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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goals for 2015

I don't set New Year's Resolutions, but I do have some goals I'd like to work on this next year.
 

Personal goals:
1. Lose weight and get in shape
  • Exercise 4 times a week
  • Watch portion control
  • Cut back on the amount of soda I drink.  I used to never drink soda, but during my pregnancy with Little Dude, I had major cravings for it all the time and still haven't kicked the habit.
2. Read books and watch movies from my must read/see list.  I have a Pinterest board I add books and movies to whenever I hear about them so I won't forget them later.  The problem is that I never remember to check my Pinterest board.

3. I'm not the world's best cook, but I have quite a few easy--to-make recipes I've developed since getting married (and especially since having kids.) that I'd like to put into a cookbook, partly for my own use, but also to sell as an E-book.  I'd like to have it done by 2016.


Financial:
1. I'd like to be earning $500 a month by the end of the year or earn at least $5000 this year. 

2. Save money.  I tried doing the 52 week money saving challenge last year, but never had the right amount of cash at the right time so I gave it up a couple of months into it.  Instead, anytime I end up with a $5 bill, I put it in my change jar.  I only started doing that a few months ago, but if I do it for all of 2015, I should be able to save up a decent amount of money.  Don't tell Hubby, but I'm saving up for a trip for our 10th anniversary in 2016.  
3. I have a whole list of money saving tips that I plan to start incorporating into our daily life.  I'll publish a post of the list soon.


Family:
1. Make at least 3 pieces of clothing for each child.  I barely had time to sew anything in 2014 and I really miss being able to make things for my kids.
2. Do attitude charts with the 2 oldest kids.  An attitude chart is basically an empty chart.  Everytime a child has a good attitude about cleaning up his or her toys, getting ready for bed, etc, he or she will get a sticker on their chart.  When the chart is filled up, they get to pick out a toy at the dollar store. 
3. Do a marriage challenge.  I don't have one picked out yet, but I'm thinking of possibly doing the Love Dare.  Do you have something you could recommend?
4. Do character building with kids.  Each week, we'll focus on another character trait from the list.  My sister also plans to do this with her kids.
5. Have 1 tv-free week a month.  This doesn't apply to Hubby as I know he'd never go for it, but the kids will be doing it.  I tried it a few times this year and it helped to "reset" their attitudes about watching tv.



2. Keep the house reasonably clean by continuing to use the Motivated Moms app.


What are your goals or resolutions for 2015?





Monday, December 29, 2014

Random Monday - December 29, 2014

I can't believe that this is my last Random Monday post for 2014!  2015 is just 2 days away and I'm getting my "Goals for 2015" post ready to publish. 

I finally added a Special Needs Parenting page to my blog which includes Little Dude's story, links to posts about him, links to posts I've written about special needs parenting, and links to other websites that I've really found helpful. 

On Christmas Eve night, I made crockpot beef stew for supper.  It was delicious and I certainly didn't mind eating leftovers for several days after that.  The two oldest kids had slightly different opinions though...Little Man would only eat it if he could cover his eyes and pretend it was something else like chocolate chip cookie ice cream cotton candy.  Princess happily ate it, but halfway through she made this comment: "It tastes like dirt but I'm still eating it!"

I spent 6 hours organizing and going through the kids' toys, games, and craft supplies on Saturday night.  Goodwill will be pleased with our generous donation, I think.  I'm planning to buy a lock for the closet where most of the toys are going to be stored from here on out.  #mommastiredofthemess

Hubby's grandma found this hat in her basement while cleaning it out.  It used to be Hubby's dad's hat when he was a baby.


What's something you've done this past week? 




Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

This was our year to drive 6 hours to visit Hubby's extended family for Christmas, but Little Dude doesn't do well in the car and is easily over-stimulated so we decided to stay home this year.  It was nice to relax at home with the kids and Hubby and thankfully, no one was sick so we were all able to enjoy the day.

We opened gifts first thing in the morning.  Star loved unwrapping the gifts, but had no interest in actually opening the boxes until Hubby showed her that there were toys inside.  In the afternoon, the two little ones napped while the two big kids played with their new toys.  Hubby and I played John Deere monopoly which he easily won.  Let's just say that I don't have future plans to go into the real estate market.

For dinner that evening, I made a 13 pound ham (not surprisingly, there were a LOT of leftovers), mashed potatoes and ham gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and mince pie.

Princess received a Ramona and Beezus dvd, a Frozen easy reader book, a Tardis ornament, and a personalized ballerina ornament in her stocking.  She also got a wooden sewing machine, an Elsa doll, a stick horse, a set of horse figurines, and a coloring Elsa puzzle.  She loved them all, but was especially excited to open the Elsa doll on Christmas Eve.  Her reaction of, "Mommy!!!  How did you know I wanted this?!?" cracked me up since it's all she's been talking about  for months.


















Little Man got a Rio dvd, a Jake and the Neverland Pirates book, a Handy Manny ornament, and a Dalek ornament in his stocking.  He also got a stick dragon, a wooden combine with two heads, an Olaf beanie baby, an Olaf shirt, and a toolset.  His favorites are definitely the stick dragon and the combine.  While driving his combine yesterday, he turned to me and announced, "I'm going to go harvest some weed!"  Um, buddy, I think you mean "wheat."
















Star received an Ice Age dvd, a Doc McStuffins book, an owl ornament, and a Fisher Price telephone ornament in her stocking.  She also received a stick horse, a wooden camera, an Anna doll, a Leapfrog Scout dog (which she's enamored with since it says her name), and Doc McStuffins hopscotch squares.  Her favorite gift is the stick horse though and she loves riding it around the house.  Despite the look on her face, she was happy about her gifts, she just didn't want to pose with them.   
















I got one picture of her with her gifts and then I got this...






























Little Dude wasn't overly impressed with the whole gift opening thing, but has been having fun playing with his new toys.  In his stocking, he received a Happy Feet dvd, a Brown Bear Brown Bear board book, a First Christmas ornament, and a Sven the Reindeer ornament.  He also received an Infantino elephant, a set of stacking cups, a V Tech Catch Me Kitty (which incidentally, doesn't work on shag carpet with which my entire upstairs is covered), a wooden airplane, and a toy phone.  His favorite gift is the stacking cups, but once he learns to sit up, he'll have more fun with the elephant.



























We have some Christmas traditions that we enjoyed this year...

We hung up a stocking for Jesus and whenever someone did something kind for someone else, we wrote it on a piece of paper and put it in the stocking as a gift for Jesus.  I emptied it out to read the papers with the kids and was blown away by how many papers Princess had added on her own, all addressed, "To God."  She's really been making an effort to show God's love to others.

We had our Christmas Eve reading party sans Hubby who is, sadly, not a book lover.  We read Christmas books together, drank hot chocolate (which Little Man says he doesn't like so we called it cocoa instead), and ate cookies.

I took pictures of each of the kids with their gifts as a record of what they received.  It's fun to look back and remember when they got something or look back and think, "hey, whatever happened to that toy?" 

The kids got a dvd, a book, and a Christmas ornament in their stockings.  Actually, I had a forgetful moment and ended up getting them each two ornaments this year.  Oh well.  Next year, I plan to start a tradition of getting/ them pajamas to open on Christmas Eve.  Obviously, that's a totally original idea, haha.

I made small photo books for each of the grandparents at walmart.com with pictures of the kids from this past year.  Hubby looked through one before I wrapped it and wryly remarked that Little Dude must be my favorite child.  No, but he is the one who stays still for the camera the longest.  Next year, I plan to make custom Chatbooks (look for the app on your smart device) for the grandparents with my Instagram pictures which will over double the amount of pictures I can include plus they will cost less. 


How was your Christmas?  What are some fun traditions you had this year? 




Friday, December 19, 2014

Little Dude - 9 Months

Age: 9 months

 
Weight and height: 16 pounds, 13 ounces and 28 inches long which puts him at the seventh percentile for weight and the 32nd for height.  He didn't gain much weight last month since he spent most of the month sick.
For comparison here are the other kids' sizes at 9 months old:
Princess: 15 pounds, 12 ounces and 27 1/2" long
Little Man: 18 pounds, 4 ounces and 30" long
Star: 15 pounds and 27 3/4" long

Wearing size: Size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes. 

Likes: He's very sociable and LOVES attention.  He loves being on the floor to play and he's obsessed with paper, which is not good because he eats it and then chokes on it. 

Dislikes: He really hates it when I do his G Tube and skin care every morning-not because it hurts, but because he can't roll over and play when I'm doing it.  To get him to lay still and stop fighting me, I play a Youtube video on my tablet for him to watch while I'm taking care of his tube (he's a big fan of Peter Hollens and Baby Einstein).  He also is not a fan of his carseat. 

Eating habits: He gets five bottles a day with 5.5 ounces of water and 3 scoops of the Alimentum formula.  He drinks about 50% of his formula and the rest is tube fed.  Because he was sick last month and was having a hard time tolerating his formula, I backed off on the baby food and am just now starting to offer it once or twice a day again.  He tasted an orange and immediately had excema breakouts all over his body so we're assuming that citrus is off the table for now along with apples which he also seems to be sensitive to.        
     
Sleeping habits: He takes a morning nap from about 9:30 am to 10:30 when I wake him up for his next feeding.  He's such a light sleeper that when I try to tube feed him so he can sleep longer, he wakes up anyways.  He stays up until after his 1:30 feeding and then sleeps until his 4:30 feeding.  He's dropped the third nap of the day and goes to bed around 8 pm at night after his 7:30 feeding.  
Milestones: He still can't sit on his own, but we've been working on that skill.  He learned how to army crawl though and is all over the house now!  He also figured out how to hold two objects (during his OT session while we were discussing how to get him to do that!) and is saying "dada" a lot.  He's only mildly developmentally delayed at this point. 
    
Miscellaneous: Little Dude had his genetics appointment to discuss the results of his last round of genetic testing.  The results were as we expected...everything came back negative except for the MYBPC3 gene mutation which we'd already been informed of two months ago when the results came back.  The gene mutation causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy so we'll monitor his heart with echocardiograms every few years.  His last echo at the beginning of December was normal so there's no concern for his heart at this point.  We'll also probably be tested for the gene as it can be a familial thing.  Because Little Dude is doing well overall right now other than his respiratory issues, excema, and feeding tube, the geneticist will see him back in about a year for another evaluation and we'll decide at that point whether to pursue further DNA testing.   



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Saturday, December 13, 2014

8 Survival Tips for When Your Child is Sick

We're in the throes of a stomach flu that's making its way around my house.  A sick 2 year old who doesn't know how to grab the puke bucket in a timely manner makes things very interesting.

To make things a little bit easier, I have some tricks I use to prepare for and survive when my kids get sick.



  • Keep empty ice cream buckets under their beds at all times.  My older kids know they're under there and can grab them if need be.  Also, this way, I'm not scrambling to find a bucket for them in the middle of the night.
  • If there's any chance that someone will throw up during the night, I lay several layers of big bath towels or blankets on their bed.  There's nothing worse than having to re-make a bed in the middle of the night so grabbing a towel off the top of the bed and throwing it in a laundry basket makes things so much easier.  If the first round of vomit caught you off guard, strip the bedding and throw some towels or blankets over the mattress until morning.  It's also a good idea to keep some flannel backed vinyl tableclothes on hand to protect surfaces. 
  • Keep an extra set of clothing in the car for each kid.  Kids are notorious for throwing up while you're out so having something extra for them to wear can be a lifesaver.  I currently need to restock Star's extra set of clothing as the stomach flu hit her hard while we were out running errands on Friday.  It wasn't pretty, and I'm pretty sure a janitor somewhere hates us.
  • Tape a dosage chart for tylenol and other meds inside your medicine cabinet.  I have a box set up just for medication and other stuff we may need when the kids are sick so I can easily find what they need and move the box to wherever I need it.
  • Move the sick child to a location where you can keep an eye on them.  I throw a big blanket over the couch or on the floor and set up a "sick spot" with a bucket, tissues, wet wipes, and some books and small toys.  If the blanket gets dirty, toss it in the laundry and replace it with another one.  This is another time the vinyl tablecloth can come in handy.
  • I keep a few pull-ups in different sizes on hand for times when diarrhea strikes.  My kids have never complained about wearing them when they're sick and it saves a lot of messes.  Obviously, this only works for younger kids.
  • I plan a "catch-up" day for household chores after everyone is better.  I can relax a little bit about the disastrous state of my house when I'm too busy cleaning messes and rocking sick little ones to clean if I know that I will spend a day catching up when it's all over.
  • I keep Gatorade in the cupboard and my kids know that they can only have it when they're sick.  Don't want them getting dehydrated!  Also, even when my kids are past the sippy cup stage, I keep a few on hand so they can sip a drink and stay hydrated while they're resting without worrying about spilling.
One more bonus tip...enjoy the peaceful moments when they're sleeping and look like little angels before they wake to throw up again :)






Friday, December 5, 2014

Pie Crust Cookies or How to Use Up Extra Pie Dough

The one problem I have with making pie is that I always end up with extra pie dough.  I hate throwing food away so I came up with a way to use it up.

Roll the extra dough out just like you would for a pie crust.  Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough.  Re-roll as necessary until you've used it up.

How to use up extra pie dough

Lay the cutout shapes on a cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper) and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle the cookies liberally with cinnamon sugar.  Sometimes, I skip the melted butter because I'm lazy and they still turn out delicious!
 
How to use up extra pie dough

Pop the cookies in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden.  Watch them closely because they'll burn fast!

How to use up extra pie dough
Star's baby doll helped me watch the cookies while they baked

Enjoy!
 
How to use up extra pie dough




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