Thursday, April 16, 2015

{Etsy Finds} Mother’s Day Gifts

Happy April 16th!  Also known as "thank goodness there's another year before taxes are due".  Hopefully the tax man was kind to you.  We got a bit of a surprise bill, so our household is on a of a budget crunch for a while.  And just in time to start shopping for all the Mothers in our lives!  (This is where the Husband would remind me of the old Gallagher skit about women saving money by spending money)

While I’m currently restricted to the modern version of window shopping (i.e. browsing the internet without buying), I thought it would be fun to pull together a list of Etsy items that would be fun to give (or get) for the holiday.  Though really, I would just be happy with sleeping in and not having to do all the cleaning for the day.

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Dried Lavender Wreath from Stelios Art
Olive Wood utensils from Tunisia Handmade
”Mom’s Coffee” spoon from Block and Hammer
Greatest Blessings Print from KnotnNest
State Shaped Cutting Board from AHeirloom (Virginia Shown)
Ribbon Overlay Pillow from Pencil Me In Stationery
Lace and Floral Scarf from Elenas LittleShop



What’s your favorite gift to give from Etsy?

What would you want for Mother’s Day?

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pregnancy Update and Gender Prediction Quizzes

Sunday I officially turned 18 weeks pregnant.  It’s actually really hard to believe that I’m almost halfway through this pregnancy.  Time truly is flying by.  The Husband and I have been trying to spend more free time with the girls, because we know things are just going to get crazy in a few short months.  But sometimes I have to stop and remember that this s actually happening.

I was hoping to get our anatomy scan before the end of April, but was shocked to find out that the center wouldn’t schedule me until May 11th!  That means I’ll be 22 weeks along before we find out if we’re having a boy or a girl.  That’s later than either of my other pregnancies.  *sigh*

Since I have to wait for nearly four more weeks, I thought it would be fun to take a few of the online gender prediction tests to see what completely unscientific and unreliable tests might say.


Boy vs Girl Gender Prediction Myths

The Questions:

1. How are you carrying? 
High = Boy/Girl Low = Boy/Girl. 

My Response:  Ummm…chubby?  Lopsided? I don’t get those cute little baby bumps like some women.  But when I’m lying down it’s obvious that baby’s completely on the right side. 

Score: Girl 0, Boy 0, Who knows: 1

2. Baby’s Heart Rate 
140 bpm or less = boy.  Higher = girl. 

My Response:  This little one’s heart rate seems to be the lowest of any of the kids yet, hovering around 144 for the last couple measurements.

Score: Girl 1, Boy 0, Who knows: 1

3. How is your skin?  
Clearer = boy, Worse = girl

My Response:  My skin is clearer than it’s been in years.  I’m loving it!

Score: Girl 1, Boy 1, Who knows: 1
 
4. Nausea 
Yes = girl.  No = boy. 

My Response:  Y’all know I’ve had morning sickness with this pregnancy.  It’s probably a little better than it was with L, but I hardly had any with T, so who knows. And it’s still sticking around.  Yuck.

Score: Girl, 2, Boy 1, Who knows 1

5. Cravings
Sweet = girl, Sour = boy. 

My Response:  Umm, neither.  Sadly, I’ve been craving lots of flavorful ethnic foods.  Which also seem to make me sick.  (Boo!)  In the end, my mood switches back and forth between craving salty and sweet. 

Score: Girl 2, Boy 1, Who knows 2

6. Leg Hair
More hair = boy.  Less hair = girl

My Response:  I’ve definitely noticed a slowdown in the growth of my leg hair.  Which.is.awesome.  I can finally skip a day of shaving every now and then!

Score: Girl 3, Boy 1, Who knows 2

7. Husband’s Family History
More brothers = boy More girls = girl. 

My Response:  The Husband has no sisters and one brother.  With two girls already, I think I’ve lost any trust in this myth.  But we’ll count it just for fun.

Score: Girl 3, Boy 2, Who knows 2

8. Belly shape 
Front = boy Hips/Butt/Thighs = girl.

My Response:  What’s a naturally pear-shaped girl supposed to say?  I’ll calling this one a “front” carry, but just barely.  I often feel like I look chubby from the side, but pregnant from the front.  How would you score this one?

Score: Girl 3, Boy 3, Who knows: 2

9. How cold do your feet feel?
Colder = boy Warmer = girl. 

My Response: My feet are always cold.  Though I find they’re not cold as often lately.  But then again…spring.  Hmm.  Calling this a who knows.

Score: Girl: 3, Boy 3, Who knows: 3

10.  More about cravings
Fruit = girl   Meat/Cheese = boy.

My Response:  I definitely want meat more often than fruit.  But again, I was that same way with L.

Score: Girl 3, Boy 4, Who knows: 3

11. Dad gaining weight  
Yes = Boy No = Girl. 

My Response:  The Husband definitely hasn’t been gaining weight during my pregnancy.  Of course, he’s training for a half marathon, too.  Though this year he’s not losing weight nearly as quickly as he did when he trained for the 10k last year. 

Score: Girl 4, Boy 4, Who knows 3

12. The size of your nose. 
Bigger = Boy Smaller/No Change = Girl. 

My Response:  Where does this stuff come from?  Will an increase in hormones cause spontaneous development of new cartilage? WTH?  No change in nose size, duh.

Score: Girl 5, Boy 4, Who knows 3

13. Chest size.  (hubba, hubba)
Bigger = Boys.  No change/Smaller = Girl. 

My Response:  Dear Lord, my chest.  Well, let’s just say that I lhad toupee out my old nursing bras almost immediately.  The Husband is thrilled.

Score: Girl 5, Boy 5, Who knows 3

14. Urine color. 
Bright = Boy Dull = Girl. 

My Response:  Eeeewww.  Do I really have to answer this?  Nausea is more likely the culprit since I can’t stomach plain water, but I suppose you could call it bright.

Score: Girl 5, Boy 6, Who knows 3

15. Timing of intercourse. 
Before ovulation = Girl, Day of/after ovulation = Boy

My Response:  After tracking my cycles most of the previous 8 years, we actually don’t really know when I ovulated.  (oops!) Our best guess is that it was either the day of or up to two days before that egg broke free.

Score: Girl 6, Boy 6, Who knows 3

16. Dry skin 
Yes = Boy, No = Girl

My Response:  This I can definitely call.  Even though it’s spring, the skin on my hands is cracked from dryness.

Score: Girl 6, Boy 7, Who knows 3

17. Eat the heel of a loaf of bread
Yes = Boy No = Girl

My Response: Not my first choice, but I will if I’m hungry enough.

Score: Girl 1, Boy 7, Who knows 3

18. Age at conception + Month at conception = 
Even Number = Boy, Odd Number = Girl

My Response:  Definitely even.  Score 1 for the boys!

Score: Girl 7, Boy 8, Who Knows 3

19. Hair
Full/Shiny = Boy Thin/Stringy = Girl

My Response:  My hair has always been super thin and stringy.  I haven’t noticed any change in the texture other than fewer strands coming out.  But there’s no way I’d call it full and shiny.

Score: Girl 7, Boy 8, Who Knows 4

20.  Nail growth. 
Faster/Stronger = Boy, Same/Less Strong =  Girl

My Response: Definitely stronger.  Thank you prenatal vitamins

Score: Girl 7, Boy, 9, Who knows 4

21. Bigger tush
Yes = Boy No = Girl

My Response:  Umm.  I don’t think it’s bigger.  But it wasn’t small to begin with, so who knows?

The Results

Boy vs Girl Gender Prediction Myths Results
Here are what a few of the different websites said:

Babymed:  53.3% chance girl, 46.7% chance boy. 
Babble:  Don’t know. 
About.com: Boy
Babygenderprediction.com: Girl
Babymed: Girl
And my favorite from Just Mommies (at least they got the percentage right!)
Gender Prediction Funny


Come back in 4 weeks to find out what the ultrasound says...


Were gender prediction myths accurate for you?

What do you think based on these questions?


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

{Spring Cleaning} Garage Organization Tips

Spring cleaning.  It’s something that I often think should get done, but keeps getting pushed aside for more interesting activities like planting flowers in the garden or getting outside with a can of spray paint.  Occasionally, however, there’s an area of the house that’s just so far gone, it can’t be neglected anymore.

Two years ago, that was our garage.  It had always been a bit of a disaster.  We never really put much thought into organizing things when we first moved in.  Add all the kid stuff (bikes, wagons, etc) that accumulated after a few years and it was plain frightening. 

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Even worse was that it had become infested with mice and was a favorite spot for snakes to come in and hang out as well.  Disclaimer:  it’s a detached garage that backs to woods that are shared with a local farm.  Critters like that are unavoidable in the area, and have not been a problem in our actual home.

So one Spring day, I had a scheduled day off from work that wasn’t also a day off of school for the kids.  So I forced asked the Husband to take the day off with me; and we tackled the garage together.  When we started, it looked like this:

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The first step was to take everything out, clean up all the droppings (shudder) and seal any crack or crevice where rodents could enter.  We found a large crack in the flooring, where we assumed most of the mice were entering, and patched up a giant hole next to the air conditioning unit left from the previous home owners.

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Spring-Cleaning-Garage-Organization-Coll02
As we removed items, they were sorted into piles of “keep” and “discard”.  Because of the mouse infestation, we didn’t risk trying to sell or donate anything.  We discarded at least three very full carloads of junk that day.

Since our garage is purely for storage (the rear is on stilts that wouldn’t support a car), I started to see the space differently.  Instead of trying to clear up as much floor space as possible, I tried to think of the best way to use it and came up with what I call a “retail concept” for organization

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Along the left side of the garage, the area under the workbench is used to “park” all of our wheel-bearing items like the lawnmower, wagon and wheel barrow.  This way, the husband wouldn’t have to dig all the way to the back of the garage just to mow the lawn.  Gasoline powered hand tools were stored on the top of the work bench since we don’t really use the bench for home projects.

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Along the right side of the garage, we set up all of our bookshelves and organizing racks perpendicular to the wall.  We left space between each rack to create “aisles” for easy access to small items.  Each set of shelves is a “department”, like paint or gardening supplies.  Long handled tools and sports balls are in an old rubber trash can at the front of the garage for quick access.

Spring-Cleaning-Garage-Organization13
All large items and long-term storage items are kept on the built-in shelving in the back of the garage.  The best thing about this arrangement is that it left enough space toward the front of the garage for small to medium sized projects, but also left a good walkway to get to everything we need while maximizing the garage's floor space.

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To top it all off, we did the whole project in one day and with NO MONEY.  It may not look like something on a magazine cover, but I can honestly say that it functions well.  Two years later, the shelves are a bit messier, and the rubber trash can is finally worn out and needs replacing.  But we haven’t had any problems with infestation since then; and we still don’t need to dig through piles of junk to get to what we need. 


Have you done any spring cleaning this year?

Do you have any organization projects you’re avoiding?


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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Fun and Food

You always hear people say to enjoy every moment.  That kids grow up so fast.  That it’s all over in the blink of an eye.  Sometimes that blink of an eye seems to be very prolonged.  But our Easter weekend was definitely over in a flash.  It felt like we just kept moving from one activity to another with barely a moment between.

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Saturday morning started with and Easter egg hunt at our parish.  Thankfully the sun was shining, because it was pretty chilly and the wind was whipping everything around.  But did that faze our little ones?  Not at all.  Their spirits were up even with a delayed start.  L did a little happy dance in the (roped off) parking lot and T joined in some games with the older kids while we all waited. 

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Yes, both girls picked out their own outfits and were covered in pink.  Why not, right?  Last year, T was a little slow at the start and didn’t get any eggs.  Those tears were heart breaking.  But this year both girls filled their baskets so quickly that they even started to fill up the baskets of other kids around them.  I wish the rest of Saturday was as much fun, but we really just ran around running errands right up until dinner time.

And of course, Sunday was the main event!  As is our tradition, the girls don’t get their Easter baskets until after we get to church, so I spent the early morning decorating our ledges with whatever seasonal items I could find.  Kids artwork?  Check.  Pinwheel from last Easter?  Check.  Paper chain from two years ago? Crumpled on one side, but check. 

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Of course the kids were excited when we got back home.  The Husband and I didn’t do much at all this year…a few pieces of candy, some inexpensive toy necklaces, coloring pads and a couple books each.  But that was all far outdone by the grandparents.  Does anyone else remember getting SO MUCH on Easter Sunday?

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Of course, my favorite part of any special event is the food.  And even though T was disappointed about cracking open the eggs she worked so hard to decorate, she quickly got over it when she realized she would get a  special brunch of cinnamon rolls with sprinkles (normally our birthday breakfast, but I couldn’t find hot cross buns and didn’t have time to make any).

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Easter-Deviled-Eggs
I just love how the coloring from the shells tints the edges of the eggs. Hardly any need for extra garnish with that kind of festivity.

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Originally all our eggs were going to look like bunny paws (inspired by Hungry Happenings…so cute).  Mine may not have come out so as pretty, but the kids loved getting to eat “bunny paws”.  Well, T enjoyed it.  L wasn’t so fond of the filling, but still insisted on having one.

Did you do anything special this Easter?

What do you do with your eggs?


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