Monday, March 19, 2012

snack buckets, party invitations, and projects to come

this has been a really hard pregnancy for me. until this go-round, i've always been one of those women who loved every second of pregnancy. i don't get morning sickness, and i feel great. feeling my baby move is the highlight of my days - WATCHING my belly move w/ the baby inside is even better. :) it all makes me so happy and just confirms to me that, as a woman, this is what i'm MADE to do. i am so blessed for this opportunity to grow and birth my babies. this pregnancy has tried my faith though. i still didn't get morning sickness, but i've had just about every other pregnancy discomfort a person can think of. i have gestational diabetes, which isn't a big deal, but makes me sad when i can't just eat whatever i'm craving. most women experience round ligament pain during pregnancy, and i'm no exception to that. however, the rlp i'm having this time around leaves me curled up in the fetal position for hours at a time some days. standing up is NOT an option when they strike. i've had migraines again this time too - not as bad as they were w/ scott, but bad enough. my doctor prescribed me tylenol w/ codeine, but of course, it makes me loopy enough that i can't take it unless i have someone here to help me w/ the kids, so 9 times out of 10, i just suffer through the pain and hope regular tylenol will be enough to get me through the day.

by far the worst though, is that i've been diagnosed w/ symphysis pubis dysfunction. basically, the joint at the front of my pelvis is loosening up too soon (it's supposed to loosen up to allow baby to come out during delivery, but i'm only 27 weeks, and i've been suffering w/ this for the last 6 weeks already), and it causes instability in the entire pelvis. my joints crack and pop painfully every time i move, and the muscles around those joints are incredibly sore. i spend most of my time sitting on my bed b/c it's the least uncomfortable place in my house. the only treatments are to take narcotics, which isn't an option b/c i have other kids to take care of, or seeing a chiropractor, which we don't really have the money for. i'm hoping that i can see a chiro once or twice toward the end, just to make labor and delivery a little easier, but i hold no delusions of seeing one sooner than that. the only cure is giving birth.

i feel worst for my kids b/c they're used to a mommy who can get up and run and play w/ them whenever they want. they're used to going to the park and the library and all kinds of fun places on a regular basis, and i just can't do it now. they watch a LOT of dvd's (we don't have tv service at all) and trevor's been playing a lot of video games on the wii. i hate that i can't do more w/ them. we do school every day, and i try to get them to turn off the tv for a couple hours every day and use their imaginations or play board games w/ me, but it doesn't always happen. on the days where i feel ok and can get up and move around some, i get tired really fast. last week, the weather was GORGEOUS - it felt more like may than march, so i wanted to take advantage. we went to the park 4 times in 5 days and had a picnic 3 of those times. it was fun, and the kids had a blast, but it took a severe toll on me - i spent all of sunday in bed feeling like i got hit by a truck.

so, all of this leads me to my first item from the title of this post: snack buckets.

we went to the dollar store and the kids each got to pick a plastic bin to keep in the fridge. trevor chose green; scott wanted pink. then we went home, labeled them w/ their names, and filled them w/ snacks for the day. it's great for me b/c i don't have to get up and make them food every 20 minutes all day long (seriously, these kids are HUNGRY! i'm sure part of it is boredom, but they also have both been going through a major growth spurt lately). even better though, is that it encourages independence for them. i put 4-6 snacks in each day, and that's all they get. if they choose to eat everything in there before lunch, that's their problem. they know i won't fill their buckets more than once a day, and i also won't get them things that aren't in their buckets for snacks. the ONLY exception to this is if i tell them to get something from their buckets for lunch. it teaches them to manage their snacks - budget them, if you will - so that they have enough for the day.

some day it works better than others. we're experimenting w/ a couple new snack things w/ which we've had varying degrees of success. we've learned that trevor HATES nutrigrain bars (he gagged when we tried to get him to eat 1 bite), while scott will tolerate them. same goes for granola bars. of course, they love the classics like animal crackers, goldfish, juice boxes, cookies, and fruit snacks. scott loves apples, but trevor is less inclined to eat them. same goes for cheese. i thought they'd love babybel cheeses, mostly b/c they're kid-sized. i was wrong. scott nibbled one and said he didn't like it. trevor wouldn't even try it. so jon and i ended up eating them all ourselves (we were happy about that though, we LOVE them).

scott's snack bucket
todays' snacks: cinnamon graham crackers, black grapes, fruit loops, cheese, and oreo cookies

item #2 today is scott's birthday party. in a month, he'll turn 3, so i've been working on planning his party. he kept changing his mind as to what he wanted to do, so i decided to go w/ a theme i saw on pinterest: drive in movies. i'm SUPER excited about this party. basically, we'll get a bunch of boxes and decorate them to look like cars. then, the kids will sit in them while we watch a movie that scott will choose. in the last week, he's changed him mind about 10 times, so i'm not committing to a specific title till the week of the party. we'll have hot dogs, chips, fruit, veggies, and drinks, along w/ the obligatory cake. i'm debating whether it's worth it to make the cake myself, or if i should just order one from the grocery store. normally i'd do it myself, but w/ all my issues with this pregnancy (see above), i'm leaning toward having someone else do it this year.

anyway, since we haven't decided on a movie to watch at our "drive in," i couldn't go w/ movie-themed invites, and i didn't see any generic ones at the store that i liked or was willing to pay for, so i decided to make them myself. i think they turned out super cute! check them out:

all the details of when, where, etc. are on the back. for obvious reasons, i'm not going to post a picture of that. i don't need random internet creepers stalking us and showing up uninvited.

item #3: projects to come

my next project is going to be making a couple of maxi dresses for myself. i saw a really easy tutorial on pinterest that i decided to try out. click here to see it. i like it for 2 reasons:

1) they're modest
2) i can wear them during AND after pregnancy

i'm super excited about these dresses. i'm doing a pink one and a caribbean blue one. if i could find the dye, i'd also do lime green. :)

i'm also planning for birthdays for myself and my husband. in a 2 week span, we have 3 birthdays in our family. my husband's is next week on friday, mine is the week after on thursday, and our son scott's is a week later. last year, we got totally CAKED OUT by the time we were done w/ all of them, so this year, we've been trying to think of alternatives. my husband wants to go out for frozen yogurt instead of having cake, which i'm totally ok w/. we've also hired a babysitter so he and i can go see the hunger games together. :) i'm planning to make a special dinner at home b/c he doesn't really want to go out. not 100% sure what we'll be having, but he mentioned steak. for my birthday, i don't really care what we do, but i decided i want this for my cake, mostly b/c i'll be able to eat it. sugar-free jello + cool whip = almost NO carbs for my dessert. happy evelyn. :) it'd also be nice to either go out for dinner or have no responsibility to make it or clean up afterward.

lastly, i recently got the things i need to make homemade fruit snacks for the kids. i can't wait to see how they turn out! i'll be sure to post updates on all these projects when i finish them. :)

rock candy results

i'm a couple days late on this, but on friday, we checked out what was going on w/ the rock candy we started the week before. it went better than expected - the whole stick was fused to the sides and bottom of the jar b/c there were SO MANY sugar crystals! even hacking away at it w/ a knife, i was only able to get a small portion of the stuff out for the kids to look at and taste. nonetheless, here are the pictures of our results:

the jar, after draining the remaining syrup. there's about an inch worth of sugar crystals on the bottom of the jar!
this was all i could get out w/out risking breaking the jar
scott, enjoying his "lollipop." both the boys loved eating the results of our experiment. trevor lost interest in the candy long before scott did though. go figure. :)

blackout curtain!

well, sort of. i didn't have quite enough fabric to do it right, but i worked w/ what i had. i think it turned out well, considering that when i measured the window, i must have done it wrong b/c i ended up being about 8 inches short for the width. oops.

i bought the fabric for this project almost a year ago, but i just never got around to doing anything w/ it. when daylight savings time started, my kids started waking up SUPER early. like, 6 am early. they normally sleep till 730-ish. i figured it probably had to do w/ extra light coming through their bedroom window b/c of the time change, so i knew it was time to get on this project.

i have no doubt i didn't sew this curtain "properly," but again, i had to work w/ what i had on hand. i knew my piece of fabric wasn't big enough to cover the whole window, so i wanted to be able to cover it as much as possible. so instead of trying to figure out the "right" way to make a blackout curtain, i simply serged my blackout fabric and polka dot fabric together along the edges. then i folded down one of the long edges about 2 inches and sewed straight across to make a loop for the curtain rod.

another thing i didn't do right: the curtain rod i got was one of those cheap, extendable ones. i didn't think about getting one thick enough to support the weight of my curtain - i just got one that was long enough and cost the least. so you'll see in the picture that it's weighing down in the middle - i could have made the curtain into 2 sections that met in the middle and used the center bracket to help support it, but i didn't want to lose any more window coverage than i already had due to my poor planning when i bought my fabric.

honestly, w/ all the issues w/ this curtain, it still does the job. it lets in a little light around the edges, and the curtain rod doesn't sit straight across the top b/c of the weight of the fabric, but whatever. it keeps out the majority of the sunlight so my kids would sleep longer in the mornings so they wouldn't be cranky fussybutts all day long, and that's what i needed it to do. so w/ all of that explanation, here's the finished project:


Friday, March 9, 2012

rock candy

i remember doing this for a science project when i was a kid, and thought it would be fun for my kids as well. trevor decided he wanted to make yellow rock candy, but since it hardens much lighter in color than the liquid, i made our syrup orange. worst case is we have orange candy instead of yellow, but i have a feeling we'll end up w/a golden yellow. here's our starting point:

to make your own rock candy, boil 1 c water. add sugar a little at a time till it won't dissolve any more (ours took about 2 1/2 cups). add food coloring if you want - make it darker than you want your candy; i'm expecting ours will harden as a very light orange or deep, golden yellow. let the syrup cool for about 20 minutes. put a clothespin on a skewer or other stick so that when rested across the top of your glass or jar, the end of the skewer is about 1 inch from the bottom. dip the skewer in the syrup, then roll in sugar (this is your "seed"). let it dry completely. pour syrup into your glass or jar till it's almost to the top, then place your skewer in the solution. make sure the skewer is completely vertical and doesn't touch the bottom or sides. leave the glass or jar undisturbed for a few days, and soon you'll see crystals starting to form!

gluten free chocolate muffins

i found this recipe on pinterest and had to give it a try. best part? i can eat them even w/ my gestational diabetes! happy day! here's the recipe and link to where i got it:

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin Knock-Offs of Whole Food’s 6 Dollar per 4 Chocolate Chunk VitaTop Muffins
1 3/4 c oats
3 egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.

Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.

Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.

Place  the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!
Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!!

Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins
Calories: 116 Calories Per Muffin or 58 Calories Per Muffin

my notes: these didn't rise like i'm used to seeing muffins do. they were basically flat across the top and didn't rise at all - i filled my muffin cups 2/3 full and when i took them out at the end, they were still 2/3 full. next time i make these - and there will be a next time b/c they tasted AMAZING! - i'm gonna try baking them at 325 for a little longer and see if that makes a difference. it seems i have yet to master the whole baking-at-a-high-altitude thing. . . 

my results - see the difference between mine and the ones in the picture where i got the recipe?

Sunday, March 4, 2012


there's a giveaway going on at bubba mack for a brand new diono radian xt (formerly known as sunshine kids radian xtsl)! check it out: