Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Free Printable: "O-FISH-ally" Goldfish Preschool Valentines

Last year, I was the clueless mom that didn't realize that 18-month-olds exchanged valentines at school until C came home with a list of names the night before - when Blair was out of town - cue panic mode.  

This year, I was prepared!  I can't stand the thought of giving other toddlers candy or sweets with their valentines, and most of the pre-packaged varieties were for characters C had never heard of.  I decided to go with Goldfish, C's favorite snack.  These cards would also work well with Goldfish Grahams or Swedish Fish if you have older kids or just don't mind the sugar :)

Note: I bought a box of 30 bags of Goldfish at Sam's, not noticing that they were 1.5-ounce bags instead of the normal 1-ounce bags they sell at the grocery store.  The bags are huge (but were still cheaper than buying multiple packages of the 1-ounce grocery store Goldfish).  I noticed that in the Valentine's Day section at Target, there were little mini bags of Goldfish Grahams that are the perfect size for a valentine (why don't they have tiny bags of regular Goldfish too?!)  So, you might want to pay attention to the size of the bag if you don't want huge ones like mine :)

Click here to download a PDF file of the printable "O-FISH-ally" Valentine's cards.  I tweaked the colors after I printed mine to make them a bit brighter.  There is one page of mixed colors, and one page of each of the five colors - so you can decide which page(s) to print for your kiddo's Valentine's color preferences.  I chose to print a variety of colors (on plain white cardstock) and let C choose which color to give to each friend.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Surviving the Stomach Bug

We made it over a year without a round of the stomach bug in our house, but...the jig is up.  As awful as it is, at least we know what we're doing now and can hopefully prevent it spreading to the rest of the family!  I got a call from school this morning that C was sick, so I made a quick stop by CVS on my way to pick him up to pick up the missing supplies in our go-to stomach bug arsenal:

CVS-brand Dye-Free Strawberry Pediatric Electrolyte (aka generic Pedialyte)

I'm not sure why, but the actual Pedialyte brand does not make a flavored (strawberry/grape/whatever) version that is dye-free.  C is not interested in drinking the unflavored variety, which is the only dye-free version that Pedialyte makes, and since the whole point is to ensure he stays hydrated...I buy the flavored kind.  The flavored Pedialyte brand products are all dyed purple or pink, and when I have a pukey kiddo, the last thing I need is dye making the clean-up/stain removal process even harder.


Bland, starchy, easy on the stomach.  I think toast or saltines are the more conventional choices, but C isn't interested in eating those.  When he was a baby, I used puffs as our stomach bug starch of choice, but now it's plain Cheerios.

Applesauce Pouches

Another easy-on-the-stomach (and hydrating) food to try once it seems like his little stomach can handle some food.  These are from Costco, but they sell them pretty much everywhere now.  Normally, I buy the single-serve applesauce cups for snacks (since they are cheaper), but for stomach bugs, I buy applesauce pouches.    It's one less utensil contaminated with stomach bug germs, and they're mess-free for him to eat on his little sick-bed pallet on the floor.

Bleach solution

I learned this the hard way with the first stomach bug that ravaged our house -- many "disinfecting" products do not kill norovirus, which is the common culprit of stomach bugs.  Lysol and Clorox wipes, as convenient as they are, do NOT kill norovirus.  The spray version of Lysol says it kills stomach bugs, but the surface has to remain wet for 5 minutes for it to be effective, and the fine aerosol Lysol mist usually dries before that. 

The best bet is plain old bleach, diluted with water in a spray bottle.  I use "concentrated" household bleach and a ratio of 1 part bleach to 20 parts water (I generally use 1 tablespoon of bleach to 20 tablespoons, or 1.25 cups, of water).  Bleach deteriorates over time, so if your bleach is old, you might consider investing in a new bottle for maximum effectiveness - bleach is cheap!  I spray this on EVERY hard surface that may have been touched, breathed on, or vomited on - floors, counters, cabinets, light switches, TV remotes, door handles, toilets, tubs, sinks, toys, etc.  Again, you want to make sure the bleach solution has ~5 minutes to work its magic, so I douse things with the solution -- it's not a light spray, I make sure the surface is totally wet.  If it's something that will come in direct contact with food or someone's mouth, I rinse with water (AFTER the solution has dried) before using it to eat or drink.

Since the bleach solution can't be used on fabrics or other soft surfaces, I try to minimize the contact C has with non-washable soft surfaces (e.g., area rugs, carpet, furniture).  I make him a pallet on the floor of multiple layers of blankets and/or towels to try to contain the contaminated area....that way, I can throw them all in the washer (on hot! Maximum length cycle! and machine dry!) along with any clothes, stuffed animals, rags, or other bedding, if they get soiled.  I make his pallet setup directly in front of the TV to entice him to stay on it (a a kid who gets very little screen time, he will stay glued to the TV on sick days!)

I'm crossing my fingers that this stomach bug will pass quickly and that no one else will catch it!  I've heard tips on drinking 100% concord grape juice and/or raw apple cider vinegar to neutralize the virus in your stomach if you've been exposed but not yet showing those may be next on my shopping list!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Toddler Stocking Stuffers

I had a hard time coming up with stocking stuffers for C this year, since at 2.5 he is still too young for candy but I also don't want a bunch of tiny junky toys coming into my house!  Maybe I'm lame, but I am all about the practical / useful stocking stuffers, even for toddlers.  Here's what C is getting in his stocking this year:

Burt's Bees Baby Shampoo - we'd been using Aveeno baby shampoo, but I wanted a bottle with a pump and Burt's Bees is rated slightly higher on the EWG scale.

Finding Nemo underwear - because potty training is happening soon.  Eek.

Crayola Bath Dropz - C demands a "color bath" every night.  He loves picking out the color tablet, throwing it into the water, and watching it dissolve.  I'm not sure he even remembers that taking a bath in clear water is a thing.

Christmas socks - I got these in the dollar section at Target.  

Busy Day sticker book - A friend gave C the ABC version of this sticker book for his birthday, and he loved it!  They're super cheap on Amazon (like $3) and provided several hours of entertainment while he matched all the stickers to their designated spots.  The stickers are technically reusable, although he has some trouble getting them off the page, so I have to help with that part.  Still, for $3, even if you only use it once, this is cheap entertainment!  It is a thin book so perfect for your purse for a doctor's appointment or airplane ride.

Safari Water Wow! Book - this is another great doctor's office or car activity, since it is mess-free (paint with water) and the 4 cardboard paintable pages are reusable after they dry.  C has the vehicles version of this and I thought a second version would mix it up some, since the first book gets so much use!  Again, cheap ($5) fun.

Christmas Play Pack - I got this in the Target dollar section; it has a little coloring book, crayons, and Christmas stickers.  A friend got C a Finding Dory version of this play pack for our summer trip to Maine, and it was great on the airplane (and we still keep it in his backpack for entertainment while waiting at restaurants, etc.)  You can't beat it for $1!

Christmas stickers - These were also from the Target dollar section.  "More stickers please" was the only thing C asked Santa for......done x 500!

I'll add in a small bag of Goldfish and some mandarin oranges (am I the only one who grew up always getting oranges in your stocking?!) and call it a day!  I know these items will all get used and were pretty budget-friendly!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Day in the Life: 2.5 Years Old

As much as I would like to think I'll never forget what life was like with a toddler, I know these details will slip my memory more and more as time passes.  This is a typical Wednesday home with C at just shy of 2.5 years old:

8:00 AM - C wakes up.  He is usually up around 6:45 on day that we work, so sometimes he sleeps in a little on Wednesdays since we don't have to be up and out the door.  He'll sit in his crib for a little while to fully wake up, then stand up when he is ready to get out and yell "Mommy Daddy, where aaaaaaaaaaaaaaare you?"

8:01 AM - If we let him wake up in his crib for a little bit and wait for him to stand up before we get him, he wakes up in a sweet mood!  He is always standing at this corner of his crib holding Lyle and Dog when we go into his room.

8:03 AM - Still holding Lyle and Dog, the first thing he does this time of year is ask "Is it still Christmastime?", run into the living room, and demand the lights on the Christmas tree be turned on.  He is in awe of the lights every single day!

8:05 AM - Carter asks for "peanut butter toast" for breakfast everyday these days.  I pop a slice of bread in the toaster and start unloading the dishwasher, which we typically run overnight since the new energy efficient dishwashers take forever to run!

8:11 AM - Carter is eating breakfast while I continue to unload the dishwasher.  By "peanut butter toast", he means one slice of toast, cut in half, with jelly and peanut butter spread on one half each.  So basically a PBJ for breakfast.  And a banana.

8:17 AM - Dishwasher is empty; I re-load it with the dishes in the sink that wouldn't fit last night before we ran it.

8:24 AM - I move laundry from the washer to the dryer and start a new load of laundry.  I've started doing a load of laundry on Tuesday nights so it is ready to go in the dryer when I wake up; this saves a few minutes of laundry time on Wednesdays!

8:26 AM - Carter is still savoring his gourmet breakfast (ha), so I sit down with him and eat a mug of cereal.  It is pretty much this or a cinnamon raisin English muffin on my days at home.  We don't get too fancy with breakfast around here!  The Christmas mug makes me feel festive :)

8:44 AM - First diaper change of the day.

8:50 AM - C is dressed and has done his asthma meds - ready to play!

9:09 AM - I strip the linens from our bed and C's crib to wash them and make the bed.  This was our first day this year to use the flannel reindeer sheets!  My favorite!

9:12 AM - C's crib gets new sheets too.

9:14 AM - Time to read Christmas books!  We have a bin full of Christmas books on the fireplace hearth, and C is OBSESSED.  We read at least 15 a day (and several of those on repeat).

9:21 - Time for another diaper change.  C doesn't even bother putting down the Christmas book.

10:08 AM - Bundled up in the stroller to walk to a neighbor's house for a playdate.  There were supposed to be several neighbors with toddlers there, but 2 families got sick that morning, so it was just us and one other girl.  C had a blast playing with his new friend Emmy.

11:41 - Back home from the playdate and eating lunch.  C didn't get a morning snack today, so he ate lunch a little early.  Today was (unglamorous) leftovers for lunch - a slice of pizza, a piece of deli ham, and mandarin oranges.

11:45 AM - While C is eating lunch, I mash some sweet potatoes I had baked the night before and then been too lazy to finish.  C loves sweet potatoes and demanded some for lunch when he saw what I was making.

11:58 AM - I start folding the first of 3 loads of laundry that day.

12:10 PM - Laundry folding is done!  I move the next load to the dryer and start a third load.

12:29 PM - I join C in the playroom to play.  He loves shooting baskets.

12:35 PM - And "painting" with water.  These Water Wow! books are cheap entertainment and great because they don't make a mess and are reusable!

12:41 PM - And building with blocks.

12:50 PM - Naptime!  C is so good about taking naps and doesn't seem to mind.  He always wants one of us to rub his back before we leave the room.

1:00 PM - As he is automatically scheduled to do, Thomas (our Roomba) starts vacuuming the house.  It is the BEST to not have to do this chore, ever!!!!  (Check out my Roomba review here).

1:01 PM - I make myself a kindergartener  lunch - PBJ and an apple.

1:57 PM - Another load of laundry is ready to fold.

2:16 PM - I finally get a chance to wrap the Christmas gifts that have been piling up.  I'm hosting a baby shower this weekend and can't have a Christmas tree with nothing under it!

3:06 PM - C is up from his nap.  He is pretty reliably a 2-2.5 hour napper.

3:17 PM - We hop in the car to run some errands before rush hour traffic gets too bad.  C gets a little container of Goldfish for the ride as his afternoon snack.

3:43 PM - We wait in line at the tailor to pick up my bridesmaid dress for my brother's upcoming wedding.  This tailor is nowhere close to our house but they do the best job and are dirt cheap!

4:03 PM - A detour through the Starbucks drive-through for a little pick-me-up for Mommy.

5:07 PM - Back at home, I start dinner since spaghetti squash takes so long to roast in the oven.

5:45 PM - Playtime while the spaghetti squash roasts!

6:25 PM - Daddy is home!  He is about 45 minutes later than usual since he stayed to work a little late tonight.   I finish dinner while C plays with daddy, and we eat (not pictured) - spaghetti squash with meat sauce and mashed sweet potatoes.

7:29 PM - After playing some more, it is time for bed!  C is in his PJs, teeth brushed, meds done.

7:30 PM - C always sits in my lap in the glider to say his prayers and then rock for a minute, before he gets in his crib and Blair rubs his back.  

7:47 PM - I'm at the gym, on the treadmill warming up.  Ugh.  I hate working out at night but it is the only time it happens, so I force it!

8:45 PM - I'm back at home, shower, and on the couch to watch TV with Blair.  We are currently addicted to American Crime on Netflix!

10:00 PM - Pass out so I can be at work by 7:00 AM tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday: Favorite Blog Posts

Today I'm linking up with Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesday to share my favorite blog posts!

They're definitely not my most popular posts, but they're my favorite blog posts of others' to read, so it makes sense that they're my favorite of my own blog posts as well - I LOVE Day in the Life posts!  They are a pain to write because of keeping track of all the times and the photos, but I love being able to look back and see what a typical day in my life was like at various points in time (and ESPECIALLY with C at various ages!)  

My first Day in the Life post was while I was still on maternity leave with an 11-week-old baby.  Where has the time gone?! While I don't miss the days of seeing 3:14 AM on my phone, I miss those squishy baby cheeks and the wonderful days of maternity leave being home with my newborn all day everyday!!

My long-walk-and-Starbucks frequency has also gone way downhill since those days :)

My second Day in the Life post was when C was 15 months old. It feels like so long since I've had a sweet paci baby waking up from a nap!

That was also back when I was seriously addicted to this granola and making a batch almost every week.  

The one accomplishment I can claim is that Blair and I are eating SLIGHTLY more "real" dinners these days than we were back when we had a 15-month-old....ha!!  

Looking back at these past posts, I realize I haven't done a Day in the Life in a while (almost a year?!) - that needs to change soon!!

Am I the only one that loves reading Day in the Life posts?!  Maybe I am just nosy to see how other people spend their days, but I love them!!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Trip to the Magnolia Silos

 A few weeks ago, I went to Waco with my two soon-to-be sisters-in-law to pay a visit to the Magnolia Silos!  I am a huge fan of Fixer Upper and Chip and Joanna Gaines!  They seem like the most hard-working, down to earth people, and I love that they have had so much success -- they seem like they really deserve it!

We left Dallas around 8:15 AM on a Saturday morning and made it to Magnolia around 9:45 AM - which was great timing; the Silos weren't too hot or crowded yet.  I've heard of people having to wait outside just to get INTO the store, but we had no problems -- and the store wasn't as packed with people as friends have mentioned in the past.  So, I would definitely go early again (the Silos open at 9).  

I was so impressed with the grounds surrounding the store!  There was a huge faux-grass lawn with all kinds of yard games, bean bag chairs, and people just hanging around; a huge area of picnic tables with shade awnings for enjoying food from all the food trucks that line the Magnolia property; pretty gardens near the Magnolia Seed & Supply Store; an adorable patio outside the Silos bakery; and, of course, the main attraction - the Magnolia store itself!

We hit up the store first, loving the way the Magnolia brand is carried throughout the whole store - it's not just stuff on a shelf; the entire store is styled beautifully and appropriately for the season of the year.  There were so many beautiful items that I wished I had room (and the budget) for more new decor in our house!  

We all ended up purchasing a few things...most of which don't appear to be available in their online store, so I can't grab photos!  I hadn't realized that the selection online vs. in store was so different - another reason to visit the Silos!  We all got one of the #shiplap t-shirts, which are the softest shirts ever, and one of Joanna's Signature Scent candles, which smell like clean linen :)

Magnolia Signature Candle Collection#shiplap T-Shirt

One future-SIL and I both bought a set of little ceramic bowls, which are the perfect size for nuts, hummus, or dips!  My other future-SIL bought a black-and-white striped marble cheese board which was GORGEOUS (and super heavy).  

We made a trip back to our car (which we just parked on the street about a block away - easy peasy) to drop off our purchases, and returned to check out the Seed & Supply Store.  None of us are huge gardeners, and the store is much smaller than the main Magnolia market (with all the decor)...I bought a couple of cute weathered buckets, which were meant to be planters, but they sit on C's little table holding his markers and crayons.

The bakery was in its soft-open stage when we were there, which meant they were handing out free cookies and cupcakes!  They all looked DELICIOUS.  I had a lemon lavender cupcake that was AMAZING - I don't know how they made the buttercream SO light and fluffy, but it was seriously the best cupcake frosting I've ever had!

I've already been back!  We made another stop by the Silos on the way to Horseshoe Bay for my soon-to-be SIL's bachelorette party!  I was hoping that the selection would have changed to full-on fall decor, but it was largely the same as it had been over the summer.  Bummer!  I still left with their signature Fall candle (it's not too sweet smelling, like many fall candles!) and another of their super-soft Tshirts...this time, Texas Forever.

Image result for magnolia texas forever

I can't wait to make another trip later in the year - I bet the Magnolia Christmas game is STRONG :)