie

luke_week 10 logo[ Week 10 ]
Move up to Size 2 diapers
Really bad gassy day – decreasing my milk intake to see if that affects him
Taking 4 oz in bottles
Breaking out of swaddle at some points
First Easter – did well being passed around. Fell asleep on mom
Slept 7.5 hours / 8.5 between feeds
3.5 – 4 hour between some day feeds
Finding his thumb, mad when he cannot

luke_week 11 logo[ Week 11 ]
Super engaging – smiles and coos in response to your words.
Likes to watch Isaac
…also cries at his screams and sudden movements
Sleeping 9.5 hours! Woo hoo
Blowing bubbles.
Watches TV.
Schedule going well, napping pretty regularly now.
Long nap about 2:15-4:30 daily. Shorts naps other section of day.
Catnap around dinner time in chair, reminds us of dinners with Baby Isaac.
Asleep at 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. bedtime.
Really chubbing up. Loving his rolls.
Tucking himself under my chin

luke_week 12 logo[ Week 12 ]
1st day with Grandma
Slept 11 hours at night!
Turned 180* in crib, broke out of new larger swaddles.
Blowout at target AND lost a paci. Screaming!
Isaac held him 15 minutes while watching Curious George
Gave himself a hickie on his arm.

luke_week 13 logo[ Week 13 ]
Back to work. Transition went well!
Grown out of 3 month clothes, especially sleepers. He’s long!
1st time downtown. Swing dancing with mom at Fountain Square.
Napping so well, having to wake him to eat.
Not needing paci as much, rarely putting back in at sleep.
Smiled at mommy when she came to wake him.
Arms out of swaddle a lot, but not hindering sleep.
Up to 5.5 oz. in bottles

 

Quick Tip: Simple Socks

So this post is a no-brainer but it sure does make me happy. And because I am so happy… I thought I would share my happiness. Socks. They disappear, they lose their best friends. It’s a tough life for a sock. With quickly growing babies, socks don’t last as long as my grey and blue nautical pair from high school. Yep, still in my drawer. Still cozy in boots. (Not still in style.)

I ordered my 2 and half year old some sneakers and sport socks. His big feet are getting bigger and, well, so are the socks and shoes. (I could stop right here and weep over the fact that my first baby is definitely a little boy now, but there isn’ t much of nap time left.) As I was putting the new large socks away, I pulled the ones he’s outgrown. And as I thought about this simple solution I started a few years back, it felt like a Project Momma Quick Tip.

socks1Kid socks look similar and it’s definitely hard to tell their size just looking at them. In fact I accidentally put baby socks on my toddler a few days back. (Proof right here.) There is no way I will remember what size socks are when I pull them out of storage. So, when I buy new socks, I simply keep the packaging or labels and shove it in the drawer under the socks. Then when it is time to pull them to store away – until the next baby has grown too big too fast – I already the packaging with them. I fell upon this idea accidentally because I kept the sock tags from Isaac’s baby socks; they were the only ones I’d found that would actually stay on those active baby feet. I save the label because did not want to forget that brand (Okie Dokie from JCPenney if your are wondering).

socks2So, now that it’s time to rotate the old socks, I grab that label, the socks and a ziplock bag to store them. 
socks3
And there you have it. Easily understood socks. I keep the outgrown socks and shoes in a separate bin from clothes. One reason is that I pass around clothes with my friends but socks and shoes I hang on to. Another reason to keep them separate? They may not be true to size. Hey Oshkosh, size 2-4 did not last pass 2 and a half for my big boy. Just sayin’. Every kid grows differently so I don’t want to have to search through my 2s, 3s, and 4s clothes, to find my 2-4 socks that fit Isaac when he was 1 and 2. Yeah, read that sentence again if you have to.  socks 4I have also started keeping some other tags and packaging for items like swaddles, sleep sacs, underwear, etc. It really takes no extra time upfront but saves a little confusion on the other end. Why not give myself little organized treasures? I deserve them.

Anyone else have a quick tip when it comes to your kids’ clothing?
quick tip  socks logo

Almost Ready for Baby – 38 weeks

So, as I write this we are 5 days away from meeting our little one! And, since he has stayed put inside, I have accomplished everything to date on the list from a few weeks back… baby prepI actually ended up adding a few things along the way too. So here are a couple of the highlights…

We decided to set the Dining Room up as a dual purpose room. My thoughts are baby will sleep in there nights until he sleeps through the night, 11-12 hours. For Isaac that was around 10 weeks old. A 2nd crib was purchased (actually it was a gift!), bed made, blackout shade installed, and some baby items brought in.

more baby prep 6 more baby prep 7

The buffet that I wanted to add doors to for ‘safe’ storage is in process; it still needs paint and handles. Doug may finish this weekend, but at least is usable to store some baby things.

Isaac has a big boy bed and has been experimenting with sleeping on it. I would say he’s 70% big boy bed, 30% crib depending on how tired he is. I am fine with letting him get comfortable. He stays in and calls me in the morning to come get him. So far so good!

more baby prep 2

Baby clothes (0-6 months) have been washed, sorted, and put away in the boys’ closet and dresser (some in the dining room cabinets too).

more baby prep 1

Our cars are prepped with car seats; grandparents also have a car seat for Isaac. This is big! I won’t feel the pressure of driving both kids all the time and we will not have to move car seats to do it. HOO-RAY! Grandparents are scheduled to help fill in for the first couple of weeks. We are blessed! Don’t know how we would do this without them!

more baby prep 10Hospital bag is packed. Baby’s gift to Isaac is wrapped. I even have some Valentine’s Day gifts for Doug and Isaac ready.

Baby log is made. Isaac notes for helpers are prepped. (Both probably deserve their own post)

more baby prep 8We even have diapers! Friends, volunteers, and family have been stocking us. Our small group even planned a MealBaby for us. Awesome.
more baby prep 9

I also did a big stock up of our pantry. Hopefully this will help in the first few weeks when I cannot drive. Doug can go grab milk, bread, and fruit, etc. I think we have enough cereal to last through summer, thank you coupons and sales.

more baby prep 5

All the paperwork has been done. And, I even had my LAST dr. appt. That really made it feel final since I have been spending hours there each week.
more baby prep 4

While looking for batteries and a key chain I got frustrated one day off and even got organized our junk drawer. Which turned into all the kitchen drawers, then all the cabinets. Not really on the agenda, but hey?!
more baby prep 3Our last thing to do is name this baby. We are down to a short list. Doug has a firm favorite and Isaac is calling him that, too. I like the name but like a few others better, so we are waiting until the moment to make it final.

Overall I am feeling pretty good about the tangible prep. I wish I could prep Isaac like I can the house and baby stuff. I am hoping he isn’t too jolted. I also hope my healing is quick and easy so I can be a functioning mom of two! I cannot wait to hold a sleeping baby again.

Homemade Ornaments 2013

It has become a little tradition that Isaac and I make ornaments as Christmas gifts for the grandparents. We also make one for our family and one for Isaac. I have mommy fantasies of giving him a box of ornaments that he has made or helped with as he’s grown…. to start his own tree. Not that I want to think about him ever leaving me :) He may not always want to make the ornaments, but why not while he is interested!?

It started when Isaac was only 3 months and I saw this Pinterest idea to press a painted baby hand on a glass ornament. Adorable in theory, not so perfect in reality. Still, I treasure it as his “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament.

orn 2011 collage

Last year, I saw this idea and since we had just had some black and white professional pics taken, I modge-podged an ornament. These were really easy and turned out super cute. (I guess I should make a little tutorial on that one at some point).

orn 2012

So this year was the first year I knew Isaac could actually help in the process. I pinned a bunch of ideas, but landed on the felt Christmas trees with button ornaments. This has been one of his favorite things about Christmas… “the Kiss-mas tree!” He even sings “O Kissmas tee, oh Kissmas tee, …I love you branches.” Which, as you can imagine is pretty adorable.

So I bought the supplies: A few sheets of green felt, and 2 packs of buttons. I had the twine and glue from other projects. I prepped the trees for him, by drawing a tree as my stencil then cutting out 5 tree shapes. 
orn 1
Then I sat him down with bowls of buttons by colors. He decided one bowl was enough and dumped them all together. I would put a few glue dots and let him pick the colors and place them as he wished.orn 2 He took the whole process very seriously. See his “concentration-face”? orn 3 orn 4 I wasn’t sure how long he would last on this project but before I knew it we had all 5 trees done. You can see them here before the glue had dried (It did dry clear). Cute right? I love the imperfection that show them as his. orn 5The ornaments were done, but Isaac (and Rosie) were not. So I quickly cut out a triangle and let him do a “Big Tree”! He has discovered that bigger is better…big cheese, big cookie, etc.  I figure that I could trim and frame this one with some type of Christmas quote in the future, but as for now we added it to the kitchen memo board so Isaac can see his masterpiece.
orn 7

orn 6

I added a loop of twine to each ornament. I like the rough texture and additional color. I took a needle to start a hole at the top of the tree. Because the twine was so thick, I had to expand the hole a bit bigger with a fork prong. I laced it through and tied a knot. I wrote his name, the year, and his age on the back with a black sharpie. Isaac was excited to hang ours on our tree. Below, you see the finished product in a gift box to be passed on to grandma and grandpa. Once they each opened the gift, Isaac insisted on taking the ornament to the tree in the room and hang it up. That meant that Great Grandpa and Great Grandma’s went onto Uncle Paul’s tree for a minute, since that was the house we were at. Made sense to Isaac!
orn  bannerI think next year I will end up doing two, as I want to make the “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament for the baby in a different color. We will see what Isaac is in to next year. From there on out, I see us just making the same ornaments.

It’s a fun little family tradition! I will be back this week with a few of our favorite holiday moments After all, this is my digital scrapbook.

Potty Pack

The few weeks ago we began potty training Isaac. I plan to write a post on all that, but until then here’s a short post about how we went from Diaper Pack to Potty Pack. One of my all time favorite baby/kid items is this Skip Hop Pronto Diaper Changing Kit. This is actually my 2nd. When a zipper broke, Buy Buy Baby replaced it for free with a brand new one. They rock like that. potty pack 3 This is what it has looked like the last year or so. While I usually keep a change of clothes and extra diaper in the car, this is easy to throw in my purse (which is actually a bag), instead of carrying a whole diaper bag. When Isaac was little baby I also left the changing mat attached. He outgrew the length, so now I mostly leave it off… thank you easy zipper.potty packNow that we are into potty land, we said goodbye to diapers! I put a few pairs of pants and underwear in the pack along with a plastic bag for the possible messy cloths. I also grabbed a travel size of the moist wipes to have in case of a poop while we are out. 
potty pack 2
It is super handy to grab in and out of my purse when Isaac is with me or give to Doug if he takes him out. And since Skip Hop patterns are kinda hip, you’d have no idea what is hiding inside.

See ya next year diapers!

Change on the Go!

A while back some friends gave us an extra pack ‘n play. We used it on occasion, but it broke and would no longer fold up. After sitting in our garage, unused and unneeded, I decided it was time to donate it. However, Isaac became a fan of it because of the large Sesame Street characters on the inside. We have only watched bits and pieces of Sesame Street a few of times, but Isaac has an Elmo Potty doll and Cookie Monster puppet. They are buds. So just as I started to donate, Isaac grew an attachment to this thing, pointing to his friends every time we passed through the garage. I tried again to fix it with no luck. pad 1

Then I got an idea. Over the summer we would often change Isaac’s diaper in the back of the SUV. Sometimes it was just easier then using one of those plastic bathroom stations. Plus, we had more room for Isaac’s long legs. So I thought, hmm… I could re-purpose the nice, padded, panel that sits on the bottom of the pack ‘n play as a changing pad for our car. At least then, the whole pack ‘n play wasn’t a complete loss. pad 2 The size is nice and long, and the material is nylon so it’s easy to wipe clean. And even though I am a fan of less intentional kid products, Isaac adores the faces on it. pad 3 The pad easily folds in half and tucks in between the floor and the 2nd row seating. Doug thinks it’s kinda silly. But, I’m thinking ahead to next year… It will be nice to have this for baby #2 as well. He/she will be 4-7 months through the summer.pad 4What do you think? Have you re-purposed anything lately?

pad collage 2

Kid-friendly Juices for Two

Last week I joined 20,000 of my closest friends on a “beans and rice” fast with my church. The goal was to live on sustenance and give out of our abundance – for one week. We pooled together all the money we saved only eating rice and beans to donate to three charities. We raised a BUNCH of money (I’ll update once I am allowed to share the amount).

I wasn’t sure I could eat beans and rice for breakfast, so instead I did coffee and juice. And, since Isaac has been kinda choosy with his eating, I decided to make some homemade juice that he could share. I found some recipes on Pinterest.
juice 1 bannerJUICE #1 – Orchard Dream 
3 apples / 3 stalks of celery / 4 carrots / tablespoon of ginger

Carrots are a great vegetable to juice. And, even thought I am not a huge carrot lover, I know they are so healthy for me. Great for my skin and vision as well as a cancer preventer. It is a great base for juice. I have often juiced apple and carrot together, but this was my first time using the granny smith apples along with ginger. This was Isaac’s first juice and he loved it! He drank it all down while riding with me to work. I wish I had given him a little more in his cup!
juice 2 bannerJUICE #2 - Pineapple Green Lemonade
1/3 pineapple / 1/2 head of romaine lettuce / 5 stalks celery / 1 cucumber / 1 1/2 small lemons

I was really excited about trying his juice. I love lemonade and was happily surprised when left with a very tart (and still sweet from the pineapple) aftertaste. This recipe made a lot more than the first one. So, I literally was drinking it until lunch. I was full but did not want to waste any of it!  Note that my lemons in this picture were large not small, which was fine with me but a little too tart for Isaac (insert cute toddler pucker face here). The next time I tried this recipe, I reduced the lemon and he liked it much more.

juice5If you are new to juicing you might not know where to start. I am definitely not an expert on juicing, but here are some of my personal opinions and tips.

12 Tips for New Juicers
1. Start with recipes that use vegetables and fruits that you already like to eat.
2. Plan on replacing a meal or a majority of a meal with the juice. Vegetable juices are much heavier and more filling than store bought fruit juices.
3. Prep all your produce before you start juicing. Prep the night before busy mornings. Make sure to wash produce before coring and cutting.
4. Drink your juice cold. This works if you juice produce straight from the fridge too.
5. Juice only enough for one day. Start fresh the next day.
6. Add sweetness (like apples or pineapples) to veggies to bring balance.
7. If you don’t love the taste, use a straw and try again. It kinda begins to grow on you.
8. When you can, drink your veggies and eat your fruits.
9. Clean your juicer right away to save scrubbers elbow.
10. Venture out and try adding new produce to the bases that you already like.
11. If you’re juicing for kids, start them young and get them involved in the process.
12. Juice regularly!

Juicing is a great way to get nutrients into your body without having to consume the whole vegetables! Give a try. It is so good for you and you will love the natural energy!

juicing collage2

Happy Easter (Basket)

Just hopping in quickly to wish you a Happy Easter and show you Isaac’s Easter basket. You might remember this basket that I picked up a few months ago for the Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. I have just laid some fabric inside, but hope to make a liner for next year.
easter3In his basket are just a few things that I knew he’d love.

  1. A replacement ball for the Little Tykes basketball hoop that was given to us. (Amazon)
  2. A Veggie Tales book about saying thank you. It sings too. I might regret this one. (Sam’s)
  3. Little Blue Truck book. He has book number two and loves it, so when I saw book number one I snatched it. (TJMaxx)
  4. Burts Bees Bubble Bath. I have heard great things about this for kids with sensitive skin. (Amazon) 
  5. Cheapy plastic boats for bathtime. Target dollar bins are dangerous! (Target)

I am really excited for tomorrow. I think Isaac is going to love looking for eggs around the house…especially when he realizes there is an M&M inside. He will likely call them balls because anything kinda circular is a ball to him these days.

easter4

Holidays are so much more fun with kids. We ran into the Easter Bunny at the park and Isaac starred with squinty eyes while holding my hand tightly. I took his cue didn’t force a picture. I can’t handle the crying baby pictures with a costumed character. I look forward to teaching him about the true meaning of Easter, but at 18 months I think colored eggs will do just fine. 

Quick Tip: Outfits On Deck

I am all for making mornings easier. Coffee, yes. Not having to think about kid clothes, another yes. So here is a little ‘Quick Tip’ for ya. outfits on deck bannerBasically I take about 5 minutes every couple of weeks to match up Isaac’s shirts with pants to create an outfit. I usually do this after folding laundry while I am hanging up his clothes. Why do I hang his clothes up?  1) Easy to find them. 2) Isaac’s room has a large closet and not much drawer space. 3) He cannot reach them. Yes, it takes a few seconds to hang each one, but so does folding. To me it’s worth it.
outfits collageI don’t pull outfits to wear in a certain order, I grab something appropriate for the weather, occasion, or comfort.
outfits6Often, I will choose his outfit out the night before and hang on a hook next to the changing table. This allows me to bring Isaac from crib to changing table to change and dress him. At 18 months he will try to get down himself if I leave him for a second to get stuff from his closet. I’m not messing with that first thing in the morning if I don’t have to.

Simple things like this that make me happy.

P.S. This is a double time-saver if you have multiples. I nannied for triplet boys and did their laundry. We’d keep 3 sets of clothing bundled together in their closet. We could have them matching or coordinating with ease!

Spring Sale Spoils (Part 2)

sale 2 final bannerI’m back with round two of my spring kids’ clothes shopping! Since I went into great detail about my methods last week I’ll keep this post brief. I’ll share some grand totals at the end of the post.

This week’s sale was at Nagel Middle School in Anderson. My plan was to be early, but I arrived late. I had great intentions all week, but sometimes you just have to roll with life. Husband and I ended up being out until all hours the night before. I was a big winner at Dave & Busters, and had an embarrassing bundle of tickets in my hands. Over 3000. It was fun though and the baby was at Doug’s parents. Saturday morning came too quickly! Since I was not eagerly hunting items… I slept in. Ahhh! I slept in, got coffee, took my time and got to the sale 40 minutes before it closed. Just enough time.
sale2When I arrived the room was eerily empty. In the past this has been my favorite sale because they usually take 50% off all the clothes in the last hour. Totally a steal! Well, I guess the twin mommies thought so too because they didn’t offer that this year. Bum-mer! I’m hoping they bring it back though, because the sale was pretty dead at the end with lots of clothes still left.

sale 2 collage bannerBeing baby-free, I was super fast with my process. Shop, throw items in my bag, sort by size, check my lists, and decide what to buy – just as I did at Sale #1.  I did spend a little more money at this sale than I normally. With previous half-off deal I don’t think that I ever spent over $30. However, I found some higher end brands and was happy to pay for them. I walked out with 19 items for $49.75.
dress3Actually, I bought 20. Look at this sweetness of a dress. The wide ribbon belt with detailed flowers made me want to pop out a girl or two just so they could wear them. Oh, yeah, there were actually 2 of these dresses… normal at a twin sale. I couldn’t resist one of them. Adorable, right?  But, no, I did not buy this in hopes of a daughter, I’m way too cheap for that. I did text my friend to see if she wanted it for her daughter. Brand new with the $44 tag still attached. She said to grab it, and I have to tell you at $8 (my highest priced item) it was the find of the day.

But on to the boys clothes!  Remember the sweater I found last week for Easter? Here are pants to go with them. Super score!! I will likely have the roll the waist band, but they shouldn’t be too huge on Isaac.

sale2 easter bannerI brought home a bunch of Gap clothing including the super soft pirate ship PJs, and some perfect little man jeans. I love how Gap baby and kid clothes feel and they last really long. So I snag ‘em often at these sales. sale2 2t banner sale 2 3t bannerOff my starred items list, I found Sperry gym shoe/sandal things. Whenever I buy used shoes they have to be practically new. I checked the inner soles to make sure there was no foot impression. I want Isaac to be comfortable in his shoes, so I mostly pay for brand new shoes for that reason.

I also scored a bunch of swimwear: 18 mos, 2T, and 3T. The 3T navy board shorts and swim shirt are Lands End and look like they have not been worn.

sale 2 starred 2

Overall I am really happy with my finds this week and last.

Here are the final numbers from both sales: 
7 long-sleeve T’s
12 short sleeve T’s
7 pants
4 shorts
3 pair of shoes
3 pair of PJs
4 swim items
1 easter sweater
1 easter pants
1 jacket
43 items for $97.00  (sale 1 = $47.25 and sale #2 = $49.75)

WOW! I love that math. That is about $2.25 per item. I will take that! And, remember those lists? I got all the clothing items off my starred list. Still looking for a climber and wagon. Overall, I am under budget and spent cash.
2 listsNow it is time to wash and store those clothes, and of course I gotta update my penciled lists that I made when I was going through the piles a few weeks back. Gotta keep those bins organized!

Spring Sale Spoils (Part 1)

pile banner Saturday morning Isaac and I ventured off the the Tri-state Multiple Clothing and Equipment Sale at the Princeton Middle School. A few weeks back I sorted, organized and stored all the kids clothes that had been piling up in the basement (read all the details here). So, I had my lists ready to go for the sale along with a list of “starred” items. These are items that I was REALLY on the lookout for: Crocs (size 7, 8, or 9), outdoor toddler climber/slide, pjs, jacket (2T), Easter outfit (this year), and a wagon for Doug’s mom.

2 lists

For most of sales I am in line when the door opens, without baby, cash in hand. This day I decided to take the day slow. I wanted to find some stuff, but really didn’t need to fight the masses. Isaac was tagging along for the fun. When I finally arrived (after realizing I had left my debit card for cash at home) the room was quiet. Usually I am sweating fighting the crowds and that was without baby! I was actually excited to calmly shop this time. Pickings were definitely slim though, in comparison. Usually the tables are mountains and volcanoes of clothes erupting to the benches and floors. (It’s awesome!!!)

I gave myself $100 budget to spend at the sales this week and next. Whatever cash was left would go for items Isaac did need but couldn’t find like swim trunks and summer shoes.

sale1  I visited the boy tables – 24 months, 2T, 3T and 4T. I also perused the hanging clothes racks which are nicer holiday items as well as jackets, coats, costumes, etc. The shoes line the bleachers along the wall in the gym by size. Isaac ate his lunch and drank his milk while flirting with the triplet (and quad and quint) moms. After about 30 minutes I had a grocery bag full of items.
sale2I always go through my items a second time before purchasing. I want to make sure that I am not buying 3 of the same things, check for stains, and look closer at the pricing compared to other items I picked up. Maybe I have 2 pair of jeans in the same size and one is $1.50 and the other is $4.00.  Usually I am doing this while waiting in the forever long line to pay. Today there was no line, so I found us a little spot to break. I laid them out by size and compared the items. I pulled out my lists of what I already had at home and compared to decide what I’d buy.
sale sizes

The grand total was $47.25 for 24 items. The clothing I purchase was all $.50 – $2.50 per item, shoes and holiday items a little more. Before I get into what I got, let me take you on a little tour of the ‘Toys & Equipment Room’. Here are a few items I found interesting but did not need:

sale 4 deals 2We have a restaurant highchair that Doug’s dad built for us because I could not find one of these for sale. I would have bought this a few years back. The Cozy Coupe for $15 was a great deal and thought of buying it for Grandma’s house. If I was pregnant I would have bought the baby scale. I wanted one of these so bad while I was nursing Isaac. And, some mom really didn’t want to take home this highchair it say by the door and register and had been lowered to $2! 
sale9

I wasn’t planning on buying anything in here unless I found a climber, but Isaac pointed to this truck and called out “carrrrrr”. For $.50, I thought my rockstar shopper deserved a little treat. Besides, it’s a cement mixer. Daddy pours footers and finishes concrete at work and pretty soon he is going to love passing these on the roads. We spent $4.50 in the toy room. Details on the other impulse buys below.

By the way, I love knowing that my money is going to a good cause. 50% of group profits go to assist higher order multiples families experiencing financial hardship. Learn more about TSM here.

sale10

Drum roll please…. Here we have the clothes I purchased by size. I cannot give you exact prices for each item because the mommies pull the tags when I pay. It is how they know which mom gets the mula (that is where the other 50% goes).

24mos banner2T banner3T banner4T bannerAnd, off my “starred” really wants list: A Gymboree sweater for Isaac’s Easter outfit. A pair of 8/9 navy Crocs and black skater shoes in perfect condition. Also, this 2T jacket that will remind me of the triplet boys I nannied for because all 3 had the same one. In fact it is very possible this was one of theirs and it has been passed around to triplet moms a few times since they were 2. Could be!?
sweater & more

And, my $4.50 impulse buys were fun things for Isaac. A carry along school house with jumbo figurines inside, cement mixer truck and Melissa and Doug magnet board with misc letters. As you can see, Isaac was very pleased that I brought these toys home. #picturebomb

2 pic toysThat is it for Part 1! The EHMOTC twin sale is close by in Anderson this Saturday. I usually go late to this sale but I found out that they are no longer doing half-off items the last hour. So, I think I am going to do this one early and without baby! No more impulse buys, Isaac. I will be back next week to share Spring Sale Spoils (Part 2). I’m looking forward to it!

Pack it Up, Pack it In

Have I mentioned that I love free stuff? And when it comes to having a kid one of the greatest blessings is free clothes. I mean I like nice clothes, but paying full-price for items that they are going to where only a few times? Can’t do it.

When I was pregnant it granted me rights into my family/friends’ Share the Clothes Club. We waited to find out the sex of our baby, so the day we came home from the hospital my sister-friend dropped off two bags of baby boy clothes. Ever since, the clothes keep coming from Beth, from other friends, and from my step-mother who works at a second-hand store. Let me tell you, it is awesome. There are  a lot of clothes. A lot. Storing them is the challenging part of this blessing.

clothes7Isaac is 18 months now and is wearing mostly 18 month-sized clothing. He can wear some 24 months, but others he’s swimming in. In his closet 18 month clothes are hanging on the right side and 24 month hanging on the left. This allows me to start pulling from the larger clothes as he is transitioning. When he grows out an item, I toss it into a size-labeled bin in his closet. Once he is completely out of the 18 month clothes I’ll pack those up, and pull out the 2T. Brands do not all run them the same, so this system has worked well for me.

I have supplemented the gifted stash with just a few purchases and holiday outfits. I rarely go shopping at kid’s stores, though I can’t walk by Janie & Jack without perusing the sale rack. I mainly shop for Isaac at the local sales by the multiples’ clubs. In Cincinnati that happens in the spring and fall. I usually spend $50-100 a season and walk out with bags of items in all different sizes. I buy what I need, like if his 2T stash has mostly shorts I look for pants. The sales are only two weeks away (yay!!), which was motivation for me to break into the garbage bags of the larger clothes piling up in the basement.

I brought all the clothes upstairs so my little helper could share the work. OK so he really enjoyed playing in the bins, dragging off clothes, and walking around with pants on his head. He gets into projects. Sometimes it takes longer with him in the mix, but honestly I would rather spend more time on a project with him in the room, than retreat to the basement and miss time with him.

clothes9I started with sorting all the items into piles by size a total of 2 bins + 4 garbage bags. Any 24 months and 2T clothes went straight to the laundry room to be washed. Those will go to Isaac’s closet. Piles are 3T, 4T, 5T & beyond and Misc.

clothes1

You can see that the 5T and above are slim, that is because the Share the Clothes Club is still using those sizes. They will eventually come into the rotation, and the clothes Isaac is finished with move along as well.

I then sorted each of sizes by type of clothing item: pants, jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved, winter PJs, long-sleeved PJs, summer PJs, etc.
clothes3See the 3T label on this bin? It is actually a combo of 3 of the items from my 5 Favorite Things Blog Launch Giveaway! I used the over-sized notecards as the paper, sharpies to add some color and the washi tape to adhere.

tape3

In the past I have used mailing labels for these bins, but I end up relabeling bins and it’s hard to remove all the sticky paper. Ding, ding, ding!!! Washi tape easily removes from items AND is pretty. Yes!

Another trick is to quickly write a list of clothes that I have in this size on the back. I wrote it in pencil so I can update it as the clothes trickle in. I also made note about holiday clothes, swimsuits, jackets, etc in this size. Here is the genius part. I can actually take these lists with me as reference for the multiples sales I am going to in a few weeks.
clothes4 I am hoping that it helps me shop very smart. This did not take much additional time and I believe will save me rummaging through the bins thinking, “Do I have mostly winter clothes or summer in that size?” and “Does Isaac have slacks for Thanksgiving?” Yes, I am a planner. I created this system, but I do think it is genius. Not to sound prideful, but I’d say the same thing if you created it.

clothes5

Here is what we were left with to take to the basement…
clothes6After the clothes were washed, 24 month were hung up and the 2T put up into bins.

clothes10

So there you have it! It feels good to have this project done and more importantly I am prepared for my sale shopping in a few weeks.

If you are local, here are links to the 2 sales that I like:
Tri-state Multiples Sale
Eastern Hills Mother of Twins Sale
There are more all over the tri-state that you can look into. I will be back to share my spoils.

How do you organize and shop for clothes? Please share your methods and strategies. I love this stuff!