Saturday, October 30, 2010

You may be the next winner!!!

We had the opportunity to dress up for Halloween this year...and Matt put me in charge of coming up with a costume. (insert evil laugh). Like many things, I procrastinated until the day before - but happened to stumble upon and browsed some ideas.

My criteria:
An idea that would involve all 3 of us
Could be made with things we already had in the house
Wouldn't require either of us looking TOO ridiculous (we weren't sure how "into it" people would get with their costumes)

The explanation:
Matt is a part of the Publisher's Clearing House Prize Patrol. I am clearly the "frumpy-stay-at-home-mom-with-newborn-in-tow" who won! Complete with obligatory LARGE check, and balloon bouquet!

Cheap, easy, and relatively creative.
My kind of costume!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coming Soon

A sweet "how to" for a twist on the traditional carved pumpkin.

Pictures of our halloween costume.

Results of Rocktober's dessert contest.

Wait with baited breath.

Thank you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On a scale of 1 to precious...

This is off the charts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tree Love

The colors of this tree absolutely take my breath away during the fall.
When I lived in Marion it was a daily reminder of our AWESOME Creator.
It always made me smile, even though I knew the change in color meant a change in season.

Thank you Adela for sending the picture.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swallow my pride.

And my chili. Adapted from here

We didn't win. We weren't even close!

It wasn't as crushing as I thought it would be.
Actually, it was a great time with everyone from Matt's office.
And there were at least eight kinds of chili to try.

Note to self, for the next cookoff. DO NOT make 5 quarts of chili.
We already had at least 3 quarts frozen. We added at least 3 more!

Had it been a cutest baby contest, we would have one. Hands down.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The winning chili?

We're hoping!

Matt's office is hosting a chili cook off tonight. We are either going to come home with our heads held high or our tail between our legs...matt signed us up to bring the "winning chili".

This could be a severe blow to my pride.

We aren't competitive. At all. I promise.

On the recipe front, in two weeks our community group is having a desert contest. Any suggestions from my repertoire or yours?

And, any suggestions for large group meals that are inexpensive, yummy, and (now) most importantly easy to make whilst taking caring of Luke? What are your favorites?

Friday, October 15, 2010

30% off at Babies R Us

So...Lynette and I try not to shop at Babies R Us. Our customer service experiences there have been less than stellar - and their non-customer-friendly policies have soured us on the store. (Hint - they could learn something from Amazon here.) But, I'm still willing to take advantage of a good deal!

Here's a link for a printable (in-store only) coupon to save 30% on any clothing purchase (valid through 10/24/2010).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The growing chair

Hey everyone!
I'm 4 weeks old today...and mommy took a picture of me in our big chair. Hopefully she'll remember to take a picture of me every month so you can see how much I'm growing!

Sales Associates

We spent most of the summer figuring out ways to not be at our temporary housing (it was GROSS!). We spent lots of time shopping, err, researching. One Saturday we drove over to Tulsa, and were at a "will remain nameless" box store baby store looking at car seats. After tracking down two sales associates to ask a question about a specific car seat, and sensing the following things: a) they had no idea what they were talking about, or b) they didn't want to take the time to answer our question - hard to tell if that was because they were on their way to break or because it's hard to spend time with a customer when you don't know the answer to their question. We left. As we walked to our car, we noticed another employee getting into their car that was parked in the closest spot to the store. Box Store FAIL. This was after another fail; not being allowed to return something because it was day 91, and they have a 90 day return policy. Great. You just ticked off a pregnant woman and her husband, who WILL BE spending EXORBITANT amounts of money on baby stuff in the future...not at your store. Thus our quest to find small "baby boutique" type shops, with smaller inventory, and typically staffed with part time moms who have used a large variety of the products they are selling.

The first staff mom at the first boutique answered ALL of our questions about a particular brand's entire line of car seats and strollers. And at boutique number 2, staff mom spent lots of time helping us find a stroller that would a) fit both Matt and I with a 12 inch height difference, and b) answered a ton of questions about cloth diapers, and that store didn't even sell cloth diapers! She also threw away my banana peel that I left laying on a high chair. Don't judge. There was not a trash can inside or outside of the store and I couldn't find the bathroom, and I was tired of caring it around.

What have we learned in this process?
We will avoid the box store, except for price comparing.
We LOVE Amazon. (They have a 1 year return policy on baby stuff, and they pay for shipping.)
Other stores like TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory also have large selections of baby stuff. Like all of their inventory, you never know what you are going to find. However, it's CHEAP. We found a changing pad for almost 1/3 what we paid online. And our new one is even heated (seriously?).

Luke is clearly happy about the heated changing pad.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bummin' around.

As promised, Luke's adorable little bum in a Bum Genius 4.0
(and a family pic! note: Lynette is wearing NORMAL jeans!!!)

And mommy's review: So far they are stellar!
We were able to wait until BG released version 4.0 this summer - which basically means, their pocket diaper with snaps (instead of just the velcro option). After talking to numerous friends, almost any mom that I ran into who's kid was wearing cloth diapers, any sales associate at a "nice" baby boutique (more on that later), and hours spent online researching user reviews - we made our decision!

My biggest concern was if they would fit baby's little bum as a newborn, obviously depending on how big our little nugget ended up being. This was about the only area where I was hoping that my experience would be similar to my sister's first born, 9 lbs, 15 oz - and my sister is tiny - I think she finally broke the 5 ft mark at twenty-something :) With that, we did commandeer two extra packages of newborn disposables before we left the hospital go get us through the gross newborn poo phase...Not to say that any poo isn't gross, but there are definitely levels of grossness. So at 7 lbs. 9 oz. we started using our BGs on Luke. I think the only "measurement" I can give you that I'm rating their success is that we've only experienced two minor blowouts. I think that's good. I'm going to believe it is. We are cheating and using the larger absorbent insert, instead of the newborn size. It just adds to the magnormous size of his already "due to cloth diapers" large bum. But it's so cute for your twenty something (days) to have a big bum! (If I may suggest a musical selection for this post, "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot).

On a side note, Matt and I learned something about ourselves recently. It seems that "to cloth diaper or not" is a relatively popular conversation among new parents these days, and for good reasons; sustainability, cost effectiveness, absence of chemicals on your baby's bum, etc. For us, there wasn't really a conversation or discussion. We made our decision (having both been cloth diapered) and that was it. Well, apparently someone recently said to Matt something to the effect of, "I wonder how long that decision will last." Matt's gut reaction was, "there is no other option". Which while discussing this conversation, we realized when we make our minds up about something, we don't change them.

Along with our cloth diapers, cloth wipes. My train of thought in regards to cloth wipes went something like this: make my own with paper towels and a solution mix that I found online > instead of using paper towels use flannel cut down to size with a solution > why waste the time cutting flannel down to size, just buy some cheap wash cloths and use the solution > buy microfiber cloths at Sam's Club, cut them down to size and just use water. It works great. And we are really glad we went with microfiber because the BG inserts are microfiber, so we can wash everything in the same load of laundry. Why did I decide against some kind of solution? I think every solution recipe I found had some sort of oil in it. Good or bad, I don't know, but after reading the cottonbabies website (the BG parent company), I decided against a solution because of the oil. I don't want to introduce anything to our BGs that might compromise their absorbancy. And I don't shower with oil, so I don't think I need to wash Luke's bum with oil. Just a thought. And one last reason for cloth wipes...I don't know how you change a diaper, but I put the wipes in the diaper, and fold it up to dispose of it. NOT a good method if you don't want to wash your disposable wipes with our ultra-fancy cloth diapers. Our method ensures that I won't be picking nasty disposable wipe residue out of my lint trap.

For you moms out there, what were your reasons for choosing cloth diapers?
For you future moms, hopefully this post gives you some helpful hints or tips for what may be in your future!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fallish festivals and hiking

We think fall has finally arrived in Arkansas. I am THRILLED! To sum it up, I heard the other day that this summer, the average temperature here was over 90 degrees for 100+ days. And I was pregnant. Needless to say - I'm beyond ecstatic that the heat is gone, Luke is here, my ankles are back, my chacos fit again, and we don't DREAD being outside, or break a sweat just thinking about it. With fall, there are lots of "fallish" things happening - apple festivals, motorcycle runs (Fayetteville's Bikes, Blues, and BBQ was this weekend - supposably bringing in 400,000 bikers), football (we live 30 minutes from the University of Arkansas - so much for knowing what's happening with the Big 10, I'm forced to be an SEC follower down here), and leaves just starting to change. So this weekend we had our first family outing, besides the quintessential "first trips" to none other than Sam's Club and Lowe's for Luke.

On Saturday the weather was perfect. A slight chill in the air, a nice breeze, and wonderfully sunny. We heard there was an apple festival in nearby Lincoln, Arkansas and decided to check it out. Maybe we got there too late, or it wasn't much to start with, but the apple festival was a little underwhelming. The typical craft booths, carnival food wagons, and apples. Well, we think there were apples. We saw remnants of the "free apple slices"...but that was it. There were some antique tractors though, so in honor of the Bowsher side of the family, specifically Grandpa Bowsher, Luke's first picture with a John Deere.

Thankfully, there is a lake near Lincoln, Lincoln Lake. We checked out the trail map, and decided on the 1 mile loop. Don't want to overdue it, and get reprimanded by the doctor on Wednesday. Well...let's just say, I missed a trail marker. Oops. Not a big deal really. We probably ended up hiking 2 1/2ish miles...(based on my stop watch anyway)...and we made it to this really great overlook! Well worth the extra time, and it felt SO GOOD (really better than words) to be outside, and walking, in the woods, at an almost normal pace!

This was also Luke's first experience in the front loading backpack. He's made for this stuff. He slept the entire time!
(If you look closely in the picture, you can see his bright green Bum Genius 4.0 - cloth diaper - peeking out. our opinion of our BGs to come - but so far we LOVE LOVE LOVE them! And they are SO CUTE!)

Lastly, Matt bought me the "fruit and vegetable strainer" for my KitchenAid last year for Christmas - primarily for applesauce making! Let's just say - I don't know how you live without it (if you plan on making applesauce). It took most of last Saturday, but Matt and his mom polished off a bushel of apples. That little gadget makes the process SO easy...and thanks to Justin and Kristi for a little advice on how to use it. They are professionals when it comes to the fruit and vegetable strainer. Has anyone ever used the fruit and vegetable strainer for other things? (maybe tomato sauce?)

And that applesauce is SO DELICIOUS, reminds me of my grandmas, why would you ever buy store-bought applesauce, we should think about freezing another bushel but we don't have enough freezer space left, DELICIOUS!

What are some of your favorite "fallish" things?