Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from 4 generations!

On Thanksgiving, we traveled to my grandmother's house and had a tremendous Thanksgiving lunch! Whenever all four of us manage to be there at the same time, we have to take a pic because we are just so thankful to have 4 generations celebrating together! The second pic includes some of my second cousins that are soo cute (Olivia, 6 and Abigail, 2). Karis had fun following them around :)

Karis missed her afternoon nap and was really too tired to enjoy all the good food we had for Thanksgiving. (She is really picky and pretty much refuses to try new things if she is tired) She did finally try a marshmallow for the first time that was on her sweet potato casserole (after squishing it around in her fingers for about 10 minutes, she finally touched it to her tongue and then gave a humongous smile! And then fussed because her fingers were sticky:) After eating with my fam, we went to Mark's folks and had another feast! Karis was even more tired by that point, but she did have fun mixing her mac and cheese with her mashed potatoes because I usually just give her one food at a time :) She definitely enjoyed her divided plate! I think the only thing she ate very much of was Nina's incredible cranberry salad :)

She had time for a short swing with her cousin Lily before heading off to bed. Traveling is so exhausting for such a little girl!
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Cookie Time!

One of my absolute favorite holiday traditions as a child was making Christmas cookies. Today I had ever so much fun introducing Karis to the joy of cookie making! She was full of wide-eyed wonder and her expressions were priceless! She was completely serious about her job as decorator and didn't even think to taste it til the very end :) We didn't take as many pics because we videotaped it instead and it was too long to upload and share.

Her look of disbelief that she could be so lucky to make cookies :)
What is this?

"Oh, I get it!" Karis was hilarious once she got the hang of sprinkling on the sugar. She was so serious about her job! She found a spot that she liked and didn't want to decorate anywhere else. I tried turning the pan around so a different cookie was under her hand, but she would have none of it and always turned it back :) So I had to decorate the rest of them while she had fun in her spot.
A quick clip of how happy she was after she was done and finally tasted a sprinkle :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Word Explosion!

There must be something special about turning 18 months. Or maybe she's just showing off for her speech pathologist grandmother :) But in just one day, Karis has randomly decided to entertain us by spouting off new words. All day long, we have been looking at each other and saying, "did you just hear what I heard?" Its crazy. I think I counted 5 new words today: up, down, read, spoon, and milk. She has signed "milk" since about 9 months, but never attempted to say it. And she also decided to remember how to say Mama again, something she learned early on but forgot as soon as she learned Daddy. I seriously haven't heard it in at least 8 months. But it came out today! Now her words obviously aren't perfect; for example, spoon comes out like "poon." Its ever so cute. I am just amazed and can't wait to see what she comes up with tomorrow!
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

18 Months!

Wow. A year and a half. So hard to believe. But I'm not going to get nostalgic; she's just too much fun right now!

Here are some of her favorite things to do:
Dishes! Yeah, you read that right. One day I was desperate to get some dishes done but Karis was wanting my attention so I sat her on the counter and gave her a long serving spoon to stir the water with. She was so excited! Now it is impossible for me to do dishes by myself! And she usually ends up dousing herself with a cup of dish water so I always have to change her afterwards. But hey, not too much longer and maybe she will be doing them for me, right ? :)
Wooden Puzzles! We only have two right now, but Karis wants to do them over and over again. Whenever I am tired and need to sit on the couch for a second, all I have to do is say, "Karis, can you help Mama with your puzzles?" And she gets this humongous grin on her face and runs over! But we have to do both of them at the same time; if I only get one puzzle out, she will beg for the other one as well :)
Dr. Suess Books! We finally got her some more and she loves all of them. In fact, she loves them so much that she wants to read all of them all the time at the same time! I try to spread them in different rooms of the house but she will go looking for them til she finds all 5. Then she brings them to me and begs me to read with her. But she gets so excited that before I can finish one book, she is pulling out the others to look at the pictures!
Our Photo Albums -- She loves to look through all of them and when she finishes looking at one, she will ask for another. She definitely gets excited about seeing her Daddy and grandparents in the pictures. And when she sees me, she will point at the picture, then point at me, and then she will often take my ponytail out! (Because I usually wear it down or in a clip when most pics are taken, but it's always in a ponytail at I guess she wants me to match my picture? :)
Driving Pup-Pup crazy with her popper, grocery cart, and pull toys -- when we first got our puppy, I wasn't sure if she was going to work for us because she was so hyper and nippy. But she has calmed down to be the most patient and wonderful dog for us! Now Karis is getting revenge for all the toys Pup-pup chewed up and will not leave her alone at all! Its really quite hilarious to wtach them together :)
Dancing and Spinning in circles to music -- the minute I turn the music on in the morning, Karis starts spinning around. So funny to watch!

She's still jabbering all the time, but she is starting to make a little more sense now. She definitely is stuck on the "D" sound. She says "dog" beautifully but ball is unequivocally "doll." ha, ha. I make "B" sounds all day long, so we'll see if she gets it by next month :) Oh, and she has decided that all animals make kitty noises now, which is hilarious because last month she had gotten the hang of a lot of different animal noises. The only ones she allows to do their own sound is the duck (I'm not sure why) and the monkey (because Grandma just taught her that one last weekend.) But everything else says "Meow," even Pup-pup :) She has also started saying "no, no," but not when I tell her to do something, thankfully. It started with the Dr. Suess book, "Hop on Pop," because Pat likes to sit on things and it reads, "no, Pat, no, don't sit on that!" when he is about to sit on a cactus. She was reading it by herself one day and I heard her going "no, no," to that page and now she does it a lot. I'm sure it will get to be a rebellious "no" soon enough, but for now its not too bad :)

I'm not sure how much she weighs right now because she's so healthy that I'm not going to fool with an 18-month check-up. She's definitely too tall for her 12 month clothes, but her 18 month ones are still too big. She looks like such a shrimp in her big-girl carseat, but she loves being able to see us! I think I'm a more dangerous driver now, though, because I am much more tempted to turn around to talk to her than when she couldn't see me.

Karis still ought to go to bed at 6:15, but most nights we let her stay up to 7:00 since Daddy gets home around 5:45. The nights I have her by myself, I go ahead and put her down shortly after 6. She sleeps so much better and wakes up so much happier when she goes to bed early. Its amazing! She is now down to one nap, and its usually from 12:00-2:30. I'm going to try to slowly move it to 1:00 over the next month because I think a later nap will help her stay up and playwith Daddy longer :) She usually gets up around 7:30 regardless of when she hoes to bed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And she shall be called...

With less than ten weeks left, I thought it was about time to show off my big belly :) I haven't been avoiding it; I just never think of taking a picture. And, since some of you haven't heard what we are naming our new little princess, I thought it was about time to tell you that we have officially named her "Karlee Sue DeLong." No, we are not planning to name all of our children with "K" names :) I was actually planning to call her Susannah after my Mom (Susan) because I think its so pretty, but Mark thought it was too formal or old fashioned or something to go nicely with Karis. And then it just so happened that Mark came up with Karlee when we were trying to think of a name for our puppy and liked it so much he wanted it for his daughter. I thought it was ever so cute paired with Sue as the middle name. So she shall be called Karlee Sue DeLong!
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mama's dress fits just right!

I was excited today to put Karis in a dress my grandmother made for me to wear when I was her size! Karis really enjoyed wearing it because the two buttons on top are actually bells that jingle when she walks. It might not have been the best idea for church, ha, ha, but luckily they don't jingle too loudly :) It had one string hanging down from the ribbon at the top that I had to cut, but other than that it was in perfect shape! Thanks, Mom, for saving it for my little girl! I'm sure Dad thought you were crazy but I think it is so special to have Karis wear a dress her great-grandmother made for me!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poor Pup-pup :)

video video
Karis loves her puppy and will do pretty much anything to get her attention. However, her newest game isn't something that her sweet pup loves so much: Karis thinks its hilarious to chase her puppy around the house with her popper! For some reason, she always thinks of it when Pup-pup is trying to eat. We don't always let her her bother the dog, but I had to video it because it is pretty funny how hilarious Karis thinks it is to see the dog run away.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recall on Infant Mylicon Gas Relief Drops

Just had to pass this along in case you haven't heard: Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Mylicon Gas Relief are recalling two lots of Mylicon Gas Relief Dye Free Drops in the 1oz size. These lots were distributed after October 5th and are being recalled due to small metal fragments that could have accidentally been included in the bottles.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bubbles and Coconut oil

For those of you that are interested, I wrote a post about the health benefits and many uses of coconut oil HERE

For those of you who are wondering what in the world my baby is doing, those are bubbles above her head that she is trying to catch :) We tried them with her at about 9 months and they scared her to death! So we put them away and forgot about them til now and she thinks they are the most fun ever!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Surprised and Sweet :)

I love these pics of Karis that show 2 sides of her personality. The first one shows the hilarious face she makes all the time whenever she sees something she is really excited about. In this case, it was her kitty. And I love the second pic just because she looks so sweet. She's giving her ball a hug. And you might think that is silly, but the ball needed a hug because the dog popped it. And she was just showing it that she still loves it :)
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Making laundry detergent

A wonderful lady at the church we attended before we moved sends out a monthly newsletter with all kinds of practical advice. This month, I was excited to find a recipe for inexpensive laundry detergent! I haven't done it yet because we had just bought a big box of detergent at Sam's, but as soon as we start running low, I'm going to give it a try. I thought I'd post it so that I wouldn't lose it and because some of you might want to try :) If you want to get her monthly e-newsletter, e-mail her at the address under the title.

By Lois Breneman, © 2008, Heart to Heart Newsletter,

Last week I made two batches of this recipe for more economical laundry soap. If you enjoy putting a simple recipe together and saving money, you will enjoy this project. Let the children help. They will find it fascinating as well. Two batches took less than 30 minutes to make and I had fun doing it.

Commercial laundry detergents cost as much as 30 cents per load, even on sale or with a coupon, but you can get clothes just as clean for pennies per load, using this pure low suds recipe. Why not put that savings toward other things? It would be interesting to keep a record of the number of loads you do in a month or year and calculate your savings! Hang a calendar in your laundry with a pencil on a string to keep track. If you have children and do an average of ten loads each week, saving a quarter on each load, you would save $140 in one year.

Because this is a pure soap without fillers, dyes and strong perfumes, it is even safe for babies and anyone who is normally allergic to other laundry products. If no one in your family is allergic, you may even add a small amount (1/4 - 1/2 ounce) of essential oil for fragrance.

You only need three ingredients which can all be found in most grocery stores (laundry aisle):
1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha soap (Or 1 whole bar of Ivory or any other bar of soap) $1.29
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (This is not baking soda) 2.89
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax 3.99

That's a total of only $8.17 to get started. You will be able to make three batches from the Fels-Naptha, ten from the washing soda and twenty batches from the Borax! One batch costs 93 cents for 61 loads of laundry, if you use 1/2 cup per load. That's just 1.52 cents per load! Can you believe that? Even if you double the amount, you would be paying about 3 cents per load! For High Efficiency Washers, using 1/4 cup, the cost would be a rock bottom .076 cents - 3/4 of a cent!

Instructions to Make Laundry Soap:
1. Score the Fels-Naptha soap to divide it into thirds. Using a cutting board, shave the bar of soap with a chef's knife. Fels Naptha soap is soft so it's easy to do, as you thinly slice the end of the bar. Store leftover soap shavings in a Ziplock bag and label for future batches.

2. In a Dutch oven (about 6 quart pot) heat 6 cups of water and shavings from 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap or an entire bar of Ivory or any other bar of soap over medium heat. I was able to make 2 batches in a 6 quart Dutch oven, before adding additional water.

3. Dissolve the soap completely; then stir in 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and stir over the heat until it's all dissolved. Carefully pour hot solution into a 3 gallon or larger bucket. For each batch I used a three gallon bucket that dishwashing compound came in at Sam's.

4. Add 4 additional cups of hot water to the soap mixture bucket and stir well.

5. If you would like a mild scent, add 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of essential oil. Another option: Add a few cups of commercial detergent to the mixture for fragrance and extra cleaning power.

6. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of cold water to this solution. Stir well and let set without stirring for 24 hours. It will have the consistency of a liquid gel, with no dye. Stir.

7. Keep a tight fitting lid on the liquid laundry solution. Measure 1/2 cup for each load of laundry (1/4 cup for High Efficiency washers). You may want to save your old liquid laundry detergent containers for storing and easy pouring. Add a few marbles to help mix the gel as you shake the bottle a little before using.

* For myself, I prefer this recipe with a little fragrance. Since I had a good bit of liquid laundry detergent on hand from sales, I poured a little into my homemade mixture for a nice scent.
* You may want to experiment to see if 1/2 cup is enough to make your clothes fresh and clean. Even if you used a full cup, this recipe would still be much less expensive than most laundry detergents. I prefer using a full cup for most loads.
* Fels-Naptha bars of soap are also great for stain removal. After removing a bar from its paper wrapper, I wrapped it with a terry cleaning cloth, and secured it with two rubber bands. That makes it easier to hold while rubbing on a garment stain that has first been made wet.
* I still use fabric softener sheets in the dryer.
* This laundry soap is safe for HE washers, because it is low sudsing.

Caution about Buckets: Some people store their liquid laundry solution in five gallon buckets, but let me caution you to keep a tight-fitting lid on it and out of reach of toddlers. If they get the lid off, they could fall in and drown! Please never store uncovered buckets of water or other liquids where tragic accidents could happen. Using much smaller buckets or old laundry containers would be safer.

Powdered Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 cup grated Fels-Naptha soap
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

Mix and store in airtight container. For light loads, use 2 tablespoons.
For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

To Make a Larger Batch ~ Shave 6 bars of Fels-Naptha soap with a chef's knife. Add 3 cups of Super Washing Soda and 3 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax. Mix well and store in an airtight container.

This article was included in the Heart to Heart Newsletter whose purpose it is to bring practical encouragement to women through creative ideas for the Christian family – regarding homemaking, marriage, children and much more. You may receive this bimonthly newsletter by sending your name, city, state, country and the name of the person who referred you to Lois at A Welcome Letter, "Start-up Kit," and recent newsletter or two will be sent to you upon subscribing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trying to wear Mama's shoes :)

videoKaris gets really excited about any kind of shoes -- whether her own or someone else's. But her very favorites are crocs. And at the top of that list are mine :) Unfortunately, she has a hard time getting them on, but it doesn't seem to phase her a bit. She will try for up t0 15 minutes, laughing and talking to them the whole time. I tried to catch it on video, but a lot of time she stops when she hears the camera turn on. But here's what I got:

Oh, and the baby gate is for the dog, not Karis :) We never needed one with Karis, but once the dog figured out that the kittty food is back in our bedroom, she wouldn't stop sneaking back there to eat it :)


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All bundled up!

We try to go outside to play for a little while every morning and afternoon, no matter how cold it is. She and Pup-pup both need the exercise, and I think we all need the sunshine! Plus, Karis just LOVES to be outside! So here she is looking cute all bundled up as she climbs around on her playset.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Accessories for a soccer girl :)

Disclaimer: We did not coerce her to wear these or even show these things to Karis -- she found the headbands and hat in Daddy's tennis bag and ran over to us us for help in putting them on. And of course we thought she looked so cute that we had to take a picture :) And as for the last picture, Karis has gotten obsessed with any kind of bags -- purses, lunch bags, gift bags, you name it. She will carry around as many as she can and beg for any others that she randomly sees around the house :) The look on her face is the "wow" look she now gives whenever she is super excited about something.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

My little bruiser :)

You might not be able to tell very well, but Karis has a big purple knot on her forehead. I don't even know when she got it, really. She loves to run as fast as she can to play hide and seek with us or the dog or the cat (they have no idea, lol :) And she is always tripping on things on the floor because she doesn't look where she is going; she only looks where she wants to hide. Last week, she busted her lip TWICE, with lots of bleeding each time. And it got all swollen and purple. But she really is a trooper. She doesn't fuss most of the time, which is why I have no idea how she got the bruise on her forehead. And when she fell on her lip, she stopped crying both times as soon as she saw me get the popsicle out of the freezer :)
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