Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Catch the moment: Week 10

Nurse Loves Farmer

 The girls were sick for most of my parents visit. It was so sad to see the runny noses, coughs and tired eyes. It was such a breakthrough when Ruby learned how to cough and stay asleep. Poor thing.
 A new addition to my husband's vintage BMW "collection." He loves the e34 body style and this gem came across our laps and we just couldn't say no to her. This is a 1971 BMW 2800csa.
 As all birthday parties go, mama was too busy being hostess to stop and take pictures of the event. This is my favorite picture from our dinosaur-fairy birthday party. 
 Another peek for what is to come! These girls sure love the sunshine.
 A week after my big girl turned 3, my little baby turned 1. What a blessing she has been to me!
 The turn in the weather has gotten us outside more and with the ground being relatively dry Ruby gets more opportunities to stand outside. Let's just say that she was not entirely ok with it at first! I can't blame her, she's been up in the air for the last 12 months and suddenly it's ok to be on the ground?! What?! 
In lieu of toys for birthday presents, we asked for experiences, projects or outings. The DIY birdhouse was a hit!

Catch up on previous weeks: 
Follow along on Instagram daily!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Catch the moment: Week 9

Nurse Loves Farmer
Continued catch up! One picture a day for a year.

 My big girl had her first dentist visit. I waited until she was (almost) 3 years old because she's generally not comfortable in new situations and I wanted it to be a good experience for her. Here's the full story and how to prepare for your toddler's first dentist visit.
 My parents have been living in Germany 7 months and they came for a 2 1/2 week visit. Penny was simply over the moon.

 This sunny day called for celebration with cupcakes!
 I don't craft too often, but with Penny's request for a dinosaur-fairy themed birthday party, I got started on her special banner.
 A big perk about your parents staying at your place for 2 1/2 weeks.. free babysitting and extra date nights! Woo hoo!
 The next step in the dinosaur-fairy birthday banner.
And there it is hung! Just a few more days until the party...

Catch up on previous weeks: 
Follow along on Instagram daily!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Pierogie Babies: Birthday Month! Age 3 and 1

The girls were born 2 years and a week apart in March. It was awfully convenient to be pregnant at the same time because I didn't have to change anything about my maternity wardrobe! I thought that I'd luck out and get to pass on all of Penny's clothes to Ruby, but no such luck. Miss Ruby grows more quickly than Penny did; in fact there are many outfits that they share currently. But the silver lining is that it definitely cuts down on dresser space to not have to have two entirely separate sets of clothes for them!For as different in size they are, their differences in personality are also becoming more evident.

Over the last year we've learned that Penny is very much a little version of my husband, Adam. She has the same complexion, his eyes and definitely his love for sleeping in. She has a very analytical mind and I could see an interest in STEM in her future.

When she was 2 years old she was still very much into all things Elmo. Since then she's moved on to being deeply in love with the princesses. Frozen was the thing in our house for a large part of the year, but her big cousin Ella expanded her horizons (and showed her how fun dress up is) so now she has equal love for the different Disney gals. Closer to her third birthday she started watching the show Dinosaur Train and has quickly learned over two dozen different dinosaur species and is really good at pronouncing the 4-5 syllable names (Argentinasaurus, deinosuchus, troodon, pteranadon, just to name a few). This is what sparked her inspiration for a dinosaur-fairy themed birthday party.

Much of this year was spent at home, keeping quiet and getting a handle on having two kids. We have had many adventures with cousins, friends and have worked on making sure she gets a good social outlet with kids her age too. In this next year I'm looking forward to getting more time to sitting down and doing "school work" with her, because that's definitely slid to the backburner.

She also had her very first hair cut, her bangs were just too far down into her face so I gave them a little trim. If you've seen pictures of Penny through the months, you'll know that this girl took a long time growing these precious hairs. She also potty trained at 30 months.

Some of my favorite Penny posts:

Miss Ruby is definitely going to give me a run for my money. She's definitely a trouble maker! She loves opening drawers, figuring out what's inside, manipulating objects and God help us if she doesn't get her way! For the last couple weeks she's been waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to bonk my head or push her head into my face really hard. I'm not sure why, perhaps it's teething, but when I gently tell her no.. she gets really upset! And she never cries at night! Then there's also the cute-but-not-so-cute times where she flops onto the floor and throws a mini tantrum. Those quickly pass and she's back to her bright-eyed-happy self.

My coping mechanism for transitioning to two kids this year has been mainly that Penny leads what activities we do for the day and Ruby is along for the ride (literally, babywearing has saved my life). Now that she is standing, walking with assistance and taking those precious first steps, Ruby is getting a say in what we do too. Now that spring is here we've been outside more often and she has gotten to be on the ground and she is really not entirely ok with this. I can't say that I blame her, for her entire life until this point she's always been up and away. Now I'm encouraging her to get dirty, play in the bark and dirt, touch the grass and feel all the textures. It's taking some getting used to.

She truly adores her older sister. When she wakes up from her nap, the first person she seems to look for is her. If she wakes up first, I take her to crawl into Penny's room and Ruby always exclaims with such glee when she discovers Penny within the sheets. They both play together (I caught them conspiring not too long ago) and even have those typical sister battles over the same doll or book.

Words are coming along, she's still sticking to "mama," "dada," "Nee-nee" (Penny), "this this" (when she points to something)"tickle tickle"and we're working on "book" and discovering body parts (she is very proud of knowing where other people's noses are). It seems that at the moment she is somewhat afraid of the water, there's some nights where she's really against going in the bath tub and during a recent visit to the pool she was really quite scared.

Some of my favorite Ruby posts:

Catch the moment: Week 8

Nurse Loves Farmer

Well, the last time I checked in was on Week 7. EEP! Well, the last 5 weeks have been filled with birthday party prep, a visit from my parents and then the recovery phase. HA! So now that life is back in order, I have finally caught up on my daily photo and am going to share these as I can.

 I love taking pictures of my kids sleeping. Sometimes it's super sweet, other times just plain hilarious. I always go in to kiss Penny one more time before going to bed and this is how I found her.
 The following morning, her sister was found sleeping like this.
 My baby is scooting along furniture now!
We pass the world renowned Skagit Tulip Fields on the way to my in-laws. The daffodils are early this year!

 According to Penny, Olaf was cold. "He needed a warm hug!"
Training this girl that hats are important! We took a walk outside for the first time in months where I wasn't chilled.

This morning called for a huge cup of coffee. And I mean effing huge. Poor Ruby is teething, zero teeth at 11 1/2 months, but she's slept for 10-15 min at a time for the last 2 nights. Times like these I am thankful for bedsharing, because at least I'm not up and walking to a nursery. I'm also much more thankful for the blessed hot cup that awaits me the following morning. We will push through, the teeth will come and my baby won't be uncomfortable any longer. Here's hoping for a new night.

Catch up on previous weeks: 
Follow along on Instagram daily!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Saving Money & Time on Children's Clothing with Just Between Friends

According to Baby Center, children's clothes can cost on average $20-50 per month. Isn't that incredible? I don't know about you, but $480-$1200 in just clothes in the first two years is not in my budget!

Luckily I am a deal hound and have zero qualms about buying used children's clothes, toys and accessories. Let's face it, most of the clothes that our children wear will not be used for a very long because kids grow so quickly! I love to shop around to find the best deals and I've found be best bargains and quality of used children's items at Just Between Friends sales.

Just Between Friends is a nationwide consignment sales event that features children and maternity clothes and gear. Each event is a local franchise and the items that are consigned come from families in the area. In the last 3 years that I've been shopping at these events I've spent less than $1,000 on clothes and toys for both of my girls! Because the wide range of sizes are available at these sales I am able to shop ahead for what I'll be needing in the near future - so I'm also saving a lot of time by having it all available in one spot!

The JBF consignment sales events focuses on selling items that are in great shape and are gently used. This round of sales will be my third time consigning and they really do a great job in picking out the clothes that are in the best quality. Stains on kids clothes is a part of life, but at least you can rest assured that when you buy them at a JBF sale, they'll be almost brand new.
I count myself as lucky because even though there are 9 locations for JBF sales in the Seattle area, the one closest to home right in my town at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, WA.
For the general public, these are the days and times you can shop for the JBF Everett Spring Sale:

Wednesday April 15, 2015
4p-7p PRIME TIME SHOPPING $15 Buy Tickets
5p-7p PreSale for First Time Parents/Grandparents, Expectant Moms, Foster/Military Parents & Teachers Get a Free Admit Pass

Thursday April 16, 2015
11a-7p Early & Free Entry with donation of NEW Socks/Underwear (size 4T to Teen) to our Charity DriveDonations accepted throughout event.
12p-7p Public Sale Day 1, $2 Admission Fee or Get a Free Admit Pass

Friday April 17, 2015

10a-6p Public Sale Day 2, NEW ITEMS have arrived, FREE Admission 

Saturday April 18, 2015
9a-5p Public Sale Day 3, FREE Admission

530p-7p HALF PRICE EARLY BIRD SHOPPING $2 Open to Public, items w/o a star are 50% OFF: Buy Tickets

Sunday April 19, 2015
8a-1p Half Price Public Sale, FREE Admission 

Plus, if you consign or volunteer there are several time slots that will get you shopping before the general public times, so I highly encourage you to learn more about how to consign with JBF. Also, if you have never shopped at a JBF event before, here are tips on how to shop at JBF.

JBF Everett and I have put together 4 fabulous prize packs that 4 Pierogie Mama readers will get to win!

Winner 1: Prime Time Shopping Pass (good for April 15, 4p-7p) + $10 JBF Bucks
Winner 2: Prime Time Shopping Pass (good for April 15, 4p-7p) + $10 JBF Bucks
Winner 3: PreSale Pass (good for April 15, 5p-7p) + $5 JBF Bucks
Winner 4:  PreSale Pass (good for April 15, 5p-7p) + $5 JBF Bucks
(JBF Bucks are good only for the JBF Everett Spring 2015 Event)

What are you looking for at the next JBF sale?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Just Between Friends of Everett. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Springing into Spring with a Carter's Coupon!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Well it's finally hit an average of over 50 degrees in Washington and I've started to cycle out our winter clothes and am opting for layering and lighter fabrics. We needed some spring sprucing of our wardrobes so I called my good friend Ann to come shopping at Carter's with me and we met up for a mamas-daughters date and met up at the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall in Tulalip Wa.

Our three year old daughters ran up and down the sidewalks in the outdoor outlet mall while Ann and I caught up. We live less than an hour apart from each other but life gets in the way and we just hadn't had a good in depth catch up in almost a year. So while the girls ran and oogled through windows we strolled, sipped our Starbucks and dished on the trenches of motherhood and how our families were doing.

And then we walked by the Disney Store without realizing it and were of course obligated to go inside and see what was there.

So after that whole mess we made our way over to Carter's, where the clothes were ahem reasonably priced and perfect for everyday wear!

I'm a big fan of Carter's but I haven't actually been to a real Carter's store before. You can find their collections at other big box stores and because they last so long they make great handmedowns. I was impressed with the great deals at this store! Plus, there were a ton of designs that I hadn't seen locally yet.

Penny is at the age where she is terribly picky about her clothes. I swear, she wore the same Frozen shirt for a week and I was only able to steal it away long enough to wash it. So this was the first time where I followed her around and listened to her talk about which outfits she really liked.
When it was all said and done, we walked out with a bag full of deals that will last both girls through the spring and as it warms up for summer.

Thank the Lord, there wasn't a fight about getting to wear said Frozen shirt to MOPS this morning - she chose one of her new Carter's dresses instead!

You'll find these deals and more at Carter's:

Tees and Shorts Doorbuster Sale lasts from March 11 – March 25
Easter dress up for boys and girls 
Swim suits are here!

Bring this coupon when you shop!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pasta Alfredo with Ham and Asparagus

This has been one of my favorite dinners to serve lately! My sister in law made a similar dish for us a few months ago and since then I've been totally craving it.

You'll need:
1 lb of your favorite dried pasta. Trotolle is my favorite for this dish!
2 cups of diced ham
1 bundle of asparagus
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper

1. Wash the asparagus and cut off the woody ends. Cut the remainder of the stalk into 2" sections.
2. Boil the pasta according to the directions. In the last 2 minutes, toss the asparagus into the pot and allow it to blanche with the pasta. Strain the pasta and asparagus when the pasta is al dente. Give it a quick rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
3. While boiling the pasta, give your diced ham a quick pan fry to give it a caramelized finish.
4. Heat a pan and gently melt the 1/2 stick of butter. Don't heat it enough to separate the butter, just for it to be slightly melted.
5. On medium heat, slowly pour in 2 cups of heavy cream and continually stir until the cream starts to barely bubble. Add the Parmesan cheese and continue to stir as it thickens. Keep control of the heat; if it gets too hot the butter will separate and you'll get a greasy versus creamy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Once the sauce reaches the process consistency, turn off the pan and combine all of your ingredients.

Buon appetito!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Babywearing at the pool (Beachfront Baby Carriers Review)

One of the biggest obstacles that I've tackled in this past year with having two kids is simply how do I manage both of them while getting on with our lives. With a toddler and an infant, you've got two ends of the spectrum. The toddler wants to be out and free and the infant wants to stay close. Carrying around a heavy carseat or keeping a child on the hip just doesn't jive with my lifestyle, so hands down baby wearing has saved me and my sanity countless times! I really am not sure how I would have gotten anything done if it weren't for the ability to simply strap one (or both!) to me.

Back in October the girls and I piggybacked on Adam's work trip to Long Beach and we were so excited to break up the PNW rain with a few days at the hotel pool. I was a little anxious because it would just be the girls and I during the day and I didn't want that to stop us from playing in the pool. Keeping Ruby on my hip and trying to have free hands to help Penny in the water just wasn't going to cut it. Little Ruby is worn at home all the time, but all of my carriers are made of heavy material. I wouldn't be able to get in and out of the water without gaining 20 pounds of soaked material and it wouldn't dry quickly so poor Ruby be would be cold, even if the weather was warm.

I got the opportunity to try the Beachfront Baby Carriers ring sling and since then this mama is 100% water ready with my two sweeties! Beachfront Baby Carriers offer water compatible baby wearing wraps and ring slings. The material is polyester jersey mesh (think men's gym shorts) so it is very light weight, dries quickly and isn't too stretchy. Because of the holes in the fabric it's also great for hot weather (not like I will get that much of it around here!).

I preferred a ring sling over a wrap because both of my kids like to be carried on the hip and this was a great way to introduce Ruby to swimming in water. She loves the bath but recently has been a little overwhelmed by the pool. I'm thinking it's because of the sounds of rushing water and kids having fun along with unexpected splashes. So keeping her close to me and letting her feel secure with mama allowed me to continue being attentive to Penny and ready in case she needed an extra hand.

Our town has an amazing aquatic center that has a zero entry children's splash pad. Penny has been there many times for swim lessons and just to have fun, but we hadn't taken Ruby into the water yet because we weren't sure if she could stay warm enough. This past weekend she got her first in-water experience and I used wore her in my ring sling so that I could get off the pool deck and into the water with my family. 

Poor little Ruby was pretty overwhelmed with the loud noises of rushing water, kids and music. As long as I kept her close to me, she was pretty settled but still was startled if a kid jumped into the water by us and caused waves or splashes. We tried to let her out of the sling so that we could bounce her in the water or show her that the pool is really just an extremely large version of the bath tub...but all she really wanted to do was be close to mama or daddy. That's totally fine because in her high little perch she was able to see what was going on, take it in and I was able to still play with Penny. 

Over the winter we also got hit with the nasty "crud" that just wouldn't go away. We had coughs, runny noses and no sleep for weeks. I made it part of my morning routine to take showers with the girls; allowing Penny to play on the floor in the tub and I wore Ruby in my Beachfront Baby ring sling. All three of us benefited from the steam in the shower and it helped break up the congestion naturally. Both of my girls ask for extra snuggles and babywearing while they are sick, so this was perfect!

Pretty snazzy, isn't it? I was approached by several moms poolside asking me about it and they were ready to order!

Do you babywear at the pool?

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 
Please see giveaway details for restrictions.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

That Time You Needed a Pause Button

One morning I cooked a spectacular breakfast. I mean spectacular. Diced ham, farm fresh eggs from our chickens, perfectly toasted toast (if I do say so myself) and homemade jam. It was all laid out on a totally clean, no smears table and presented to the toddler using her favorite Frozen plate with coordinating princess silverware. It was almost pinterest worthy. But she accidentally bumped the plate, flipping it onto the floor. Squirt, the dog, scarfs it down. Meanwhile Ruby is not happy in her high chair so my normally quiet cup of coffee + blog catch up time is now moot.

Later that day we were getting ready to go to the grocery store. This involves getting everyone dressed in a new outfit because our "at home clothes" are always smeared with food, boogers, bits of playdoh or glitter. I typically dress myself last because you know that in the wages of war against stains and spit up, mom always gets something on herself; especially in the couple moments after she changes. So I get the toddler dressed. Move on to little sister. Meanwhile, the toddler has decided that this particular skirt just does not suit her fancy today. She unloads a dresser drawer looking for the perfect one. Meanwhile, little sis is quite happily crawling around nekkid because I had to stop mid-diaper change to help big sis. The toddler is satisfied with her completely new outfit choice, I go back to little sis and find her unloading a different drawer. Quite happily still nekkid. The dog has taken residence on the bed, which he knows he is not allowed to do.

Imagine me standing there with a "seriously? come on!" look on my face. That moment I wish that I could just reach for that imaginary pause button and pray for a couple seconds of peace where I can collect myself. Sure, in the grand scheme of things an unloaded dresser, food on the floor and a nekkid baby crawling around is not a big deal. In hind sight, it's hilarious. But in the moment...it's really not funny or cute or adorable and I rarely want to stop and relish in the moment because it will pass all too soon. These moments happen daily and typically in the least convenient of times.

Moms, this has been the epitome of my last year. Ruby is now a year old and Penny is three. This year has alternated between the pure joy of having two perfect children versus waiting for the storm to pass where they can play well together and I am out of this sleep deprived, energy lost haze.

In those moments where I really think I'm going to blow my top and certainly very unfairly unleash my frustrations, I think I've found the real life "pause button." It's called a RESCUE Pastille. I've been using RESCUE products for several years, starting with RESCUE Remedy when I knew something stressful would be coming up (like a big meeting with my bosses when I worked). It would chill me out, but not drug me, and once I set aside those nervous butterflies I regained my normal confidence and I would move on as normal. Nowadays I don't always have the time to grab a glass of water to sip on as I calmly meditate the next events, so I keep the pastilles on hand (in the center console of my car, in my diaper bag, stashed away in my jacket pockets...) so that whenever that crazy unorganized moment does happen, I can at least try to wash away those nerves and still move forward with whatever I was doing.

RESCUE products are homeopathic remedies which help you stress less and calm down. You can find them anywhere you find natural products, including CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, or Sprouts. So grab this BOGO coupon and tell me about "that time when ...". You know that you've got some good ones to share!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls 
and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2015: Grow With Me Boutique

I am so excited to share this exciting event with my local ladies! If you are in the Seattle or North South area check this out!

Have you heard of the Great Cloth Diaper Change? It's an event curated by the Real Diaper Association and it is in it's 5th year! It is an annual Guinness World Record attempt (and broken each time!) where the goal is to get as many cloth diapers changed simultaneously Hosts have registered around the world provide a Guinness qualified location where participants can be a part of an amazing record breaking attempt. Penny and I have participated twice, in 2012 and 2013. In those years the records were 8,251 and 8,301 diapers changed (respectively). Last year there wasn't a location within driving distance to us, but this year I have partnered with Grow With Me Boutique in Monroe, WA to host for our local area families!

The goal of the GCDC is to raise awareness of cloth diapering in our local communities. Cloth diapers has certainly become a buzz word and may be viewed as "the cool thing to do." While cloth diapering certainly has created it's own community of parents, there is a vast price range of cloth diapers that can make diapering affordable for every family. I had two children in diapers for a 10 month period, and my oldest officially potty trained at 31 months. I can't imagine the cost that many families pay to diaper their children for that period of time. I was so thankful to have learned about cloth diapering, find resources and grow a stash that fits my budget and comfort level. Read more about all my cloth diapering tips and journey.

Cloth diapering is cool, but the biggest perk is truly the cost savings. A standard cloth diaper stash that will last from birth to potty training and washing every 3 days is typically in the $250-300 range. But cloth diapering doesn't have to be an all or nothing change. It can be a diaper a day or only at home. Any amount of cloth diapering that you do will save you money, all that changes is how quickly you will break that initial investment cost. 

So if you're in my neck of the woods, head out to Monroe and change your baby's diaper at Grow With Me Boutique on April 18, 2015 at 10:30a.

Grow With Me Boutique and I have already gotten a ton of fluffy prizes for those who attend!  Keep up with all the details by joining the facebook event:

GCDC @ Grow With Me Boutique

and most importantly reserve your free ticket now! Space is limited and you will need to pre-register in order to participate in the event. We will be doing a prize drawing before the actual change so be sure that you are there at 10:30a! But don't worry, there will be special sales and other goodies following the event!

Have you participated in the Great Cloth Diaper Change?

These are the rules laid down by the GCDC for all eligible participants and locations:

• Each location must have a minimum of 25 participants (each participant must be 18 years of age, or older). You must bring a partner to help witness your changing buy taking photographic evidence.
• Baby being diapered must be 39” tall or shorter.
• The clean diaper must be 100% reusable and commercially available.
• The event location must be accessible to the public.
• The diaper change must take place in an area that is only accessible to the participants, the babies being diapered and the witnesses. This area must have a closely monitored, and clearly defined, entrance and exit.
• The The Great Cloth Diaper Change must take place promptly at 11:00am, local time. 
• Photographic documentation of the event is required, and all photographs submitted as evidence become the property of Guinness. 


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