Thursday, February 25, 2010

Soccer fun!

Today was the last day of this soccer session so I took my camera to try to get the girls having some fun. Karlie will no longer snuggle with me in the carrier during class because all the balls and cones are just too exciting :) So I just let her run around like a crazy baby and she has a blast. It gives me tons of exercise because she has no fear and I'm always scooping her up so that she doesn't get kicked by the older munchkins.

Karis and her beloved Coach Brooke! She thinks Coach Brooke is one of the coolest people ever. She loves to try to sneak up on her every Thursday and surprise her by jumping out and saying, "boo!" And Karis talks about her all week long. I think Coach Brooke is awesome as well. She is a seminary student who is just great with the kids. I was so worried about transitioning Karis from her Daddy's class, but Coach Brook made it easy!

On most Thursdays, we stay after class to hang out with Daddy. But first, Karis usually helps Coach Brooke pick up all the cones and balls.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Soap Nuts 50% off!

Since I just did a post about natural solutions, I just HAD to give you this update! Soapnuts were already a great deal, but now they are on sale! Click HERE to see the sale. I think you have til March 1st to get them 50% off. You can use them for everyday cleaning, as well. And if you don't want to fool with the nuts, get the oil instead. It is even easier! Click HERE if you would like to see a great review of 3 different types of natural laundry solutions, including soapnuts.

What to do on rainy days...

Bring the slide inside, pump up the dancing music, throw every ball in the house on the floor, and pop out all the tunnels! Even the cat can have fun on a rainy day :)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Call me crazy

Ok, you are probably going to think I am crazy after this post, but I thought I'd share about my "green" progress and what has worked for me. Don't worry, I am not doing these things for the sake of saving the world. I feel the need to admit to you that we don't even recycle (yes, I can hear the screams of horror and its ok :) No, I simply have two main reasons:

First, I am a stay-at-home Mama (a wonderful dream come true!!!!) and the only money I can make right now is the money that I save. So I've taken it upon myself to search high and low for cheap ways of doing things.

Secondly, once I became a Mama, I became super protective of the things that my children (and myself, since I am breastfeeding) come in contact with. If my 409 kills a fly with just a squirt, (yes, that used to be my very favorite way of killing a fly :) is it really that safe for my toddler if I use it to wipe off my table? And my toddler wants to "help" Mama do EVERYTHING! So when she begs to scrub the tub with me, do I want her inhaling 409 fumes? Absolutely not! So I've changed my ways a bit and thought I'd share with you.

But first, I have to mention how I change my ways. Because I'm lazy. There, I've said it. Even if I have all the ingredients to make my own wipes for my baby, and I know it will save me money and be better for my baby's bum, I'm not going to take the 2 minutes to mix them together if I have some store-bought wipes staring at my face. Because I'm lazy. Same thing with baby food -- if I have a jar that my MIL gave me, I give my baby that instead of taking the extra seconds to smash up a banana. It's ridiculous. And I can't tell you how long I had the gallon of vinegar in my cupboard before I finally put some in a spray bottle and tried it out :) So I have to force myself to try out my natural solutions by refusing to buy the store bought kind. Because then I don't have any other option! And guess what? I'm always so glad that I did!

So here are my favorites in no particular order:

1. I brush my teeth with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide -- I wet my toothbrush, dip it in the baking soda (which I keep in a shallow Tupperware), and squirt a little hydrogen peroxide on it. No, it doesn't taste as good as that minty toothpaste, but it isn't horrible, either. And get this -- I used to get sores in my mouth all the time when I was stressed out or bit my lip. But I haven't gotten a single one since I started this brushing technique! I've definitely bitten my lip several times and I've probably been stressed some, too, but I think the hydrogen peroxide helps heal my mouth. I actually started this method to avoid the fluoride in most toothpaste and avoid the big price tag on the "natural" ones that don't contain fluoride. You won't find much cheaper than a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide and a dip of baking soda :)

2. I often wash my hair with baking soda and water and rinse with apple cider vinegar -- I know, this is the one you are going to think I am crazy for. I have super thick hair, so a cheap shampoo and conditioner just doesn't cut it. I have to pay for the salon stuff and it's just ridiculous and I don't want to waste our budget on it. So I gave this a try and it has worked fine for me, believe it or not. I followed Crystal's method on her blog. I also wipe a bit of coconut oil on the ends of my hair to help condition it. I did this for several months, until a guest left a bottle of nice shampoo in my bathroom and I started using that. (Because my baking soda bottle ran out and, like I said before, I'm just lazy and use what is available!) But it has seemed to dry out my scalp, so I am returning to my baking soda-vinegar method.

3. I clean everything with a spray bottle of half vinegar- half water or a water solution with several drops of tea tree oil in it. If I REALLY want a deep clean, I will spray hydrogen peroxide on top of the vinegar, but most of the time, I just use the vinegar. No, I do not like the smell of vinegar, but it goes away in about 15 minutes. And I also flavor my vinegar by letting orange peels soak in it for a couple of months, so it doesn't smell quite as badly :) You can also put drops of your favorite essential oil in the solution to help it smell better. Commercial all-purpose cleaners are about 20-30 cents per ounce. My vinegar solution costs about 2 cents an ounce and is perfectly safe for my kids!

4. Washing clothes -- I used to use this recipe for my own laundry detergent and I still highly recommend it. It is very inexpensive and easy. However, although it is far better for your skin than commercial laundry detergent, I'm not a huge fan of the borax. So when I heard about Soap Nuts, I decided to give them a try because they are every bit as cheap but a lot more natural. I've used them for the past few months and have been very pleased. If you are interested in comparing natural laundry detergents, Lindsay wrote THIS fabulous post on the topic that I highly recommend.

5. Drying clothes -- I don't use dryer sheets anymore. Instead, I use dryer balls that I found at the dollar store. Yep, I only paid one buckaroo for the pair and I've saved tons of money. You might not be lucky enough to find them for a dollar, but even a $5 pair will have paid for itself in a month or two! Better yet, MAKE YOUR OWN wool dryer balls, which are even betterfor your clothes!

6. My favorite panacea: Coconut Oil! I use it for almost everything! I absolutely love to cook with it, but it is good for so much more! It is naturally anti-viral and antibacterial and works for just about anything having to do with your skin. Awesome stuff and I love the way it smells! I use it instead of face lotion, baby lotion, diaper rash ointment, hair gel, neosporin, chapstick, Lanolin, and so much more! You might think that it is expensive, but in reality, you need so little at a time that it ends up being a better deal. And it is ever so much better for you than those lotions and medicines with a ton of chemicals in them! Honestly, my skin has never been healthier.

7. Home-made wipes solution: Since I use cloth diapers, it really isn't any trouble to throw in some wipes with my dirty load. I use a bunch of extra baby washcloths because we received more than we needed at our showers with my first baby. I don't really measure my solution any more, but this is what I estimate that I do: Pour about a cup of water in a tupperware; add about a drop of tee tree oil and a few drops of aloe vera baby oil. Shake well. Then I just dip my washcloth in it before I wipe her bum. So easy! You could also use disposable paper towels if you don't do cloth diapers. It is still a lot cheaper and so much better for your baby than all the chemicals in wipes!

Next on my list -- home-made deodorant. I'm still waiting for my current one to run out to force me to go to the effort, ha, ha, but I'll let you know how I like it in a week or so :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Karlie Sue at 13 months!

All of a sudden, Karlie is a big girl... Walking up a storm, talking up a storm, eating up a storm, trying so hard to keep up with her big sister. This is absolutely my favorite stage and both Karlie and I are loving every minute of it! She is such a happy toddler!

Karlie had a language explosion right around her birthday and now regularly says all sorts of "words" other than Ma-ma and Da-da such as:

"Bah" (ball)
"Buh" (book) -- this is her first word every single morning as I try to snuggle with her and she is reaching over me to grab her books :)
"ba-oo" (balloon)
"Puh-puh" (Pup-Pup)
"Pe-buh" (Peek-a-boo)
"Yay" (Yay!)
"Pa-pa" (Papa)
"Bye-bye" -- always accompanied by a wave :)
"Nigh-nigh" (Night-night)
a trilling noise that she makes every time she sees a cat; I'm thinking it is supposed to be a purr. :)
-- she also copies pretty much animal noise that I do as we read our books

Karlie also does her signs all the time. "Please" is the most common because she does it whenever she sees anything that she wants. But her adorable good manners end abruptly if I don't notice them after the first couple of tries and she will start to holler insistently :) She also signs "milk," "more," and "all done" pretty consistently.

Karlie absolutely loves:

--ballons and balls
--hats, headbands, necklaces -- she immediately "puts" them on :)
--taking a bath
--crayons, markers, stickers, magnets, puzzle pieces -- she plays well with them for a while, but then I have to watch to make sure she doesn't eat them :)
--the school bus and tunnel
--playing outside

FOOD! This girl can eat! She went through a picky couple of weeks but is now eating anything and everything I put on her plate. She enjoys eating to a hysterical degree-- she bounces and dances and squeals almost the entire time she is shoving food in her mouth.

Things we are working on:

Obeying when I say "Give" without getting mad

Shape sorting -- she can put the circles and squares through the holes pretty well, but the triangle gets her every time :)

Using the potty -- she was doing really well before Christmas (gong 3-4 times a day) but I didn't take her at all over the holidays and we both got lazy :)

Karlie Sue is such a joyful, energetic, strong-willed little girl and we just can't get enough of her!

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Friday, February 19, 2010

The new way to wear shoes

What? You didn't get the memo? Sorry; Karlie doesn't know how to write yet. But she started a new trend at our house that is apparently tons of fun :)
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Do you ever wish...

that paint actually looked like the little swatch you get at the store? We may or may not have made 4 different trips to Home Depot and bought 6 different little sample cans before finally finding the right color :)

But I must say that I do believe it was worth it! I love my new living room!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting sleepy?

Nah, I think she is a little too excited about her new bathrobe to go to bed on time. She started squealing and bouncing around like crazy when I put this on her. And yes, she loves headbands. She begs me to put them on her all day long. It never ceases to amaze me because Karis would yank everything off her head at this age, but Karlie absolutely adores hats and headbands. And yes, I will gladly admit that I am glad that she does :)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Blissful Chocolate... :)

Our friend Jon gave out chocolate to everyone at church today. I don't think any girl is the world could have appreciated it as much as Karis :) (Sorry to post this twice, but the pictures didn't work the first time. )
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Friday, February 12, 2010

I can't help but laugh...

when I hear Karis say things like this:

"GOD HELP ME!!!" (yelled in extreme frustration as I spanked her -- after a spanking, we usually talk about it and pray; she tells God she is sorry and asks Him to help her to obey. I guess she was hoping that if she skipped right to the end the spanking might be lessened. Needless to say, she probably thought I was crying because it was just hilarious and I was laughing so hard that I had to hide my face :)

"I set beep for Mama!" (said very proudly when I told her I would be right back after I used the restroom -- we often set a timer to remind her to go potty because it helps her to transition cheerfully.)

"I like to be naked ALL THE TIME!"

"He growing little so I carry him!" (Speaking of the cat-- she has been told not to pick up the cat because he is too big; she drags him around by his neck and chest. So she was trying to convince me that he was "growing little" so that she would be allowed to carry him :)

"Mama spank wall?" We use a floppy ruler for spankings and I made the mistake of borrowing it for pointing during our daily calendar time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Roasting marshmallows in the back yard...

Daddy randomly decided it was time for Karis to have the joy of eating her own roasted marshmallow. So instead of putting her to bed one night, we bundled up and froze to death for the sake of a fun memory... And it was worth it! Karis was ever so excited and definitely became a fan of marshmallows. Karlie had a blast snuggling in the Ergo on such a chilly night. We actually did this right before Christmas but I just found the pictures again today and had to post them :)

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Day in the Life...

I snapped these pics of Karis doing "blanket time" yesterday because I wanted to have a picture of her favorite shoes and headband. She seriously wears them every second of the day. And I thought I'd share a little bit about a "normal" day for theDeLong girls. I'm the type of person who likes a simple everyday routine and I've found that my girls are so much happier when we keep to it! I try to do all my errands in one day each week so that the rest of the week we can stay at home and be productive and much happier. Last week was absolutely crazy for us and we were out of the house 4 mornings in a row! Karlie missed her morning nap each day and was an utter wreck every afternoon. Karis and I were too tired from all the running around to accomplish much and the laundry and dishes piled up like crazy. I realized then that my goal of trying to stay at home with the girls as much as possible is well worth the effort!

So here is what we generally do. The times vary depending on when they wake up and when Daddy has to leave in the morning/

The girls wake up between 7:30 and 8:00. Normal morning activities (potty, get dressed, etc).

Breakfast with Daddy

After Daddy leaves, Karlie goes down for a nap )usually around 10:00) and Karis has "blanket time" for about 30 minutes while I do dishes or other morning chores. Then we do something "educational" for about 20 minutes. We usually do a puzzle that is too hard for her to do by herself or play a game like Memory, shape Bingo, number Dominos, etc.

Karis and I have "Bible Time" -- she has a box of children's Bibles and picks one to look at while I read my Bible for about 10-15 minutes. She is supposed to read quietly, but always asks tons of questions :) Then I read Bible stories to her until Karlie wakes up, usually about 20 minutes. If Karlie takes a really long nap, then we will do a chore together.

When Karlie wakes up, we read a handful of library books together while Karlie gets her snuggles. Then the girls play together with their toys while I get my chore of the day accomplished (hopefully:).

Lunch Time

Outside Play Time -- usually about a half hour if the weather permits. If it is an absolutely beautiful day, then we'll stay out for an hour. (I don't know what I'm going to do when spring hits because we are going to want to be outside all day long!! :)

Nap Time for both girls (usually around 2:00) -- on Mon & Thurs I do my e-mail and blogging for the week. The other days I try to be super productive. Most of the time I do my major dinner prep while they are napping so I don't have to do it in the evening when they are hungry and grumpy :).

Books on the couch for about 30 min.

Give girls dinner while I finish up making Daddy's dinner (usually around 4:30) -- Right now, Mark has a pretty late schedule and the girls have to eat before he gets home. As much as I'd like to, at this stage it is not worth the fussiness to try and wait to have a family dinner. Karis and I will usually eat a second dinner with Daddy :)

Read books or play til Daddy gets home. A lot of times this is the time of day when I bring out the tunnel, school bus, train, etc.

Playtime with Daddy for about 20 minutes, then Karlie goes to bed (around 6:15) and we eat dinner.

Karis has playtime with Daddy until bedtime (around 7:00) and then he does the good-night routine with her.

Mommy and Daddy get to relax!! :)

Note: I try to incorporate crafts and learning activities for Karis but they do not have a specific time in our routine. She has access to all her craft stuff and will randomly bring out her water colors or crayons and decide to do art during playtime.

I am getting ready to train Karlie to do blanket time, although I haven't decided where I will fit it into our schedule yet :)

So now you know what a normal day in the DeLong household is like :) Let me assure you that it doesn't always go as planned, but the girls are definitely happier when it does!

To read other Moms' daily routines, visit Kelly's Korner!
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Monday, February 8, 2010

"Not Me" from the dog (again :)

I do NOT continue to try my hardest to convince my people that I am one of them. When they chain me to my doghouse because I am houdini and jump the fence every chance I get, I do NOT immediately jump on the slide just to show them that I can have fun just like the girls.... NOT ME!

I do NOT think that I should play with water in the sink with the girls. I do NOT drink the water that Mama pours for the girls just as fast as she pours it. I do NOT love licking the water off of Karlie's fingers and I do NOT think it is really funny when they splash me with the water. I do NOT get so excited that Mama has to throw me outside.... NOT ME!

I do NOT think that playing in the school bus is a perfectly normal thing for a dog to do. My Mama did NOT take about 20 pictures of the fun I had in the school bus with the girls because she was just so incredulous. Once again, I did NOT get so excited about it that she had to throw me outside.... NOT ME!!!
I do NOT try to sit at the table just like my people in hopes that they will give me a yummy plate of food. I do NOT try to lick everyone's plate as soon as they get up from the table and throw the messy girls into the tub (which, by the way, I'm sure I would NOT try to join them in the tub if I had a half of a chance :). I assuredly would NOT get thrown outside because I broke one of Mama's dishes when I tried to clean it for her and knocked it off the table.... NOT ME!

If you want to see more posts about what I would NEVER do, click HERE.

And to see what other Mamas did NOT do, click HERE

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

My girls this week

It's been a while since I gave a good update on the girls, so here you go :)

Karlie -- She is loving the life of a walking girl! She no longer laughs hysterically every time she walks, but she toddles around non-stop, grinning in the cutest way possible. I just can't help but smile when I see her. She thinks she is such a big girl now. She is still obsessed with hats (or anything that she can put over her head that she thinks can be a hat :), her foam bath letters, and books. We got our kitchen set back out of the attic about a month ago and they are both enjoying cooking and wearing their aprons (A Christmas present from their aunt.)

Karis -- I got our her 3T clothes last week and found some pink dress shoes that I had found at the share shop a while back. She absolutely loves them, even though they are still too big and not that comfortable. She wants to wear them every waking moment, even outside in the wet and cold. She is also obsessed with one particular headband that I found in the dollar section at Target and will not let me fix her hair in any other way. She also loves to play with Karlie's box of shoes. We got some new walking shoes for Karlie this week and Karis just thought they were wonderful. She wanted to wear them and when I told her that she was too big, she said, "I grow little soon so I can wear Karwie's new shoes!!!!!"
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Is he a girl?"

For the past few weeks, Karis has been obsessed with gender. She loves to ask if the animals in her library books are boys or girls, and she finds it HILARIOUS to give people the wrong gender. On a daily basis, she tells me that Daddy is a girl and bursts out laughing because she knows she is so silly. I think that she considers hair length to be an essential part of gender and I often hear random comments like these:

"Karwie have boy hair!"
Daddy grow hair long and be a girl?"

We are definitely in a very silly stage :)
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