Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two Projects

Project #1- "Alicia" Pics

I decided that I was tired of our old dining room photo... SO, I went out into my yard to make new ones!! 

I broke the photos above into separate 10x20 prints, then had them printed on metallic paper and mounted on double matboard. I used the cool sticky/velcro stuff to hang them on my wall... AND...


Project #2- Grayster's Wall of Frames

This one is VER simple. I went around the house collecting the old frames I wasn't using. I just used the frame part (except for one piece of glass I turned into a chalkboard). Then I painted them the same color as our living room (which is beside our dining room). I hung them on the wall with more sticky/velcro stuff and TADA... Wall of Frames!! 

I intend on grabbing a few clips next time I'm at school from my office desk. I'm going to nail these to the wall to hold Grayson's "Art!" For now, most things are held with a bit of tape. Don't worry... I have plenty of touch up paint, lol! 

(The chalkboard was made with chalkboard spray paint. I just sprayed about 5-7 light coats on the glass!)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Little Boy Blue

Grayster and I normally sing for a while as part of his bedtime routine. Two nights ago, I recorded this sweet little voice. He is such a good boy! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Potty Training "Give Up" Story

After two failed attempts, potty training is something I don't want to even think about for a long, long time. 

A few days ago, I mentioned how frustrated I was with potty training on Facebook. I received a ton of responses and most of the "seasoned" parents just said, "He'll figure it out when he is ready". That viewpoint was also shared by one of my FB friends who is an area pediatrician. Apparently this method takes the absolute longest (go figure), but is less stressful for the parent and kid...

SO- why do I still feel a tad bit guilty when I hear about the successes my friends' kids (who are younger than Grayster) are having with potty training?!?!

Monday, June 18, 2012

How I Lowered Our Bills... Just By Asking!!

I've been negotiating bill payments with our service providers for as long as I can remember... I forgot who taught me that you could do it, but it totally works-- I've never NOT been able to get my bills lowered using this method.

Things I've done in the past few weeks:

1) Checked my satellite tv account online- canceled services that we weren't taking advantage of-- Savings of $23.00 a month

2) Canceled a credit monitoring service we had- Savings $17.00 a month

3) Called my satellite tv provider and asked if they could lower my bill. Since we were out of contract with them, I knew I had the upper hand. They lowered my bill by another $30.00 a month for the next year. The trick is to be super polite, simply explain that you're trying to lower your monthly expenses and go from there. 

4) Called my internet provider and asked if I could get in on a promotional rate. I had to renew my contract for 24 months, but they doubled my speed and lowered my bill by $20.00 a month for 2 years.

TOTAL MONTHLY SAVINGS= 90.00 a month!!!! 

See... it never hurts to ask!! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Seriously?!? Meal Planning is Fun!?!?

For a while, I've wanted to show my blog friends how dinner works in our house... I think you'll like it!!

Last year I wrote about how I had discovered freezer meal cooking. I loved it (especially during the summer!) but it was too difficult to do during the school year. I didn't have hours to devote to meal planning, cooking, etc.

A few months ago I stumbled upon THIS blog post!! This lady prepped all of her weekly meals on Sunday afternoon and then only had to pull them out of the fridge and put them into the oven/slow cooker/ grill! But it gets even better... when prepping the meals, she would make two of each one so that she could build up a freezer stash!

I am hooked!! I can get this all done in one hour or less on the weekend.

Step 1: Find Pinterest recipes. Make shopping list. Go shopping for ingredients. Plan to double the recipe or split it in half.

Step 2: Start with a sink filled with soapy water. This is where I throw all of my dishes/utensils as I finish with them. Then they simply go in the dishwasher at the end of the meal prep.

Step 3: COOK!! Make sure your computer/ recipe book is somewhere handy! Stop the meal prep at the point where the recipe says "put it in the crock pot/ oven/ on the grill".

It is also important to do this during toddler nap. I like to time myself with the stopwatch on my phone for fun as well.
Step 4: Remember two meals for every recipe- one for the fridge and one for the freezer. Label them with clear instructions for cooking! 

These don't have labels yet, but I just tape notes on the front with instructions. I also wrap the freezer meal container in aluminum foil.
That is ALL! Today I prepped 4 meals in 38 minutes (and 2 seconds)-- and that includes the time it took me to clean up the kitchen and take out the trash! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Heart Craigslist

This is a CRAZY story... but it is 100% true. 

As of Thursday evening, I hadn't decided what we wanted to get Jason for Father's Day. I began prodding Jason for some ideas and he suggested that we update our outdoor furniture. 

We needed a place to go and relax in the evenings after we put Grayson to bed. Too often, we sit on our respective couches, watch TV and use the computer and iPad. Sometimes we go to bed and realize we've barely spoken to each other!! I thought it was a great idea... but I had one major question... What do I do with all of our old stuff??

On Friday morning I got the idea to list our old outdoor stuff on Craigslist. It needed a good cleaning and new cushions so I offered it up for free. I included this photo: 

Then I went to take a shower. After I had dried off I checked my email and found three responses. I called up the first lady and she said she'd be right over. 

It took less than 40 minutes from start to finish. When I deleted my original post I had received 22 responses. 

SO- We got this new stuff... and we love it!!

Because I had so much luck yesterday, at breakfast this morning I got the wild idea to clean out the garage. We had a bunch of junk... old stuff that wouldn't work anymore, etc. SO-- I listed it on Craigslist. 

Less than an hour later, my garage was cleaned out and the nice man that took my stuff gave me his phone number and said to please call if I found anything else to give away. Apparently he enjoys small engine repair and likes lots of random things. When I deleted that post I had received 19 responses...

Now my de-cluttered garage needs organizing but I'm saving that project for next week!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Daycare Drama

This morning, Grayson and I decided to head to the park. As we were pulling in, I saw my dear friend Kaci leaving. A few seconds later my cell phone rang...

Kaci: Is that you going to the park??
Me: Yes... I hate that you guys are just leaving.
Kaci: Well, we have to run to visit Mimi, but good luck... there is a daycare there and the kids are all over the place.

As soon as we got out of the park- we saw tons of kids and two adults. The park was covered with kiddos. One adult appeared to be walking around and assisting, but the other was sitting on a bench with her earphones, obviously listening to tunes on her iPod. The kids were, just as Kaci said, running all over the place. Some were climbing on the outside of play structures that they should not have.

Grayson began to play but then I saw a look of confusion come across his face. The woman with the ipod decided to begin yelling at the kids (not very nicely). She yelled at one to come see her and as soon as the little girl arrived, she told her she needed to go get some kleenex and wipe her own sister's nose. Seriously?!? Anyway... I was shocked and a little scared. So was Grayson.

In August, Grayson begins 3K. He will be at an all-day program... school for half of the day, daycare for the rest. I want so much for his caregivers to love him and care for him, just like I do. I want him to develop independence and learn, but I want him to feel safe. I wonder if the parents of the kids I saw today have any idea who is watching their children...

Summer Week 1

Summer Week 1 has been wonderful!! I've enjoyed the slower days and feel like we've done so much already... I'm looking forward to the rest of vacation just as much!

Monday- We made a HUGE change for Mr. Grayson... we turned his bed into a toddler bed!! He was so excited about the change, and I think he looks extra grown up!

Tuesday- Grayson and I headed to our local library for library story time. Last year we went a few times, but I mainly chased him around the place. It was not too much fun. Now he is older and he really enjoyed listening to the stories!! We signed up for a library card (why didn't I have one before?!?) and checked out a few books for Grayson. He has read the books over and over... even sneaking out of his bed to grab a few to read at the start of nap time. 

Wednesday- We had some errands to run. In the middle of the errands, we stopped at Chick-Fil-A at the mall for a delicious lunch!

We also enjoyed going to the first ever Lyman Farmer's Market!! I think it is going to be a great addition to our little community and we've enjoyed the fresh goodies that we purchased!!

Thursday- Our first day at the community pool!! Mrs. Stephanie already informed me that he was a little scared of the pool, so I wasn't surprised when he wanted to stay outside of the pool or just on the top step for quite a while. He finally worked up the courage and let me hold him in the water. He had a great time and cried when we left an hour and a half later. I think we'll go back today!!