Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Jessica enjoying the Moon Bounce at Trunk or Treat last night!

Me and the kids all dressed up and ready to go Trick or Treating!

John getting ready to go Trick or Treating for the first time!

Me in the Peter Pan costume my mother made me in high school.....the pants were a little tight.....but I got into them!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frugal Halloween Goodies?

Jessica's pumpkin

Our neighborhood is THE neighborhood where everyone else's kids go to Trick or Treat. Depending on the year, we can go through at least 5-6 LARGE bags of candy and that adds up!! Do you have any frugal ideas for Halloween treats? I do not feel comfortable doing homemade goodies because I would not let my kid eat a homemade goodie from someone I don't know. I also do not consider opting out of Trick or Treating to be an option. Not only is that no fun, but we have also been egged in the past!

In other news, isn't my baby girl getting to be such a big girl?!?!? Check out our impromptu photo-shoot in front of the Speech Therapist's office:

And yes, those are those $5 jeans I bought her in a size 4 slim. Although she is currently in a size 3T, the jeans actually fit her because....they have an adjustable waistband!!!! Score!! We are definitely getting our money's worth out of that $5! :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday we went with our Neighborhood Preschool Group to a Pumpkin Patch! We had a great time!! Jessica especially loved having all of the space in which to run around!! She also enjoyed all of the many mechanical things there are to be found on a farm!

Jessica with all of her pals in the Sunflower patch!

Hanging out with her buddy, Jackson.

Sweet photo of Jessica in the Sunflower patch!

Then Jessica discovered the goats!

Trying to find just the right pumpkin in the Pumpkin of many she considered!

The pumpkin we picked out for Mommy to carve.

Best Friends!

Photo Op with all the kids!

Mommy and John

Mommy with both of her babies

Jessica enjoying rocking on the porch.

On our way to enjoy a hayride!

Jessica with her new friend, Melvin the farm hand.

Enjoying our hayride all the way around the farm!

The girls after a tumble in the hay!

All of the kids checking out the peanut plant Melvin pulled to show them!

Jessica trying to decide if her peanut was edible (it was actually too green).

Disembarking from our hayride.

The best part of the trip for Jessica....Melvin let her climb up on the tractor!!!

The perfect end to a perfect day (in Jessica's opinion)!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tea Dying

I recently learned that apparently people will pay big bucks to have someone tea dye items for them. This surprised me, as I have tea dyed several different things over the years and found it to be a very simple process! All you do is make some can even use tea that is already made up, although I wouldn't want to use tea that already had sugar added...too sticky!! Then you submerge the item you want to dye in the tea until it is as dark as you want. You can use tea dying on paper to make an authentic looking treasure map (especially if you burn the edges). You can use it to turn a white fabric to a light tan/khaki color (which comes in handy if you accidentally stain a favorite shirt), or you can use it to make a brand new doily look like an antique, which is what I did!



Stay tuned to see what I do next with this doily!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tour of the South - Part 1

This past weekend Jessica, John, and I began a series of trips to show some of our good friends some of The South! First up was a trip to Alabama to see the beautiful fall foliage as well as the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. We took a hike on a moderate 1.5 mile trail, but it does not feel like 1.5 miles when you are carrying two children and have not worked out for a while! At the end of our hike we made some new friends and ended up joining them for hamburgers that night! We also got to visit a cave and feed some animals!

The girls all ready to go hiking!

Jessica was a bit timid about hiking in the woods.

Her best friend, on the other hand, was very excited!!

Yup....that's the trail we hiked on with 3 children under the age of 3!

We did get to see several deer!

Me carrying 50 lbs of children/clothing in my not so practical cowboy least I didn't have to worry about getting any ticks!

After we finally reached our destination of the Country Store!

Our friends at the cave! Jessica was not such a fan.

Going to feed the animals!

Quite a selection of donkeys, emus, and goats!

Jessica's best friend was quite taken with the emus!

Jessica used to love feeding any animal. Currently we are a little uncertain!

The Birmingham Civil Rights Museum was really great. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the museum. If you have never seen it, you should really make a point of visiting sometime. It is beautifully done and centered around remembering the Civil Rights Movement both to bring honor to those who risked everything for what was right and to serve as a reminder so that future instances of injustice may be avoided.

Overall, it was a great trip! We are looking to our next installment of "Tour of the South" and have already started thinking about what we will do differently!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Look What I Made!

Isn't it beautiful?? It is a 4x4 doiley coaster! It is actually not tatted but crocheted! I have had the pattern sitting around for months thinking it would be hard, but it was really easy!!! I only needed two of the most basic crochet stitches to make this particular pattern. I only made one mistake, and I was able to successfully hide it! Stay tuned to see what I will be doing with it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Usually I hit the outlets every year after Christmas to purchase a few items for Jessica's wardrobe for the coming year. This past year I did not because I was pregnant with John and absolutely exhausted. Recently, I discovered that both of their winter clothing options were a bit lacking, so today I took the kids to JCPenny to spend a $25 giftcard we were given when John was born. Jessica is most decidedly in a size 3T now and at the rate she is growing, she may not stay there long! Typically, Jessica wears her summer dresses with a turtleneck and tights/leggings underneath. If we are going out and about then we add homemade leg warmers, a sweater, and/or coat. I already had 4 turtlenecks in a size 3T that I had ordered online at the end of last year for about $10! So.....drumroll please......I bought an adorable dress for $12, 4 pairs of microfiber white tights, and a $5 pair of jeans (that won't fit till probably next year but they were marked down from $30!). I spent $23, saved $45, and have Jessica completely ready for our mild winters!

Jessica obviously approved!!!

John is not following sizes the way Jessica did. He is already in a size 6-9 mos and will soon be in a size 12 mos!!!! He has several sleepers, a couple cute outfits with jackets, a sleep sack that will serve as outerwear, and a pair of overalls. The only thing I need to get to round him out for our mild winters is some long-sleeved onesies. I am trying to find onesies that match the clothes he already has. I found some online at Carters that would do the trick, but I didn't like the price. Perhaps a trip to a Carters outlet may be in my future... :-) I also need to make him some more booties soon. It's still nice and warm here so I might make a pair of crocheted crocs and then a warmer pair next month!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Need Dinner Ideas

Most people talk about being tired when they are pregnant, but when I am pregnant, I seem to get dehydrated and land myself in the ER if I so much as get off the couch! (Ok that's a bit of an exaggeration....but not by much!) At any rate, there are times in life (like for an entire year when I was pregnant with John) that you need very quick and easy dinner ideas....and hopefully low mess.....we're talking the "heat and serve" type of dinner here! Short-term you can pack your freezer with casseroles and what not, but when you are talking about an entire year, you really gotta get to know the local grocery store a little better! Unfortunately, I am absolutely spoiled rotten! I grew up eating almost all from scratch cooking, and I actually do not like the taste of most prepackaged foods! Add that my husband is a slightly picky eater and that I have never really had enough prepackaged foods to know what IS good....and we have a problem! So....I need some new ideas....

Here are some of our current favorites:

Shrimp Pasta
Spaghetti (using this homemade sauce mix)
Tombstone Frozen Pizzas (cheap, but still filling and tastes pretty good)
Ravioli (using the same homemade sauce mix)
Country Crock sides (most of the others taste like melted plastic to me)

And that's about it on the quick and easy.....sad I know!

We did a lot of Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Stir Fry for a while, but David got burned out on that. We've also done Audra's Sloppy Joe's when we have buns. We've also done meats with different marinades: barbeque sauce, soy sauce, etc.

What are your favorite quick and easy dinner ideas??? (and remember: preferably low mess and no advanced prep work)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Where We Are At

Well, it has been several days since my last blog post, and a lot has changed. Jessica is now set up to have an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist next week. Hopefully they will be able to help with some of the attentional/sensory things me and the Speech Therapist have noticed. Our insurance will cover 60% of the evaluation; however, David is switching companies (not jobs, just who pays him) in the near future, so we do not know if any of the Speech or Occupational Therapy will be covered through the new insurance. Therefore, we have had to make some adjustments to our budget. While I love to save money, there are some things I won't go the cheap route on....therapy for my kid is one of them! Hopefully, by addressing some of these things now, Jessica will require fewer supports and will be less behind as she approaches school-aged. I am not really certain what is going on with Jessica, but I don't really have a desire to have a name to call it. I just want to get her whatever help she needs. I was also able to speak with a couple colleagues this week, who all seemed to agree that we were approaching it in a very thorough and practical way. It was really nice to be able to bounce my thoughts off some of them. I have been concerned that as I am Jessica's mommy, I might let my bias keep me from getting her the help she needs. It was also encouraging to hear one of my colleagues (and friend) tell me that she would have made the same choices had she been in my position.

I also have new pictures of the kiddos that I will intersperse throughout the rest of this post for their adoring fans (aka grandparents)!

Jessica and John in their homemade pallet!

I have been reminded this week, why it is so important to have faith. As our preacher put it this week: It is impossible to survive life's storms unless you believe in something greater than yourself. I'll add that without a belief in something greater than yourself, all you get is ulcers and anxiety!!!

Jessica enjoying her Bible School at home!

John joins us sometimes too if he is not too busy sleeping!

I am hopeful that as we enter this new period in our lives full of therapy appointments, doing homework from therapy appointments, and paying for therapy appointments, that I will still have time to occasionally post fun, crafty, yummy, frugal things we've done lately. However I have a feeling that some of those things will get pushed to the backburner for a while.

After a long day in the OR, Jessica enjoys coming home and cooking!

John is getting to be a big boy with a lot to say!! Sometimes David and I have to stop talking because we can't hear each other over him!!!

John LOVES his walker!!

Jessica thought John needed some toys, so she brought him some. (There is a reason I keep all of the choking hazards locked up in a closet and this is it!!!)

Jessica can now work 50 piece puzzles by herself and enjoys taking her cabbage patch doll everywhere! She is getting sooo tall!!! She is rapidly moving into size 3T!!

Jessica and Daddy building a boat from a kit they bought at Lowe's!

David and I have been enjoying free dates in the backyard stargazing after the kids go to bed. I am so glad that we chose to buy this house so we could stargaze from our own backyard with a relatively good view!

Soon, I am getting ready to take John and Jessica to see some of the lovely fall foliage with some friends who are not from The South. This will be our first stop on our "Tour of The South." It should be fun and educational!

I am most definitely raising a little Southern belle!! Look at that pretty dress from Nana and that glass of (decaf) sweet tea!

I am still working on Christmas gifts and having a lot of fun!! Looking forward to some quiet time this evening to sit down and work on them some more!

Jessica and Daddy "bonding" in the backyard over some yard work! My dad always used to say that doing yard work was the perfect time to "bond" with the kids!

Looking forward to a great weekend relaxing with family and friends! Hope you all have a great weekend too!