Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween

This year we took a big bite out of Halloween:

I think she thought her little pumpkin was fruit.  Gross.

One of the play groups this month was going to a "farm" (really just a done-up nursery but Millie didn't notice) for fall fun.

She loved the hay ride, just not the sitting down part.  Typical Millie.

I turned my back for one second and Millie ran full speed ahead into the "maze."  It was so cute seeing her little hair above the hay.  In this picture she's climbing up the side a little.

Even though she got in the way of a few bigger (and eager to be faster) children, she survived.  She's an explorer and never afraid to run around and see what she's missing.

We just got back from trunk-or-treat at church.  My initial costume plan didn't work out, and since Millie and I were a little under the weather today I didn't want to go out shopping for a costume.  At the last second (well, really a few hours before) we came up with a simple costume for Millie.

Cindy Lou Who

I think the costume turned out really cute, but no matter how many pictures I took I couldn't capture the complete cuteness.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Trunk or treat was so busy, dark, and cold I wouldn't say Millie enjoyed it all that much.  I really don't think she understood people were giving her candy.  We didn't end up with quite the loot we were hoping for.  We only ended up with one Reese's cup!  Oh well, less candy I'll be forced to eat.

Buck and I are going to a Halloween party tomorrow night, and will be wearing another thrown-together costume.  Since we are new to the neighborhood I have no idea if we'll get trick-or-treaters on Monday.  So basically we are pretty much wrapped up with Halloween which means...

time to plan Millie's Birthday Party/Thanksgiving/Black Friday!

Did you hear we are supposed to get snow tomorrow?  Yikes.  How am I supposed to hold off on Christmas music with snow falling outside?  Who am I kidding.  I won't.  It starts playing November 1st.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Regular Ol' Days

I thought I'd give y'all a little update on our new routine, just for accountability purposes.  I've made some pretty drastic changes that have helped my sanity a lot.  Don't worry, it won't be minute by minute or anything.

1.  I started showering at night.  It is wonderful showering without someone screaming at you.  It is wonderful being able to get ready in 10 minutes each morning.  It is wonderful having time to do something with my hair since it's already clean and dry.  Why didn't I think of this sooner?

2.  Each morning (around 10:30 AM or so) I spend one hour of quality time with Millie.  I usually try and do a planned out activity, which makes me feel like Super Mom, but sometimes we just play with toys and read books.  During this one hour I cut us off from technology, unless it has to do with our activity.  So don't try calling me then :)  Of course if we have a friend over or go to play group that counts as our one-on-one time.  The above picture is one of our activities.  Coloring a box while sitting inside it.  It was a huge hit.

3.  I plan out a month's worth of dinners at a time.  This sounds like a huge thing, but it really was pretty simple.  One Sunday evening I just sat down with our calendar and a few cook books and planned it out.  This way I could space out the nights we have pancakes (hehe) better.  I could also look at "cook once, eat twice" strategies (like making a pot roast then using leftover shredded beef for tacos the next night).  It has been great having a plan in place for those weeks I only have a second in the grocery store so I pick up the bare minimum.  I saw something much cuter at my friend Jessica's house a few years ago, it just took a while for me to try it out.

4.  I bought a treadmill off of Craig List for $25.  It isn't in the best shape, but now I have no excuse to at least walk each night.  I figured out how to hang the ipad on the top so I can watch Drop Dead Diva on Netflix.  I don't (usually) allow myself to watch it without walking, so it motivates me to see if Jane had told Grayson yet...

There you have it.  I feel like Millie is learning and growing, and I'm helping.  I feel like I'm still taking care of myself.  I feel like I'm feeding my family well.  For now, everything else seems to fall into place on its own.  Of course we still get more than our fair share of screaming, throwing, crayon eating, messes, and endless amounts of untamed laundry.

Monday, October 10, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I recently (within the past few months) joined Pinterest.  It is a website that allows you to "pin" ideas you've seen from anywhere online (crafts, food, places to visit, fashion, home decoration, etc).  It makes it easy to keep track of everything you like.  You also have a social circle within Pinterest (if you'd like) that allows you to see what they are pinning and share your pins.

I have a love/hate relationship with the concept.  I love seeing great ideas, but it's easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed with everything.  Why didn't I think of that?  I did think of that, and now everyone will think I found it on Pinterest!  I never do anything like that with Millie!  Wow, I need to decorate.  Millie will look so cute in this.  Those are just a few things I think to myself frequently.

With the start of my new "strict" schedule, I was able to fit in a few of these "pins" to see if they were as great as I thought they would be.  Like the title implies, you win some, you lose some.

Winners first?  Okay.

1.  Play mat turned "rug."  You can find the inspiration here.

I actually love this one so much, I'm working on two!  This first one was already white on the back, which saves me hours of painting.  I'm planning a chevron striped mat for the kitchen.  Comfortable, simple.  Oh, and I bought this mat at a tag sale for $1.

This other one is for Millie's room.  Poor girl really needs a rug in her room.  I'm doing a stencil but haven't finished/perfected the method so just white pictures for now.  It will be mostly green when all is said and done.

My only complaint about the play mats themselves is that Millie is obsessed with pulling them apart.  I'm just hoping that when they are finished the design on the front will convince her it isn't a play mat anymore.  She's so smart though.

2.  Halloween Decorations

Pinterest is full of Holiday decoration ideas, and the black & white color scheme was showing up everywhere.  I made and bought our Halloween Decorations for literally less than $5 this year.  I'm not completely finished, but here are a few of the decorations.

These stuffed pumpkins are my favorite.  I used scraps of fabric and bought a pillow from Goodwill for $1 (to supply the stuffing).  The tutorial and inspiration can be found here.

3.  Reading Nook in Millie's Room

The inspiration can be found here.

Although this might not look like a winner, it is.  After reading that the original creator just used things from around the house I decided to do the same.  I used old curtains, a shower curtain rod, a big piece of ribbon, a command hook, and some pillows.  The whole thing took a few seconds to put together.  Of course with the items I just listed, it's pretty obvious it isn't durable or permanent.  I hope to make it so, but for now it's perfect.

I'd say Millie approves.

 4.  Artwork by Millie

Inspiration can be found here.

Love this so much.  I opted for watercolor since that is what we had and what I trusted Millie with using.  She didn't mind.  Basically you use painters tape to cover an area on a paper, have the child finger paint, remove the tape and you're done.  The best part is, I felt like Super Mom just for planning ahead and doing this simple little activity.

The Losers:

1.  Sleeping with socks in your hair to try and wake up with curly hair.  Terrible idea.  I slept horribly and it didn't work for me.  I would consider trying it again, maybe.  I would definitely place the sock curlers more strategically next time.

2.  Crockpot French Toast casserole.  We like our French Toast crispy on the outside.  I should have thought about that.  Basically I cooked it only to have to fry each piece of bread again to get the crispiness.  For us, it was a loser.

3.  Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies.  These were labor intensive (for a darn cookie) and tolerable at best.  I threw most of them away.  Definitely the biggest disappointment of my weekend.

For my Pinterest Followers, I'm planning on creating a pin board of the things I've actually done with a brief review.  I'd hate for someone to make those cookies and dis-like them without me warning them!

If you're interested in joining Pinterest and need an invite (you can join on your own, it just can take a few days) I'd be happy to invite you.  Just make sure you know it's great, time consuming, and might make you feel like a loser occasionally.  But we know you're really a winner.