Archive for March, 2011

Apple Thief Caught Red Handed

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Apples beware!  If you come to my house, you risk being gnawed at and hidden underneath a coffee table, chair, or pillow to wither away to nothing…

For the past few weeks, we’ve come across a variety of mutilated apple corpses hidden all around the house.  Some have their skin nibbled off.  Some have only the butt left – no seeds, no stem.  The rest of them have been generally nibbled and gnawed and left for me to find behind some chair or under a pillow.  The only culprit, based upon the tiny teeth marks, is my son and I couldn’t figure out how he was getting the apples from the fruit basket.

While feeding Evelyn one day, I happened to catch Oliver in the act!  He was oblivious to us and climbed on top of a Rubbermaid container to get to his treasure. 

What’s even funnier is that I have also found an orange with 4 little teeth marks scraped across the skin that he tried to eat and put it back in the basket. 

The best is the rotten banana that I threw away.  The banana had rotted from the middle outward.  Upon closer examination, he had bit clear through the skin with his upper teeth in the middle of the banana.  Not able to get the banana out, he put it back in the basket where it rotted from the bruising.

Our son is sneaky, sneaky! and too darned cute.  :-)

Feeding Baby First Solids

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

We started Evelyn on solids recently after she came through her 4 month checkup with flying colors.  The first session went pretty smoothly.  We offered her rice cereal thinned out with breast milk (you can also use formula).  I think she only ate a teaspoon worth the first time.  She swallowed a couple times, but mostly spit it out.  When she started getting cranky we stopped.  No need to rush things.  She still gets all her nutrients from milk at this point.

The Bumbo works great as a feeding chair.  It provides great support for her little body and she can hold her head quite well. 

Yum, yum,  yum, yum… fingers… This little one loves to chew on her fingers rather than a pacifier.  With every spoonful in went her little fingers to help mush things around.

Once she grabbed the spoon, dinner was over!  This little girl is quick! You have to always be on your toes around her.  We feed her a tablespoon every few days.  We can actually hear her swallowing cereal now, so we might increase the feedings.

There is a ton of literature out there about when to feed you baby solids.  For both of my babies I waited until they checked out okay with the pediatrician at their 4 month checkups.  The babies also showed an interest in what we were eating.  Evelyn follows every piece of food from my plate to my mouth with her eyes and smacks her lips all the way!  The kids also went through a growth spurt where all they wanted was food, food, food.  Offering a little rice cereal helped to fill them up.

We do NOT put cereal in their bottles, nor do we put them on a schedule to eat.  We will follow Evelyn’s lead until she builds up to eating it as a meal around 5-6 months.  We also will not introduce any other solid until 6 months.  There are so many food allergies floating around and one of the causes is introducing a type of food before their bodies can handle them.  What’s the rush anyways?  Trust me, soon enough they will be feeding themselves with real forks and spoons and you will miss these sweet, sloppy, and messy times.

SAHM one year anniversary

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Wow! It has officially been one year since I left my job to be a stay at home mom and a semi-regular blogger.  I traveled to yesteryear to refresh my memory on why I left the work force

I quote myself, “Instead of thinking of everything we will do without, we are thinking of everything we will gain – peace of mind about the baby, less stress, more sleep, more family time and more time to have a cleaner house and better meals.”  This was written without the knowledge that at that very moment, I was pregnant with Evelyn. 

Would things have been different if I had known?  Probably not.  My baby, Oliver, needed to be home with me.  I couldn’t take one more weekend of him being sick or another hospital visit.  (It’s funny that we are both sick right this moment as I type).  I did get more sleep, for a month or two at least, and we had loads of family time.  No more dinner in front of the TV and our clothes managed to get clean every week! 

I can’t say there was less stress.  Transitioning from being a career woman to a stay at home mom was difficult and has its challenges even today.  I give working moms a million kudos for being able to work and take care of your little ones and I give stay at home moms a million kudos for being able to work and take care of your little ones.  There have been times this past year where I have never worked harder in my life to keep the family going.  This must be why they say that you can’t truly appreciate your mother until you become one.  (I love you mom!)

And then there was this little blog that I started… Out of all the things I have written about can you guess what my top 3 posts are?  Make your own foaming handsoap, make your own liquid laundry detergent, and make your own powder laundry detergent!  I’ve pulled some data from this past year on the different things people are typing in search engines to come across my blog.  Soap, soap, and more soap wins hands down.  People find 2Pennies because they want to be clean, clean, clean!  What to do with Fels-Naptha, Kirk’s Castile, washing soda, and borax are repeat searches.  Foaming hand soap dispensers, clogs, and recipes are top searches.

Here are a few unique search engine queries:

thai basil plants fort walton beach
study of mandalas
blog on saving money on hunting clothes and equipment
pregnancy cheese
tvp dry lbs per cup
1lb of tvp is equal to how many cups
tvp conversion for 1lb of ground meat
roasted whole 6 lb chicken cooking time 400 degrees
can you roast a chicken upside down halfway through cooking
do melissa and doug toys sell at consignment sales
$12 banana box pallet
squeeze a booger out of lincoln noise
picture of rubbing pennies
napping breastfeeding

I don’t know how some of those people came to 2Pennies via those searches, but I hope I helped the rest!  I was tickled to see the TVP queries, as I had worked hard on the TVP conversions.

To celebrate 2Pennies2Rub’s anniversary, I am hosting a giveaway next month.  In honor of my most read post, I will be giving away a (wait for it…) – Suds Pump from Pampered Chef!  It’s a foaming hand soap dispenser with markings built in for the soap and water measurements. 

Clean on my friends and stay tuned for the giveaway in April!

Painting the Porch: Day 7

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

We have completed porch steps!  The hubby worked on the steps throughout the week after he got home from work.  He had the first step tacked in on Day 3 and on Day 4 a very annoying salesman broke it by using it as a launching pad to jump on our deck to sell us frozen meat.  Not only did he ruin our work, he rang the doorbell 3 times, opened our glass door and knocked 7 times on the main door.  Needless to say, 20 minutes into their naps my children woke up crying. 

Mental note: Hang a “No Solicitors” sign on the new porch.

No Solicitors. 

I do not want your meat, magazines, phone, cable, or satellite TV.  I do not want your insurance, home repair, religion, shrubberies, miracle spray, or vacuum cleaners.  If you have it and I want it, I will obnoxiously knock on your door to get it

Mail, package, and pizza delivery are welcome.

My hubby kept at it and finished the steps this morning.  He did salvage a few pieces of wood that were in good condition.  I get the rest of the old wood to frame my summer garden.

This time around, the steps are perfectly square and level.  They are also the same size and he used the proper screws to hold everything together. 

For the railing, he cut some spacers and used some handy clamps to hold everything together.  The clamps he bought at Harbor Freight with a coupon for $1.99 each.  A couple of quick screws in each rail and he finished before the rain started falling!

He raised the height of the rails to make them more functional.  You can also see how he scribed the bottom riser to fit the angle of the sidewalk.  Before, I had a big toothy gap at one end where the sidewalk tipped down.  The new staircase is strong, sturdy, and looks 100 times better than before – even without the paint! 

Here’s a reminder as to why the stairs had to be rebuilt in the first place…

Now! On to the painting!  Sigh…unfortunately, as I type, yellow pollen is swirling through the air and blanketing everything in sight.  From experience, there is no way that I will be able to paint until the pollen clears in a couple weeks.  Back to the garden we go…

Have you ever started a project only to have it derailed and turned into something much bigger?  Share your story with us in the comments below!

Spring is Here – Trips to Park

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Spring is here!  I try to get the kids to a local park at least twice a week to play.  We have a new community center in our neighborhood that has a really nice playground for the kids.  It’s all new construction and the ground around the play gym is made of squishy foam.  Oliver can run around to his hearts content and I’m not so scared of him hitting his head on the ground here.

The park has two play gyms, one for toddlers and one for kids 5 and up.  Oliver loves the older setup better.  It has bigger slides!

See the rubber ground?  No sand or wood chips to clean out of shoes and no scrapes or skinned knees.

The community center held a mini-camp for the kids who were tracked out of their year round schools.  Children in grades K-5 were all over the play area when we arrived.  Oliver had a blast “playing” with them.  A bunch of young girls took a liking to him and chased him all over the playground playing tag and peekaboo with him.  When the camp counselors called everyone in for lunch, Oliver marched right over there with them.  Since he’s so little he had to take the long way around down the ramp and the kids were calling out “Bye Oliver” to him.  It was too cute.

Thankfully, they were watering the plants that day and he got distracted from his friends by a hose.  Gotta love it!

Here’s a couple things to keep in mind when you go to public parks:

1- Don’t forget the sunscreen!
2- Don’t forget water, snacks, and wipes to clean their hands with.
3- Park equipment gets EXTREMELY hot!  Especially the slides.
4- Leave your valuables locked in your car.  Some parks are very busy and nimble fingers can pluck your wallet right out of your diaper bag when you leave it sitting on the bench while you chase your kid for just that one minute.
5- Pay attention to the age limits on the equipment.  Oliver loves the 5+ play gym, but I only let him play there when I can get up there with him.  It looks safe enough with it’s big platforms, bridges, railings, and slides, but at strategic points they have zero rails so that big kids can slide down poles and swing off onto monkey bars, etc…  A 4 ft drop for a big kid might be okay, but would be very bad for Oliver.

Lastly, use common sense and trust your instincts when it comes to your personal safety at the park.  My mom made me promise not to go to the park a few streets over from our house when it was empty.  The park is very big, secluded, and slightly run down.  If something bad were to happen to us (an injury, a dog attack, a robbery, an assault), there would be no people to flag down.  Look for parks that have wide open spaces, people visiting, have community centers, are well maintained, and easy access to parking.  Those are the places where we have the most fun!

How to Cut Hair with a Weedwhacker

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

No, I didn’t really cut my son’s hair with a weed whacker – though it looks like it from most angles… Normally, I cut his hair with scissors.  Lately, he has been screaming bloody murder when I get near him with the scissors.  Oliver doesn’t seem to mind the electric clippers though, after watching Daddy cut his own hair with them.

This was my son 2 days ago.

This is only half the hair we ended up cutting.  I probably should have stopped at this point!

This is the after!  He wouldn’t let me get near his ears with the trimmer, so I’ll have to go clean those up with the scissors after he stops having nightmares.  The top is 1 inch long and the rest is 1/2 an inch. 

The hubby was shocked and a bit horrified from the sound of his voice when he saw the pic I sent him at work.  He says it makes Oliver look like a Vulcan.  He then asked me not to cut Evelyn’s hair…

I think that after a few days it will look just fine… I must say that it is much cooler for him now that the temps are rising.  The poor guy was always sweating with the mop from before.  As he grows, I might bring him to get it professionally cut someday, or maybe for a special event like his birthday.  Otherwise, this is the 7th trim I’ve given him since he’s been born.  That’s $175+ in our pockets.  With all that money saved, I can buy him a baseball cap to wear until his hair grows out a bit!  :-)

I can’t be the only one doing home haircuts out there!  Anyone have a hair raising story they want to share? 

Spring Garden Ready to Grow

Monday, March 21st, 2011

It’s official! The garden is in and ready to grow.  :-) I’ve planted sugar snap peas, green onions, yellow onions, arugula, green leaf lettuce, and 2 different salad mixes.

The sugar snap peas had been going strong for a week before I planted the rest of the seeds.  All I needed to do to sow the seeds was to loosen up the soil with my rake.  Most of the seeds only needed to be planted at a 1/4″ depth. 

After raking over the soil, I broadcast the seeds over 3 foot sections.  Then I used my hand to smooth out the dirt to cover the seeds and to pat it down.  A quick watering from a watering can and we were all set.

After a week, we have new sprouts!  You can see how well my peas are doing in the background.

Next weekend I’ll have to start thinning out my peas.  I may even thin out the rest of my plants while they are still small.  The best part is that the hard work is over.  Now I’ll turn on my soaker hose twice a week, weed the bed, thin the plants, and wait for harvest time!

Painting the Porch: Day Two

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

After breakfast, the hubby went outside to cut new stringers, and support pieces.  To save money, we disassembled the steps to reuse as much good wood as we could.  We were also salvaging the posts.

Seven hours later, we still don’t have steps.  My hubby is thoroughly frustrated at this point and after a few more hours we call it a night.

Why is it so hard to rebuild the steps? Well, the original porch steps were not built systematically.  Each step was built as a separate unit.  They weren’t all precisely square or level, and the treads were even different depths with varying overhang on the risers.  I know this because I rebuilt the steps when I bought the house in 2000 (your welcome honey).

This all leads us to the big problem.  How do you reuse wood from the “flawed” original project and build stairs correctly the second time around.  The obvious answer is to go buy new wood and start from scratch.  We’ve already spent 65 bucks and it would probably cost another 65 to replace the rest of the wood.

We are giving it one more day to see if we can get the mismatched salvaged wood to work.  Meanwhile, we’ll keep tramping through the backyard to get to the car…

Painting the Porch: Day One

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

After nearly 3 years of being pregnant and birthing babies, we are finally getting around to taking care of our house.  As you can see, it sorely needs it.  This is a pic of a rail on our front porch.  If you think this is bad, you should see our chimney!  The wasps, squirrels, and woodpeckers have done a number on it over the past few years.

We borrowed a power washer from a friend and blasted the heck out of our porch.  We cleaned off all the mold and managed to remove most of the peeling paint.  We bought industrial strength paint stripper to tackle the rest and then we hit a big roadblock…

Rotted wood.  One of the stringers was rotted from the bottom up.  This explained why the stairs were so wobbly of late.  There was no way we would be able to paint over this.

So our painting project turned into a replace the stringer project, which entailed dismantling the entire front porch steps.

“What’s all the racket??? I’m trying to play with my trains!” says my son.

Daddy’s little helper!  Oliver picked up his daddy’s tools and proceeded to help him out by dropping them through the spindles and into a bush in the side yard.  That’s my boy!

We ended day one with a clean porch, clean gutters, and a clean planter box, but no porch steps.  The hubby went to Lowe’s to buy replacement wood to build a new stringer and to replace a couple rotted treads.

Laughing Baby

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

My youngest is 4 months old now and has started laughing.  It’s such a sweet little laugh, more like a chuckle.

She laughs the most at my son.  He is 22 months old and is starting to play with her more often.  He loves swinging her in her chair and she just laughs and laughs.  Whenever he is around she lights up.

I can sit for hours trying to make my kids laugh.  It’s the sweetest sound in the world!

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

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