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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 In Review

It's been a busy year for our family! 

In January, I wrote a freebie recap for 2012 (look for the 2013 version coming soon!)

In February, I wrote about how Little Man essentially potty trained himself which was totally awesome.  Star got her ankyloglossia clipped which wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it would be, and I gave moms permission to not enjoy every moment of parenting.  I also started a new business which was very exciting!

Princess turned 5 in January, and like a good blogging mom, I didn't write about it until March.  I also wrote a tutorial on how to applique

In April, I finally got my feelings about being accidentally Team Green figured out, then I wrote what turned out to be the most viewed post on my blog ever.  I also wrote about how to make your blog posts "pinnable." 

In May, I shared my secret to keeping kids from using too much toilet paper and also shared what it's really like to be a work-at-home-mom or WAHM.  I got ambitious and made up a summer bucket list which was a pretty pathetic failure for a reason I shared in August.  Also, the cutest little boy I know turned 3 in May!

In June, I wrote about how parenting is hard no matter where you are.  I also shared how I stopped the daily hair brushing battle with Princess (no, I didn't shave her head!)  

In July, I shared 10 rookie parenting mistakes that I still make. 

In August, I wrote about how to get your kids to clean up all their toys in 24 hours time.  I also wrote about a huge surprise that absolutely blew me away and how I chose to respond to it.  Then, I shared some commenting tips for bloggers and blog readers.

Staying true to my procrastination agenda, Star turned 1 in September and I didn't write about it until October.

In November, I wrote a tutorial on how to make your own personalized board book.  I also wrote a list of 30 random acts of kindness you can do with your children.

I finished the year out with a recipe for 3-ingredient oreo cheesecake truffles that are to die for.   

I'm getting tired out just reading over this post.  Time for a nap! 


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Between family get-togethers and Christmas programs, I feel like we've been celebrating Christmas all December.  We just have one more family Christmas right after New Years' and then we'll be done until next Christmas.

We went to The Farm for supper with my in-laws on Christmas Eve and the kids got to open their gifts from Great Grandma.  We stayed there way too late talking and eating Christmas goodies while the cousins played, watched movies, and ran around.  Star fell asleep in her great uncle's arms around 9 and slept almost until we were ready to head home.

The next morning, Hubby and I let the kids look in their stockings before we headed back down to The Farm for brunch.  I got each of them a Veggie Tales dvd, a Christmas ornament, a toy camera from the $5 bins at Target, and 1 other thing.  The cameras especially were a huge hit, and the kids just had to take them to The Farm with them to show them off to Grandma and Grandpa.  We stayed at The Farm until 4:30 and then came home to open gifts.  The kids were so excited and that was the fastest they've ever gotten ready to leave Grandma and Grandpa's house :)

Princess and Little Man needed twin size bedding for their bunk bed so I got them each a bedding set for Christmas.  Princess had been sleeping under a worn out unzipped toddler size sleeping bag and Little Man had been sleeping under a crib quilt, neither of which were big enough for them anymore.  I had been thinking about getting cute character bedding sets, but opted for sets that they could use for years to come instead.  Seriously, they were even more excited about the sets than I could have imagined they would be.  When Little Man opened his, he hugged it while screaming, "I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it!!!"  Totally adorable :)  As soon as we got done unwrapping gifts, they begged me to make their beds so they could try out their new bedding and after supper, they wanted to go straight to bed.  Total Mom Win!

Hubby recently started drinking coffee at work and wanted to have the occasional cup at home too so I got him a Hamilton Beach single serve coffee machine with an assortment of K-Cups to try.  After we put the kids to bed, we sat down to eat our dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, and buttered green beans and then finished the evening with a cup of hot chocolate from the new coffee machine.  What a perfect way to end Christmas day :)    

Princess with her new bedding set

Little Man with his new bedding set

Here are the kids with their Christmas gifts and the gifts from their stockings...

In her stocking, Princess received a Doc McStuffins toy camera (Target), a doll ornament (Target), a "puppy in my pocket" marker (Scholastic), and a Veggie Tales dvd (Fleet Farm).  Her wrapped gifts were the bedding set (Walmart), a John Deere shirt (Zulily), and a John Deere backpack (Zulily)

In his stocking, Little Man received a Monsters University toy camera (Target), a hammer ornament (not pictured, Target), a Veggie Tales dvd (Fleet Farm), and First Stencil Cards (Barefoot Books).  His wrapped gifts were the bedding set (Walmart), a John Deere backpack (Zulily), and a tractor shirt (Etsy)

In her stocking, Star received a Disney Princess toy camera (Target), a Veggie Tales Dvd (Fleet Farm), a Princess Carriage book (Scholastic), and a Big Sister ornament (Etsy).  Her wrapped gifts were a John Deere backpack (Zulily), a Disney Princess ball (Target), and a Veggie Tales Christmas book (Sam's Club).

I hope your Christmas was as fun as ours!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Easy 3 Ingredient Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

I get requests to bring my Oreo Cheesecake Truffles to just about every Christmas get-together I attend and since they're so quick and easy to throw together (and so delicious!), I don't mind making tons of these.

And the best part?  They're just 3 ingredients.

Oreo Cheesecake Truffles
1 package of double stuf oreos (you can use regular if you'd rather)
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 package of vanilla or chocolate almond bark

Finely grind the oreos in a food processor.  Stir oreo crumbs into the cream cheese.  If desired, keep back about 1/4 cup of crumbs for garnish.  I usually end up stirring the mixture together with my hand towards the end of this process since it can be hard to incorporate all the crumbs into the cream cheese otherwise.  The mixture will be slightly sticky.  Form the mixture into 1" balls and place on a parchment or wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Freeze the balls for 15 minutes.  While the balls are in the freezer, melt the almond bark.  Dip the frozen balls in the almond bark and place on parchment or wax paper to harden.  Sprinkle with oreo crumbs or other garnish before the almond bark has set if desired.

Bring to a party and watch them disappear!  Make sure you eat a few before you leave or you may not get any :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Star-14 Months

Age: 14 months

Weight and height:  Probably around 18 pounds.  She's slimmed down a little since she started walking. 

Wearing: Size 3 diapers and 9-12 month clothes.  She's also wearing some 12 month clothes, but they're still a little big on her.

Likes: "Reading" books, "writing" especially with pens, LOVES her special owl blanket, dancing to music, Christmas lights and decorations. 

Dislikes: Water on her face, getting out of the bathtub, being told no, not being allowed to do something she's already been told no for. 

Eating habits: She eats 3 meals and 1 snack in the afternoon.  Her favorite food is still green beans and she also really likes sweet potatoes and string cheese.  Her favorite thing for breakfast is her siblings' toast.  If they leave it unattended for 2 seconds, she drops her toast to run over and steals theirs (yes, breakfast is a pretty casual meal around here...between me being half-dead in the morning and getting Princess ready for school, I let the kids eat in the living room.) 

Sleeping habits: She wakes up between 6:30 and 7 in the morning and needs a nap between 8:30 and 9.  She naps again after lunch and is ready for bed by 6 pm.  She's been napping a little better this month which I'm so thankful for!  She still wakes up at night a few hours after going to bed, but if I just pick her up and rock her for a few seconds, she'll fall right back asleep when I lay her down.  We tried letting her cry it out, but then she gets hysterical and takes a few hours to calm back down.  

Milestones/Accomplishments: She's walking!!  She started around 13 1/2 months and hasn't stopped since.  She's so tiny that people are amazed when they see her walking around :) 
All 4 molars are in!

Miscellaneous: She has been a lot more easy going in the last month or so.  Before that, she spent several months being very clingy and whiny so this is a nice change. 
She loves giving kisses which is super cute.
She loves being pretty...if I tell her she looks pretty, she absolutely beams.   


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baby #4 - 28 Weeks

How Far along: 28 weeks. As of last Tuesday, I was officially in the third trimester.

Baby's Size: Baby is about the size of a large eggplant and is approximately 14.8" long and weighs 2 1/4 pound.  He or she is able to blink his or her eyes and has eyelashes.

Sleep: Pretty much always tired lately, but not as bad as it was a few months ago.

Movement?: Lots of movement :)  This baby doesn't seem as active as the others were which maybe means that he or she will be laid back and easy going, right? :)

Food Cravings: My cravings change from day to day right now.

Things That Make Me Queasy: Been feeling pretty good lately.

Gender: We're keeping it a secret because of what happened last time and because I just get so annoyed with the comments and assumptions about my family when I tell people what I'm having.  Princess is hoping for another sister (she even put it on her Christmas wish list at school yesterday) and Little Man is hoping for a brother.  Princess is still holding out hope for twins, one of each, but I'm 99.9% sure that there's just one baby in there :)  

Labor Signs: Having several Braxton Hicks a day.

Symptoms: The usual.  Killer heartburn, fatigue, achy legs,. joint pain, especially in my hips.  I bought a maternity support belt yesterday and am wearing it today to see if it helps with the muscle pain.  I passed my glucose test last week with no problems so that was good to hear.    

Mood Most Of The Time: Meh.  Not so good lately. 

Looking Forward To: Wrapping some Christmas presents! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Preparations

As I mentioned in my last Random Monday post, I really just don't feel like decorating for Christmas this year.  First of all, I'm 6 months pregnant and I feel like my body is falling apart.  The short time between Star's birth and getting pregnant again didn't leave me much time to recover from last time so I'm in rough shape.  The idea of dragging the Christmas tree and decorations out is really not appealing.  Secondly, I have a mobile, energetic, curious 14 month old.  'Nuff said.  Thirdly, I really thought that I would be decorating my own house for Christmas this year, but we're still in our cramped apartment which is kind of a downer right now.  But I'm not so Scroogish that I don't want to celebrate at all.  I love listening to Christmas music and seeing Christmas lights when we're out.  I love seeing Christmas decor and drinking eggnog.  I love picking out Christmas gifts and wrapping presents. 

So here's my compromise on the Christmas decorating.  I'm hanging up the stockings, a garland, and lights on the curtain rod above the sliding glass doors.  The wrapped gifts will go on the top of the fireplace (I don't hang our stockings on the fireplace because the kids can reach them to pull them down) and I'm making this Christmas tree to put on our sliding glass door which will double as a fun activity for the kids.  Scrooge or awesome mom?  You decide.

I finally got around to taking a picture for and ordering our Christmas cards yesterday.  This is the best picture I got out of around 20.  Newly walking Star absolutely wouldn't stay put and kept sitting down or walking away.  Hubby finally got her to stay put by distracting her by making silly faces behind me while I snapped pictures, but by that time, the other two kids were done and none of those pictures turned out at. all.  If you recall, last year's Christmas card featured a crying Star so I guess this is an improvement, right?  BTW, Little Man's big cheesy grin totally cracks me up every time I look at him.     

As far as presents go, I'm done shopping.  I got most of the gifts on Zulily in the fall so just had a few left after that.  Pretty painless and I came in under budget thanks to the awesome deals on Zulily.  Christmas baking is coming along pretty well too, especially considering that I didn't do any last year.  Today, I knocked out 2 batches of frosted sugar cookies, 1 batch of fudge, and 1 batch of Mexican Wedding Cakes.  And by knocked out, I mean I made them, not ate them although the temptation was there. 

Just for fun, here are the kids' Christmas wish lists this year.  I gotta be honest with you...I'm done shopping for them and nothing I got them is on their lists, but I know they'll be thrilled with their gifts anyways :)  Besides, as you can see, these kids aim expensive high.

Princess's Christmas Wish List
Pink seahorse (Star has a blue one like this and the 2 older kids swiped it and fight over it all the time, thus Princess wants her own now and she wants a pink one of course, because pink is obviously the best)

Ballet costume with ballet shoes (Obviously, the many ballet costumes and shoes she already owns are no longer good enough)

Unicorns (Ummm....she wouldn't give me clarification on this one, but the answer is no anyways)

A real horse (Hubby calls horses hay burners and there's no way he'd ever buy one in a million years.  Keep dreaming, honey)

Little Man's Christmas Wish List
Combine (Little Man went with Hubby to the John Deere store, saw a huge toy combine and fell in love.  He's been raving about it ever since

"Veeler" drive (4 wheel drive tractor.  Also seen at the John Deere store)

A real combine  (HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  No.)

Star's Christmas Wish List
Baby food pouches (seriously, she eats 2 of them in one sitting for a snack and absolutely LOVES them)

More milk.  Always more milk.

For her older siblings to quit stealing her toys (like the aforementioned misappropriated seahorse)

What's on your kids' Christmas wish lists this year?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Christmas Night Giveaway

One of my Christmas traditions is to get a new Christmas book for each of the kids.  This year, Christmas came early as I let the kids have this book already :)  They loved listening to the story and because it's written in rhyming prose, it's easy to read.  The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful and I was able to enjoy the book as much as the kids were.  The book is hardcover with a beautiful dust jacket to protect the book.    

My mom reading The First Christmas Night to Little Man and Princess at bedime

Want to win your own copy of The First Christmas Night?  Enter with the Rafflecopter widget below!  Be sure to check out the Ideals Facebook page for their 12 days of Christmas Giveaway!

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“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

Random Monday-December 2, 2013

Little Man was mad at me for something this morning so he said the worst thing he could think of: "Mommy, I'm mad at you so I'm going to dust the living room!" And he went to get a rag and dusted the living room. I need to make him mad more often.

Last Wednesday, I made a pumpkin pie and put it in the oven while the kids were "taking naps".  The pie was done baking after they got up so Princess saw me take it out of the oven.  She was so amazed that a pie had somehow appeared in our oven that I just kind of rolled with it and ended up convincing her that if you put an empty pie tin in the oven, a pie will magically grow inside of it.  Kids are so much fun :)

We spent Thanksgiving at my in-laws.  I brought the turkey, green bean casserole, rolls, and pumpkin pie and my mother-in-law made the rest.  It was just us, my in-laws, and Hubby's grandma so it was a small gathering, but nice. 

I'm trying to get in the Christmas spirit, but it's just not happening.  Usually, I would be dying to decorate the house for Christmas, but this year, I'm seriously considering throwing up the stockings and a string of lights and calling it good enough.  I will officially be in my third trimester tomorrow and that made me realize that I will be having a baby in 3 months.  A baby that we literally have nowhere to put.  Because Star is such a light sleeper, I can't put her in the kids' bedroom with the older two so she's still sleeping in our room in a pack n' play.  Because she's such a light sleeper, she and the baby can't be in the same room either.  My sewing supplies for my businesses take up a lot of room, and so we're already packed in here like sardines.  I really thought we were going to have our own home by now, but there are only 2 options for us buy thanks to The Farm.  One of the options is $80,000 out of our price range and the other...let's just say that it's a very complicated situation.  This whole process has been painful, depressing, and hard on our family.            

Despite my "bah humbug" attitude, I am pretty much done with my Christmas shopping.  I just need to order photo books for the grandparents when I order my Christmas cards and then I'll be finished.  I usually try to get a picture of the kids in their Christmas outfits for our card, but seeing how I'm still waiting for the last thing to arrive in the mail so I can make their outfits, I don't think that's going to happen this year.  Our first Christmas celebration is in less than 2 weeks so I kind of need to order the cards and photo books...2 weeks ago to ensure delivery on time.  Maybe I should just size the Christmas outfits up so I can be ready in time next year :) 

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