Saturday, September 25, 2010

The life we choose...

In a conversation with a friend not long ago the comment was made "we have a lifestyle to maintain"...which got me thinking. Don't we all have a "lifestyle to maintain"? We all have different ideas about what is a great life, what things we will and won't put up with in our lives, what we're willing to wait for, what we're okay with doing, what we want, what we dream about, etc, etc, etc.

As most people know I recently quit my job to be a stay at home mum, I left the corporate working world behind on the 7th of May, 2010. My last day was full of excitment and nerves, was I cut out for this SAHM title, would I miss working, was I giving up all the hard work I'd done in college as an undergrad and now as a grad student to do nothing but be home with my kids (now before you get offended and stop reading...give me a minute to counter that statement :P), was I making the biggest mistake in this economy to give up a good job, my mind went round and round.

The next few weeks were such a whirlwind, Blake was born exactly a week after and two weeks after that we packed the last of our bags and moved to our new home in Alabama. I didn't have time to breathe much less think about what I was getting myself into.

Was I giving up our lifestyle?

Maintaining a family of 4 on one income isn't easy, admittedly we are on WIC for a couple of months to help with groceries, the kids are on the Alabama state kids plan, we cut coupons, don't eat out much and use miles or generous parents for travelling. I budget, budget and budget, there isn't any wiggle room. We don't have the option to just spend, I haven't gone on a shopping spree in months and the new shoes I want will have to wait...

Am I a crap person for giving up a great job to take care of my kids and have to lean on the state for a little assistance...

THEN I stopped beating myself up and answered the question nope, not in the slightest am I giving up our lifestyle or changing my dreams...and really I've paid into the system for years, in fact my husband still does we're utlizing the system for the reason it's help us out from a slump. I *could* find a job again but between two kids in daycare and the rest of the costs associated with working outside the home (work wardrobe, gas, lunch out, etc) it wouldn't be worth it and to be honest I don't want to and I don't need too.

I'm home with my kids, everyday and I LOVE MY LIFE...I do, more than I ever have, I finally feel happy and while I have stress really it's no big deal anymore, it rolls off my back with a laugh or a giggle from my kids. We have so much going on, dance classes, MOPS, library, Awana, Church, homeschooling, we make the most of this life we've been given and the monetary side of things is irrelevant at this point. The memories I make right now are just that, mine, my kids don't know the difference between the high brand stuff and the consignment items, a trip to the lake in the backyard versus a trip to the beach resort, etc.

Staying home isn't easy, we have our ups and downs, our goods and hair may turn grey a little sooner than planned and the wine bottle opener gets good use...but this is the lifestyle I want to maintain.

Once I finish my masters and my hubby gets higher up in his company we'll be planning our trips to Europe and Australia and buying the more expensive brands just cause, I'll take K on shopping sprees and splurge for the better sports gear for B...

The lifestyle we maintain is one of love and happiness and pure enjoyment in being together as a family, sure the monetary things will adjust in time in comparison to the pocket book but the rest will always be the same.

 my life, my rules...and really who couldn't smile when this is what you come home to...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Artsy Fartsy Friday

This morning we had a MOPS playdate at Chick Fil A...on the way home I decided to stop at Michaels and check out the clearance bins. We picked up quite a lot of goodies! I was inspired by a fellow blogger and friend to make some Fall/Halloween decorations.

We made spiders for the upcoming Halloween holiday!
You'll need:
*4 small terra cotta pots
*Black Arcylic paint
*Paint Brush
*8 googley eyes
*9 black pipe cleaners
*glue gun and glue

Paint each pot with the black paint

Wait for them to completely dry...should only take about 5 minutes or so

Cut each pipe cleaner into four equal parts (these will be the legs)

Bend one end of the pipe cleaner

Flip the pot over and place a small amount of glue on the inside of the pot, place the pipe cleaner on the glue and bend towards the inside.

Glue four pipe cleaners onto each side of the pot.

Flip the pot over and add a small amount of glue for the eyes. Cut up another pipe cleaner into small pieces for a mouth and fold into a "v" shape. Place a small amount of glue under the eyes where you want the mouth.

I used other colored pipe cleaners to give the spiders a little bit of character, glasses, a bow and a hat.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dance! Dance! Dance!

When we first discovered we were moving to Alabama we, or I, decided K would join dance as an activity. I wasn't sure if preschool was going to work out or not, turns out it didn't, and I wanted her to have something structured and social to do. Turns out it's not easy in a small town to find stuff online as it is in Denver. My Mum suggested the library, we found they have a preschool hour on Wednesdays and decided that could be another fun activity. The librarian is awesome and was very chatty, I stayed after the program and talked to her about the area looking for things to do, fairs for the 4th of July, etc. She mentioned a dance school in the near by town which is actually closer to us than the library...I didn't think much of it other than a slight interest.
About a week later we needed to find the post office...low and behold drove right past the dance school the librarian had mentioned! We stopped but no-one was there, so I called to find out about classes. Kaitlyn was super excited!
We tried it out and she wasn't so sure...the second week was worse...which is when they suggested we come to the later class with the younger kids, well DUH I didn't realize she was in the 5 yr old class until they said something, she wasn't even 3 yet! We came back to the later class, MUCH better! Kids her age, she was no longer intimidated and could make friends!
She now goes twice a week from 6:30-7:30pm...which is kind of late but we make it work :) They do a mix of tumbling, ballet and tap and have two recitals. it's pretty intense for three but we've made some friends and she's having a blast. She enjoys showing off her moves to family and friends during the week, toe, stop, toe, stop...Mummy doesn't get to see what she does but everyone else does!

Here is my sweet dancer giggling and avoiding the camera!
She's good too :) I cannot wait for her recitals in Dec. and June...I just hope she'll go onstage!

Topics to avoid...

I was always taught to avoid talking about politics, money or religion with friends...those were subjects you avoided, as it wasn't couth. When I became a parent I learned there are more topics to avoid, how you parent, discipline, breastfeeding, vaccines, leashes, starting solids, etc. And I do avoid these subjects between friends, as my views aren't always the same as theirs...BUT...
I have to say there is one topic that REALLY gets my goat and that is car seats!
The rest of the subjects aren't life and death, they aren't going to make a difference in the life and ability of children but car seats are, they do mean life and death!
Two things:
* Children should be in a 5 point harness until 80 lbs
* Children should be rear facing until they are at least age 2, but better if they max out the car seat, the highest I've found is 33lbs and that is the Britax brand.

I've heard every argument in the book, none of which I find to be valid.
*My kid gets hot...turn on the ac for 5 mins before getting in the car to cool the car down, purchase a battery operated fan to adhere to the seat to keep the air on them.
*My kids legs hit the back of the seat and they are scrunched...well would you rather they have broken legs or a broken neck?
* They like it better facing forward...if you don't turn them around they won't know the differnce!
* They get car sick...this one is harder, as someone who used to get car sick I understand the misery, but if they get car sick rear facing they will get car sick forward facing. Another tip is not to feed them before getting in the car, give them water to sip on and do your best to make trips short as possible.

I have some links that talk more in depth, this first one has a lot of information about spine/neck structure .
Car Seat Safety

Please also make sure the seat is properly installed...

Convenience or life? When it comes to your kids it shouldn't be a tough choice. Spend the money, get the good car seat and protect your kids, vehicles are deadly weapons. While I love Britax there are plenty of good car seats out there that aren't as costly, read the consumer reviews, find the one that fits best of your vehicle and will keep your child safe as possible for as long as possible.
This is one topic I don't avoid, I'd rather hurt a friends feelings then attend their childs funeral.

This is my favorite car seat, the Britax Marathon in Cowmooflage. This is the car seat my son will sit in until he is 65lbs or less than 1 inch from the top of the that time we'll move to the Britax Regent which maxes out at 80lbs.

My daughter sits in a Britax Marathon, she's 3 and 27lbs, she'll be in it till 65lbs...for her that may be age 12!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Tuesdays...correction every other Tuesday since we have MOPS on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month...are our lazy days! We stay in slumpy clothes, don't go anywhere, relax, play lots of puzzles and games, draw pictures, swing in the hammock, and enjoy our semi-lazy day (semi because laundry and the chores of the day still get done) at home with no running around.

Today we made chocolate chip cookies!
I found the recipe on the back of the granulated sugar from Kroger and changed it a little bit to my liking! I'm not much of a baker but these always turn out delicious :)

Choco-chip cookies
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 package of chocolate chips

* pre-heat oven to 375*
* Cream together brown sugar, sugar, vanilla and butter
* Add in eggs, mix beat
* Add in flour and baking soda
* Mix in chocolate chips
* Place spoonfulls of mixture about 1/2 inch apart on a greased tray
* Bake for 8 mins
~Makes approximately 40 cookies~
What better way to wait out those 8 mins than...
by licking the spoon! I think batter has to be the best part of baking, all the taste tests you just have to take along the way :P
Blake thinks it's more fun to play with toes than eat's okay kiddo one day you'll change your mind ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's the small things...

We had a playdate on Friday with a new friend and her directions weren't the 'best' and she took a wrong turn. Upon discussing her wrong turn she said it took her near a Publix, I was immediatey excited! Publix has hormone free milk as their signature brand, they have awesome produce and since it's in Alabama they take our WIC checks.

Yup, I said WIC...we use government assistance, bring on the tomatos...I'm not embarrassed, I've paid into the system, my husband works and still does pay into the system. Right now he just doesn't make a lot. I imagine when they recheck our income in another 4 months we will no longer qualify. So far it has been an immense help. Hubby has started his new career at the bottom of the barrel like everyone else. He works hard, VERY hard, so hard that I haven't seen him for more than 11 hrs (9 of which we were asleep) in the last week and a half. This is a career that will take him very far, it's just a road to get there!

So yes I was and am excited to hear there is a Publix in our area! To make it even better it's the closest grocery store, closer than Walmart, Kroger and the Piggly Wiggly! Publix is somewhat in the middle of Safeway and Whole Foods, they have a lot of organic products, nice healthy produce, fresh meat, seafood, a good bakery and deli.

We ventured there tonight after dance class tonight (something I won't do again as it was near 8:45 by the time we got home and I hate to drive in the dark) to use our checks for some cereal, bread, milk and eggs! I'm now off to check out the website to see what kind of coupons I can print off, and it's very likely this will become my new store!

Such a small thing, but oh so exciting in my life a SAHM :P

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly Menu

We eat cold ceral every morning, I offer granola with blueberries and apple, rice krispies, cheerios, crispix or kix.
Snacks offered: yoghurt, fruit, english muffins with pb and honey, fruit snacks (one per day), frozen waffles (my child is weird and will eat them plain and FROZEN) and crackers with cheese.

MENU OF THE WEEK 9/20-9/26
Lunch- Turkey and Colby Cheese Sandwiches side of carrots and thousand island dressing
Dinner- Baked Chicken Nuggets, side of Smashed potatoes and peas

Lunch- Frozen waffles with cream cheese, side of  grapes
Dinner- Spinach Quiche, side of green beans

Lunch- Cheese Quesadillas with black beans, side of mexican rice
Dinner- We'll be eating at Church tonight

Lunch- Grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, side of apple
Dinner- Homemade pizza with fresh mushrooms and sausage

Lunch- Egg Salad Sandwiches, side of grapes
Dinner:  Reverse Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Lunch- Leftovers from the week or a pb sandwich
Dinner- Spaghetti ala Daddy, garlic bread and salad

Lunch- We eat at the grandparents on Sundays and it's usually a big meal so dinner is light
Dinner- Scrambled eggs, beef bacon, toast