Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Candy Workout Presented by Wonder Woman

Our little Wonder Woman, Halloween 2013- She loved trick-or-treating and wearing her costume!
Hey, hey you! Yay, you, with your hands in that trick-or-treat bag. I've got a little a little something for you. Dump out that candy bag when the kids are asleep...

No, it's not every last piece of candy, but at least you'll feel a little less guilty...
With stats like these, you're definitely going to want to burn a few extra calories if you indulged in some of the Halloween goodies. (I know I did!)

Photo Credit
I hope you all had a very happy Halloween! Grace and I hit the neighborhood while big poppa handed out candy. We kept the lights on until we were out of candy. (Cole even redistributed Grace's hard-earned candy!) 

Bustin' a move
Classic Grumpy Grace face

Big and Little
Halloween is over... you know what that means? Less than 2 months until Christmas! The "Holiday Season" is officially here!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Am NOT a Hoarder

Yesterday I was unloading the dishwasher, and as I was wiping dry a garlic powder spice container, I thought to myself,

"When did I become the person who keeps this?" 


The top shelf of one kitchen cabinet may be filled with jars and containers that I might use later.

Picture Credit
I decided to confess to my sister, and get her take on my escalating habit:

Me: So, I have this empty spice container that I kept...
Jennifer: Kept? What do you mean? Why?
Me: I don't know, for like a craft project or to hold glitter or something.
Jennifer: Glitter already comes in a container.
Me: True. 
Jennifer: Oh, no. You can't keep that. Throw it away.
Me: I guess you're right. Funny, the other day I was trying to decide whether I should keep the empty oatmeal container, too. I thought Grace could play with it, or we could make it into a drum or decorate it as a bow-holder or something. 
Jennifer: Decorate it? No! You're like a hoarder.
Me: What? That's rude! Don't call me that! 
Jennifer: You can't keep that stuff. It's trash. Throw it away.
Me: But we might need it...

So, apparently there is a line that you cross when you become a hoarder. Keeping an empty spice jar is that line for me.

However, I refuse to be a hoarder, and I take great offense to being called one. Did she really call me a hoarder???

I don't keep the cotton from inside prescription bottles, nor are there dead cats rotting beneath piles of my belongings unbeknownst to me.

I'm not there. You could hardly call my house cluttered. It was just some innocent jars...and an oatmeal can.

I was going to do crafty-mom things with them. I swear. I'm more of a hopeful up-cycler, who never quite gets around to doing anything.

There's hope. Right?

I threw away the oatmeal can, but I kept the spice jar.

My own cinnamon & sugar shaker!

Mama's Losin' It

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some More Conversations with Grace

Grace has been learning tons and tons of new words and even stringing them together into mini sentences. It is so fun hearing her say new words for the first time. Sometimes it takes me a minute to understand what she's saying, but you can see how hard she is trying to get us to understand. It's like she's been listening and storing away information and now it's all coming out rapid fire! She can count from 1-10 in order and sing most of her ABCs. Ellemennoopee is one letter, right?

Grace: Bunchin! 
Me: Bunchin? What's Bunchin?
Grace: Bunchin batch. Happy!
Me: Oh, pumpkin! Yes, we're going to the pumpkin patch and you'll get to trick or treat! You're saying Happy Halloween?!

This week at her school they've been learning about fire safety. They must be doing a really good job, because she definitely did know these words last week!

Grace: Fitruck! Fitruck scarrrrrry!
Me: Firetrucks aren't scary, they help people. 
Grace: Help. Help mommy. Help G. Help ME!
Me: Yes, they help everybody. Fire is scary.
Grace: FIRE HOT!
Thank you Puppy Creek Fire Dept. for all you do to keep us safe!
Grace: School! Eba!
Me: Yeah, you're going to school tomorrow to see Eva. 
Grace: Eba and Clarda. Play baby. Eba potty. 
Me: Eva goes pee-pee in the big potty. 
Grace: No diaper. Outside!

It is amazing how much she is learning! I am truly having a blast watching my little smarty pants! Here are her very first official school pictures:

Photo by Simply Heaven Photography

Photo by Simply Heaven Photography

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Birthday Wish: 28 Acts of Kindness

There are some awesome ideas posted on Pinterest for celebrating a birthday with random acts of kindness equal to your age. My 28th birthday was quickly approaching, so I figured, why not?  I thought it would be nice to share this experience with my 2-year-old daughter, Grace, while we give back and spread good cheer.

You're never too young or too old to be kind. 

I knew that my acts of kindness wouldn't be completely random, so I decided to make a list in advance to make sure I could get all 28 done.  Over the past week I've been working to complete all 28 acts of kindness. I also didn't want for them all to be centered around buying things or giving people money or gift cards. While giving money is a generous gesture, I wanted to also do things that were thoughtful and meaningful. True, nothing I did this week is life altering, but maybe I brightened someone's day. That's my only goal.

I hesitate to post here because I am not looking for recognition or praise. I am grateful for all that I have, and yet sometimes I get caught up on things that don't matter in the greater scheme of things. I am lucky to have good health, a loving family, supportive friends, plenty to eat and a warm house, so why not pass a little of that luck on to others in honor of my birthday.

1. Donate Blood
Cole had a long weekend, so I made an appointment for Columbus Day. I hadn't given blood since well before I was pregnant. The nurse was impressed when I pumped it out in 7 minutes. She asked me if I wanted to take a picture with my blood, so here I am...holding a bag of my blood.

2. Run in the 2013 Virtual Joggermom Cancer Run 
I have one month to log 26.2 miles and a portion of my entry fee goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

3. Return carts from the parking lot at Target
This one was easy, and I don't know if it had any real impact, but at least the carts were safely stowed in their cart corral. (I always find it annoying and lazy when people leave their carts in a parking space or prop them against a curb.)

4. Buy someone a cup of coffee
There was no one in line behind me at the Starbucks inside Target-shocking- so I bought a $5 gift card instead. I ended up giving it to a man who was helping some elderly people from Cape Fear Valley do their shopping. He asked me what it was for, and I told him, "just because." He seemed surprised and said he was going to give it to one of his patients. What a sweet guy.

5. Leave a dollar in the dollar deals toys section of Target
I thought it would be fun for a kid to find it, so I put it down low in the play dough.

6. Donate to the Hoke County Humane Society
Grace and I brought old throw pillows, a dog bed, some leashes and doggie bandanas to the Hoke County Humane Society. The lady we left them with was so appreciative. We went back and said hi to the dogs, but it really is heartbreaking to see them all shut in their cages. Please think about adopting, if you are considering getting a pet. There are so many who need loving homes.

7. Hide a surprise in a favorite book 
Grace loves the library, or "libaby" as she calls it. We spent some time reading and playing with the puzzles, and then snuck a surprise into one of our favorite books, The Giving Tree, by Shell Silverstein.

8. Donate to the Library Giving Tree
On our way out I noticed a tree with pumpkins ranging from $1-$50. We chose a $5 pumpkin to help support someone in need in the community. The tree is through the window, behind Grace.

9. Bring spare clothes to Grace's school
Grace's wonderful school was asking for some spare clothes to keep on hand in case the kids had accidents or a run-in with a mud puddle.

10. Buy locally
From now on we will be purchasing our eggs from Grace's teacher's son. Yay for fresh and local!

11. Buy a lotto ticket for someone
I never buy lotto tickets, but I thought it would be fun to surprise someone with the chance to hit the JACKPOT!

12. Donate to the Goodwill
In preparation for our move, I cleaned out some of Grace's baby toys and kitchen gadgets and dropped them off at the Goodwill.

13. Pick up trash around the neighborhood
Grace really got the hang of this fast. Now I need to get her to STOP picking up random grossness!

14. Leave quarters at the laundry mat
The laundry mat attendant seemed suspicious of me, probably because I didn't have any laundry... So I left my quarters and darted out before he could say anything. I remember how annoying it was when we didn't have a washer and dryer. I hope some surprise change will bring a little cheer to this miserable chore.

15. Bring treats to my hardworking SS mamas
I seriously get to workout with some awesome women. They wake up and drag their babies and all of their gear out the door to attend Stroller Strides. They provide friendship and support to each other and can do burpees like it's nobody's business. I thought it would be fun to bring some cookies to share after class, since, you know, it is my birthday. :)

16. Call the electric company to report street light outages in the neighborhood
There are more than a couple street lights out in our hood. I kept meaning to call, but haven't, for months! I finally called today, and they said they would send someone out. They asked me to tie ribbons around the poles that were out and didn't have ID numbers.

17. Bring Ranger Gavin a thank-you treat
Ranger Gavin keeps the park we workout at clean and safe. He is always cheerful and friendly whether he's tidying up the restrooms or returning a lost turtle to the wild. I don't think he gets a lot of recognition for all he does, so we dropped off a jar of trail mix and a thank you note to let him know he is appreciated.

18. Buy "Gage's New Friend" a book to help Gage earn money to get an alert dog
Ten-year-old Gage was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He has written a book about his struggle and hopes to raise money to get a Diabetic Alert Dog to be his best friend and guardian angel.

19. Give a loan on
This is an amazing non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Through their website I am able to lend $25 to someone trying to create a better life for themselves. My loan will go to help a young man in Kenya mentor and educate the youth. Click here to learn more about John.

20. Visit our local fire station and thank them for keeping us safe
We are scheduled to visit our local station next Friday with Grace's classmates. If I must spend the afternoon with firefighters, than I must. It's tough being me. ;)

21. Send a surprise to a friend
Bows by Simply Pretty Bows
22. Pay for someone's movie at Redbox
I think Redbox movies are more than a dollar now, but I stealthily taped a buck to the screen anyways. Happy viewing!

23. Donate books to the library
Maybe one day I will have my own library wing in my house, but until that day, I can't keep every book I read. I hope they are enjoyed by others!

24. Visit a nursing home
I was nervous about this one. I don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I thought it might be nice to bring Grace to a nursing home to visit with anyone who wanted. I called the nursing home before hand to make sure it would be ok. They said we were welcome. We stopped by and spoke with a sweet lady named Leela. She seemed happy for some company, and said she has 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

25. Let someone go ahead of me in line
No one likes to wait, but sometimes people get extra impatient at the grocery store. Grace and I happily let the lady with 5 items go in front of us at Food Lion even though we didn't have a full basket.

26. Take the It Can Wait Pledge
Nothing on my phone is that important that I need to endanger my life, my daughter's life or anyone else on the road.

27. Pay for someone's order in the drive-thru
Panera was kind enough to give me a free Birthday pastry, so I decided to pay for the car behind me. I drove off as quickly as I could, but I hope the girl enjoyed her surprise gratis lunch!

28. Write an overdue thank you note
There are a lot of people that could use an extra note of thanks, so I chose someone who wouldn't have expected to hear from me. ;)

So there are my 28 acts of kindness. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was meaningful for me. It was fun and reminded me to be generous. You really never know how a little kindness can turn someone's tough day around. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift to give to myself...

...but, if you wanted to do something for me too... there is something. Maybe in honor of my birthday, I could recruit 28 of my friends and family to do something unexpectedly nice for someone else? Your random act of kindness can be anything you want. I promise it will make you feel good and you will brighten someone else's day! Take a risk and make the choice to do something kind. If you do, comment here or on Facebook. It will make my birthday even more super-duper extra special!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Potty Training: Tales From the Loo

Apparently once babies are born, they just keep growing bigger and smarter at an exponentially fast pace? I know it's a cliche, but where did the time go? My baby Grace is two, and very much not a baby anymore. 

Now, if only we could be done with diapers... We've had some success and I've even risked it and let her run around naked a few times, but I don't think we're quite there yet. Luckily she still thinks it's fun to wipe, flush and wash her hands. 

I found some ideas on Pinterest for a potty chart, so we've been trying that for the last couple of weeks. (How cute is this chart from The Scrap Shoppe Blog?) 

Check out The Scrap Shoppe Blog to get your own free printable potty chart
Basically with the chart, Grace gets a sticker each time she successfully uses the potty. Once she fills up a whole row with 5 stickers, she gets a sweet treat (jelly beans). When she fills up the whole chart, she gets to pick out a toy at the store. Yes, I know I'm bribing her, but at least it's positive reinforcement, right? 

What are your potty training go-to tricks? I'm all ears for suggestions/commiserating tales.