Monday, September 22, 2014

Nursery No Go

 Houston, we have a PROBLEM.
Olive is NOT a fan of the whole dropping her off in the nursery scenario.

To be fair, it's a room full of strangers (kids and adults) or people she's only met a handful of times.  I talk to her ahead of time to try to convince her that she's going to have so much fun, but it never seems to work out that way.

Yesterday's Nursery Play by Play:
Kevin and I walk her back to children's church and she clings to me like a baby monkey.  We fill out her name tag, grab a pager and psych ourselves up for the drop off.  She usually waits to start crying until we hand her off to her teachers, but this week she started crying as we turned the corner to her classroom.  We thought we'd stay for a minute to show her the fun toys this time.  She liked the toys so long as she could continue to have a death grip on me and my necklace.

We handed her off and she started thrashing around and was crying.  No better feeling than leaving your obviously angry baby with someone else...  Heck, I don't like it when she cries and I love her to pieces.  So these nursery ladies must have some saint like qualities to volunteer for this.  The majority of the other kids were pleased as punch to be there with the exception of one or two.  I can only assume that they've grown up together and have become nursery BFFs. 

We take our pager, hear Olive screaming and head into church.  They assure us that they won't let her cry for long and will page us if she doesn't settle down.  We find a seat and I hold the pager in my hand like a ticking time bomb.  I have worked up a sweat by this point and am fanning myself with my bulletin.  Kevin and I keep making faces wondering when (not if) the pager will go off.  

It never does so we timidly walk back to the nursery.  We walk into the children's church area and there is our little pumpkin being pushed around in a stroller.  She's been removed from her classroom {again} and is requiring a one to one adult/child ratio.  She's happy as a clam being pushed around and the lady assured us it was her pleasure to spend the time with Olive.  She reaches for me to get her and we profusely thank the ladies who've gone above and beyond to make sure we could go to church.  We walk to get Olive's kitty backpack and as we near her classroom she starts getting all puffy lipped and sobby.  I assure her that we are staying together and we head out.

We've started getting donuts after church because it's something fun to do together and I feel like we all need a little stress reliever from the who nursery experience.  

Things we've tried:
*being consistent
(same drop off, same room, and mostly same teachers)
*make sure she's well fed, changed and in comfy clothes
*send her with a paci clipped to her
*always send diapers, sippy cup and her favorite trail mix
*make sure she's one of the first to get picked up

I've thought about:
*sending her favorite stuffed animal with her
*going to visit the nursery during the week and just playing in there with her so she can see that it's possible to have fun in the nursery. 
*becoming hermits so we never have to deal with the nursery again (haha)

So if you are still with me, we need YOUR HELP!!

Do you have any secret parent tips for helping your child to enjoy the nursery experience?  I'd LOVE to hear what works for you and your little one(s).

I know that this isn't the biggest deal in the world, but sometimes it feels like it.  Olive is pretty well behaved at home and is really cute and sweet.  She's been pretty clingy for the last several months and is definitely a mama's girl so I'm not surprised by the separation anxiety.  She's got a funny little personality, love toys, books and enjoys routines.  I'd love for her teachers to see that side of her instead of the terrible toddler tantrums they've been witnessing.  I feel terrible when I know she's unhappy, but I've really enjoyed the time to go to Bible Study, church and MOPS to get to know other moms.
We've only been to this church 4 times and the other kids have probably gone a hundred times.  I'm trying to delete the day from my memory when the ladies made me feel like Olive was an anomaly and didn't really seem to fit in with the group.  And focus my attention on many of the church moms who have assured me that their kids cried when they were new and they don't cry now.  Most of her teachers have been really sweet and encouraging assuring me that she'll warm up.

I think our new church will eventually become routine for her and I'll look back on this post and chuckle (let's sure hope so!!).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I have a delicious treat to share with you today
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES

I found this recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction
and it was just perfect.  Check out her original recipe because it's filled with lots of tips and helpful recommendations.

Recipe for 12 small pancakes:
2 cups of flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3 t cinnamon
1 t mixture of ground nutmeg, cloves & allspice
1 c chocolate chips
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
1/3 c brown sugar
1 egg
3 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 c whole milk

Mix wet ingredients together first.  Stir together dry ingredients and slowly add them into the wet.  Don't over mix, just stir until the ingredients are combined.

My advice is to make small pancakes because they are rich.  Use a cookie scoop to ensure that you make small pancakes.  Top with butter & maple syrup.  They are best the day you make them but are also good refrigerated for several days.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Love Letters from God

I received the children's book Love Letters from God in the mail this week
and I am excited to share it with you.
via Amazon

Love Letters from God is the perfect starter devotional for children.  The format of this book is really sweet.  It opens up to a Bible story written for children on the left side of the page, has pictures to correspond with the story on both pages and then there's a flap to lift to reveal your love letter from God.  It's very interactive, accurate and kids of all ages would enjoy working their way through the book.  The Bible passages are listed with each story as well as Bible verses throughout.  Parents could easily use this book to teach their children the stories of the Bible.  It's the perfect little devotional to do with kids because it's short and detailed.  Kids would be very engaged and really enjoy going through the picture book.  The love letters can be personalized with your child's name and are written as though God is talking to your child.  The end of the book even challenges the children to write their own love letter to God.  I am looking forward to doing this portion with my daughter when she gets older

*I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

Hooray for Friday!!

This week was a busy on at our house.  We squeezed in lots of fun, plans and are ready for a weekend full of family time.  We've got a to do list that includes fixing our dryer, watching football, moving things up to the attic, doing some grocery shopping, grilling out and go for a few walks.  Should be a lovely weekend :)

The best parts of our week were...

1. I was thrilled with how my DIY chalkboards turned out!  I was having the hardest time finding what I wanted in stores so I took matters into my own hands.  I'll post a full tutorial next week but I'll give you a hint - a trip to Goodwill, tape, spray paint and chalk are all involved!!

2. A neighborhood church was having a large yard sale last weekend so I decided to check it out.  There wasn't a ton of stuff left when I got there and they were slashing prices.  I had my eyes on this solid wood, vintage bar cart, but didn't want to pay the $80 they were asking.  I saw other people admiring it so I decided to see if they'd make me a deal.  They countered with $70 and I countered with $50.  They agreed to $50 and loaded it for me!!  Definitely perks to shopping garage sales at the end of the day.
I plan to paint it RED and envision it being the perfect bar cart, lemonade bar, drink station, lemonade stand, dessert table and basically the perfect party cart.
I also picked up these wooden candle sticks for $1.50.  I loved the shape of them and planned on painting them.  However, they look great with my Fall decor so I may leave them as is for now.

 3. We tried a new church last weekend and really enjoyed it.  I attended their Women's Bible Study mid-week and loved it and am planning to check out their MOPS group today.  I am excited to find such a nice place to worship.  We'll be heading back again this weekend and hoping to find more ways to get plugged in.  It's tricky when you move to a brand new city and know no one so I'm hopeful that the church will be an excellent place to get to know people.

 4. I made my favorite Brownie Cookie recipe and used mini Reese's Pieces instead of mini M&Ms.  It was a delicious substitution.  You should give them a try!!

 5. Olive has sprouted enough hair to hold in a tiny bow!  She's worn headbands like a champ for 15 months but it's exciting that we're starting a new hair phase of life.  And she is obsessed with accessories and spends her days playing with her necklaces and bracelets.  A true girly girl.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New to the Neighborhood Discounts

When you move to a new address and officially change your address with the post office, be sure to take care of it on-line.  It'll ask you if you'd like to receive coupons from local places to help you with your move.  Click the box asking for all coupons and enter your email address.  Some coupons will be sent to you electronically and others will show up in your mailbox.

We ended up getting discount coupons to
Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Pier One, Pottery Barn, Bed Bath and Beyond and tons more.

We got local coupons for:
one free gallon of paint
free donuts
buy one get one free dinners at local restaurants
and
Whole Foods sent coupons for:
1. One free to go dinner and salad and 2. free pasta & marinara sauce

We were eager to check out the store nearby so we headed there one afternoon.  I love walking through their store and see what they have on sale.  Their prices are too high for me to shop there every week so I take advantage of their sales.

Olive loved the Olive Bar :)

We selected Turkey meat loaf, mac & cheese and black eyed peas from their prepared dinner section.  They also had a lasagna option that looked good.
 And a yummy salad.

The meal was really tasty and we save $20 with the coupon!
I'm not normally a meatloaf fan,
but we both LOVED this turkey meat loaf.
So much so that I've pinned a few turkey meat loaf recipes to try.

We also picked up our free pasta and marinara sauce
which saved us about $5.
Hooray for a $25 coupon that gave us 3 dinners!!

My thrifty question for you this week:
I've noticed that meat has gotten to be really pricey.
I've seen coupons for ground turkey and sometimes sausage but have never had much luck finding meat coupons.  I'm interested to know if you guys are getting great deals at Sams or your local grocery stores on meat.
Where do you get the best deal on meats?

Progress in The Church Search

I wanted to give you a little update on our church search in Jackson.  We have visited two different churches at this point and are feeling like we are narrowing things down for our family.  My husband and I both enjoyed the new church we tried last weekend and are eager to go back this week.
There was a lot going on for kids and families, Bible studies galore, activities throughout the week, it had a friendly vibe with lots of young families, the church was close to home and we really enjoyed the sermon/pastor.  Olive didn't love her first time in the nursery, but I think it was just scary for her to be in a new environment.
 
It's kind of amazing how things in blogland work and how you really can make friends by blogging.  I have "met" some other bloggers from Mississippi and one in particular has reached out to me several times to help us get settled here.  Sherry has suggested restaurants, helped give us a feel for the area and has answered lots of my questions over the last several months.  She emailed recently to check in and ask about my church search.  We realized that the new church we tried was the same church her daughter attends.  She quickly put me in touch with her, introductions were exchanged and we made plans to meet up.

The church offers a Tuesday morning Bible study for Moms and I was definitely interested in joining.  I picked up all kind of fliers and information papers on Sunday after church.  It turns out that Sherry's daughter goes, encouraged me to come and said she'd be happy to show me around this week.  We met before class started and Wesley was everything I hoped - darling, friendly and very welcoming.  She immediately made me feel at ease.  We got Olive settled (albeit I left her crying and prayed she'd soon recover) and headed up to class.  Everyone was very friendly and there were so many nice ladies.
  
I had also emailed the Bible Study leader in advance and she was SO KIND.  She assured me there was plenty of room in her class and that I'd fit right in with these Moms.  The group was small enough that she spotted me right away.  She hugged me and told me she was glad I was there.  I felt like I was included and fit right in from the start.  We are studying the book of Malachi and have a workbook to go through.  I joined in a small group for the end of class and the Moms of all ages were so friendly.  I can't really explain it, but they made me feel like I'd always been a part of their group.

Olive did great in the nursery!  They didn't page me at all and she really enjoyed herself.  She played with the other kids and the teachers said she had a good time.  It helped that there were only a few kids and several teachers to make her feel comfortable.  I also loved that the same ladies who were there on Sunday were also working on Tuesday.  I think Olive will enjoy the playtime and the opportunity to make some new friends.

I think these ladies are going to become some sweet friends.  Several of them exchanged phone numbers with me saying they know how hard it is to move to a new city.  They asked about me and my family and I was eager to learn their stories.  I've been impressed with these ladies - several who've already followed up with text and emails since class on Tuesday.  I have the sneaking suspicion that Tuesdays are going to be a highlight of my week.

Knowing someone on the first day was exactly the push I needed to try out something new.  So I am very thankful for Sherry and her desire to welcome me to Mississippi!!  I am guilty of talking myself out of things - you won't know anyone, everyone will already have friends, you won't fit in or you won't know enough to go.  It was nice to punch all those fears in the face and just go and enjoy the morning with other moms.

Do you have a new neighbor or a new co-worker that you could invite to do something with you?  I can tell you from experience that they will really appreciate your offer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Memorizing Numbers

I saw this question posted somewhere yesterday
and it got me thinking.

What phone numbers do you have memorized?

I have very few numbers committed to memory.

If my phone died or lost all of my contacts, I'd be LOST.
My dad, on the other hand, is a walking phone book.  He seems to know everyone's phone number by heart.  He rattles phone numbers off with ease and usually types in each number when he goes to call someone.  Maybe I should be more like my dad?? or give him my contact list to memorize - haha!

I've racked my brain and it looks like I'd be able to call:
my own phone
my husband
my MIL
my dad

How is it possible that I can't remember my mom's or my siblings numbers?  I have people that I can regularly and their numbers completely escape me.  Yikes...

That's it, folks!  I could only call THREE people.
Maybe I need to pay more attention to people's phone numbers
or
just pray that I never lose my contact list in my phone.

How many phone numbers do you have memorized?
I'm guessing it's more than THREE!

Attention to Eyebrows

The whole beauty world is abuzz about eyebrows these days so I figured it was time to jump on board.  My sister raved about her eyebrow routine so she gets the credit for getting me started.

I've never really had unruly eyebrows, had to trim them or wax and I usually keep them plucked.  Except for that time I forgot to for a few months and realized I had a unibrow.  I blame baby brain and my husband for that faux pas.  I informed Kevin that it's his job to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Yikes...

The last time I was home (Indiana) I asked my sister to give me a little eye brow makeover.  She agreed and took a few pics for me.
BEFORE:
It was a hot, sweaty Indiana day so sorry for the excessive shine.
 Olive was a bit skeptical, but was eager to see the results.

 After:
Not a crazy difference but it's nice to have some definition along with something to frame my face a bit.  I liked the color and would stick with something very similar to my hair color.
Thanks, Sis!

I've since picked up an inexpensive eyebrow pencil from Cover Girl called "brow and eye makers" and been really happy with it.  I saw cremes, brow wands and such in the stores, but I wanted to start with a basic pencil.  Once I incorporate it into my routine, I'll reevaluate and decide if I want to upgrade from my starter product.  It was $3.97 at Wal-Mart for two pencils

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Olive @ 15 Months

Olive is at such a fun, funny & frustrating stage of life right now.  She can be silly, imitate and tries hard to do everything herself.  She doesn't care to hear the words NO or STOP and she'll often respond with a "yeah" when she's told "no".

Notable Things for this Month:
-she's walking great, unless she's tired, and then she stumbles around
-she is my shadow and doesn't want me out of her sight
-she's not a fan of being left in church nurseries and we are often paged to come and "rescue" her before her hour time is up
-Olive helps me make my bed by handing me every pillow one at a time.  I say thank you and lots of clapping is involved.  It
-she watches us like a hawk and wants to do what we do
-she brings us our shoes, says shoe and then wants to go somewhere.  It amazes me that she'll bring me a pair of shoes for myself and for her.  How does she already know how to match things?
-she insists on throwing away her diaper after I change her
-she unloads the dishwasher with me and her job is to hand me the silverware (minus the knives obviously).  She carefully hands them to me one at a time and I say thank you.  It takes ten times as long as me doing it myself but it's ten times cuter when she helps.  It's a fun game.
-after dinner she helps clear the table - her job is to bring the pot holders, salt and pepper shakers and any other small items into the kitchen for me.  She'll clap for herself after she hands me the item.
-lots of clapping for herself
-Olive tries hard to grab our cell phones.  She watches them closely so she can crab them when we aren't looking.
-Everything is a pretend phone.  She has long conversations with her toys, the remote, shoes, etc. that all start with HI followed by tons of babbling.
-she's fascinated with jewelry and makeup so she'll be my little helper when I get ready.  I have a bowl full of things that are safe for her to play with when I get ready.
-she's still a cheese/bread/crunchy carbaholic
-she'll take big sips of her water/milk and dramatically say AHHHH in between
-she wants to color on every piece of paper she sees.  I keep the pens out of her reach and let her have art time each day.  If she sees me writing she insists on joining in the list making fun.
-She can point to her eyes, nose and mouth and she'll do the same to me.  She loves eye lashes and thinks it's hilarious to touch them.  It's all fun and games until she nearly pokes your eye out.
-She head butts like crazy.  Tell her no or try to make her do something she does not want to do and her head starts flying.  It's something I pray she outgrows fast because girl's got a big noggin and it hurts!
-Olive still attracts a lot of attention when we are out and about.  She's selective with who she will interact with and her favorites seem to be little old ladies, kids and women.  She'll usually hide from men that try to talk to her.

The Most Frustrating Things for Her:
not being able to climb on everything
constantly being redirected
smashing her fingers in drawers over and over
having to sit still to get her diaper changed
putting clothes on or having her clothes changed
being bucked in her car seat
not being able to chew on every item I put in our shopping cart
Her Words:
shooo for shoe
nummy nummy for all food
yeah for yes
Hi Ma when she sees me or when I get her from her crib
choo choo for a train
whoa for anything she's proud of
gin for again
no

Favorite Pictures from this month:











 


 


Toddler life is pretty grand!