Director Jewels: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Simple Moments v.8

This week, it's been a little tough to focus on simple things, because the majority of the time I have been exhausted.  Our car has also been in the shop twice this week, sigh.  Regardless of the sleep deprivation and the stress, though, life goes on.  And I am even more grateful for the sweet little moments, when I am not too tired to notice them!


Crafting.  Lincoln's birthday is in about three weeks, and while I'm not planning anything like the first birthday extravaganza, I'm also not anywhere near being in party-planning mode.  Yikes.  I managed to get my act together and craft some invitations yesterday, though.  At least step one is done!


I also have been super slacking at getting baby gifts for friends done in an acceptable timeframe. In an effort to convince myself that 2013 is the year of change, I dragged my fabric and ribbon and felt upstairs so I could make some progress on a project while Lincoln plays and Adelaide naps.  And what do you know - it worked!  A completed craft project makes me feel like a whole new woman.


Baby Smiles.  Seriously.  Look at this chubby chubby baby and I'm sure you will understand why I don't really want to work on anything boring like cooking or cleaning.


Baby Shoes.  You could die from the cuteness.  The appeal triples when she is kicking hysterically!


Sleepy Baby.  We've had a few unhappy days this week - I'm afraid it's because Adelaide likes soy about as little as she likes dairy.  This is a bummer, since I finally found some soy ice cream that tasted real.  Not worth it if we have to have days where her tummy hurts, though.  She has been requiring extra snuggles and bouncing and nursing to fall asleep this week.


But when she does finally drift off...goodness, she is precious.  My life is so much richer because of my sweet babies!  Even if I function at a much lower brain capacity.  :)

What simple moments are you celebrating this week?


Lincoln's Reading Corner January 2013


After the reading success in December, I was hopeful that we would continue the trend this month with lots of reading!  Unfortunately that hasn't really been the case.  Books have been touch and go, but overall not super popular. 

Here are the few favorites this month!


1. Mickey is Happy.  This library find has been a favorite due to the current obsession with Mickey Mouse in our house!  The illustrations scream '90's, but Lincoln doesn't care.  This is a book of feelings, i.e. Mickey is happy, Goofy is silly, Donald is angry, etc.

2. Peek-a-Boo, I Love YouOkay, this book was in December's list, too - but it seriously is one of the only books he has wanted to read all month!  The spine is almost completely destroyed now. 

3. Hello, BostonWe picked up this book at the Old North Church gift shop in Boston last summer.  He really wasn't super interested in it back then, but I wanted him to have a souvenir from his first "big" vacation,  He loves it now though!  I think he likes it mostly because the characters are ducks.  Andrew pointed out that they are disturbing ducks, since they are human-sized and ride the bus with the other "normal" tourists!

4. I'm A Police Officer. I got this book for a quarter at a garage sale.  Can't beat that, right?  It has several pictures that feature police cars.  And we know that a car=instant favorite.


Maybe reading will be a little more exciting around here in February!  If you're looking for more reading ideas, you can check out all our recent favorites here!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hold the Cheese and Chocolate. For awhile.

I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to eat chocolate all the time.  I mean, it's pretty much the most delicious thing on this earth.  And then there's cheese.  The second most delicious thing on this earth. What do these things have in common, you ask?  They both almost absolutely always contain dairy.  And when Adelaide was born just over two months ago, I never dreamed that I might have to give them up for her.

Fast forward to the beginning of January.  One night for dinner, I thought I would be really productive and actually baked one of the freezer meals that I had prepared in the weeks before Addie's arrival.  It's called Double Macaroni and Cheese.  It pretty much consists of cheese, cream, cottage cheese, more cream, milk, and more cheese.  It's divine.

But apparently not everyone agreed.  For two or three days after we ate this meal, my perfect happy baby disappeared.  Addie was the fussiest she had ever been in her life.  I was beside myself trying to figure out why she was screaming and writhing as though her tummy hurt all the time.  After some internet research and this article on food sensitivities in babies, I had a feeling that we might be dealing with a dairy problem.  To test the theory, I stopped eating dairy for one (incredibly long) week.  Then, as a test, I ate a sandwich with cheese and a small portion of normal macaroni and cheese.  Her fussiness and gassiness came back almost immediately.  Yes, it seemed pretty certain that she indeed has a dairy sensitivity.

Once I had established that this was the problem, I was really no better off.  You see, my main food groups are literally cheese and chocolate, with ice cream thrown in for good measure.  I had a few days of denial.  Breastfed babies are supposed to be the easiest to take care of!  I'm supposed to be able to eat normally, pass on great nutrition to my child, and lose weight without a huge amount of effort!  What happened to that?!

Eventually I realized, I needed to get over myself, accept that this was a new thing for my lifestyle, and just go with it.  I have some fabulous friends (some of whom have dealt with this in the past) who provided me with a host of recipes and food substitution suggestions.  And now, almost a month later, I can honestly say that I am not craving dairy all of the time - though I would do just about anything for some pizza!

Since the issue with babies is not lactose intolerance, but rather milk protein intolerance, they mostly grow out of it by the time they are six months old.  I can handle another three and a half months if it keeps my baby girl smiling!  It's been a bit of a challenge to eat enough calories, since I am nursing two kids, though.  Overall, this change is forcing me to eat healthier!  I am actually excited about eating fruits and veggies these days.  I also feel like I am starving most of the time.

If you find yourself in this boat, here are a few things I have already learned.

Look for Vegan products.  These tend to pop up in the organic or healthy section.  They automatically won't have milk or butter, which makes things a bit easier.


Earth Balance Buttery Spread is a decent replacement for butter, when you need something on toast or a baked potato.


Coconut Oil is another substitute that seems to work pretty well in recipes.  It has also - bonus - been awesome in relieving Lincoln's eczema!  It even smells yummy.


It is possible to cook without cheese.  This is evidenced here by our recent meal of chicken, baked potatoes, carrots, and rolls.


If you are lucky enough that your baby can tolerate soy, you can still have ice cream treats!  Unfortunately, I think Addie has a soy sensitivity as well - at least when I eat it in ice cream form.  Andrew made me this delicious almond milk and soy ice cream shake a couple nights ago.  I'm living off the memory. Nom.

And ultimately, you can survive breastfeeding a dairy sensitive baby.  Because Oreos are dairy free.  We aren't going to talk about how many of those I have consumed this month.

Have you ever dealt with a food sensitivity in a nursing baby?  How did you cope?

Wordless Wednesday: The Reality of Co-sleeping


You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Smile: Matching Kiddos


Maybe I am biased.  But oh my word. Could these kids possibly be any cuter?  LOVE THEM.

Super awesome matching big-brother-little-sister sibling shirts from here.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Confession: I Threw Out My Coupons



When you have a baby or two and you have one income, it's almost always essential to learn how to save money on diapers.  Not to mention, you're spending so much money on headbands for your tiny princess, that you need to save money on pretty much everything else to make up the difference. 

Back to the point.  When I found out I was pregnant with Lincoln, I knew that I wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I started reading books and blogs about saving money.  I clipped every coupon I could find.  I got a newspaper subscription.  I actually even wrote a coupon blog for over a year.  And while I did save a lot of money, I spent an extremely ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to get all of the freebies, samples, and deals that I could. 

When I knew that Adelaide was on the way, one of the first things to go was blogging about coupons.  I loved deal blogging, but it requires being online almost constantly to watch for new deals that may be gone within minutes.  I have a huge respect for the awesome coupon bloggers who have been sharing deals for years on end.  That job is hard

I still tried to keep up with my coupons, though.  I read the deal blogs.  I liked every page on Facebook that might share a freebie at random times.  I kept my newspaper subscription.  But as I dealt with morning sickness and a very busy toddler, my coupons started to expire.  I realized that I was not getting to the drugstores more often than once every couple of months (in the deal world - you almost have to visit weekly to keep up with the drugstore game).  I desperately tried, but finally, this week - I GAVE UP.

I threw my coupons away.  Almost all of them.


I simply don't have the time or energy right now to worry about keeping up with all of the deals - just to maybe save $2 on a pack of diapers once a month.  And that's only if I happen to make it to the store.  Please don't judge me for not sending my coupons to a military group or a coupon swap.  This week, I really really just needed to be DONE with them and this was the best solution. 99% of them were way expired, anyway.

I kept a few restaurant coupons (most of which I can't use anyway since I am currently eating dairy-free, but maybe my hubby can use them), some Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, and a few other retail coupons.  My enormous coupon binder seems manageable right now.  I am absolutely positive that one day in the future, I will again be a couponing queen.  But right now, it's simply not feasible for me to keep up.  My tiny kids are more important.

The only thing that I found upsetting?  This:


Who lets a coupon for a free box of diapers EXPIRE?!  Seriously.  Fail.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Simple Moments v.7

When you live in the midwest, you kind of learn to expect that the weather can and will be ridiculous at times.  Case in point: last Saturday, when it was warm enough to pack up our little entourage and take them to see the new polar bear at the Kansas City Zoo. 

Yes, seriously. In the middle of January.


We didn't get to the zoo until mid-afternoon, and stayed less than two hours.  Lincoln's grandparents gave us a zoo membership for Christmas, and I am so excited to put it to good use all year!

Family Photo.  I promise Lincoln was actually more excited about our day.

We saw Berlin, the polar bear, some monkeys, tigers, kangaroos, birds, sheep, and more.  I've decided that visiting the zoo may actually be better when the heat index is not 105 degrees.  The animals were all far more active in the cooler weather!


Lincoln had the most fun running around in the Discovery Barn.  I was glad Daddy was there to chase him; I don't think I could have kept up!

Snuggly baby.

My big accomplishment?  Adelaide decided about ten minutes into this trip that she was starving.  And I wore her in my wonderful Ergobaby Performance Carrier and she nursed for about an hour straight.  And I doubt anyone even knew!


Our adventurers were worn out from all the fun - but my goodness, Andrew and I pretty much crashed when we got home.  This family outing was fun for all, but a lot of work for the parents.  Nevertheless, we were grateful for the simple joys of the day - Lincoln's smiles and Addie's snuggles are really some of the best things in life.

What simple moments are you celebrating this week?



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: No Carb Shortage Here

Gotta keep a food stash in your hand at all times.

Bread doubles as a car.  Who knew?

Nom.

Yes, there is a thick layer of crumbs in my house.  Everywhere.  At least he is having fun.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lincoln's 1st Birthday: Nintendo 1-Up Mushroom Party

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I am a little bit in shock that my little man is turning TWO YEARS OLD next month.  I have about three and a half weeks to put together his amazing second birthday party.  Here's what I have done so far:

-make note to self to add "make invitations" to my to-do list.

Yeah, I have a ways to go.

Since I'm thinking about the upcoming celebration, I felt it only made sense to peek back at his first birthday party.  I can't believe it was almost a year ago.  He is growing up too fast!  I haven't shared these photos before - I'm not sure why, because they are way too fun.


Lincoln's nursery theme is Super Mario Brothers World, so when we were deciding on a theme for his first birthday, it only made sense to go this route.  Ultimately, the theme was 1-Up - appropriate since we had taken his photo with a giant plush 1-Up mushroom every month since birth, and because he was turning 1.

Good morning, birthday boy!

I spent most of the week leading up to the party crafting and baking.  I was able to borrow a friend's Cricut die cut machine to make some my Happy Birthday Lincoln banner - and it turned out so well!

Party Decorations.
Photo frames have pictures from newborn, 3 weeks, 6 months, and 8 months.

Closer view of the banner.  I just used scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby.

Monthly Photo Banner

I had a lot of fun making this super cute monthly photo banner!  I still have it in my craft room, and can't decide exactly what to do with it. 

The CAKE!

My wonderful friend Stephanie spent an entire day helping me craft the question block cake and mushroom pops.  There was a whole lot of trial and error involved - and I had to go to the store in the middle of the process because I baked a cake without any water in it.  It should be apparent to all that baking is not my strong suit.  Stephanie, however, makes amazing cakes.  I was super grateful for her help!

Mushroom Cake Pops!  Aren't they fun?

The other big baking project was these Mushroom Cake Pops.  They turned out far, far better than I dreamed possible.  They were made from large marshmallows, miniature brownies (from Target), candy melts, and fondant.  I hope to share a tutorial on how to make them sometime soon!  They were incredibly time-consuming, but made the party table look fantastic.

More Table Decorations.

I tried to make tiny blue mushrooms from mini marshmallows and M&Ms, but it didn't work out quite as well as I had hoped.  The mustache straws - made in the style of both Mario and Luigi - were a big hit.

Birthday Boy!

I remember last year when I took these photos - I thought he was completely grown up.  And now he looks like a tiny baby!  I can't believe how fast they grow.

Let him eat cake.

He really wasn't sure what to think about the cake.  He hadn't really had sugar before this party, so I think the taste was overwhelming.  He took a few bites, smeared it into his hair, ears, and eyes, then freaked out and had to have a bath and new clothes.  He didn't calm down enough to go back to the party until he nursed, as well. 

Scrapbook page for all of his guests to sign.

I used photos from Halloween 2011 to decorate the party.  It was perfect!

Opening Presents

He didn't entirely understand the gift opening process, but everyone enjoyed watching him anyway.

Family Photo!

It was a wonderful birthday party for our little man.  I'm getting excited to start crafting for the second birthday celebration!  If you know of any blogs with inspiration for a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party, send them my way!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Adelaide: 2 Months Old

2 Months Old!

Somehow, my baby girl is already two months old.  I really don't know how this is possible!  Adelaide - can't we just slow down, sweet baby?

Milestones: You are starting to grab things - my hair, my jewelry, my shirt, your blankets and clothes, anything that's in your reach!  You also love to watch what is going on around you and turn that chubby little face to keep things (especially Lincoln) in your line of vision.

Loves: I wrote a little bit about your favorite things right now here.  You are such a happy baby; everyone comments on it.  We had a few days this month where you were really not yourself and fussed almost nonstop - but after establishing that your tummy has a dairy sensitivity and cutting that from Mommy's diet, you are doing great again (more details on that to come later).  You love to cuddle and often if you actually cry, it is just because you want to be held and snuggled.  I don't mind at all.  You also love your big brother.  Even when he accidentally crawls on you.

Probably my favorite photo EVER.

Hates: Binkies.  We had about one day where I thought for sure you were going to get over this - but my goodness.  You have made it pretty clear you're having nothing to do with pacifiers of any sort.  I guess I'll be grateful when I don't have to wean you from it someday, but Lincoln is obsessed with his and having a baby without a pacifier is weird for me!!  Honestly, I can't think of anything else you hate.  You are always so happy!

Weight/Height:
You are quite the little chunk.  The last time you were weighed - January 14 - you were 12 pounds, 14 ounces and 23 inches long.  I'm pretty sure this is more than Lincoln weighed when he was 6 months old.  Your 0-3 month clothes are getting super snug, so I'm starting to get out the 3-6 month things.  I like to buy clothes in advance at consignment sales and I have tons of clothes, up through size 18-24 months.  Now I'm afraid they will all be the wrong season! You are in the 98th percentile for both weight and height.  Little overachiever!

In happier news - most of your gorgeous headbands fit on your head now, yay!


We love you, sweet baby girl.  Can't wait to see what the next month brings.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Purex Baby Laundry Detergent Review + Giveaway


People tell you that you'll have epic amounts of laundry when you have a baby.  They're right.  When you have two babies, as you might imagine, the task increases dramatically.  The photo above is unfortunately not an exaggerated glimpse at how much laundry tends to be piled on my couch at any given time.  The shirtless boy may or may not be responsible for tossing it all onto the floor.


Laundry for infants is even worse than normal laundry.  I have a boy and a girl, so I can give you the full spectrum on baby stains.  My two-month-old typically goes through at least two outfits a day.  Who wants to wear something that's drenched in drool or spit-up, right?  And my almost two-year-old boy?  Well, he usually manages with just one outfit each day, but by the end his shirt usually has some type of food sticking to it.  Sometimes multiple kinds of food.  Today I'm pretty sure it's strawberries.


I'll be honest - I don't usually buy specific "baby" detergent.  It's far more expensive and I've never had a problem using regular, unscented detergent for my kids' clothing.  But when Purex offered to send me a bottle of their brand new liquid detergent designed just for babies, I was definitely interested!  The new baby formula is hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, so it's gentle on baby's delicate skin.  The baby-soft scent is light enough even for me - and I'm a big fan of unscented detergent.  Purex Baby is much less expensive than other specific "baby" detergents - and I am much more likely to purchase this for my kids' laundry needs in the future.

I've washed several (overflowing) loads of baby clothes with Purex Baby so far, and I am pleased with the result.  I'll be using more this weekend as I am transitioning Addie's clothes - my two-month-old little chunk is moving up to size 3-6 months!!

Purex Baby is currently available to purchase in a 50oz bottle, with 100oz bottles coming soon!  Not all stores carry this detergent yet, but you can find a store near you here.


My Purex Baby detergent is definitely being put to good use!  I honestly think if my washer and dryer were on the main level of my house...they would never stop running.  How many people are in your family - and how long does it take you to catch up on laundry? 

Giveaway

Three Director Jewels readers will each win a coupon for a FREE 50oz Bottle of Purex Baby Laundry Detergent.  This giveaway will end on February 1 at 11:59pm CST.  This giveaway is open to US readers only.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)!  Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well.  All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want!  Winners will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Good luck!



Thank you to Purex for providing my review sample and the giveaway prizes!  I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.  For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Simple Moments v.6

It's kind of a low-key day around here, and the baby has actually napped.  This makes me very happy and a lot easier to live with!  Here are a few of the simple moments we've enjoyed this week.

 
--Shopping for new socks.  And realizing when you are 45 minutes from home in a random store bathroom that you have one single wipe left in the diaper bag.

--Lincoln's complete obsession with brushing his teeth.


--Pretty headbands and Sunday best outfits - before poopspolosions ruin them!  This outfit is size 0-3 months and came with the cutest gray skinny leggings.  Addie's ankles are too big for them already.


--Until you are a mom, you really cannot comprehend how beautiful it is to eat a meal by yourself with no one climbing on you, nursing, or mooching your food.  Mom confession: sometimes when Lincoln is asleep I eat his GoGo Squeez.  The Apple Cherry is my favorite.

--Finishing our third trilogy in the last month.  Do we get bonus points for the third "trilogy" actually being all eight Harry Potter films?  I think yes.


--When your mama lets you eat marshmallows on the kitchen floor.


What simple moments are you celebrating this week?



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