Wednesday, June 29, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

While this guy is growing at the speed of light, often I find him doing things that remind me that he's still my baby.  Like today as we played a game together, he snuggled up his head on my shoulder and held onto my arm, watching the game with me.  He may be 5 and half (as he will make sure to tell you) but he's still my baby boy.

This girl got to meet her baby cousin last weekend and from the look on her face, you can tell she was in heaven.  She kept telling me all weekend long, "Mama, I saw my baby cousin!"  A little mommy she is, that's for sure.

I can't turn my back for more than ten seconds without this one getting into something.  She will be sitting up one minute and then flipped to her stomach the next.  While mobile babies are seriously cute, I forgot how tiring it can be!


Remy // 8 Months

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Remy // 8 months
Weight:20 lbs 10 oz
Height: 27 + inches

I figured since we are almost into July I should probably share an update on this booty baby.  Let's just say I really wasn't a fan of seven months.  Actually, I'm not sure I clearly remember that month very much considering the amount of combined sleep I had was about 5 hours.  However, in the past few weeks since she's turned eight months it seems she has shown me that she is less infant and more baby.  Remy's personality has really started to grow and I love watching her wide range of emotions.  Nine months has always been one of my favorite age ranges so I'm excited for the next few months coming up!

Here is what Remy has been up to the last month:

We had to make yet another trip to the doctor this past month only to find out her double ear infection had not completely healed up.  But this time they weighed her so I know that the chunkers weighs 20lbs 10 oz.  I'm hoping at this rate I'll quickly gain some serious Kate Middleton arms just from carrying Remy around.  She's comfortably wearing 9 month or 12 month clothes and still has several 6-12 month outfits that fit well too.  I'm going to need to stock up on some cotton 12 month pjs here soon because her little toes are starting to curl up in her 9 month pjs.

Eating is still the same with three meals a day.  I cut up some watermelon and avocado pieces and she loved every little piece of them.  Remy also loves shredded cheese, puffs and Mum-Mums.  During the day she gets three 4 oz bottles and then a 7 ouncer before bed.  She will wake up usually once for another bottle but at this point I'm quite certain it's just a comfort thing but sweet Jesus I will take any sleep right now.

Something with this third child has my like woah.  Remy has finally figured out how to flip over in her bed without getting stuck.  But her chubby legs manage to find their way over her breathable bumper and have gotten caught a couple of times in the middle of the night.  The continuous double ear infection didn't help the sleeping either.  One night Remy was having a horrible time, so I laid her down to change her diaper I gave her the bottle to drink.  After like two sucks she let out this awful cry which made me know she was in pain.  I almost took her to the ER because Kurtis and I could not get her to calm down.  However, after a round of Motrin she was good for a few hours.  Last week we spent a few day at my parents and the kid slept like a dream - of course.  But Remy still goes down around 7:30, will most of the time wake up once and then will be up for the day anytime after 7:30.  Her naps still have remained consistent at 10 and 2, which sometimes are a hit and others a complete miss.  This kid is not predictable to say the least.

Remy now has eight teeth and I can see nine making it's way up to the surface at the bottom.  Shes' a master roller and can scoot herself backwards to whatever she wants.  Today I caught her trying to pull the DVR cords out of the wall.  As you can see my baby-proofing skills suck.  Last week she also started clapping which has been the cutest thing in the world.  She gets going, stops to look at her hands moving and then gets excited when she realizes what she's doing.  Remy has also figured out how to push up on to her hands and knees and will rock back and forth.  It's only a matter of days until she's on the go!

Baby girl still loves to be outdoors.  We got a new outdoor umbrella so I'm excited to spend some cooler mornings out there, drinking coffee and blowing bubbles.  Remy also is a pretty big fan of the pool.  Her Auntie Rah Rah bought her this whale float and girlfriend kicks her legs like its her job.  She is also a huge fan of blankets and loves to snuggle up to them.

Remy absolutely HATES to have someone walk by her and not pay attention to her or pick her up.  If I'm trying to get things done and she's in her jumper I will completely avoid eye contact or choose a different path that is not in her line of sight.  She also hates waiting for her bottles or food as well as getting her diaper changed. 


Remy Elizabeth,
Over the past few weeks you have grown from infant to baby right before my eyes.  You are so interactive and ready to explore the world!  You think your brother is the funniest person in the world and you love when your sister plays with you and shares her toys.  I used to think you were a Daddy's Girl but I'm wondering if that is starting to change.  :)  Remy your thighs are absolutely delicious and the wrist rolls are to die for I'm telling you.  Just one more full month together until I head back to work full time again, which makes me sad but I'm also thankful that I got to spend almost ten months home with you, your sister and brother!


Fun and Easy Summertime Hot Dog Bar

Monday, June 27, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
 #SummerOfGrilling #CollectiveBias

This is our third summer in our house and we finally decided it was time to tackle our patio.  Our previous house had this amazing backyard complete with a fabulous deck, outdoor surround sound and a fire pit.  While we knew the patio was going to be on our project list when we moved into this house, it just took us a bit to create the vision we wanted for it.  Finally, my husband decided to tackle an amazing paver-stone patio for the main seating area.  We ordered a new conversation set and a huge umbrella that offers some much needed shade from the hot, evening sun.  While we still have a bit more we want to do to the backyard (like add a deck area for our patio table) we wanted to break it in the best way we knew how - a family grill out!

I have to admit that I'm mildly obsessed with Market District, our Giant Eagle grocery store.  It is literally a one stop shop for all my needs so I knew I would be able to get everything I needed for our family grill out - including Blue Rhino propane for our grill!  It is definitely the headquarters for grilling.  I wanted to put together a Hot Dog bar so the kids could have fun and fancy up their hot dogs while the husband and I could make our favorite Hillbilly Hot Dogs.  I was able to grab the majority of our grilling items in the dairy and frozen aisle.  We always get Oscar Mayer hot dogs (Beef and Turkey) in bun length.  Then I grabbed some Kraft Natural Cheese slices that were in this area too.  Next I headed to the juice and water aisle to grab some Lipton Ready to Drink tea - because what's a grill out without some great flavored tea!  Finally after picking up some fresh vegetables (including sweet corn) and coleslaw all in the produce area, I was able to grab my Blue Rhino propane as I checked out.  Seriously, I could spend hours at Market District.

When I got home we filled up the kiddie pool and water table while the grill warmed up.  The great thing about our new patio is that the umbrella covers the entire space so the kids can play in the shade - which means easy on the sunscreen!  I foresee many summer patio breakfasts in our future.

I decided to set up the Hot Dog bar inside since it was much cooler and I wouldn't have to worry about things getting too warm or melting.  Basically I found some ingredients in the fridge that seemed like they would be tasty on a hot dog or two.  Then I placed the ingredients in small dishes with spoons to make it easier to put on the hot dogs.  Since it was just our family I didn't go too overboard with the choices. 

While I can't say I know exactly where these hot dogs got their name, Hillbilly Hot Dogs have been a family treat for as long as I remember.  I recently introduced them to my husband who is just as addicted to them.  Maybe it's a northern Indiana specialty because I even saw a sign advertising a weekend sale of these hot dogs when we were up in our hometown last week.

Hillbilly Hot Dogs

You Need:
*Hot Dogs - we love our Oscar Mayer hot dogs!
*Chili - no beans or Hot Dog sauce
*Kraft Natural Cheese Slices - American

How to Make Them:
1.  Grill your hot dogs up and place them into a bun.

2.  While your hot dogs are grilling, warm up your chili sauce in a saucepan or microwave.

3.  Next, place a slice of Kraft Natural Cheese on your hot dog.  I usually fold it in half and place it lengthwise on the dog.

4.  Then, top your cheese with the warm chili so it can melt.

5.  Finally add your coleslaw.

One of my favorite things about summertime is being able to spend time outdoors.  Now that we have our new patio we will be able to enjoy it so much more!  Plus, there is something about grilling out that just says summertime - and it means less mess in the kitchen for mom too.

Share with Me!
What's your favorite go-to grilling meal?  Don't forget to hit your local Giant Eagle - the place for everything grilling!


Ready for Race Day

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#RaceDayRelief   #CollectiveBias

I'm from Indiana so there are two things my state knows well - basketball and racing.  It's pretty standard to make a big deal about these sporting events.  But this town is especially crazy for anything race related.  I remember when I was little the neighborhood families would come together and have a Race Day party.  We would block the main road that all of the houses lived off of and celebrate with a huge block party.  The tables would be filled with food while families lined the streets with chairs and blankets.  Someone would always wheel out a T.V. and use a million extension cords to make sure it would reach the street.  Then, while the adults would watch the race, we would line up our bikes at the end of the road and have our own races.  I still remember the excitement I felt leading up to our Race Day party - it was one of my favorite events of the year as a child.

Now that I have my own family I try to create as many traditions and memories that can possibly fill up their little heads.  This year we kept our Race Day party low-key, mainly because my husband was on call and had to work.  However, we still wanted it to be a fun time but also wanted to make sure we could expand it's greatness next year when my husband will (hopefully) not be on call!  

While the plan was to keep it smaller, I knew I still wanted to have yummy eats to snack on and most importantly - a bike race for Cohen to have against his dad.  So I headed to Walmart to grab the necessities for our day of family fun!  Lately the husband has been asking for my Chili Cheese Dip so it only made sense to whip it together for our Race Day gathering.  However, as delicious as this stuff really is, chili doesn't sit too well with me on the indigestion side of things, especially since having my last baby.  The heartburn hits me like woah almost on a weekly basis with many things that I eat.

There was no way I was going to be hurting during our Race Day party, so I had to be prepared!  Lucky for me I have Nexium 24HR, the new #1 selling frequent heartburn brand* (with new easy to swallow tablets) that offers protection for this problem - just one pill a day and it is a simple solution to frequent heartburn! Nexium 24HR offers all day and all night protection but it may take one to four days to feel the full effect.  Just make sure you use it as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn. (Do not take for more than 14 days or more often than every 4 months unless directed by a doctor.  And remember - it's not for immediate relief!)  I made sure to grab a box of Nexium 24HR, my snack ingredients and a few Race Day goodies before I left the store - the fun was just about to get started!

 On the day of our Race Day party I made sure to get things prepped and ready early so everything would be ready to go as soon as Kurtis got home from work.  One of the first things  I did was prep the Chili Cheese Dip so I could pop it in the oven right before eating it.  This dip is so easy and is a hit with just about everyone!

Chili Cheese Dip

You Need:
*One (1) can of chili with no beans
*One (1) brick of cream cheese softened
*One (1) bag of shredded fiesta blend cheese
*Tortilla chips to serve with the dip

How to Make It:
1.  Begin by spreading the cream cheese on the bottom of your baking dish.  I use my circle casserole dish with handles but a pie pan would work great too!

2.  Layer the chili on top of the cream cheese, spreading it out.

3.  Cover the top of the dip with the shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

4.  For the last few minutes, switch the oven to broil to get the cheese super melted and gooey.  Just be sure to watch it so it doesn't burn!

After preparing the dip, I got out a few other snacks and then was ready to make Cohen's bike race track.  Luckily we live off of an access road so it's a straight street that only people who live off of it will drive on.  I used chalk to make a start and finish line and let the kids go to town!  He recently learned how to ride without his training wheels which made his bike race even more fun.  And then there's sweet Lola, trying to catch up on her little tricycle. Miss Remy even had her turn at racing too!

It was such a fun family day - so fun that Cohen continues to remind me about it on a daily basis. The snacks were amazing and of course the Chili Cheese Dip was the highlight of the meal.   I can't wait to make it bigger and better next year!  I'm thinking checkered flags and the whole nine yards!  Go big or go home, right?

Share with Me!
How do you make sure you don't miss a minute of the race?  Be sure to check out how Nexium can provide you relief from that frequent heartburn!
Check out some awesome coupons and savings off your next Nexium purchase too!


*Based on IRI sales data 52 weeks ending 11/1/15 among OTC brands. 

Our Summer Bucket List

Monday, June 20, 2016

I'm kind of in disbelief that we are already into the middle of June.  Soon we will be school shopping, trying to adjust our bodies to school bed times and getting back to the hustle of busy mornings on the go.  But I refuse to let the speed of time get me down, so I will push that to the back of my mind and start worrying on more important things - like what the weather will be like tomorrow.

One night Cohen and I were driving home from a rare grocery trip with just the two of us.  He was talking about how much he loved summer so I decided we should list some of the things we wanted to do before he headed off to Kindergarten and I tackled the working world again.  We have already crossed a few of these things off of our list, but I have to say that once again we have a pretty fun and exciting Summer Bucket List.  Plus I figured it was only fitting to share this on the first day of summer!

1.  Go strawberry picking

2.  Have a family picnic dinner at the park

3.  Play with friends at the Splash Pad

4.  Camp out in the backyard

5.  Spend an entire day at the waterpark

6.  Make blanket forts in the basement 

7.  Enjoy a family movie night

8.  Potty train Lola (this was my idea, obviously)

9.  Take a family trip to Cincinnati

10.  Play laser tag

11.  Sign up for the Library Summer Reading Program - AND FINISH IT!

12.  Pick blueberries

13.  Take a family bike ride

14.  Visit Nana and Papa

15.  Go to the Indianapolis Zoo

16.  Enjoy an outdoor concert

17.  Take Lola to her first movie

18.  Have a lemonade stand

19.  Eat breakfast on the Monon

20.  Family FroYo date

21.  Invite a friend over for a sleepover

22.  Make a homemade pie

23. Meet Dad for a lunch date

24.  Swim with Jenna and Jacey

25. Visit the Farmer's Market

As you can see, these kiddos love summer as much as I do!  I will gladly spend an afternoon at the pool with these kids - even if it does take us 30 minutes just to leave the house.

Bring it, Summer!  We are ready!



Saturday, June 18, 2016

*A photograph of each my children, once a week in 2016*

We have successfully finished our first season of baseball.  Now we can wake up slowly on Saturdays and enjoy our summer - before the competition of the sport gets too serious!

I took a bunch of pictures of Lola wearing her "gwasses" for a giveaway I'm doing.  This was one I was unable to post, so one specific reason.

This girl had the best seat in the house as she watched her brother play ball this weekend.  I'm pretty sure she got a good taste of the rope and her nose has a red indent from pressing up against the fence, however she really didn't care all.


Kindergarten Readiness - Uppercase and Lowercase Memory

Thursday, June 16, 2016

 Cohen has grown leaps and bounds over the past year.  His teachers were AMAZING and I am so thankful that we made the decision to move him to this class once Remy was born.  But as a teacher I know how kids can spend an entire year working hard to reach their goals only to come back the following school year and digress from where they once were.  While I don't plan on being Sergent Teacher with Cohen, I do think it is important we spend some time each week practicing our literacy and math skills.

Since I've been an educator for ten years, making games and activities for Cohen is my second nature.  I literally can whip these puppies out in no time, print them off and laminate them for future wear and tear.  Today I wanted to share a printable game I made to help Cohen practice his uppercase-lowercase letter recognition.  Now, while knowing your alphabet is a vital part of early literacy, knowing the appropriate sounds that associate with those letters is what matters even more.  You can't grow a reader if they don't know what short a says or how to blend those letters together to make a word.  So with Cohen, whenever we play a letter recognition game he has to name the letter AND tell me the sound. 

Here is how you play Uppercase-Lowercase Memory

1.  Print off the cards and cut them apart.  This is a great activity to do with your Kinder kid.  Cohen has safety scissors so I'll start cutting apart the rows and let him cut apart the cards.  We then glued them on cardstock (because we didn't have enough index cards) before we started the game.

2.  Mix up the cards and lay them out in rows.  The OCD in me makes sure they are equal and even rows.

3.  Take turns flipping over two cards.  If you get a match, you have to name the letter AND say the sound of that letter in order to keep your pair.
(We also named the letters each time we flipped them over - just extra practice while you play!)

4.  If you get it correct, go again.  If not, put the cards back and try again next time!

5.  The player with the most matches at the end wins.

The trick with any kid is to make learning fun!  Games and other hands-on activities are far more effective than worksheets - trust me.  And by having your Kinder kid help you make the game, you are incorporating fine motor skills and allowing them to take ownership of it. 

Sharing is caring, so feel free to print and play.  Just don't forget to share the love.  :)


Join Safety 1st for Community Fun Day

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Did you know that 73% of car seats are not used or installed properly?
Scary fact considering you tote your little ones around quite often! However, according to Safe Kids, if child safety seats are used correctly they can reduce the risk of injury or death by 71%.  That's huge considering the leading cause of death for children is motor vehicle crashes.

That's why Safety 1st and Allstate Insurance Company are kicking off the "On the Road with Air Protect Tour" starting with their first stop in Columbus, Indiana!  This is an interactive and informative community event for parents and children that is focused on keeping Indiana's children safe.  

The On The Road with Air Protect Tour will offer the following activities:
*Safety 1st Car Seat Technicians will give free inspections of any brand of child restraints

*Photo opportunities with an 8 foot over sized car seat

*A firetruck for kids to explore and climb aboard

*Demos of the latest Safety 1st car seats and information on why seats with Air Protect™ Technology are safer*  

*Safety kits from Allstate

*Ice Cream treats
And much more!

The event will take place this Friday, June 17th from 1-5 pm at the Dorel Juvenile Technical Center for Child Safety (Car Seat Check Station, 2525 State St) in Columbus, Indiana.  Families are also encouraged to bring unwanted, expired or unsafe car seats to the event so that they can be safely recycled by Dorel's manufacturing plant.

Mention my blog and you'll get a VIP Safety 1st swag bag at the event too!

Save the date and make it a family affair - you might as well play it safe while you're at it too!