Sunday, December 21, 2008

6 month check-up and update on Vance

This post is mainly for family since it's all about Vance's growth and development.

Vance turned 6 months old this week. Jeremy took him to the doctor since I wasn't feeling great and don't enjoy watching him get shots anyway. The doc said he's doing well. He is growing like crazy. You will see from his stats that he is huge in every sense of the word.

Height- 29 1/2 inches (more than 97th percentile- actually off the charts)
Weight- 19 lb. 9 oz. (75th-90th percentile)
Head - Huge! (90th percentile)

Vance is developing a personality and is always smiling or laughing! I did just discover one fear he has though- the hairdryer. A few minutes ago I took him into the room with me, so that I could dry my hair. I always do this when he's asleep, so I had no idea what was about to happen. I have NEVER heard him cry that much. He almost screamed as soon as I turned it on and was fine when I would turn it off. Samuel was never afraid of the hairdryer, so this is news to me!

Vance is doing well in physical therapy for torticollis. He's made a lot of progress in the past 2 months- Thank you Jesus and Cheryl Miller.

Vance is now sleeping on his back instead of on the pillow. This was a tough weaning process, but it was well worth it. Now he has more freedom to move when he sleeps, and we don't have to lug the pillow to the grandparents' houses. He seems happier on his back too. Speaking of sleep, Vance is sleeping a lot better during the day and at night (knock on wood). He hit 6 months and decided it was time to sleep. (Mommy also decided it was time for him to cry it out some, which helped.) He still has to figure out how to sleep past 5:30, but that seems minor to me compared to the way it used to be. Thankfully, he will go back to sleep on my chest or beside me until about 7AM. Considering he goes to bed before 8PM , I don't blame him for not wanting to sleep in...

You may be wondering how the reflux is. We have been seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist named Seth Marcus. He is a great doctor and is a good listener too. We will begin to wean Vance from the Prevacid in the next week or so. The doctor says that only 50% of babies need the medicine after 6 months, so he tends to wean a baby to see if they are fine without it. We could start the weaning process today, but I want to make it through our trip to the in-laws without risking the weaning not going so well. We will begin the process when we return and see how it goes. We are praying to be done with the medicine shortly. Just think- we are free from the reflux pillow and soon could be medicine free too. God is good!

Lastly, Vance is enjoying solids- He prefers sweet potatoes, pears, and peaches to squash and mixed veggies. I guess he is just like his mommy then... He is eating 3 meals a day of solids. Once he reaches 9 months, the gastro says that he can eat more than a few ounces at a time. He probably won't be complaining about that. Now that Vance is eating solids, he is drinking less formula. I think he will slim down some because of it and also once he starts crawling he will lose a little of his weight.

I almost forgot to say that Vance is talking more now. I heard him say "da" the other day, so I expect to hear "dada" in the next couple of months. Samuel was 8 months old when he said "dada", but that doesn't mean Vance will say it by then. We shall see.

sweet brothers!

I think YouData found the ad for me.

I've been doing YouData for several months and have yet to buy anything from the websites the ads have sent me to until today. I might have found something that's affordable and appealing. It's called The Full Attic, and it's a new and gently used children's clothing store. After doing eBay for years, they ventured out to form this business. I think they might be on to something that I should have thought of! I've already found things I would like to buy for the boys. Maybe you will like it too. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Polka Dot Christmas Ornaments

Ok. I've said that I'm not crafty, but I think I can do this. They are very cute polka dot Christmas ornaments. Check it out!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Learning Booklet for Toddlers

I am enjoying this blog. (Thanks, Valerie, for the link in a comment you left me.) Today there is a great Christmas booklet you can print to teach your toddler colors, numbers, alphabet, shapes, and early reading. Look here.

While you're getting ideas from that creative blog, you might think to pray for her husband. He had surgery yesterday to remove possible cancerous lymph nodes from his abdomen. I know she would appreciate your prayers!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas craft

It's been awhile since I've posted. I've got a lot of catching up to do, but we shall see if I find the time to do it. For now, I just wanted to give you a link to a fun craft for Christmas. It's a Rudolf. I'm going to try it soon. :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Very Easy Way to Make Money

Ok. I am not talking big bucks, but I have used the money I make on You Data to buy gift certificates. (I made $2.61 in the last 2 days, which will buy me one gift certificate at the 80% off price.)

YouData is about reading ads. I filled out a profile on that tells them what kinds of things I am interested in. You Data is now loaded on my computer, and I just log everyday or once a week for a minute or less to see if new ads are available for viewing. So easy... You don't have to download anything on your computer though if you don't want to; just log into YouData to read the ads. They post ads for your viewing and with a click you are sent to websites. Since it's based on your interests, you might actually end up enjoying the websites. I know I have.

A few clicks a day (or week if you prefer), and you earn money. Each Friday they deposit the money into your PayPal account. One week I made over $5. Not bad for a few clicks.

To learn more, go here.

2nd chance

If you didn't watch Come What May, it turns out that you still have a chance to watch it. Go here, and enjoy! This is a great movie, and even better, it's in segments. It's not often that clean movies come out, so I am always excited when I find one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

80% off at through 11/20

And now for my 3rd and last post of the day-

Today through Thursday, November 20th, get 80% off your order with discount code SURPRISE.

If you've never used this website before, try it out. Make sure you read the restrictions though. Most every restaurant requires a $35 order before you can subtract the gift certificate. That would make it $10 plus tip if you buy the $25 gift certificate. It's a deal for good food!

Chili and cornbread for chilly days

This is my 2nd post of the day.

I just love good chili and cornbread when it's cold like it is today. I thought I would share my recipes with you.

First of all, the chili is so easy. I found a recipe on the back of a Bush's bean can one day when I was in Wal-mart, but I adapted it to make it easier for me. You could add onion and pepper if you like. I just prefer not to hassle with it.


Brown 1 lb. ground beef and drain. Pour it into a large pot and add the following ingredients: 1 chili seasoning mix package (I use mild), 1 can corn (drained), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, 1 can dark red kidney beans (I only use one can, but you could use two), and 1 cup of water. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!!!


The cornbread is a recipe I got from All Recipes. It's called Homesteader Cornbread. Not only is it easy, but it is delicious! Make sure that you buy corn meal. It's easy to get confused and buy corn meal mix. Just wanted to warn you... It says that it takes 15 minutes to prepare, but I can do it in less than 10 minutes. So simple... It makes me want to make some.

A Great Daily Devotional Via E-mail

Through MOPS, I heard that Proverbs 31 Ministries offers a great daily devotional that you can receive for free via e-mail. It has been such an encouragement to me, so I'm recommending it to you. If you're interested, you can go here to subscribe. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Great Christmas Gift

Samuel loves to read, and Jeremy's mom gave him a set of Weekly Reader books two years ago for Christmas. He loves them!!! Well, I just read about a new set of Weekly Readers that I would love to get Samuel for Christmas. For $24.95, you get 12 hardcover books with audio CDs for each one. What a deal!!! Go here to order or learn more. Use code 134424 for the book deal and code 134009 for FREE shipping. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Revelation by Third Day

Take a few minutes and listen to this song. You won't regret it. Every Christian goes through ups and downs and times where their faith isn't what it needs to be. This song really encourages me. Jeremy and I are at a crossroads and need the Lord's guidance. We are praying about a unique opportunity we recently heard about. (I'm not sharing that part now though.) We aren't sure where the Lord will lead, but we have faith in the One who leads us. Our pastor said something one Wednesday night that meant so much that I wrote it down. It's from 2 Chron. 20:12. "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you!" Each day I pray for the Lord to make His will clear to us. I also pray for my dependence to be solely on Him. (That isn't so easy...) As the song says, "I've got nothing without you." I hope this song will encourage you too!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank the Lord!

I am happy to report that Samuel hasn't vomited since yesterday afternoon at 5:00. I am thinking it might have been the warm Coke that he got into yesterday morning. He doesn't drink Coke, and it was 2 days old. Combine that with his morning yogurt, and maybe you get an upset stomach. I seem to think that's it since he didn't act sick. He didn't have a fever, aches, or any other symptoms. In February when he had a stomach bug, he definitely had other symptoms and acted sick.

I guess we'll never know what caused the vomiting, but the good thing is that he's been fine since yesterday afternoon even after having Gatorade, toast, applesauce, bananas, and saltines. I might give him "normal" food for dinner. We shall see...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's our turn...

I guess it's our turn.... Samuel vomited when we got home from church today. He seemed fine afterward, napped well, but then he vomited again after his nap. We were getting ready to leave for small group, but now we're be staying home to take care of Samuel and pray really hard that Vance doesn't get this. I can handle getting it myself, but it scares me to think about a 5 month old with it. If you think of it, please pray for Samuel and Vance (or all of us for that matter). Thanks!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cute Craft Idea for Thanksgiving

I love to read No time for flashcards. She has some wonderful ideas! I'm not a crafty person, so I was thrilled when I saw this Thanksgiving activity . I think I can handle this... :) Maybe I will head to Michael's tomorrow morning to pick up some foam and eyes. Fun!!! Samuel is going to love this!

Free 8X10

Here's a post I read about a free 8X10 print from Walgreens. I'm looking for a good picture right now...

Help for Vance

We are so thankful that we got some help for our little baby boy. The 4 of us went to the pediatric gastroenterologist this morning to see what he could do for Vance. The reflux has gotten worse. (Vance isn't sleeping well, is vomiting ounces at the time, refuses bottles, and seems to be in pain during and after bottles.) Thankfully Dr. Marcus was able to assess the situation this morning, and he almost doubled Vance's dose of Prevacid. He said that he wasn't getting enough of a dose for his weight, so thank the Lord for specialists. (I'm not knocking the pediatrician because I love him.) We will see how this works.

Oh, we start physical therapy on Tuesday. Our home exercises are going well, but I think it will be good to have a therapist help him too. He has a long way to go from what I see. Poor little guy just spent so much time with his head to the right, that it's going to take awhile to correct that...

Praying for improvement,

On the way to the pediatric gastroenterologist

Today is a good day for us. We're taking Vance to the pediatric gastroenterologist for the first time. I will post again once we get home.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Homemade Pizza

This isn't the prettiest pizza out there, but I am working on that...

Jeremy and I love Papa John's pizza, but we don't love the expense. A blog that I love is called Biblical Womanhood. She doesn't normally post recipes, but this pizza crust recipe was under a family night theme. Since her blog is down right now, I can't link to it, but I will post the recipe below.

I made my first homemade pizza a couple of months ago, and it was half pepperoni and half ham and pineapple. I wasn't thrilled with the result. The crust was too soft for me. I decided that I wanted to get a pizza pan to see if that made a difference, and I bought one on sale at Kohl's. Our favorite kind of pizza is a chicken barbecue pizza with pineapple on it, so that was my next attempt at pizza with my new pan. This time when the crust wasn't crispy when it was time to take it out, I decided to leave it in longer- I cooked it 18-20 minutes. That was all it took; we will use this pizza crust recipe forever because it's that good.

Don't be scared of making homemade pizza. It only takes 30-35 minutes from the time you start the crust to the time the pizza comes out of the oven (unless you have a toddler wanting your attention). Enjoy! Maybe you will start a new tradition of pizza night in your house.

Pizza Crust:

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix.

Dump onto a floured surface .

Knead into a smooth dough (five minutes or so).

Roll out and press down onto a greased pizza pan.

Add toppings.

Bake at 450 degrees F. for around 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

By the way, you can make up a double or triple batch of the pizza crust dough and freeze the extras if you don't need it. This speeds up the preparation even more as all you have to do is pull out a bag of dough and a bag of chopped cooked chicken in the morning and then put the pizza together right before you're ready to eat. You can also freeze the pizzas already cooked - but I doubt it would ever stay uneaten long enough to make it to the freezer around here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come What May

Yesterday I read a blog post about a free online movie called Come What May. Since I had no time last night I thought I would watch it today, and then this morning I read another post about it on The Homespun Heart. The movie is called Come What May. Read School in 'R Home to learn more about the movie and then go here to watch it free online through Friday, Oct. 31. Since it's divided into 5 segments, you could catch a segment or two when the kids are napping and then come back to it later. At least that's what I will have to do. I probably have a few minutes before Vance wakes up for a bottle.

I will let you know what I think once I see it!

Tummy Time

Tummy time is becoming more pleasant around here. (No, we don't normally do it on the bed.) I have learned that before a bottle is not the best time for it because it makes Vance fussy. I have also learned that Vance may very well throw up regardless of when we do it, so I just have an extra burp cloth handy. Best of all, tummy time is highly recommended by his physical therapist!

I just love this little guy! He smiles so much, and you can't help but smile back even when you're down about something. I guess the Lord knew I needed a good smile to cheer me up sometimes.

Here is a 2 second clip of Vance rolling over. I caught him right as he was rolling over.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Parents ought to be concerned

If you're a parent, do you ever think about how legalizing same sex marriage would affect your family? The following video shows how the legalization of same sex marriage in Massachusetts affected one family. All families with kids in public schools will be affected if same sex marriage is legalized. This video was put out for California, but it is a national issue. The hearts and minds of our children are at stake! Our little ones are so impressionable...

Just because I'm 2 1/2 years old doesn't mean I can't learn some geography, Mommy!

I am learning that homeschooling doesn't have to wait until kindergarten. Samuel wants to show you what he's learned from me and other family members.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Physical therapy evaluation, a little rolling over, and a new doctor

Jeremy and I took Vance to the physical therapy evaluation on Friday. It went well. They have diagnosed him with moderate torticollis. We left with several exercises to do at home and basic instructions. Vance will have weekly therapy appointments for about 3 months, and then he we go less frequently. We are confident that he is going to do just fine in therapy. According to a friend of mine, they will watch his development carefully until he walks because torticollis can affect development.

Speaking of development, my mom said that Vance rolled over a couple of weeks ago when she was here, but I didn't see it. Well, Vance rolled over from his tummy to his back 4 times in a row on Friday. It was so exciting to watch! Jeremy's mom and Amanda were here to witness it. My baby is growing up! Wouldn't you know that I got my camera out to video the event and then he wouldn't roll over again? I got a cute video of him on his tummy though. He is enjoying tummy time more now (except for those times he ends up vomiting).

Next week Vance will see a pediatric gastroenterologist for the first time. Jeremy and I have noticed the reflux getting worse and feel like we need a specialist's help. I will let you know how that goes. We are praying this doctor will be able to help Vance more than a regular pediatrician can.

There is another new post below. Since I started it on Oct. 22, it posted it as Oct. 22. ???

Here is a photo of my boys. I just love them so much!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Big Baby

Vance is a big baby. We had his 4 month check-up a week ago. Here are his stats:

Weight- 16 lb. 12 oz. (80th percentile)
Height- 26 inches long (90th percentile)
Big head (80th percentile).

When Samuel went to his 4 month check-up, he was 15 lbs. 3 oz. and 26 1/2 in. long. Let's just say that Vance is "thicker".

We love both of our guys! Maybe one day Vance will play football and scare his mommy to death... Samuel, on the other hand, already likes to play soccer. That doesn't scare me nearly as much as football does.

Here are 4 month pictures of both boys:



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Update on Vance

Vance is sleeping now. I can hear his congestion through the monitor though. This poor little guy has had a rough week. Thankfully his cough has gotten better, but he still has a wheeze and nasal congestion. I wonder when this will end. I know it takes longer for babies to get over congestion, etc... I am praying that it's soon because he has struggled to sleep this week. His reflux is also worse, which we were told to expect with the bronchiolitis.

On Wednesday I took Vance back to the doctor because his cough was worse. I mentioned that Jeremy has been wondering why Vance always turns his head to the right. (Jeremy has actually been concerned about it.) He looked at Vance for a few minutes and then said that it's called torticollis and requires physical therapy. He said it was probably caused by the way he was positioned in my womb, but I just read something that said that acid reflux can cause torticollis. I called the local children's hospital and scheduled a physical therapy evaluation for Friday of this week. Jeremy's mom is coming into town to watch Samuel, so that Jeremy and I can go to the appointment together. We will probably have weekly physical therapy for awhile. I just pray that the therapist, who specializes in torticollis, is able to help Vance.

With this also comes the issue of a flat spot developing, so we are hoping the therapist can also show us how to get him to sleep with his head facing the other way. Our ped. said that he needs to sleep with the other side of his head down and recommended we a buy a wedge from Babiesrus, but when I bought it and got it home, Vance was just too big for it. Our giant baby is about the size of a 6 month old, and the package says that it only goes up to 6 months. We need a new plan! We definitely don't want him developing a flat spot. For over a month I have tried putting Vance to sleep on his tummy because by now Samuel only slept on his tummy, but I think the Torticollis makes it too hard for him to sleep on his tummy. He starts suffocating himself. Not good! I guess there has got to be another way. I will ask on Friday.

In case you're bored, here's an article on one baby's experience with torticollis.

Well, Vance is up now, so I need to give him a bottle.

Praying for an uneventful week until Friday,

Walgreens diapers and training pants

Let me give you my diaper history. I have always preferred Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers to any other diaper, but they are expensive. I was blessed to be given those awesome diapers for the first 4 months of Samuel's life. To save money on diapers, I started using Luvs when Samuel was a few months old. I actually did this before my Pampers supply ran out. I would use Pampers some, but I felt like it was a waste of money to put him in a Pampers right before a feeding or a bath. I continued to use Pampers diapers overnight though and still do with both boys.

A few months ago after reading a post on Baby Cheapskate I decided to try Walgreens diapers and pull-ups. I noticed that they were on sale, which made them very affordable. It doesn't hurt that there is a Walgreens a mile from our house.

Why do I prefer Walgreens diapers? Not only are Walgreens diapers and pull-ups (training pants) softer than Luvs, but they also don't have those nasty perfumes that make me nauseated. I have also tried Target and Kroger training pants and wasn't satisfied. They didn't absorb well at all. I actually saw urine on the floor one day when we were out getting a haircut and quickly figured out that the Target pull-up hadn't done it's job. YUCK!! I have never had that problem with Walgreens diapers or training pants. They are a winner in my book!

There is one downside with the Walgreens training pants. They don't have open sides. Because of this, we keep Huggies Pull-ups in the diaper bag. That way we don't have to undress Samuel in order to change him. I figure it's not a big deal to do this at home, but I don't want the hassle when we're out. Since we spend most of our time at home these days, I don't spend much on the Huggies pull-ups, and I always use a coupon when I buy them. I bought some less than 2 weeks ago at Target. They were 15% off for some reason making them $19.50 for a big box. Then, I used a $2.00 and $1.50 coupons I got in the mail. Not bad. You can also go the Huggies website to find those Pull-up coupons and print them at home.

I will tell you that it's good to check the ads each week. I don't buy diapers or pull-ups unless they're on sale. When they're on sale at Walgreens they are $5.99 a pack, and I stock up because I know they won't necessarily be on sale next week. You can also find coupons on the Walgreens website for $5 off of $20 almost every week, so that's how you save even more money. Go here for those coupons.

Just a heads up- You normally need to go up a size when you are using store brand diapers. I found this to be true with the Walgreens diapers too.

One last thing, Walgreens has come out with a premium diaper. I haven't tried them yet because there are less diapers per package. I will save that extra money for the Pampers I still buy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I have been so busy with taking care of two kids that I haven't had time to keep up with this blog. I just wanted to give a quick update.

Samuel is doing well. He goes through periods of being jealous, but I feel like he is doing well considering his world was turned upside down 4 months ago. He is talking so much that I forget he's only 2. It's amazing how much we can talk about with ease. His vocabulary amazes me. I guess I never knew I would be having normal conversations with him at this point. It's been a lot of fun! My parents love it too because they can have phone conversations with him. I enjoy being a part of holding the phone while he goes "on and on" with them. Fun times!

Vance is 4 months old now (on the 16th) and quite larger than Samuel was at this age. Jeremy and I often ask each other, "Where did this huge baby come from?" He is a sweet baby. I don't think Samuel smiled as much as Vance does, and Samuel was a happy baby too. I just love it when I'm trying to put him to bed, and he gives me a huge grin. I bet he will always try to use that grin on me to get his way. :) We are so thankful for Vance and feel like our family is complete now with him in our lives.

We had a scare over the weekend. Vance seemed to be getting a cold on Friday. I noticed he had a runny nose. Since he is always congested (stuffy) due to reflux, it caught us by surprise when he seemed to have difficulty breathing on Sunday morning. He was also coughing like a smoker. Wouldn't you know that this happened on the morning of the boys' dedication at church? Well, we decided to go on to the dedication, and then my mom and I took Vance to the ER as soon as we walked off the stage. I was so impressed with the ER. This is a children's hospital near our house, and they have got their acts together. I think they are ranked among the children's hospitals. Anyway, from the time you pull up you're impressed because they have free valet parking. Then they work quickly to get you in a room. Vance had a breathing treatment, RSV test, and an x-ray in less than 2 hours. (We were in and out in 2 hours.) Thankfully he didn't have RSV. He has bronchiolitis, which is a viral lung infection. Who knows where he got it? Since Sunday he has been on an inhaler with Albuterol every 4 hours for the cough and then suctioning as often as needed. He hasn't had a fever since Sunday.- Thank the Lord! The hardest part has been not knowing if he's ok or if I should be taking him to the doctor or ER. His cough is really bad at times, and I get nervous. Thankfully I haven't felt like he has struggled to breathe since Monday. It's amazing how concerned you get though. Jeremy and I barely slept on Sunday night and have had him in our room at night because we want to be right there if he needs us. Since Samuel has never been this sick, it's all a new experience for us. Thank the Lord for reassuring doctors and nurses! They make it a whole lot easier to deal with. We took him to the doctor on Monday and again today, and he definitely hasn't gotten worse, which was a concern. :) It's hard to swallow the fact that it could take weeks for him to be back to normal. My poor baby!

Ok. I must get to bed. I will hopefully get some pictures up soon. Anybody with 2 kids knows the struggle that can be. Nap time used to be great for that when I just had Samuel, but Samuel and Vance don't always nap at the same time... :( I hope to figure that out sometime soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A good dinner calls for a good dessert

Last night despite not feeling well I cooked dinner for my family and Jeremy's mom and brother. I tried two new recipes: Baked Ziti and Big Bad Chocolate Muffins. Both of them are keepers, so I want to share them with you. The Baked Ziti is super easy and takes delicious! It's a meatless meal, so it's a frugal meal! I recommend keeping the extra 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce to add to your leftovers. Can you guess what's for dinner tonight? The muffins are definitely a dessert muffin and remind me of the chocolate muffins that I love at Sweet Tomatoes. We added some ice cream on top like I do at Sweet Tomatoes. Yummy!

Baked Ziti


  • 1 lb ziti pasta

  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese (1 container)

  • 8oz. mozzarella cheese, grated and divided

  • 1 ½ jars of spaghetti sauce (26 oz. jars)

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Boil ziti, following package directions, drain and place in a large bowl.

  3. Mix all the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella with the ziti.

  4. Spray a 13×9 pan with Pam.

  5. Cover the bottom half of the pan with about half the sauce.

  6. Put the ziti mixture on top of sauce.

  7. Pour remaining sauce on top of ziti.

  8. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

  9. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

  10. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and it is lightly golden. (Remove foil around the last 10 minutes or so.)

Big Bad Chocolate Muffins ( From the book Cupcakes From The Cake Mix Doctor)

1 devils food cake mix

1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil

3 eggs

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pan (this makes about 20 muffins)or use muffin liners. Set aside. In a mixing bowl combine cake mix and pudding mix. In a separate bowl combine yogurt, water, oil, and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake 20 -22 minutes or until center springs back. Cool on wire rack . (Store in a tight container, and they are yummy for several days! You could even pop them in the microwave for a couple of seconds... I doubled the recipe and froze 1/2 of them for later. I will thaw one and pop it in the microwave for my dessert one night.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

When you need a little encouragement...

For me, it's one of those days that I need a little encouragement. Here is goes... We are without a fridge and trying to find a used one. The kitchen has a bad smell to it because of the food that went bad in the fridge, and my candle isn't exactly doing the job. The house needs to be cleaned. I have a pile of laundry that I'm working on. I could go on. I'm plain overwhelmed with life.

Yesterday a girl at church sang a song that really spoke to me, so about an hour ago I looked up a video of it on YouTube. It's by Hillsong and is called Here in My Life. I'm about to play it again. Samuel enjoys music, so I've been playing several videos on YouTube for him. Maybe it will help me to get past this "stuff". The words are surely powerful and convicting!

Maybe you could use a little encouragement today too. If so, watch this:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Safe Eyes

I did a post about Safe Eyes about a year ago. You can read it here if you missed it. Today I added a Safe Eyes banner to my blog. (It's right below Money Saving Mom. ) I believe that every Christian family should have an internet filter, and Safe Eyes just happens to be the one that I liked best. I am thankful for this filter now, and I am sure that I will be even more grateful once the boys are using the computer. Safe Eyes has so many options that you probably haven't even thought of. You can even set the hours for internet usage. Check it out! It's $50 a year and worth every penny! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

When it rains it pours!

The repair man can't fix the refrigerator... Now we are trying to decide what to do. Since we bought this one used on Craigslist, do we risk buying another used one to find that it too is in need of repair or worse? As if we needed the expense of another fridge!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not such a good day

Today went from bad to worse. This morning I got up at 7:00 AM and packed everything to come home from our vacation with my parents. That was depressing enough since no one is ever happy for vacation to be over. Then, Vance spit out some of his Prevacid. This rarely happens because I have figured out how to give him the liquid and then quickly pop in the paci to keep him from spitting it out. I don't feel comfortable giving him extra medicine since I have no idea what he spits out, so I just let it go. Well, Vance didn't let it go and spent most of the day resisting the bottle, spitting up 1/4 cup of formula at the time, or crying. He did manage to sleep a couple of hours, but he spent a lot of time unhappy or adding to my pile of laundry. I changed my clothes twice, and I changed Vance's clothes 3 times. (I guess it's a good thing I did most of our laundry yesterday.)

We finally made it home after a long journey since we had to stop twice to give Vance a bottle. I forgot to add that the gas tank was on empty pulling into town, but we didn't worry about it and headed home anyway. As we got very close to home, it became obvious that there is a gas shortage here. YIKES! It was a problem before we left town a week ago, but since we didn't notice a problem while we were gone, we figured all was well at home. WRONG! I guess it' a good thing I spend most of my time at home since gas is up to $4.29 a gallon and hard to come by. I guess I should let those that work get the gas before me anyway.

Ok, so it got worse. Jeremy was unpacking the car, and I was unpacking our tiny cooler. I opened the freezer to put the ice packs away and smelled something awful. It turns out the the repair man didn't repair our fridge and freezer last week and ALL of our food is spoiled. Would you believe that in learning to be more frugal I had frozen a week's worth of meals (leftovers) for us to eat this week and all of it is in the garage in garbage bags? I cried (several times). I even caused Samuel to cry. (Not good.) Thankfully, I picked him up and calmed him down quickly. What a way to end the day! I keep wondering what the Lord is going to teach me through this since he knows how much we needed all of that food. For now, I'm going to try to forget about it and go to bed. What a day!

I will post more beach pictures soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In the mood for dessert?

I have been cooking a lot more these days. I have also been craving sweets like crazy. (No, I'm not pregnant.) Instead of paying too much for not so great packaged sweets, I have been making more homemade sweets to satisfy my cravings and serve my family. In honor of my grandma, I made my first apricot nectar cake on Monday. I posted the recipe last summer. You can find it in my archives. Let me just say that I love that cake, and it is super easy to make. I made it in a bundt pan because I wanted a way to seal it up on my kitchen counter in my cake container. We have dreaded "palmetto bugs" that the pest control guy can't seem to keep out. Gross. I know. I try not to think about it because it upsets me to have them and a 12 week old baby in the same house. I also use the microwave sometimes to store things... Have you ever done that? It's a great place to keep your food safe from little creatures. Anyway, the cake was great, but today I was thinking about how I could surprise Jeremy with a dessert. He has enjoyed the cake, which is surprising, but he loves peanut butter. I found a no bake peanut butter bar recipe a few weeks ago, so I tried it. It was simple and tastes great! You store this in the fridge, which works well for keeping the "palmetto bugs" out of it. Here's the recipe from

Peanut Butter Bars (No Bake)

1 cup butter, melted

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I don't recommend using dark chocolate because it is very rich.)

4 tablespoons peanut butter

Mix together the butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips with peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Spread over crust. Refrigerate several hours before cutting into squares. Serve and enjoy!

Last week I made some yummy banana bread and doubled the recipe in order to make it in my bundt pan. Once again, I wanted to keep the bugs out and keep it moist longer. :) It was a great recipe and a hit around here. I will have to post that recipe that I got from Tressa. For now, I'm off to bed because I've been up since 6:00 and am wiped out!


I sold my first item on Craigslist! I'm excited! A woman is coming in the morning to pick up the baskets I used on the changing table with Samuel. I'm taking that money to buy Vance a "take along" swing for our trip to SC. Poor thing has a hard time sleeping at times, and the swing puts him to sleep. I have one that someone gave my mom, but unfortunately it doesn't swing even with new batteries.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

selling on Craigslist

I have never sold anything on Craigslist, but I have decided to sell Samuel's nursery bedding, curtains, and baskets there. If you are in the market for those things or know anyone who is, e-mail me and I will send you the links.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

new recipes to keep

This week I made 2 new recipes that we liked. (We did NOT like the Baked Oatmeal.)

First of all, I got this Crockpot Lasagna recipe a year ago from Missy at Sweet Funky Vintage. She posted this on her blog, and I meant to try it before now. I made it yesterday and have leftovers to eat and some to freeze for later. Here is the recipe:

Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce (26 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 c water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 package no boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 c ricotta (or cottage cheese if you prefer)
4 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c shredded parmesan

In skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano and salt.

(Note from Marianna: The size of your crockpot will determine how many layers you get. My oval 6 quart fit 3 layers, so I basically split the mixtures into 3 parts. It was a little awkward arranging the noodles. I broke them up for the edges. That didn't affect the taste one bit. The ricotta cheese was hard to spread, so I washed my hands well and used my fingers.)

In crockpot, place 1/4 of the meat sauce mixture (for me it was 1/3). Place one layer of noodles. Place one layer of ricotta, sprinkle layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Continue layering.

Cook on low 4-5 hours!

Next, I decided to make some homemade pancakes. I don't know who posted this recipe. It was in the comment section of the frugal breakfast recipes. Jeremy, Samuel, and I ate these pancakes. Samuel doesn't seem to like pancakes, but Jeremy and I enjoyed them. For those of you who can't imagine why I would make them from scratch, I can assure you that it took about 5 minutes to make the batter. I'm not kidding. Just 5 minutes... I use buttermilk from the baking aisle. It's in a small paper container, and you just add water to it. Once you open it you have to remember to refrigerate it, but if you're like me, it would be a huge waste of money to buy regular buttermilk. You could also use the vinegar idea in the recipe.

Pancakes from Scratch

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let sit 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Mix everything together. Pour 1/4 cup onto hot, lightly greased griddle. Turn over when top is bubbly and edges are slightly dry. Makes 8 pancakes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BabiesRUs coupons for Labor Day weekend

Labor Day is almost here, and many stores are having big sales. Here are some BabiesRUs Labor Day weekend coupons that might interest you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oatmeal Waffles- a healthier waffle

I was on Money Saving Mom and came across a recipe for baked oatmeal that I liked. I haven't made the baked oatmeal yet, but she asked for frugal breakfast ideas, which led me to the comment section. I found several good recipes there and ended up at Main Street Mom Cooks. There I was able to find an oatmeal waffle recipe that I tried this morning (late morning since Samuel didn't wake up until 8:30). She puts oats in the blender or grinder to make oatmeal flour for these waffles, but I was at Whole Foods and found Organic Oat Flour. I decided to try it out since I found it and wanted to know what how "good stuff" tastes, but I will end up making my own in the future since it was $3.19 for what will only make 2 batches of the waffle recipe.

So, what did I think of the waffles? I was a little nervous at first because I am so used to the taste of regular waffles, but the taste grew on me after a few bites. Samuel also loved them, which makes me happy because he can be a very picky eater. At least now I know of something healthy that he likes! Oh, and by the way, after both of us chowing down, it made enough for me to freeze 16 pieces- when I say piece I mean 1/4 of the waffle. So, I will pop these in the toaster oven in the mornings since it's difficult for me to make a homemade breakfast these days. I hope that in a few months things will slow down, so that I make a good breakfast everyday. I don't think a lot of moms feel good about giving their children cereal (as Monica said a few days ago), yet so many of us do it. I know I am quick to give Samuel an organic yogurt, some fruit, and an organic cereal bar, but I really want to make him breakfast each morning. I will take it one day at a time and prayerfully I will work up to being able to do that most mornings. I need to follow Monica's advice to find things that I can prepare at night and pop in the oven in the morning. I've been collecting that recipes that work for that, and I will share them as I make them. (I don't normally like to share a recipe that I haven't made.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An overnight pull-up that won't leak???

This is my 2nd post of the day. The first was about Vance's well visit. See below.

HELP!!! Samuel is now wearing Huggies nighttime pull-ups to bed. The problem is that he's waking up in wet pajamas each morning. He is obviously a heavy wetter. Do any of you have any suggestions for nighttime pull-ups that will hold more?

Oh, and I just found a $2.00 coupon for Huggies Pull-Ups that you can print at home. You are allowed one coupon a month, so that's exciting news! Just look for special offers here. (You will have to register before you can get the coupon.)

Thanks in advance for any nighttime advice you have!

Update- Thanks for your advice. Samuel has done fine the last two nights with the pull-ups. We don't give him liquids after dinner, but sometimes he doesn't use the potty before or after his bath even though we put him on it. (You can't force it out of him, right?) I think him actually using the potty has made the difference. Maybe we will take him to the potty after reading books to him if he didn't go before or after his bath.

2 Month Well Visit

Vance had his 2 month well visit today since the office wasn't open on the actual day.

Here are his stats:

Weight: 12 lb. 5 oz. (75th percentile)
Length: 25 in. (97th percentile)
Head: 16 in. (70th percentile)

The doctor was pleased with his progress. He is growing like a weed! He's got some rolls on his thighs that Samuel didn't have, but I think they're cute! As far as the reflux goes, we aren't convinced that the Prevacid is making a difference, so we will probably take him off it and see how he does without medication. The doctor said to look at it as an experiment and put him back on if we feel like he was better on it. In case you were wondering, Prevacid is not harmful to babies or children and can be taken for 5 years if needed. The doctor said their are no long term consequences, which makes me happy because I had thought about that and have heard people talk bad about using it on a baby. Oh, and Jeremy stayed for Vance's shots while I took Samuel to the waiting room to wait. I CAN'T handle seeing my children in pain and have always left for shots. I love it that Jeremy is always ready and eager to go with me to their doctor's visits if at all possible. (Thanks, Jeremy! It makes me happy because it shows how much you care about their growth and development! Love you!)

Asleep and smiling...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trip to local nature center

This is my 2nd post of the day, so check out the one below this one.

Jeremy's parents were in town over the weekend. I stayed home with Vance while they went with Samuel and Jeremy to a nature center that isn't even a mile from our home. Samuel loves this place, and he and Jeremy go several times a week. It started out as a trip to the slide and tire swing, and now it's become more nature exploration and rock throwing. Here are some pictures from their visit.

So Inquisitive!

Samuel is looking out into our backyard and into the neighbors yards- He is always looking for chipmunks. We have many of them... You should see the holes in our yard!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Sweet Samuel

Samuel's favorite phrase these days is "This is fun!" It is so cute to hear him say it. I got a video of him saying it yesterday while he was eating a cinnamon roll for dessert. I never knew he would be able to talk so much at this age, so it's been so fun and surprising to hear the new things he can say. Both Jeremy and I find ourselves looking at each other and smiling a lot (or even laughing) at the things he says.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Precious Vance

Here is a video I got a week ago when Vance was 7 weeks old. It is full of cheese, but what would you expect?? I had to do the talking since he can't talk.

Finding ways to spend less $$

Recently Jeremy and I have been trying to come up with ways to cut back now that we have two children. Here are some things we came up with. As we come up with more ideas, I will share! (WARNING- To some of you these may seem silly, but we are just trying to think of anything we can to save a little cash each month as we live on one income.)

Jeremy hung this clothesline for me. I have already used it to dry this set of sheets (which look funny because they are half dry and half wet), 2 tablecloths, and an extra sheet. He set up a pulley for me, which will be nice to use when I am hanging up smaller things. I will probably continue to dry some things in the dryer like Vance's clothes, but we will still end up with a cheaper power bill, which is nice considering it has been about $225 a month even with the A/C set at 77 degrees. (I just can't tolerate it any warmer than that. If you can, I admire you!)

We have been buying bottled water ever since I got pregnant for several reasons- convenience, motivation to drink water, and the health of the baby in the womb or nursing baby. Now that I'm not pregnant or nursing I don't really have an excuse to buy bottled water, so I went to Target and bought a Brita Ultramax pitcher. It's 18 cups, which is a nice size. Now I have the cold water that I love at a cheaper price. (If I could only get more motivated because for some reason I drink more when I am drinking out of bottles.)

This one doesn't really count, but I thought I'd include it anyway. Samuel loves apples and would eat several a day if we let him. I don't know if you realize that apples aren't cheap. Well, yesterday while Jeremy was hanging the clothesline, a neighbor told him to make sure we picked some apples from his trees because they are just falling off and rotting... We were thrilled, and Jeremy and Samuel went apple picking. Thank you Lord for a little blessing like free apples! (I think I might try to make applesauce too because I love it!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Ever since Vance was born I noticed some things about him that I hadn't noticed with Samuel. He was spitting up after every feeding and even hours later, choking on breast or bottle, arching his back and turning his head in pain during and after feedings, crying in pain, milk coming out of his nose, constant stuffy nose, wet burps and hiccups, and not sleeping well for naps or bedtime. We started to get concerned when he was up for 10 or 12 hours straight on two different occasions. We all know that young babies sleep, and we knew this was not normal. We took him to the doctor on Saturday since he had had that sleepless stretch on Friday. Thank the Lord for Saturday hours! The doctor asked us a bunch of questions and said that Vance has reflux. She said that since we had already done some important things like elevating the crib and keeping him upright after feedings, we could now try medication. We started with Zantac on Saturday. She said to give it two weeks to really kick in and then to come back for a follow-up visit. If we need to, we'll switch medications.

Since Saturday when he started the Zantac, we have had our good days and bad days. Vance's body is probably adjusting to it. He has had 2 good days in a row, so that's good. I have also been doing research on reflux. I actually enjoy learning more about it. I found a pillow that puts him at a 30 degree angle, which is supposed to be important for reflux babies. It's called an AR Pillow, and I am pleased with it so far. It's great because you can use it on the the floor, the couch (at this young age) and then in the crib or pack n play with the velcro attachments. After every feeding, I put him on the pillow for 20-30 minutes. The first day he resisted being put in it since it involves a harness, but then the next day (yesterday) he let me put it in it even to sleep last night. I was so happy when he slept 5 hours straight last night, which was the first night we used it. I am not going to assume that every night the AR Pillow will bring us that many hours of uninterrupted sleep, but I am going to thank the Lord for the nights that he does sleep more than 2-3 hours straight because until now he struggled to sleep in general. Here are a few photos of Vance on the pillow. I figured you might want to see what it looks like. You can see how he was nervous at first, but then he warmed up to it. I just love his smiles. In fact, I got a good video of him on it yesterday. I will post that later.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

First Stroll in Double Jogging Stroller

Last night we took the boys out in the double jogging stroller for the first time. Samuel said, "This is fun." It was fun, but it was a lot of work for the person pushing. Our neighborhood, which is one street that forms a semi-circle, is hilly. We went 1/2 mile, and I was wiped out. It's a good thing it was bedtime. Now I know what I need to do to lose the baby weight...

Before the stroll Vance wasn't so sure about it... Then, he started smiling.

Summer fun for Samuel

Since I've been writing a lot and not posting many photos, I thought I would just post some photos today. It works well when you're short on time, which is my life story right now...