..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reindeer Candy Cane


Did you know the first Candy Cane was originally used as a Pacifier to soothe crying babies?  Later, a German Choirmaster decided to bend the sugar sticks into the shape of a shepherd’s staff and each tot was handed one as they entered the cathedral during the Christmas pageant in hopes of keeping them quite.  Hundreds of years later, a candy maker from Indiana decided to improve on the idea by tying the treats in with the real meaning of Christmas. 

The legend of the Candy Cane is just one of many stories in the ADVENTure of Chirstmas by Lisa Whechel.  It is chalk full of fun crafts, stories, and etc…to help children find Jesus in many of our Holiday Traditions.  

 So, we’ve been making these fun little Reindeer Candy Canes for our friends on our street!  As I was sharing the story with the girls I pointed out that the red stripes remind us about the blood of Jesus and how he died on the cross for us.  I thought this would be easy for them to understand especially since they love singing the song, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.”

 However, I didn’t realize that Isabella had taken this so literally.  So when Elianna started screaming that the peppermint was burning her mouth Isabella told me, 

“Mom, get it out of her mouth!  It’s the blood!  

The blood is burning her!! She doesn’t like the blood…get it out!!”

 Awwh…from the mouth of babes! Too funny!  I got a big kick out of it and couldn’t help but wonder what God must think of all of this?!! 

**The pic above is one I pulled from the internet. I will update later with our pics!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Family Christmas Pictures

So Tim just finished shooting our family Christmas portraits to send out to family and friends. It was so much fun doing it in our own house. Good-bye JC Penny's :)

As we narrowed it down to the one we'll actually send out, here are a few that didn't make the cut! :)













It's amazing what you go through for one good picture.  I have a new found respect for photographers. :)  Good luck Tim!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun

This was our first year to take the kids to the Thanksgiving Parade downtown. As you can see, the kids had a blast! 

Instead of having to wake up early and rush the kids out the door, we decided to rent a hotel room to avoid the morning madness.  The girls were so excited and couldn't wait to get to the hotel after dinner.  They had a blast staying up late and watching their movies on Tim's laptop. Though we were up early so that we could find a good place to sit it was stress free.  We even had time to grab a little breakfast together before our busy day began.  

The best part was that the parade passed right in front of our hotel so all we had to do was walk out and take a seat...perfect view for the kids ! No drama, no parking, no rushing, etc... It was definitely worth it!  We hope to make this a new little family tradition! 

Here are a few pics of the our time together:














Afterwards, we went to Oma and Opa’s House for Thanksgiving Lunch and had a great time hanging out with the family.




Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stomping Grounds Playland

The kids and I just got back from a new place that opened up in Sugarland called Stomping Grounds Playland. It's off of Williams Trace right next door to Michael's in the First Colony Commons Shopping Center.

The girls got to run wild and they even had a little tot section for Cash to play in! Moms get to gab and watch the kids play while sipping coffee in the lounge area. I even saw one mom with her computer! Apparently she's been there before because she got there when most of the other moms were rounding up the kids to go home, so she had the whole place to herself!

If you're thinking about grabbing lunch there it can be a bit expensive, but they did have some reasonably priced snacks and other kiddy foods.

It was a great afternoon. My crew had a blast and crashed as soon as we got home!

This place is definitely worth checking out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where Are All the Spiritual Leaders and Why Aren't More of Them Speaking Out?

I follow Voddie Baucham's Blog quite a bit. I first heard of Voddie when he came to teach at an on campus bible study called Quest at Houston Baptist University. He's also taught at the College of Biblical studies and is currently a church planter for the Family Integrated Church in Spring, Texas.

He is an awesome teacher of the word and as far as I know, one of the only spiritual leaders really speaking out as we try to make sense of our candidates, the election process and where God is in all of it.

When you have time, you should really check out his blog. He shares his concerns regarding both parties and why he cannot support either one. Tim actually posted a youtube clip of his interview on Fox news a couple of weeks ago.

I have included some of his post below regarding his concerns in each party. They are very thought provoking. I love his passion for the word and his desire to uphold the truth even when not popular with the culture (sadly to say this includes many Christians).

Friday, April 18, 2008
Barack Obama: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate ever to run for President. He could not even bring himself to vote for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act which would have protected children born ...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/4/18_A_Wolf_in_Sheep’s_Clothing.html


Saturday, August 30, 2008
Did McCain Make a Pro-Family VP Pick?
Conservatives are all aglow as John McCain pulled off an apparent coup d’├ętat this week by naming Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President. Bob Unruh, writing for the conservative Christian web...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/8/30_Did_McCain_Make_a_Pro-Family_Pick____.html


Monday, September 1, 2008
The Evangelical Two-Step
It has been interesting watching evangelicals sing and dance their way around the news of Sarah Palin’s pregnant seventeen year-old daughter. Step One: Use the Bible to motivate and mobilize the Ev...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/1_The_Evangelical_Two-Step.html

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Framing the Abortion Debate

I believe Christian Conservatives are treading in dangerous waters with the way many are spinning the Palin pregnancy issue. The emphasis on the daughter’s “choice” to have the baby is presented as...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/2_The_Continuing_Collapse_of_Education_2.html


Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Waking up the Sheeple
The past several days have been incredibly revealing. I have received numerous emails, phone calls, and interview requests since my August 30th post on John McCain’s VP pick. I have even earned the...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/3_Waking_up_the_Sheeple.htm
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008
What if Palin was a...
The Sarah Palin controversy continues to rage on among complimentarians (there’s virtually no debate among mainstream evangelicals). There are articles flying everywhere on one side of the issue or... http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/9_None_of_The_Above.html


Wednesday, September 10, 2008
 A Spoonful of Sugar  I found this on the web and couldn’t help but cringe. Many on the left are using this statement to demonstrate the confusing nature of Evangelical support for McCain simply because of his VP pick. 

http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/10_A_Spoonful_of_Sugar.htm

Thursday, September 11, 2008
How Evangelicals Could Win an Election and Lose the Culture
There has been a great deal of speculation as to the effect of the Palin nomination on female voters. While few expected the hoards of Hillary supporters to flock to Palin (due to the abortion issu...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/11_How_Evangelicals_Could_Win_an_Election_and_Lose_the_Culture.html


Monday, September 15, 2008
Was the P31 Woman a Career Gal?
Recently I have heard the Proverbs 31 reference over and over in support of “women pursuing careers” in politics, or otherwise. Let me say that I have never argued that a woman cannot or should not...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/15_Was_the_P31_Woman_a_Career_Gal.html


Thursday, September 25, 2008
Voddie Baucham on CNN

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of appearing on CNN. I was told that I would be discussing my original blog on the Governor Palin pick. However, the interviewer chose to turn the show into a di...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/9/25_Voddie_Baucham_on_CNN.html


Thursday, October 2, 2008
No Comment!

As a result of recent articles in The Tennesseean and The L.A. Times I have decided not to talk to the print media about the Palin issue. Both articles represent what is wrong in American journalis...
http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/10/2_No_Comment!.html

His most recent post, "The Culture of Death...and its Candidate" really makes one stop and think. Check out the post and videos below. After viewing, it compelled me to research further Margaret Sanger and the role she has played, as Voddie puts it, in our "culture of death."

The Culture of Death... and its Candidate

As I have noted a number of times, I simply cannot comprehend why Christians (of any color) can support BarackObama. As Robert George of Princeton University noted recently, “Barack Obama is the m...

http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/10/17_The_Culture_of_Death..._and_its_Candidate.html




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fireproof

Tim and I went to see Fireproof tonight. It was so good to get out to the theater and to be pleased with the $34 we spent! Below is the trailer, but I highly recommend the movie. There's something for all couples in this movie, regardless of what stage you're at in your relationship!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Good Friend Pablo and Iglesia Riverpointe

Our friends Pablo and Iris are helping to start a Spanish service at Riverpointe Church here in Richmond.  Below is a video he did with Patrick, the Senior Pastor.  We were hanging out with them tonight and couldn't stop laughing.  Enjoy!  

Be praying for them; their first public service is on October 19th at 1:30 p.m.!  Tim and I will be going with some friends to show our support!  Feel free to join us!

(You can stop the music player by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the blog before you play the video)



Friday, October 3, 2008

Blogging Break


So I needed a little blogging break! Can I say it was just what the doctor ordered? Honestly, it's been kind of nice to be freed up from the computer. I've had the opportunity to pursue other interests, but most importantly I've been reminded of the importance of keeping first things first.

Recently Tim and I have challenged one another to waking up at 5:00am in order to offer the Lord the first fruits of our day. Not only are we able to come together in prayer and prepare ourselves for the day, but it also allows us time to do whatever else we need to before the little tornados wake up. For Tim, he's been able to get in an early morning jog and though I need to do the same, it gets kind of tricky with the little guy. So, I've been using this time to enjoy a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading or even tackle some early morning housework.

A night owl by nature, I have realized that in order for me to wake up early, I must first develop the discipline of going to bed early. What I am quickly discovering is that this discipline is far more challenging than waking up to the dreaded sound of the alarm clock. That's because I can find a million and one things to do after I put the kids down. Things like hanging out with Tim, watching TV, reading, sewing, or even tackling some unfinished housework.

But hey, this is my mommy time right? The only time I get to do something for me...or so I thought. Recently, I have been challenged by Martha Peace’s frank words about women such as myself who claim not to be morning people. Here's what good ol' Martha has to say,

"I have heard of women who pride themselves on being "night people." That means they have trouble getting up in the mornings because they come alive at night. They may stay up till all hours reading, watching television, or pursuing some sort of interest. The next morning they are too tired to get up and care for their family... These women are not "night people." They are lazy and selfish. Who would not rather stay up late to do whatever they please and sleep late the next day? Once a young wife begins getting up earlier than her children and her husband, she will cease to be a "night person." She will be tired at night and go to bed at a reasonable hour so she will be there to serve her family the next morning."

Ouch! I must admit these were tough words to hear. I mean did she just call me lazy? Selfish? Though I would not consider myself lazy or selfish when it comes to my family, I can see her point. After all, if going to bed late means being irritable, snappy, and or frustrated with your family, then how are you really offering your best to them (or for that matter to the Lord)? If I'm honest with myself, I've been guilty of that. Parenting in general is tough, but it takes extra creativity, intentionality, discipline and hard work to model and teach our children about God. How can we effectively do this if we're too tired??

As I have been contemplating these sobering words and how I can apply them to my own life, it has really challenged me to develop the discipline of going to bed early so that I can offer the Lord the first fruits of my day and be better rested to serve my family.

So, how am I developing the discipline of going to bed early so I can rise early? I can answer with one simple word...Accountability. And since Tim loves to go to bed early, he loves holding me accountable to being in bed at a reasonable hour. Though Tim would love to have lights off at 9:00pm, we've come to an agreement of 10-10:30pm.

Reality is: how much more would I have to offer my family when I am well rested?  How much more can I be when I make it a priority to sit at the Lord's feet BEFORE the day begins? To put on the armor of the Lord instead of rushing off into the battle spiritually unarmed.

I want to begin my days in a proactive mode and put first things first by mentally, physically and spiritually preparing before rushing off to respond to the demands of the day. Proactive and not reactive when I get that 7am call from the bedroom down the hall, "mommy I'm done!" I want leche! Can we watch Super Why? Then there is the little guy waiting for his morning feeding, not to mention saying goodbye to Tim as he rushes out the door in the morning.

All too often in this season of raising such small children I am finding it much harder to safe guard this precious time. While I know there is grace, spiritual laziness shouldn't be an excuse either. For me, there is a fine line. I long for the days where I could uninterruptedly read my bible and journal for an extended period of time with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Thankfully Tim does recognize the importance of giving me this time. In fact, we joke about him kicking me out of the house every Friday morning. But what was once so easy to do now requires much more discipline, creativity, planning and scheduling. That in and of itself can be exhausting and difficult to make time for. 

Starting my day with prayer and reading is good for my soul and essential for my sanity. In an effort to model the importance of putting first things first, we've even begun doing this with the girls. The first thing we do before breakfast, before the tv is turned on, before we get dressed and start going about our day is to have a short devotional and prayer time. We generally read something from their Children's Rhyming Bible, which is usually no more than two pages long followed by a short prayer. The girls love it!

So, Tim and I have joined the 5am club. Are we always successful? Nope. But I do recognize the importance of being obedient and developing this discipline in my life; especially with our growing family.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who Says You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?


So I’ve learned two new things from two new mommies!

Thing #1—from a mommy new to nursing (though not so new to childrearing). For all you nursing mommies, do you ever get tired of having to hold your nursing shields while you pump? Can I get a big BORING!! Well, nothing two little ol’ hair rubber bands can’t solve. Click here to see how!

Thing #2—from a week old mommy. These little things are originally made to fasten and hold cloth diapers, but I got the idea of using it to fasten and hold a nice tight swaddle when I saw a picture of her little guy all snug as a bug in a rug.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I love learning from one another! Thanks ladies for the great tips!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great Bible Adventures

My mother in law ordered me a children’s bible study kit called Great Bible Adventures. Each month we get a new lesson in the mail. What I love about this study is that each bible study lesson has a coordinating coloring sheet, puzzle, prayer cards, and creative family activities to help you apply each lesson.

Today, Elianna marched out with the bible kit in hand saying, “mommy I want bible! I want Jesus!” It really blessed me to hear her ask me this and on her own accord, yet at the same time it stung a little…kind of like she was saying, "come on mama get in gear!"

So, the girls pulled out their couches for bible time. Ellie in Dora and and Isa on her princess throne and together we read the story of John The Baptist. The girls listened intently to the lesson and participated well as we talked about what the words repent, sin and baptism meant. Not sure how much actually stuck but they did enjoy coloring and putting their puzzle together!




Their favorite part was our “wilderness snack!" This was a great little tip in the family activities section. We talked about how John The Baptist lived in the wilderness and how he ate very different food from us...no pizza, gold fish, ice cream, etc.. instead he ate nuts, berries, honey, and locusts.

This was the fun part! In an attempt to recreate John’s diet we made a wilderness snack with some things that mommy had in her pantry like peanuts, almonds, strawberries, apple slices, and broccoli.


Ok…so maybe not all of it was exactly what John ate, but you get the picture. And I couldn’t believe how much the girls LOVED it! Not to mention, it turned out to be a very healthy lunch!

This little study kit has been great for us! It’s simple and fun! If you’re interested in checking it out, click
here for more info. For more WFMW ideas, visit shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Do you sleep with socks on or off?

I like to sleep on my side or stomach, he likes to sleep on his back...

I like the sheets to be crisp, clean and fresh before snuggling under the covers, he could care less....

I like a firmer pillow, he likes a soft flat pillow

I like a firm (though not too firm) mattress, he likes a super soft pillow top

I can fall asleep with the T.V. on, he likes it off

but believe it or not this last one has been an interesting one around our home lately....

I like to wear socks to bed, he can't stand to sleep with socks on.

I know, I know, what problems we have right? But seriously, we both have strong reasons why we wear or don't wear socks to bed.

Apparently, it makes him too hot and uncomfortable. Therefore, I often find this on the floor by the side of his bed.



I on the other hand, can't stand sleeping without socks. My feet get too cold. It doesn't matter what the weather is like outside I always have to wear socks to bed.

The other day this topic came up in our conversation with some friends. Seems I was in the minority for wearing socks to bed. In fact, some people (whose names I won't mention, Ernie and Billy--whoops!) even mentioned that not only do they prefer to sleep without socks, but they have to sleep with their feet out of the covers...something about being claustrophobic! What?!!

I think I can deal with having to sleep with your socks off but what's the deal with covering your whole body except your bare feet?? I can't stand the thought of them hanging out all lonely and cold.

Seriously...why not be fair to the rest of your body and sleep without covers all together? If this was Tim, I don't think I'd be able to sleep!! He'd probably get a visit from the night fairy who'd tuck his feet back under the covers...or at least put socks on them! :)

I got to wondering just how many people like to sleep with socks. So, what about you? Do you sleep with your socks on or off?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Little Yellow Bag

Little Yellow Bag.jpg

So there I was standing in the kitchen cooking dinner. The baby was screaming and the two girls were running about. It's was sheer chaos! As I stood there tending to dinner, yelling at the girls to get out of the kitchen for fear there would be an accident and yet ever so calmly trying to talk to Cash as if to persuade him not to cry (yeah right), in walks my hubby!

Yes...help has arrived!!

I am so thankful to see him and just in time! Not only did he help relieve me so that I could wrap up dinner, but the best part was that he walked through the front door with a little yellow bag in hand. And even though (sad to say) I am no longer 21, I knew that that little yellow bag belonged to me!!

He walks into the kitchen, picks up the screaming baby, gives me a hug and a kiss and says, "here mommy. I picked you up a little treat just to say thank you for all the hard work you're doing around here."

I am beaming from ear to ear as I open my bag of goodies!

The girls of course are screaming, "where's my surprise? I want a treat too! What about me?" Tim tries to help the girls understand what he did and why he did it which really turned into a thought provoking time.

I am blessed...

I love the adorable little tops he picked out all by himself,
I love the fact that he knows my sizes without even having to ask me,
and I even love that he is cool with going into a totally girly store,
but what I love the most was that he notices!
He notices the "hard work!"

So, It's times like this that help you keep going! Thanks for noticing babe!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: Great New Recipe!


So I haven’t gotten back into my Menu Plan Monday’s yet since our little guy arrived, but I did come across a great new 30 minute meal by Rachel Ray that I had to share! We had it for dinner the other night and the family loved it! If you love fish, then you’ll love this little dish and it was really easy to cook! It was actually my first time attempting to cook fish…so if I can do it, anyone can!


(Thanks to my neighbor Terri that lent me the coriander and dill in a pinch!)

Tilapia Club Stacks
Ingredients:
8 bacon slices; center cut
2 to 2 ½ pds Tilapia (4 lg fillets and cut across into 8 equal pieces)
Salt and Pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1tsp chili powder
2 tsp group coriander
2 tsp dried dill
5 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Romaine Lettuce (I substituted with Kale--finely chopped)
2 Plum Tomatoes (halved lengthwise then thinly sliced into half-moons)
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:
Preheat over to 375. Cook bacon until crisp for 20 -25min. Cut the bacon strips in half so that you have 16 halves.

Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine the flour, cornmeal, chili powder, coriander, and dill in shallow dish. Coat the fish with the cornmeal mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons EVOO, 3x around the pan, in a large non stick skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add the fish and cook until deeply golden on both sides, 8-10 minutes total. Remove and set aside.

Toss the Kale and tomatoes with the lemon juice in skillet (may need 2 tablespoons more of EVOO) and salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes…do not overcook. Kale should be soft but not wilted.

Layer each serving in a stack like this: a tilapia fillet, 2 crossed half-strips of bacon, a pile of salad, a second pile of tilapia fillet, another bacon criss-cross, and a final mound of salad.




To find other great recipes and full menu plans for the week, be sure to check out Org Junkie.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Gotta Go Pee-Pee!!!!

These words resound long and loud around our house these days! Only wish she’d give me this kind of warning before she has to go number two!!!

I’ve cleaned up two glorious messes today and good thing my mom gave us a steam cleaner for the accidents that have happened on carpet…our little one just can’t wait to remove her messy diaper!

Motherhood…who says it’s easy!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WFMW: Latches On Doors

My husband and I found these locks to be very useful and have placed them on the exit doors around our home.


These first came in handy after we caught our oldest, who was only 3 at the time, walking out the front door.


Apparently, our little neighbor next door came to see if she could play. I happened to turn the corner just in time to see her walking out the door behind him. Talk about scary. Oh, and did I mention that we are the corner house next to a very busy street.

We recently put a few more up on the girl’s bedroom closet and kitchen pantry door. I was growing weary of the girls going in their closet to dress themselves only to find their clothes and shoes thrown about...everday day ALL day! It was definitely getting out of hand. BTW-- all 3 share a closet! I had to get a handle on the madness!!

We only keep their clothes (no toys) in this particular closet but it’s helped to contain the unwanted messes and my favorite…kept them from changing clothes 3 or 4 times a day (why do they like to do that?)!! Only downfall is that I have to make sure to unlock the closet for them in the morning and then again before bedtime.

We found this useful on our pantry door as well because the girls love pulling out the paper cups, spoons, plates, and etc… Thank goodness the snacks were contained on a higher shelf, otherwise things could have been a lot worse!


Needless to say, no more red cups tossed about all over the kitchen floor. Yeah!! These little babies work for me. For more WFMW tips, be sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Now that's what I call Friendship!

The other night Tim and I had just finished putting the girls to bed when we heard a knock at the front door. It was 9:00pm...who could it be? We both looked at each other as if to ask the other who’s there.

It was our neighbor, Roland (or as Ellie loves to call him, Mr, Roley), delivering us an unexpected meal! What was the occasion? Nothing. He dropped by with dinner in hand for no other reason other than he was thinking of us.

Lucky us!

And his timing I might add was perfect! With all the Sunday activities we were finally getting around to eating-- just the two of us when we heard his knock at the front door.
Not only did he have dinner (Cha-Roland as he so cleverly named it), but He made dessert too!



TIm and I enjoyed every bit of it! Thanks "Mr. Roley!" We love that he felt comfortable enough to pop in on us and were so blessed by the gesture.

It’s great to have such awesome neighbors that look out for you and even better when you feel so comfortable with each other that you can open the door looking like this!!



Lovely huh? Complete with spit up stains on the upper right hand corner of my shirt! Now that's real friendship!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Everything Has It's Place"

Not only do the girls have clean up time before nap time and before Tim comes home in the evening, but now that they're a little older, I’ve been trying to teach them to pick up their toys and clean their room before we head out somewhere. It doesn’t always work; especially on the days that we’re running behind, but lately it’s becoming more and more routine.

Since the girls usually have room time while I get ready, I normally give them a countdown of some sort so they have plenty of time to pick up their playthings. Usually, it’s enough to remind them that we can’t do _________________ until we pick up our room (especially when they want to meet with friends), but if that doesn’t work the good ole’ jellybean reward has been a great incentive…another great tip from my girl Lisa Whelchel!

Basically, the girls have to earn a certain amount of jellybeans throughout the week in order to earn the privilege of watching a movie of their choice (mommy approved) on Friday night. Jelly Beans can be earned by having good manners, being obedient, being respectful, cleaning up their room, helping out around the house, and any other behavior that I can catch in the moment that is worthy of a reward.

Some might view as bribery, but it helps our little ones wrap their minds around these concepts and serves as a great teaching tool for us. Not to mention, I love that my girls are learning responsibility, how to take care of their things, and the value of having a clean room which carries over into our home. Even at an early age, I know they understand the value of having a clean home because my 4yr old frequently tells me “oh, thank you mommy for washing my clothes.” In the afternoon when I’m picking up the stray toys lying around the house I might get asked, “Mommy, why are you cleaning the house?” I love telling them that I’m getting ready for their papi to come home.

When everyone pulls together to clean their own area, it also helps mommy keep the house a little tidier as well. But an even bigger plus is that I'm able to nap tired kiddos right away when we return home, instead of wasting time clearing away clutter just to get them to their beds.

I would say there’s nothing better than coming home to a clean house, but as I was headed to the laundry room to iron a blouse, I heard my 4yr old teIl her little sister, “sweetie, everything has it’s place” and then showed her where that item went. Now that takes the cake! (Even though my husband is probably rolling his eyes somewhere as though it’s a hopeless cause, I know he secretly loves it!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Booty Camp and The Potty Whisperer

We all know how frustrating and tiring potty training can be. Wendy Sweeney, a registered nurse and mom of six holds a "booty camp" for tired parents that guarantees to have your child potty trained in one day. This five hour course helps toddlers rise to the occasion by teaching them how to listen to their bodies and take responsibility for their actions. Check out her students at "Booty Camp".



What are your potty training tips, successes and or horror stories!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WFMW: Saving Plastic Bags

Saving the plastic bags that clothes, linens and other various products come in sure have come in handy--a great tip my mom gave me! I have used these to save various things like toys, puzzle pieces and even organizing the endless and ever-growing kids socks!









Recently this came in handy when the girls received sleeping bags for Christmas. Instead of shoving them away in a closet somewhere, I was able to store these together in the plastic bag that I had saved from an old comforter. Now these are tucked away very neatly in the top shelf of the girl’s closet. It’s simple, practical and works for me!



For more WFMW tips be sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Top Baby Must Haves

The other day our swing started acting up and I found myself thinking, “oh no, I don’t know what I’d do without my swing."

Not only does our little guy sleep so well in this thing, but with a mild case of reflux, being in an upright position helps him sleep longer stretches; especially at night. It’s really just all about survival these first few months! :)

**Before you say,"won’t that spoil him??" The answer is Of Course Not! :) While there is an age appropriate time to sleep train, etc… we are firm believers that there really is nothing you can do to spoil your baby in the first few months of life.

Anyway, as I started pondering this, I realized there are many things even the 3rd time around that “I don’t know what I’d do without.”

So, below is a few of my top baby must haves.
1. Portable Swing--great for travel and great space saver!

2. A
Sling, Carrier or Wrap

3. A
Hooter Hider –loving mine!

4. Video Monitor—I love being able to see baby…helps give me peace of mind.

5.
Co-Sleeper- has been helpful for nursing in the wee hours

6.
Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child--I still refer to this book from infant thru toddler years...a great read!

7. Swaddling Blankets --I hear
these are pretty good but I haven’t yet tried

8.
Super Baby Food--I plan on doing this again and found this was a great read with helpful tips on how to make your own baby food.

9. A Car Seat-- (We love Britax)

10. Electric Breast Pump (Available for rent at local hospitals)

11. Madela Micro Sterile Bags(for bottles, nipples, pacifiers, etc..)-- I originally purchased the big bulky kind that took up way too much room on my counter top. Now I can just pop this in the microwave and the bags are easily stored away.

12. Lansinoh Breast Pads- After a rather embarassing experience while leading a meeting at work, I am sold on these! They're awesome and leak proof!

13. Lansinoh Wipes--so soft and gentle on baby’s bottom and smells good too!

14. Dr. Smith's Ointment--expensive but worth every penny!

15. Pack-n-play

16. Swaddlers Pampers--
These also look pretty cool if you're interested in cloth diapers!

17. Good Burping Cloths --our little guy has soaked us a time or two!

18. White T-shirts--with frequent changings in the first few months, I found the little tees to be so much easier instead of constantly snapping and unsnapping outfits. They're also a lot cooler if you swaddle.

19. Pacifier--so far our little guy has not taken a liking to this yet…we're keeping our fingers crossed!! If we end up having to use one,
these have been great; especially for traveling!

20.
Portable Potty Seat--Peace of mind for a germ freak like me! I take to parks, zoo, and etc..

These are a few staple items that have come in handy around our home. What about you? What's your baby must haves? I'd love to hear how they've been helpful to you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Green Our Vaccines

Being a baby sling lover and preparing for water activities this summer, I was online reviewing water resistant slings when I stumbled upon this blog. Intrigued, I started skimming the pages of her blog when I came across this question, “You really don't Vaccinate your children?" on her FAQ page.

I was totally shocked! I couldn’t believe that there were parents that would actually choose not to vaccinate their children. However, as I read further, I began to understand why she felt led to make this decision, especially concerning her son Noah. You can read more here. It's an awesome story and a great testimony to the miracle that God worked in their family!

Anyway, as I read her blog entry, “Stirring the Pot” it did just that. Being that Cash had just been immunized with 5 shots that same day, it intrigued me and stirred up all sorts of questions about vaccines, their safety, what’s in them, can they be linked to autism, and how does using a one size fits all approach really affect our children? Here are few things I came across:

1. Though not proven, there is question of whether vaccines are linked to the high rise in autism over the last several years. Click here for more information.

The short of it is that many of the children's vaccines contained a toxin called Thimerosol which contains mercury. Thimerosol is used as a preservative and is believed to be responsible for autism, attention deficit disorder, speech delays, and other childhood neurological disorders now epidemic in the United States.


Mercury is a known brain poison, and it is the belief of many that this may have contributed to the growing rate of autism in the U.S. A decade ago the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated the autism rate among American children to be 1 in 2,500. Today, the CDC places the rate at 1 in 166, or 1 in 80 boys. Additionally, one in six children is now diagnosed with a related neurological disorder.

**Thimerosal was reported to be taken out of the vaccines in 2001 but it is still currently used in the Flu Shot and MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella).

2. Vaccines contain Toxins-- In addition to Thimerosal, there are many other toxins used as preservatives. Click here for a list of each vaccine's ingredients.
(Notice the animal by product column which include ones derived from monkey, chick and aborted babies.)

A few other facts about these toxic ingredients....

Aluminum- it has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and seizures

Formaldehyde- is known to cause cancer


Mercury -has been a topic of wide discussion.

Monkey Tissue - is used to prepare the polio vaccine. There have been lots of polio vaccines over the years that have been contaminated by Simian Virus 40 (SV40). Some people have linked simian virus to childhood tumors, as the tumors have been known to contain the simian virus in it.

Not only do vaccines contain toxins but...


3. The number of shots our children receive has significantly increased over the last several years--In 2007 it was reported that by the age of 6, children received a total of 36 shots compared to only 10 back in 1983! What a huge contrast! In addition, there is no research on the cumulative effects of these toxins given all at the same time. This is very alarming!

In the early 1990s, public health officials dramatically increased the number of Thimerosal-containing vaccinations without considering the cumulative impact of the mercury load on developing brains.

In a 1991 memo, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck's vaccination programs, warned his bosses that 6-month-old children administered the shots on schedule would suffer mercury exposures 87 times the government safety standards. He recommended that Thimerosal be discontinued and complained that the US Food and Drug Administration, which has a notoriously close relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, could not be counted on to take appropriate action as its European counterparts had.

Merck ignored Hilleman's warning, and for eight years government officials added seven more shots for children containing Thimerosal. In 1985, children were vaccinated for seven diseases. Now, that number is 16. That means children now endure about 37 separate vaccination encounters.

I recall the day that I delivered Cash and I was asked to sign a consent allowing the hospital to give him a Hep B shot. I was not aware of this whole issue and I unknowingly gave consent believing that this was the only and best option for my baby. However, upon researching a little further I discovered that Hepatitis B is contracted through the following ways: blood, semen, or from an infected mother.

Being that I was not an infected mother and that it is highly improbable that my son would have caught this disease any other way; I am not sure why it was necessary for him to get this shot. When I called the hospital to find out and inquired about this with his doctor, to my disappointment the answer I received was that it simply was part of the vaccination schedule. (Later, I discovered that many wait until the 2 or 4 mo period, but this was an option that I was unaware of)

And what about...

4. The one size fits all approach?-- One response to those children that were reported to be in good health prior to being vaccinated, but then suddenly developed autism after being vaccinated, is that these children were already predisposed to autism to begin with. Many believe this to be true but also believe that the stress of the vaccinations on the body can be a trigger that helps to turn on these genes.

Our children are all unique; shouldn't they be treated as individuals? What may present as no risks for one child may present enormous risks for another. What If certain children are genetically predisposed, then how do we know those that will have an adverse reaction to these vaccines and those that will not if we treat them with a one size fits all approach? These are the questions I've been asking myself lately.

Many other concerned parents will be joining Jenny Mc Carthy and Jim Carrey as they lead the Green Our Vaccines Rally in Washington today. Their goal is to urge government officials to reassess the current vaccine schedule and remove the toxic ingredients out of our vaccines! Click here for more details.

As for me, I am still researching and praying about what is best for our family and have already begun addressing my concerns with my pediatrician regarding the vaccination schedule and safety. I was somewhat relieved when she suggested an alternative vaccination schedule which would space out the number of shots given. So, instead of 5 shots given in one sitting, we would do two and then return in a month or two for the remaining shots.

As I prepare for the kids next round of shots (2yr, 4yr and 4mo) I am thoroughly researching this option. Here is a book by Dr.Sears which addresses this alternative vaccine schedule. In addition, here is some helpful information concerning Sears and his thoughts on alternative scheduling.

In the meantime, if you're unsure where you'll land, here are some additional tips I found on how to arm yourself: (Also, be sure to check out the links at the very bottom of this post including the Larry King interview with Jenny Mc Carthy and physicians.)


Arming Yourself
1.Make sure to ask your Physician for Thimerosal Free Vaccines.
2.Request singular viral or bacterial injections
3.Space injections out with at least 3wks in between
4.Excluding extenuating circumstances, begin vaccine protocol no earlier than one year old.
5.Many homeopathic or naturopathic doctors have found homeopathic nosodes to be a safe way to vaccinate. They are a dilution of the vaccine.
6.You can prepare your child’s body to handle the viral impact by giving him/her vitamin C and Bs prior.
7.Breast-fed babies have the advantage of colostrum for immune function

8.
Alternative Vaccine Schedule

Other informative Links:
1.
Jenny Mc Carthy-on Larry King


2.Robert Kennedy


4. IOM-- here

5.
Evidence of Harm-I hear this book is very informative

6. Dr. Sheri Tenpenny- I have not yet had a chance to view these but I heard Dr. Tenpenny's DVD series is also very informative as she covers each vaccine, what the CDC has to say about them and her medical opinion for each.

7. American Acadamy of Pediatrics- http://www.cispimmunize.org/ or http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/vaccinesafety-May08.htm

Monday, June 2, 2008

I LOVE Baby Wearing!

A friend of mine lent me her ring sling after the birth of my first baby and to my surprise, I loved it! I’ve been hooked ever since!

Not only does baby wearing promote parent child bonding and help to soothe baby, but it’s very practical and functional! A definite must have for mommies on the go (or mommies with small children)!

I am amazed at how easily baby falls asleep in these things! The sling has been a life saver on numerous occasions. Not only when shopping alone with the kids, but especially when juggling the kiddos at bedtime. I can pop baby in the sling and attend to the girls all at the same time!

While I loved the ring sling because it was great for nursing and could easily be adjusted to fit me or my husband (he’d only wear it around the house), I wanted something a little more lightweight and portable.

So, when we had baby number two I decided to purchase a Hot Sling. I was attracted to this sling not only because it was super stylish, but I loved the idea of being able to fold and tuck it away in my purse or diaper bag! It was light weight and very convenient. However, to my disappointment I soon discovered that it wasn’t very practical for nursing. This was a definite let down.

Needless to say, I have been shopping for slings again. This time I decided to try a wrap with baby number three! Though they look somewhat intimidating, wraps offer the same hands free convenience as slings and have a variety of different ways you can wear your baby inlcuding the front, hip and back! In addition, their great for nursing!


Here is the Gypsy Mama Balibaby Gauze I just purchased at The Sling Station. I also decided to try this water wrap as well. I know we will be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer (a place where I definitely need to be hands free). I can’t wait to try them both out!

I’ll be sure to follow up with my reviews. I'd love to hear your reviews of baby slings, wraps or carriers and your adventures in baby wearing!