Monday, May 30, 2011

Remember...


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Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes - Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth.  ~W.J. Cameron

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Morning Scene

Good Saturday morning to you!!!

I'm SO thrilled it is Memorial Day weekend and things are starting to get busy in this sleepy little beach town.  Everything seems a bit more alive and I just love the start of summer!!!  My aunt and uncle from Michigan, whom I adore, are in town for the weekend and I'm so excited to spend time with them - I have not seen them since my wedding 3 years ago and this is obviously the first time they've met Addie so I know its going to be a fun weekend!

photo courtesy of Full Quiver Farm
We are headed down to the farm this morning to purchase some chicken (not live ones - these have already been prepared to cook), eggs, pork, and fingers crossed - some beef if they have any.  We try to do the natural and orgainc thing as much as possible in our house - within reason - and I do try to buy all natural meats but I'm very skeptical of what I'm really getting so I found a farm that sells the meat from the animals they raise on their farm.  The family that owns the farm encourages you to visit and see the animals and this will be our first time going to see everything and buy from them so I'm very excited!!!  I also think it will be fun to see Addie's reaction to all of the live animals they have that you can play with! 

After we get back, I'm hoping to enjoy some time pool side with the fam!!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday!!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!!!

J

Friday, May 27, 2011

Product Review - California Baby Sunscreen

Disclaimer - I was NOT paid or incentivized in ANY way to write this review - I just like passing along what does and doesn't work for us!

Seeing as though this weekend marks the unofficial start to summer - I thought I'd start off with a product review of some baby sunscreen, thats also great for us grown-ups (especially if you have sensitive skin) to use as well.


Price: $18.59 at Target online (see link above - this price is comparable to what I paid to buy it in the store)

Gender: neutral

Easy to use: Yes - I really really liked the consistency of this lotion - It was thick enough that it didn't make a mess but was absorbed by the skin very quickly with no greasy residue (a huge plus in my book).  It left the skin feeling VERY soft and there was no trademark "white" left behind.  Putting it on Addie's face was a bit difficult but they also make a sunscreen stick (which I have not tried) that would probably be easier for facial application on your wee one.

Success or Failure: success - we love it!

Age she started using it: 6 months - we had no need for it earlier as Addie was an October baby so it really wasn't hard to keep her out of the sun for the first 6 months (which is what is recommended by the docs) but check with your pediatrician, as always, as to when its ok to use this

Age she stopped using it: hhhmm...I'm going to go with 16 - when she decides shes too cool to go to the beach with me or wear sunscreen so she can get the maximum sun exposure (if shes anything like me!)

Pros:  As I mentioned above, this stuff goes on VERY well for a sunscreen and after about 2 hours in the sun, there was NO evidence that we had been out there so I feel pretty confident that the sunscreen  is doing its job.  California Baby is know for their wholistic all-natural products that are great for babies and adults with sensitive skin and this product is no exception.  I did purchase the water resistant variety as we will be spending a good portion of our summer pool side and at the beach so that was a "must" for us.  This product does not contain alot of the harmful chemicals that are found in alot of other sunscreens, even those made specifically for babies.  There is alot of great information out there concerning sunscreens and depending on your needs and skin type - what might just work best for you. 

Cons:  Simply put - this stuff is not cheap.  As the lady at Target scanned it through she must have caught a glimpse of the price because she stopped - looked at the bottle in her hand - looked back at the register screen - looked at me - to which I nodded my head and said "yeah, that really is the price."  She shook her head and placed it in the bag.

Other info:  This post is only meant to be a product review so I won't give the "and..always wear sunscreen (anyone remember the baz luhrman song? ha!)" speal.  But, my friend Cheryl over at Nap Time is the New Happy Hour, posted a very moving and informative series of posts here and here about the benefits of protecting yourself and your baby from the sun as well as some wonderful ideas and products - you really should check it out - it was a great reminder of just how important this stuff is!!!

Would I buy again or buy for a friend? Yes - I'm one of those people that tends to get somewhat set in my ways and when I find something I like and that works I'm very hesitant to change.  So, this will become a staple in the beach/pool bag!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Seriously...

Joining for another week of "seriously..." with mrs. to mama to share everything that has me saying "seriously" this week...


Seriously...did I really send my beloved pedometer through the wash???  The hubs informed me last night that while hanging some of our delicates out to air dry he found my pedometer attached to a pair of my pants.  I'm hoping maybe it will dry out, but realistically mourning its loss.  Guess I'll be coughing up some dough this time to get myself another one

from cartoonstock.com
Seriously...was Starbucks really out of the Trenta size cups for my new favorite Trenta sized ice coffee...talk about a sad girl this morning when they told me I'd have to settle for the Venti.

Seriously....is the Trenta size really my go-to drink now?  Who really needs that much coffee in the morning...I'm starting to think I might be forming a dependency here...thats no good.

Seriously...did I really see a BRAND NEW Mercedes SUV on the side of the road receiving gas from the Highway breakdown squad (I know they have a much more technical term for these people but I don't know what it is).  I mean really, you just bought an, I'm guessing, $80k vehicle....but the gas is just too much?!?

Seriously...it's really Memorial Day weekend - and this girl has a perma-grin on her face.  I'm doing a stay-cation next week so I'm really looking forward to the week off from work and getting to spend lots of time with my girl.  Fingers crossed the weather is nice next week

Happy Thursday!

J

And...seriously...head over to Gap (online) for their awesome Memorial Day Sale (at least their baby stuff is at great prices...I don't shop for myself much anymore....its way more fun to shop for the baby girl:)) - but don't tell your hubs that I sent you ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who needs electricity?? THIS GIRL!!

photo courtesy of wavy.com
Yes....ME, I NEED electricity and thankfully its back!!!  I had planned to partake in "Wordless Wednesday" and post some cute pics I took of the girl this weekend but we had some pretty serious storms move through our neck of the woods yesterday afternoon and I have been without my beloved internet until we got it back.  No internet of course means...no nighttime/early morning blogging (plus, I was at a conference today so no internet access at work)...no e-mail reading/responding...no curious web searches for miscellaneous information...no - nothing:(  

Reading what I just wrote makes me sound a bit ungrateful for the wonderful life I do have (its not all rainbows and butterflies but I've been very blessed with the life I've been given) so, please hear me when I say that I am in now way trying to take away from or even pretend to relate to the horrible storms that have plagued the midwest this year.  I cannot even begin to imagine what those people are suffering through and my thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

photo courtesy of wavy.com
So, it all started yesterday afternoon - sitting at my desk - and, all of the sudden, it was like someone turned the lights out.  I turned to my left to look out my windows and it looked like nighttime outside.  The clouds were almost black and VERY low - it was eerie.  Shortly after, the rain and wind started and thats when things got downright scary.  Our building is a 20 floor building, and I sit on the 16th floor so if the building moves, I feel it.  And yesterday...I felt it - we were rocking and rolling (sort of like being on a boat), while the windows creaked and the glass shook.   This lasted for about 20 minutes and most of the folks on my floor stood in the hallways, outside of their offices checking their PDAs for updates on what was happening.  I know the building is built to sway...I get it...but you could not have convinced me of that yesterday afternoon!  After the storm passed, business as usual...just like that.  What none of us realized was that a large number of us were without power and our local power company was in no way prepared for the beast of a storm that had just wreaked havoc on the area.  My ride home was interesting...trees and debris strewn all over the interstate...but it was sunny outside...a beautiful evening.  It just didn't look like it fit.

photo courtesy of wavy.com
Arriving home to NO power was pretty awful.  It was about 80F in our house...I could live with it..the hubs on the other hand is like a portable space heater and is hot.all.the.time.  Luckily, it was still light out and we figured we'd run to dinner (clearly, we couldn't make anything) and hoped by the time we got back the power would have been restored.  Yeah, no dice on that one....we walked around with our flashlights...I took the coldest shower of my life...and we went to bed early (I had no blogging or internet surfing to do, no trash TV to watch, no warm relaxing shower to enjoy...no fun)  We opened the windows as it was about 74 outside and we figured that would be bearable to sleep in until the power came back...and we went to bed.

photo courtesy of wavy.com
At some point during the night, our power was restored and I awoke to my alarm clock next to the bed this morning instead of my phone....aahhh, the first time (other than my wedding day) I have ever been excited to hear that sound....now about that mess we left last night...because....we couldn't see.

Anyhow...I've randomly placed pics of some of the destruction from the storm from our area.  Our house was fine other than some downed tree limbs but some of our neighbors didn't fare as well and lost whole trees.  Still, we ARE lucky...so lucky...this storm was nothing compared to the hand others have been dealt.  And yes, in talking with friends there are still people in the area that don't have power yet...and its hot and its supposed to stay that way for the foreseeable future:(

I've missed out on alot of my usual blog reading so I'm hoping to catch up over the next day or so!!!

J

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My momma suit and other summer related items

YAY!!  This weekend is Memorial Day weekend - the unofficial start to summer - and I'm ALMOST ready!!  I just LOVE this time of year - and after joining the pool this weekend, I had some items that still needed to be bought to prepare for the start of summer!  My first find was the momma suit that I scored from TJ Maxx.

And, thanks to TJ Maxx, I saved $87 - yes, I only paid $29.99 for this regularly priced $117 suit.  It's very comfortable to try on and I feel secure - like I don't think anything will pop out or over and I think even Addie's hands won't be able to pull anything down (only time will tell).  I actually got this suit in a sea green color (similar to the font color in the picture) thats vibrant and different from my standard black.

My next purchase was made online at J Crew (currently they are offering an additional 30% off their SALE items - and they do have a lot of mom suits in this category - and free shipping on $100+ orders) where I don't do a whole ton of shopping but their beach/pool stuff is very classy and pretty reasonably priced.  From there, I scored a pair of flip flops, 2 new fun tanks, a straw hat, and a beach bag.  At this point, you're likely wondering if I've ever been to a pool or the beach - I mean, who doesn't already have these things?!  Well, in the past - I was an early morning kind of beach/pool patron - get there with my ipod and a towel to get my tan and get out.  I didn't linger and take the salt air in - I was there for the SUN and the sun only...I'm changing my ways and really hoping to make much more of a social event out of going to the pool and the beach.  So...I figured I'd at least look the part to start with.


I had also picked up a cover-up from the LOFT when they had their bug 40% sale a few weeks back so I don't have to scare any innocent bystanders in the parking lot.

However, I am missing one....what I currently consider VERY IMPORTANT item...I don't have a towel for Addie!  I've found a few that are cute but I'm at a loss and was hoping I might be able to get some help or ideas from ya'll on my little...what I'll call...situation.  Most of the beach towels I'm finding are for toddlers and above and would be HUGE on Addie..fortunately I did find a couple of towels that could work but I'm undecided.  The first is from the letter tree and its a hooded towel in various animal ensembles.  I think the dolphin and turtle are super cute but I've never ordered from this company before, nor do I know anyone that has so I'm curious about the quality of their products.  Anybody out there ever used them?


The second is just the miniature beach towel from Pottery Barn Kids that doesn't have a hood but the need for a hood is part of my current internal debate.  I love Pottery Barn's stuff so I have no concerns about the quality - I just don't know if I need that darned hood or not.  So, I'm hoping ya'll might have some insight into what you've used that worked best, already bought, or great ideas you've heard of when it comes to the baby towels.  I know this seems SO trivial to be concerning myself with this but I'd like to get the towel right the first time...so I'm hoping with some advice and I can get there.

So, there you have it...everything beach/pool related thats going on in this little household in anticipation of the upcoming weekend - and....even better, I'm planning to be on vacation that week following...which makes this weekend extra exciting!

J

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Is it Monday already??

I know...we all say things like "where did the weekend go?" how is the weekend already over?" "did I miss a day?" when it comes time for Monday morning.  For me, its usually the hardest day of the week - trying to get back in the grind and brush those cravings to be home with my girl to the back of my mind...

But, we had a WONDERFUL and very busy weekend this weekend.  I knocked out one of my May goals, we joined a pool for the summer, bought some cabinets for the pantry the hubs is promising to build for me, did some much needed shopping to buy a "mom" suit and some heels for work (thank you TJ Maxx) and got my butt kicked at the gym on Saturday morning.  I'm both excited and exhausted - I'm SO happy we were able to get SO much done this weekend but I'm exhausted from all of the running around.  The hubs sis was here this weekend and she along with Addie were such troopers and made the best of all of the running around (I doubt she'll be back to visit anytime soon  - kidding:))  I'm hoping to post more about the pantry and mom suit but suffice it to say - this weekend was a huge SUCCESS!!  If you see Friday hanging around - please send him my way...thank you!

J

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Morning Scene

Good Saturday morning!!!  We are spending our Saturday morning hanging out on the floor with our girl who is on.the.move.  We don't have any text book crawling but we do have army crawling and all sorts of other forward movement!!  I am really loving this stage as Addie is really starting to explore things on her own and its so FUN to watch her explore the little world around her.

The hubs' sis is here with us this weekend and we are all thrilled.  She's great with Addie and she's just a super sweet girl with an easy-going personality.  Our day is pretty wide open, other than going on the hunt to find a pool to join for the summer - which I'm very excited about seeing as though next weekend is Memorial Day weekend!!  I'm also hoping to drag everyone to Home Depot/Lowes to look at cabinets for the laundry room/pantry that the hubs and I had planned to complete this spring/summer.

Saturday Morning Scene
I've joined Katie over at Loves of Life on this Saturday morning for Saturday Morning Scene.  You should head over and link up or check out how everyone else is enjoying their Saturday morning!!
J

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flower Pot Inspiration and How-To

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inspiration from here
I can clearly remember how BORING I thought Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living magazines were as a child, teenager, and well really up until I bought my own house.  They always seemed filled with last year's fashion and weird hard-to-make recipes.  So...when I received the gift of subscription a few years back for Better Homes and Garden I was less than thrilled.  I really hate to sound ungrateful because I appreciated the thought but I just knew it would be something I'd place in my magazine basket for my mom to read.  Ok...so I was wrong - the clothing is actually ok (I guess that just verifies that I'm no longer the cute hipster I used to be) and while the recipes are generally still hard to make, I love the rest of the magazine, especially the gardening section.  There is always SO much garden inspiration that fill the pages and I've used it to do my own container arrangements for my outside pots (which I can't seem to get enough of).  So, I thought I'd share some general rules of thumb when arranging your pots and also some pictures of how I arranged some of my pots this year and my flower choices.

I pretty much follow the rules when it comes to container planting and always ensure my pot has all 3 elements - an upright plant, a mounding plant, and a trailing plant.  I usually like to have 2 different types of trailing plants just too add a little bit of interest to the outside of the pot.  If you look at the tag on the plants before purchasing, it will usually indicate which of the 3 the plants is so you can plan accordingly.  My pots always look a little sparse when I first plant them but trust me when I tell you that they fill in and if the plants are too large when you plant them - they tend to get overcrowded rather quickly.  I use the moisture advantage potting soil that is designed to provide a better balance of moisture in the soil so that if you miss a watering or 2 - you don't lose all of your plants.  I used it last summer and it seemed to work pretty well so when I changed out the soil in my pots this year - I replaced it with more of the same.  After the plants have been potted for about a week, I like to add mulch to the top of the plant to cover the soil and provide my plants with a little insulation from the hot summer sun.  I've found it works best for me to arrange my pots in the beginning to mid-May and they usually last me until the weather cools in September.  Generally speaking, it takes me no longer than 10-15 minutes to arrange the pots and get them planted and by selecting your own flowers you can definitely save some cash over selecting the already arranged containers at the store.

Looking for more inspiration - you can go here for some other flower pot arrangement suggestions, courtesy of none other than Better Homes and Gardens!

J

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seriously...

YAY! for fun new link-ups! I'm joining from Mrs. to Mama and linking up for an opportunity to share everything that has made me say, "Seriously..." this week (and anyone that knows me - knows I use "seriously" in my speech almost as much as "like" - maybe that makes me a valley girl:))

Seriously...did I really gain a pound between Saturday and Wendesday despite three trips to the gym and some serious calorie cutting.  Talk about a smack in the face - last night after spending some quality time on the eliptical, I jumped on the scale - only to find it read +1 pound of my Satuday weight - huh?! I didn't think it was supposed to work that way...

Seriously...did Addie really poop in her tub last night mid bath???  This is the second time this week this child has decided to let it all out outside of her diaper.  Is my 7 1/2 month old telling me she wants to be potty trained?!  Ha!  I know thats not the case but whats with the new trend of pooping outside of the diaper - first it was on her changing pad which is now in her crib because shes not safe anywhere else while I was trying to change her wet diaper and now in the tub...

Seriously...is Memorial Day weekend really next weekend??  This has always marked the start of summer in my mind and while Addie has 6 bathing suits (I'm sorry - I just couldn't help myself) I don't even have one nor have we joined a neighborhood pool to have a place to go swimming (other than the itty bitty baby pool Addie got from the Easter Bunny) - looks like I have some work to do pronto!

Gas_Prices.512.512.jpgSeriously...did I really pay $90 yesterday to fill up our truck with gas???  I can think of about 9 bazillion places I would have rather spent that money - I mean, really $90 - that hurts.  I'm not even mad about it anymore...just disappointed (remember when your parents said that to you and that hurt more than getting yelled at ?)
Seriously...does my daughter really look like a boy???  I know she doesn't have much hair to speak of but the last couple of times we have been to the store-with Addie dressed in PINK! - I've had people say "aaww, HE's adorable..how old is HE??"  More hair bows...more hair bows.

Head on over to Mrs. to Mama and share what you're saying "seriously.." to today or just head over for some good laughs!!

J

More on Food - Freezing strawberries

PhotobucketThe past two Saturdays as I blogged about here and here, I've spent a part of my morning at the local strawberry fields, picking more strawberries than I could possibly eat so I was determined to find others uses so nothing went to waste.  I got lots of great ideas (thank you SO much for all of the ideas) on how to use these strawberries and made a few different things but also decided I wanted to freeze some of these delicious berries so that I could enjoy them during the winter in smoothies and sauces.  So, I thought I'd share a quick post on the two different ways I decided to freeze my berries!

I sincerely apologize to those of you that are more domesticated than myself and are wondering aloud right now why I would write about something so obvious!  However, I had no idea how to freeze strawberries properly so I looked it up and thought I'd share what I found!

For both ways, I started by removing the cap and stems from all of the berries and giving them a good rinse to get any dirt off.
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For those that I was freezing whole, I simply placed them on a baking sheet that I lined with parchment paper and stuck them in the freezer for 24 hours.  The next day I pulled the berries from the freezer and placed them in a freezer bag and back in the freezer they went.

For those that I was freezing in sugar and halved, I cut each berry in half first.  I then added a tablespoon of sugar and stirred everything around until all of the sugar was dissolved.  I then placed the berries in a freezer bag and removed the excess air and placed in the freezer for storage.
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As I said above, this was SUPER easy and quick and I'm glad I'll have these to use in my smoothies when strawberry season is over.

And...I almost squealed yesterday afternoon when I found one ripe strawberry on our strawberry plant in our garden while gathering some lettuce for dinner.  This was the first year we planted any strawberries and we only planted one plant but it was exciting for me to find a ripe one and there are about 5 or 6 more that look like they will be turning soon:)  Looks like I'll be doing more of these next year!

J

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For the love of Trader Joes

Can you tell I'm watching calories...all I can think about is FOOD and where to get it from:)  Trader Joes is my favorite as far as grocery stores are concerned...by FAR.  However, they don't sell very much name brand stuff - most of what they sell is their brand.  Which, if you've never shopped there before can leave you (well, at least it did me) feeling a bit uneasy about just what to get.  They do offer samples in the back of a few of their food items (different things each time) which are always fun to try and they will give you a full refund, no questions asked, if you don't like something.  Their staff is always very friendly and accomodating but whoa, is that place packed, at least around here it is anyways.  So, I thought I'd just write about what the hubs and I enjoy the most and also mention those very few things we would recommend avoiding.  I apologize in advance if you don't have a Trader Joes - as this post will render itself worthless!  If you're unsure as to whether or not there is one close to you - go here and find the nearest location!  And if you do have one and have never been  - you should totally go - it changed my grocery shopping life completely.  Their food is very reasonably priced and alot of times you can buy organic foods cheaper there than you can for non-organic at the regular grocer.  All pluses in my book:)  So - heres my list:

FAVORTIE THINGS - These are the things you MUST try - like, don't leave the store without them and unfortunately, don't be surprised if they are sold out of them either.

* Ridge chipsThick and crispy potato chips that are PERFECT for dipping in your favorite dip.  They have ridges in them but almost feel kettle cooked - I don't know how they do it - I just know they're great.

* Peanut Butter Cups - As in Reeses will no longer be the 'ish if you try these.  The outside chocolate is delish (you can get either dark or milk - both are A-mazing) and the creamy peanut butter filling tastes like actual peanut butter but better.  I wouldn't advise buying these unless you have help eating them...or the metabolism of an 8 year old.

* New Zealand Organic Sharp Cheddar - This comes in a block and it is absolutely delish - perfect with crackers or shredded on top a salad.  This has a strong cheddar flavor but isn't too overpowering.  This always gets rave reviews at parties.

Mild party salsa - If you like fresh salsa - this is for you.  All of the salsa staples, with a few extras thrown in (who knew cucumbers went so well in salsa),  some seasoning and lime juice make this a treat.  You can find this in the refridgerated section - their jarred salsa is fair.

* Organic Brown Rice (in the frozen foods section) - If you like the brown rice at PF Changs - you'll enjoy this.  A warning though - the key to this is getting the organic kind - we tried the regular brown rice and were very dissappointed.

Vanilla Almond Granola - Oh my - add a little plain yogurt and strawberries or blueberries and you have a delicious breakfast.  I could just eat this stuff out of the box plain too - but I like when the yogurt makes the granola just a little soggy!

* Orange, Teryaki, or Tempura Chicken - These are all super easy and quick meals that taste GREAT!!!  The hubs and I love the keep these on hand in the freezer for those nights when we can't figure out what to make.  They go really well with the brown rice and we usually throw in a bag of edamame beans to complete the meal.

Trader Joes also has a wonderful produce and fruit section that is all very reasonably priced and comes from non-GMO sources (a little bit about that in a future post).  Outside of the canned crabmeat and pickles, which were pretty disgusting in my opinion, we have enjoyed everything else we have gotten from there.  We really try hard to do most of our grocery shopping there and only use the other grocery stores when there are "can't miss deals and steals" to be had or if we run out of weekend time to make the 20 minute trek out to Trader Joes (yes, I pass at least 5 - probably more like 10 - other grocery stores to get to this one).  They also have a beautiful assortment of fresh flowers that are always VERY reasonably priced and my hubs raves about their hardwood charcoal to grill with.  He claims it has far less ash than the varieties at HD and Lowes and its also very well priced.  Feel free to add any of your favorites below!!

Also - in looking around for pictures of the different items I posted about above (because these things DO NOT last in my house:)) I came across this fun blog that is all things Trader Joes - some great recipe ideas and favorites are shared!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

3 years of love and marriage...

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Wow....hard to believe that 3 years ago today the hubs and I sealed the deal and said "I do."  Obviously, I'll never forget the day - we were SO lucky to have beautiful weather for our outside wedding.  We got married on a small grassy terrace overlooking the beach surrounded by about 100 of our close family and friends.  We had an amazing day - almost everything went as planned and I still get butterflies thinking about that day.  There was nothing traditional about our wedding but it was so perfectly us that I wouldn't change a thing if I had to do it all over again...

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Who knew 3 years ago that our lives would be filled with such joy today - we have a wonderful marriage and a beautiful daughter and I couldn't have picked a luckier lot in life.  The hubs and I aren't big anniversary/birthday/holiday celebrators when it comes to exchanging gifts with each other.  We generally choose something we will both enjoy and buy it together - corny, I know.  So...in celebration of our 3 year mark we are planning to spend a nice quiet dinner, just the two of us, while LaLa (the hubs grandmother) watches Addie.

J

Monday, May 16, 2011

Earth's Best Baby Food Deal

PhotobucketI try really hard to make most of Addie's baby food but let's be honest here, life gets busy and I don't always have homemade food on hand.  SO, because I can generally be pretty honest with myself, I do keep some store bought baby food on hand.  I'm a total nerd about the organic stuff and have found that with baby food, if you watch the sales, you can generally get it at the same price or less than non-organic baby foods.  So, as I was perusing the grocery store aisles this weekend, I found what I consider to be a pretty good deal on the Earths Best organic baby food jars.  At my local Harris Teeter, they are "buy one, get one" and with a $1.00 coupon that I printed from their website, it brings the total cost per jar to $0.15 for the Stage 1, $0.36 for the Stage 2, and $0.45 for the Stage 3.  Their website will allow you to print the coupon three times SO, by using the bogo deal and coupon together, you will only spend $3.20 for 21 Stage 1 jars, $7.50 for 21 Stage 2 jars, or $9.50 for 21 Stage 3 jars.  A pretty good deal and no "real" extreme couponing involved.  I promise you - I hardly have time to clip anything and this literally took me no time to print the coupons and use my VIC (very important customer - which is free) card to get this deal.
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Also, as a side note, I love the Earth's Best jars because I can reuse them to store my homemade baby food in as well - they go from freezer, to fridge, to bottle/food warmer all in quick order.  I'd love to hear about any other great baby finds you've recently found or other coupons to sweeten this deal - the "bogo" deal at Harris Teeter is only good through Tuesday so hit the store if you want to take full advantage of this deal!!!  Happy shopping!

J

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May Goals - UPDATE

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a pic of my coconut mocha frap 
1.  Get our flower beds mulched - The hubs and I have been talking about and planning to do this for several weeks now and my flower beds still have faded mulch in them. This HAS to be done this month. - This still has not been done and I'm debating as to whether or not its worth it to hire the company that usually delivers the mulch to not only deliver it but also spread it.  I really hate paying for things I know I can do but spreading mulch is awful and can be back-breaking work.  SO - I'm going to call tomorrow and figure out if the price differential is worth us not spreading it ourselves.

2.  Clean out and organize our guest room - What a disaster this room has been since before Addie was born.  While cleaning out what was to be the nursery (it was previously our home office) this room somehow became the catch-all room for everything we didn't have a place for.  I can't live with this room like this any longer - I practically break my neck everytime I venture in there. - No luck here either, BUT with Mother's Day the first weekend of the month and the hubs out of town this weekend - I need a helping hand with Addie and it looks like this coming weekend will give me just that.

3.  Enjoy EVERY.DAY of the Starbucks happy hour promo - Yep - I'm making it a goal to treat myself to a delicious half price frappuccino everyday between May 6th and the 15th.  And just to spice it up a little bit, I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and try a different flavor each day (yeah, all those ones on the menu I always wondered about - its time to sip and see:)) - UUMM yea, I definitely hit this on the head.  YAY! me :)  Here are the days and flavors I tried:

5/6 - Java chip - i think i got a bad barista on this one - the chocolate syrup was a little too obvious but otherwise would have been great (my hubs also got this one but at a different sbux and said it was amazing)
5/7 - Coconut Mocha - heaven in a cup - tastes like a somoa girl scout cookie - my fave
5/8 - Caramel - the perfect caramel-coffee blend
5/9 - Coconut Creme - just like coconut creme pie - perfect for summer
5/10 - Double Chocolaty Chip - not quite a chocolate milkshake but the chocolate chips make up for the differential
5/11 - White Chocolate Mocha - yum, just right
5/12 - Strawberries and Creme - very close to a strawberry milkshake
5/13 - Cinnamon Dolce - ever been interested in a liquid cinnamon bun
5/14 - Vanilla Bean - this tastes just like a vanilla milkshake
5/15 - Mocha Light - after my calorie counting started yesterday - I went light today to try and stay within my goal (alot of my venti fraps were costing me around 500 calories a pop!) - not too shabby

4.  Go to the gym 3 times a week - As I've said before, I'm easing into this whole "getting back to where I was before" business and I'm really trying not to do a complete 180 right away.  My past experience with myself is that I'm super gung-ho at first and than just like a firework I fizzle out to nothing.  Thats no good - considering I want this to be a permanent change.  So, I joined the gym, I've got the pedometer (with cash incentives for doing well) and now I'm going to make sure I use the gym!  Well - I'm probably making excuses for myself here because I don't want to admit that I haven't nailed this one but after a slight run in with the neighbor's dog (I got bit on the leg - he didn't break the skin but bruised me pretty bad and it was tender for a few days) I took 2 days off.  BUT, I went to my personal training sess yesterday - found out I also get two more free as well - this helped to re-motivate me and I also added logging all of my meals to my daily routine so I can monitor my caloric intake and measure it against my workouts so I can ensure I hit my 6 month goal.

5.  Transition Addie's closet to summer - As much as it breaks my heart to pack away anything knowing that she will never wear it again, those fleece sleep n' plays have no business in her closet!  They are way too hot for our house as the weather warms up and I need the hangers for all of her summer stuff:)  I'm about 1/3 of the way there.  I have removed all of the fleece stuff from her closet but I need to look at the rest of the things that are hanging in there that haven't seen the light of day in several weeks.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Scene

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found this image here
Spending this Saturday morning at the gym - hopefully picking up some great tips to improve my workout regiment!  One of the FREE perks for joining the gym I joined is a FREE personal training session - so, I'm taking advantage of that - sincerely hoping its not a pseudo-sales pitch for more training sessions and that I will get some great workout tips:)  I'm planning to spend the rest of the day working on some of those May goals I posted about here and hanging out with my baby girl and maybe doing some more strawberry picking (THANK YOU for all of ya'll that gave me some strawberry ideas - I successfully used all of the strawberries I picked last weekend and now I want MORE to try some of the others).  Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday!!

J

PS I missed catching up on everyone else's going ons thanks to some crazy blogger malfunction on Thursday - I'm so happy everything is back up and running:)

I linked up this morning with Katie over at Loves of Life to share my Saturday Morning Scene - you should join in the fun or at least head over and see what everyone else is up to!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Addie's first baseball game

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our fam - Harbor Park 5.7.11
This past Saturday Addie attended her first baseball game and helped cheer the Norfolk tides (Triple A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) on to a 5-2 victory over Indianapolis.  The weather was perfect when we got there but cooled off a bit when the sun went down.  We had a wonderful time with lots of family and some close friends and even got a special visit from Rip Tide, the team mascot.  Addie wasn't sure what to think of the big blue hairy blob but she let him hold her and we got a fun family picture out of it!!!

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family pic with Rip Tide

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my Uncle J, baby Charlie, and cousin D
 A huge thanks goes out to my cousin D, who was kind enough to deflect a foul ball from my husband's head (note to self - don't text and watch live baseball at the same time).  Addie also got to play with (or really just stare at) her cousin (I'm not sure if its second or twice removed - it's my cousin's son - but for simplicity sake we're calling him cousin:)) Charlie who was super excited about the game.  It was amazing to watch - he's a bit older than Addie so he was obviously way more engaged in everything but it's crazy to think she'll be all.over.the.place like that in just a short while.  Charlie was way more enthused about Rip Tide and after Rip Tide left the box, Charlie continued to walk around and sign "more" because he wanted to see Rip Tide again - too cute:) 
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Charlie and Rip Tide - too cute!
I'm not a huge baseball fan but theres just something about going to the game that does it for me - we had a BLAST and will definitely be doing that again!!
J

Not so Wordless Wednesday

Last night I had the great pleasure of joining some other awesome bloggers and tweeters (I'm not on to the tweeting yet ;)) for my first "blogger meet-up." My bestie, Lis over at Beach Bum & Baby was kind enough to invite me along for an evening of dinner and drinks with the girls.  I haven't been out much since having Addie and this was the perfect opportunity to spend some time away talking about things other than spit up and poop (because, really...sometimes I feel like the hubs and I spend alot of time talking about just that) I had a wonderful time chatting with and meeting these girls and will hopefully get invited back for the next meet-up!!  Here's a pic of everyone after dinner:
Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and kind - you all are great and I had a ton of fun:)

J

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our own version of the NFL lock-out??

Beware - RANT ahead.
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I just love this girl to pieces:)
During our last visit to Addie's pediatrician we were greeted with -"here's a letter you need to read about potential changes to your health insurance."  Hhhmmmm....ok, I thought - this ought to be interesting.  I read the letter which basically stated that Anthem, whom our health insurance is through, was at odds with CHKD (the primary network of pediatricians in our area) and negotiations to renew the contract between the two parties had stalled.  The primary reason...they couldn't agree on pay rates.  HA!  Seriously...millionaires can't get along with billionaires....boy, this surely sounds familiar.  I have spent the last several months listening to all of the hoop-la about the failed NFL negotiations and I too am a disappointed NFL fan but THIS....seriously, this was different.  Here's my deal...the NFL deal (or lack thereof) is bad - no football - BOO:(  But, asking me to switch pediatricians simply because the the two parties can't get along is a whole different story - now you are involving my family...and I just can't get down with that.  I am all for fair pay rates and people should be compensated for the services they provide but my daughter shouldn't have to suffer because these two can't find middle ground. Because...unfortunately, at the end of the day the only ones that suffer from all of this are the kids...and that's just not fair.  So...at the bottom of letter it listed a phone number I could call - which of course directs you to an automated message about the negotiations - blah, blah, blah.  Not anything I didn't already know - next step - call CHKD and this time....a live voice!!  A nice, friendly, understanding and sympathetic voice that listened to my concerns and said as much as she could.  Her message was not significantly different from that of any other correspondence I had received but she seemed genuinely concerned about my situation and assured me that should negotiations completely fail and Anthem and CHKD part ways, they would do everything they could to transition their current patients to their new pediatricians that are considered in-network.  She passed along a web address (www.chkd.org/anthem) that would provide updates as they were available and also encouraged me to call back should I have any additional questions.  Ok - I appreciated that but at the end of the day the bottom line is this - if they can't reach an agreement we will be forced to either pay "out of network" costs (only 70% of our visits will be covered - leaving us to pay approximately $200 per visit - ouch) or to change pediatricians to an "in-network" physician where we will pay $0 for Addie's well-baby care visits.  Frustrating on several different fronts - the first being that we pay ALOT of money a month for health insurance and to add on to that because someone thinks they aren't getting a large enough cut is disheartening and also we went through a fairly laborious process of talking to friends and meeting with pediatricians prior to Addie's arrival to find a pediatrician that we thought would provide Addie with the best care.  We LOVE Addie's pediatrician - we are comfortable with him - we trust him - and we DONT want to change.  And honestly, we likely won't - we'll suck it up and pay the 30% and it will pain me everytime I hand over my check card because this should be FREE!!! Whew...ok, I must admit - I feel slightly better having that off my chest.  Anyone else had this happen??  If so, were they able to resolve it before you had to make a change or pay out of pocket??    

J

Monday, May 9, 2011

A very happy Mother's Day

November 23, 2010
Yesterday was such a special day...my first Mother's Day with Addie.  We celebrated last year because I truly believe that you become a mom the minute you get pregnant - its funny how life changes with 2 pink lines.  All of the sudden your concerned with everything you put in your body, the air you breathe, and how much exercise your getting because your concerned with "what it might do the baby."  But...this year was different because Addie was here and I feel so lucky to be her momma.  She's such an amazing little girl and the past seven months have been pure bliss.

We celebrated with brunch with my mom and dad and then spent the rest of the day as a family - going to Trader Joes, Lowes, and Starbucks (the usual weekend routine).  The morning started off dreary but by the afternoon the sun was out - the day was beautiful.  Thank you so much to everyone that helped make it special (and yes, that includes all of my blog friends:))  I hope everyone else had a wonderful day too!!!

J
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the girls at brunch - please excuse my 1950s housewife look
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my parents with Addie

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

To all of the momma's out there - I sincerely hope that you have a wonderful Mother's Day that is both relaxing and enjoyable yet also gives you the opportunity to be thankful for being given one of life's greatest gifts.

I am planning on spending the morning enjoying a Mother's Day brunch and then relaxing for the remainder of the day and spending some quality time with the fam.  My brother is coming home from college today and I'm really looking forward to seeing him!!!

And in honor of Mother's Day, I thought I would dedicate this post to telling everyone a little bit about my mother, whose also my best friend and biggest supporter.  Its so true that without her direction and guidance in life I would not be where I am.  She's an amazing woman with a huge heart and a great sense of humor.  She taught school for 30 years before retiring but still does some substituting and when she's not doing that she's relieving my dad from his Addie day care job (yes, my parents watch Addie while the hubs and I are at work - we are SO lucky!!!).  Growing up, she ran the household like her school classroom - everything had its place and expectations were clear.  My brother and I always knew what to expect and my mom NEVER let us down.

My mom is patient and kind...she's also assertive and very matter-of-fact about things.  She's never been one to hold her tongue and often makes people laugh without even trying.  She's always been one of those people that says what everyone else is thinking but afraid to say (sometimes I just close my eyes when she gets on a roll because I have no idea what she might say next).  My mom is one of the most loyal and caring people I know - she protects her family and will defend those she loves like no other.  My mom is thoughtful and giving - she's also thrifty and reasonable.  There aren't enough adjectives in this world to describe just how wonderful she is - I love her and wish her the best Mother's Day ever.  It will be her first Mother's Day as grandmother and I can't wait to watch her special relationship with Addie grow.  Addie just adores her gramma - its evident in the way she looks at her and smiles and the excitement she shows whenever my mom is in the room - its the most wonderful thing to see.  I am so thankful to have such an amazing mom and I can only hope that I'll grow to be as great of a mother to Addie as she is to me.

J