Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Belated Halloween

Well Halloween 2011 has come and gone.  We survived the long day of waiting since Brooke did not have school (those clever school Principals.....). 

They were both very into it this year.  Madeline even said "Trick or Treat!" when arriving at people's doors!  She also loved collecting the candy in her basket and would not let us hold it at all!

Brooke did well and also got a few lessons in manners this year:  Always say thank you.  Don't walk on people's lawns.  Don't grab candy out of people's hands.  If someone left a bucket of candy out, only take one (thank you to the group of older kids who emptied most of them out by 5pm.  Jerks.). 

Oh and we had yet ANOTHER picture miracle today.  I hope this streak lasts!

Here they are last year: 

and this year!: 

Now wish me luck since I am taking my kids for professional photos the day after Halloween.  What was I thinking??? 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Meal Plans week of October 30th

October is pretty much over!  After our little snow storm yesterday I am not sure what to expect out of November now! 

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Monday: Grilled Cheese and tomato soup
Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan and pasta
Crockpot Wednesday:  Slow cooker Cranberry pork, mashed potatoes, corn
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday:  Grilled burgers and fries
Saturday:  Curt's on his own.  This mom is out of town!  :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Picture Miracle

Something miraculous happened this weekend.  I actually got a picture (well TWO) of my children both looking at the camera and smiling.  This is huge people!  A rare occasion to say the least!

This one is a framer. I just love it.  LOVE!!!!  

Brooke is looking so old to me these days.  Sigh.  Before I know it she will be talking on the phone with boys.  

So if you are on my Christmas card list, you might see two girls in pumpkin shirts celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.  Or I can just crop their heads off and put these two faces on it LOL.  There is just no telling if this will happen again during our attempts for a Christmas card photo. 

Speaking of Christmas cards, have you started planning yours yet?

Here is today's deal by TINY PRINTS.  30% off Flip cards by using code:  1026DOD.   I have already taken a peek at some cards that I love and I will share some of my faves with you next week.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Festivities

We have done a few activities this fall so far.  Here is a quick recap:

We went to Hick's Nursery to pick pumpkins.  Last year we went to a great place in the Hamptons but its a far drive and we decided to go local this year.  I must say I was slightly disappointed in this place.  They didn't have any pumpkins in a "patch",  just pumpkins sitting on tables.  Plus all of our pumpkins we bought from there have rotted completely!  Such a bust!  The kids didn't mind though.  They had a petting zoo and hayrides so they were happy :)

Here are the kids in front of the petting zoo.  Even though there are no animals pictured, I promise you they were in there LOL. 

Next we went on a Hayride.  Note the two constants in this photo:  Brooke is not looking at the camera and Madeline is eating.  The usual!

Next we met the famous "Otto the Ghost".  He was kind of creepy looking but I guess he is a staple at this Nursery. 

We also went to the local fall festival this weekend.  Brooke had a great time going on all of the rides and getting her face painted!  We love it because we can walk to it and its stress free!  

We have some fun Halloween activities going on this week so stay tuned for that post next week :)  Brooke has been asking me every night if it is time to Trick or Treat.  Next Monday can't come fast enough! 

A quick sale from our sponsor Tiny Prints:  Have you thought about your holiday cards yet?  Tiny Prints is offering 25% off William Arthur cards, good only until tomorrow.  Click HERE and use code 1024DOD.  Happy Shopping!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meal Plans Week of October 23rd

Where did October go???  This month just flew by!

Here are the meal plans for the week.  Trying to majorly simplify since cooking dinner with two girls who want to eat exactly at 5pm is getting harder! 

Sunday:  Birthday Party
Monday:  King Ranch Chicken
Tuesday:  Jalapeno popper grilled cheese with tomato soup (first time trying this one!)
Crockpot Wednesday:  Hawaiian Chicken
Thursday:  Steak, Risotto Cakes, roasted bell peppers
Friday: Pasta, Garlic bread, salad
Saturday:  leftovers or pizza

Also, today is the last day the 10% off code will be good for the Love Lucas Creation special.  She was our giveaway sponsor this month and has some really great stuff! 

 Love Lucas Creations is giving my blog readers and friends 10% off your order. Just visit the site, enter member code "katie" (prior to putting anything in your shopping cart, this can be found on the left hand side of the home page) and just for being invited you will get 10% off of your order! This code will be valid until SUNDAY.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brooke's Christmas List (round 1)

Brooke has made her first Christmas list of the season.  I am sure it will change and get longer, which will only make my shopping that much more difficult.  My mom reminded me that we were famous for telling her something new that we wanted like a week before Christmas LOL. 

So here it is.  I am pretty sure she won't be getting 99% of it :)

-Mini Bakery
-Fairy dolls like Barbies
-Roller skates (daddy vetoed)
-Xia Xia crabs (Google it.  They are fake hermit crabs that walk.   NO)
-Balloon animal making kit
-Makeover kit
-Tea party kit
-Brownie Maker
-Lady Bug pillow pet
-Ariel costume with fins that cover my feet (she has an ariel costume that apparently is not up to par)
-Disney Charm school backpack that turns into a house (have no idea what this is!)
-Littlest pet shop stuff
-Dora kitchen (she has already been told no since we already have one!)

I will be sure to keep this list updated.  I think its hilarious the things that she will ask for on a daily basis.  

I also have made a toy list on Amazon made up of gifts my kids will be getting (hopefully) and of some toys we already own but love!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our trip to the 9/11 memorial

At the beginning of October we visited the 9/11 memorial.   My aunt had some extra tickets so my mom and I hitched a ride and took the opportunity to see it in person.

I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to go one day to pay my respects.  Let me just say that this place is amazing in many many ways.

Here is the new World Trade center (or Freedom Tower).  It's a really cool building!   It does not stand where the old buildings were.  It's just off to the side.

If you  plan on going, you need tickets.  They are free but they try to keep it organized, etc.  It is VERY structured to get in.  It was not a hassle, just different sets of lines, security checkpoints, etc.

Here was a sign showing a map of the place.  They have electronic directories of everyone's names to help you locate someone specific. 

Now the mood is very interesting when you walk in.  It's quiet.  Very quiet.  Even with hundreds of people there, it was very still.  No one is laughing or joking.  I saw a few people hovering over names and crying.  I think that's when it hit home.  This is a massive grave.  The size of these waterfalls is amazing, and does make you realize how large these buildings were.

Here is the lone surviving tree from September 11th.  They relocated it to another part of the city until it was replanted here.

Then there are the names.  So many names.  My aunt and uncle knew quite a few people who died that day so it was hard to hear them say so many times "Oh remember him?  He went to our church. Oh yes these two brothers worked together and knew they were going to die so they called their siblings".  Just SAD.  However, it needs to be heard.   We walked around both waterfalls completely.

It was also hard to see "and unborn child" written next to their mothers names.  Those tiny lives that never got to breathe their first breath.

Someone had made little paper cranes and set them around.  I just thought it was pretty and a sweet gesture.  

Here is a close up of the new building.  Love the flag hanging!

My mom and I both felt kind of funny posing for a picture in front of these waterfalls.  It's like you are not happy they exist for the reason they do, but we also wanted a snapshot that we were there.

The 9/11 museum will not open until next year, however I took some pics of the outside as well as an original steel beam that will be inside of it.

After we left we went  to the 9/11 mini museums/gift shops.  Again the mood is very somber and quiet.  We walked inside and it was DEAD quiet.  Not a sound.  They had a few interesting remnants from 9/11 to look at.

First a firefighter's hat:

Also a wallet of a man who died that day.  They found his wallet and wedding ring.  There was a sweet story about how he kept a $2 bill in his wallet always and his wife refused to believe he had died until she saw that $2 bill and knew  he was gone.

Overall it was a good experience but very emotional.  I would like to go again when the museum opens to see that as well. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

And the winner is.......

A huge thank you to all who participated in my first blog giveaway!  We had over 100 entries!  Thanks so much!!!!

So the winner of the $20 credit to Love Lucas Creations is..............  Sarah Bahm!!!  Congrats Sarah!  Enjoy your shirt and please show us what you choose :)  Contact Lisa at for your prize!

I know a lot of you love Lisa's stuff, so she is giving my blog readers a special this week!  For ONE week only, put in the code "katie" on the home page (left hand side of Lisa's page) and you will receive 10% off your order! This code is valid through October 23rd!  Take advantage!  To get to Lisa's page click HERE and get shopping! 

Thanks again and stay tuned for another giveaway next month :)

Happy Monday! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meal Plans week of October 16th

I know I have been bad about posting these.  I have been meal planning but  they don't always make it to the blog.

Sunday:  Pizza
Monday:  Grilled Chicken, peppers, and rice
Tuesday:  Buffalo Grilled Cheese and tomato soup
Crockpot Wednesday!:  Chili and Corn muffins
Thursday: Cheese tortellini, garlic bread, and salad
Friday:  leftovers
Saturday: Grilled steak, baked potatoes, and green beans

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy 18 Months Madeline!!!

Time flies.  Literally.  How is my baby 18 months old already?  I'm not sad about it.  She's growing up and although still a bonafide Ninja, she's getting easier to reason with at least.  We also can leave the house and do fun things and at least make it productive.  Easier but harder at the same time :) 

Here she was just a  year ago:

At 6 months she was a pretty mellow baby.  Fairly content to just chill out in the house, play with some toys, etc.  I LOVE that age.  She smiled at everything and was not mobile yet.

Here she is today at 18 months:

Her toddler hood is proving to be somewhat of a challenge.  She loves life and is eager to try new things and do everything her big sister does.  I mean EVERYTHING. 

Favorite foods:  Cheese, any type of fruit, chicken nuggets, yogurt, applesauce, mum mums, veggie chips, goldfish, cheez-its, juice, milk, pancakes, waffles, bananas, and macaroni and cheese.  She is not as adventurous as Brooke was in terms of eating, but still a great eater. 

Current words:  milk, please, more, ipod (LOL), Brooke, Mickey, Elmo (and all of the sesame street characters), shoes, socks, cheese, crackers, cookies, dog, cat, bird, Guinness, eat, open, help, bye bye, monkey, out, mama, dada, grandma, grandpa, circle, star, square, book, get down, pass (for her paci), ant (for her elephant), car, diaper, pee pee, and bath.  I am sure she has more but I can't think of them all!  She is talking so much earlier than Brooke did, which I think is a good thing because she has such a temper.

Body parts she knows:  teeth, mouth, nose, eyes, cheeks, hair, belly, feet, chin, and toes. 

Madeline is also proving to be just as hilarious as her big sis.  She is starting to perform for everyone and gets on tables to sing!  She and Brooke are starting to play together which is so fun to watch.  Of course they fight, but as Madeline's language progresses I think they will have great fun. 

She keeps us very very busy.  We can't turn our backs for 10 seconds without her getting into something.  So different from her big sis. Loves to climb, jump, spin, dance, etc.   As her personality emerges, I am excited (and a wee bit scared) to see what kind of little kid she becomes  :)

Happy 18 months Madeline! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Help! My toddler wants to potty train and I don't want her to.

A while back I wrote an entire post about how there is absolutely no bathroom privacy in this house.  You can read about it HERE.  Madeline pretty much watches everything that goes on in there (minus daddy of course LOL).  She sees Brooke go to the bathroom, says what she is doing, watches her every move, etc.  This is now truly working against me and here is why:  Madeline wants to potty train.  Yes, I am complaining about this.  NO this is not a brag.  I really really really don't want her potty trained right now.

First of all, she is 17 months old (okay two days shy of 18 months).  I can barely keep my eye on her long enough to prevent her from scaling the couch, standing on the top of it, and jumping off.  The thought of her 20 lb body running around in underwear would be cute, but not cute enough for me to have to take her potty in public places just yet.

She started showing signs during the summer.  She would tell me she was going poop, etc.  I just thought it was cute and glad she knew what was up.  Well this week its at a whole new level.  Yesterday she told me she was pooping twice while she was going and then pulled at her diaper until I changed her.  Then today was the kicker.  Before bath time she was in just a diaper while I was getting things ready.  Madeline then proceeded to take her diaper off while saying pee pee.  Once naked she then bent over to stare at her girly parts and await the arrival of the pee pee apparently.  Well I scooped her up and sat her on the potty where she promptly FREAKED OUT.  Okay well that's working towards my advantage LOL.  So I took her off and as I went to turn the bath water on I hear "PEE PEE" and yes, she was peeing all over the bathroom floor.

So what now???  I guess I need to dust off the old mini potty and find it a home in the bathroom.  Madeline is a full year younger than when Brooke was potty trained.  Brooke never even showed signs, I just had to put her through potty training bootcamp at 2.5.   That was pretty normal I thought.  All of my friends kids trained around the same time. 

Do they even make underwear in size 18 months ?  HAHA!  I never thought of that.....  Am I a bad mother if I don't embrace this premature motivation to potty train?  Frankly, its easier to have my 17ish month old in diapers for a bit longer.  However, if she keeps ripping off her diaper before she goes, I am going to have major problems. 

I do have something good in my back pocket.  Madeline is addicted to candy corn.  ADDICTED.  (yes she is my second child and has had candy.  Brooke never had a piece until well over 2).  Maybe the candy corn addiction would work to my advantage?

Please tell me if you have potty trained a child under the age of two and how did you do it?  Is it even worth my time?  Do I just close my eyes and ignore the signs and hope I don't miss my window? 

Sale Time!!!!  

I also want to tell you about a sale from one of our sponsors, Layla Grace.    They are offering a special discount for my blog readers this week!

Layla Grayce is offering a fabulous deal in celebration of their 7-year anniversary! For one-week only, save 15% off coupon for the ENTIRE site (some exclusions apply) with promo code LG7YRS valid 10/11 through 10/18! While I certainly love all things Layla Grayce, I just love this blanket lovey.

 If you are searching for a unique baby gift, look no further. The Kashwere Kreature Blanket Bear is perfect for naptime snuggles and bedtime hugs. This unique blanket is just the right size for little hands, and features a teddy bear head. It’s too cute for words!

It's also CrockPot Wednesday!

Wow I have a lot to blog about today!  Here is a new recipe I tried.  Sorry, no links.

Southwest Crockpot Chicken

1-1.5 lb chicken - breasts or tenderloins (You can even put it in there frozen!)
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 can rotel (or you can use 15 oz jar of salsa)

Throw it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  We put it in tortillas and made burritos, but you could eat it alone over rice.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Very First Blog Giveaway!!!!

I am so excited to be hosting my very first blog giveaway!  This month's sponsor is Love Lucas Creations!  My friend Lisa has a fabulous custom t-shirt business. I have ordered from her for years for personalized shirts for my own kids as well as gifts for others!  They make the perfect gift for a new baby!  Here are some examples of her great shirts:

This was Brooke's holiday shirt two years ago!  Loved it! 

Great Sibling shirts! 

Newborn sets!

I will be ordering these for our upcoming Disneyland trip! 

Here is Brooke in her big sister shirt!  She loved it!

One lucky blog reader will win a $20 store credit to Lisa's store!  The contest starts today and ends Monday, October 17th!  There are 3 ways to enter!

1.  Leave a comment here in this post and include your email address.

2.  Follow my blog.  Add yourself to the followers tab on the sidebar.  If you are already a follower just say so in your comment and I will add your entry.  Make sure if you are a new follower you also mention so in your comment below so I know as well. 

3. Visit the Love Lucas Creations Facebook page HERE and leave a comment that says "Tutus and Tantrums blog giveaway!"

Good luck! Entries will be received until midnight on October 16th and the winner will be drawn on the morning of the 17th! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Brooke's take on Columbus Day

Brooke brought home a very cute Columbus Day picture.  She finger painted the water, cut out a boat, etc.  The typical preschool craft.

I asked her what this craft was about.  Here is our conversation:

Brooke, what is this craft about?

Brooke:  Christopher Humungous

Christopher Humungous huh?  What did he do?

Brooke:  Well he sailed in a boat and found our country.

Yes that's right.  How long ago did he do that?

Brooke:   Like 59 years ago mom.

59 years huh?  How long did it take him to find America?

Brooke:  59 years!

How many ships did he use?

Brooke:  He used three but I only drew one.  Actually, I put it on sideways but then I fixed it.

Okay, can you remember anything else?

Brooke:  yes!  We don't have school Monday to celebrate his Birthday!

Okay, close enough :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Our trip to American Girl

At the end of September, my entire family (besides my brother Matt) came to visit.  We originally wanted all of the girls to go see Mary Poppins.  However, the $500 price tag made that sort of unappealing.  Instead we went to lunch at the American Girl Store on 5th Avenue.

Let me start off by saying that Brooke has no idea what American Girl is.  She has seen the catalogs but that is it.  I must say that going there was definitely worth it, even if she didn't buy a doll or own one before we went.

**Let me give a photo fail warning.  Brooke once again is showing her inability to actually LOOK at the camera in any picture from this day.  Sigh.

Here is Brooke on her first taxi ride.  It only lasted 5 minutes as it was rush hour and we decided to just get out and walk!

Here she is in front of the dolls that you can pick to look like you.  I think she looks like the bottom left :)  These are $99 I believe.  She never even asked for one....whew!

Now the lunch was $24.95 a person and was totally worth it!  Brooke did not have a doll so the restaurant had plenty to choose from.  Here she is with her borrowed doll.

It was not crowded so she insisted my sister also have a doll next to her.  They give the dolls little cups and saucers.  It was adorable!  The food was excellent too!

Overall it was a great time!  My  mom has more pics that I am waiting on (ones with me actually in them LOL).   Brooke even screamed "This is the best diner ever!". 

After lunch we went walking around in Times Square.  This Mickey was standing in front of the Hershey Store so I thought he was part of their store.  Oh of course not.  After this pic he asked me for money!  Jerk!

Brooke is holding a bouquet of flowers from our waiter at American Girl.  He said she made his day :)

I would definitely recommend going to American Girl.  It's quite impressive and I would have totally been into that when I was younger.  I can't wait until she is older and wants to go and buy a doll!  They even have a doll hair salon and there were little girls in there getting their dolls hair in an updo. Brooke loved watching that!  It was a great day!  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crockpot Wednesday and a Sale from a sponsor!

It's Wednesday again!  Here is what I am cooking up tonight!  Also, if you  have any crock pot recipes you would like me to try, email me and I will gladly try it out on the blog! 

Chicken Parmesan

I also have a sale to tell you about from one of our sponsors, Layla Grace.   I’m very excited to offer an exclusive discount that’s valid for the next 7 days only! Save an EXTRA 10% off all Layla Grayce sale prices now through 10/10/11 with promo code saleonsale. Here are a few of my absolute favorite sale items—enjoy!

The Bedhead children's pajamas in stretch blue and green butterflies will make your heart flutter. Float your little one off to bed in these adorable and comfy pj’s!

I also really love the Bedhead pajama collection for mama! Cuddle up and lounge a little longer with a stylish pair of cozy flannel pajamas by Bedhead. The navy blue toile pattern is classically designed in cut and palette and they’re made from 100% soft cotton flannel. As listed on Oprah's "O" list, these pajamas are sure to be a luxurious addition to your life! 

Click here to shop around:  Layla Grace.

Hope you all are having a great Wednesday!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stuck on a Train

Sometimes I find my life laughable.  Random things always happen to me.  Super random things.  Once when I was 6 and had surgery for a rare chest deformity, another patients mom asked to see me and how I was healing.  My mom agreed so we walked in and it was Dana Plato who played  Kimberly on Different Strokes (remember that show? ).  Random right?  I thought it was cool at 6 though.

Last week my family was visiting and my parents were going to babysit the kids so my siblings and cousins could all meet up in the city to go out for the night.  We had looked forward to it all week.  Around 4:30 my sister, brother, and brother in law decided to take the 5:05 train into the city.  Curtis and I stayed behind to settle the kids and were going to take the 6:05 train.  Easy enough right?

Around 5:30 I get a text from my sis that their train is stuck and not moving.  They were still on Long Island but had no other info.  I looked up online and it said service had been suspended on the LIRR due to a lightening strike and signals not working.  Great.  Curtis and I decided to go to the train station and see what the deal was with our train and if it was delayed we would just walk back home.  When we arrived it said it was running on time so we decided to get on.  BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER.  Now by on time I guess they meant that it picked us up on time.  That would be the end of the promptness of that train ride.

We slowly started making our way to each stop.  We had to stop for about 15 min at each one but overall we were making progress and feeling good.  I kept in touch with my sis who was just a few stops ahead of us with my brother and her husband.  About 2 hours into our ride, both of our trains were cleared to get into the Jamaica station in Queens.  From there we would have to get off and take a subway into Manhattan as Penn Station was also having major problems.  Still we were feeling pretty good.   My sister got off of their train about 8 or so (3 hours after they had left) and headed into the city.   Curtis and I planned to get off and just find out where they were and find them later.

Around 8:45 p.m. we were told they were having issues moving trains for us to get into the Jamaica station.  We were pretty close (maybe a few hundred yards) but stuck.   Then about 10 minutes later they told us that the rail had lost power and we would be evacuated.  WHAT?  I just started laughing hysterically because of course this random lightening strike train issue would happen to me. 

This is the pic Curt took of me at that point.

We ended up moving to the front of the train since that was where we figured they would evacuate from (we have no knowledge of train evacuation routes so we just guessed ).  This is when the train crazies came out!  One man had a Target bag full of his belongings and just started screaming "GET ME OFF THIS ***** TRAIN!".   Another woman started calling Eyewitness news (which I will get to later on).  All in all it was proving to be super entertaining in the front!  Then the conductor came over the loud speaker and said "PLEASE do not self-evacuate the train!".  Yes, people started prying the doors open and jumping out.  Super smart when there are live rails outside and its dark.  Yeah good idea.   So this is how we found out that 1.  there are undercover cops on trains and 2.  even if you are trapped in a train, the NYPD can get 10 officers into that train in like 5 minutes.   The people who jumped off were then brought into our train car.  The man with the plastic bag started demanding a police chopper come with a spotlight and light the way for us to walk out, the woman took pics and video and sent them to the news station, etc.  Such great people watching.  By 9:45 we still had no sign of evacuation and I was hungry.  Okay STARVING.  All of the sudden a sweet man behind me busted out a dozen Dunkin Donuts!!!  I think I ate my jelly donut in 3 bites.  I don't even like jelly donuts but I could have cared less at that point.

Around 10:15, four hours and ten minutes into our trip, we got power back and were cleared to get into the train station.  The issue was, there were no trains running back home so we were now stuck in Jamaica Queens.  It was a mad house!   Thousands of people trying to figure out how to get home, etc.  I called my dad and he and my uncle were going to try to find us and pick us up.  Let's just say that train station is not in the best part of town.  Around 11:30 we found my uncle and dad and headed home.  The rest of my family got stuck in Manhattan and had to stay in my cousins studio apartment.  Tight squeeze!

So here is more hilariousness.  Wanda, the woman who called Eyewitness News about 10 times, captured us in a picture.   You can't really see me well, but you can definitely make out Curtis.  Oh and listen to how Wanda describes our situation.  Honestly,  it was not that bad other than the lack of food. She made it seem like we were all close to death LOL.  Here is the link to the video:  TRAIN DISASTER

Needless to say we never got our night out in the city, but were in no way bored on the train!   Oh and when we got off there was not ONE employee from the LIRR to apologize, help you, etc.  Nice.


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