Friday, June 30, 2017

Bears Birthday Gift List

Bear's 4th Birthday is coming up in early July.  Family always asks for toy ideas for him.  This year is a bit unique as we are limited in physical space since we are still living with family.  I think that even though we limited the size of the items we still managed to find some pretty great gift ideas for him.

DreamWorks Dinotrux Diecast toys -   This is his newest obsession.  He likes tools. He likes dinosaurs. Putting them together was a dream come true for Bear.  I have to admit that we all kinda like the show as well.  If the whole family can tolerate it then it's clearly a winner.

Source, Source, Source, Source

We have been doing Game night a couple of times a week recently and Bear really wants to join in, but he just doesn't get them.  I am hoping that getting a few of his own will help us to better include him.  

Hasbro Elefun and Friends Crocodile Dentist - For some reason, kids just love this toy and Bear will be giddy when he plays it.

Mudpuppy Geometric Animals Dominoes Board Game - The set has a whole bunch of games from Bingo to memory to animal dominoes.  

Blockbeard Balance Boat Balancing Game OR Similar - This Bear likes the balance game his cousin had so why not get him his own.  

Colorful Wooden Domino racing - This really isn't a game but it is something that he enjoys.  He has the patience to line them up then freaks out when they fall down.  We only have a small bag of ones I got at a yard sale.  They are meant for 6+ so they the dominoes are small for his hands.  The larger wooden ones will work perfectly for him.  This one even comes with a bag to hold them.

Paw Patrol - Paw Terrain Vehicle - Bear doesn't have many Paw Patrol toys despite his love for the show and all things paw patrol.  He really likes this toy in the store.  We tried to pull him away from it when the tears started.  We told him maybe for his birthday.  Then we picked up the paw patroller at the big yard sale.  We thought it was over then, but when he saw the new(er) episodes they sawed the paw terrain vehicle and freaked out again.  So on the list, this goes. 

Playskool Friends Mr. Potato Head Clash and crash - I picked up two marvel versions of these for his Easter basket.  They get played with more than his regular Mr. potato head toys.  He saw these and liked them.   

Disney Pixar Cars 3 - Race and Reck’ Lightning McQueen - Crashing cars happen all the time.  I am hoping that with this toy it will at least limit what he is crashing.

B. Okideoke Microphone - Bear loves to sing which has helped him use more words.  This could help encourage him to use more words even if he is singing them. Or I just might be driven nuts by it.  One or the other. 

Melissa and Doug Alphabet Express Jumbo Jigsaw floor puzzle OR Similar item - He is not really into puzzles at all.  I am hoping that bringing trains into the mix may help him.  

Playdoh Fun Factory Retro Pack - Playdoh doesn't seem to keep Bears attention very long.  Then again all we have are some tubs of playdoh.  Maybe getting a small set of stuff to go with them will help him like this a bit more.  

The only thing missing from this list is books. We normally we put a bunch of books on
his list. This year we didn't put any on because I found a bunch of books he likes at a
yard sale. No sense in adding a bunch of books as he has a variety of interests other than just books.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dear EV (Jun 2017 - Eleven Months Old)

Dear Eve,

What a month of big events going on around you.  You watched the house get boxed up and moved onto a truck.  Then spend some time in an almost empty house before moving up Grandpas.  Out of everyone you seemed to handle all the changes the best.  In fact, you make sure we slowed down every now and then and laughed often thought out all the changes.  

Recently one of the things that make us laugh is your constant kiss face.  You picked up your lips and look around to make someone laugh.  Then start smiling and laughing too.  It is the funniest things ever to see you do.

Eve, I'm half surprised to be saying this, but you seem to like to dance and sing.  Whenever a specific song comes on or tunes you like you bounce around.  Sometimes you even try to babble/hum along with it.  The more you do this the more your little personality is shining through.  You a love to be a bit of a ham as long as everyone is having a good time.  


OK onto your current stats:

Weight: 18.35 lbs (birth weight: 6 lbs)

Length: inches (birth length: 19 in) *Will update with stats

Diaper size: We moved you up to size 4 diapers.  They are a bit big on you but the size 3 diapers were just getting tight on you.  They also hold a more so you aren't testing the limits of the diapers overnight.  

Clothing size:  You are in 6-9mo clothing right now, but I am starting to think that the sleepers are getting a bit snug on you.  Your bathing suit is also a bit tight.  I may move you up in just those items even though I am trying to hold off.  

Feedings/eating:  Eve, you will eat anything and everything.  Real pieces of food off our plate is your favorite things ever!  There is nothing that you won't try.  Even if you don't seem to really enjoy it, you will always take the real food over the formula.  

Likes: There are a few physical items that you absolutely love.  Spoons are your favorite teething "toy."  Not sure why, but it makes you happy so have at it.  You also really like the toy kitchen set I picked up off one of the yard sale sites here in New York.  You also seem to really like the activity table that your Uncle got you before you were even born.  I'm so glad we made space for it in the car.  Like normal you prefer to be held or walking on your own.

Dislikes:  The corral does not seem to be a place you like to be.  However, you will have to get used to it again because your big brother's small toys should not be anywhere near your mouth.  You also are not loving the car seat or long drives as much as you used to.  I'm hoping this is just a phase and you get back to being ok with it.  

First swim:  You went swimming for the first!  Well, really you sat in a float and got push/pulled around the pool or carried around the pool in my arms.  I was not surprised that you were a bit shy at first.  However, you relaxed and enjoyed yourself very quickly.  Splashing and kicking in the water seems to be your favorite things to do so far.

Funny moments:  It has been brought to our attention that sometimes your crying sounds like your laughs.  Not that we hadn't noticed it on our own, but that it's so much alike that sometimes I question if it's a cry or a laugh.  This isn't your deep belly laugh.  That is a clear laugh.  Your chuckle, on the other hand, sounds so similar to your cry it has us all puzzled at times.  "Does she like it?"  "I don't know I can't tell if she is laughing or crying."  "well stop and see what she does."  Dada stops making silly faces and Eve stops making any noise then quickly smiles.  "Ok, so it's a laugh!"

Sleep:  With all the major changes going on you are still sleeping amazingly well.  We went and uprooted from your crib and into the pack and play without any transitioning.  There have been a few tough moments with it, but you are doing well over all.  The pillow in the corral is your favorite spot to nap if given the choice.  This may be something that we continue to do in the future since you enjoy it so much.

Looking Forward:  I am waiting for you to take your first real steps.  Eve, you are so very eager to do so and I would not be surprised if you took them before your first birthday next month.  



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Watching the Races

If NASCAR is on my dad will have the TV on watching.  Bear will likely be close by watching along.  He wants to do everything Grandpa does.  It is sweet to see these two together.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I hate ticks!

The ticks in the northeast are pretty bad this year.  We have picked ticks off everyone at one point or another over the last few weeks. I have even seen them crawling up the front door.  

This product was picked up on a whim to complete an Amazon order for free shipping.  I didn't think it would work at all, but I was wrong.  Coco had a tick on her a few days ago and it came off super easy, mouth parts intact without any issues using it. Can't ask for anything better than that! I just want to add that this is NOT a sponsored post.  Just a great product that works.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This Didn't Go As Planned...

While we are staying at my fathers' place I am trying to make myself useful.  Cooking and cleaning obviously are easy things for me to do when I have spare time.  We are trying to every few days tackle something that needs to get done that my dad doesn't really have time to do.  For example, when we first got here he had cleaned the whole kitchen and wiped down the outside of the fridge but never cleaned the inside.  I took the time to pull everything out and cleaned it.

The next item on my list was the Keurig.  It had seen better days.  The super hard water we have here does a number on it even when the water is filtered through a Brita prior to going into the tank.  My dad doesn't recall the last time he did it.  He thought maybe when it was new.  So clearly with it running slow and being heavily used it was a great task to complete.  A few hours of just running vinegar, then lime away, then water until clean while watching the kids would be an easy task.  I was wrong.  So very very wrong.

I cleaned the removable parts and the outside before running the vinegar though.  This is exactly what I do for my own Keurig on a month or bi-monthly basis.  We had the lime away so it was just going to be an extra step.  Anyway, the first couple of cups that poured out were gross!  I'll spare you the pictures, but trust me nothing you would want to see in your coffee mug first thing in the morning.

 Then trouble hit.  It stopped spitting out water.  The line was clogged somewhere.  I blew into the tank water line and nothing.  I check where the needle pierces the cup and nothing.  I just need to let it sit and let the vinegar do the work.  Several minutes later I try again.  It spits out a cup.  Awesome!  More gross outcome.  Then another cup.  I'm on a roll now.  Nope, it stops working again.  Ok, let it sit.  10 minutes later nothing.  Let it sit some more. Still Nothing.  I blow in the lines to try to clear it and nothing.

Oh Boy.  I'm in trouble now.

Hubs steps in to help.  He tries what I had done with the same result.  It worked a bit, then it stopped.  He took things apart to clear the lines in an attempt to fix it.  The stuff he got out of it was gross.  I can't believe we drank coffee out of it daily.  With it back together and cleaned out we tried it again.  It works until about cup 3 like before then it stops.  Hubby tries a few things then it works a bit then stops.

So in cleaning it, I broke it.  Hubs ran out to pick up another on while I watch the kids and explain to my dad that in my attempt to clean it, I broke it.  He took it better than I expected, but I did get an "I told you it was fine" mini speech.  Nothing I hadn't already told myself repeatedly while trying to fix it.  However, when I told him I replaced it with a new one there was not really much left to say.

On my way out the door, he did say one thing...  "So and So always says... No good deed gets left unpunished." Well, pretty much that's exactly how it felt.  I set out to do something nice like descale his Keurig.  Should have been easy.  Something I've done 100 times to my own.  Only to have it blow up in my face.  At the end of the day, all I can do is just move on from it.

Dad's final words on the subject...
"You cleaned that Keurig so well it looks brand new."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

With Bear July 2013

with Eve August 2016

Nothing is better than seeing your husband holding his kids.
Happy Father's Day, Hubs!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mother of All Yard Sales

In a town about an hour away they have a massive yard sale with hundreds of sellers along an old air strip.  People bring Uhaul trucks to carry all the stuff they want to sell.  It is $60 for a spot so I was expecting prices to be a bit higher than I would have liked.  However, the night before the event it was expected to rain all morning.  We assumed it would be a washout, but when we woke up in the morning it was just cloudy with a chance of rain.   This kept some seller and buys from showing up.  That said I was still pleasantly surprised by the deals I did find.

The clouds looked like it was going to open up on us.  I am thankful they didn't!

Eve spent her morning in the ergo carrier on my chest while Bear was in the backpack carrier on Hubs.  He also pulled the folding cart of the stuff we picked up.  

 It was pretty crowded there even with the threat of rain.  It did motivate the sellers to off load their stuff when a few drops came down.  

We picked up the Paw Patrol Paw, Patroller for $8.  It was in pretty good condition.  A few of the stickers that were messed up or peeling.  Frankly, that doesn't bother me when the price was so low for the condition.  I had seen several that were asking $15-20 for equal or worse condition item.    

This is was a cheap impulse buy. It was a whole $2 with batteries.  I don't love that it is a pink color but Bear seems to care less about and more that it is a "laptop" he can play with.  There are more functions on this than I had originally thought which is a nice bonus. 

We have a couple of these toddler dolls that were given to us from a friend for Eve.  She can't use them right now as they are for 3 years old.  They also aren't expensive new, about $20 or so per doll. A bit more for some of the more popular dolls.  That said I paid $10 for the two dolls.  They are in a pretty good condition in my opinion.  Elsa's hair needs to be braided, but it's something that I can easily fix.  I am thinking that she may be able to play with these ones and I won't care if they get messed up. 

Books are always something I am willing to invest in.  I pick up a few kids chapter books that looked interesting to us and some of the Disney storybooks.  I don't like paying full price for them and here they are particularly cheap.  I have to limit how many I pick up as we are still limited on space. 

DVD's are also plentiful here, as they seemed to be in Maryland as well.  Here they tend to be $2-3, but I will only pay $1 for used DVD.  It never hurts to ask if they will take less so I did and I lucked out.  I will toss the cases and put them in a CD/DVD case.  Who needs them to take up so much space?

Overall not a bad haul for some time spent walking around looking a lot of random stuff.  I never mind an afternoon outdoors walking around with my family.  Throwing in some cheap stuff we were looking for and it makes it just a bit better.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's Friday so I'm sharing my current favorites.  

Mornings Outside - Since all four of us are up before the rest of the house we try to keep it as quiet as possible.  Being out on the screened in porch every morning means the kids can play without disturbing everyone else.  It also gives us an easy screen free morning.  The hot cup of coffee with the cool breeze isn't half bad either.

Last Man Standing - We started watching this show because it was on Netflix and instantly liked it.  When we caught up on what was available we moved on to what episodes we could get online from the ABC network.  Sadly, I read that the show has been canceled despite it being one of their higher rated shows.  I hope someone else picks them up.  

Having a pool all to ourselves - My dad has a pool at his house that we are taking full advantage of it.  The solar cover means it is a more tolerable temperature too. 

Spiked Seltzer - The Cranberry and the Lime were our favorites.  I swear I don't even taste the alcohol in it.  I see plenty of these while sitting poolside this summer.

Mexican Train Dominoes - We started playing this with my In-Laws and really enjoyed it.  We picked up a double twelve set so that we could play at our house.  I did not realize how hard it was to find a colorful set of double twelve dominoes with dots.  The majority were only written numbers which I don't really like.  We found this super cheap set and it is just that.  A super cheap set.  It works which is really all that matters.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Find Fail

I talk a lot on here about the great deals I find, "The deal of the Day," but I wanted to show one that didn't turn out the way I planned.  Recently, I saw this puzzle at a local yard sale.  It was a Thomas the Train one that Bear would love.  It's a bit more than he can handle right now, but he will grow into it.  The pieces were in great condition.  For $3, SOLD!

Well, I'm sure you all see where this is going.  I asked the seller if all the pieces were there and she told me yes they are.  When I got home I built the puzzle to double check.  

In case you don't see it let me help you out...

Yup, 2 pieces missing.  One from the center.  ugh.  Now I'm ticked off.  A little bit at the seller and a lot of myself.  First off, the seller should know the items they are selling and check that all parts are included.  If they are missing they should share that info, especially when specifically asked.  I'm mad at myself for not counting the pieced before paying for it since it was open after all.  I should have known better.  The extra few minutes really would have saved me money.  Even if it was just $3.

I put the puzzle back into the box while trying to keep it as together as possible.  I'm going to just let him play with it as is right now.  Though I am debating possibly doing a few things to make it worth the money I spent on it.  My number one option right now is to cut the puzzle up into smaller ones that would make new edges.  That way he can handle building the smaller puzzles right now.  I've also tossed the idea around about cutting up the cover to make cheap art for the playroom at the next location.   At the very least I could just let him play with it as is until he craps it out then toss it.  Either way, I think I can salvage something out of it to make it worth the small amount of money that I paid.                            

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Day of Cooking

We completely did not intend on spending the bulk of the day cooking, however, some days are just like that. It needed to be done so the items didn't go bad.  It also meant that we had a few day where we didn't have to cook.  

The plan was Sauce, Stuffed Shells, Chili, and Meatloaf (dinner for the evening).

The item that would take the longest is getting the liquid out of the shredded zucchini.  Clearly had to be done as it needed time to drain.  This is key as we found out the hard the way the first time I made them.  Silly me thought I could skip that step.  NEVER skip that step!

We were limited in the pots and pans that we have so we really had to plan this whole thing out.  I started the cooking with the sauce since that normally takes the longest.

I added sausage to my sauce.  Brown on all sides, slice, add to sauce.  You can brown the slices, however, if you are cooking the sauce long enough you don't really have to.  I never took a picture of it, but I also cooking (and drained) the ground sausage for the stuffed shells.  They needed to cool completely before adding them to the ricotta mixture.  

The sauce finished sooner than I thought which allowed Hubby make his chili that much sooner.

I moved on to more meal prep.  To go with the meatloaf there were having mashed potatoes and green beans. 
Puffs to keep the youngest happy.

I used the pioneer woman's meatloaf recipe without the "sauce" she uses.  It was my dads birthday meal request and he wanted brown gravy.

Hubby did a great job wrapping the meatloaf in bacon.  It made everything better.  We did not have a broiler pan so we made one out of a pizza pan and sheet pan.  Whatever, it worked!

The shells made two trays with 26 shells each and a few extra.  

The meatloaf came out better than expected.  I am not really a meatloaf person but this happened to be pretty good.

Warming the canned gravy and blanching the green beans for dinner. 

After cooking for far too many hours this is what we had for dinner.

Next time I need to plan out meals that don't require the use of the same pot for the bulk of it.  

Tacos all around

Crockpot Chile Verde I have never cooked with tomatillos before so I treated them like tomatoes and cut the area of the stem out.  ...