Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some Heart-Melting Moments

Robby has done some pretty precious things lately and I don't want to forget them, so here are few:

-I've been working with him FOREVER to say "I love you".  He says it if I break it down word by word, but he can't/won't say it all together.  So today I told him "love you" and he said back "loe lu".  I got so giddy that he actually was saying it (well, his version of it) back to me!

-Whenever I pick him up from MDO or from Nursery, the first thing he wants after hugging me is Charlie.  He looks around for him and calls out "Charlie, Charlie!"  I love how much he loves his little brother.

-He loves helping me do things.  The latest "chore" I've let him help me with is throwing away the diapers after I change him.  We keep a trash can in the garage just for the diapers, so he will walk to the door with the diaper, wait for me to open it, throw it carefully in the trash can, then walk inside and shut the door.  After he's done he usually says "Yay!!"

-My mom sent me some of my old play food and dishes for Robby to have.  We got them in the mail earlier this week and he played with them nonstop.  As soon as he woke up the next morning, he was wanting to play with it again.  I love how he looked into the container and was carefully picking which toy to play with first!

-Yesterday afternoon, Robby was playing with the play spoons.  I looked over from the kitchen and saw him pretending to feed Charlie.  Charlie was opening his mouth like a little bird waiting for whatever Robby was going to feed him!  I had to stop him a few times because he was kind of jamming it doing Charlie's throat, but it was cute nonetheless!

-Along with that, he has really been pretending more and he loves it when I pretend with him.  He giggles and skips around when I play along with him.  It cracks me up!

-Today when picked up Robby from MDO, his teacher has written on his sheet that he was very chatty and talked about his shoes!  He is obsessed with shoes and feet.  I have to keep my shoes on all the time in the house or else he will constantly be trying to put various shoes on my feet!

 I'm so thankful that I get to stay home with both of my boys so I get to see them change and grow.  I love that I don't have to miss a single sweet moment!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: My big helper

I heard the silverware drawer slam shut this morning while I was in the living room.  I went into the kitchen to see what was happening.  Robby put all of his play silverware into the silverware drawer.  I think he thought he was helping by putting it away!  On a side note, these are the same play silverware that I played with 25 years ago.  It's fun to get to play with them again!  :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A fun friend meetup!

On Sunday, we drove a couple of hours to meet up with our friends Josh and Catie and their son Gus.  We met up in an adorable little town, Belton.  We went to a cute restaurant and right outside of it was a stream/pond area where there were ducks, so that entertained the boys while we got to visit.  Thankfully, Catie and I text literally every day (I think there has maybe been one day since we moved that I haven't texted or talked to her) so there wasn't much "catching up" to do, but it was fun to actually see each other and talk in person!  They are in Dallas to visit her family, so it was only about a 2 hour drive for them, as well.  We had a blast and the boys enjoyed throwing rocks in the creek!

Friday, September 7, 2012

How I saved money this week: Volume 1

Just an update, meal planning has gone really well.  While we haven't stuck with the specific meal for the specific day perfectly, we have had the meals I had planned within the week.  On Monday, we had pizza for lunch instead of dinner and on Tuesday I realized that I still hadn't gotten ricotta cheese (for some reason I couldn't find it at the grocery store when I went last week, so I was planning on just getting a big container at Costco but totally forgot!).  So we still had some ham and we had that on Tuesday night and moved the lasagna to Thursday night.  Anyway, other than the ricotta cheese and having to get more milk, we stuck with our meals and didn't go to the grocery store!  That was a big goal of mine!

Now, for ways I actively saved money:

First, this is actually something that Tim did for us, but we cleaned out our storage unit.  Right now, everything is spread out in our garage while we go through everything and decide what is keep, give, and trash.  Technically we aren't able to really save this money because it is the exact amount of Robby's tuition for Mother's Day Out.  But thankfully, that means it cancels out that expense, which makes me feel a little less guilty for him going.

Second, I made our own crackers.  Technically, they were supposed to be goldfish crackers but I didn't make the little cutter to make the fish, so I just cut them in squares.  I used this recipe and they are SO good!  I need to make them a little thinner so they are more crispy and less chewy.  But the flavor is wonderful.  Tim said he likes them better than goldfish.  Robby liked them, too, and actually ate fewer of them at snack time because they were more filling.  They were extremely easy.  Way easier than I ever imagined.  If you have a food processor, you're set!
I gathered all my ingredients: 8 oz of freshly shredded cheddar cheese, 1 Cup of flour, 3/4 teaspoons of salt, 2 Tablespoons of cold water
 I put everything in the food processor and pulsed it until it was mixed and looked kind of gritty.
I added the water slowly until a loose dough formed.  I molded it into a flattened ball and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.  The recipe calls for just 20 minutes, but I somehow got distracted by a kid or two and that turned into a couple of hours!
 I rolled out the cheese dough and instead of using a cutter, I just cut strips and made square(ish) shapes.
 Lined them on parchment paper.

And baked at 350 for 15 minutes.  They aren't pretty.  If I were making these to give to someone or take somewhere, I would have made them much better.  I think I have heartedly expected them not to turn out very well so I didn't worry too much about how they looked.
This recipe made enough to fill a quart size ziptop bag.  Since I always have these ingredients on hand, they don't cost me anything.  The only thing I'm at risk of running out of would be the cheese and this recipe calls for about $1 worth of cheese when I shred it myself.  I would imagine I'm saving about $2 for every batch of these I make since we aren't buying them.  Plus, they taste better!  I'm considering using whole wheat flour one time and seeing how those turn out.  I'll let you know!

Third, I couponed.  I've done a couple of coupon clipping trip, mainly to CVS or Walgreens when they were having specials on health and beauty products and I had coupons.  Usually those trips ended with me saving a little but mainly I would get the rewards cash or coupons back, which I guess is still saving money, it just wasn't saving a ton of money on that specific trip.  This time, I spent two days worth of nap times finding baby food coupons.  Target is having their big baby sale through the 8th and I knew I wanted to take advantage of all the baby food they had discounted.  Thankfully, at Target you can use Target coupons, combined with their sale prices, combined with manufacturer coupons.  Before I went, I organized all my coupons by brand, made sure Tim was taking care of the boys (there was no way I could have focused on this if I was also having to keep up with them), and promised myself not to purchase anything that wasn't on sale AND that I didn't have a coupon.  My budget to spend was $100 and I had to stick to that.  I happened to go to the baby section through another section instead of down the main aisle, the way I usually do.  Since I went that way, I was able to see quite a bit of baby food that was clearanced on an endcap. I first checked the expiration date because I have found clearanced food items before that were a month or so away from their expiration and that doesn't save any money if I have to throw it out before we use it!  All was good, and I started going through my coupons and finding the matching foods.  Then I headed to the main baby food aisle.  I mainly had coupons for Gerber, but it was all on sale and I had two coupons for each baby food item I purchased, so I got most Gerber items for around $.10-$.15 each.  Other coupons I had were for the baby food pouches.  While these are more expensive, even with the coupons, we have found that these work very well for us.  They are super easy to feed from when we use the little attachable spoons and once Charlie is able to suck from the pouch himself, I can just hand them to him when we are in the car and he can feed himself.  We used these all the time when Robby was little.  I would stock up on them when they were on sale at Babies R Us or Target, but never had coupons also.  All of those I got for under $1.  Now, I know the way to REALLY save money on baby food is to make my own.  I do make some items, mainly the items that all I have to do is mash them with a fork, but I can't seem to get my act together to make all the food and freeze it.  But I have a few ways of saving when it comes to baby food that don't include making it from scratch.  We buy applesauce in bulk from Costco.  As long as it is only apples and no sugar is added, it's the same as baby food apples.  We get three HUGE containers of applesauce for around $4.  One of those packages lasted us through Robby's entire time of eating baby food.  We add it to baby cereal, feed it alone, and add it to other baby food to add another flavor/component to the food.  Doing that also stretches the baby food to last longer.  And since baby food isn't a replacement for bottles yet, we only feed an actual baby food one time a day, the other times is oatmeal or rice cereal.  Anyway, I was heading to the checkout after filling my cart full of baby food and a few other items and I just knew I wasn't going to be able to stick to my $100 budget.  I said a quick, silent prayer that God would bless my basket and bless my wallet and keep it within what we can afford.  I know that sounds silly, but I had to do that at the grocery store the week before, too, because we had such a strict grocery budget that I had to keep to.  Well, y'all, God answered my prayer because when I checked out I was shocked.  I quickly passed the $100 mark and got up to $158.  I wish I could have a total of how much it all would have been not counting the sale prices.  If my calculations on everything is right, it was around $210.  I handed her my stack of coupons, totally expecting the camera crew from TLC to show up.  The cashier started scanning them and I just watched as the total dropped and dropped.  My grand total for the baby food was $98.54!  I had to get some aftershave for Tim, so that brought my entire total a tad over $100 (but I had a coupon for that, too!).  I was so excited, that I called Tim right away!  I kind of understand those crazy couponers now.  I texted my friend Catie and she totally nailed my feelings when she said it gives us a high when we save a good amount of money.  That's very true!  Here is everything I purchased:

It is enough food to get Charlie through his baby food phase!  I could not believe that I got so much (a few items are missing because Robby could reach up on the table and get some so he was carrying them around while I was trying to take a picture.)  I don't think I'll become a crazy coupon person, but I do think I will pay closer attention to what coupons are out for items I already purchase.  It didn't take all that long for me to find coupons online to print, but it did take quite a bit of time to match them with my list.  I definitely don't want to buy things just because I have a coupon for them and I want to be sure that I wouldn't get a better deal simply by purchasing the store brand.  I think I will need to start shopping by myself though because it definitely takes a lot of focus to keep everything straight!

How did you save money this week?  I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Ladies Bible Study

I am starting my very first ladies Bible study at church. I'm so excited to begin this study. I think it will be very relevant to my life right now. Just from being there this morning, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated - and we haven't even actually started the study yet!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Big Day for the Little Man!

Today was Robby's first day of Kid's Day Out!  He is going two days a week from 8:30-12:30.  I had quite a bit of a hard time last night and early this morning, but when it came to drop him off, I was good!  It helped that he walked right in and just started exploring and playing.  I think it's hard for me just knowing he's old enough to do something by himself and not need me.  But, that's one of the main points of parenting, isn't it?
 Everything all set out the night before
My mom sent a note in my lunch EVERY day I was in school.  I am going to do the same thing, but since Robby can't read yet, I have made these little cards with pictures of each family member (extended, as well) and am going to change them out each day.  I thought it might be fun for him to see a familiar face at lunch time!
 The big day!
 He was really enjoying the sign!

 Mommy putting on her brave face!  :-)
The big boy needed a little help down the step!  
 He looks so big!

 Showing me his "backback" with a "Kaikai" on it!
We're here!
When we walked in the room, his teacher pointed out Robby's backpack and how it fit in perfectly with their room because they are the monkeys!  How perfect!  I pointed out Robby's little monkey cubby and we put his backpack in it.  I tapped on his name and he went to the other cubbies and tapped on the monkeys!
 He found himself a chair and climbed right up.

His teacher got him a puzzle and he started playing!  We slipped out and watched for a quick second through the window.  Robby never even looked back!

I ran a few errands after we dropped him off then Charlie and I headed home.  I'm really going to enjoy some one-on-one time with Charlie!  When I picked him up he was so excited.  On his sheet it said he was happy and sweet all day.  That's my boy!  When we got home he conked out and took over a 3 hour nap!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Six Months!

My littlest man,

I really can't believe you are 6 months old!  You are half a year old!  I guess I better start planning your first birthday party, huh?  :-)

You are amazing us every day with your sweet personality and your constant changes.  You have been rolling for a few months now, but this month you mastered sitting all by yourself.  Although you usually end up falling after about 5 minutes, we are surprised at how quickly it seems that you mastered it.  You love to touch our faces.  It's so sweet how you will stroke our cheek and noses.  Anything on your brother that you can reach, you grab onto.  Robby always thinks it's funny.  We've been bathing you both at the same time and both of you think it's the best!  You are a bath lover, staying in for up to 20 minutes.  I know you would stay in there longer if we would let you.  Your favorite bath time activity is chewing on your brother's foam letters and numbers.  He likes to help you reach them by piling them all around you.

You love your feet.  Any chance you can, you grab on to them.  Also, you are quite the loud little thing!  You don't just jabber quietly like Robby did.  You YELL your jabber!  It gets to the point that your daddy and I can't hear anything over you!  We just have to sit back and laugh while we wait for you to finish talking.  At times, I think that your upset but when I look at you, I realize that you are just talking really loudly!  I am proud to say, you say "Ma-ma" all the time.  I'm glad you do because your brother said "Da-da" first!  You do NOT like to be left alone in a room and you are sure to let me know.  Once someone walks back in the room and you see them, you're just fine!  You are beginning to crawl.  Most of the time you are just up on your hands and knees rocking back and forth but several times you have put your knees in motion and crawled forward.  I kind of wondered if you would be a later crawler because you are so skilled at rolling.  Anywhere that you want to go, you roll or scoot there.  It's so cute to see you trying to get closer to me or your brother.

You are an excellent sleeper, even better than your brother was, if you can believe that!  You go to bed around 6:30 and sleep until about 7:30.  You are taking a 6oz bottle about every 3-4 hours during the day.  In between bottles, you eat oatmeal cereal, rice cereal, and various fruit and veggie baby foods.  I can't tell if you have a favorite food because you devour everything we put in front of you!  I decided to introduce you to a sippy cup about a week early just to see what you would do with it.  Well, you took right to it.  You knew just how to hold it, put it in your mouth, and drink from it.  I was a tad shocked!  You are wearing 6 month shirts, 6-9 month onesies, and 0-3 month shorts.  You are long but skinny and the 0-3 month shorts are the only ones that will stay around your waist!  When you are in disposable diapers, you wear size 2 but we will probably get you size 3 this next time.  I can't wait to see your stats in a few weeks when we have your 6 month check up.

You are beginning to crawl.  Most of the time you are just up on your hands and knees rocking back and forth but several times you have put your knees in motion and crawled forward.  I kind of wondered if you would be a later crawler because you are so skilled at rolling.  Anywhere that you want to go, you roll or scoot there.  It's so cute to see you trying to get closer to me or your brother.  I can see the outline of your two bottom teeth.  It's just a matter of time before they break through.  You haven't been fussy or had any changes in appetite or sleep, so I'm hopeful that you will be a great teether like your brother. 

You are so happy, sweet boy!  I can't get enough of your big eyes and precious smile.  You love to hold my fingers and just stare at me.  You have the sweetest laugh!  Whenever someone talks to you, you get the biggest, open mouthed grin on your face and just start making all kinds of noises!

Thank you for being such a perfect boy!  Your daddy and I love you more than we ever thought possible!