Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Privacy please?

I saw this quote last night on Pinterest (my new favorite addiction by the way!). 

This quote really does sum up my life right now.  This is something you NEVER think about before you have kids.  The fact that once you do have them, you have little to no privacy unless they are passed out in bed, and even then it might not be true LOL!   I never used to really get it when I just had Brooke around.  A lot of people would make reference to this "not peeing alone" business and I would just smile and nod.  Brooke always played well alone and I never had to worry about her bothering me in the bathroom.  Plus we had many bathrooms so if I needed privacy I would just go to a different one.

Then I moved to a house with just one bathroom.  All four of us share it.  Now this hasn't been as bad as I had envisioned, its certainly tight quarters.  So needless to say, all bathroom privacy is GONE.  Madeline can't be left alone for a second, and her ninja skills also make it her mission to get into the bathroom and pick up the toilet brush before you can even blink!  It's like she thinks the bathroom is Disneyland and she just can't wait to run in there and explore!

Even when I am showering (when Madeline is asleep of course) I have to leave the door unlocked in case Brooke has to go to the bathroom.  Well this is the downfall of all privacy needs.  You tell a 4 year old "only come in if there is an emergency or if you have to use the bathroom and let me have my privacy while I shower".  The 4 year old hears "please come in every five seconds to tell me something and interrupt my shower".

This is how my shower went the other day.

I hear the door open first.

 me:  What do you need Brooke?
Brooke:  can you button the back of my nightgown?
me:  Brooke is this an emergency?
Brooke:  No
me:  okay I will button it when I am not wet in the shower.  Please leave.

2 minutes later the door opens again.

me:  Brooke what do you need?
Brooke:  mom I think there is a giant black jumping bug in my room.
me:  I will look at it when I am out.
Brooke:  okay but what if it attacks me?
me:  it won't.  go in the playroom until I am done.

2 minutes later she is back again

me:  Brooke I really need privacy
Brooke:  I love you mom.
(great now I feel guilty for being annoyed)
me:  I love you too can you please leave  the bathroom?

She returns yet AGAIN

me:  Brooke is it an emergency???
Brooke:  yes mom I have to go to the bathroom.

Of course you do. 

Ironically whenever Brooke is in the bathroom and I walk in she proclaims:  MOM, I need some privacy please?!   I guess its not a two way street :) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I recently joined Swagbucks thanks to a friend who invited me.  It's a way to earn free money for basically just using their site.  Normally I am sort of cautious about these kinds of sites since there is usually a catch, but there isn't with this one ! You can earn points by using their search engine, filling out surveys, taking polls, etc.  I am home all day with internet access so its been a great way for me to kill some time and earn "swagbucks".  You also know that I am all about finding bargains and never paying full price for anything! 

You can redeem your swagbucks for gift cards or other prizes.  I have made it my goal to earn enough gift cards to at least cover 50% of Christmas gifts for this year.  I would love to cover it all, but I figured that would be overly ambitious for now LOL.  I will keep you all updated on this goal, but it would be pretty awesome to not pay anything for Christmas gifts which is usually a huge chunk out of our budget (on top of airfare and traveling!).

In almost 3 weeks I have earned $15 in gift cards.  It might not be a lot, but it was more money than I had 3 weeks ago :)  If you want to sign up for Swagbucks and give it a try you can click HERE.  I also put a link in the side bar to the left.   I can help you get started.  Once you get used to it you figure out the easiest ways to earn swagbucks and redeem them for prizes!  Good luck! 

The Hurricane Jackpot

Last week I was preparing for my family to come visit AND a hurricane.  My family never made it, but Hurricane Irene did. 

Living on the east coast for almost 10 years now, I have never experienced a hurricane.  Once when we lived in GA the remnants of a hurricane hit us, but it was just a ton of rain/ flooding.  We didn't have to prepare for it if that makes sense. 

This was a completely different experience.  I spent 3 days shopping/preparing for this.  I still thought I was going to have a house full of people so I had to buy extra supplies and food in case we lost power for a period of time.   According to the projections we were going to be very close to a direct hit here in New York so I didn't want to be unprepared.

Well come Friday night my parents flight was canceled so then the rest of my family decided (and I encouraged) to stay home too.  It was just too risky in case we were hit hard. 

Waiting for the storm was the worst I think.  Saturday we were pretty much ready and just had to wait.  I put the kids to bed early anticipating they would be up with us in the night.  The winds started around 10pm, our power flickered by 10:30. I took this as a bad sign LOL.  Curtis and I decided to stay up since we would have to move the kids if things got bad.  Around 1:30 a.m. the winds picked up a lot.  We prepped the downstairs for the kids to come down.  We moved Brooke first and she thought it was awesome that we were having a campout.  Then we got Madeline up who was WILD.  She was body slamming Brooke on the air mattress, running around the room, etc.  We let the kids play until about 3am and then put Madeline to bed in the hallway.  Brooke decided to stay up to see when the power was going to go out.  Around 5am we all were dozing off and on.  Around 7:30 we got up and I really could not believe we still had power! 

We have so many trees around our house.  Two fell last month when no storm was happening so we figured it was a given that we would lose a tree or two.  Around 8:30 the eye of the storm passed and the winds got stronger.  Power flickered some more but never went out!  By 10:00 in the morning it started to calm down, but really we had major winds until 10:00 p.m. that night!  Longest storm ever!

We lucked out.  We had no damage from the storm, were one of a few blocks left in our neighborhood with power, and never even had to use one hurricane supply I had purchased.  At least I know I am set for the next major disaster (which hopefully never happens). We had a lot of debris in the yard but that was the worst of our hurricane experience. 

My family is already rescheduling their trip, but I think that was the hardest part.  We watched the storm closely, hoped they would make it, but there was nothing we could do.  Mother nature had another plan.  This was definitely an experience we will never forget!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Great Escape

The Ninja is at it again.  This time, we had to get serious.

Yesterday I put Madeline down for what I prayed would be a second nap of the day.  I was downstairs on the computer and had my video monitor on.  Let me remind you that the video monitor had to be purchased after she got her leg stuck in the crib and I had to vaseline her leg out of it.   Anyways, after she fussed for a while I started to hear her scream so I turned the camera on and see this:  Madeline in the corner of the crib with an arm on each side, and BOTH legs on the top of the crib.  She was still on the inside somewhat, but definitely on her way out. 

I have never run so fast in my LIFE.  I ran up to her room and grabbed her before she let go and plunged down onto the hard wood floor.  I put her down again and watched her try to get out two more times before I gave up.  I got her up and Curtis' watched the girls while I ran to Buy Buy Baby to buy a crib tent.   Yes, at 16 months old my daughter needs a tent permanently attached to her crib to keep her in.

Let me just say that the crib tent was harder to assemble than the actual crib!  Curtis and I almost had an assembly divorce (a divorce that occurs while a couple is assembling some type of household product, especially ones for the kids).  $70 and an hour later we had this:

In case you need to buy one, this is the model we got for convertible cribs:  Crib Tent

I can't offer a review just yet as we have only used it for a day, but I am loving it.  The netting goes all the way down to the bottom of the crib so she can't throw anything out!!!  She went to sleep super fast and woke up later (well woke me up later) this morning!  I am thinking its because she can't throw her pacifiers and lovey out and scream 20 times a night.  Hopefully this tent holds up until she is ready for a bed! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Madeline at 16 months and a Brooke quote

I am a horrible mother and have no pictures of my kids.  I do have some phone videos but am still learning how to get them HERE.  We've been busy disinfecting the house and all of our belongings.  I will take pics this week hopefully!

Anyways, Madeline has two new words she says very clearly:  Mess and Nice.  It's the cutest thing ever.  It is not so cute when she is throwing her goldfish on the floor of Gymboree and shouting MESS though.  She is also saying Big Bird, Elmo, juice, snack, milk, sit down, get down, night night, various animal sounds, etc.  She is quite the talker.  I guess she wants to keep up with her sister who never shuts up :)

She continues to be a spitfire getting two separate mouth injuries this week and earned herself her SECOND trip to the dentist for teeth injuries.  The child is nuts.  She can climb on the couch all by herself and get down.  Her main goal right now is to somehow get whatever Brooke has.  I can see this Christmas being the year of doubles so there is not any fighting!

Madeline has also mastered the art of hair pulling.  As if Brooke didn't have enough hair issues, Madeline pulled a giant chunk of Brooke's hair out yesterday.  Thankfully Brooke is still nice enough not to fight back, but I know its only a matter of time before she has had enough! 

Here is a fun Brooke quote from yesterday:  We were driving home and she was looking at the window and says "See those white fluffy clouds mom?  Those are cumulus clouds.  And the gray ones are cumulonimbo".  Yes, close enough smarty pants :)

Meal plans week of August 14th

Due to the craziness of our house last week, my meal planning has been way off.  Some things got pushed to this week and some meals just did not happen.  So here is my extended plan for this week and next.

Sunday:  Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and green beans on the side
Monday:  Frozen Pizza
Tuesday:  Grilled Steak, salad, and risotto cakes
Wednesday:  Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
Thursday:  Leftovers
Friday:  Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork (new one I am trying!)
Saturday:  Crispy Chicken and Bowtie Pasta 
Sunday:Rachel Ray's Vodka Pasta with salad and Bread
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Pizza

Friday, August 12, 2011

What's Grosser than Gross?

What's Grosser than Gross?

Brooke has lice.

Oh and I do too. 

Yes.  I am coming clean.  We have lice.  And its pretty gross.  I would say this even surpasses vomit.  I would rather have vomit.

Poor Brooke has been complaining that her head itches for quite sometime.  Curtis and I blew it off. I swear she just had an anxiety problem and we got onto her about stopping the scratching, etc.

I checked her head 1000x for bugs or lice.  Seriously.  Once I found something that looked like a gnat so I brushed it off.  I saw nothing else.

Then last week, my head started to itch.  It was like my scalp was on fire.  I bought some Head and Shoulders thinking I just had a dry scalp and it did nothing.

Yesterday morning I started putting Brooke itching with my itching together and decided to look at her head one more time.  That's when I found the bastards.  After pulling 3 or 4 out, I did what any mother would do.  First I placed a frantic call to my husband.  He was with a coworker so he calmly said "we will get it handled, don't worry".  This made me laugh but also furious because I was envisioning a lice filled party on my head and was freaking out!  Oh  my God I had lice too.  I called the pediatrician who said to go buy something over the counter, so that's what I did.  I bought every single lice product I could find.

After giving Brooke the 2.5 hour shampoo and comb out, I then had to start on washing everything we own.  Joy.  Like I already didn't have enough laundry that I couldn't get done.  Last night Curtis got the job of giving me my treatment.  He looked at my head over and over and told me he saw nothing and didn't think I had it.  I KNEW I did.  I told him to treat me anyways.  I will spare the details, but yes there was a small village of lice living on me.   He was a good sport but men just don't know how to deal with female hair.  I screamed at least 10 times LOL!

So now we begin the process of fighting off the lice.  Combing, vacuuming, washing, repeat!  I guess I will let you all know in 10 days if we are lice free. If not, I am calling the professional lice ladies to come in.  Yes, this is an actual job that I had no idea existed until yesterday.  They charge $200 an hour, but they deserve it. 

I took Brooke to Toys R Us to let her pick out a gift for the ordeal she has been through.  The beauty of taking a 4 year old to that store and saying "pick out whatever you want" is that she chose a $7 tea seat and a $4 pony.  LOL!

Madeline and Curtis have been spared. I am so glad because there is no time to comb another head in this house right now!  At least its the summer and I didn't have to call school to tell them my child has lice :) 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meal Plans week of August 7th

Sunday:  Date Night
Monday:  Chili in the crockpot with cornbread
Tuesday:  Tangy Grilled Pork Tenderloin with salad and veggies
Wednesday:  Honey Lime Enchiladas with Spanish Rice
Thursday:  Home made Mac N Cheese with ham and green beans on the side
Friday:  Leftovers
Saturday:  Concert!  Kids having pizza :)

If you must make something, TRY the Honey Lime Enchiladas!  They are my new favorite recipe.  So so so so good!

Sippy Cup Review

Due to our hellish experience of finding a sippy cup Madeline would actually use, I am providing this review to hopefully save some of you from wasting as much money as I did.

Let me preface this by stating that Madeline was not in love with her bottle by any means.  She hardly drank out of that either.  I guess she was just super slow in coming around to the cup, thus causing me to spend probably $100 on cups.

First up we have the Munchkin first cup.  This is a good cup for babies in that they can bite and chew on it and get some liquid out.  It is NOT good for preventing spills.  Madeline quickly learned how to shake and press down on the spout so it spilled everywhere.  We didn't use these often and tossed them.  

Next we tried the original cup that I used with Brooke:  The Playtex First Sipster.  LOVE this cup.  They do have to suck on it to get liquid out, but it does not spill and is a very sturdy cup.  Took Madeline a while to warm up to it, but we are still using it!  I would recommend this cup.

Next we tried the Dr.Brown's cup.  I liked this because the spout is tiny.  Madeline had issues with giant fat spouts so this one was good.  Another bonus is that it has ounces marked on the side so you can actually see how much they are drinking.  This was critical for me since she was drinking almost nothing for a lot time.

I then decided we needed to try a straw cup.  I bought the Playtex Grip n Go first straw.  At first I thought these were great because you can squeeze the middle of the cup and it pushes some liquid out of the straw to help them suck.  However, this same mechanism somehow causes pressure in the cup so when you put it down the liquid will just start pouring out of the top.  Tossed this cup as well for that reason only.  I have enough to clean up!

I then wanted to try a Gerber cup.  Brooke loved these so I bought the Gerber Sip N Smile.  I would say these are horrible for early sippy cup drinkers.  I even had a hard time sucking out of it!  Now at 15 months old this is one of my favorite cups for Madeline, but under 12 months she could not get anything out of it. 

I then went a different route and bought cups that were not out when Brooke was little.  Tommee Tippee is new to me so I decided to try their Closer to Nature cup.  It has a soft spout but they actually have to suck out of it to get liquid.  My favorite again is the ounces marked on the side to track it!  They are easy to clean since they don't have a multiple parts and very light and easy to hold.  One of our favorites!

I liked that cup so much that I bought the bigger version which we also love!  They only spill if you throw them (and Madeline is a little rougher than most...).  It's the Tommee Tippee Explorer First Sippee.

Okay we still have a few more to go :)  These we have had forever but I figured I would review them since I love that they do not have spout connectors and are easy to clean.  They also NEVER leak.  Props to the First Years Sippy Cups!

During our sippy cup crisis I came across the Tilty Cup.  The concept is awesome.  The inside is angled so they don't have to tip the cup practically upside down to get the liquid to the spout.  These are great but I would recommend they are only for high chair use.  They leak terribly and if thrown they will bust open and spill the entire contents onto the floor.  I know this from experience.

By this point I was getting desperate.  Can you tell? LOL.  I ended up buying the Playtex little gripper sippy cup.  They are bigger and have grip indentations on the cup so its easier to hold.  The spout is smaller which I like, but for some reason these leak if you don't close them just right.  We still use them though.  They have not annoyed me to the point of throwing them away yet.

 This is a cup I am not thrilled with but bought it on clearance at Babies R Us.  It's a stainless steel cup by Munchkin.  I can already tell its going to break and don't recommend buying it.  The silver part that the lid screws onto is already loose and you have to hold it in order for the lid to screw on.  Buyers Beware!
Now here are the two cups that worked the best for Madeline and ironically are nothing new and fancy.   Just goes to show that the newer things don't necessarily mean they are better.

First up is the Take N  Toss cups.  They are not spill proof, but are easy and work great in a pinch.  They are also easy to clean.  We of course have the Princess version.

Last but not least is the Playtex  Sipster.  Very basic design but Madeline finally turned the corner and we dropped the bottle completely after buying these cups.

So there is my short but sweet sippy cup review.  I never thought I would have a kid give me so much trouble over drinking (out of a bottle or cup!) so I hope this helps someone out!  It will also save you a ton of money :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Favorite Recipes

I added a tab on the right with my current favorite recipes.  These are things that are hands down always delicious and a hit with company too!  Enjoy!  I will add more as I find them :)


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