Thursday, January 26, 2012

Personalized Thank You Cards

I think Thank You cards are an incredibly important thing.  I was raised sending Thank You cards for every gift I received.  Sadly, over the past year, I have fallen short on the Thank You cards.  It makes me sad and I really want to get back on track with them.  I also want to make sure our boys are raised knowing the importance of not only saying "Thank You" but also taking the time to write Thank You cards.  I have seen (and received a few) fill-in-the-blank Thank You cards for kids and thought they were a great idea for starting this habit for kids.  Since Robby obviously cannot write or even scribble on a piece of paper to express his gratitude to everyone who gave him a birthday present, I wanted to come up with a way to incorporate him in the card, even though I would be the one filling them out.  So, I decided to make my own fill-in-the-blank Thank You cards with his handprint!

I got this big stamp pad at Michael's and got his handprint on a piece of paper (much easier said than done, let me tell you!)
I made a template in Word for postcards.  I have a big box of postcard paper so I'm always looking for ways I can use them!
Then I scanned his little handprint, saved it as a .jpeg, edited it just a tad, and inserted the image into the document.
I had to shrink his handprint down a little so it would fit correctly.  I think I want to make these each year until he can write his own, so I will probably do them on half sheets of card stock in the future so it can be a full size hand print.  I imagine grandparents will enjoy them enough, they will want to keep them from each year!

Here's the finished product:
I also printed the return address on the back of each card, just to make addressing them a bit quicker.  I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sometimes you do what you have to in order to get a shower!










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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ways to (hopefully) make life a little easier

I don't know about you, but if my house is a wreck, I feel like I'm a wreck!  I feel stressed and overwhelmed if there are dishes in the sink or things out of place.  Since having Robby, I realized how important it is to have a daily routine for getting everything done.  There are still lots of things that I need to do better on (meal planning is a big one I need to be better with!).  Here are just a few things I do each day.  I'm hoping to help out someone else to make their days go smoother and in return, I want to know what you do to make your days easier.  So, please, leave me comments!  Things are going to get crazier around here very soon, so I would love your tips!

First, I make the bed every day, no matter what, within the first 15 minutes or so of getting up.

My mom was very strict about us always making our bed each morning, and I'm grateful she was that way.  It really does make the room instantly look picked up!

Second, I never go to bed with a dirty kitchen.
This is a big one for me.  I hate, hate, hate dishes in the sink.  Thankfully, we have always had a dishwasher.  So as soon as a dish is used, it goes immediately in the dishwasher.  If I'm cooking or doing something that requires multiple dishes or utensils, as I work, things go in the dishwasher.  I run the dishwasher every night.  I used to think this was wasteful, but if the dishwasher is not run the night before, it's being run the next morning because there isn't enough space for our morning dishes!  If dinner has been a bit crazy and there is a mess afterwards, I will clean the kitchen and load the dishwasher while Tim is bathing Robby so my cleaning isn't taking time away from either of them (bath time is their special time of the day together!).  By doing this every night, I don't wake up stressed knowing there is a big mess waiting for me.  Plus, when Tim is leaving in the morning, he is leaving a clean, put together house.  And for some crazy reason that's important to me! :-)  I empty the dishwasher while Robby is eating his breakfast (that way I don't have a helper trying to climb in the dishwasher!).

Third, I pick up all of Robby's toys at night before we go to bed.

Truth be told, I pick them up several times a day because I can't stand children's toys all over the house.  Plus I have this fear that someone is going to drop by the house, walk in, and think my home is a wreck because of all the toys!  Normally, there are not as many toys in the living room as there are in this picture, but Robby was already asleep by the time I picked them up so I couldn't drop them off in his room.

Fourth, I fold and put away laundry as soon as it's done.  If I didn't do this, we would be pulling wrinkly clothes out of the dryer throughout the week and then it would just be time to start washing them again!  I also do this with our cloth diapers.  As soon as they're done in the dryer, I pull them out, stuff, fold, and put them in the diaper hanger.  For the same reason!  I can't be scrambling for a diaper and insert in the dryer while in the middle of a diaper change!

Those are just the big ("big" in my mind, at least) things I do but there are also some little things.  I generally get Robby's milk cup ready the night before and keep it in the fridge.  That way as soon as he wakes up, I'm ready to go.  If Robby and I have somewhere to be the next morning, I will set out both of our clothes to make getting ready quicker and easier.  Something I was pretty good at doing when Robby was first born (and I need to get back in the habit) was showering at night so that no matter what, I knew I had my shower done for the next day!  I would say 95% of the time I get a shower every day, but there are still those days that it just doesn't happen.  Or it happens in the middle of the afternoon!  Also, something simple, is paying all of our bills online on the same day each month, as well as running all of our "bulk" errands on the same day each month.  I'm not sure how that will change once Charlie gets here.  How likely is it that we will be able to go to Walmart, Target, and Costco all in the same day??

I really want to be better about meal planning and grocery shopping.  I would love to not need to go to the grocery store each time I want to make something because I didn't plan ahead at the beginning of the week.  Do you have any tips for how to get started (and keep up with) meal planning?  I've seen a lot of calendar type things on Pinterest to help with meal planning.  Do any of you use something like that?  My sister-in-law posted about e-mealz yesterday.  I think I might look into something like that.  Also, I want to be better about having specific chores that I do on certain days of the week.  Generally, I just do things as they need to be done and will do it all in one day.  I think if I continue doing it that way, I'm going to get overwhelmed rather quickly after Charlie is born.  Do you do all of you cleaning in one day or have specific days each week that you do certain things?  Something I've thought of doing is doing one major cleaning task on the same day each month, like cleaning all the blinds on the 5th, the baseboards on the 10th, the microwave on the 15th, the cobwebs in the corner on the 20th, etc.  Do any of you do something like that?  I'm wondering if it is a realistic thing to try to start doing.

So, spill the beans.  Is there a certain way you put away your groceries that makes finding things quicker and easier?  Do you have a stock of meals in your freezer for those crazy days when making dinner just isn't possible?  I want to know!!  How can my life be easier with a toddler and a newborn?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yay, Uncle Ryan! and Baby!

This morning, on a morning tv show in Little Rock, my brother made an appearance.  He is an architect at  a firm there and he was there to demonstrate a little bit of what area architects have been working on for the local food bank.  In the first video he is second from the right in the blue shirt and in the second video he is on the far right (still in the blue shirt..he didn't have a wardrobe change between clips!).

We were out running errands while it was going on, but Robby sent this message to his Uncle Ryan:
video

This afternoon after his nap, Robby kept saying "be-be" over and over again.  He was saying it so clearly.  But of course, as soon as I started videoing, he started being a toot and was breaking up the word and not saying it as clearly.  But he did say it a few times on the video, so I thought I would post it!

video

Tomorrow, I'm going to make a post about tips to make life easier.  I only have a few, but I would love to hear everyone else's tips.  I know once Charlie arrives, my life is going to get quite a bit crazier, so I can use all the advice I can get on how to make life a little easier!  It can be home tips, baby tips, cooking tips, etc.  Be thinking about them and I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jewelry Hanger

I have seen several different types of jewelry hangers and knew I wanted to do one for my bigger necklaces and my earrings.  Ninety percent of my jewelry has been packed away since we moved back in March because I wasn't sure what to do with it all.  I had forgotten just how much I had!  I'm really excited because now I can see everything that I have and will, hopefully, be able to accessorize better and look more put together!  When I was originally thinking of what I wanted to do, I thought this would be a good idea for my necklaces:
(Just so you know, if you decide to do something like this, you can get all the materials from Ikea for around $5 total!  The wall bracket thing is $1.99 and the hooks come in packages of 10 for $.99.  It's in the kitchen section.)

And this for my earrings:

When we were at the container store yesterday, we found this and I realized I could do something with it for my jewelry!  I already had hooks that I could use for my necklaces from something we purchased a while back and didn't use and my earrings could just hang.

So last night, Tim hung it up for me.  We were originally going to put it in my closet but I realized there wasn't wall space that wouldn't be covered by hanging clothes, so I wouldn't be able to see everything and that kind of defeated the purpose of even hanging all the jewelry.  We decided it would look good above my hand towel on my side of the bathroom.  It started like this:
Then I realized that it kind of looked messy and needed something behind it.  So today I went to Michael's, got some foam board then got some fabric from Walmart and some pins.  Here's how I did it.

I measured, marked, scored and broke/cut the foam board to fit behind the metal rack.
Then I laid it on top of the fabric (in a perfect world, I would have ironed the fabric first, but in a perfect world, I would have measured the rack correctly the first time and wouldn't have had to go back and cut it three different times to make it fit AFTER I already had the fabric on and thought I was done...), I pinned the fabric into the foam board with straight pins.  I did the top row first, then the bottom row, making sure to pull it really tight.

Then for the ends, I folded them like I was wrapping a present and pinned one end, pulled it really tight, and pinned other end.



The rack came with 4 brackets - 2 for the top, 2 for the bottom - but we only used them on the top because I wanted to be able to slide this in and out easily.  Plus, who knows when I will want to change the fabric to a different color!  So I slid the board behind the rack and viola!



I think it turned out pretty well and I really like the pop of color that the yellow gives the whole bathroom!  It was (obviously) very simple considering it's just a fabric covered foam board.  I think the hardest part of the project was untangling all of my jewelry!  :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A nice Saturday

Today we had a few errands we needed to run plus some things we just wanted to do. We started our day picking up some jeans that Tim had hemmed. Tim just ran in while Robby and I waited for him in the car. While we waited, I let Robby try out a snack cup for the first time.




He was doing great...so I thought until we got him out of his car seat at the next stop and found pretty much all of his snack in his seat! Little stinker!

Our next stop was The Container Store. Y'all, I could have spent $1,000 in there today if we had been able to! I informed Tim as soon as we walked in that we would be walking up and down every aisle. He obliged! :-) One thing we purchased was this handy cart for between our washer and dryer:




We also got a few other little storage things, plus something I purchased for a project that I will post about tomorrow once I finish it!

We had been in the store for a while when Robby was getting tired of being in his stroller, so we got him out and let him walk around. I captured a few pictures of him and his daddy walking around.








I plan on going back at some point to get containers to organize our pantry. I could have gone crazy in there!!

After that we went to a neat place called Lakeshore Learning Store. We didn't get anything here but we will definitely be going back at some point. They had some great stuff! They also had a lot of projects going on with kids there. I think it will be fun to take Robby there to do some experiments and projects when he gets older.

We wanted to look at some bedroom furniture since we are finally going to be able to get a real set of matching furniture! We have some picked out that we like but wanted to see what else is out there before we decide for sure. Well, like most things we shop for, the sets we liked were way out of our price range. We went to about 4 different stores and by the last store, I was done! We decided we are just going to go with our original choice. Hopefully, we will be able to get it before Charlie gets here, but we'll see.

Tim and I love getting out and just running errands - or just running around without any specific place in mind to go! So it was nice to spend the day together just getting out and doing a bunch of stuff. Thankfully, Robby enjoys being out and about as much as we both do!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finally!

Robby took his first multiple, independent steps right before he turned 11 months old. He became more confident and stable over a few weeks and now he is walking faster than I am at times! He will walk the whole length of our house without falling or holding on to anything. He gets a bit unstable as he gets tired. I realized last week that I hadn't gotten a video of him walking! I've just enjoyed watching him and praising him, so I had completely forgotten to video it! This afternoon he was being so silly and walking from me, to the wall, turning around and walking back to me - over and over again. I realized this was a good time to video it! So here it is! He waved at one point but I couldn't back up quickly enough to get it in the frame.

YouTube Video

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Twelve month stats

Today was Robby's 1 year appointment.


He weighs 21 lbs 13 oz (34th percentile), is 29.5 inches tall (39th percentile), and his head is 18.5 inches around (67th percentile). He's a little guy. Neither of us were big babies so I wasn't expecting him to weigh much.

He is doing all of the 12 month things and most of the 18 month things! His gross and fine motor skills are all perfect as are all of the cognitive skills (that we have actually done with him). I was surprised at some of the things that I was supposed to be doing with him. I've done the few this afternoon that I hadn't done before and he's already caught on and is doing them well. Who knew you were supposed to put a rock in a clear plastic bottle and make sure your child can point to it?? I sure didn't! We also haven't given him anything to scribble with/on. Apparently we were supposed to have done that. He can now, we just had never done it before. Nothing like going to your child's checkup to make you feel like a horrible parent! :-)

As we were looking to see when Robby's next appointment and immunizations would be (15 months) we realized we will be bringing Charlie in for his 2 month appointment and immunizations at the same time! How crazy is that??

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another Pinterest project

When I first started "doing" Pinterest, I was met with quite a bit of failure.  I was mainly working with the recipes I found, and they just weren't turning out right.  I'm not an amazing cook or anything, but usually when I try a recipe, it at least comes out edible...

So I started looking at more of the craft ideas.  After (somewhat) success with a Christmas project:
and Robby's birthday decoration success I have decided that maybe Pinterest isn't all that bad!

Anyway, I saw this idea and realized that I could do a version of it on my own.  Funny thing is, as I was working on this yesterday during Robby's naptime, someone came to our door and rang the doorbell 4 times in a row.  I was so mad!!

Here is how mine turned out:
If you want a copy of the document I made for this, just let me know and I'll email it to you!

Birthday Keepsake

I saw a pin on Pinterest for how to save all of your child's birthday cards. They took a 3 rings, punched holes in the cards and put the cards in so you could read them almost like a book. I liked the idea but didn't like that the holes would punch out some of the writing in the cards. I also wanted to save some of the decorations from the party, like the banner, "streamers", invitation and the door hanging. So here is what I came up with.  I might put some white paper in each sleeve to make it look less messy. But it's more just to have rather than being a pretty scrapbook. (I'm sorry, I can't figure out how to turn my pictures for some reason!)
































I am trying to decide if I want to put a picture of Robby opening the corresponding gift with card or not. I would love to keep one of these for every year! I might just make a paperback photo book on Shutterfly from his birthday and out that in the binder with everything else.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Power of Sesame Street




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Monday, January 16, 2012

32 Weeks (a week late!)



Pregnancy Highlights
How far along: 32 weeks
Size of baby: 
Maternity Clothes: Oh yes!  Most of our clothes are still at the apartment so I had been wearing the same 3 shirts over and over again!  Thankfully, Tim was able to get me several more shirts from the apartment earlier this week so I feel like I have all new clothes!
Movement: His movements are beginning to be slower, smoother movements instead of the rapid movements before.  He still is moving a lot, just a different type of movement.
Sleep: Usually about every other night I end up waking up around 2 or 3 and stay awake until about 5, then I finally doze back off until Tim's alarm goes off around 6:30 or so.  
Symptoms:  Just the same aches and pains in my back and hips.
Food cravings/aversions:  My eating has kind of leveled off.  For a while I was eating so much but now I'm feeling full sooner.  I still just pretty much want everything to eat!
What I am looking forward to: We are getting really close!  Since my doctor thinks I will deliver pretty close to 38 weeks, we are looking at being 5-6 weeks away.  I can't wait to see sweet Charlie's face and learn his personality!  It will be fun to see the differences between him and Robby.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Party Details

I LOVED planning Robby's party.  And, thanks to Pinterest, it wasn't too difficult to keep all my thoughts in one place!  I knew pretty early on that I wanted to go with a monkey theme since he loves his little Kai Kai so much.  The first thing I found was the invitation package.
I paid one price for all of it and she personalized the invitation as well as the cupcake toppers.  She emailed me the files to download and I printed all that I needed.  I knew I wasn't going to use the cupcake toppers as actual cupcake toppers, so I wanted to think of something fun to do with them.  I saw this idea:
So I cut out big and little circles (I just traced the top and the bottom of a cup to give me uniform big and little circles) from the patterned papers she sent, then used the cupcake toppers with them to make my own version of these.  I just taped all the circles and toppers to ribbon and hung them at different levels of our angled ceiling so it gave the illusion of them being different lengths.  This is how it turned out:




I saw several pins of these cupcakes and just knew that's what we had to do instead of a cake.

In case you can't tell, they are just yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, then I cut off the top part of a regular size Nilla Wafer for the mouth area of the monkey and cut mini Nilla Wafers in half for the ears.  My mom added the smile, nostrils, and eyes for me because I don't trust myself with decorator icing!  I knew I didn't want to Robby to have to deal with the cookies on top of the cupcake, so for his I just put the candle in it.

The other decoration that I found that I just had to do was the door hanging.  This is the one I saw:

I decided to just use buttons that coordinated with the colors I was using.  I outlined the "1" on some cardboard, cut it out, then hot glued all the big buttons down, followed by the medium buttons and filled in all the empty spaces with the small buttons.  I'm not good at random so I was getting a bit frustrated with the button placement,  But thanks to the encouragement of my sister-in-law, I kept going and eventually got it done.  After I finished with the buttons, I hot glued it to a wide ribbon, glued the "Happy Birthday" card (from the printouts) on the ribbon right above it and taped the ribbon to the inside of the door so it would hang flat on the door.  I am pretty proud of the way it turned out!




I didn't end up doing party favors.  I had a cute "make your own play-doh kit" pinned and will probably use it for his next party.  We'll see!

I had such a great time planning everything and I love how it turned out!  I'm not a crafty person and I usually get very frustrated because things don't turn out absolutely perfect, so I'm surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  Robby's sweet little face when he saw all the decorations made it all absolutely worth it!  I know he won't remember this party, other than what he will see in pictures, but the way he looked at all the different decorations with me makes me know that he saw them and enjoyed them during the party!