Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Bargains!

As promised, if my crazy but awesome friend, Holly, got up at 3am and went to Belk's and bought me a snazzy pair of boots, I'd write a glowing blog about her awesomeness! Well here it is! She delivered! Holly battled the crowd of Black Friday crazies and managed to make it out alive without a single broken bone, black eye or bruise! She does admit to a little bumping but I hear these $17 suede boots were worth it!

All jokes aside, it doesn't surprise me one bit that Holly was at the mall at 3am to buy these boots. Not because she's insane (well sort of) or because she so desperately wanted them... but because another friend and I wanted them also. She's THAT kind of friend. She knows I love Starbucks and she surprises me with them frequently. When I'm in a bind with childcare, she's never once said no to keeping Parker. Every time I come to pick him up, he never wants to leave her house. I entrust approximately 5 people to watch Parker and she's #2 behind my own mother! She's my "go to" buddy for fun kid adventures which makes being a stay at home mom infinitely more enjoyable! I feel so blessed to call Holly my friend and I'd feel that way even if she didn't brave the Belk crazies this morning for my boots!

Daniel woke me up this morning at 6:30 and asked me if I wanted to go to Best Buy. I didn't but I did want to go to Target which is right across the street. I agreed to going anyways because when Daniel is in a shopping mood (which is maybe twice a year) I usually make out pretty well! :) We ended up not going to Best Buy because Daniel remembered he could get what he wanted cheaper online but we did "brave" Target at 7am. I was prepared for lines and picked over aisles but I got EVERYTHING I wanted from the circular and it was still at the doorbuster price. YIPPEE!

Side note: did you know people get up and shower to look nice to Black Friday shop? Daniel and I showed up in sweats and no make up with Parker and his jammies and I was kinda embarrassed! Everyone else was showered, hair done (which was dumb since it's pouring rain) and all decked out in accessories. I was proud of myself for putting on a bra under my sweatshirt. That was my accessory! 

Let me just tell you how excited I am about one of our purchases... We picked up a dual screen car DVD player. My car trips to my parents, Atlanta and the zoo are about to become WAY more enjoyable! I would have paid full price for this treasure but why do that when you can pay 60% less (and still sleep until 6:30?!) SO excited to install these puppies!
I also picked up a few Christmas presents. Who doesn't love spending $3.99 on a DVD?! I snagged Marley and Me, The Blind Side, Elf and a Princess Movie. The kids at the Levine Children's Hospital should really enjoy these! Speaking of which, if anyone wants to donate a toy, contact me! I'm taking them the week before Christmas. I also picked up the $3.99 Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherrio, a matching game and Candy Land for some buddies and the Levine Children's Hospital kids. Oh the memories I have playing Candy Land!

Did anyone else grab any killer deals? Happy Black Friday! The rest of mine will be filled with wrapping presents, cleaning the house and hosting my family for dinner! I'm making my specialty... Stouffer's Party Size Lasagna. Only the best for those I love most!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Day of Thanks

2 blog post in one day! I'm on a roll! haha. Well actually, I scheduled NOTHING other than going to eat at my mother in laws and you'd be amazed at how much free time you have when you vow not to clean and be productive. The Bengals/Jets game is on in the background and since I have Dustin Keller (TE for NYJ) and my opponent has Chad Ochocinnco and LT playing in this game, I'm expecting tonight's fantasy stats to be depressing. So instead, here are a few pictures of Parker and his cousin Jakob on Thanksgiving. One day, I'll remember to get in the pictures or attempt a group shot. Goodness am I terrible at only getting shots of the little guy!

Daniel helping Parker up the hill to the house:
 Parker must point out each airplane until we also acknowledge it.
Parker and Jakob high fiving. I'm so bummed I miss the shot of them kissing and then it got a little awkward asking them to do it over and over!
 This photo cracks me up. It looks like a bad toddler band CD cover.
 Mr. Observant.
 Hmmm... I'm in love.
 Being a boy and playing in the dirty sand.
 Scooping up more of said dirty, sand.
 CHEESE! I found duck poop!
 Brushing it off.
 Daddy came to the rescue.
Our quiet, family Thanksgiving was nice. Different than the big, extended family Thanksgiving that I'm used to but nice in it's own unique, unstressful way. The boys enjoyed playing together and the food was yummy. I'd consider it a success. I sure hope you had a nice Thanksgiving as well!

Anyone doing any crazy early black Friday shopping? There are a few items at Target that I'd like to snag but certainly NOT enough to be there at 4am with the crazies. I think I'll venture there around 7:30 and take my chances that the "AMAZING DOORBUSTER SALES" may not still be there. I just can't stand in a long, cold line with people who run for items like supermarket sweep for $3.99 chutes and ladders or candy land. I'll stroll in at 7:30 with my peppermint mocha and see what deals I can still find! Don't even get me started on ToysRUs! Those shoppers are like professionals. I hear they run and hit and steal toys out of your cart. What a mom won't do for a Zhu Zhu Pet (what in the WORLD are those anyways?) NUTS!  It is; however, beneficial to befriend a 4am crazy. I sure hope Holly remembers to get me a pair of black suede boots (size 8!)! Bless her heart for getting up that early and braving the mall but my feet sure will thank her later in those precious $17 boots! YIPPEE!

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Black Friday Shopping!

I'm Most Thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is the first year in all 25 of my years on this wonderful Earth that I have not traveled to my grandparent's house in Atlanta for Thanksgiving. Honestly, it's tough to break a tradition that has been so incredibly important to me for so long. This year, it just didn't work out. It makes me a little sad, though.

I tried to at least carry on the tradition of serving Christmas cookies as a Thanksgiving dessert. No, I'm not subjecting everyone to the Parent's Magazine Christmas Tree cookies. No worries. They are; however, being subjected to snickerdoodles, peanut butter cup cookies (if Daniel doesn't eat them all before the meal!), M&M sugar cookies and lastly, chocolate chip reindeer! YUM! Who needs turkey when you have 4 varieties of cookies (and a veggie tray from Harris Teeter that I will place onto my own platter and say I made)?

I'm sure Thanksgiving with Daniel's mom will be lovely and tasty. It's just different.... but different isn't bad. So today... I embrace a new form of Thanksgiving because let's be honest.... I have no reason to complain. I have more to be thankful for than I have minutes to type them all. God has blessed Daniel and I beyond measure. A simple prayer and "thank you" seems to fall so short compared to everything the Lord has done for us and blessed us with. Here is my attempt at a short list of the things I'm MOST thankful for in no particular order:

*My salvation
*Being healed from cancer
*Parker, my miracle baby
*Parker's health despite being a preemie
*My husband, Daniel
*Our home
*Our newest blessing, Avery (due in May!)
*My parents that helped set Daniel and I up for success by putting me through college, private school, buying me a reliable car, giving us a beautiful wedding and continuing to provide encouragement and love. I've never doubted their love for me, my husband or my son. They've sacrificed everything for me and would again if I asked. 

*My husband's job that allows me to stay at home with our son and provide financially for us
*My friends... those closest to me who have been there for me through my roller coaster of a life!
*That Daniel and I agree on "big ticket items" ... even though we're so different, being on the same page makes life so much less stressful!
*Our cheerleaders... those who have always been a source of encouragement and wisdom to Daniel and myself.
*Dabo/Barney/Netflix. They are one in the same. Today our router is having problems and it keeps kicking us off Netflix which is how we stream Barney.... and it has been a rough morning. He's cried for Barney approximately 10 times over not having his morning Barney fix. Clearly I should invest in more than 1 Barney DVD. How I'm going to shower/get ready and finish cooking without our friend, Barney is beyond me. So today... I'm thankful for Barney and the 45-55 minutes I get every morning for myself!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards

Recently, I saw a post on a friend's blog about 50 FREE Shutterfly Christmas Cards for blogging about how awesome Shutterfly is! That is right up my alley! I am a lover of ALL things Shutterfly! If you're on my snail mail list, you probably get a Shutterfly Card of Parker for most major holidays... including my all time favorite of Parker's naked hiney with a big lipstick kiss planted on it for Valentine's Day. I started looking at all of my options for Christmas cards and I'm at a loss. There are SOOO many cute ones! Here are my current front runners:

I like the simplicity of this one AND it's perfect if I only get 1 good shot of us as a family which is definitely a possibility with a squirmy wormy toddler! Plus I love the polka dots and initial!
This one is great if I get a few good shots and can't decide which to use. I frequently have this problem as well! What mom doesn't think every picture of their baby is the best picture ever? Once again, I love the initial, the use of brown and Christmas colors and the date stamp.
This one is also a good option. We have had such an amazing year, it's tough to just sign a card, "Love the Wise Family." I've got lots to say so this would be perfect!
Lastly, this is classy and I love it! Something about black, white and red is just pretty. This card is also a great option if Parker's face hives still aren't cleared up. Skin always looks prettier in black and white ... unless you have perfect olive skin (jealous!).... not me and my family! We're more Twilightish.
Decisions, Decisions. I'm excited to get started on them!

My favorite Christmas gift is the photo book I make every year for our parents and grandparents. Of course, they always turn out so cute, I have to have one printed for myself too! Uploading photos is quick and editing the photos is easy... even for me and I'm a self-proclaimed technologically challenged individual!

Last year for Mother's Day I made the cutest small calendar for my mom to carry around with her. She LOVED it! I think all of her friends have probably been forced to look at it more than once! This year, I'm making one for family members for Christmas. Who doesn't need a yearly calender and EVEN more importantly... who doesn't need one filled with pictures of Parker?!

Guess what's RIGHT around the corner? Parker's 2nd Birthday! Yet another opportunity to make more Shutterfly invitations! Why make your own invitations when Shutterfly can do it for you?! I'm all about simplicity when it comes get togethers! PLUS... they're SO cute! I haven't decided on a theme yet but I love the colors and layout of this one!
Oh my little boy is growing up too quickly!!!

Blogging buddies, if you're interested in blogging for Shutterfly, click here. It's really simple! You just fill out a short form, wait for an email response and then start blogging! Then, they send you a promo code for 50 FREE Christmas Cards! :) Who doesn't love that!?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We're hoping to snap some Christmas Card winners tomorrow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

How NOT to make Christmas Tree Cookies

I was planning on doing a cutesy tutorial today on baking these precious little Christmas Tree cookies from this month's Parent's Magazine. Adorable, right?!
As you may have read in a previous post, I had a MAJOR issue with an article in the December issue of Parent's magazine so I tossed mine but not before ripping out 2 pages of cookie recipes. After trying them, I've decided I should have just tossed the WHOLE magazine! haha

So here goes my how NOT to make Christmas Tree Cookies Tutorial!

I should preface this with the recipe calls to make your own dough BUT since I did this during little man's nap time, I skipped that part and went straight for Pillbury. Let's be honest, they taste better anyways.

I rolled out the dough, using an expired can of evaporated milk covered in flour (I don't own a rolling pin) which is JUST as effective as a rolling pin and it makes me feel better that I didn't completely waste the can... it came in handy for something before tossing it! I used my tree cookie cutter and cut the trees.

See all the left over dough? You're supposed to gather it, re-roll it and use the cutter to cut more... that didn't always happen ;)

Then, I placed them on the cookie sheet and used a straw to "hole punch" a few dots to insert your "ornaments" into.  I then sucked the dough out if the straw and ate it. It was awesome. Bake for 5 minutes at 350.

Pull them out of the oven and insert your crushed jolly ranchers into the holes. How do you crush jolly ranchers? Good question! It's hard as h-e- double hockey sticks. I found 2 methods that eventually, when combined, worked. First, you triple bag your unwrapped jolly ranchers (after eating all of the watermelon ones). Then place them behind the wheel of your tire and drive your car back and forth over them. Seriously. Why do we eat these things? They can't be good for our tummies if I have to drive over them with my car. THEN, to crush them smaller, take a hammer or rubber mallet and whack them a bunch of times.  Now that you've spent 30 minutes crushing jolly ranchers, insert them into the holes of your cookies.

WAIT! What holes? That's right... the holes close when you bake them. SO... remake holes with your straw. Eat all of the cookie that gets sucked up into the straw, of course. THEN, place your crushed jolly ranchers in the holes.

This batch came out TERRIBLE SOOO... for batch number 2, I made the holes BIGGER!

Here is the end result....
So close, yet so far away from what they were SUPPOSED to look like:

In addition to looking terrible, I figured, hey, they're still going to taste delicious right? WRONG. They taste like a jolly rancher that you found in the bottom of a purse you never use and can't remember how it got there but you eat anyways regardless that you ate half the wrapper too because you couldn't peel it off... mixed with sugar cookie.

Batch #3 was adorned with M&Ms.
SOOO.... After 1 hour, a kitchen covered in flour and running my car over jolly ranchers.... I yielded a whopping 6 sugar cookie with M&M cookies. haha. At LEAST I did a test run for my Thanksgiving dessert or I'd be making a run to Harris Teeter on Thanksgiving for some Elfudges (which probably taste better than these anyways!)

Despite all of this... my Christmas baking spirits are not shattered! I still plan to attempt Rudolf the red nose reindeer cookies and peppermint cheesecake. Now if these fail.... I'll forever be the girl that brings the veggie plate and ranch dip!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

20 months old!

Today Parker is 20 months old! Sniff Sniff! He's growing up SOO quickly! It's amazing how fast he's learning new words, things he can do, places he can climb and cause and effect. He's barely spent a second in time out this month which is a far cry from 15 months and 18 months where he lived in it. Thankfully, he's learning boundaries (except a new one... the Christmas Tree!) and is responding well to no. I'm enjoying not being told "no" back!

This month, he's become very passionate about a few things....
1. Barney. He calls him Dabo and it's the first thing he wants in the morning. "Dabo" has now been worked into our daily schedule to calm him down before naps and bed. It's working like a charm!
2. The ABCs. He loves having the ABCs sung to him! He's sings the letter "E" when he wants you to sing it. He can now say "A, E. F, G, and M" His first letter was "M" because he loves "mm's" as he calls them.
3. Suckers. We've been going on 4 mile walks every other day and at about mile 3 he starts to say "all done!" Suckers give me at least another 2 miles! :)
4. Fake Sneezing. Mostly because we laugh and he enjoys the reaction. He likes to put something on his head and fake sneeze so it flies off his head.
5. The sunroof. We have to drive with the shade open so he can hunt for airplanes but he prefers the whole sunroof to be open.

He continues to love balls, books, airplanes and dogs. He's sleeping through the night every night and sleeping in later! SCORE! We've moved his bedtime to between 7:30 and 8 and he sleep usually until between 7 and 7:45. A few mornings he slept until 8 and I LOVE having morning snuggle time with Daniel before Parker wakes up.

His separation anxiety does not seem to be getting better. In fact, it may have gotten worse. He set an all time record yesterday evening by having me paged out of church in only 4 minutes. I continue to have other people watch him and he's fine with people he knows but strangers, even if I'm with him, put him into a complete meltdown. Church nurseries and the doctor's office are our two biggest struggles. I've read a lot about this and it seems his anxiety should start to decrease around 2. I'm praying for that. Until then, I've decided to embrace his love for me as one day I'll wish I had these days back.

Parker's big boy room is officially done! I may put another wall art or 2 in the room but for the most part, it's done! He loves it! He's wonderful about playing in it. Hopefully soon, he learns to sleep in his big boy bed! As of now, there is a pack n play in the room for Parker's buddies when they come over and get sleepy. He continues to sleep in his crib even though the room is transitioning into Avery's room. Who says he can't sleep in a room with an increasing amount of pink and bows? Here are some pictures of him I took today on his 20 month birthday! What a big boy!

Boys and their boogers!
 Perched on his new bed.
 Part of his big boy room, including his most favorite ABC painting.
 Still obsessed with balls!
 Playing curtain peek a boo!
 I'm SO in love with that smile!
 The other side of the play area in his room. It's already decorated for Christmas!
 Trying to reach the train.
 The beds/pack n play corner.
 Hi mommy!
Happy 20 months, Parker!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Parent's Magazine "Birds and Bees" Article

When I got home today from the Cure Search, Pediatric Cancer walk, I found my December issue of Parent's Magazine in the mailbox. I usually enjoy reading this magazine and as with most parenting advice, you take what you want out of it and leave the rest. I found an article on page 168 that I found to be completely appalling and had to share. If you get this magazine and have read it already, I bet you know EXACTLY what article I'm referring to.

It's entitled "Beyond the Birds and the Bees" and it's in the "as they grow" 7-8 age range. The picture that goes along with the article is a sweet looking little girl having Barbie and Ken kiss. No big deal, right? I found it kinda charming and I'm not dumb to know 7-8 year olds know about kissing and probably a little more as most have a younger sibling and have asked "where do babies come from?" The article discusses what you should be discussing with your 7-8 year old regarding sex and what you can wait on until they're "10" as the article states.

Are you ready for this..... apparently, we are supposed to be telling our 7-8 year old (that's 1st-2nd grade...maybe 3rd if they're old for their age) children... and I quote "The man gives the woman his sperm by placing his penis in her vagina. It's called sex or intercourse." Good news parents, the article says we can wait to talk about sexual arousal, orgasms and condoms when they're 10 but we SHOULD include information about STDs, erections and that sex isn't just for baby making when they're 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SERIOUSLY?! I may be old school but I find this completely appalling. At 7, a child should be discussing is Batman or Spiderman a better superhero, not STDs and sex for pleasure. Why are we making our children grow up so quickly with adult conversations? I know sex happens... and it happens young but 7 seems too early to get much deeper than the basic "where do babies come from" talk. Personally, I will be leaving 100% of the advice in this article.

Daniel and I believe in talking about sex with children but at a time when they're mature enough to understand it. I also think parents should know when their children are starting to be interested in it to educate them but 7? .... that's simply too young. Could talking about it too early spark an earlier interest in doing it? Heaven forbid we include the fact that it's meant for husband and wife, right? The article certainly doesn't mention that! I believe the best way to educate your children about sex is to show them what a healthy relationship looks like. Model it... not sex... but kiss your spouse in front of them. Be affectionate. Show your children what love looks like and explain (not show!) sex to them at an appropriate time. It's a very intimate time for a husband and wife to show their love for one another and sometimes make babies if the time is right. Man, this article got me all worked up! Like I said.... I could be old school but I found this article to be sickening. Did anyone else read it? Thoughts?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blog Neglect

Blog... I have missed you! It's been 7 whole days and every day I've thought about you! I've been super busy during the day and I can't seem to stay up past 9pm lately!

Parker and I have been walking the 4 mile creek trail every other day which feels amazing! I love getting out and walking! The very best part is that we walk 2 miles to Starbucks, get a treat, use the potty and turn around and come back. It's the quickest 4 miles when you've got lots to talk about with great friends... and the sbux stop helps too! Parker loves it because he gets to see lots of doggies run by and I bribe him with suckers. The last 2 times I've gone we've seen a deer. Who doesn't love a baby deer?

My picture taking has been at an all time low! Parker had a reaction again to chili pepper and his whole face is covered in a terrible rash. It's been 8 days now and it's better but not gone. Of course we have family pictures being taken Sunday! I hope the company is ready for LOTS of retouching! haha. I FINALLY got Parker's hair cut today! His stranger anxiety has made it super difficult. We've walked out of 3 places. I broke down today and took him to Pigtails and Crewcuts for a $21 haircut. GULP! I'm so glad I did, though. They literally held him down in the airplane until he stopped freaking out. Eventually he caught bubbles and watched Toy Story. I'm SOO glad they didn't let me leave. He did great after his 1-2 minutes battle with the stylist. Speaking of styling.... the cut is great and I'm very pleased but check out this styling....
I can't stop laughing at him. Of course he thinks it's hilarious and laughs right along with me. He has no clue why I'm laughing but he chimes right in.
Guess who will be getting a bath to remove the half bottle of gel in his hair?!  Bahaha. Love him.

Random tidbit... Barney has taught him to sneeze. He walks around the house fake sneezing and laughing at himself. It's hilarious. He did it over and over at dinner with my parents for attention. The second the conversation turned to something other than him, he'd sneeze and we'd all laugh. The silver lining... he uses his sleeve or a napkin to cover it. I can sing the Barney song in my sleep... "Keep your sneeze to yourself. Don't share your germs with anyone else. Get a tissue off the shelf and keep your sneeze to yourself."

Lastly, I have to share my craftings! I've been busy sewing burp cloths, making bows and playing with ribbon.  All things girly! Here are a few pictures of some things I've made so far.

I'll try to be better about updating this! I love my dear blog! Better go clean the house now... that too has been neglected at the expense of long walks, sewing and playdates!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shameless Plug

I've mentioned before my love for all things monogrammed. WELL... my very favorite custom kids boutique, Izzy Puddin' is doing a giveaway! I'm a sucker for facebook and blog giveaways! They're so easy to enter and I'm just sure one day I'll win something! In this case, EVERYONE wins something (FREE SHIPPING on any purchase!) and one person will win a custom Christmas outfit for their little one when they reach 500 fans! Fingers crossed the winner is Parker! How cute would he look in this?

Head over to facebook and "like" Izzy Puddin' to be entered in the giveaway. It's seriously that easy. Even if you don't have a little one, this would be a wonderful gift! OR if you won you could just say you'd like them to make it for Parker. We'd be OK with that too. haha Once Izzy Puddin' hits 500 fans, she'll do the contest.

Now that we know our little one is a girl, I've been perusing the website frequently for all things pink, ruffly and covered in bows.

I HAVE to have this outfit for Avery!
She's going to have to have a few of these too!
She's obviously going to need one of these for the fall...
How cute is the pink gingham dress?!
I'm seeing this in our future too! Maybe pink and brown or pink and green. Maybe both. Decisions Decisions.
 Recognize this little fellow in his Izzy Puddin' Jon Jon?
Of course we can't forget Parkerman! He loved his Izzy Puddin' T shirts!

We love the Halloween shirt!
I had this one made for Parker as well! He wears it on gamedays!
You get the point! PRECIOUS stuff at a great price! Even if you don't win the Christmas outfit, you still get free shipping on any order when Izzy Puddin' reaches 500 fans! The owner/artist/mom is a friend of mine so I promise I wouldn't promote something I don't love myself!`Facebook like Izzy Puddin' and tell them Taylor from Saved by Grace... Maintained by Coffee sent you!