It's My Birthday!

Me on my 2nd Birthday

Good Morning!  Today is my birthday.  I'm 23 now.  Whenever I say my age it makes me sound so young.  Normally when I think of 23 year olds I think of partying college kids or kids just out of college trying to adjust to the world.  I don't think of a woman that's been married for 4 years with 2 children.  But that's me and my perspective on life changes as I get older.  Like I used to think 50 years old is ancient.  It's not.  You're barely even old when you get to 50.

This week is a busy week for me so I won't be around much unless I post at night after the girls go to bed.  I'm helping my sister-in-law, having birthday dinner at my Grandma's, making apple butter, getting an eye exam, making apple jelly, and going to Best Buy with my husband. Along with all the regular stuff. Not to mention whatever else comes up through the week.

So have a great week and if I don't post, I'll see you next Monday!


Boy Scouts of America

This post brought to you by Boy Scouts of America. All opinions are 100% mine.

AdvertisementSince I am a girl I've obviously never been to boy scouts.  But when I was a kid I knew alot of boys that were boy scouts.  They always seemed to be more respectful, energetic, and kind.  They were the kids you wanted to be friends with.  I can also remember as a kid every year the boy scouts would drop a plastic bag off at our house and we would eagerly head to my grandma's "stock pile" in her basement to fill the bag.  Sometimes we'd even add an extra bag to it.  Helping other kids help people was always so fun to us.

Everyone is talking about "back to school" right now.  All you hear is the fun stuff like shopping and getting to see friends again.  You don't hear about the anxiety or challenges that it could bring to some kids.  Boy scouts help to improve a boys confidence and comfort level with new students and teachers.  It gives him supplementary experiences outside of the classroom.

When I said that the boy scout boys always seemed more energetic I meant it.  They seemed to be the more athletic ones.  They were more confident in gym class.  With society today childhood obesity is no secret.  It's a growing problem.  Scouting offers physical activities to help kids stay in shape.  They are also educated on proper nutrition and healthy living styles.

Boy Scouts of America is a great organization.  We all know that from ages 7-17 a boy can Be A Scout. But I just learned that from ages 14-20 the scouts have a Co-Ed group called Venturers.  So anyone can truly Be A Scout.

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OH Saturday!

It's Saturday! I have a very busy day ahead of me!  This morning my friend and I went to the cottonbabies yard sale.  I got 5 prefolds and a super cute Dr. Seuss diaper and only spent $10!  Now my day is filled with cleaning, grocery shopping, and a street festival with my family tonight.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  I am leaving you with an adorable video of Miss Hayleigh's new accomplishment.  Enjoy!



SodaStream Review

If you've never heard of SodaStream it is an at home carbonation system that allows you to make your own sparkling water and soda at home for half the price you would pay for soda at the grocery store.

I received the SodaStream Fountain Jet system.  The Fountain Jet System comes in 3 different colors to match any kitchen decor.  The system was lighter than I thought it would be.  I figured it would be heavy because I thought there would have to be lots of mechanics inside of it to make it work.  But there's truly not.  After I pulled out the system and the CO2 bottle I was alittle worried.  The directions say to take the cap off the CO2 bottle and screw it into the system.  Well, I'm paranoid about things exploding.  When we were kids my little brother was the boy who played with a lighter and a hair spray bottle.  It never exploded on him but my grandma and dad would tell us horror stories of people that those did explode on.  So any amount of gas under pressure and I get worried.  And here they were wanting me to take a cap off of a bottle of CO2 with no knowledge of what was underneath the cap.  Well I took the cap off.  There was no way it was going to explode.  The bottle was still completely intact and sealed.  It had metal covering the opening like super glue.  So then I was all worried I wouldn't get it screwed in right and cause a CO2 leak and fumigate my house.  I know, I told you I was paranoid.  But honestly the system is completely safe.  I really don't think there's any way you could get hurt unless you were completely 100% using putting it together the wrong way.
Now it was time to use it.  The directions are pretty vague, for use and assembly.  But really, once you start using the system you have a "duh" moment because you realize the directions don't need to be that in depth because it's easy to use.  Instead of telling you how to use the SodaStream Fountain Jet System, I'm going to show you.  I don't talk in the video because I didn't want to wake Hayleigh.  She isn't feeling well today and I just got her to sleep.  But as you'll hear at the end of the video I woke her anyway.  I'm also sorry for the long quietness at the beginning and end when nothing's going on.
You fill the bottle with regular water out of the sink.  If you notice when I open the bottle the first time it makes no sound of pressure being let out.  Then when I open the bottle after mixing in the syrup you can hear the pressure.  I also love the sound the carbonator makes when you release it to take the bottle out.  When I pour the soda you can see how bubbly it is.  That's after 3 loud buzzes.  3 is for regular carbonation.  I've used up to 6 buzzes.  That's really fizzy and can make a mess if you pour the syrup to fast.  I like 2 or 3 buzzes of carbonation the most.
SodaStream has many different types of syrup.  They have syrup that they compare to name brand sodas like Sprite and Dr. Pepper.  They also have an Energy Drink syrup that is comparable to Red Bull.  My husband says it tastes exactly like Red Bull.  It's his favorite syrup.  Madelynn and I both love the Cranberry Raspberry Syrup.  The Lemon Lime Syrup really tastes like Sprite.  We didn't receive the Dr. Pete syrup which is supposed to be like Dr. Pepper.  But as soon as Miss Hayleigh can handle caffeine I'm going to buy some!  We found that we don't really like the Sparkling Naturals flavors.  The real cane sugar makes it have a flavor that we're just not used to.
I have only ever seen SodaStream online until recently.  I found out there there are 2 stores only 15 minutes from my house that are SodaStream distributors.  It's really convenient for when my CO2 tank runs out.  I don't have to travel far to get refills.
SodaStream is great for the environment, your pocket book, and your back.  There's no carrying bottles or boxes of soda inside.  For me that's up steps.  You don't have to throw bottles or cans away.  That saves landfills and you alittle money on trash bags.  Using the system come us to half of what the cost of soda is at the grocery store.
We really love the SodaStream System.  I highly recommend it if you are looking to cut the price of soda in your grocery budget.  I know it seems like alot of money at first because you have to purchase the system up front.  But after doing the math and if you use it long term it really will save you money.



A Daily Routine Makes a Mommy Happy!

If you read my post earlier in the week you know that we've been busy around here.  I implemented a daily routine in my home.  Madelynn was becoming a very disobedient child with random lash outs at me.  Occasionally they would be towards her daddy too but mostly towards me.  I racked my brain over and over to figure out what I was doing wrong in parenting her.  I finally figured it out.  Before we moved into our apartment we are living in now we did the same thing in the same order every day since she was who knows how little.  Then we moved and that's always hecktic.  But on top of that I was 6 months pregnant and just tired all the time.  I would let her watch tv.  We'd do whatever whenever I got enough energy to do it.  Everything was just haphazard.  It was bad.  So how could I not expect her to throw a fit when I told her she needed to clean up and she needed to do it now.  She wasn't expecting it.  There was no warning.  She was playing and wanted to keep doing so.  If you have a toddler you know their mentality.  It's "but I want to" for everything.  Doesn't matter what you want them to do.  They haven't completely figured out reasoning.  And you don't always have 20 minutes to sit down and explain to them what's going on and why they need to clean.  So a routine was needed.  That way she knew what to expect and when to expect it and I did too.
I made it a routine and no a schedule because I am being reasonable for myself.  I know that I can not keep a strict schedule with a 2 month old.  It just won't happen.  We also don't wake up the same time every day. I never wake my children when they're sleeping.  I think it's silly.  If they're sleeping they obviously need the sleep. 

I started with the basics.  In the morning we used to eat breakfast and watch a movie.  Then we ended up in our pajamas all day long with dirty teeth.  So now in the morning we eat breakfast, get dressed, and brush our teeth.  No movie or television show episode.  That's definitely been the hardest transition for Madelynn but she's taking it well.  
Next I wanted Madelynn to have a definite chore.  I came up with gathering the laundry and putting it in the washer.  She loves doing this.  I think it makes her feel like a big girl because she knows she's helping Mommy.  I don't ever help her with her chore unless she asks.  I also don't rush her along.  I want this to be something she does joyfully.  I want to teach my daughter the joy of doing chores at a young age.  I never learned that they could be a joyful thing.  Now they are my daily job.  So I better start being joyful about it or I'm going to be a very grumpy person all the time.
After morning chores are done we have bible time.  Before we started our homeschool curriculum I was just reading her the story of Moses.  But since we've started our Sonbeams homeschool preschool curriculum we have been using the Bible lessons from it every day.  I like doing this much better because it has the scripture right from the Bible but it also lines it out in a way a child can understand it.
When we're done with Bible time we have School time.  We always start School time with Board time.  
The goal of the board is to start school in a fun way.  It teaches her the days of the week slowly.  It also has the letter, number, color, and bible verse of the week on it.  The bible verse is missing in the picture because I keep forgetting to hang it.  But Madelynn knows it.  She has 3 verses memorized right now.  She's awesome!  
When we sit down to do school I use the Sonbeams Preschool Homeschool curriculum.  I love it.  I will be talking more about it in several different posts.  We don't sit at the table to do school every day.  Madelynn is only 2 1/2.  I'm making school fun.  So I don't use the whole curriculum.  I pick and choose.  I'm definitely going to be able to go through it all over again with her next year and actually do all of it.  We have started having 1 park day a week.  As the weather gets cooler or rainier that park day will turn into a library day.
After we're done with school stuff Hayleigh is awake to eat.  I feed her and then Madelynn and I play with her in the floor until it's time to make lunch. 
When we're finished with lunch it is naptime.  For some reason this is the hardest time for Madelynn.  She doesn't want to nap anymore.  But I know she still needs it.  If she doesn't get a nap most days she's a crabby mess after dinner.  This is her biggest fit throwing time of day.  Which I don't understand because since she's been a tiny baby after lunch has ALWAYS been naptime.
While the girls are down for a nap I load the dishwasher, put away laundry, and blog.
When they wake up it is free play time for Madelynn while I cook dinner.  I say free play time because for the whole morning she is doing something with me.  In the evening she gets to play alone.
After we eat dinner Madelynn has to clean up all of the toys she got out that day.  Some evenings this goes quickly.  Some evenings this is another huge fit.  I have taken toys away because she won't clean them up.  Then given them back after she's been really good at cleaning up only to take them away again 2 days later because she refuses to clean up.  It's an ongoing battle that I'm not sure how to end.
Whenever she finally gets done cleaning up it's time for pajamas.  If she ate all of her dinner and wasn't a horrible child while cleaning up then I will give her a snack.  If she was horrible while cleaning up or didn't finish her dinner then she only gets milk.  I don't care how horrible you think I am for sending my kid to bed hungry.  She needs to learn that dinner is dinner.  She doesn't get something extra if she doesn't eat it.
Then it's time for brushing her teeth.  After she brushes her teeth we go to her Chore Chart and place an M next to all the things she did that day.  We have H's too for Hayleigh for the things that Mommy does for Hayleigh.  If Madelynn gets all of her M's then we get to do the "Happy Chore Dance".  I know that seems pretty lame to just have a dance that we do.  But Madelynn loves to dance and if she doesn't get to dance because she didn't do all of her chores that's a big deal to her.

We end the night we prayer time and then bed.
It works pretty well most days.  Like I said, we have our melt down days.  I can only hope that continually being consistent with this routine will make those less and less. 
I have the routine posted for myself so I stay motivated.  For some reason if it's there and posted where Casey can see it and can ask, "did you do this today?" about any on of those things I'm more likely to do it.  I need accountability.  I'm also a much happier person with a routine.
I hope this insight into my home helps you in your home.



Free Veggie Tales DVD!

Well hello! I know it's been awhile.  I haven't felt up to blogging.  I've been busyish.  Hayleigh was waking up ALOT at night.  Thankfully she stopped that this week.  She now has an 8 hour stretch of sleep! AND she can put herself to sleep! Go Hayleigh!  I got my house organized.  Started a new daily routine and chore chart.  I also started preschool with Madelynn.  There will be posts about my organization and preschool VERY soon.

But, what you came for.  There is an offer right now RIGHT HERE for a free VeggieTales DVD.  Go to store.veggietales.com.  Log in or create and account, you MUST be logged in for the promo to work.  Then select Girl Power, Happy Together, Silly Little Thing Called Love, Esther, or Abe and the Amazing Promise.  After you choose enter 'VEGGIECFA' at the check out to make the DVD FREE.  Then select Parcel Post shipping to make shipping free.  Then you have a Christmas present for your child! I selected Girl Power.  It's going to be for my girls for Christmas.  Let me know which one you picked!  The site is running slow.  But don't worry.  The promotion runs until December 31, 2011.  So if you can't do it today wait a few days and try again.  I'll make sure to remind you.