Monday, August 21, 2017

Potty Training Update

I am proud to say that Big E is doing very well when it comes to going number 1 in the potty!! She hasn't had a wet accident in a while now! Now going number 2 in the potty...that still isn't happening. But I'm alright with that because we are still saving a ton of money by not having her in diapers all the time. We only put diapers on her twice a day now, at naptime and bedtime.

When we are out in public she does very well going to the bathroom on a regular size toilet so I'm going to put the potty chair away and have her go potty on the regular toilet. My husband got a toilet seat that has a child insert so she is going to start using that. We also found a step at a thrift store that goes around the toilet so she can use that to climb up on the potty. It will be so nice when she is independent and can go potty completely on her own!!

I'm hoping that Little E will be a little easier when it comes to potty training. My husband will be able to help out a little more with Little E than he did with Big E cause they have the same hardware. So that will make it nice!!

What is the best piece of potty training advice that you got from someone that you think every parent needs to know?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Let's get ready for Fall!

Back to school time is happening now and fall is just around the corner so it's time to start thinking about how we can keep ourselves and our kids from getting sick! This should always be a priority but I'll admit that I've been slacking a bit this summer. There aren't usually that many things going around during summertime but that doesn't mean that our immune system takes a break, so why should we?

One thing like to do every morning is apply my kids' wellness roller on the bottoms of their feet. The best time to do this is right when they sit down for breakfast because then it gives the oils some time to absorb into their skin rather than wiping off right away if they were to start walking as soon as I apply them. The roller I apply is 5 drops of Thieves and the rest of the bottle filled with fractionated coconut oil. Thieves vitality is great for the immune system! I love to add a drop to my water. Some people don't like the taste of it because they say it is too spicy for them, but I don't mind it one bit. Thieves is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. 

Thieves is also great to diffuse! And because of the oils that make up this blend, it has a great fall scent to it! I need to start making a habit of making sure to diffuse this oil every single day so we can get the benefits of this amazing oil. One way to do this is to fill the diffuser before going to bed at night so then all I have to do the next morning is turn it on.

I also love using Thieves to clean! The Thieves Household cleaner is great!! One cap full of this to 16 ounces of water in a glass spray bottle, and you've got yourself an amazing all-purpose cleaner without all the chemicals that other cleaners have. I can use this around my kids and accidentally spray it on them (true story) and its 100% okay because there is nothing in it that is going to harm them.



Because the Thieves products that Young Living has are so popular, they've created a whole starter kit that gives you a bunch of products to get started with! This bundle is $160, a $41 savings, and gets you a wholesale membership with Young Living! What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's Friday once again

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week. Our week was pretty uneventful. We didn't have too much planned. Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for all week! We are going to my husband's aunt's house and are spending the day and night with them! They live about an hour away and we don't get to see them that often so it will be nice to catch up with them. They also have a pool so I'm hoping the weather is nice!! Both Big E and Little E love the water!!

I think in a few months, Big E won't need me to have both hands on her constantly while in the pool, so I should be able to take both kiddos swimming at the Y. We don't go swimming there as often as I said we would when we got the membership. So right now, I'm planning a day next week where we go one morning. It is nice having the child watch not only so I can go to Zumba while my hubby golfs once a week, but so that I can put Little E there while I take Big E swimming. I also would like to go as a family of 4 every now and then so we can all enjoy some swimming time together!

Here are some pictures from our week. I'm off to do some wash and get packed for our mini vacation!!












Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New play food for the kiddos!

I've been trying to find a really good set of play food for Big E and Little E and I think I may have finally found it! They've had a bunch of food that I've gotten from different places, but I ordered this set from Amazon on Sunday and we got it on Monday:








I was so excited about how quickly we got it! We weren't supposed to get it until yesterday or today. It has 37 pieces of breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods. I'm super excited for the kids to finally have a great set of play food so they can have some fun with their play kitchen!! The Amazon reviews for this set are great so already I would highly recommend this set of play food!

I'm also excited to be able to use these pieces to help teach Big E about colors and foods. This play food set is going to be a great addition to the playroom and will hopefully be played with for many years to come! The kiddos already seem to love it! As soon as they got up from their nap on Monday I showed them the food and we separated it into fruits and vegetables and Big E loved that. Already she remembers which food are fruits and which are vegetables.






Little E loves playing with the food as well!! I took a play spoon and pretended I was eating the oatmeal then I handed it to him and he did the same thing! They pick things up fast!!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Getting ready for learning...

I just finished planning my first week of learning activities with Big E!! We are going to start a little later than most kids go back to school, the week of September 11th. Our focus for the first week will be the letter A, red, and circles. She already does pretty good with her colors and shapes so the activities we do surrounding those will just be a reinforcement for her. As for the letters, she can say the alphabet so now we need to focus on recognition. I'm not sure at her age (3) that she will be able to write the letters, but we'll never know unless we try. I'm also going to work each week on number recognition. She can count from 1-10 but she doesn't know what the numbers look like yet.


Week 1 will be my trial week with Big E. I'm not too sure how she's going to do with all the workbook pages I want her to do so we may have to save them for later if she doesn't do too well the first week. The one book of pages is for ages 3-5 and the other is for ages 3 and 4. So there will be a ton of things that she definitely won't be able to do. But I think she should be able to handle some of it. Part of being a teacher is being flexible. I want to make sure that I'm not making her frustrated so if she isn't ready now, we can always come back to it later when she is ready.

I'm also going to start incorporating learning into every day situations. It's all about making any moment a teachable moment! Kids learn every single day and they absorb so much more than you realize!! What is something that your child knows that you didn't realize they knew?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kid-free weekend

Happy Sunday everyone!! We had another kid-free weekend and the kids spent the weekend with my dad and step-mom. They live an hour and a half away so we don't get to see them that much so it is nice that we've been trying to send them there for a weekend once a month. Not only does it give us a much needed break, but my dad and step-mom get to spend time with the kids.

Last night I read an article that was posted in a Facebook group I'm in called To the mom who stays up (way) past her bedtime. This article couldn't be anymore true for me!! When the kids go to bed, that is my time to do whatever I want!! And the one thing I refuse to do after 8 pm is clean the house! Night time is for me and my hubby to spend time together, to play video games, catch up on my TV shows, and read.

Just a little snipit from the article:

Well, let me tell you...

I stay up late because the allure of peace and quiet—while everyone else sleeps—is too appealing to miss out on.
I stay up late because the desire to have time to myself—to do whatever I want, without answering to anyone else—is too precious to pass up.
I stay up late because I want time to zone out and binge watch Parenthood without feeling like I need to be doing anything else.
I stay up late because my passion for my work runs deep, and sometimes I just can’t seem to switch it off.
I stay up late because I want to finally start that book I bought a month ago.

 The words above are so true for me!! It's hard to do a lot of those things during the day while the kids are awake, so when they are sleeping at night, that's my time! Does anyone else out there agree with me??
Well, I'm going to go back to playing my video game at 10:30 in the morning because my hubby and I are kid free right now!!! Have a great rest of your weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Home again!

We got home from our 3 day weekend trip yesterday and it's back to reality! We all had a great time this past weekend and it was great to get away and spend more time with my aunt and cousin that we don't see too often. But as I mentioned in my last post, we have now seen her 4 times this year and we will see her once more at the end of the month! Usually we only see her twice a  year, so we've been pretty lucky this year!!!

This morning we made a quick trip to Target so I could find a planner to use to start planning preschool activities for Big E. My hubby and I decided that next year when Big E is 4, we will put her in a preschool. But I'm going to just do some activities with her this school year and help prepare her for an actual preschool next year.


Last year I tried to do this but it didn't go as planned. I had a ton of activities planned for Big E but because Little E was so little at the time, we didn't get to do much. Plus, the activities I had planned were a little too difficult for Big E. She knows a lot more now that she did a year ago so I'm excited to get started next month!

Since I'm only going to be subbing 2 days a week that gives me 3 days each week to work with Big E on these activities. I'm going to focus on one letter a week starting with A and going in order all the way to Z. Big E is pretty good at singing the ABC's so I'm hoping that from this, she starts recognizing the letters. We'll also work with numbers, colors, and shapes, all of which she already knows a little bit of.

So be on the look out for a recap post each week (or when I get time to write them) of what activities we've been working on!

Friday, August 4, 2017

It's Packing Time again!!

It's packing time again!! I've made my list and I'm checking it twice. Well, I'll be checking it once I'm finished packing it. Yesterday I wrote down everything I need to pack for our weekend away and now today it's time to pack it because we leave as soon as my hubby gets home from work. We're headed up to my aunt's house yet again! This is the aunt that lives 4 hours away from us and we typically only see 2 times a year: Christmas and summer. But this year, we have seen her a total of 3 times so far!! We had our Christmas get together back in January, then me and the kiddos went up there for a week and a half, and then she came down here and stayed with us for a few days (along with my 8 year old cousin). So now this will be the 4th time we get to see her this year and there is still one other time at the end of the August that we will see her again!

The part I'm most excited for this weekend is on Sunday...my aunt and I are going to see Kellie Pickler!!! (and Sara Evans, but I'm going mostly to see Kellie!!) For anyone who doesn't know, my very first job was at Sonic and it was all because of Kellie Pickler!! Right around the same time they showed Kellie's audition on American Idol, they were opening up a Sonic near us. I had just turned 16 and was in need of a job so I applied!! I didn't get to be a carhop at first because I started in the kitchen. But eventually I got to learn how to make ice cream and drinks, take orders, and then deliver orders!! I was there for a total of 5 years and thought it was a great first job!! Maybe one or both of my kiddos will end up working at Sonic for their first job!!

So back in 2006, when the Idols of season 5 of American Idol went on tour, including Kellie, my mom and I went to see them in concert!! I took a Sonic cup, filled it with Sonic mints and a note, and was able to give it to someone to give to Kellie!! Then a few weeks later, there was an interview that I saw with Kellie online where she mentioned getting a cup of Sonic mints from a fan and it gave her flashbacks!! Sorry Kellie, didn't mean to give you flashbacks! But I just thought that was so cool!! I really wish I could find that interview!! I tried searching for it but no luck. If I get to meet her on Sunday, I'm totally bringing that up and I want to see if she remembers that!!!

Well, that's all for now...I'm off to start my packing!! And I know that even though I have a list, I'm bound to forget something!! Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Everything happens for a reason...

In the book Everything Everything that I read recently, there was a quote that stood out to me and got me thinking:


Now I wrote a blog post about regrets over a month ago, but I don't think this is the same thing. Within the past year I've said "things happen for a reason" a lot! There have been a ton of moments where that has been true. So the quote above just got me thinking, if one moment was changed in my life, how would that make everything else different? For example, if I had never met my husband, how would my life be different from how it is now? I wouldn't have my 2 beautiful babies or the wonderful family I've inherited by marrying my hubby. If I had never overcome my fear of meeting new people and never found the mom's group I'm in, I wouldn't have any friends that live around me. And also, if I had never found that mom's group, I would have never met the friend that introduced me to essential oils and that would just be horrible if I had never been introduced to these amazing oils!!

Life is precious and so short so I'm not saying that we should look back at all the "what-ifs" in life because I'm sure everyone has a ton of them! All I'm trying to say is that it's all those "what-if" moments that make life so awesome! It just makes you realize how completely different your life could have been, whether it be for better or worse, just because of one small moment! As I mentioned in my regrets post, there are some things in my past I would change. But then there are a lot more things in my past that I wouldn't want to change at all. Things happen for a reason and sometimes we don't know what that reason is at the time, but sometimes the reason gets revealed at a later time! What is one decision you made in your life that you are so thankful for and that if you hadn't chosen that, your life would be completely different?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Home Chef

Last week I wrote a post about how I tried out Blue Apron. Well, the week after I got that order, I got an order from Home Chef! In this box was 2 meals for 2 plus stuff to make smoothies for 2!



As I mentioned before, my aunt had tried both of these services out and that's why I wanted to try them out. They changed things up a little bit and now the ingredients come already separated in these awesome clear bags. That's definitely one thing that would have been nice if Blue Apron did that.

First up I made the Weeknight Chicken Quesadillas! These were super simple to make and were made in the...wait for it...oven!! You put the bottom quesadillas on a cookie sheet covered with foil and sprayed. Then you pile on your filling, add the other quesadillas, and spray that lightly. Then you put a piece of foil over them, a cookie sheet on top of that, and then place a casserole dish on top. Then you bake them in the oven! I've never heard of making quesadillas like that before but will definitely be making them like that again!




That same night I made the smoothies! They were good except for the pieces of orange that I kept having to spit out. I don't like pulp in my orange juice so that's probably why I didn't care for that part too much.



The final meal from this delivery was Sweet and Savory Cola-Glazed Pork Chops. These were delicious!! I think I messed up one part of it though and kinda cooked the pork chops for a little longer than I was supossed to after adding the cola glaze to it because there wasn't much of a glaze left at the end. But like I said, it still tasted good!!






 So overall I had a great experience with both Blue Apron and Home Chef. I'm thinking about trying out Hello Fresh in a few weeks. I would order from a service like this every now and then if they weren't so expensive or didn't take as long to prep. So check them out for yourself! If you have a Swagbucks account (or even if you don't, you can sign up), check on there before signing up for Blue Apron or Home Chef because you may be able to get them for cheap like I did!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Shopping!!!

So we finally did it...we joined Sam's Club!! They built one near us and it is opening up in September! Before this one was here, the closest one to us was 45 minutes. We used to belong to BJ's when we lived about 30 minutes from it but when we moved here, we just didn't feel like joining Sam's Club and having to drive 45 minutes to get there. Now we will only have to drive about 10 minutes!!

They've been set up inside our Walmart trying to get people to sign up and I've been putting it off to check it out. I was concerned about 2 things: would the membership start now and then I miss out on a few months of using it because the store isn't open yet and could I get a beter offer than a free $10 gift card when signing up? In the past, I've been getting things in the mail saying you could get a free $10 gift card when signing up for a membership. I'm pretty sure it has always been $10 and never more than that. Before we signed up we asked about when the membership starts and they said our renewal date will be in September but we can start using it now online and at other stores. Oh and on top of the $10 gift card, we got a whole bunch of coupons that are loaded on our membership card including ones for a free rotisserie chicken, croissants, and dinner rolls!

When we got home I checked out their site to see what all they offer and I found out that we can save some money on my contacts!!! They only want $55.98 for a 3 months supply of the contacts I wear compared to Pearle Vision wanting $91.98. That right there totally makes the membership worth it!! Because even when you add in the $45/year membership, it still saves us about $100! We already purchase some of our products in bulk (toilet paper and paper towels from Amazon and Target.com), but I'm looking forward to being able to save even more money by buying more things in bulk!

And I'm also hoping that our new Sam's Club will be participating in Club Pickup! You can order online and then check-in on your phone when you get there and they will bring your order out to your car! I am all about online ordering when it comes to grocery shopping!!! I don't mind making quick stops to the store with my kiddos, but big grocery shopping trips can be a pain because it makes it so hard to focus on the task at hand with them along!

What are your favorite items to buy in bulk?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another month has (almost) come to an end...

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing a post about how June was coming to and end and July was starting. And now July is ending soon and it will be August!! Where has this summer gone? I feel like we've done so much this summer but there are still so many things I would like to do!! Here are a few:

1. Get ice cream from the ice cream truck!!

2. Visit my husband's aunt and spend the weekend there. (She has a pool!)

3. Go to a carnival!

4. Hangout with my 17 year old cousin.

5. Enjoy more time outside.

Last summer I said that we would be spending so much more time outside this year than we did last year. Last year we couldn't be outside that much because Little E was only a few months old and couldn't be out in the sun for very long. But now that he's a year and is walking and as long as we lather us all up in sunscreen, we're good to hangout outside a lot more!!

But I'll admit, we haven't been outside as much as we should be. I am limiting the amount of time that I let Big E watch. She's definitely watching less than she used to. She either gets to watch it in the morning before lunch for a little bit or right before dinner. If we don't have anyone coming over to our house or if we don't go anywhere, then we have been playing with the wooden princess dress up sets, our play-doh made with essential oils, doll house, or coloring, just to name a few activities.

I'm going to get into doing some learning activities with Big E in September. I'll give her one more month of just play and then school will be in session! I've decided that I'm going to go back to substitute teaching but only 2 days a week. So that still gives me 3 days a week to do learning activities with Big E. And unlike last year, I'm going to dedicate more time to it. Now that Little E isn't as little as he was a year ago, he doesn't need my attention as much as he did then so I'll be able to take some time out of the day to focus on doing school stuff with Big E!

Have a great week everyone! Look for my post on my Home Chef experience coming soon!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blue Apron

Last month, my aunt tried out the meal delivery service Blue Apron. It just so happened to be while me and the kiddos were staying at her house for a week and a half. I thought it was pretty cool...you get everything you need to make a few meals, all in one box. So I decided to give it a try! Through an offer that Swagbucks has, I paid $30 and will be getting $20 back!! So that's 3 meals that I'm getting for $10!!!



The box arrived at my house around 3:30 and I was excited! I opened it up and got all the goodies out and organized them by meal. They put a huge ice pack below the food to keep it cool all day in case it has to sit outside for a short period of time.


The first meal I made that night was Sweet Corn & Pepper Empanadas. 


I was pretty excited for this one, it looked so good in the picture!!!







 Even though mine didn't end up turning out quite like the picture, it still tasted amazing!!! One thing I didn't like about this meal though was that it took forever to prep! I think that's the one downside to Blue Apron meals. They give you everything fresh so with this I had an ear of corn, whole radishes, and whole scallions. The meals I normally cook don't require me to do this much prep work so it was definitely different than what I'm used to. I only got the meal plan for 2, so I had to make the kiddos something different for dinner. This night they had pizza!



Next up was Saffron & Tomato Bucatini Pasta. This one didn't require me to prep as much as the first meal. They even give you a small thing of 2 tablespoons of butter! Pretty much everything is included except for salt, pepper, olive oil, and water!





 Mine looked a lot more like the picture than my first meal did!! I think the biggest difference between the 2 pictures is the lighting!! This meal was delicious as well!! I love zucchini!!

Last night I made the third and final meal and this one wasn't a hit in our house. I texted my hubby apologizing in advance for the meal so he decided he was going to get something on his way home from work. I don't think it was anything I did that ruined the meal, it just isn't our kind of food. It was a Japanese-style rice bowl named Purple Rice & Miso Spinach Bowls. I really like the idea of a rice bowl but the flavoring in this one was completely brand new to me.





 One thing I struggled with on this meal was the pepper tempura. You made a pancake-like batter, dipped the pepper rings in it, and then fried them in olive oil. I had a weird shaped pepper so I couldn't cut my pepper into rings. And then I couldn't get the batter to stay on the peppers so they didn't turn out the greatest.

I also opted to make hard-boiled eggs instead of soft-boiled, at my husband's request. I really enjoyed the avocado on top. Avocado has recently become my newest food obsession!! And the cucumber and spinach were alright as well. It was just the flavoring that didn't do it for me.

So there you have it, my experience with Blue Apron. Overall I would give it a 9/10. I liked getting all the ingredients delivered right to my door. I've ordered groceries online before but I've never gotten them delivered right to my house! The only thing I didn't like about the recipes is that they aren't recipes I could cook every night. Things would have been a little easier if I was cooking them without 2 kids constantly at my feet. But it did give me new dinner ideas. Empanadas could easily be filled with pretty much everything! I was just browsing through a magazine earlier and saw a recipe where you fill them with pineapple! And rice bowls would be pretty easy to make. Just make some Mexican rice and throw some avocado, cucumber, spinach, and other various toppings on top. I'll just be sure I don't add any of the flavorings from the recipe I made with Blue Apron!

I highly recommend that you check out Blue Apron for yourself! It was a great experience and if I can get it at a cheap price again, I'll definitely be getting more!




*Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Blue Apron to provide my opinions. My opinions are 100% my own.