Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby
Now that Ladybug is here, I have been re-reading one of my favorite books about babies. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau was one of the two books that primarily shaped the way I established our routine with Buddy and Sweetpea.  And now that Ladybug is over a week old, I'll begin working on her routine as well.
One of my favorite sayings from this book is "Start as you mean to go on" which means to begin life with your child as you see life in the future.  Right now Ladybug is sleeping on top of us at night instead of in her bed but I know when she is older, I do not want to have her on my chest at night.  So our goal with her right now is to begin to work on her sleeping in her bed. 
Using acronyms like E.A.S.Y (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) and S.L.O.W (Stop, Listen, Observe, What's Up), Tracy Hogg's principles are a breeze to follow and easy to understand even while lacking sleep!  The biggest thing that I appreciate is the development of a routine, not a schedule, but a routine of what to expect.  This not only helps the baby adjust to their new life but helps the parents know how to plan their days.  I, by nature, am a planner and so having Buddy, Sweetpea, and Ladybug on a flexible routine gives me more peace of mind.  The key word in parenting is flexibility and so if adjustments need to be made during the day, they can be easily made to our routine. 
If you are a new parent or expecting a child, check this book out!  As with every parenting book though, take the advice with a grain of salt and do what fits your lifestyle best.  Happy Parenting!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Introducing Ladybug

Miss Ladybug was added to our family Thursday, February 16th, and is home and doing great!  We are so excited to introduce her to y'all and to get to know her.  Ladybug is settling right in with Buddy and Sweetpea. 
I love being a mommy to three and we're all adjusting to being a family of five now!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Today as the focus is on love, chocolate, and flowers, I challenge you to take a look at 1 Corinthians 13.  Let's examine our hearts and see if our love can begin to match what is described here!

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Artisan Bread

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home BakingI received Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for Christmas and have really enjoyed reading it.  I finally ventured into the bread making this past week and was overall pleased with my first attempt.  I started with a Whole Wheat Sandwich bread since that is what my family eats most often and halved the recipe. 
Buddy and Sweetpea have enjoyed the bread but Jon and I think it turned out a little dense and chewy.  Pregnancy brain kicked in at the end and I floured the top of the loaf with white flour instead of wheat but Buddy thought it was powdered sugar.  Also, my pans were a little larger and therefore my loaves a little smaller.  Oh well, for a first attempt, it turned out well.

I hope to progressively get better and look forward to trying some of the more complex recipes in the future.  If you love bread, aren't a fan of bread machines, and want an easy quick way to bake bread more often, give this book a try! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Ideas

This year we are having a simpler Valentine's Day around our house.  Baby 3 will be arriving two days later and I don't have as much energy to do a lot of crafts right now.  I still want to celebrate with Buddy and Sweetpea so here are a few cute ideas that I combined to do with them today.
Heart Stamps:


Hand Print Hearts:
Handprint heart

Buddy and Sweetpea loved painting today and the end results were super cute.  Sorry for no pictures but I was trying hard to keep the paint as contained as possible.

If you are looking for more ideas, here are the links to what we did last year.
Happy Crafting!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Letter A Activities

Due to weeks of sicknesses and little interruptions, we just finished with our Letter A activities from all the various resources I mentioned here.  Here are a few pictures from our work.  
Sweetpea loved that she could use the dry erase marker like Buddy and of course chose her favorite color: purple.

Buddy practiced writing letter A's.  He is proficient at capital letter A but is still working on the lower case a.

Tracing lines to his sight words.

Sweetpea "dotting" or circling A's.  Then she colored all over the apple.


Sweetpea and Buddy memorized their "A" verses and I was proud that Buddy managed to learn both with no problem.  Here is a video of Buddy saying his two verses.  Hope you enjoy!  Now on to the Letter B!
 video

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Simple Bow Holder

Looking for a simple easy way to find all those bows for your daughter's hair?  The way we were keeping the bows put away was not working and I could not easily and quickly find a bow for Sweetpea's hair.  After a morning of frustration, I remembered the way my aunt used to keep my cousin's bows so I quickly implemented her strategy. 
All I did was hang two pieces of ribbon to the wall and then clip all of Sweetpea's bows to the ribbon.
Easy.
Simple.
Organized.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's In the Bible?

Jon bought Buddy and Sweetpea the first five "What's In the Bible?" DVDs and they love them.  I'll admit I was a little skeptical before we watched but we were all hooked after one lesson.  Buddy especially asks to watch these repeatedly.  Phil Vischer (VeggieTales creator) has created this series of DVDs to take children and their parents through the entire Bible.  Not only does he highlight the stories in each book, but church history and Biblical theology is explained on a child's level.  Recently we were watching the DVD while I prepared lunch and I stopped to listen as they defined apostasy.  The great thing is Buddy and Sweetpea are enraptured by the puppet characters and they are learning too!  Buddy has even wanted to find the Pentateuch in his preschool Bible.  By using the puppets and catchy songs, hard truths are easily learned.  For more information, check out "What's in the Bible?".  This website has resources for parents to use along with the videos and activities for kids to do that pertain to each lesson.  If you are looking for new movies to add to your family's collection, give "What's in the Bible" and try and see what you learn too!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jewelry Board

This amazing jewelry board was my big gift from Jon this past Christmas.  He made it himself and I love it! 
I used to store my necklaces in a pile on my dresser and rarely wore them because who has time to sort through to find just the right one?  So Jon solved this problem and reminded me that even moms can look stylish.  I love when my sweet hubby sees a solution to a problem before I even recognized that there was a problem.
If you are interested in making one for yourself, you will need a large cork board, smaller cork squares, fabric, ribbon, and pushpins. 
Jon covered the large cork board with fabric and outlined it with the brown ribbon.  Then he covered the smaller squares with the contrasting fabric and glued them on to the large board.  After pushing the pins into the cork board, I hung up my new necklaces and bracelets!  Now I'm can easily select a necklace and bracelet if desired and don't have to worry about them becoming tangled.    

Monday, February 6, 2012

Courageous

Jon and I recently watched Courageous for the first time and we loved it!  I really don't cry at movies but I cried through quite a bit of this movie.  It is a great clean movie about the relationship between fathers and their children.  Sherwood Pictures hit it out of the park with this movie!  Even though the movie was geared towards fathers, I still took quite a bit away from the movie.  I'm trying to enjoy every minute with Buddy and Sweetpea and not get caught up in the mundane things that won't matter in the end. Jon and I have always aimed to raise Godly children but it is a long process that I never want to become complacent with and lose sight of that goal.  Sherwood Pictures has teamed up with several partners to produce different resources to help families and dads on their journey to be courageous.  You can check them out here.  Since I don't want to spoil any parts of the movie, I very much recommend going to rent or buy Courageous.  But have lots of Kleenex ready to go!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner?

Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner?: Organizing and Loving Your Days as a MomOne of the best books I bought around the time I decided to stay home with Buddy was "Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner?"  I think it was the subtitle that really caught my attention.  As much as I loved being home, I wasn't sure what to do at first and this book helped encourage me in the stay at home process.
I'm currently in the process of re-reading it for the third or fourth time.  I've been feeling like I've been in a slump and not accomplishing as much around the house, especially with Buddy and Sweetpea. 
Cindy Dagnan uses humor to keep you reading and provides many useful tips to help your household run smoothly.  Her chapter on how to overcome our kryptonite has been the most encouraging to read and re-read.  All stay at home moms have dreams of being Supermom and all of us encounter kryptonite at some point.  How we decide to go from there is up to us.  Organization helps keep my home working well and I definitely know when I've started to let life get a little more cluttered.
If you are currently a stay at home mom, or thinking about becoming one, I recommend finding this book at a library or buying it.  I hope that you'll be as encouraged in your desire to stay home as I am!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Menus and My Grocery Goal

Monthly meal planning has continued at our house though I was tempted not to plan for February.  Baby 3 will join us soon and I know that plans will have to be very flexible. 
I decided to plan menus that used things already in our pantry and freezer.  Not only will this make life simpler, but it will also save money.  My goal for February is to shop the perimeter of the store.  We'll need to buy things like fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, and eggs but I hope to buy little else. 
I'm hoping this will make our transition to a family of five a little smoother while keeping us on track in our budget.