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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: June 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008


...I love it, but it's one of my least favorite times! Are we all confused yet? I hope not. Let me explain. Summer is full of so many fun events and activities that truly are unique to the season. It's our busy season for photography therefore money is coming in more quickly. Warm weather makes it possible to swim and eat smoothies. We travel more, play more, work more... I love it. Unfortunately, with all those fun things comes very little down time... and I hate that! The things we are doing may be fun, like picking cherries this morning and taking clients out for a nice dinner tonight, but it didn't leave time for me to get all my "chores" done today. It means I'm late with my meal plan again and that I now have to figure it all out tomorrow instead of doing Tuesday's chores tomorrow. And... none of it can start until after we get home from tomorrows fun summer play date activity. I really do need a break from all this fun!

Really it's not all that bad. Being out of town this weekend kind of starts the week off a little behind. We'll catch up, and we're going to do it without getting all frenzied and irritable. :) I have a list of things to do and I'll slowly cross things off as they get done. (Hopefully I can cross off faster than I add to the list.) I have a list of things to post on as I have time too. Hopefully that will get done soon also! :)

Anyway, all this to say that I'll get my meal plan/toddler menu up as soon as I can (hopefully tomorrow afternoon!) :)

Hope your Monday was great (and a little slower than mine)!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Frugal Diapers... be willing to buy off brand!

I thought I'd participate in Frugal Friday this week. Especially since I have a concept to share. It's been said time and time again, but I may have a new twist on it... diapers. :)

Brand loyalty... does it keep you paying the higher prices? I arrived at CVS the other day with a plan, and part of that plan was to pick up a pack of Pampers diapers... on sale, with ECBs. They still weren't going to be cheap, and it wasn't the best deal ever, but we were OUT OF DIAPERS in Sweet Pea's size and I was desperate... and at least it would generate ECBs.

We started in the tooth paste aisle where we picked up a couple tubes of tooth paste that actually made us a couple bucks... then we split up, My Beloved to the greeting card aisle to get a couple engagement cards and me to the diaper aisle. I was there a long time searching and searching. Turns out, no size 1 Pampers... anywhere. I didn't even see where they should have been. I searched and searched before stumbling on her size... but it was in the CVS brand. Shucks... that's not going to work. Then I saw it... the "Clearence, 50% off" tag. I was able to get twice the diapers for half the money I was prepared to spend all because I was willing to buy what was available! Talk about exciting!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prayer needed for a missionary friend!

I wanted to ask you all to pray for a friend (I hope she doesn't mind.) You all may know her as TogoPal, a faithful reader here at Stay at Home Mommy and a close personal friend of my family. We just got word that she's having gallbladder problems and may require surgery. If that is the case they will be needing to decide whether to do it there in Africa or bring her home to the states! That's all I know, but I would appreciate your prayers with us!


Learning for Little Ones: Putting it into practice... intentionally!

Welcome to Learning for Little Ones! Do you have an idea or activity you do with your little ones??? Please share it with us. I'd love it if you would write a post on it sometime in the next couple days and link up to our Mr. Linky. I would ask, though, that you include somewhere in your post a link back to this post so others can participate! Thanks!

A couple weeks ago I talked about being intentional with our little ones. This is good not only with the activities we do with them, but also in the every day activities that we just happened to be doing. I've also mentioned Signing Time (oh how my son loves Signing Time ~ in fact, I no longer simply return one to the library, I also have to go all the way to the children's section and get a new one to check out too) and our use of that as a teaching tool. Signing Time is great, but I find that unless Tornado has a chance to put those signs to use in real life, he really doesn't pick up on anything.

Enter our daily walk! We don't live on a very interesting street... it's about a 1/4 mile from the end to our house (then a dirt drive after that), but we walk it every day. I usually try to get in about a mile a day... sometimes up to 3 or so, but that's not the point! The point... while we are walking we do a lot of looking around: bird watching, pointing out flowers, cars, mailboxes, airplanes... you get the picture. What used to be terribly boring to me, is now crammed full with exciting things to look at and show to Tornado.

It's during our daily walk that he finds and points out all the birds (either perched on the power lines or flying in the sky. It is during our daily walk that he first signed flower and airplane and car (and I didn't even know he'd picked up those signs).

Perhaps you don't go on daily walks together (it's not practical for all of us). Don't forget those shopping trips. Remember when Tornado found dogs in the grocery store??? I loved it around Easter when we did a normal CVS trip and there were bunnies everywhere. It was a new sign he had learned and he pointed each of them out. We spent some extra time in the seasonal aisle looking at all the animal garden decorations. Just recently while shopping Aldi's we couldn't figure out why he was flailing his arms. Then I noticed a bunch of bags of onions in his line of sight and realized he was signing "ball" for the first time!

Keep your eyes open and point things out... you can help your little ones learn wherever you are!

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alert... Cheerio down!

What a sweet boy I have... truly! I don't know if it's an innate sense of neatness (not likely), a selfish desire to not loose something that is his, or a knowledge that food does not go on the floor (I pretend it's that one), but any time he looses a piece of food (this morning it was a single Cheerio) he starts in with the "uh oh"s... and doesn't stop until it has been retrieved and returned to him. It's pretty cute!

We have trained him that food doesn't get thrown on the floor, so it works for me!!

How can you teach this??? We started with a no tolerance policy right from the beginning... but if you are starting at an older age, explain the rule... then don't back down! Then again... maybe we just got an easy first kid. I'm really not experienced enough to give this sort of advice!
Regardless... it's really cute!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nutrition for Toddlers: Summer Foods Edition!

It's been a long time since I've had a Nutrition for Toddlers post. I've missed doing them (as I don't do the research for myself unless I am doing it for you), and have been making plans to "get down to the dirt", if I may use that highly appropriate pun here, on some of the fun summer produce we have available to us during these wonderful months!

Today I would like to focus on watermelon. Perhaps you are all more educated than I... or simply have more common sense, but My Beloved and I were talking about watermelon a couple weeks ago and pretty much figured it was just a tasty treat, but lacking in anything especially nutritious. What was I thinking??? I don't think there is anything that grows out of the ground that isn't nutritious.

Now, my new question is this, is it possible that people are generally sicker in the winter months because summer has so many fruits RICH in vitamin C??? Seriously! One cup of watermelon has 25% our daily need for vitamin C... and that's for an adult. I'm pretty sure that means that same cup of watermelon just about fulfills the requirement for our 1 year olds!

Some other nutrients you find a lot of in watermelon?
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
These all range from being excellent sources (at the top of the list) to being good sources (bottom of the list.)

So now when you open up that watermelon and let your kids go wild, you can know that you are "giving in" to a nutritious snack... not to mention all the water they are getting from it!

Your toddler isn't quite sure about watermelon yet??? Don't despair, mine isn't either. Just give him time! Check out the rule of fifteen and some other strategies... just keep it available, let them see you enjoying it and don't force it! Your little one may be gobbling it down before summer is gone!

Find more kitchen tips here!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Toddler Menu... a sample of our week

Happy Monday to all!! We returned home yesterday from our weekend camping trip. I'll share more later on our experience camping with an infant and a toddler! It went surprisingly well. I didn't have the "down time" to sit and write in my journal like I hoped, so none of my post ideas have been put down yet. Rest assured though, I have half dozen or so ideas for future posts. Hopefully I'll get to post them over the next few weeks.

Sorry to have missed last weeks meal plan!!! Believe me, I'm sorry. It's so much harder to get through the week without a plan. I'm sure you all know that, and I'm even more sorry to those of you who have come to depend on my menus as you prepare your own! As we all know, though, life happens and sometimes things get dropped.

We have decided to go to a 2 week menu so we can save a little on gas (since we've started shopping at Walmart), so the format is going to be changing a bit hopefully next week. This weeks menu is the second of our 2 weeks, so things are looking the same.
We are continuing in our quest to break out of our recent rut. Several things are "regulars", but I've tried to put on some family favorites we haven't done in a while. You'll find the Crustworthy Recipe here.


Find more meal plan ideas here!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Checking in

Things continue to be busy, and while I feel as though I'm making a dent in my list, there are still a number of things to do and my energy is quickly disappearing. My goal is to be completely ready to leave (for our camping trip) by the time My Beloved gets home this evening. Then we can just eat a quick (no idea what) dinner, load the car and be gone! :) Wouldn't it be great to have our tent up before dark this year???

If I have time to do some posts today, I'll set them up to post this weekend, otherwise I'll be back next week. Oh, and I have a menu plan mostly done for Monday!!! Sorry to miss a week again.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Homemade Manipulatives

I may include this with Frugal Friday too over at Crystal's site... For me it was a free (since we already had the stuff for it) activity to set up for my little one. For you it may be only a couple dollars!

We don't eat a lot of beans in this house (though if the economy continues in it's present course, we may have to change that), but I happen to have quite a few bags of beans in my pantry, of different varieties. Usually we donate these in November to the boy scouts food drive, but I got the idea (from someone, don't remember who) to use beans as manipulatives for Tornado.

I waited until we had an empty sherbert container, washed it out, and put a bag of mixed beans (more colorful than just one kind) into it. Tornado and I sit on the floor and play with them in the bucket.

When they fall out (and they do) it gives good practice looking for and picking up small things (he's never been great at the pincher grasp anyway--he's more of a whole hand kid--so this is great!)

As he gets older we may sort and count and compare smaller and bigger, but for now, we just pick them up and let them fall through our fingers. Maybe next week we'll introduce a spoon to stir with... but I'm not sure I'm ready for THAT much practice picking up beans off the floor. :)

Make sure you stay close to your little one... beans can be a choking hazard! Watch close!
What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Busy Busy

Yep, that's the way it seems around here, yet you'd never know it to look around. There is much to do, and much still to be done. In fact, no, I haven't forgotten you... I still haven't done my menu this week. This is especially bad since we are just about out of milk and really need to do our Walmart shopping trip tonight.

We are camping this weekend with our church. It's so much fun, but it means there is even more to do. Thankfully it also means I don't have to plan or prepare meals Friday through Sunday. :) YEY! I'll try to get a menu up tomorrow sometime... we have been talking about doing a 2 week menu now that we are shopping at Walmart (all the way across town) instead of Giant (down the road a bit.) Perhaps this week, with there being only 1 1/2 weeks left of that, would be a great time to start! The problem though is that it is 5 minutes before 5 and I have no idea what we're having TONIGHT! Hmmm... perhaps I don't have time to be blogging. :)

Hope all is well with you!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From God's Word: A Mother's Study

Sunday morning I kept Tornado with me in church. He was still coughing and I wasn't ready to put him in the nursery again. Having him with me, though, showed me a number of things we need to be working on with him.

In the last week or so My Beloved and I have been realizing that we need to take a harder line stand in the discipline of our children. We have said from the beginning that disciplining our children is something we feel very strongly about, but now that it is here, I see how very difficult it is. It is time consuming and tiring, but mostly, I am seeing that every thought and belief I've had about child discipline and training until now was lacking.

I've begun a search through Scripture for everything God has to say to me as a mother. I feel as though I'm in a desperate place. For the sake of my little ones, I need to be clinging to God for knowledge and wisdom in every action. I know that I have been half hearted in so many things and I praise the Lord for bringing me to this place! Just this morning I opened Proverbs in search of a verse. Whether or not I found the one I was looking for I don't know, but I found a couple to chew on and apply today.

Proverbs 15:1 ~ "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Oh how this reminds me to have a soft answer and soft words for my boy. He can be very frustrating and it can be easy for my voice to escalate and grow more harsh as he continues to disobey. In disciplining my children, I want nothing more than for them to see and hear the love behind it. I at least want it to be something God hears and sees.

Proverbs 15:4 ~ "A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit."
It is so easy (especially as each day grows long) for me to become more and more perverse in my attitude (my favorite definition for perverse is crankiness.) I will strive to remember that it is a gentle tongue that will train my little ones best. Disciplining them in frustration or even anger will break their spirit, not their will.

I will continue through this study as long as I feel the Lord leading. I hope to bring some of what I learn here to share with you!

Do you have any thoughts or encouragement on this??? I'd love to hear it!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Entering the Real World

I ventured out into the "real" world this morning with my little ones. Crazy as this may seem, it's one of the first times I've really felt like it. Oh sure, we go to church, shopping and we've been to the park a few times. This morning, though, after a quick trip to the post office, we visited the library! That's right! I took Tornado and Sweet Pea (who slept in my sling the whole time) down to the children's floor at our library. He loved it and I definitely think we'll be going back. I have big plans to do story hour when the fall comes and they start up again, but since I had a return to make this morning, I decided to burn some energy (his, not mine) and pass some time before lunch at the library! What fun! And I even forced my way entered into a conversation with a couple other moms. It was like I'm a real person or something! We are definitely definitely definitely doing that again! (did I already say that?)

Well, since we did our "real world" venturing this morning, I'm behind on menu planning... I'll get to is when I can. :)


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Father of my Children

I wanted to do a big, long tribute post about My Beloved for Father's Day. I was going to talk about all the things I appreciate about him, what a great father he is, etc. Now that it comes down to it, I am faced with a decision... sit and write that post, or straighten the house to bless him when he arrives, and take a nap so we can enjoy our time together when he gets here this evening.

Seems like a "no brainer"! I'm off... but Happy Father's Day to the best daddy my little ones could have!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Foolishness and Relief

I sit here this morning (at 3:52 am) a ball of raw nerves and skittishness. My ears are tuned in better than they ever were at this hour of night, and I feel stupid... and alone. I know one thing. If my husband were home I would be sleeping right now. I feel like I need to cry (ever felt that way before?) both from relief and release, but I don't really have the energy, nor do I really want to generate that much body heat. Still, it would probably help me fall asleep. If I weren't still sharing my bed room with Sweet Pea, I'd probably fall onto my bed in loud sobs until sleep overtook me again.

It all started less than 30 minutes ago. I was in an odd, but rather intense dream that ended in my waking. I awoke disoriented, feeling very heavy. It was one of those sleeps I don't think anyone is supposed to wake up from before passing through a lighter sleep first. I had been awakened only 2 hours earlier to Tornado's cry, uncharacteristic for him, but understandable when considering his late bed time. This time, laying awake, yet heavily relaxed in my empty bed I heard something that made me wonder if he was awake again. Ugh, I thought, this really is going to be a long night. As I lay there a moment more, summing up the energy to move, it sounded like he was jumping on the bed. I listened a few seconds more... there were none of those other sounds (playing, humming, etc) that usually include that activity, only the sound of springs being bounced on.

Finally I forced myself to a sitting position on the edge of my bed and rose to put Tornado back to bed. When I entered the hall, the noise no longer sounded like it was coming from Tornado's room, but rather the front of the house. I froze and I listened. It wasn't a normal noise, not one I'd heard before. Could someone be in my house? I wondered. I quickly made my way back to my bed--ears perched, heart praying. What do I do? I asked myself.

I lay there a long time, knowing full well that I wasn't helping anything. I lay and listened. Still the same sound, but nothing new. No footsteps, no tripping over toys or furniture left in the middle of the room, no breathing, no whispering, no rummaging through our stuff. I considered getting up to check things out (fully awake now and knowing I would be able to sleep until I knew for certain no one was there.) I thought of My Beloved's gun in the night stand drawer next to our bed. Were he home, he would have easily, and with trained hand and mind, slipped it from the drawer and made his way cautiously down the hall, announcing to any potential "intruder" that he had a gun and wasn't afraid to use it. He would then systematically turn on all the lights to be sure no one was there, look outside, check the lock and return to me in bed. He would assure me everything was fine and cuddle back up to me as we drifted back to sleep. Oh how I wished with every part of my being that he were home.

I continued to lay in silence, listening, knowing that I was in foolishness. If there were anyone in the house, laying on the bed in silence was certainly not doing anything about it. Yet I couldn't bring myself to move. I've heard little noises before and been nervous. I'm almost always a little skittish and jumpy when home alone. This was different. I was outright afraid. I could feel the terror in my body. I prayed. I don't even remember all the things I prayed. Mostly I prayed to know what to do.

I looked over at the phone a couple times. Calling My Beloved was not going to do anything (especially since he would likely never hear the vibrating phone on the night stand next to him.) If there were someone in the house, I would simply be telling him I was alone. Nope, that's not the answer. If he'd heard me moving and frozen himself, then it was just a matter of the waiting game, and truly, I wanted to be the one to win that game. I reached for the phone. My bedroom door was open, leaving only a short distance between my baby and I and the living room where anyone could be waiting. I turned on the phone, my fingers stumbling twice to find the correct numbers in the darkness. I decided that *if* there were someone in my house, it *could* benefit me for them to hear me make the call.

"911 Emergency, what township, etc. are you in?" I don't even remember exactly what they said. I've dialed those numbers before, but never for myself. Always before it was for some accident we were passing on the road... never for myself, and never in the middle of the night. I told him where I was and explained the noises. The longer we talked the more foolish I felt. I was certain that anyone hiding in silence in my living room would have fled the moment they heard me calling for help, and more certain I would have heard them leave (it's a small house remember!) They dispatched a unit to come check everything out. With every second I felt more safe... and more foolish. After a couple minutes on the phone with "911", I forced myself to get off the bed and close my door. That made me feel even better. The 911 dispatcher informed me that the police had just entered my area. I threw on a nearby sweatshirt and jeans (wishing all the while that I could have found something cooler laying about in the dark.) I saw headlights coming from down the street. Turning on my bedroom light so they could know it was this house, I waited. All the while the dispatcher kept me informed of what the police were doing, and assured me that it was ok that I called. Finally it was time... the police had to be let in. I told the dispatcher that if the door didn't look compromised, I had no reason to imagine anyone were in here. Moments later the police were knocking on my door. "Should I answer it?" I asked the guy on the phone (wanting to make sure that's what the police were expecting). He assured me I could, and after letting the police in, our call ended.

I love living in a small community. I love that I recognized the man in uniform who entered my house at 3:30 in the morning. It wasn't the friend we have on the force (that would have been really nice), but someone I'd seen around just the same. The down side is that all those guys we know in out township's police department will see the report tomorrow and know everything.

The two men weren't here long... just long enough to ask a couple questions, and, at my request walk down the hallway to peak into Tornado's room for me. The noise, it seems, was caused by the unbalanced ceiling fan in our living room. It hasn't been that way long. Just since the other day when My Beloved misjudged the distance between it and his wrist. The subsequent throbbing lasted hours, and the bruising a couple days more. Just last night, he mentioned needing to fix the wobbly fan... and now I'm wishing he had done it that moment.

It's now 4:41 and Sweet Pea is waking up. She often does this around this time of night, usually to go back to sleep for a couple more hours. I'm sure the bed side light that is on in my room isn't helping any. I suppose I should return my tired body to that bed and turn out the light. Morning is coming quickly and I will be anything but rested.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

I almost cried I'm so excited!

Photo taken by our wedding photographer... I do have permission to use it!

There are different levels of excitement, did you know that? There is the "jumping up and down uncontrollably" excited, the "I can't stop talking about it" excited, and then there's the "I almost cried (or even did cry)" excited. I didn't realize how emotional I really was about this until today when I almost cried. It's sort of a complicated story... I'll see if I can both tell it and simplify it at the same time...

You see, My Beloved and I were married almost 3 1/2 years ago... January 9, 2005 to be exact. We were on a very tight budget, but were so blessed that my dad said we could have $3000 for the wedding. Seriously, if they weren't helping our budget would have been even smaller! I know my mom wanted more for my wedding, but really and truly, God planned every detail and it was exactly what we wanted. I'll go into all the details sometime, but today it's only important for you to know that we asked a friend of My Beloved's to be our photographer (only paying his family's expenses, which still amounted to 1/3 of our budget).

Having a friend photograph your wedding isn't something (as wedding photographers ourselves) that I recommend... ever! Those memories are too precious and having all those pictures in a nice album to keep "forever" is too big a deal. We made this exception, though, because this friend is, in fact, a professional photographer. He and his wife did a beautiful job and we love our photos. Because I have the know how to create our own wedding album from those images, and because this friend of ours really hates doing all the little "wedding photography" details like the album etc, he gave me all the files to do with as we wished.

Well, long story shorter (really, I'm skipping tons of little details that I would normally share), I'm a major procrastinator and we still have no wedding album. About 6 months ago we decided it was time and I started playing with the pictures I have on my computer. As soon as I started though, I noticed that ALL the files on my computer had been resized to email resolutions (i.e. will NEVER look anywhere near decent printed small, let alone big in a grand beautiful album.) One more detail?... I couldn't find the original DVD of files anywhere.

I resigned myself that they were gone forever. I had no idea what I could have done with them, but I had looked everywhere they could be. I was so proud of myself... I didn't cry, I didn't pout, I didn't do any of that. I simply decided it would be ok, that in light of eternity it wasn't a big deal, and at least I could look at them on the computer. Then I let it go.

Well, just this week I had a brain moment and wondered if I'd looked int his one particular place yet. Never did I think of it when I could actually look until today... and there it was! All the original files from my wedding. Now I can create an album for us just like we always planned. :)
Oh, and even better... as I was looking through at pics from the reception and such, I saw pictures of friends who I probably would have included in the album originally, but now don't keep in touch with at all. I am certain that I will design the album way different than I would have a couple years ago because I have more perspective looking back at what really was important. :)

Anyway... all this to say, I had convinced myself that I was ok with loosing all the pictures, but when I almost cried today as I pulled it out of the cupboard, I came to realize that perhaps it was indeed important to me!


Learning for Little Ones: Being Intentional

Homeschooling a toddler can be both the easiest thing you've ever done and the hardest! Of course there are different levels of "homeschooling" a child that young. You may have a deliberate "school" time (which by the way, mine has gone by the way side this last month or more) or perhaps you simply do multiple learning activities throughout the day. Your "school time" may constitute little more than reading together, or you may have a thorough lesson plan with goals and plans written out.

I find that homeschooling your toddler can be as simple as being intentional with your little one. I find that I am intentional way less often than I would like. By being intentional with Tornado today a couple things happened. First (and harder to tell), he was exposed to and learned new things. Hard to tell because the only thing I know is that he is looking at me when I'm talking/playing/singing. Over time though, I'm sure he will pick things up. The other thing that happened is that I had so much fun! Both of us being sick (hopefully we won't be by the time this is posted as I am writing it ahead of time), we had very little energy today. This actually helped intentional time. Instead of being busy with this or that I just sat to play with him. I sang songs, introducing Itsy Bitsy Spider and continuing with Happy and You Know It. We built with the few mega blocks he has. I sat on the kitchen floor and we played with his new (Christmas present but recently brought out) Fridge Phonics (more about that in a future post.) I even brought out his new crayons and a sheet of paper to introduce coloring again (he wasn't ready last time.) By just being with and playing intentionally with my little one, I actually felt like a "homeschool mom" for the first time. My life and schedule are crazy, and truth be told that schedule is in a flux position right now, but you can be sure I'm going to be scheduling in more time on the floor, deliberately and intentionally in focused play with my boy! I hope you will too! It's great!

When it comes time to knowing what to do in your deliberate time, you can find ideas each week here. I also want to share with you a relatively new blog (though you'd never know it by the number of posts already), Fun Homeschooling Toddler Activities. This woman does some great things with her little one, and what's even better... she shares them with us! I already have some ideas I'm getting ready to try!

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poop... a comparison

Why is it that toddler poop is so much more troubling to clean up than baby poop? Just so everyone is clear, we are talking breast milk verses people food... and we aren't talking diapers. I don't mind changing diapers of either kind... but the clothes, now that's another story. Baby blow outs are a normal thing around here... though I did think we were just about done since it had been a couple weeks since Sweet Pea had one. I have found a *magical* product that gets it out no problem. In fact, I had the joy of using that magical product on that very thing this very day... again. :)

Toddler poop on the other hand... maybe it's because there is NO reason it should be on the clothes. Maybe it's because it can be controlled, but whatever the reason, I find it a disgusting chore (while baby poop is just a chore.) This particular toddler poop was found on an outfit worn one day last week... found at the end of a nap... and everything was right where it should be, unlike other times. Now if only I'd noticed it right away... there is no way of knowing how many places he touched me with those hands! Yuck!

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Product Review: Stain Remover for baby clothes, etc.

Well, it's finally time. I promised at the beginning of this year (wow, has it really been 6 months?) that I would have some reviews for you. Well, I didn't expect this to be my first one (nor did I think it would take this long), but I'm feeling the love right now and wanted to share it with you all, because like me, I'm sure you've found yourself asking the following question:

How do you get baby poop out of clothes?
Baby poop, like spit up and a myriad of unfortunately bright first foods , is often the end of many an adorable baby outfit. I was crushed the first time Sweet Pea had a blow out in one of her new outfits. I had never found anything that worked perfectly when Tornado was that small, and even if I did get it treated immediately, it was hit or miss. Honestly though, I used the same stuff then as I do now... only this time I read the directions and, get this... followed them. I know.

I had just been discussing with a friend, the week before, the permanency of baby poop stains and how there is really nothing you can do about it. Then, that very next week, by what I believe is the grace and sovereignty of God, I noticed the directions (including diagrams I believe.)

So what is it??? Oh, sorry, I haven't said yet have I?
Melaleuca Pre-Spot. You can see a video here.

I'm somewhat known (at least by my husband) for procrastinating less desirable jobs as long as possible. This means that, often, adorable little girl clothes sit a day or more before even being rinsed out... yet Pre-Spot has still gotten out every stain so far. I just rinse out and rub out as much of the stain as possible with cold water, then spray on the Pre-Spot and rub it in to the fibers. Let it sit as recommended (though one time I didn't let it sit at all), and then put it in the wash with the next load. I tell you... it's magic!

I'm sure there are other products that could do it too, but we have tried to omit harsh chemicals from our home, and that is one of Melaleuca's trade marks!

This is what works for me! Have you found anything that works great for you???

For other Works for Me Wednesday posts, go here!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some Baby Food Recipe Resources

Since a number of you have asked about baby food over the past couple months, I've decided to devote this weeks Kitchen Tip Tuesday to posting some baby food resources. I'm right in between baby food personally. My toddler is eating people food, and therefore eats the same as us, and my Sweet Pea is still nursing (and Lord willing will be several more months!)

I realize that by the time I'm ready to do my full blown series on making your own baby food, many of you will be ready for my toddler menus. :) Isn't that how life goes? So with that in mind I've decided to pull together some places for you to go for help! :)

  • Keeper of the Home (who has a beautifully re-designed site by the way) has a great article outlining the price comparison for making your own baby food as well as a quick how to!
  • Wholesome Baby Food is a great site that I found toward the end of my baby food making experience with Tornado. You can bet I'll be using the info and recipes there for Sweet Pea!
  • Homemade Baby Food Recipes is another site I found helpful!
There are tons of other resources available online if you just type "homemade baby food" into your Google search!

Hope this helps!

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Monday, June 9, 2008

This Week's Toddler Menu: With New Vigor!

That's right... I've been feeling pretty lame about my toddler menus of late. I so appreciate all the kind words and emails from those of you who find them helpful, but I've been in some kind of rut for a while now and I'm breaking out! That's right... no more rut (until the next one.) :) I am, however, still chasing babies... so we are going to do this "get out of the rut" thing gradually over the next few weeks.

What does this all mean??? New meals on our menu as well as recipes. You will notice that each week there will be some dishes listed bold and in color! (Orange is generally my color of choice across the board, so there you have it.) :) These are things I'm trying new and either have a link for or will be posting the recipe on my blog once I try them. Once I really get going with this, it is my hope that you can simply search (note the search tool on my sidebar) for the name of the item you want the recipe for and it'll take you to my post on that recipe. *Just make sure you click that you want to search Babychaser, not the world wide web! :) Anyway... this weeks recipes won't be up until after I try them... and even then, if I don't like them I'll skip them all together. :)

Here we go:
I got the Chicken Sticks and Pasta Salad recipes from There site is great!

Don't forget to email me (babychaser[at]gmail[dot]com) if you want to be added to my Toddler Menu Mailing list. Requesting to be added this week means that you'll get your first one next week... sorry for the inconvenience! :)

Hey... I'd love new meal ideas and "guest chefs" if you want to suggest and provide a favorite healthy recipe... something your toddler loves! I've got linky love that I'd love to spread! :) Just send me an email or post a comment with your ideas/recipes and I'll try to work them in where I can. :)

For more meal ideas visit Meal Plan Monday!!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Friday Night at the ER

I told you I'd share the story of Friday night... so here it is for your reading pleasure.

Tornado's been sick for a couple weeks (eh, months?). Wednesday and Thursday this turned into a pretty high fever and then calmed down Friday. Unfortunately I noticed some wheezing beginning at the same time as he seemed to be getting better. By Friday night the wheezing and coughing had continued. His nap was poor Friday afternoon and he just wouldn't sleep Friday evening.

My Beloved and I enjoy playing computer games together and had been doing that an hour or so when Tornado started fussing and crying, intermittently with resting quietly. By 11 (4 hours after bed time) we decided we should see if we could help him get to sleep. I checked on him and rubbed his head for a while. He was cheerful and content, smiling and "talking" to us. We noticed that he was really wheezing and working to breath, but now that he was calmed down decided to give him another chance to get some sleep.

Our departure upset him again and after a few minutes we went back in. Wondering if the "wheezing" we heard was really in the chest, we dug out my stethoscope from nursing school and I listened to his chest. Yep... actual wheezing. :( The problem was we had no idea what to do now. His coughing was a struggle and not producing anything. The wheezing was rough, and after searching the internet noticed that, yes indeed, he had retractions between his collar bones and under his ribs. Now we were more concerned.

We finally made the decision to take Tornado to the ER. My Beloved was wonderful! I couldn't have done it myself. There was never any question in his mind that he would go. He would never send me out at night by myself. He took Tornado to the ER (leaving around 12:30) and took care of everything.

Apparently they didn't have to wait long. They gave Tornado a nebulizer treatment to help his breathing and ran some tests. He had an x-ray which showed early stage pneumonia. They came in a while later with an inhaler and antibiotic. My Beloved said he had fun playing with a rubber glove blown up like a balloon but HATED the tongue depressor. Poor kid.

They arrived home around 3 am and we put Tornado down in the Pack n Play in our room... moving Sweet Pea for the night to the baby room.

Things are going better now... though he sounds terrible at this moment. Time to get him up from his nap and try a tablespoon of honey for that cough.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Little Pneumonia and No House Keys!

What on earth does that mean? Well... they are pretty much separate thoughts... but then they don't go together well either.

I had all sorts of plans for a post today on the events, deliberations, decisions, diagnosis, and treatments of last night. There were going to be the details of Tornado's lack of sleep (only taking a short nap yesterday afternoon and then still fussing and crying off and on up till 11 last night when we finally went in and started the deliberation/decision part of the evening.) I was going to express to you how, once again, I hate the sick kid part of motherhood. I also planned to share how thankful I am that my husband is the man he is... and that without him last night would have truly been a horror (I'll go into that one in a separate post.) I was going to share with you all how I'm running today on 3 1/2 hours of broken sleep (meaning 1 1/2 hours the first time, feed baby, then another 2 hours before finally dragging out of bed.) I planned to share with you all of this after returning from the car rental place where we dropped My Beloved off this morning at 9 am for his 6th out of 7 weekends away.

What I didn't plan to share with you was the fact that I didn't grab my house key as we were leaving this morning, didn't realize that I didn't have it and therefore didn't think to get My Beloved's from him. I didn't plan to share with you that while My Beloved was closing all the windows (so we could turn on the air conditioner) before we left this morning that he (knowing I would be home alone all weekend) locked ALL the windows. I wasn't going to share with you the fact that we left this morning in non-public attire (Tornado only in shorts, mommy in mismatched sweats-shorts and over sized faded t-shirt, and Sweet Pea covered in spit up since we were only going to be gone a few minutes), and before breakfast. I wasn't going to share all this with you for a couple reasons... either I didn't think it was worth mentioning or I didn't expect it to happen... but it did.

Yes, we were locked out... My Beloved was 30 down the road toward a photo job he was already running late for an hour and a half away. The sun was rising quickly above the trees which shaded us. The windows were all locked (though thankfully the air was on and preparing for us a very comfy house). But my favorite part??? The landlord who lives next door is out of town this weekend! Talk about poor timing!

As you have probably guessed, we are back in the house (and it is oh so nice in here.) Tornado watched his Signing Time and had lunch (oh, wonderful friends brought him breakfast while we waited for the lock smith guy) and is now in bed. I fed Sweet Pea again and she had a chance to "play" before I put her down (she's actually still settling in.) The lock smith guy didn't take quite as long as we expected and was really nice when he got here. His credit card machine is broken though and they don't take checks, so we all loaded back in the car and he followed us to the bank where I took out $70 (yes $70) cash to give him. Sweet Pea never woke up through all of it though and Tornado had a blast playing in the front seat of the car... he loves to "drive" and of course to mess up ALL the settings and mirrors and such. I really don't think he knew we were anywhere we didn't want to be. What fun to eat breakfast in the front seat of the car and then to climb all over it.

I am thankful to say (to tide you over until I get the "last night" post up) that Tornado seems to be doing much better today already and though he still has to work to breath, I can't even hear wheezing today.

Please be praying for us as all but Sweet Pea are sick... and under-rested!

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Cell phones and Children

My Beloved stumbled on this article last night and I asked him to save it for me so I could share it with all of you.

Maybe it's just us, but we have no plan to give our children cell phones. I think that if we are away from our children so often that they need a cell phone, perhaps we need to be rethinking who is raising our children. We may end up re-thinking this when we get there, but the most I can imagine doing is having a "family phone" that goes with a child (say to a theme park with friends when old enough to do so) in case of an emergency. Even I don't have a general use cell phone. The one I carry is pretty much emergency use only.

What are your thoughts? Those of you with older children (I'm not there yet, so you would have more wisdom than I)... have you found that your children need their own cell phones?


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Songs with Hand Motions!

I don't have much for you today. Tornado and I are sick. I have a cold-ish thing and he has a high fever... in fact, he's still sleeping. We gave him Tylenol this morning at 7... then back to sleep for him. It's practically time for him to have more Tylenol. It explains his poor appetite yesterday... and the whinny-ness.

Anyway... we started with a new song yesterday. If You're Happy and You Know It. It just took a few times of me singing it before he started joining in with hand motions and clapping. :) I think we'll start with other hand motion songs... great for developing some fine motor and gross motor skills. Other songs I'll be introducing this next week are Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Lord's Army,... any other ideas???

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Well Visits

This one may be a bit controversial, so please, should you choose to "weigh in" on this one in the comments section, be gentle. I'm not sure I can handle much more. And if I feel as though you are yelling at me too strong in your opinions, I reserve the right not to publish your comments. Thank you.

I'm curious to know how each of you handle well child visits. Our insurance does not cover well visits for our children, so as we prepared for the birth of our first little one, we really gave it some thought. Is it necessary? Is it good stewardship? I found a clinic near by that dispenses immunizations to un- and under-insured children, so that was taken care of, but even without immunizations, the well child visit was around $100 or more each time (that was $300-$400 in the first couple months alone).

When we made the decision to "skip" them, it was not a careless decision. We knew that it would mean doing extra monitoring of our children ourselves. I did some research and gathered a basic understanding of what they would be looking for at each visit (though I need to refresh on that now with a new one.) We have a scale and are weekly monitoring Sweet Pea's weight. We decided that if something didn't seem right, we would make an appointment to have it checked out. We have in the past and by the grace of God it has worked out for us. We even decided to go to the first couple well checks (right out of the hospital and at 2 weeks)... just to be sure everything was starting off well.

The decision we made wasn't just a decision not to go to the doctors though. It was a decision to trust God to give us discerning hearts to know when our children needed something more than we could give.

It's not an easy decision. Many times (especially these days) I find that it would be so much easier to just go to the doctor and have him say that everything is fine, that she's gaining well, etc. Many days I think it would put my mind at ease... just to have them look at her and say she's perfect. Then I remember that the peace of mind it may bring (and perhaps even a false peace of mind at times) costs $100 and I have to wonder if that is really what God would want us to do. Does he want us looking to a doctor for peace of mind? Or does he want us to look to him?

I'm curious... what are your thoughts? (Again... please share your opinions with the knowledge that we all need to make our own decisions as the Lord leads in our lives and families. There is not only one right answer... simply what works for each of our families.)


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Smaller portions

The whole purpose of eating all those yummy things our husbands wish we weren't eating (ok... you've got me... your husbands may not be bothered... or maybe they're worse. Really it's just my husband, and my mother-in-law's husband [aka my father-in-law]... he cares too. You know what they say about the apple right? And it's tree? Never mind.) Where was I??? Ah yes... the purpose of eating all those yummy, but not good for us things. The whole purpose is the yumminess, right? We want chocolate because it tastes good. We love cookies because they taste good. Food made with real butter (and a lot of it) is consumed because of the flavor, right?

So why is it that we feel the need to scarf down 12 cookies in one sitting... eh, afternoon (My Beloved, if you are reading this, let's just say this is hypothetical. **smile smile**) In reality, I don't know that I ate 12... that's just a little ridiculous. It could have been more or it could have been less. Let's not focus on the number, okay? My point isn't the number. What is my point? Oh yeah... my point. My point is that if we are eating something because of the flavor, and not because we actually have as our goal feeling very sick, why do we just shove food in our mouths. Should we not, instead, take small bites and truly savor said deliciousness?

I think often times I'm not paying attention. I have a craving, or other desire for (running with the cookie example) a cookie, but I don't really pay attention while I'm eating it. Therefore I need another one a minute later for the same reason or simply eat multiple cookies without necessarily wanting them just because they are there. If I were to take the time, perhaps take one or two cookies out of the bag, put them on a plate, poor myself a glass of milk and sit down to enjoy the yumminess, maybe then I wouldn't haphazardly and without thought eat an entire batch of cookies before they've even cooled (ok... My Beloved, if you are reading this, that really was hypothetical... I took half with me to the BBQ and the rest went into a bag. **smile smile**)

I wonder if this would work across the board. Perhaps even with things like Skittles or M&Ms. An entire bag (and I'm talking about the little single serving bags here... not that I'm above eating an entire family size bag [um... not that I've done that though]) of M&Ms could last a long time if I simply ate one at a time instead of a handful at a time one after another. I imagine 5 M&Ms would taste just as good eaten slowly as a whole bag eaten in the same amount of time.

Well, old habits die hard, but I *think* I'm going to try it. Some of this is spurred on by my own guilt, some by the knowledge that I'm going to have to teach portion control and the concept of gluttony to my children and I need to be an example of what I teach, and some by a comment My Beloved made the other night upon seeing my bowl of ice cream. "You know," he said, "the ice cream would last longer if you had smaller bowls." Let me tell you, that was way better than, "You know, you would loose weight a lot faster if you wouldn't eat ALL that ice cream." He hasn't ever said that last thing by the way... and I'm so glad... because he would be right about that too. Anyway, back to the ice cream lasting longer. He's SO right. If I were to have 2 normal sized scoops instead of 3 scoops as large as I could make them and still call them scoops, the ice cream would last longer, and I would be smaller. And if I ate those two smaller scoops more slowly (like with a small spoon instead of a shovel), I'd still get to enjoy the flavor just as long (and perhaps I wouldn't get brain freeze quite as often).

So I'm going to try it... at least for a week (it's the baby step concept.) Anyone with me??? Now if only there were yummy things in the house for me to try this with... if only I hadn't eaten them all!

I'm calling this a kitchen tip... since food generally originates in the kitchen. :) For more tips, visit here!

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Toddler Menu and Laundry... lots of laundry!

Monday's here again and I'm actually glad. I can't even tell you how many loads of laundry are in some state of something-ness all over my little house. Things are a bit out of control... oh wait... perhaps not. Things are nicely in control because I am working on them! :) The washer and dryer have been working all day long, and because they have been going already, I can keep them going through nap time... if I can just keep the buzzer from going off. :) We were given a BUNCH of baby clothes for Sweet Pea this weekend, so those need to be washed. I did a load of kitchen towels and bibs last night with vinegar to get rid of the smell that seems to linger even after they are washed. This morning we were dismayed to find that My Beloved has ZERO clean undershirts! I felt terrible... impending failure feelings coming on. Poor guy found one that would work for today, but right after he left I threw all of them in the wash, with a few other things, and added some vinegar to that load too. Now we're on to baby clothes and other odds and ends of the same color scheme. The next big job is folding, then ironing. I wonder how much can get done before nap time is over (theirs, not mine... I wish it could all get done while I napped! Wouldn't THAT be a perfect world. Alas, I napped yesterday and as a result, no cereal got made, no laundry got done, and the house was quite messy when My Beloved returned home from his weekend away.)

Anyway, all that to say that I took a laundry break this afternoon to figure out our menu for this week! Here it is:
My plan for that chicken on Thursday is to cube it into 1 inch(ish) cubes and marinate it in Paul Newman Italian Salad Dressing like my mom used to do (ok... she may have used Bernstein's, but I have Paul Newman this week.) Anyway, if it works like hers did, it will be very moist and yummy!

I'm planning to buy fresh green beans this week to have all week long here and there. I'm hoping to have as many fresh veggies this summer to expose Tornado to as many as possible. I don't want him growing up thinking canned veggies are normal and fresh are scary like I did. :)

Oh, and I did hear from several of you about wanting to get the printable version emailed to them. I finally figured it out on my gmail and have sent it out. If anyone else wants to be on my Toddler Menu Mailing List, send me an email at babychaser[at]gmail[dot]com. Please give me a little time. If I don't get this week's out to you, I'll make sure you get next weeks with everyone else. :)

Visit MPM for more menu planning ideas! Have a yummy week!

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