Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer in April!

Just wanted to post some photos from our weekend. There's been a heat wave in Eastern PA this week - with 90-degree temps and lots and lots of SUN!

We were able to hang out at home on Sunday and the kids were thrilled to get out the pool and spend the afternoon swimming with their cousin and neighbors!

It's still HOT here, but the weather is going to change tomorrow and go back to more seasonable temperatures. We enjoyed our little summer preview, but I will be glad when Spring returns.
You can see my new laundry line in the background! And my little garden - you can't see the sugar snap peas though (they are about 6 inches high right now). I'll be planting more in another week or so. And we're adding some additional "beds" for the kids to call their own.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

FANTASTIC deal at Redner's Warehouse Markets (Lehigh County, PA)

This post is for those readers also in the Lehigh Valley area.

I shop at Redner's Markets - they have great prices and good service. And they are right down the street from me.

But I found an unbelievable deal while shopping this evening. They are having a "Pick 5 for $19.95" deal on meats. There was an entire cooler in the meat section filled with different types of meats and you can mix-and-match whatever you would like (you do have to buy in increments of 5 though).

Chicken breast tenderloins, whole chickens, steaks, sausages, pork chops, fish, scallops, ground beef... lots to choose from! And they even included some more prepared foods like fish sticks, chicken nuggets and Lloyd's BBQ too!

I bought 10 items (some of my steaks were priced at $9.50 - and I got them for $4!). I was talking with the meat manager, and he said that Redner's will be running this sale twice a month because of the positive response they got!

I am going to go back and buy more. I will not have my income in 6 weeks, so having a fully stocked freezer at these prices will be a blessing!

A Sunny Sunday

What a lovely day we had today! It is still BEAUTIFUL here in PA - almost 90-degrees and sunny!

We all woke up a bit early this morning. I was able to take a relaxing 30-minute walk before the whole house was up. I started laundry as soon as I got home while Craig mowed the lawn.

And then we got to try our brand new laundry clothes line! YAY! We bought one of those umbrella style laundry lines last year but never got around to putting it up. We aren't allowed to have a "permanent" laundry line in our neighborhood, so this is perfect as it pops right in and out of the little hole. I hung 4 loads of laundry today and there was still room! I LOVE IT! I'm going to try to do sheets and towels tomorrow!

While I was hanging the laundry, Craig blew up the kiddie pool. We planned on filling it and letting the water have a chance to warm up before letting the kids in, but as soon as there was even an inch of water they had to be in there too!

They "swam" all day! We had a nice visit from my sister and nephew too, and several neighbors came over to join us as well. It was fun!

We bought a new grill too - although Craig couldn't fit the assembled one in the van, so it's still in pieces in the box! Hopefully we can grill tomorrow!

I am exhausted after being in the sun all day - but it was fun!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Update

Nope - I am not watching Saturday Night Live!

It's been a busy weekend already, and it's only 8:10 AM on Saturday!

Yesterday, we had our yard sale with a few other neighbors. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and we sold over half of our "treasures" and made $200! Yay! I forgot the sunscreen though, and have a sunburned neck now! And I did let Ryan skip school and stay at the yard sale with me - he sold $7.75-worth of lemonade. :) Unfortunately, we won't have to lie on his excuse blank for school - by mid-afternoon I knew he wasn't feeling quite right. Poor guy had a 101-fever! He took a nice, long rest in the afternoon and felt better (oh, I think the Motrin helped a bit too).

I was worried about him being sick - because last night was Ryan and Maddie's birthday party at Bounce U! We had 22 (yes - 22!) kids there last night. Despite one little guy missing his mom too much, another cutting his thumb and a few bops on the head from flying basketballs , everyone had a great time!

I have to give a big THUMBS UP to Bounce U. Yes, they were pricy, but they throw a nice party! We spilt this party between Maddie and Ryan's friends, so I paid less for one big party than I would have for 2 smaller ones. We won't be able to do big parties like this every year, but we had the money available this year so we went for it! We had 75-minutes of "bounce time" and 45 minuntes in the party room (where we opted to order pizza and drink for all the kids/parents in addition to our cupcake *cakes are the only food you are allowed to bring to Bounce U*). I really enjoyed watching my kids play with their friends from school. I only know a select few friends, so this was a great opporunity to meet some new ones - and I met some really nice moms too!

This morning, I am at work. Before I left, I got all the remaining yard sale goodies out and our neighbor is going to sell my goodies (in return, we let her take over the other half of our driveway with her stuff!). I hope to find everything GONE when I get home!

Best new is, this yard sale money has just about filled our anticipated budget for adding days onto our vacation - so all 14 days will be paid for soon! (We just added a 3-night stay in Myrtle BEach to our Orlando vacation - hooray!).

I wonder what the rest of this beautiful weekend will have in store?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just when you make a decision....

Last night Craig and I sat down and talked about my job and plans for this summer. It was not an argument at all - he was very supportive and agreed with everything I brought up. There were some tears involved as I talked about how I feel like I missed out on the past two years of the kids' lives - how I am glad that I was home with them, yet feel like I missed out on so much because of having a day care. We agreed I should give notice to my last daycare child for June and become a full-time SAHM again.

I went to bed feeling very good about things and looking forward to this summer with the kids. However, when I woke up, I started feeling really badly about giving notice to K's mom. It's not that K is a problem - we really like her. I just have this need to be with my own kids.

To top things off, I talked with Maddie about this. I told her that I was thinking that I wouldn't babysit anymore and that we would have the summer to be with just our family. We talked about vacation, pools, going to the zoo etc. And do you know what she did?

She cried.

She was so upset that I was considering not having K at our house. She said she would really miss her - even if they have been fighting more than usual lately. I reminded her that just because I wouldn't be K's babysitter didn't mean they can't be friends. We live less than a mile from her and they go to the same school. Playdates would be inevitable - regardless of my employment.

I still really feel like I should make the move to a SAHM, but I will give Maddie an option to give her vote too. She has never been fond of any change, so I wasn't overly surprised with her reaction. If she really will be too upset NOT having K here, I will consider keeping her. But I am hoping that Maddie sees that I am looking to have time as a family. I know that in a year or two, Maddie will be more interested in friends than mom - and that's why I feel that I need to do this now.

I wish this were easier on everyone. A year ago, Maddie would have been fine with having time with just me. She's growing up too quickly.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Powder Room

I tried to snap a few pictures of our 1st floor powder room, but the room is so tiny that it was really hard to do!

It's such a tiny room! But I guess it has everything a powder room really needs. I really like the pretty pedestal sink (even though it means there is no storage in the room!). We added the cabinet over the toilet and it provides enough room for a few rolls of paper and other items.

We painted this room a few years ago - it's just boring old tan (it's actually the leftover boring tan from our basement). I tried to dress it up a little with some framed prints (from Kohl's - where else?) and a pretty berry wreath. I added the berries around the mirror last year. It's okay - but I want to find the time to actually frame the mirror one of these days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What it all boils down to....

I had Ryan's parent-teacher conference tonight. His teacher had lots of nice things to say about him - his excellent reading skills, classroom citizenship, math skills (I could go on - can you tell I am proud of him?)....

But the biggest thing that I took away from the conference was when she said "You know, Ryan just loves Fridays. He comes off the bus with a huge smile and he tells me 'My mom doesn't have the other kids today. We get to go for lunch at (*fill in the blank*) today - just me and Mommy and Jacob!' I hope you know just how much it means to him that you spend those Fridays with him."

Indeed - THIS is what is important. Ryan does not go into to school on Thursdays and say "Hooray - my mom gets paid today!" Nope - he cares about Fridays - the only day of the week that I am home with just him (and his brother).

I have been looking for a sign telling me what to do about babysitting. I think this may have been it, don't you?

We're havin' a Yard Sale!

Our neighborhood is kind of known for having great yard sales - usually in mid-May. They changed the date on us this year, and I was bummed that they moved it to April (when I am still working on Saturdays). A bunch of my close neighbors wanted to also hold their sales on Friday, and I am thrilled that I can join them for at least one day!

I have my garage sale system down pretty well. I have a stack of boxes in my storage room that are just for garage sale items - I organize and price all items before they go into the boxes. I have about 7 boxes ready-to-go with almost no work!

I have been running through my house finding more items. We're paring down the kids' VHS collection, going through some toys and delving deep into the basement storage to get rid of some of those items we never use.

i am also *sniff sniff* getting rid of our baby stuff. I don't have a lot left (most I gave away to family or friends, or sold on Craigslist), but I do have a Jumparoo, a pack-n-play and a few other things that I am ready to part with now (I held on to most items in case I did more childcare - I know I won't be doing that anymore, so I will get rid of it).

I still won't part with my slings though! We rarely babywear anymore, but I am still hanging on to those!

So here's hoping I make some nice money on Friday - and clean out the house a bit too. I am also considering keeping Ryan home from school that day. He's in morning kindergarten, but it's parent-teacher conference week, so he only goes to school for 90 minutes. He has a HUGE interest in money, and I think helping with a yard sale would be an excellent lesson for him. He's never missed a day of school, so I think we could take a nice, little "homeschool" break from public school on Friday! I am hoping I can get my mom to watch Jacob, so that I can give my full attention to Ryan that morning.

For any of you in the Lehigh Valley - stop by and find some bargains! I'll be out on Friday morning, but the HUGE sale in on Saturday (2 seperate townhome developments and 2 single-home developments too!). It's supposed to be a nice weekend!

budget buster (not really!)

Okay - so we have been talking about sticking with a budget, cutting out things like cable tv, etc.

Well, last night we made the decision to order Tivo HD for my husband. LOL

He's been wanting one since we got the new tv (we previously had regular Tivo - an invention that came straight from heaven IMHO). In an attempt to save a little money, we canceled Tivo and got a DVR from our cable company. WRONG MOVE! The DVR just doesn't work. We've tried and tried, but we have nothing but problems.

We ran the numbers (yet again) last night, and figured out that Tivo HD will cost us $3 more a month than what we are paying for now. Of course, we have to buy the unit itself.

We had budgeted for a new videocamera before our vacation, but Craig just told me he's getting all new camera at work and we can "borrow" one of the older ones for our vacation - eliminating the need to buy one at this time. So we'll use the camera money to buy Tivo and everyone is happy.

i amglad that I can help my husband get what he wants - he doesn't ask for too much. And I am REALLY glad I can do it without breaking the budget!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I have been feeling a little down lately. I feel like I have lots of big decisions to make, but that it's not yet the time to make the decision.

I just wanted to remind myself that although I am very frustrated at times, I have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for:

  • My 3 healthy, beautiful children.
  • My loving husband who is truly my "other half."
  • My home - which provides us with shelter and offers us more space than we really do need.
  • My husband's job - which provides everything we need and then some.
  • My jobs - which have provided us with a year of financial freedom and a big old fun vacation (already paid for!) coming up in June.
  • My education - I have a BA in English Literature, and there has never been a moment where I have regretted my education - ever.
  • My family - tomorrow is my Brother-In-Law's birthday, and it's been crazy trying to schedule a little celebration for him. But I am so blessed to have family who is close enough to me that we have to worry about getting together at least once a week.
  • My neighbors - I sometimes complain about living in a close-quarters townhome development, but the truth is that I have some wonderful people living close to me who will never hesitiate to lend a hand if I need it!
  • My friends - I don't have many close friends anymore, but today I was thinking of a good friend. 20 years of memories!
  • My garden - I am so thankful I have been given a little piece of the earth to call my own! It's amazing that soon 100 sq ft will be feeding my family.

There's so much more to be thankful for. I am a truly blessed woman - even if I worry too much about money, jobs, weight and the unattainable quest for "perfection."

Budget - Part 2

I never posted my budget findings (it was way too nice of a weekend - we were outside and not on the computer much!).

The main answer is that if we want to continue to keep our standard of living, I need to keep babysitting over the summer. :( Otherwise, it's down to +$5 at the end of the month, and that's cutting it a little too close.

It's frustrating at times. We used to live off of one income with little problem. But we cut our bills as much as possible and truly lived a VERY frugal lifestyle. Over the years, as our income increased, we changed our lifestyle. Some things, like eating out several times a week, bother me very much, and I can't wait until I am not working 6 days a week so that I can cook my family healthy and CHEAPER meals. But things like our $150-cable bill bother me to no end. My husband is a media guy - it's what he does for a living. I saved up money and (finally - in his opinion) bought him a big screen HDTV this winter. Of course, that increased our cable bill substantially. My husband does not go out with "the guys," golf, drink, or anything like that, so I guess I can't really complain too much about his HDTV cable package.

Back to the budget - I kept it realistic, which means I probably over-budgeted for a few things and we would have a little more in our pockets at the end of the month, but it's still tight.

So my first thought was that I really need to keep babysitting. Even the extra $100 a week (although far below what I should get paid for a full 48-hours of care each week) pays for the groceries (and then some!).

But I just can't stop that nagging feeling that I am missing out on time with MY kids, and I really want to see if this will work. The reality is, by the time we get home from our big vacation, there are only 9 weeks of summer left. "K" will likely go on vacation for a week (usually 2) as well - leaving only 7 weeks that I would actually get paid. Is $700 worth not being able to do things with my children?

If I would quit, our budget would be tight. BUT - it's only for 9 weeks. Then I would be back to work int he fall (just on Saturday mornings, but the money is good enough to pay for the groceries) and the budget would not be as tight. So we may have to tap into savings for 2 months. Is that worth it?

Craig and I need to sit down and talk about this in more detail. I am really not sure what the best thing is to do.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Budgets & Decisions

I am thinking about money today, and not in the "oh I have so much money I just don't know what to do with it" kind of way. I am trying to figure out just how little money we can bring in and still maintain our standard of living (or at least close to it).

We've never really had a budget. Back when I was still working full-time and was pregnant with my first child, I sort of drew up a budget. We knew we wanted me to stay home as much as possible, so we took a huge inventory of our assets vs. liabilities and did manage to create a budget which allowed me to significantly cut back on my hours after Maddie was born. But that budget soon went out the window, and we haven't really had one since that time.

It's 8 years later, and we have an entirely different financial situation at this point. I work a part-time job (Saturdays) and currently work full-time hours doing childcare. This past year has been terribly stressful for me, but we've had a great income. I have given notice to 3 (out of 4) childcare clients that I will be ending my position in June. The plan has been to continue watching "K: (an 8-year-old girl) and use that income to get us through the summer.

Really, really long story short, I am not sure things are moving in a positive direction with "K" - there has been a huge increase in the amount of fighting - especially when the kids play outdoors and our neighbor gets involved (we live in a townhome, so the backyards are rather cozy - our neighbor is also a 2nd-grader and some big problems have come up when all the girls are outside). Add to these problems the fact that when I do childcare, I can't allow my own children to do certain activities.

Maddie wants to go to Girl Scout camp this year, and I plan on sending her. All of my kids enjoy Vacation Bible School. My kids have never learned to swim - because I have always had daycare kids in my care and can't take them to lessons at the pool. The list goes on and on...... Basically, I feel like my kids have had to accept less because of the kids in my care. Even though K is mostly a good kid (with the exception of the recent fighting), I still can't let my kids go off and participate in other activities if she is in our care.

Part of me says that I should just quit - stay home with my own children. Let them take swim lessons and meet Daddy for lunch at his office once and a while. Do things that other kids with a SAHM can enjoy doing (things we haven't done for a long, long time). But the other part of me says that the money I bring in (even if it's meager and way below fair market value for my services) is still grocery money each week.

So we're back to the budgets. I really need to see if we can live off of Craig's salary alone (my part-time job has no hours in the summer, so I don't even get that little paycheck to help). I know things are going to be really, REALLY tight, but maybe we can make it work.

My children are 8, 6 and 3 - they aren't babies anymore and I feel like I have missed out on so much in the past few years. They won't be young for much longer - I really feel like I need to take the time NOW to be with them again. With Maddie approaching the "tween" years, I know it's just a matter of time before friends will seem more important than family. I want to enjoy a summer where she just wants to be with me. Maybe that's selfish in a way, but I think my selfishness really only helps them too.

I'll post tomorrow on my budget findings - hopefully good news for us. when I first started typing today, I was going to ask opinions on IF I should quit my babysitting for good. As I wrote, it's become pretty clear that it's what I really want. I just need to make it work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easy and Cheap Craft

We made this craft a few weeks ago, and we may do a slightly different version this afternoon (flowers instead of rainbows).

If your house is anything like mine, you have a BILLION stickers all over the house. The kids enjoy simply placing the stickers on paper, but that gets old after awhile. So we came up with this idea and everyone had a great time doing this.

I have 7 children in my care during the day - and they range from 3-8 years. It's really hard finding projects that work for all ages and genders (the majority of my kids are 4 & 5 year old BOYS - who don't enjoy quiet projects. Let's be honest - they don't enjoy quiet ANYTHING). This project was so simple and such a hit!

The kids worked together to help everyone find the right color stickers. They got creative with what they used to make up with rainbow.

Best part, it just used construction paper and stickers - all which were already in the craft bins!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Something has been weighing on my mind...


Body Image.



All of these things have been on my mind lately. A bit too much. I have been really down about my weight, and this weekend seemed to be a low point for me. My clothes feel tight and I feel uncomfortable. I was looking through our Easter photos, and I can't stand looking at myself in the photos. I feel like I am a whole other person than the real me.

I've been really sad for the past few days. Weight gain is one of those problems with no easy fix. I want to do something about it, but seeing any result takes a long time.

I think I have finally figured out that I need to watch what (and how much ) I eat. It's hard to eat well - especially when I am working 6 days a week! There just isn't time for cooking from scratch - some days, there just isn't time for cooking at all.

I feel like I traded my health for a meager salary. I am not happy about it. I had an appointment with my midwife (for a regular GYN annual - no baby here!) and we talked about my weight (and the effect it's having on my health). She is a wonderful, positive woman and told me that I have made good choices and that I am on the right road to losing the weight. But it's so frustrating to me that I can't just get started doing things right yet. I can try - but I still have 4 extra children here all week, and I still work on Saturdays. That leaves very little time for cooking and getting any type of exercise. I will try though.

I had a day off today. I was home with just my own children - and it was WONDERFUL! Sure, we had lots of bickering and I didn't get even close to getting all my chores done, but the stess level was so low just because I was home with my own children. I didn't get to fully enjoy it though - the thought was always there that tomorrow I will be back to the old routine with all the other kids. I'll be back to work on Saturday next weekend.

I wanted to workout tonight, but I can't stop coughing and can't even imagine trying to workout. Even yoga seems impossible when you are coughing all the time. I am taking the night off and going to try to get all of the Easter baskets and decorations put away (instead of working out). I will hope that I will be a little better tomorrow.

I need to be done feeeling sorry for myself and what I have done to my body. I need to just do something about it. I am going to start by watching what I eat and tracking the calories I take in each day. And I am going to try to get 30 minutes of exercise each day. We'll see what happens when I am able to do those two things. Hopefully I'll see some positive results by the time I am done with my babysitting job - and then I will have the time to really focus some attention on myself.

Easter Highs and Lows

Wow - we've been a busy bunch of bunnies this holiday!

Here's a quick recap of what we've been up to over the past 5 days.
  • We dyed Easter Eggs - then forgot to take them to my inlaws, so we now have 17 hard boiled eggs here. No one really likes hard boiled eggs. :)
  • We did LOTS of laundry!
  • we celebrated Easter with both sides of the family - which means lots of goodies, egg hunts and ham!
  • Today (Monday) I HAVE THE DAY OFF!!!!!!!! No day care kids are here, and I have enjoyed this day so much! It's so nice to have time just with my own children!
  • I got sick. I have a nasty chest cold and no voice!
Here are the kids dying the eggs - they honestly had fun doing this, but it looks like I own an egg-dying seat shop and have been forcing them to color eggs for days! LOL

Here are the baskets the Easter Bunny left for the kids:

And here's a picture from our own little egg hunt:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How to Throw a (better) Birthday Party

The boys' party turned out very well, but there's always room for improvement, right? Here are a few notes that will hopefully help me execute the next party better.

Party Prep
  • Create 2 seperate shopping lists - one for Sam's Club and one for the grocery store.
  • Allow enough time for the Sam's Club trip FIRST. Add anything unavailable at Sam's to the other shopping list.
  • Be sure to buy Fruit & Veggie trays at Sam's Club - they were less than half the price of the grocery store and served us well!
  • Plan an activity for Craig and the kids to do together so that they are occupied while I prep.
  • Run the dishwasher and EMPTY IT before the party, so it's ready to be filled again when the party is over.
  • 8 lbs of ham is a lot! Freeze half right after slicing.
  • Buy more Swiss cheese (we ran out within minutes! Who knew my family likes Swiss so much?)
  • Buy fewer salty snacks.
Party time!
  • Remember to hand out favors to the guests!
  • Try to determine if any guests need to leave early (my cousin and her family had to leave just as we let the kids open some gifts - I wish I would have known she had to leave so that we could have started things earlier).
  • If it's a nice day (and it was), put outdoor toys in an obvious and accessible place for guests to use. We were scrambling for bubbles mid-party.
  • Disposable table cloths are our friend.
  • Somehow steal a few minutes to vacuum - even if it's late (perhaps have Craig get the kids ready for bed?). We found a few ants the morning after the party!
Hopefully I'll come back to this post before Maddie's birthday party in May!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Ryan!

April 7th - Ryan turns 6 today! I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed.

Six years ago today I woke up to see an April snowstorm just starting. I was a a little more than a week away from my due date, but I truly felt that I could not be pregnant for one more day. Craig, little Maddie and I all went to my regular midwife appointment (in the snow!) and discovered that I was a little over 3 cm and 100% effaced - I really wasn't going to be pregnant much longer!

My first birth was a very medical event, and I wanted something very different with my second one. With Madeline, my water broke and contractions began shortly after that. My labor with Ryan was totally different. In fact, I didn't even know I was in labor for most of the day! I remember being on the phone with my sister and mentioning that I could not bend over to pick something off the ground. She made me call my midwife, who said I was most certainly in labor.

We left for the hospital around 3:00 pm and Ryan was born just a few minutes after 7:00 pm. Ryan's birth was such a calm and gentle event. He was born underwater into the hands of our wonderful midwife. I had a rather difficult first birth, so Ryan's beautiful entrance was not only a blessing, but also a way for me to finally heal old wounds.

Ryan is our second miracle. He made Madeline a Big Sister and us very proud parents. He has always been a very high needs child. However, he can be the sweetest boy and getting a smile and hug from him will just make you glow!

Here's Ryan at just one-day old:

And here he is as a 6-year-old kingergardener:

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's Party Time!

Today was our "family party" for Ryan and Jacob. We're at that age now (at least with Maddie and Ryan) where we have 2 birthday parties - one for our family and a party just for classmates and friends. I enjoy the family party so much more!

I spent most of the weekend preparing for this party. We had about 20 people on our Guest List, which meant there were 25 people to feed and entertain. Thankfully, we were blessed with a BEAUTIFUL spring day and we were able to sit on the deck and enjoy the outdoors. The children were all able to play baseball, blow bubbles and swing all afternoon!

  • 8 lbs. ham - sliced and served cold (this was my gluten-free entree)
  • Kaiser & onion rolls - whole wheat bread (for those who wanted to create a sandwich)
  • American, Swiss & Colby-Jack cheeses
  • Salami
  • Potato & Macaroni salads
  • Pickle & olive tray
  • Baked Beans
  • Fruit & Veggie trays
  • Variety of salty snacks (for anyone wondering, Fritos & Tostitos are both Gluten Free)
  • Cheese, Pepperoni & Sausage Pizzas (from Dominos - the cheapest non-bake-at-home option).
  • Birthday cake & ice cream (Breyers Vanilla & Chocolate is gluten free)
  • Sodas, Strawberry lemonade and Iced tea

We had more than enough food (we ate less than half of the ham, so I guess I need to look for some good ham recipes this week!) and everyone was stuffed by the end of the night! You can see that we actually had 2 cakes - the Indiana Jones cake and a smaller birthday cake. Ryan's birthday is April 7th, and he shares that day with my Grandfather (who is turning 79!). It's fun to celebrate 3 birthdays at one party!

My Indiana Jones cake was a HUGE hit! I found a photo of this cake online and copied it for my boys' cake. It was both adorable and delicious!

For party favors, I gave each child a shovel and pail with their name on it. The pail was filled with a small notebook, pencils or crayons and a few sweet treats. We have two older "tweens" in the family, and they received the same goodies, but in a pretty paper sack. (Note, I had every intention of giving favors to all our guests, but it just didn't get done this time).

The house is a bit of a mess at this point. Thankfully, Craig has offered to do most of the cleaning (since I did all of the prep work AND played Hostess-with-the Mostess all day). We nearly always have parties on Sundays since I work on Saturdays, and the post-party clean-up is always the hardest part.

Tomorrow, I want to reflect on what parts of the party went smoothly, and where we can do better next time.

A hunting we will go....

On Saturday, we went to an Easter Egg Hunt. The kids were invited to participate in a great Egg Hunt which is run by a local park. It's a great event!

It was very cold that day - we all ended up in winter coats, hats and mittens. And oh my was it ever WINDY!

We had a great time despite the weather, and the children came home with lots of candy and many prizes (I love that this hunt does not do "prize eggs," but rather lets each child choose a set number of prizes. It makes the hunt more fun for everyone!).

What a fun day!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Jacob!

My baby turned 3 today! We haven't done too much celebrating (yet), but we're going to meet my Dad for lunch and have a special dinner tonight.

On Sunday, we'll have a party for both Jacob and Ryan (who turns 6 on April 7th) - and *my* Grandfather will turn 79 on April 7th as well!

Here's Jacob at one-week old:

And here he is today - An energetic 3-year-old!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day - I mean, Happy Anniversary!

Yes indeed, today is my 9th wedding anniversary! We were able to go out for dinner last night to celebrate. Craig always works late on Wednesdays, so I actually won't see him until late tonight.

Craig did surprise me with some beautiful roses this morning - and breakfast from Chik-Fil-A (they are having a free breakfast every Wednesday in April - at least at ours!).

Here we are 9 years ago: