Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorite Things

A few months ago, Nester did a link up for everyone to post their favorite things under $30.  I loved reading through everyone’s favorite things! Of course, I couldn’t get it together to post my favorite things then.  But here are mine now.  A day late and a dollar short, story of my life… And a note to the moms in my MOPS group, you might see some of these coming up in May at our MOPS Favorite Things meeting!  Or I might have new favorite things by then!

1. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Caramel
Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer, Caramel
This is the perfect cross between lip balm and lipstick.  I wear it as lip balm when I am going sans make-up, so I don’t look dead, and I wear it as lipstick when I am wearing make-up. It has a slight minty tingle to it, which I love.  And for under $5? Sold!

2. and 3.  A duo of Garnier hair products… One for when I wear my hair curly and one for when I wear it straight…
Garnier Fructis Style Wonder Waves Wave-Enhancing Spray, Flexible
I hate crunchy hair. But, if I don’t put product (and lots of it!) in my hair when I wear it curly, it is majorly frizzy.  Which I hate about as much as crunchy hair.  I found Wonder Waves at CVS and thought I would try it out.  It’s perfect for what I need: curl control and no crispy hair.

Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist 24 Hr Finish
And then there’s the straight side.  I have high-maintenance hair if you can’t tell.  I use this Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector  after I’ve dried my hair with a round brush and before I use the flat iron. It really helps my hair stay straight until I wash it again, which is something that does not happen if I don’t use it. Plus, it smells nice, which is always a bonus. And it’s cheap. Another bonus!

4. Sharpie Pens

I love a good writing utensil. This is evidenced by the fact that I have had the same mechanical pencil for almost 10 years. It has been with me through three jobs and 4 years as a stay at home mom.  I panic when I can’t find my pencil.  So, that’s my obvious choice for pencil, but the Sharpie is my choice for pen. They write super smooth and don’t bleed through. I heart these pens.

5. Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee K-Cups

I am a fan of coffee, in general.  I am also a fan of the Keurig, but that’s not under $30. :) My favorite k-cup is Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee, hands down.  I have gone through boxes of these, and I have yet to grow tired of them.  Good stuff.

6. Birchbox


I love samples! I love to try new products, but not be tied down to a full-size in case I really hate them.  Birchbox is a subscription service that for $10 a month will send you a box full of sample goodies.  This month I got that really cute Zoya nail polish that you see up there and that Algenist face cream is the bomb!  And they are not stingy at all with the sizes.  I’ve been using that face cream twice a day for well over a week now.  You can also order full-size versions of any of the samples you get on the Birchbox website (although I will not be getting any of the Algenist face cream since it is $94! Yikes! I’ll be using my sample a little more sparingly now) and earn points to be put toward free products. You can also earn points just by telling them what you think of the samples.  For every 100 points, you get $10.  It adds up fast!

7. Sonic Happy Hour

I have a soft spot for Sonic. Their fountain drinks are second to none.  I’m especially fond of the Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke.  And at Happy Hour, you can get a Route 44 for like $1.  ‘Nough said.

8.  Nutella
Ferrero Nutella
I, for years, thought I did not like Nutella.  Don’t ask me why.  I think I might have somehow in my mind linked Nutella with Vegamite. Two things could not be further apart on the taste scale.  If you’ve never tried Vegamite, please don’t.  Trust me.  But if you’ve never tried Nutella, please do.  I can eat this by the spoonful. And if you mix it with a little peanut butter, then you are speaking my love language.

9. Friday Night Lights

Technically, this is not under $30.  But, if you buy each season individually, it counts.  So, that’s what I’m going with.
Again, like with Nutella, I was late to the Friday Night Lights party.  Burge and I watched all 5 seasons last summer, and there has never been a television show that has affected me more. I felt like I lived it with them.  I was torn up when we finished the finale.  And I would watch it all over again right now.  It’s that good. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t find some way to work it into conversation. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. True ‘dat.

10.  Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set
I just read these over Christmas.  As in, I read all three the week before Christmas.  And then Burge read them the week after I finished them.  These are so good.  But not in a feel-good, all-is-right-with-the-world kinda way. More like disturbing, can’t-look-away-from-a-train-wreck kinda way.  I will say, if I had written them (yeah, right!), I would have ended Mockingjay differently.  But that doesn’t diminish how good the rest of them are.
So, there you go.  Those are ten of my favorite things. Sound off with your favorites so I can check them out!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Girls’ Day Out and Mood Swings

Saturday, Abby and I got to spend the morning out, just the two of us. We went to Merle Norman, and both of us got make-overs.  Then we headed to Rome to Toys ‘R Us for Abby to spend a gift card she had gotten for her birthday. It was there that I realized that I am raising possibly the most indecisive person on the planet.  I am not exaggerating when I say she looked at every girl toy at least twice.  And picked them all up and looked them over and played with them. And then started all over again.  This might not bode well for future shopping trips for us. I might need to start some kind of shopping training program because I need my shopping buddy. But I also need the shred of sanity I've been able to hold onto.

After the 42 hours we spent at the toy store, I was in desperate need of a caffeine fix, so we headed to Starbucks.  Abby thought she was hot stuff because I let her have a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream.
Photo Jan 21, 11 30 33 AM
And then we headed to Sam’s, where we ate lunch off of all the free samples.  Because that’s how we roll.  How redneck is that? Hitting up the local Sam’s club for the free food samples… But I’m here to tell you, there is nothing that thrills an 8 year old little girl’s heart more than a day filled with make-up, toys, Starbuck’s and free food.  Come to think of it, that’s pretty thrilling for a 34 year old, too.

On the way home, Abby told me thank you for the hot chocolate and that she loved spending time alone with me.  It was pretty much a perfect mommy day.

Fast forward to yesterday morning.  That same sweet little girl was copping an attitude like nobody’s business. Everything I asked her to do, she argued about.  I finally had to send her to her room to adjust her attitude after I realized that I had been arguing for 10 minutes with an 8 year old over why she couldn’t use the iPad.

Last night, she was back to her sweet little self.  Mood swings.  At 8.  Those teen years are going to be a doozy, I think.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Déjà Vu

It’s like déjà vu all over again here. This week has been eerily similar to last week, only without the National Championship.
The week started out with me, Grayson, and Finn sick.  The week is ending with me, Grayson, and Finn almost recovered, but still sniffly, Burge sick, and Abby fighting it with all she’s got. Really, Abby should be immune to just about everything since she spends the majority of her day in the cesspool of germs known as the public school system.
We have bought stock in some Kleenex this week, and let me add, Kleenex Cool Touch are a blessing from the Lord for the sore nose.  I don’t understand the science behind them, but really, they are a joy.
So once again, I have spent a lot of time in this house. Days on end. Only leaving to take Abby to school and pick her up.  And quite honestly, I think it may be working against us at this point.  I think we are all just breathing in the same germ-infested air. We’re just recycling the germs.  I see a major air-out in our near future.
The plus side to staying home is that we are finally tackling the nap situation with Finn.  The situation being that he wouldn’t take one unless someone was holding him.  There have been a lot of tears (both Finn’s and mine), but he has napped in his crib every day this week. And because of that, my laundry is caught up and I am caught up with my Bible study (both Sunday School and Beth Moore!) I thought as I was putting away laundry yesterday that I had forgotten how much you could get done when your kids will actually sleep in their beds!
In addition to my Bible study, I also got some much needed cleaning out done. Just small jobs, but it’s a step in the right direction.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and all.
This pretty much sums up the boys’ week…
Photo Jan 19, 3 25 23 PM
Grayson… what a ham!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

7 Months

Finn, you turned 7 months old on Sunday! And what a joy these seven months have been! Photo Jan 04, 2 19 06 PM
You weigh about 21 pounds.  You wear some 9 months clothes and some 12 month clothes and a size 3 diaper.  You love baby food, especially fruit, but you will eat anything if it has a little applesauce mixed in with it. You love your bottle, and I think we might have a hard time getting you off of it.  You are not a big fan of juice. You would rather have milk or nothing at all.
You babble all the time! “Dada” is your favorite phrase, although you say it pretty indiscriminately right now.  You love your brother and sister. You are happy as a clam just sitting and watching them play.  And you are over the moon if they stop and talk to you!
You will sit and play with your toys for a good while. You so desperately want to crawl, but you just can’t figure out how to go forward.  So, you roll and scoot backwards to get where you want to go.
You are a drool machine!  Everything you can get your hands on goes in your mouth.  Although you still don’t have any teeth to show for all that yet!
You sleep through the night like a champ, but naps are a different story.  We are working on that though! And I’m sure we will find the schedule that works for you (and me!) very soon.
You are so very loved by all of us! It is such a blessing to get to watch you grow each day!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Highs and Lows

This week was full of highs and lows.
High: Alabama won their 14th National Championship!  And I watched the whole thing!  One of my many quirks is not being able to sit and watch a really close ballgame.  But I had pretty much convinced myself that the Tide wasn’t going to win (I know, I know, oh me of little faith), so I had kind of detached myself from the situation. And imagine my glee when they not only won, but completely shut out LSU!
Low: Grayson came down with strep throat on Wednesday. Finn’s nose started running on Friday.  My sinuses went cuckoo on Saturday.  Burge and Abby better watch out.  Their health is a ticking time-bomb at this point.
High: Finn turned 7 months old on Sunday. Snotty nose and all…
Low: I did not leave the house except to take Abby to school and pick her up from school from Tuesday until Friday.  And let me assure you, that was quite evident by my appearance.
High: We got some long-awaited projects completed and jump-started my plans to redo our master bedroom.  Because I am nothing if not trendy, we are going with a gray and yellow color palette.
This is the bedding I’ve picked out from Overstock.com…
Lush Decor Silver Venetian 4-piece Comforter Set
And I like these fabrics for drapes, accent pillows, etc…
Premier Prints Ozborne Slub Yellow
Premier Prints Barber Slub Yellow/Taupe
Premier Prints ZigZag Slub Yellow/White
So, there’s our week in a nutshell.  At least it started on a high and ended on a somewhat sickly high.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bath Baby

Last week we moved Finn’s bath from the baby bathtub to the big tub in the kids' bathroom.  It was time.  When I put him in the baby tub, he took up so much room, there was very little left for the bathwater. :)
IMG_1720
At first, he couldn’t figure out why he was sitting in water, rather than laying in his little tub.
IMG_1725
But it only took him a moment to figure out how to splash!
IMG_1724
And how to voraciously go after the wet washcloth.  Heaven help us if the child ever actually gets a tooth!
IMG_1726
He loves baths!  He would happily stay in the tub as long as I would let him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Out of the Mouth of Grayson

Grayson reads destructions, not instructions.
***********************************************************
Grayson was supposed to be napping in our bed one day, and I let him watch cartoons until he fell asleep.  I went in to check on him, and he was still awake.  I asked him if he wasn’t going to go to sleep, and he replied, “I tried, Momma, but if I close my eyes, I can’t see the TV!” Certainly can’t argue with that logic.
IMG_1596
The other day, Abby mentioned something about losing her voice.  Grayson misunderstood her and said, “No, Abby, you can’t lose your boys. You’re a girl, you lose your girls.  I’m a boy, I lose my boys.”  Allllllll-righty, then.
***********************************************************
Grayson asked for a piece of candy, and then immediately said “Never mind, I don’t want to by hoppy.”  Ummm, excuse me?  “I don’t want to be hoppy, that scares me.”  Gray, do you mean hyper?  “Yeah, I don’t want to be hopper.”
Photo Jan 05, 8 40 05 AM
One of Grayson’s favorite words right now is “actulutely”… a mash-up of actually and absolutely.  He uses it in place of either word. “You are actulutely right, Momma.”  “Actulutely, I already picked up my room, Momma.”
***********************************************************
He asked me if I had a “Haddukah”.  After much discussion, I realized he meant Hannukah, which led to an impromptu lesson on Jewish customs. He went around the rest of the day saying, “I’m not Jewish, but I can still say Hannukah.” Thank you, Special Agent Oso.
Photo Dec 20, 2 13 44 PM

Monday, January 9, 2012

Perusing Pinterest

I big, fat, puffy heart Pinterest! There are so many awesome ideas in one place! I think some time I will do a whole week of cooking nothing but recipes I find on Pinterest. I think that’s totally doable. One night this past week, I made two recipes I found on there in one day.

First off, for supper I made this fried rice.

Pinned Image

Pinned here.

Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I did not have any sesame oil, so I just used canola. I also didn’t add onions because the kids don’t like them, and I added chicken because this was our main dish.

The verdict? It was a HUGE hit! Everyone liked it and cleaned their plates! We even had it as leftovers the next night and plates were all cleaned then as well. In other words, this is so good and so easy! It will definitely join in our menu rotation. Next time, I think I’ll add a little broccoli and water chestnuts to up the veggies a bit. I know those aren’t traditional fried rice ingredients, but that’s okay. I’m a rebel.

Next up, I made a Weight Watchers lemon cake. I pinned this recipe a while back, and knew immediately that I wanted to try it. It has only three ingredients: lemon cake mix, diet 7-up and whipped topping.

Here’s the pin

And here’s how it turned out…

Photo Jan 05, 5 23 34 PM

I am not exaggerating when I say that Abby and Grayson licked their plates clean. Yeah, they have awesome table manners. Who wants to go out to eat with us? Anybody? But, really, this is pretty tasty to be diet food and have only 3 ingredients. And to only have 100 calories per piece. And to not be chocolate. Because chocolate is the ultimate in tasty, but unfortunately, it’s not a part of our diet plan right now.

Anyway, enough about chocolate. We ate the whole cake within the week. Grayson cried when I would not let him have a second piece. That is a pretty glowing recommendation. It’s good.

Two recipes, two enthusiastic thumbs up! You are on Pinterest, right?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Many Faces of Finn

The look of bewilderment…

IMG_1578

The “Charlie Brown” look…

IMG_1587

The “whistle while you work” look…

IMG_1588

The look of surprise…

IMG_1600

The “who are these yahoos? I share the spotlight with no one” look…

IMG_1601

The “Why are you still taking my picture?” look…

IMG_1602

The look of wonder…

IMG_1612

The “why can I only go backward?” look…

IMG_1616

And finally, the “lookie what I can get in mouth!” look…

Photo Dec 28, 2 50 11 PM

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012

I like to set goals for myself each year. I looked back and discovered I had not posted any goals for 2011, but I’m pretty sure the only one I had was to carry and deliver a healthy baby. And yeah, by the grace of God, that was a success.

IMG_1726

I do have some goals for 2012. In list form…

1. Get back to my pre-Finn size. I think 6 months is probably as long as I can milk the “I just had a baby” excuse. Also included in this is to drink more water, cut out soda (or at least cut way back) and stay on track with the elliptical.

2. Get rid of a lot of junk. This may sound vague, because it is, well, vague. But, I have a lot of stuff. And I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. We have lived in this house for ten years. You can accumulate a lot of stuff in ten years. Especially when you also accumulate three kids during that time. I don’t know that I will ever get to the point where I have de-cluttered all I want to. But I intend to make some serious head-way this year.

3. Take a picture a day. And, yes, I would love to print them and put them into some kind of album, but that seems like a lofty goal for me since I’ve well over a year behind on our scrapbooks. So the goal is just to take at least one picture every day.

4. Read at least 12 books. A book a month. I have a stack of books waiting to be read and an iPad full of them. I think I can surpass this, but I like to set expectations low. See #3 for further proof of this.

5. Affirm my children more. I like to think my kids know that I love them, that I’m thankful for them, that I’m proud of them. And I’m sure they do, but they need to hear it too. Often. I want Abby to know that she is a beautiful girl, inside and out, because I know at some point, some bozo is going to tell her otherwise and I don’t want her to doubt herself. I want Grayson to know that he is an awesome kid because someday some bully is going to tease him and I want him to be confident enough in himself to stand up to him. And I want sweet Finn to know that he is exactly the child God wanted him to be and be proud of it.

Photo Jan 02, 6 03 25 PM

6. Be intentional. In everything. What I say. What I commit to. How I spend my time.

7. Get deeper in the Word. Because that’s the key to the success of #5 and #6. It’s the key to success. Period.

So there you go…my goals for 2012. I hope I can look back on this list at the beginning of 2013 and have done all seven of these things. Or at least most of them. Or at least attempted all of them. Or most of them. Low expectations…

I'm sharing my goals for the new year over at Hollywood Housewife.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas 2011

IMG_1540

We always have a very low-key Christmas around here. We don’t have family that we visit out of town, so usually we just hang out at home and then have lunch on Christmas day at my parents’ house. This year was no different.

IMG_1549

And because I’ve come to realize that every family does Christmas just a little different, let me explain how we do it. The kids ask Santa for two or three things they would most like, and then Burge and I give them surprises. Santa does not wrap his gifts, but Mom and Dad do. That way, they get the best of both worlds… they get the joy of waking up to new toys already out of the packages, ready to play with and the joy of unwrapping things that they didn’t know they were getting.

IMG_1671

Grayson asked Santa for a Nintendo DS, some games and an Optimus Prime Fire Station. And, for the record, I have no idea why his shirt is pulled up. Maybe he got hot while he was sleeping? I don’t know.

IMG_1673

Abby asked for a “Nook in color”, some books and games on the Nook, and a Lalaloopsy Silly Hair doll. She is currently trying to build a Lalaloopsy family. She got a Toys ‘R Us gift card for her birthday, and is constantly hounding me to take her, so she can add another member to the family.

IMG_1693

And Finn was just glad to be there. Santa brought him an activity walker and a racetrack. Santa failed to test the racetrack when he set it up the night before because he was afraid the noise would wake the kids. This was unfortunate because the racetrack, while it had sound, did not actually move. Christmas fail. This sent Santa into a Christmas day frenzy because he could not remember where exactly he purchased the racetrack, and was really afraid that he might have ordered it from Amazon. And the thought of having to return something to Amazon made him break out in a sweat in his jolly red suit. Fortunately he ordered it from K-Mart, and the day after Christmas, a replacement racetrack was secured.

IMG_1674

In what will come as a shock to no one who knows Grayson, Santa brought him a Superhero Squad game for his new blue DS.

IMG_1689

And he loaded Abby’s new Nook with Angry Birds and Nancy Drew. And we didn’t see or hear from Abby for the rest of the day.

IMG_1701

Santa gave Finn some little animals in his stocking that are perfect for putting into a teething baby’s mouth. Apparently, the rhino is saying something shocking to him.

IMG_1688

The fire station that we have all heard about non-stop since October. He carried around a toy catalog for months, telling anyone who would listen that Santa was going to bring him this for Christmas.

IMG_1710

Thank goodness, Finn’s walker was completely operational.

IMG_1711

Clearly, this was not Abby’s favorite gift.

IMG_1712

Iron Man!

And now, a Christmas story in pictures. I like to call it “All I Want for Christmas is to Eat a Bow”, starring Finn Lane.

IMG_1705

“Oh, what is that?”

IMG_1706

“Shiny! I wonder how it tastes…”

IMG_1708

“Nom, nom, nom.”

IMG_1707

“Pmpth! I’ve had better.”