I am a Minivan Mom

I don’t really have much to post today, however it’s been over a week since my last post and darnit! I’m going to keep this New Years Resolution!!!

I suppose I can update everyone on how some of my resolutions have been going.

Here’s a brief overview.

1. Well… I blogged twice last week! That’s more than once a week! Go me! And today I’m staying on track as well.

2. Meal planning: I planned every day last week, but didn’t follow through 100%. Things came up or I’d run out of cheese and couldn’t get to the store because I didn’t have a vehicle, so that meal would be postponed until the next day.

3. No yelling: We’ve been better about this. We are by no means perfect and some days it’s really, really hard. Especially when you have children who cry over spilled water (that’s right, not even milk – water!) But we’re working on it.

4. Early to Bed/Early to Rise: Well…. some nights have been better than others. The first few days I was good about being in bed by 12:30. Now it’s back to an average of about 1:30, but usually before 2 am. I need to keep working at it.!

In other news, our ear infection free household no longer has that status. The Little One was screaming in agony this past week. I thought she was just fighting sleep, she was tired and had a drippy nose. I kept asking her if each part of her body hurt and she kept telling me “No!”

Sick Baby

The Little One the day before I took her to the doctor and was diagnosed with a double ear infection. ūüė¶

By the third day, when suddenly her fever spiked and she was able to communicate what hurt, I said enough is enough. As stated above, I didn’t have my own vehicle. My car was totaled in November when the CV Joint broke while turning onto the highway. (Real fun spot to have your car die!) ¬†(Not So Fun Fact! That was also the day I got into my first ever car accident! Hitting black ice and rear ending an SUV with The Husband’s car! Needless to say, I was afraid of driving for a good 4 days!)

Anyway, I have the best neighbors and my good friend/neighbor down the road said I could borrow her van. I had the fun task of pushing the stroller through a foot of snow to get to her house a few doors down, but we made it and I got to practice driving a minivan. Got The Little One to the doctor and sure enough, double ear infection. The right ear had ruptured and had puss inside, the left was just read. Ten days of antibiotics orally three times per day and ear drops in the right ear twice per day. By day 2 she was already feeling much better!

Not So Sick Baby

After about 4 days of meds she was feeling MUCH better! (She was actually feeling much better when she woke up on day 2 after only 2 doses of meds!)

So, the conclusion of the above, I suppose, is that I need my own vehicle. The Husband and I agreed to start looking about a month ago, looking for a good deal, and a good deal I found! Got a great blue Dodge Grand Caravan SXT for under 3K from a very nice man. We found it using CarSoup.com, though he was also listed on CraigsList.

Blue Steel

Blue Steel

Here she is! “Blue Steel” is what I’m naming her. Or “Buh-KAWWW!” (like the sound a chicken makes! – Because The Husband and I like to name our cars based on the letters on the license plate. I previously owned Jibble and Pixed. The Husband currently owns Vixy.)

So… I’m actually super excited to own this minivan. I know that it was super well taken care of for the first 5 years of it’s life – thanks CarFax! – and the guy who sold i to me (second owner) seems like ¬†a very honest guy and seems to have taken pretty good care of it.

My only issue with minivans is the lack of ability to check the blind spot! I’m a shoulder checker! I can’t do that in this van! I’m considering getting a blind spot mirror to attach to my drivers side mirror. Hopefully very, very soon!

So there you have it. An update on me and mine. It’s not food, but it will do. Hopefully next week I’ll food blog again!

New Years Resolutions

Resolutions

© gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the past I’ve made New Years Resolutions but I’ve never stuck with them. For one reason or another they became good intentions that never came to pass.

Last year I resolved to start working out. It was awesome, I was going to the gym about 3 times per week… and then our insurance changed with my husbands new job and the gym membership was no longer something they reimbursed me for. Without the extra $20 laying around, the gym became a thing of the past. I still miss my Body Pump class.

Technically I could work out at home. My resolution for 2012 was to use my Wii Fit every day. That occurred for maybe a week? I just don’t feel motivated to work out at home.

So this year, out with the old resolutions and in with the new. New resolutions for a new and improved me. They’re more like goals.

1. Go to Bed Earlier at Night / Get Up Earlier in the Morning.
I’m a night owl and don’t feel fully awake until noon. I also work from home which means during the school year I have a two year old around the house and in the summer a six year old as well. Starting soon I will probably be taking on part-time babysitting a friends four month old during the week. Finding time to work between taking care of the kids can be tricky so I rely on the evenings/late night to get my work done.

2. Set Work Goals.
This goes along with what I sad above. I only have limited time to get my work done so I need to be better about staying away from Facebook and Pinterest and the rest of the Internet Demons and prioritizing my work and rewarding myself with quick Facebook breaks.

In addition to my horrible time management skills, much of my work doesn’t have a definite time table. There’s a general time frame that it needs to be done, but I need to take the time to just do it without waiting until the last minute. My work is also varied. For those who don’t know, I manage multiple websites which involves listing books, new book covers, authors, etc. I need to get that info up as soon as I receive it so I’m not scrambling at the last minute. I also design book covers, I need to get those done ASAP as well, preferably working a couple months ahead of where I should be. As part of my job I also format books for Kindle. I’ve already made a change with that and now I make sure Kindle files (as well as epubs) are ready for release the same day as the print book and the PDF file on our website. The problem is that I still have a big backlog of books to get done in addition to the new ones.

3. Finish the First Draft of my Novel.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it on this blog or not (I know I mentioned on my book review blog) but I participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) in 2013 and won! This means that I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Pretty amazing since I’ve never written past 14,000 words on one story. ¬†However, despite having written 50,000 words to one story, it still doesn’t have an ending. Before the year is through I will have an ending to my story and be starting the process of the second draft. ¬†This is another goal that ties into #2 – set goals. I’ve got to set aside time to sit down and write.

4. Consistently Make Weekly Meal Plans.
I think weekly meal planning is awesome and more people should do it. Myself included. I do well one week, then utterly fail the next week. It’s the sitting down and forcing myself to figure out what to make that kills me. Then sticking to it throughout the week. I’m going to try to plan a couple weeks out so that I have some leeway. Then, after work on the weekends I’ll buy what I need for the week and if I realize I don’t have an ingredient, I’ll have The Husband bring it home after work. (I bet I haven’t mentioned the fact that my car died so we are now a one vehicle family! We’re trying to hold out until tax time to purchase a mini-van. I’ve got my eye on the Honda Odyssey! But we’ll see.)

5. Blog Once a Week.
I am the first to admit that I’m a terrible blogger. Believe me, I take photos of every meal I make with the intention of blogging them later. Alas… later rarely comes. I get caught up in other things and later continues to be later. So, in 2014 I vow to blog once per week. Either on this blog or my book review blog.

6. Be More Consistent with the Kids.
Everyone says consistency is the key with kids but for me it’s hard. I am going to try to make a daily schedule that says at this time we do this, at this time we do that. Hopefully, with a little bit of time, the routine will be second nature for all parties involved. Right now the only thing I’m pretty consistent with is that as soon as The Big One gets home from school she has to do her homework.

7. Keep a Log of The Big One’s Puking.
OK, this is a weird one, I know, but hear me out. My daughter will be 7 this spring and for most of her life she’s been a puker. Long car ride? Puke. Upset that Mommy is going to the doctor? Puke. Excited to sleepover at a friends house? You guessed it. Puke.

My goal with this is to keep a detailed log of all of these incidents including how the weather was, what she had eaten, how she was feeling before she puked, etc. Try to find a way to get a handle on this. Already we’ve had two incidents – New Years Eve and today. I think today is probably a real case of the flu, but my guess was that New Years Eve was emotionally triggered, she was going to spend the night at Grandma’s house.

8. Yell Less, Talk it Out More.
I hate to admit it, but The Husband and I are both yellers. When we get to¬†that point, it’s just easier for us to let it all out and yell at the kids. I’m hoping that #1 will help me with this, getting more sleep and all, but it breaks my heart to know what this is doing to my children and being unable to stop myself.

I told The Big One that if Mommy or Daddy yell at her, she needs to tell us, “Please don’t yell” to remind us that this is not the right way. I also had her make a resolution to cry less and instead to take a deep breath and tell us why she’s upset instead of going right to tears. Her crying at the drop of a hat is probably our number one yell trigger, it usually begins with, “STOP CRYING OVER EVERY LITTLE THING!” But it’s a two way street. We’ve all got to make the effort to get this in check and I think we’ll all be happier for it.

So there you have it. My New Years Resolutions/Goals.

Have you made any resolutions for 2014? Have you stuck to your resolutions in the past? If so, what have you found to help you keep your resolutions?

Why I Love My Job

There have been very few jobs in my past where I could honestly say, “I love my job!”
Right now? I’m totally loving my job!

I actually don’t work just¬†one¬†job though. I have multiple jobs.

My first job is the hardest: Mom. I am the mother of two beautiful little girls. My 5 year old, Allison, drives me bananas with her constant, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” and whining and crying. But I love her, she can be the sweetest little girl in the world. The Little One aka Miranda, who just turned 10 months old last week is simply adorable. She’s gone from being “The Crying Baby” to “The Crawling Baby” and now she’s “The Standing Baby” and even took her first steps while we were on vacation last week! She has yet to repeat it more than once, but I’m so proud of her! Best of all, she can’t say, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” yet and whine – she does cry though at times.

My next job is my newest job: Sample Lady.
OK, the actual title is “Product Demonstrator” but let’s not kid ourselves, I’m a sample lady!!! When they schedule me I head on over to the Super Target and spend 5 hours offering samples. I love that it’s something new each day. My first day of work I got to give away candy! How popular can one person be? The next day was coconut water. I’m not a fan, but it was great asking our Target guests how they liked the coconut water and hearing the different responses. Even better was the looks on their faces as they took a sip!

My favorite job though, I have to say, is my¬†biggest¬†job. It’s the most work but I¬†thoroughly¬†enjoy it.
My mother owns the publishing company Melange Books and the Young Adult imprint Fire and Ice.
I am the web designer/webmaster. I am also head of the art department, so I’m in charge of both creating book covers and assigning covers to our other artists. I am also in charge of formatting each of our books for Amazon Kindle¬†– a¬†big job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

And lastly, my newest job: Web designer! I’ve done some web design in the past, previously for my mom’s author sites and, obviously, the book publishing sites. I got my start when I was very young and the internet was new to my home. I was probably 12 when I first started teaching myself HTML and have never stopped. I know there’s tons more to learn, but I’m eager for this challenge! (The extra money will be quite nice as well, with Allison started dance classes in September!!!)

I’m constantly crazy busy, but hopefully with cutting back on some of the time I spend on Facebook I’ll be able to hone some better time-management skills!

Garage Sale!

We’re having a garage sale right now to get rid of the TONS of baby clothes cluttering our house!!! Plus the baby accessories!!!

Today was day one. In¬†preparation¬†of the sale, I ended up staying up until about 5:15 am…. giving me 3 hours of sleep! I started crashing at about 6 PM and here it is now 1 AM and I still have not gone to bed, despite the fact that the sale continues at 9am and (TMI) I totally need a shower tomorrow morning! lol

Today was a good sale day though. Sold a lot of the bigger items, such as bouncer seats, Bumbo, playmat and a bassinet. Plus I finally got rid of some of my maternity pants! Woohoo! lol

OK. Time to hit the hay. No more excuses! (And really, what was I thinking finishing off that can of Diet Coke at 9 PM? It wasn’t even the Caffeine Free kind!!!!)

Oh yeah, I also sold a few of the hair bows I make (¬†https://www.facebook.com/EnchantingElegance¬†) and possibly have a new business prospect in my future. Not to mention, I met some “new” neighbors (I say new because I’ve never met them, even though I’ve lived here almost 3 years and they in their house for nearly 6 and are literally, across the street and like, 3 houses down!!! PLUS they have a 5 year old little girl who can become Allison’s new BFF!!!)

OK, but now really, I need to get to bed. The way I’m going The Husband is going to get home from work and murder me for still being up. (He’s bringing me home a McChicken since he ate the one I left in the fridge for today and told me if I’m still up when he gets home he’s not giving it to me!!! lol)

Is it Morning or Night? Why am I Wearing Jeans?

There’s that moment when you wake up from a nap, not realizing you fell asleep, and you’re not sure if it’s 11 am or 11 pm… and you’re wondering why you’re slept all night in your jeans…. and your arm is asleep from the child sleeping on it…. and then it occurs to you, you only rested your eyes “for a moment” and that turned into a 4 hour nap and you’ve just screwed yourself out of a decent nights sleep…. and that’s how you find yourself up at 1am watching a NOVA special on Extreme Cave Diving.

That’s my night so far. Oh, and The Husband is out of town until late Sunday, he’s on his annual guys weekend fishing trip, leaving me home alone with both girls. How does that work? I went through pregnancy, labor & delivery, and spend about 98% of my time with these kids, yet he gets the vacation? I demand a recount! Er…. or something…. Give me a break, it’s late! To be honest, one of the other guys on the fishing trip has a wife who is my good friend, we’ve been meaning to go get hour long massages (STILL not a weekend trip away from everything though!!!) but I keep forgetting to make the appointment. It’s all my fault. Meh….. I should get some sleep soon. And un-pause my NOVA special on Extreme Cave Diving so that it ends sometime tonight :p

 

Happy Easter and Ways to Earn Gift Cards and Prizes!

First of all, I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

The Husband and I took the girls to his aunt and uncles house to celebrate with his parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and cousin’s. Not a real big family, but it’s always fun. They set up a little egg hunt for the kids (our oldest, Allison, and The Husband’s cousins who are 10 – Madison- and 12 – Alex.) It’s always fun to watch them hunt. Allison, because she’s so young still, always has her items hidden in super easy places and she’s so oblivious! She stared RIGHT at a stuffed bunny about 3 times before we finally got her to notice it and grab it as one of her “prizes.” And The Husband’s cousins…. They had hidden iTunes gift cards for them. Madison’s was taped to the bottom of the kitchen counter. She didn’t think to look there. Alex’s was taped to the bottom of the TV stand. It took an extremely long time for them to find everything and it was¬†absolutely¬†hilarious!!! The first place they each looked was the inside of the pantry. Last year, Madison had an egg hidden in there – taped to the door! We all saw it but she didn’t. It was priceless watching her! I finally took pity and told her to “look up.”

So that was Easter.

On to other things!

First of all, I am a huge advocate of Swagbucks. What is Swagbucks¬†you may ask? Well, it is a website where you earn “Swagbucks” for your regular internet searches (just use their search engine,) for doing the daily poll, daily NOSO’s (No Obligation Special Offers), watching short videos, taking surveys, etc. It’s great! I usually earn at¬†least¬†$5 in Amazon.com gift cards each month! It sure takes the sting out of Christmas shopping when you’ve got those gift cards!!!

You can sign up for Swagbucks using the link on the side bar.

The¬†other¬†program I’ve found is Superpoints!

This one is similar. The more referrals you get, the more you win! It’s super easy – they send you an email pretty much daily with free points just for clicking the link in the email! And don’t forget the Super Lucky Button! Depending on your “level” you can click the button 5, 30, 50 or 100 times! You can get to 30 just by verifying your email and filling out your basic profile. You can also earn by watching videos. The points rack up fairly fast. With NO friends I managed to earn 76 points in just about a week, just by clicking the Super Lucky Button and getting those emails.
To put that into¬†perspective, a $5 gift cards for Amazon.com is only 500 points! I’m almost 1/5 of the way there! Add in some friends and I can earn in no time!

Sign up for Superpoints using the links on the side bar.

Help a girl out and go sign up for the above sites?

“Can you imagine finding out your parents aren’t really your parents?”

I’m currently watching an episode of “The Ghost Whisperer” on Netflix and they said something that got me thinking. They said “Can you imagine finding out that your parents aren’t really your parents?” to which the other replied “That was my dream as a teenager!” and the other agreed.

I want to know, is this something most people think as teenagers?

This is not something I ever wished at any point in my life. Sure, I had bouts of teen angst and anger at my parents, but I never wished I was adopted. (OK, I admit, there were times when I wished I was actually a long lost princess, but I never seriously wished I was adopted!)

I’m curious to know whether most teenagers think this way, or if I’m just unique because I have sisters who are adopted. Before I was born my parents could not have children so they adopted two girls from Korea before – Surprise! – they found out they were pregnant with me shortly before their second daughter arrived.

What are your thoughts?

Contest Queen

As of today I have dubbed myself The Contest Queen!

My friend Alyson over at Miss Free-Bee (also on Facebook Here) has got me hooked on Facebook contests!
She hosts a monthly give away on her blog, which got me started. She’s a part of my baby group (The September Snugglebugs!) on Facebook (we all have babies who were due in September 2011, we migrated from ivillage.com¬†and have been happily settled on a private Facebook group for some time now!) She was advertising for her blog contest on the group so I entered…. And I won!

The photo in my previous blog entry features a photo of Miranda wearing a purple/blue/pink tutu. I totally won that from Lopez Creations! Epicness!

Thanks to Alyson I am also¬†addicted¬†to an etsy shop called My Belle Boutique. She makes and sells beautiful personalized necklaces (and now bracelets!) Well, she was having a 50% off sale, where I snatched up 2 necklaces and a bracelet (one necklace and one bracelet were gifts!) and during that sale she¬†also¬†had a “share” contest. Every hour was another sale for the entire day. Each sale you “shared” on Facebook got you an entry in a drawing to win $30 store credit. Over 450 entries and who goes and wins? That’s right! Me! I ordered a bracelet for myself with the names and birthstones of my family ūüôā It will be very patriotic with my red “garnet” and Allison and The Husband with their “diamonds” and of course Miranda my little “sapphire!”

The first necklace I bought from My Belle Boutique. It features "diamonds" for Allison (born in April) and "sapphires" for Miranda (born in September) and features their full names. The photo does not do it justice!

Pretty lucky, right? OK, so then let’s add the fact that I just found out I won¬†another¬†contest!
This one was from Tracie’s Giveaway Finds and got me a “Mystery Prize Package” valued at $25 from Crystal’s Sweet¬†Imagination¬†Boutique. Her stuff is adorable! I’m so excited to find out what’s in my mystery package!!!!

So I figure I’m not going to win anything else for a while, until I happen to stumble onto another Facebook page where I’d entered to win a $25 Shutterfly Gift Card…. Yep, won that one, too! Now I can order some prints and start my girls’ scrapbooks thanks to Baby’s Inspired Creations!

I’ve got some other entries in place. Mostly in Alyson’s Miss Free-Bee “March Gift-A-Way” over on Facebook!
In less-than-awesome, non-contest related news, my poor little Allison came down with the stomach flu Sunday night. She spent all of yesterday and today puking. We couldn’t even get water or pedialite to stay down! In the end, in an act of desperation, I gave her a small amount of expressed breastmilk because breastmilk is so amazing “it can cure cancer!” (OK, it can’t really, but it does have amazing healing properties!) Sure enough, she was able to keep that down!!! Since then she’s had a little bit of bread and has been sipping at some apple juice and water. We’re hoping tomorrow she’ll be able to stomach some more “real” food. She’s afraid to eat because she thinks she’s going to throw up again. My poor baby!

Isn't this the most pathetic thing you've ever seen? She's passed out cold on the living room floor, eyes still half open. My brother used to sleep that way, too!

As for the baby, she’s doing great and has thankfully¬†not come down with the bug Allison has!
Tonight she enjoyed some “Squashacado” (aka Butternut Squash mixed with Avocado!) which she¬†loved¬†and giggled¬†every¬†time the spoon entered her mouth! She also had pear but really, the “Squashacado” was the highlight of her night!

Miranda loves to eat! Tonight she ate squash and avocado mixed together (Squashacado!)

Accent Quiz

I’m a sucker for online quizzes. I try to stop myself from taking them, but I can’t always.

I took this one today.

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: North Central

“North Central” is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw “Fargo” you probably didn’t think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Guess what? Born and raised in Minnesota. Been here 27 years.
It’s nice when these things are right every once in a while ūüôā
However, I have never been asked if I was Canadian. Someone thought I was from Boston once, but I believe he may have been slightly off his rocker ūüėČ

Oh, and I would¬†also like to point out that I sound¬†nothing like the characters from Fargo! (Well…. mostly!)