Friday, November 30, 2012

November Goals - How'd I Do?

Alright, I only gave myself about 2 weeks to get quite a few things done in November... and I did pretty good!

  • Find at least 10 things to get rid of (focusing on the basement, but can be from anywhere) - YES! I need to post about this, but we found probably 40-50 things to get rid of... and let's be honest, I could find 100 more...
  • Go through Jack's clothes and reorg by size - put up for baby brother :) - YES! I'm so glad I did this and it didn't take long at all.
  • Continue healthier living habits started in October - YES! We didn't add anything new, but we're happily enjoying our new habits
  • Have fun and enjoy Thanksgiving family time!! - YES! We had a blast at the Millers and the Guins!
  • Christmas Related:
    • Begin Christmas shopping (ahhh!!) - YES! We did our annual Black Friday shopping too!
    • Put up Christmas tree near end of the month (yay!!) - YES! We actually put the tree up on Monday before Thanksgiving - that's a new record for earliness!
    • Family photo? Design and send Christmas cards? - YES! I designed them in November, and got them ordered the first weekend of Dec. :)

Wait just a minute... I did everything I planned to do! I even made a felt Christmas tree for Jack! WHOO HOO!!! Go me! Go me!! Here's hoping to a just-as-productive-December!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Musikgarten aka "The Ba-Bas"

Something fun Jack and I have been able to do this fall is go to Musikgarten at church! Our sweet friends Heather and Kelley lead our little ones in songs and games and it is... well, chaos! :) These first couple pictures were taken at in September when Jack was still crawling and not walking yet. (Hard to believe that wasn't so long ago! Now he's practically running!)

This is one of my favorite pictures of him! He LOVES the scarf game!

Here is where the name "ba-bas" comes in. Miss Heather asks the little ones to repeat after her: "Ba ba. Ba BA ba. Ba ba BA", changing her inflection and seeing if they will do the same. So Jack LOVES to do the ba-bas at home, but rarely if ever does it when we're there! 
I always ask him if he wants to go "do the ba-bas" instead of saying Musikgarten.  

Then a few weeks ago, Daddy got to come with us! He's been busy with school work and group meetings on Sunday evenings so it was great to have him there. 

Here's a quick video:

Last Sunday we had the kids Christmas program and these little ones did three songs!
Two Little Eyes

Tap with Me

the Very First Christmas 
(this one's long, folks)

It has been so fun! We are already looking forward to starting back up in January! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Closet Clean Out - Jack

As part of my November goals, I wanted to go through Jack's clothes and store the smaller sizes up for Baby Brother. I've had his outgrown clothes in boxes and bags in his closet, but needed to sort them out by size. 

I pulled everything out of his drawers and closet and started the sorting process.

I ended up with three large bags of 0-3 mo, 3-6 mo, and 6-9 mo and was just planning to leave them in those bags in his closet or up in the attic, but....

I knew Emily had just used Space Bags and was pleased with them! (I got mine on sale at BB&B!) I should have been a little more calculated about how I put the clothes in the bag... I just shoved it all in there. If I had folded everything flat, I think that would have been even better, but STILL - I'm really happy with how easy they were to use and now I'll be able to easily grab the right size clothes for Baby Brother! 

AND now the only clothes that are in Jack's drawers are clothes that CURRENTLY fit! Whoo hoo! Y'all know I love a streamlined closet! :)

Conquered any organization projects lately?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving at the Guins

Thanksgiving at the Guins was ALSO a blast this year! Sam had to work on Thursday so it worked out for us to be able to go to the Millers then and celebrate with the Guins on Saturday! Double turkey!! :)

Here's Jack rockin' out with Ahm and Nenna.

And the highlight of Little Man's day was SWINGING with Daddy!

Cousin Matt and his beautiful girlfriend Natalie, cheesin' it up for the camera.

Here's a fuzzy but funny picture of Jack eating all Mimi's pumpkin pie. That kid could have eaten the whole thing!

And another fuzzy but sweet picture of Little Man (and Baby Brother) crashed out from all that turkey. 

We love our famillies!!!

Black Friday

Mom and I go Black Friday shopping every year! We never really NEED to buy much, but we just love the experience - people watching at its best. Jack was a total angel and stayed happy 99% of the time we were out and about. 

Our favorite part is always going to Panera and getting cinnamon crunch bagels (toasted) with hazelnut cream cheese. YUM!!!!!! (This year we saw Leslie Jordan while we were there! Haha!)

I actually remembered to get a few pictures this year, including a great photo with Mimi. 
Until next year!

Thanksgiving at the Millers

We had a wonderful time at the Millers for Thanksgiving!

Is this not the most precious picture? Jack with Great Grandmother & Granddaddy Cox.

This was Jack with them last year at Thanksgiving:

Bonnie, Ben and Baby Brycen (who is about the same age as Jack was last year at this time)!

Walkin' around with Grammie.

We love that our families live so close and that they get to watch our kiddos grow!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jack's Felt Christmas Tree

I pinned this idea (original source here) on Pinterest last year, but at 5 months, I knew Jack wouldn't really be into it yet. This year I KNEW I wanted to make him his very own Christmas tree - out of felt!

Let me just say that this craft hits ALL of my key qualifications:

one trip to Hancock Fabrics

$6. 75 - and would have been even cheaper if I had only gotten 1/2 yd instead of 1 yd of the green felt!

and 3. QUICK (about an hour or so of hands-on time, less if you don't have to make breakfast in the middle)

Oh, here's my little helper who ate "cheer-o's" and watched Blue's Clues while I cut. 

I got 1 yd of green felt, but only used 1/2 of it; it was originally $6, on sale for $3. Then I planned to get 1/4-1/2 yd of several other colors, but when I got there, they had these pre-cut rectangles for $0.29 each! So I got an assortment of those instead! (FOLLOW MY LEAD on this one!) 

I cut the green felt in half and then started to cut out my Christmas tree shape. This took... 5 minutes.

Then, being unfortunately forgetful during the process, I forgot to take pictures of me cutting out the different ornament shapes. I used a larger cup and a smaller cup for the circles, and traced them lightly with a pen. (My gut reaction was to use a sharpie, but I'm glad I didn't because I know that the black marker would have been much more visible than the light pen.)

I used two of the felt rectangles just as they were for presents, and two cut into smaller presents, then I added little embellishments. I also did a few "lights" like the inspiration pictures. 

I think it turned out really cute!

Here's the Flash playing with his new tree.

He was just warming up to the idea...

...And this is how it looks most of the time now. Haha! :)

Definitely worth $6.75 and an hour of my time! If anyone locally wants to do this, I still have 1/2 a yard of green felt - all you need to buy are the felt squares to make the ornaments and presents! 

I'm linking up to Dare to DIY: Deck the Halls with Kim @ the NewlyWoodwards

What Christmas crafts are you working on?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Goals

Here we are, almost halfway through November, and I still don't really know what I want to do for my goals this month. I usually have a few in mind, but not this time! That's why I've been putting this post off for so long! Yikes!! What is completely ridiculous is that next week is Thanksgiving! Then I will BLINK MY EYES and it will be Christmas! Ahhh!!! Okay, that gets the goal-setting started!

  • Find at least 10 things to get rid of (focusing on the basement, but can be from anywhere)
  • Go through Jack's clothes and reorg by size - put up for baby brother :)
  • Continue healthier living habits started in October
  • Have fun and enjoy Thanksgiving family time!!
  • Christmas Related:
    • Begin Christmas shopping (ahhh!!)
    • Put up Christmas tree near end of the month (yay!!)
    • Family photo? Design and send Christmas cards?

Oh my word... I could (and probably should) go on, but let's face it - I've got TWO weeks to do all this! Yeesh!! :)

Good luck to all you goal-setters!! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Being Healthier: 1st Steps

Last month, I really felt a strong desire to pay more attention to what I buy to feed my family. I've known some things weren't so great for us, but there were so many more things that I learned over the course of the month.

You guys, I used to think that all those people buying "organic" stuff and worrying about all that were crazy! NOW, I'm realizing that I've been the crazy one, just accepting that food companies would never sell us products that could harm us. It's unfortunately just not true.

I watched several documentaries (Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, part of Food Inc., and the most impactful to me - Genetic Roulette, << here's a 10 minute version of the 90 minute movie I watched) but I took everything I watched with a grain of salt. I didn't go throw out all of our processed food or anything, but it all definitely got me thinking more about the kinds of things that we eat.So here are the baby steps I took over the course of October, and a reason "why?" behind the change:

  • changed our white table salt to real salt - Not only is there no benefit to table salt, there's also some scary stuff in it, so switching to real salt was an easy step (read on their website for better info)
  • kicked my white sugar habit - This is so awful... I was putting 5 tsp of sugar in a CUP of hot tea every morning. Oh, the shame. So I bought some organic raw agave nectar and have been using that instead. Then a week or so ago, when I got a cough, I put some local honey in it, and to my surprise (bc I kinda hate honey) it was AWESOME! So now I rotate between honey and agave. UPDATE: Turns out, agave isn't so good for you... I'll be sticking with my honey!
  • started baking my own wheat bread - After my first failed attempt, I am now happy to say that I have made 2 really great batches since then! And as I said in my October goals post, I keep getting sweet compliments from Jason about how good my bread is! SCORE!! I've been using this bread recipe, with half regular white flour and half whole wheat flour, and without lecithin or gluten so far. We haven't bought store bread in over a month!
  • switched to organic whole milk for the boys - Jack has been drinking whole milk since his birthday, and I typically buy 1% for Jason (I use almond milk). After watching some of these documentaries and discussing dairy with friends, I decided to bite the more expensive bullet and buy organic whole milk instead. Now, to be honest, I was getting a gallon of milk at Aldi for like $3, so paying $6 for organic was a little devastating at first. But seriously, the scary stuff that gets into regular milk these days is enough reason for me not to give it to my tiny precious child. Milk and water is all he drinks, so he takes in a ton of this stuff! What if it had growth hormones and antibiotics and all kinds of ICKY stuff!! Whew. Anyway, Jason is so easy going and didn't one time complain about switching to whole from 1%. Crisis averted.
  • switched to butter made from grass-fed cow's milk - We already use butter (not margarine) so this wasn't a big deal to switch, except for the price. Again, you pay more for something that takes more effort to make. I'm slowly learning that. I bought Kerrygold butter and you can get it at Walmart.
  • switched to organic and "everything free" eggs - I'd really like to get local eggs, but for now I'm just getting hormone free, antibiotic free, cage free eggs from WM. I was buying the cheapest eggs in the world (which are at Aldi, by the way), but in all honesty the eggs I just bought were only like $2.50 instead of $1 for a dozen, which isn't really that bad. And since Jack will eat 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast, I want them to be "free" of all the yuck. {This is a GREAT article that I read about why another family switched to organic chicken, butter & eggs!}
  • started using organic chicken and local grass-fed beef - There's a million reasons why we decided to use better meat, but based on everything I've already said, I'm sure you can guess. Non GMO-fed, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, etc. We have been totally happy with this change and plan to keep it up, despite the higher price tag. Meat is truly where you spend the extra money, so we're trying to use less at each meal to make it last a little longer. :)
  • bought organic veggies that are on the dirty dozen list - This is a MOSTLY true statement. I still have a hard time passing up a huge deal on veggies, but I have been more mindful of this at the store.
  • started drinking aloe vera juice and taking salmon oil pills at night - Okay, so this one makes me kinda weird, but I'm already seeing benefits! The salmon oil pills (like fish oil) are just added omega-3s that I'm not getting otherwise and are really beneficial for pregnant women! Now, the aloe juice is where it's AT! I've always had stomach issues (I'm lactose intolerant) and even when I take Lactaid pills, I will often get sick later (probably 3-5 times in a month). In the 4 weeks since I started drinking 1oz of aloe juice before bed, I have only been sick 1 time. This is HUGE for me! Sorry for the overshare, just wanted to get this out there in case someone else struggles with that. 
Wow! That's actually a lot more than I even realized! I have just purchased these things as we ran out of what we were currently using, except for sugar, salt, and flour. I truly have been taking this one step at a time and for every really great thing on this list, I have about 5 other things that I need to work on - and some things I don't really have the conviction to change yet! I mean, I'm doing all this, but I'm not exercising and I know I don't get enough water each day, so there's definitely room for improvement, but I'm pretty proud of the positive changes we've made! 

And, if you'll excuse me...
I have to go pat myself on the back now. 

Have you made any positive changes towards being healthier?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Goals - How'd I Do?

October was a really great month! If you remember from my Goals for the month, God had really placed it on my heart to feed my family better food. Over the course of the month, I made several changes that have been really positive already! I need to do a whole "healthy" post to explain some of the things we're doing, so I will put that on my list of things to do. :)

     *Try to have at least 1 fresh veggie every night w/dinner - YES! I would say that we did very well with this. It may not have been every night, but it's been in the front of my mind to use fresh veggies instead of canned this month.
     *Eat less junk :) - This is a MAYBE - I know we've been eating better overall, but c'mon, it was Halloween, so I binged on some candy right at the end. :)
     *Make a solid attempt at homemade bread! - YES! While my first attempt was a MAJOR FAILURE, I have made it twice since and have gotten the compliment of all compliments from the hubby: "Babe, your bread is SO good!" WHOO HOO!! So no more store bread for us!
     *Stick to food budget - YES! In all honesty, I think we went over by about $10, but in light of our previous month (where we went over quite a bit more than that...) AND the fact that I bought more organic stuff than I ever have before, I'm calling this a win. 

     *Take weekly belly photos - FAIL. I did three weeks (17, 18, 19) but haven't done 20 or 21 yet. I haven't even told you guys the story of finding out we were pregnant or anything... I sure do you love you, little baby!! Even if I'm not showing it on the blog!!
     *HOPEFULLY find out if Baby #2 is a boy or a girl!!! - YES! Here's big brother revealing it to the blog-world for me. :)


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