Saturday #190

On Saturday #190 (#10 for Harper) my eyes opened early, the sky was black with no hint of the sun. My son was smiling at me. He said "Kitty go bye bye?" Disoriented and sleepy I asked him "What buddy?" He said "Kitty go bye bye!" Then I heard it, a sad meow. I stumbled out of bed and found my way to the door. When I passed the clock in the kitchen I saw it was 5:07 a.m. I grumbled a "Good Morning and thanks jerk..." to the cat that had insisted on staying out all night. There was no point in delaying it, Roo and I were awake.

I am never one to let a lack of sleep get me down. I like the early morning quiet in my neighborhood. So Roo and I camped out on the sofa, he wanted granola for breakfast and was happy to sit on my lap watching the Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas while he munched his granola bar. There is nothing like having your child want to cuddle with you early int he morning.

So, for about 90 minutes we snuggled with each other and watched cartoons. Harper woke up and was ready to join the party. When we got her out of her crib she was wearing a big goofy smile. That is always a good sign.

Harper was asleep again around 9, and the goblin wanted to have a bath. I thought that sounded pretty nice so he splashed in the tub for a while and told me his ABC's.

Before I knew it, it was noon. We got the kids dressed up in cute outfits, grabbed cameras and went to see Santa. This is the 4th trip we have made. He is NEVER in or so it seems. He wasn't there today again despite the large sign saying he should be. I am determined to get my son to see Santa, we went to 3 different towns and had no luck finding the big guy.

I asked Roo what he wanted to do, he said "WalMart!" I said "What do you want to do at Walmart?" He said "Shopping!" I said "What do you want to shop at Walmart for?" He thought for a minute and told me "Pibby (Pizza), crackers and cookies." I said "Do you want to shop for juice too?" He said "Please?" His Dad said "Okay, pibby, crackers and cookies and juice it is then." So we took him to do just that. I didn't argue as I was off the hook and didn't have to really cook dinner.
Roo telling me he wants to go to Walmart

Harper cries "no, not Wal-Mart!!"

We came home and danced in the living room, we read a few books and before long it was time for baths and the kids went to bed.

Saturday #190 went by fast! Don't they all though?

It wasn't the most exciting day, but I had the chance to spend the day with 2 cute kids so I was pleased. I hope you had time to spend with the people you love over the weekend.

7 Ways To Entertain a 3 Year Old

Photo Credit: the photos belong to their respective owners. Visit the links to see the original sources.

It is winter and my 3 year old son has cabin fever already. I have been searching pinterest for activities to keep him happily learning and playing all day long. These are some of the cutest ideas I found.

This pretend plate of food for Thanksgiving activity would be a good way to build my son up to eating Thanksgiving dinner. He is pretty sure he doesn't like anything but chicken and crackers.

My son might be down with this pretend ice cream cone craft. 

Hand print flowers would be fun to make and cute to display.

My son would like this make a lion craft. This is a must try soon idea!

My son loves playing matching games so this Popsicle  game would be a lot of fun for both of us.

My son loves to check out tanks of fish so he would like creating a fish of his own I am sure.

My son really loves the idea of Christmas and he loves cereal. Win, Win.

Happy Holidays From Sweet Silly Sara!

Photo Credit: The photos used in this post belong to their respective owners.

All work and no play makes Sara a dull girl.

With that in mind I wanted to share a post with you, my favorite folks on the world wide web to say Happy Holidays with a few favorites from pinterest.

Okay, this just made me laugh. Love the sweaters.

This is a pretty way to say Happy Holidays.

It looks like Santa was the naughty one that year.

This former Florida girl can attest that there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like a Christmas in the sun.

It isn't Christmas without a kiss under the mistletoe.

Hey! It's a Christmas Pig!

Poor dog! But lucky us to see this cute photo!

This is just cute! The magic of Christmas.

This might apply to me this year. Dear Santa...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Happy Holidays!

Shredded Chicken Recipe

I have fallen in love with my Crockpot. I had really not used it very often until I had Harper and found juggling 2 kids and trying to make dinner was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have a yummy recipe to share with you for Shredded Chicken that I think you will love, especially on busy days!

You will need:
3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cube of chicken bouillon (I use Better than Bouillon in Chicken Flavor)
2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 jar of chicken gravy (don't use an envelope of dry gravy mix- it will lump up!)
2 cups of water (more if needed to cover the chicken)

Cook your chicken in 2 cups of water and a bouillon cube for about 8 hours on low.

When your chicken is cooked use a fork and a kinfe to shred it (use a thermometer for food safety) reduce the amount of water in the crockpot by half.

Add the chicken gravy and cream of chicken soup. Allow to cook for one more hour.

You can serve this on buns for sandwiches or you can serve it over mashed potatoes. My family likes it both ways, this recipe makes enough that we usually have it both ways and I am thrilled to have 2 if not 3 easy meals to serve.

Saturday #189

On Saturday #189 (#9 for Harper) my son and I woke up before the baby or their Dad. We looked outside to see it was snowing, Roo is fascinated with snow now that he has watched Frosty the Snowman countless times. Every 10 minutes or so he would run to the window or door and tell me "Snow" with a magical look on his face. After the baby had been fed and changed she went back to sleep (it is exhausting to be a cute little thing!) so I took the video monitor to my husband and told him I was taking Roo out for a snowy walk.

My son was excited. We were avid walkers until the baby was born. This was our first walk alone together in 9 weeks. He brought me his boots, my boots and our coats and jumped with joy, literally.

We got bundled up and headed out into the world. I let him lead the way. We held hands and kicked snow on each other. We were very happy to be together on a quiet, snowy walk.

Roo loves to walk to the gas station about 3/4 of a mile from our house to get a juice. That is what he wanted to do, he kept tugging my hand saying "Juice! Juice please!" So we walked to get a juice.

We really had a great walk. We chatted with each other, we laughed, we kicked snow. He picked out a juice and I told him he could pick a cookie for after lunch, if he would eat his lunch. He is a sucker for cookies and agreed.

When we got home we were both chilly, we felt great from the much needed exercise and I came home to a clean house. When I walked in and didn't trip over any toys  and I saw my husband holding Harper my heart melted. That is romance. Cleaning for your wife and taking care of the baby as soon as you wake up.

The snow continued through the day. It was perfect timing for a snow day. We spent the day at home. I had Saturday work (and a lot of it too) so I spent the day writing.

My son and husband went outside and built a snowman After the snowman, Roo came in to cuddle in a blanket and snack on Popcorn, he begged to watch Frosty the Snowman again. Then we had a nice dinner followed by story-time (We read How Does Santa Get Dressed and a Dinosaur Train book), we gave the kids their baths. When they were tucked into bed my husband and I agreed to watch a movie (that wasn't of my sons choosing) but as it turned out we both thought sleeping on the couch was a better idea. What a Saturday night.

I look forward to spring time when we can get out and about and enjoy time outdoors together, the 4 of us. Our weekends have certainly taken a change for the less than exciting. I can recall once upon a time a weekend meant a get away, just the 2 of us, or a weekend out with friends, hitting all of the trendy clubs, or maybe going to a concert. My weekends are spent wiping noses, changing diapers, watching cartoons making pancakes and shopping these days. Weekends aren't action packed anymore, I am okay with that. Sometimes it is hard to remember how I spent my time before I had kids. It seems like as soon as I became a mom all of that stuff became unimportant, a distant memory. There is no where I would rather be than hanging out with my kids on a weekend, making each one count for something, even if it is something like taking a walk with my 3 year old, it is a memory. I am going to try to remember to include a photo of the kids each week. When the series is over I will look back on it and see my children grow up one Saturday at a time.

Here is Harper at 9 weeks old! The Christmas Baby!

Must Have Items for Baby

Photo Credit: The photos used in this post belong to their respective owners.

With a new baby comes a lot of shopping for must have baby items. Once you start browsing the selection of products designed for infants you will quickly realize there are almost too many options. When I had my son I got caught up in the hoopla and ended up spending a lot of money on items we didn't need.

To help you save money and stock up on the true must have items for baby I have complied a list for you of the items that I use and love.

Nuk Orthodontic Bottles, these are fantastic. My daughter prefers the shape of the nipple and I like that these bottles are gentle on her tummy and she is not as gassy when she uses Nuk Orthodontic Bottles.

Baby Wipes- We love Huggies One and Done Wipes. These are thicker than Pampers wipes, they smell great and they are gentle on baby's soft skin.

Infant Gas Relief Drops- sometimes baby needs a little relief and not having these drops on hand is a mistake! Don't let baby suffer from gas pain!

Munchkin Baby Bottle Brush- These are the best that I have tried. The brush is sturdy yet flexible, it is easy to use and store and they are affordably priced.

Summer Infant Swaddle Me Microfleece- Much safer and easier to use than a receiving blanket. My daughter sleeps like a log when she is in her Swaddle Me.

Nasal Bulb Syringe- Every home with a baby needs one or two of these. Snot happens.

Diapers- stock up on diapers! You will use thousands of diapers so there is no worry about this being wasted money. We like Pampers Baby Dry diapers and Luv's.

Sleep n Plays- baby will wear pajamas a lot! You need at least 6 sleep n plays.

Pacifiers- Sleeping with a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS and are a very soothing item for baby. My children  preferred the Nuk brand. Get like 5 pack of each size because you will want one on hand at all times.

Video Baby Monitor- We have a lorex 3 in 1 and we love it. It makes checking on baby a breeze.

I hope this list of gear helps you stock up on things you will need with a new baby.

Saturday #188

On Saturday #188 (#8 for Harper) my family had a plan. To get everyone dressed and out the door early is a chore, but I am a trooper and I got myself and both kids ready by 10:30. My husband noticed that I looked amazing and told me it was nice to see me dressed up again. I have been in a rut of wanting to wear pajamas all the time. It is cold, the kids and I stay home almost all the time because I don't want to drag Harper out with cold and flu season and the chilly temps. Pajamas make life easier and more comfortable I guess.

So anyhow, the kids and I were looking great, I dashed into the grocery store with Roo to get Harper's formula. Then we took Roo to lunch at his favorite place, McDonald's. I didn't argue even though it is not my first choice for lunch ever, I was just glad for a break of cooking and cleaning.

After lunch we went to our tiny towns Christmas Celebration. This year the festivities were small, but the kids liked the open house at the library and the ice sculptures. We had a few hours to wait around so we went home to get out our Christmas decorations, then back downtown for the parade. It was very cold, but my son enjoyed himself. That was all that mattered.

A yearly tradition for my family is that on the day of the parade we get out all of our holiday stuff, we get pizza for dinner and get started on the decorating. We held true to that tradition this year, it was fun to see my son getting excited about the decorations.

When the kids were tucked into bed, my husband and I scoped out our gifts for the year. Oh my, what a pile I accumulated. It is nice that I am finished shopping already, now just to wrap everything.

The day was fun,  and it was filled with festive activities for my son. Is your family ready for the holidays? We are almost ready, just a few minor decorations to deal with at this point.

Dear Weary Mom: The Box of Burdens

Dear Weary Mom,

It has been quite a while since I have had the time or energy to write an installment for this series. Life is hectic, the holidays are approaching and there are not enough hours in the day.My grandma is not well, I had a spat with my mother. I have been working a lot and feeling rather blue. Life is taking a toll on me I guess.

A few days ago I was feeling especially sorry for myself. I moped around the house, I cried for a little while. I pouted about my mom and our drama, I pouted about my grandma. I pouted about how everyone else gets to have fun, they get to go out to lunch or go shopping with the girls. I don't get to do any of that stuff. I am too busy being Mom, Wife, Daughter. I love love love my job, but I have been working 7 days a week since I had the baby trying to fit everything in.

I dried my tears on this particular day.  When I start feeling sorry for myself I have to step back. I have to look at life in a different perspective or I will fall apart. I have a method for pulling myself out of the worst funk in record time. I give to others.

I attacked my pantry like it was the most pressing task in my life. I organized, I took note of the expiration dates and I started pulling boxed and canned foods that we may never eat and I sat them aside for someone less fortunate. When I was done I had 2 large shopping bags overflowing with my offerings for the local food bank...But I still felt bad.

So I went into my closet. Maternity Jeans (8 pairs) went into a box. Then maternity shirts(7) went into a box. Old socks, clothes I didn't even know I had and beauty products I never use were singled out.

I didn't really feel better. But, my closet looked much better!

Into the kitchen I went again. Do I need 2 hand and 2 stand mixers? No, one of each went into the box. I really got serious and started tossing things in that box, like a bread machine that is missing a part, old coffee mugs no one ever uses, a spare coffee carafe.

I looked at my neater cabinets and the box. The box had more room, (it was a really big box! My son had been playing in it for days.) I realized that every time I put something in that box I felt a little better.

I filled up the box with outgrown kids clothes. When the box was full it was kind of heavy. Just like my heart had been. I was so glad to have my husband to help me take this box, filled with reminders of the excessive consumption to Goodwill. I had 8 pairs of maternity jeans in my closet... but I wore skirts and dresses every day.

When I evaluated things that took up space in my home, I reflected on the things in my life that were important to me as well. I felt grateful for what I have, and I felt that some items could improve the lives of others.

As I placed the bags filled with boxes and cans of food into the box I said a silent thank you for having so much in my pantry that I could share with others. I guess no one realized we even had the things we gave away. I know many other families struggle to keep food on the table. With the groceries I placed the burden I have felt with the holidays. Christmas really is a stressful time of year. Maybe the food we donated will make Christmas less stressful for another family.

As I found the courage to place my maternity clothes in the box I realized I was letting go and accepting my decision to not have more children. I had struggled with this for the past 2 months. Waves of regret and sadness would wash over me at any random moment. When I put the clothes into the box, I did so with the hope that another woman can purchase these lovely items for a very cheap price and that she will look and feel beautiful in her changing body. My childbearing days are over. I am passing the torch, but instead of doing it tearfully as I would have expected, I did so with a peaceful heart. I have 2 fantastic children. I am happy to have them. With the maternity clothes I placed the burden I have felt over my tubal ligation. I didn't want to have more children until I took the steps to insure I didn't. Then the finality of that last minute choice left me deeply troubled. Now I am ready to start coming to terms with it. Instead of feeling sad, I should feel blessed that I have 2 healthy and gorgeous children.

My son had to jump in the shot!
As I placed outgrown kids clothes in the box, I was thankful to have had the clothes for my children, and to have the children to outgrow the clothes. I know how hard it can be to keep your kids in clothes, they grow so fast! I hope that someone else can benefit from these. This was another big step for me because I had saved every article of clothing my son has ever had, thinking some day there would be another little boy in my family to wear them. When I was able to accept I am not having more children, I was able to start parting with almost 4 years worth of kids clothes. (My attic heaved a sigh of relief!) With the outgrown clothes I
let go of the burden I feel over misspent time. Roo will never wear a 0-3 month outfit again. He is ready for preschool. It is time to embrace that he is growing up and really isn't a baby anymore. It is time to enjoy him at every stage instead of pining away for the baby days with him again.

This cleansing spree was good for my weary soul. I took stock of the good things in my life, but I also touched on the bad things too. I came out of this box of burdens experience with a less cluttered home, satisfaction from giving to others and a good understanding on where I stand in this life. Somewhere in the middle.

Hollywood Squares- No Baking Required

One of my favorite treats during the holiday season is Hollywood Squares. My mom always makes these for Christmas. I hated the idea of missing out on these yummy sweet squares so I started looking for a recipe to make my own. I wasn't sure how hard this recipe would be to make and I have to say these are the easiest thing I have ever made.

You will need:
1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs
2 cups of peanut butter- smooth
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of melted butter (use real butter not spread or margarine!)

For the topping:
2 packages of ghiradelli baking chocolate squares -I used 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar and Semi Sweet
6 tablespoons of peanut butter

Combine all ingredients (except for topping) into a bowl and stir until blended. Spread in a 13x9 pan that has been buttered.

In a separate bowl combine topping ingredients. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave for another 20-30 seconds. Stir. If needed microwave an additional 20 seconds. Pour over top of the pan of peanut butter goodness. Spread so that the topping is evenly distributed and covering the entire pan.

Refrigerate until the topping has hardened. Cut into squares and enjoy.

Thanks for visiting my blog! My Sublime Media Connection friends have some great posts to share, you can check them out by clicking on the thumbnails in the collection below.

Happy Holidays!

Melissa from Melissa Say What? shared   Cream Cheese Kolaches with Fruit- these sound good!

Amanda from Coupons and Lesson Plans shares her Oven Shy Cookie recipe.

Savannah from Simply Me shares some great Holiday Recipes.

Dina at My UnEntitled Life shares No Fail Fudge.  Yummy! 

And a few great Holiday Recipes from April at Saving For My Family. 

5 Fantastic Christmas Treats

 Photo Credit: Photos belong to their respective owners. All recipes are linked from the photographs – click on a photo to visit the creator’s blog and view the recipes. 

Christmas is days away, if you haven't been busy baking yummy treats to leave for Santa, I have found a few great recipes that are worthy of your time and are going to make your house a favorite stop for the big guy.

Melting Snowmen Cookies will bring smiles to the faces of everyone that tries one.

Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls combine 2 of my favorite things- peppermint and oreos!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies would make a great addition to your holiday cookie line up.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups? Oh heck yeah!

Do you have a favorite recipe for the holiday season? I would love to hear what you were busy baking this year.

Saturday #187

 On Saturday #187(7 for Harper)... my son and I woke up early as always. We grabbed a quilt and snuggled up to watch cartoons while Harper was asleep. I had a lot to do preparing for the visit of a relative on Sunday, but moments with my 3 year old sitting in my lap, talking to me and watching cartoons early in the morning are more important than cleaning. We both felt like we were the only people in the world at that moment in time. The house was quiet, the streets were deserted and our neighborhood was still asleep.
It was nice!

My son told me he was hungry for "hot, yummy cancakes" (pancakes) so I made pancakes. He loves plain pancakes and would eat them everyday if I would make them.

I didn't really want to do anything with the weekend being the big shopping weekend, I knew I would buy things because they are on sale and I promised I would not buy anymore gifts until we checked out the stockpile of stuff we had in the attic (I shopped in September).  So, to avoid the retail scene I stayed home all weekend. I watched cartoons with the kids, I cleaned a lot and I finished reading The Help.

Not the most exciting weekend but it was nice to relax! I hope you got to enjoy time with the people you love.

10 Baby Items You Won't Need

When I found out I was pregnant with my son Roo I was ecstatic. One of the things I was interested in was the birth process! You can learn more about the hypnobirthing technique like I did. I did a lot of shopping for baby gear before my baby shower and I ended up with a ton of baby items I absolutely didn't need, and I used many of them once if ever. When I found out I was expecting again I had a good idea of what things I would not need. I am going to share a list of baby items you really don't need to help you save money when you are shopping for a baby shower or your own little bundle of joy.

A baby wipe warmer- I received a baby wipe warmer as a shower gift. I thought what a cool idea and couldn't wait to set it up I envisioned my son being blissful when a perfectly warm wipe touched his skin...Then he arrived and I found I was never changing a diaper in the same place. I became a master of changing diapers in any location. The pads in the warmer dried out super fast and it mostly sat around using electricity. Save your money on this item, it is really not needed.

Baby Blankets- I saw so many cute blankets that I couldn't resist buying about a dozen for Roo. Then I had a baby shower and received 9 handmade blankets and 10 adorable mass produced blankets. We had so many baby blankets that I ended up giving 5 away right off the bat. We had so many blankets in the end that my son only used a few of them once or twice. We didn't need to buy any blankets for Harper as we had so many and friends and family have offered her handmade blankets also. Save your money, don't buy any blankets until after your baby shower. Really you need no more than 6 blankets in my opinion.

Toys that are aimed at newborns- Let's face it, we can't resist buying some of this baby stuff because it is cute! Toys are no exception. With Roo he had so many toys at birth that it was crazy. People that aren't familiar with babies will buy them toys at birth (or so it seems) then act very disappointed when baby isn't playing with them right away. If you need to buy toys stick with teethers, rattles and similar items. You are better off to buy toys for future play. Think the 3-6 month age range.

Clothes from the previous season- I have a well meaning relative that works retail. She buys up all of the kids clothes she can for my family at prices as low as $1 per piece. This always makes me feel bad! She might bring 20 items to us from the previous season. My infant daughter cannot wear a 3-6 month tank top and short set when it is January. Before she could wear it she will have outgrown it and that is a waste of money from the well meaning loved one. If you are going to buy off season clothes, think how big will the child be when it is spring? And buy a bigger size than what the child is currently wearing.

Infant towels- these are cute, who can resist tiny little towels?! But really they are so thin and flimsy they are not super effective for drying a baby. You can use your bath towels on baby, it will be okay!

Tummy Time Mats- These are cute and look fun too, but you can save at least $30 by not getting one. Put one of the lovely baby blankets you have to use. Offer baby a few of those toys you couldn't resist or were given as a gift. A rattle, a large inflatable ball  or a child safe mirror will do the trick of engaging the child while he or she is getting tummy time.

Pacifier Wipes- You think you are going to use these. You have good intentions. Then you realize how busy you are, you forget about them. These are a novel idea but in my opinion, they are not worth the money. 

Diaper Genie- I am sorry the idea of a huge container of soiled diapers just grosses me out. Plus, this is just silly! Just throw the diapers away with your garbage and save your money. The refills on these are too expensive anyhow.

Baby Powder- this smells nice, don't get me wrong, but my pediatrician told me not to use it, it is like rubbing sandpaper on delicate skin and can cause breathing problems if inhaled. He said frequent changes and use of diaper ointment when needed are better options for baby.

Baby Shoes- my daughter is 6 weeks old. She has 8 pairs of shoes for the 0-3 month size. She has at least 3 pairs of each size of shoe until she is about 18 months old... don't get caught up in this style game! One pair, maybe 2 if you can't resist of each size is more than enough. Shoes are really unneeded considering baby cannot walk.

I hope this list helps you save money on items for baby. I would love to hear from you, what items did you have that you found to be completely unnecessary?

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