Archive for February, 2011

Sound Off: Dig, dig, dig

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Brrr… it’s both hot and cold today!  The temps were in the 60s, but the wind made it feel much colder.  Evelyn got to wear her teddy bear hat out and about in the yard. 

We’ve been busy, busy around here.  Our close friends are having a baby any day now and we will be watching their toddler while they are in the hospital.  We’ve been preparing for the sleep over as much as they’ve been preparing for their new baby!  I feel like we are all on the babywatch together as we wait for the newest little one.

We’ve also kicked our gardening plans into high gear this weekend.  The hubby has been having fun with the chain saw.  R.I.P. my dear chestnut tree…  Tomorrow we will break ground on the spring garden.  We went to Lowes and Home Depot today to buy some bushes to plant and some seed starting supplies and they had zip!  Whad-up with that?  They said we were 2 weeks too early.  I told them to consult the Farmer’s Almanac and get with the program.

We are also building a 2 tier light tray in our dining room for my seedlings this weekend.  We’ll be posting a tutorial on that next week if you want to build your own.  Oh yeah – I just found out in the blogosphere that all my “how to” posts and “do it yourself” posts should be called “tutorials”, because I am actually teaching you how to do something.  That seems to be the correct blogging lingo and I’ll probably go back and re-name some previous posts.  Seriously, how to string cherios will now be a tutorial…

Next week will be green week for 2pennies – all about growing stuff indoors and out: light trays, starting seeds, digging gardens, laying soaker hoses, planting the spring crop, trimming and planting shrubberies, etc… 

Do you have a green thumb?  Tell me some of the things you will be growing this year.

Cradle Cap Treatment

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

“Say what?!? I have dandruff?”  Actually, it’s called cradle cap.  Evelyn gets scaly, flaky skin on her scalp from time to time.  The docs say its harmless and is caused be a buildup of dead skin cells.  The cells get gunked up by her natural oils, which cause them to stick to her head in scaly patches instead of slough off.  Ewwww….

We went through this with Oliver too.  The doc guesses it doesn’t help that both my babies have a full head of hair, which helps to trap the dead skin.  Of course, the condition is harmless unless you are a freak like me who can’t stop picking at the flakes on her head. 

One quick fix I discovered with Oliver is to rub olive oil into the baby’s scalp and let set for a few minutes to soften the scales.  Next, use a baby brush and gently brush the scalp in small circular motions to loosen the dead skin.  Finally, give the head a good washing with some baby wash or shampoo and gently brush the scalp again to get rid of all the olive oil.

The cradle cap usually disappears with one olive oil treatment, sometimes two for severe cases.  As a bonus, her hair and skin were silky smooth – and she smelled like a salad!

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Meet The Baby Party – A celebration of life

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

My little froggy is 3 months old!  This past weekend we had her coming out party and invited friends and family over to meet her.

She was a trooper for the party.  She went from person to person and smiled and cooed at everyone.   She is such a little flirt!

Oliver liked having everyone over, especially his little buddy.  I’ll have to get permission from his folks before I post a pic of him, but Oliver and his friend are so adorable.  They bring out the best in each other.  His friend was eating raw veggies and for the first time ever, Oliver wanted to eat raw veggies too!  He ate an entire bowl.  :-)

When Oliver was 3 months, we also had a meet the baby party.  It wasn’t until Evelyn that I realized these parties are becoming popular and that there are so many questions floating around on the internet.  Should I have a baby shower or a meet the baby party?  Should we throw it ourselves or does someone host it for us?  When is the proper time to have one-  2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, etc…?  Should people bring gifts?  What do we serve?  Who do we invite – men, women, children?

Let me clear a few things  up – you are inviting people to come meet your baby – you do it any way you want to, simple as that!  You are the hosts of your party (it’s your kid after all), you decide when you are ready to have guests and when your baby is strong enough.  If you want gifts or not, that is up to you to specify on the invite.  Some people are skipping the baby shower all together and create a registry for the meet the baby party.  Others specify that presents are optional or not necessary.  You serve what you are up to serving.  If you love cooking, whip up some gourmet appetizers.  If you work full-time, have two kids, and are busy, busy, set out a veggie tray, chips and dip, and sodas.  You invite whoever you want to meet your baby, whether it’s men, women, familes, etc…

For us, we chose 3 months for both the kids.  At 3 months, they are healthy and strong.  Their sleep and eating schedules have settled down and become somewhat predictable.  Their immune systems have toughened up and their little heads aren’t so floppy.  At 3 months, mommy and daddy have somewhat recovered from new baby craziness and the house is somewhat clean again.  Presents were not necessary for us and we served up a simple fare of chips, dip, veggies, brownies, soda, and water.  The party was scheduled from 3-5pm and lasted until 6pm.  We kept it simple and everyone had a great time.  Oliver had an awesome playdate and Evelyn got to charm everyone.  What more could you ask for?

If you are having a baby, you might want to think about throwing your own party.  It’s nice for the people in your life to get a chance to meet your little bundle of joy and you get a chance to be the proud parent.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 14th, 2011

I told my hubby that I loved him and he shined my shoes.  That was our Valentine’s Day.  We also ordered Chinese food so I wouldn’t have to cook and clean the kitchen.  Oliver made his daddy a card that he managed to sneak into daddy’s workbag with mommy’s help.  Evelyn’s present was to sleep through dinner so we could eat in peace. 

Are we Valentine grinches?  Do we shun the flowers/chocolate/ jewelry, because we are trying to be frugal?  I think it’s a mix of both.  There are already enough days in the year when we spend money on each other – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and mother’s/father’s day.  We are burnt out on the obligatory holidays.  Another large part of our grinchiness is our new lifestyle.  With so much of our lives revolving around our babies we feel guilty taking time or spending money on ourselves. 

Of course, people will bombard me with hundreds of “you don’t need to spend money to show someone you love them” comments.  To that I say, you also don’t need to wait for that one day a year to show them you love them.  If love is free, then show it every day.

Our V-day might not have been fancy, but it was not without romance.  I told my hubby I loved him by scrawling it on these huge white boards we installed in our hallway so he would see it when he walked by.  On the other hand, he spent over an hour restoring my favorite ugly, but oh so comfy, shoes that he sees me wear all the time.  It was perfect…

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day too!

February Yardwork: Trimming bushes and trees

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

According to Gardening in the Carolinas, it is time to whack back our shrubberies and trees.  It was a blustery day with temps in the 50s.  The entire family bundled up and went outside for some sun and a lot of fresh air.

The hubby did most the whacking and I got sidetracked playing with the kiddos.

OMG! He is adorable!  I’m sure the hubby could have used a hand cutting off a 30 foot limb while standing on a ladder using a bow saw, but look at those eyes!  Who could walk away from this?

And if her brother wasn’t cute enough, Evelyn kept cooing at me.  She didn’t like the wind too much, but loved staring at the bushes and trees.

We put Oliver to work hauling branches.  This lasted all of 10 minutes until he figured out it wasn’t a game after all!

Here’s the hubby struggling with that limb.  Needless to say, the day ended with him going to buy a chainsaw.  There are times to be frugal and save the money, but then there are times to be safe and do the job right.

Oliver can’t wait to see how everything looks after we finish with the trimming tomorrow.

Have you started working outside in preparation for spring?  Depending on your climate and what zone you live in, you might need to get outside right now to trim back your bushes and trees before they start to bud.  Check out a local gardening book from the library or search the internet to find out what should be trimmed and when.  For us, our legustrum bushes, holly, and trees need to go now.  Our azaleas have to wait until AFTER they bloom in the spring since the flowers grow on last years branches.

More on this landscaping project to come…

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Easy Valentine Cards

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

For a quick, easy, and inexpensive project, turn your kid’s art into a Valentine card. 

I taped down some drawing paper to our table and let Oliver have at it with crayons and his paint set.

He took his work very seriously and only sucked on the paintbrushes once!

My little Picasso!

Next I took a cookie cutter and traced out some hearts over some particularly choice scribbles.

I cut out the hearts, glued them onto some red construction paper and outlined them with a black marker.

I used some nifty scissors to cut a cool border around the heart.  You can buy scissors like these in the craft section of Walmart, Michaels, and AC Moore normally for a buck a piece.

I then glued the heart onto some plain paper and personalized it for Oliver.  Think Daddy will like?

For Evelyn, I glued her wallet size 9 week old baby pictures onto a red frame that I cut out.  I glued that to some plain paper and stamped a flourish on with ink.  I had sized the Valentine to fit into a legal size envelope and then I mailed them out ala photocard style.

A friend of mine sent me a link for a cute peekaboo Valentine that she made with her daughter.  I might have to make this just because it’s adorable!

For another idea, check out these very easy fingerprint “Bee” Valentine cards at the Frugal Family Fun Blog.  When the kids are old enough to pass out Valentines to friends, these will be the first on my list to make.

Frugal Food: Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I must confess.  Chocolate covered pretzels is one of the easiest, quickest, and tastiest ways to show someone you care.  When I say easy, I mean E-A-S-Y!  It’s chocolate and pretzels.  That’s it.  The bag of pretzels cost $1.50 and the chocolate was $2.50.  I made about 150 pretzel treats, but could have made more.

Toss some of these in a parchment lined box or into a ribbon tied cellophane bag and give them to your favorite person (that is if you can avoid eating them all before wrapping them).  For that person in your life who is too “manly” to receive a box of chocolates, give them some of these savory sweet bites.  I brought in a bowl of these pretzels to a Christmas office party one year and they were gone within 15 minutes. 

I’m not going to list a recipe for how to make a chocolate covered pretzel – it’s chocolate and a pretzel.  However, I will give you some tips from my experience and some ideas for you to try at home.

Things you will need:  Chocolate Candy Coating, a bag of pretzels (I like the small ones), wax or parchment paper, a spoon/fork.

Things that are helpful: Wooden skewers, white chocolate morsels for decoration.

Start with a pound of Candy Coating.  The one that I bought came with a microwave safe tray to melt the chocolate in.  I prefer the double boiler method – put the chocolate in a metal bowl and set that bowl over a pot with 2 inches of simmering water.  Stir the chocolate a few times until it melts. 

One way to coat a pretzel is to do it one at a time.  Scoop some chocolate onto a plate and press the pretzel into it.  Flip the pretzel with a skewer and do the other side.  This will get the job done, but come on… I said this would be E-A-S-Y didn’t I?  You’d be there all day if you did a bag of pretzels this way.

The preferred method to crank out chocolatey goodness is to dump a handful of pretzels in the chocolate and then fish them out with a skewer.  Let them drip a few seconds and then transfer them to wax paper.

Here’s a trick I learned.  When you fish them out of the chocolate, the small pretzel holes will usually be globbed up with chocolate.  Pick a designated dumping spot on your wax paper and drop your pretzel there.  Immediately, pick it back up and move it to a clean spot to harden.  The extra chocolate sticks to the wax paper and you get a nicely coated pretzel.

For variation, I also like to coat just one side to cut down on the choco-overload.  Scoop some chocolate onto a plate or right on the wax paper.  Press the pretzel in, lift off with a skewer and place upside down to dry.

Even better yet, lay a bunch of pretzels out and drizzle chocolate from a spoon held high over the paper.  This really gives you a nice combination of salty, sweet, and crunchy (and it’s even EASIER than the other methods).

If you want to add that oh so special something extra, melt some white chocolate chips in the microwave to use for decoration.  Follow the instructions on the package precisely or you will get the chalky mess on the left instead of the liquid goodness on the right.

I like to decorate 1/2 of my pretzels and leave the other half plain old chocolate.  I think it adds a certain “pop” to the presentation and everyone else thinks you are a genius.  Mums the word here.

As a gift, I like to mix up all the methods and give them a variety to taste.  Couldn’t be easier, tastier, or more addictive!

Sound Off: What’s Cooking?

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

This has been a tough week for us.  Evelyn has been having difficulties with late night feedings and I’ve been up until all hours of the night, every night, soothing her.  I think I’ve narrowed it down to an increase in my caffeine intake last week that might be bothering her.  It’s a vicious cycle. I get little sleep while taking care of her and drink 3-4 cups of coffee the next day to take care of Oliver.  Being a mother is very similar to being a precariously balanced tight-rope walker in my opinion.

On the blog side of things, I’ve joined “Project 52: Glimpses into Motherhood” through a blog that I regularly follow called, Simply Modern Mom.  I’m going to try to submit a post every week to her site and share my family and my little blog.  It will be a fun challenge for me.

Today is the superbowl and I ate all my Con Queso dip last week!  (did you make some for your party today?)  We aren’t football people anymore and I plan to sleep as much as possible.  I don’t even know who is playing or where.  All I know is that I wish I did have a party so I’d have an excuse to cook more dip…

Valentine’s day is coming up!  What are you getting your sweetie?  Instead of buy – why not make?  I’m going to have some posts on sweet things you can do for your someone special throughout the week. 

When I’m not cooking up some ideas for V-day, I’ll be planning my spring and summer garden.  The hubby will be tilling up the ground soon for my sugar snap peas and lettuce.  I’ll need to start my summer plants indoors in a few weeks as well.  We are busy, busy bees around here.  From one of my favorite movies, Airplane, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking (caffeine that is).”

Family Fun: Night Out at the Kids Discovery Center

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

I was feeling like a hundred bucks last night.  The hubby came home early, I had grilled a fantastic pork tenderloin for dinner, and we all went out for late night fun at our local kid’s discovery center, Marbles.  The first Friday of every month they are open until 8pm.

Oliver always starts out at the train table.  That kid loves wooden trains.

We went upstairs for some fun in Moneypalooza.  Daddy was a big help keeping tabs on Oliver in the money pit.  Marbles’ upstairs is designed for slightly older kids and Oliver only gets to go up when there are 2 of us to supervise.

Evelyn thought most of the trip was a big yawn…

The boys had fun making cars and racing them down the track.  Daddy had fun building them, and Oliver had fun chasing them!

The ladies left the men to their wheels and went to play in the baby area.

She got to practice her tummy time on the soft mats.

She loved staring into all the mirrors there.  She kept smiling at the “other” baby looking back at her.

All in all, it was a great night and we vowed to go as a family every first Friday of the month.  I think Oliver really liked having his daddy there and Evelyn got to spend some time in her own space. 

The total cost to us?  $0.00  Technically, it probably cost us a buck or two due to the fact that we paid for a $100 year long membership.  Being that each visit costs $5 per person, $100 is a steal of a deal if you are a frequent visitor.  With the exception of a few missed weeks when Evelyn was born, Oliver and I go every week.  Throw in the hubby on occasion and we have a savings of at least $410 for our family.

Many large cities have a kid’s discovery or science center, or museum.  Give them a visit for some safe, age-appropriate, and relatively inexpensive family fun.

Cheerio Necklace: No fuss, no muss snack.

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Cheerios on a string

Want an easy way to blow your toddler’s mind one day?  Pull out a Cheerio necklace and let him or her have at it! 

After Oliver dumped an entire sandwhich bag of Cheerios on the grocery store floor, I knew there had to be a better way to give him a snack while shopping.  Since Cheerios are such a low cost snack, I decided to stick with those.  How to deliver?  I remembered those candy necklaces from days of yore and voila!  I had a winner!

 Start with a 30inch length of kitchen twine or butcher’s string.

Tape one end to a wooden skewer, winding the tape down the skewer 1-2 inches.  Overlap slightly, but don’t bulk up on the tape in any one spot.

 Tie a Cheerio about 5 inches from the end to anchor the necklace with a single knot.  This will keep the Cheerios from sliding off the string.  You will want to untie this when you are done with the necklace.

Start threading Cheerios.  One for the skewer, two for the mommy, one for the skewer, two for the mommy… I use a mix of Cheerios and Apple Jacks.  You can use whatever O-shaped cereal you desire.

Using a wooden skewer makes the threading go by super fast.  You can also use a toothpick as a makeshift needle, but it will take longer. 

 When the skewer is full simply slide them off onto the string.  Our necklace uses 3 skewers worth of cereal.

 When you are satisfied with the amount of cereal on the string, untie the anchor, and double knot your necklace closed.  Leave at least 5 or 6 inches bare so you won’t have cereal rubbing on the back of the kiddie’s neck.

 While you are at it, make a couple more and seal them in ziploc baggies.  Throw a couple in your purse or diaper bag and you will be ready with an instant no-mess, no-fuss treat.

Oliver’s treat kept him busy for well over 6 grocery store aisles, including the produce, bakery, and meat sections!  He was so busy nibbling away he didn’t look up once.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

 Subscribe in a reader