Sunday, November 30, 2008

And the Winner is...

There were 147 of you who entered our giveaway and some of you got extra entries. We used Random.org and found a winner. The winner was lucky number 32!

If that was your number, come on down! You're the next contestant on the Price is Right!

Congratulations to Keitha! Keitha is the winner of the EcoGear EcoZoo Pig bag (blessed by a kiss from String Bean). Keitha said she'd give this bag to her friend's daughter. I hope she enjoys it!

Keitha, e-mail us your address so we can get it in the mail to you right away! If we don't hear from Keitha by Sunday, December 7, we'll pick a new winner.

Thanks everyone for entering our giveaway and watch for another one coming REAL soon!

Last Chance for our Giveaway!

Today is your last chance to enter our sweet giveaway from EcoGear. Check out our review of the EcoGear EcoZoo bags and fill out the form at the bottom of the post to enter! Giveaway deadline is today at noon central time.

Good luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

True Confessions, Part III

My husband, Filbert (not his real name) has a deep and abiding love for sweaters. I mean *deep* and *abiding*. Seriously, it's a problem. He used to keep about half of them in Cashew's closet, but since that is no longer an option, he redesigned his own closet so that each sweater has a compartment where it can lovingly be stored. I had to establish a "one in, one out" rule for his sweaters and about a year ago, I finally convinced him to get rid re-home his last Cosby sweater. When I decided to start using cloth diapers to save money, his first concern was for his sweaters and the impact of washing diapers and then washing his dear sweaters. He was dreadfully afraid of poop transfer. I assured him that it could never happen, and reluctantly he agreed, although, he always tries to make sure another load goes through the washer between the diapers and his sweaters and when he sprays poop off of a diaper, he sprays and rinses and swishes that diaper so thoroughly, it almost doesn't even need to be washed. I am not quite so diligent.

Now, I am going to tell you something that he must *never* know. First, my kids really like cereal that has dried blueberries in it. And dried blueberries pretty much go straight through to the diaper. One time, (seriously, do not tell my husband this, he will freak out and take all his sweaters to the dry cleaner and we cannot afford a dry cleaning bill for 40 sweaters), so one time, I was taking the diapers out of the washer and there at the bottom of tub was one fully reconstituted blueberry.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Trust and Priorities

The priorities of a 5 year old are quite interesting. I was taking a shower the other day. Cashew was asleep and Walnut and Peanut were watching Sesame Street, so I thought I might be able to luxuriate for a bit, maybe even shave my legs. Then all of the sudden, I heard Walnut come thundering down the hallway and burst into the bathroom. I prepared myself for the worst, expecting to hear that Peanut's head had fallen off or something, when Walnut said "You have *got* to see this!" and thrust Peanut's blue hat into the shower for me to see. There was no blood, but there was no pom-pom on the top, either, just a few straggly pieces of yarn. Peanut's newest joy is pulling the yarn out of pom-poms and he had delighted the heck out of that hat. Later that day, while the boys were watching TV in my room, Peanut had knocked all the clothes off of the top of my dresser (remembering that I'm a Messie, that means a *lot* of clothes). I didn't notice that the TV was askew, but Filbert did when he got home. He asked if something happened to it and I was about to say no, when Walnut piped up. "Peanut tried to pull it off, but I caught it, it almost fell to the floor and the remotes were going everywhere, and I almost dropped it, but I got it back up there eventually" (paraphrased). I asked him why he didn't call me, and he said "oh, I didn't want to bother you." So, to a 5 year old, yarn - *huge*, TV's - not so much.

I was thinking about this later, as I lay in bed trying to sleep and it occured to me that sometimes, I'm like this, too. When I'm running late, I have no problem throwing up a quick prayer for green lights. With the little things, it's easy to trust God, but with the big things, it's a different story. Finances are tight, but do I trust God's provision? No, I'm busy filling my mind with all sorts of schemes to make a million dollars. When I'm sick and tired and overwhelmed by life, do I ask for help? No, I struggle and fume and fuss, but I don't want to be a bother.

Maybe you're like me. Help is there. There are people that are always waiting to give a hand and even more, we have God that is more powerful and knowing than our minds can comprehend. So why do we find it so hard to trust Him?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amy already wrote about what she's thankful for this year. I thought I'd take my turn and make a list of all the things that I am thankful for in 2008.
  • String Bean. She's a constant source of joy and my love for her gives me a small glimpse of God's great love for me.
  • Mr. Bean. I know I am a lucky woman to have a man who cooks, cleans, does laundry and chauffeurs us around. My friend Amy (the other Amy) reminds me of this on occasion. She's right. I'm lucky and thankful for him not because he's my husband or because of the things he does for me, but because of who he is.
  • Marriage. Having a guy like Mr. Bean has made marriage such a wonderful experience. I'm more in love with him now (6 years after our wedding day) than ever. Not only do I have a great guy. I have a great marriage.
  • Met needs. With the economy in the toilet, I am constantly reminded that having food on our table, all our bills paid, and money to go to Starbucks occasionally while staying out of credit card debt is truly something to be thankful for. *Knocking on wood that our cars (that are paid off!!!) continue to be healthy.*
  • Employment. Mr. Bean and I both love our jobs. Mr. Bean is living the dream having a job he looks forward to every day. My job is not always exciting. It is rarely glamorous. However, the people I work with are fantastic and I enjoy having the flexibility to work from home occasionally, flex my hours as I need to, have my summers off, and do a variety of work. I also enjoy the freedom Mr. Bean has given me to keep my pinky toe in the workforce (I only work 12 hours a week during the school year). I have much respect for moms who are able to stay sane and be stay-at-home moms 100% of the time. I'm at 92% and that's about my limit to keep from going insane. Mr. Bean saw that I was hard wired differently than other women and would be a better mom by having some adult time every week. Thanks, Mr. Bean.
  • Friendship. This year I've struggled with friendships. It is quite a long story, which I won't bore you with. Here are a couple highlights: My friend Aimee moved to Jerusalem which was sad for me, but with her moving it brought me closer to my co-blogger, Amy and the other Amy. All my friends are named Amy. I met a visitor at church on Sunday named Amy. Is it wrong that I immediately thought, "Oh, this girl could be a great friend to me!" I've also had the chance to reconnect with some old friends this year (Thanks, Facebook!) and look forward to rekindling those relationships.
  • Family. My in-laws live in town right now (usually they are all the way over in Hawaii). It has been so great to have them in the area (for reasons other than free babysitting, too). My parents have been able to visit a lot this year. I think it has something to do with String Bean, but I'll pretend they just want to see me. We've also been able to connect with our cousins this year (Thanks, again, Facebook!) and have felt their love. It has been a good year for family.
There are lots of other things I'm thankful for, but these are the big ones. You are probably tired of reading this post now and you have better things to eat do. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all enjoy your turkey (or tofurkey) and the love and fellowship of friends and family today and (hopefully) this weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Need Unique Christmas Ideas?

I have some hard to shop for people on my list this year. I love to get well thought out gifts for people--things I think they will love. Sometimes that person who has everything makes that difficult!

My co-blogger, Amy, is planning on making Christmas gifts this year. Not me. I'm not so crafty. Instead, I thought I'd share with you some of the things I'm considering getting some special someones in my life. Maybe it will inspire you as you start finish up your shopping.

For Her:

I think I've mentioned previously that I am having a love affair with Etsy. I found this adorable customized rubber address stamp, Funky Swirls, made by designer babyjewels. There are quite a few customized stamps available on Etsy. Just do a search and you'll come up with all sorts of ideas and some shop owners who will work with you to get your own designs in stamp form.

If I were finished having children, I would be tempted to purchase Mommy Cards. What a cute idea to leave a calling card for your family when you meet new moms at the park, at school, or at church. This company will also do Pet Cards, Allergy Cards, Grandparent Cards and more. There are also designs appropriate for Dad Cards.

For Him:
Sports equipment. My man is into football. Maybe yours is into ping pong. Either way, getting some replacement sports equipment for that raggedy stuff that's falling apart in the garage would be a welcomed gift. Say you are getting a football and you just aren't exactly sure which football is the right one (there are about a billion out there ranging in price from $10 to $90 or more), you can always go the route of a gift card to the Sporting Goods store. Or one of those handmade coupons you used to make as a kid inscribed with "Good for one __________ of your choice from Dick's Sporting Goods." Bonus: purchasing a new play toy for that macho male in your home may just promote wellness and fitness!

You know that movie (or trilogy *cough, cough*) that the guy in your life just loves and for the life of you, you can't find any logic as to why? Chances are it has recently come out with a collector's edition that he does not own, yet (or in the case of Mr. Bean any collectible from his favorite move will do). Amazon.com is a great place to look for the latest (and often times cheapest) movies and the old favorites that you can't find on the shelf at the store.

For Anyone:
I love iTunes. If someone on your list has an ipod, you can't go wrong with iTunes gift cards. They come in denominations of $15, $25, $50 and $100 through the Apple Store. At least you know they will love what they get!

I wasn't sure how to graphically represent this idea, so I made the image above instead. Have you considered getting an "experience" gift for someone? One of my best Christmas gifts ever was a swim with the dolphins adventure at Sealife Park in Hawaii. I will never forget that day and I have photos to prove I did it! Think about the within-driving-distance locations with extreme adventures. Think about the people you know or the friends-of-friends that you could call that favor in from. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing: flying in a private plane, deep-sea fishing, shadowing the local meteorologist, rock-climbing, scuba diving lessons, wine tasting at a vineyard, golf lessons...you get the idea.

Good luck with your shopping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are We All Idiots?

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon!

I just have to laugh when I read news articles like the one that hit the news wires on Monday: A man stole some money from a gas station and went looking for a getaway car. Upon trying to carjack the victim, someone came to her aid and hit him over the head with a frozen turkey. He still managed to get away, but was having a hard time driving after the incident and was arrested shortly after but with a head injury. Imagine being this guy and explaining to the doctor in the emergency room how you got your injuries. Quite embarrassing if you ask me.

As I read news articles like these (and there are a lot more out there if you need a good laugh), I wonder what kind of an idiot am I sometimes. I have 3 sisters and I'm sure they could all tell you stupid things I did growing up (like when my sister asked if I knew how to spell "idiot" and I answered, "Yes, e-d-i-t "). I know I've done dumb things as an adult (like the time I overdrew the checking account because I was too lazy to write down my withdraws).

But how does God see us? We constantly are told to do or not to do this or that by God's Word. We've memorized it. We teach the dos and don'ts to our children, yet we continue to do these stupid things over and over.

We are all idiots. We all do things we smack ourselves in the head for later. I guess we all need a measure of grace.

This poor guy who got hit with the turkey is probably smacking himself in the head repeatedly right now (that or his mother is). I'm sure he feels like a complete moron. I hope someone in his life is helping him learn from his mistakes and giving him the tools to help him not repeat them.

God forgives us for our short-comings. I'm sure he'll forgive the guy with the bump on his head from the frozen turkey if he just asks.

Lord, help me to learn right from wrong just as I teach my daughter right from wrong.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Grace

Grace is what I'm thankful for this year. Actually not just this year, since Peanut was born I've been thankful for grace. I had never really experienced grace, until then. Even though I didn't know it, God began pouring His grace on me while I was pregnant with Peanut. It was grace that kept me from having all sorts of tests and worry to find out why this baby didn't move. It was grace that allowed me over 7 months with Peanut, safe and "normal" inside. It was grace that kept my heart soft, when it would have been so easy to become bitter. It was grace that shielded my eyes from from the limp, lifeless baby that others were seeing. It was grace that hardened my resolve to be a better parent for this special child. It is grace that gets me out of bed every morning. It is grace that showed me I am not a failure and it is grace that taught me to accept help.

I never thought much about grace until it flowed on me so abundantly, but now, I want to live grace in my life daily. I wish I could find the words to explain what grace means to me, but I can't even begin. One of these days I'm going to paint the word "grace" in every room of my house as a reminder to never forget and to always be thankful.

Friends are a Blessing

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon!

Just yesterday, a friend of mine brought over a bag full of clothing her daughter had grown out of. Although it does not fit String Bean, yet, it will soon! Mr. Bean and I have been so blessed to have numerous friends who have given hand-me-downs in the last year. One friend, who was done having kids, gave us all the furniture for String Bean's nursery. We were so blessed to not have to purchase a crib, changing table, 2 gliders, a high chair, or numerous toys that were gently used.

How have your friends been a blessing to you lately? Post here and let us know!

If you know me in real life and have need for baby food, I have lots to unload. String Bean has decided she's too mature for baby food and we'd love to bless you with some!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Cards

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon!

I personally feel sending out e-mail Christmas cards is tacky. Call me a traditionalist. I like to get that card in the mail and see the photo of the family. Today, we took our family photos for our annual Christmas card. I'm all about cheap, so here's what we are doing:

  1. "Hire" a friend to take the photos of the family. Hire is a pretty strong word. We paid our photographer, Sahrie, in hugs. We had a good idea going into the shoot what we wanted and researched a few shots. Mr. Bean has an eye for the creative, so he was the "artistic director" for our shoot. Of course it helps if your photographer has a nice camera and a little know-how!
  2. Take digital photos, not film. Taking your photos digitally means you can manipulate the images and fix some little problems. There is a cool program out there called Paint.net which is similar to Photoshop that you can download and use free! Google "Paint.net tutorials" to get started.
  3. Owning your own photos will save you a lot of money. Photographers make money by owning the images they take for you. You pay them to print the photos and only go home with your photos, not the digital images. If you own the digital images, you can wait until a really great sale comes up and print them off as you wish.
  4. Pick a template from Etsy. There are several vendors on Etsy who will make a really cool photo Christmas card for you for a flat rate. I love the Polka dot Christmas tree by lukecommasara. I am also a big fan of the Austin design by nounces. Be sure to read the fine print to know if you are getting a 5 x 7, 4 x 6, or a custom size photo. Many vendors let you request the size you want and will even do custom work!
  5. Upload your photo to a printing service. You'll save a lot if you scour the internet for a coupon code. If you time it right, you can get your photos done for less than 12 cents (for a 4 x 6) each if you go through a 1 hour printing place (CVS, Walgreens, Wal-mart, etc.). If you have the luxury of time on your hands, you can get them for much cheaper if they are mailed to you (Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.).
Viola! I hope you have a successful photo shoot this year. If you haven't already done it, you only have about a month until Christmas...get going!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finds from around the Web

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon!

Here are some things I found while surfing around the internet this past week. May you enjoy a Saturday of good reads and a few laughs.

Digital Photo reads:
Parenting reads:
Just for fun reads:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tips to Help Your Child through Stranger Anxiety

photo by sware

So, Miss String Bean is now in the full-fledged stage of stranger anxiety. We are getting ready to visit family for Thanksgiving and I'm expecting some drama and lots of tears. Here are some tips on how to handle stranger anxiety as you visit relatives this holiday season.
  1. Acknowledge your child's fears are real. For most children, going through some sort of stranger anxiety is a normal developmental stage. Others have a completely normal anxiety or fear of new situations for most of their childhood. Acknowledge your child's feelings and do not force your child into a situation where he or she will become more stressed.
  2. People who are familiar to you are not always familiar to your child. They are strangers. Don't expect your child to welcome kisses and hugs from people he/she does not know. After all, you probably do not kiss or hug strangers yourself! (Even if your child has met them before, they may not remember them!)
  3. Warn relatives of your child's stranger anxiety. Great Aunt Sue wants to snuggle with your precious pumpkin. Imagine her shock, surprise, and feelings when your bundle of joy breaks out in tears screaming for Mommy. Give your relatives a heads-up that your child, although very loving and quite entertaining, will need a few minutes to get to know them (perhaps getting to know them again) before wowing them with all his or her charms.
  4. Allow your child time to be come familiar with his or her new surroundings. If you give your child a few minutes to become familiar with the people and the situation they are in, many children will warm up and begin to work the crowd just like at home. Give them time.
  5. Bring your child's favorite toy and let that new friend play with it first. String Bean has a favorite toy of all time-Curious George. We are bringing that guy with us to be an ambassador to the new family members she'll be seeing. If she sees that familiar toy, she will be more willing to go to that new friend and get to know them since her mind will be on George instead of on who the wacko is with the deep voice and the beard.
  6. Remember your first priority is your child, not your guests. Your guests are adults and will understand that your priority is to comfort your child and look out for their well-being.
I'd love to hear your tips for curbing anxiety in little ones!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Couture Cashew

One thing you should know about Miss Cashew is that she is a total fashionista. I know, she's only 18 months old, but seriously, the girl knows style. I first noticed this at Mandie's baby shower, when Cashew was about 5 months old. Cashew sat on my lap and as the presents went around the circle, I would hold the clothes up to Cashew and she got mad when I wouldn't let her keep them. Over the months, as she has grown more expressive, Filbert and I have noticed certain indicators of when Cashew is especially pleased with her appearance. There is the garment hugging, the happy clap, the low chuckle, but the pinnacle of all of these is the "look down and pat the belly", reserved for only the choicest of outfits.

So, when I received a dress from a new children's clothing line, I was most anxious to see Cashew's reaction.
Éléphant is the name of the line, and it was designed by fashion photographer Leslie Hassler in an effort to find fun and funky clothes for her own son.
This is the dress.

I think it is absolutely adorable and would totally wear it if it came in grown-up sizes. The quality is great, it's made of a super soft, silky rayon with a touch of spandex. The colors stayed through the wash and didn't leach on to any of the other clothes in the load. It doesn't go in the dryer, though, so I'll have to remember to fetch it out of the load when I'm switching it. The sizing does run a bit small, the size 2 fits Cashew really well, and she is a petite 18 month old. At $48, it is a bit of a splurge, but it did earn the coveted "look down and pat the belly" from the ever discerning Miss Cashew!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Many Days Ago?

I have chicken noodle soup that has been in the refrigerator for 3 days, a jar of baby food that has been in there for 2 days, and it has been 9 days since I last used my electric toothbrush.

I know precisely how long it has been with all of these things because I have this cool new product, the DaysAgo timer. It counts the days (or hours if you wish) that an item has been in the fridge. Kathleen Whitehurst, the inventor of DaysAgo, sent these along to me to try out. I am sure glad she did. No longer am I tossing out mystery food from the rear of my refridgerator!

The great thing about these timers is that you can track all sorts of things with them:
  • how long food has been in the refridgerator
  • how long that package of chips has been open
  • how long you've been wearing those disposable contact lenses
  • when you last administered pet flea medication
  • how long it has been since changing the kitty litter
  • how many days ago you did your last self-breast exam
  • which day of your menstral cycle it is when you're trying to (or not to) conceive
  • how many hours since you gave that last dose of medication (I could have used this after getting my wisdom teeth removed. I was so drugged up, I had no idea when I last took medications!)
  • how many hours breastmilk has been out or how many days it has been in the refridgerator (especially helpful during those early newborn days!)
The DaysAgo timers come in three styles: magnetic, band, and suction cup. The magnetic ones are great for jar lids. I hear people use the suction cup ones on bathroom mirrors to remind themselves of self-breast exams. The band ones can go around canisters or non-metal jars.

If only I had thought to put a DaysAgo timer on the milk yesterday when Mr. Bean left it out for several hours, I would have known whether it was salvagable or not. (We are betting on NOT salvagable.)

You can purchase the DaysAgo timers on their website, through Amazon.com,, and at a few other retailers in the US. This product has been featured on Oprah and HGTV. It has also earned the Good Housekeeping Good Buy award.

I imagine you could come up with hundreds of uses for this little gadget and I want to hear them! Leave your ideas for the use of these timers in the comments section!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon!

My sister, Holly, just discovered a new galaxy! She knows it is a new galaxy because, "its coordinates aren't listed in the tome of known celestial bodies."

Holly's taking solicitations for names. If you've got an idea, we'd love to hear it!

For you astronomy buffs, its "address" is RA: 1hr 50min 36sec; DEC: 10' 50.

More Tips for the Holiday Rush

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon! As of this post, we have over 60 entries!!

Actually, I just have one tip, but I wanted to brag about getting some of my shopping done early for like the first time ever, and I did it without spending any money. Well, I did spend some money but mostly I just got rid of junk that was in my house. I participated in a swap on one of my favorite message boards and got some totally awesome present for my kids! It's been really hard not to just go ahead and give them the stuff because I know their really going to love it. Oh, hey, that's like another tip. Check me out, I have 2 tips! (I don't usually serve much purpose other than to make others feel better about themselves in comparison, so a pat on the back for me!)

Now for my original tip...
Make it yourself. I know I said I'm not crafty, but I have discovered a knack for...
Oh, wait, if you might get a present from me for Christmas, I must ask you to kindly stop reading now.

Okay, I have a knack for jewelry making and it's super fun, so I am making some bracelets and earrings and necklaces for Christmas presents. I bought some tools and equipment and found some instructions on-line and I am going to town with the beading.

People usually love homemade stuff and you can add that extra ingredient, LOVE, to all your homemade stuff. There is all sorts of stuff that you can make pretty easily. I know someone that made Vanilla, how cool is that? So, if you've got even the smallest bit of creativity, go homemade for Christmas. If I can do it, anyone can!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Get Ready for the Holiday Rush

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon! As of this post, we have about 50 entries!!

If you are like me, you aren't made of money. If you are made of money, send me some or we can't be friends anymore.

So, if you aren't made of money, and you're still reading this, I urge you to get going on your Christmas shopping NOW! I've been watching the news and the latest report is that retailers are offering deals usually reserved for after Thanksgiving now. Also, stores are bracing for smaller than usual sales, so their inventory is low. Things like electronics and toys are expected to be sold-out earlier than usual which means finding that perfect gift may be more difficult to find this year if you wait.

Here are some tips for Christmas shopping in 2008:
  1. If you don't already have a budget, set one. Remember it is not the amount of money spent, but the thought that goes into the gift that really counts. A gift that cost $20 can have the same impact as a gift that cost $100 if that $20 gift really means something to the recipient. Demonstrate to your loved ones that you really know them by giving a gift that will be treasured by them.
  2. Spread out your shopping over the season instead of doing all your shopping at once. This tip will help you with your cash flow. Every pay period, I set aside some money to go shopping with. This year, I have 12 people I must shop for. I'm doing about 3 of them on every pay period so I can avoid using the credit cards.
  3. Make a list and check it often! If you can plan out what you're getting for each person on your list, you can watch the sales and purchase gifts when they go on sale. Remember a lot of retailers are giving out coupons this year. The jackpot is purchasing that gift when you have both a sale and a coupon. This requires some planning, but will really save you a lot of money in the end.
  4. Skip the card with the gift. Make a homemade card or just add a "to/from" tag instead. This could be a huge savings for your family. Line Hallmark's pockets on other holidays!
  5. Consider gifts that last a lifetime. Last year, our daughter was 6 weeks old on Christmas Day. What do you get a 6 week old? Instead of getting her a toy she'd never remember, we purchased her a precious gemstone. This is a gift that will last a lifetime for her; however, this was a lot more expensive than a normal budgeted gift. This year, since she's just 1 and probably will not remember what we got her, we are getting her a donation to her college fund. This is a great gift for little ones who will outgrow those clothes or toys you're tempted to give them.
  6. Don't forget charity. Keep room in your budget for charity this year. With the economic downturn, many charities are having to cut back this holiday season. Since many charities help those who can't afford Christmas this year, consider doing your part to spread Christmas cheer. Some great Charities that you can give to are: Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army, and your local food pantry or church. This could be a great new Christmas tradition for your family.
Got great tips for Christmas shopping this season? Let us hear them!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Football and Golf

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which ends 11/30 at noon! As of this post, we have about 20 entries!!

My husband is a huge football fan. We watch Da Bears every Sunday. Ironically, he had to go to a meeting at church today and is missing the Bears Packers game. They are huge rivals and it is probably for the best that Mr. Bean is missing it since the Bears are...well...lets just say it isn't pretty right now at the end of the 3rd quarter.

My husband also loves to watch golf. He's a fan of Tiger Woods; I cheer for the underdog (usually Phil Mickelson) just to spite him.

I'm not much of a sports fan. I generally know the rules of the game, I just don't enjoy being a television spectator. I do OK if I am at the game. For me, sports, especially those played on the weekends, are for naps. It is Sunday, the Bears are playing, String Bean is asleep. I'd better go and... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

EcoZoo Bags and a Giveaway!

Check out the cutest eco-friendly bags on the market! They are made of organically-grown cotton canvas and rope materials, with non-toxic dyes and recycled plastic components.

EcoZoo's tag line is "Saving the world one bag at a time." With these cute bags, your kids will feel more like they are carrying their best friends around than saving the world.

The EcoGear company was founded by Jimmy who says, "My inspiration for creating eco-friendly bags came while I was on vacation with my family. In the summer of 2006, watched my kids play on the beach. Realizing how special these moments were and thinking about how fast my kids were growing up, I was struck by a thought. What can I do to help to ensure my children have a clean and healthy planet to enjoy?

Months later, our company started developing a new line of bags, designed with the environment in mind.

Our statement is in the bag."

These bags retail for $29.99 and can be found on the EcoGear company website. There are some mom and dad-friendly styles, too! These would make great Christmas presents.

I have had the chance to look over these bags. The straps can be adjusted small enough for my 1 year old to wear on her back. I can also adjust them long enough that I can put it on my back. I can't say enough good things about the quality of this product. The stitching is solid, the pocket of the bag is appropriate for the size of the bag, and the drawstring on the bag is made of canvas, not one of those plastic thingys that your little one can get their finger stuck in!

I think this bag would make a great "diaper bag" for your toddler who is still in diapers but going to the church nursery or daycare. It is small enough for them to wear but large enough to fit all those diapering essentials in. I can also see this as a great bag for the beach or a picnic. I think you could even use it as an overnight bag for grandma's house!

String Bean really loved playing with the pig's ears.

Are you interested in winning the pig bag? String Bean has blessed it with a kiss! (Don't worry, it wasn't slobbery.) Here is how you can win:

1. Fill out the form below for your first chance to win!

2. For a second chance, mention this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment here with a link to your post that mentions this giveaway.

3. For a third chance, add Just We Moms to your blogroll and leave a comment here telling us that you have added us (along with a link to your blog)!

4. For a fourth chance, Stumble this post. Once you do, comment on this post and let us know your Stumble name (we'll be checking)!

Contest will end at noon (CST) on 11/30. Any entries after noon will not be accepted. We will pick our winner using random.org to randomly generate a number for us.

Good luck!

**Only USA entries will be accepted***


Friday, November 14, 2008

Meeting our Goals

Mr. Bean, my husband, pointed out to me yesterday that I met my breastfeeding goal of 1 year! Of course, this goal is a revised goal as my original goal was 6 weeks. Once I hit that, I extended my goal to 3 months...then 6 months...now 1 year. According to this link, only 17.2% of breastfeeding moms in the U.S. made it to this milestone in 2003. Only 5.7% made it past 18 months (kudos to my co-blogger, Amy, who is in this elite group of women).

I am quite proud of myself for making it this far. As I've mentioned before, I ran into lots of common breastfeeding problems. Here are a few:
  • String Bean was a lazy sucker
  • String Bean had a recessed jaw (which has now resolved itself)
  • I had to exclusively pump for the first 4 weeks of her life until she was strong enough to overcome the lazy sucker and recessed jaw problems
  • I had surgery when String Bean was 4 months old (gall bladder removal) which caused me to lose my milk supply all together
  • I had to go on drugs to increase the supply since none of the traditional methods of increasing supply worked
  • String Bean has her father's metabolism which translates into barely hanging onto the charts those pediatricians give you that say how heavy your baby should be. This meant a lot of stress about getting enough into her to help her maintain and gain weight.
All those concerns are behind us now. I accomplished my goal! I'm not planning on adding a revised goal at this point since I know I've done what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for breastfeeding. I'll continue to breastfeed String Bean as long as she wants to. If she's still breastfeeding at age 2, I may just cut her off though!

What goals are you working toward? What goals have you accomplished? Brag here. Brag away!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1 Year-Old Today!

Exactly one year ago today at 7:19 pm, String Bean was born via C-Section. Happily, I never endured labor as the induction never took. No complaints here. She weighed 8 pounds and 5 ounces and measured in at 19 inches.

We've enjoyed this year with you, String Bean! Here's to many more happy and healthy years. We love you!

-Mom and Dad

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

True Confessions, Part II

I don't have a notebook.

Now you all are thinking this is not a big deal, but when you become the parent of a child with special needs, you soon learn that notebooks are *huge* deals. Just about every other special needs parent I've met has a notebook, most of them have multiple notebooks. At Joni and Friends Family Retreat this summer, the other women talked reverently about their notebooks and how time and time again, their notebook has been instrumental in saving the very life of their child (I might be exaggerating a bit.) They told me I've got to get a notebook. They keep test results, schedules, all sorts of important stuff in their notebooks. I need one for medical stuff, one for education, one for nutrition, etc. I was talking about this to Filbert the other day and he reminded me that we do have a file for Peanut, but there's not much in it. Really, we mostly just have piles. (Remember, I am a Messie.) I have a plastic business card holder that has holes in it so I could put it in a notebook, if I had one, but, actually most of the cards are outdated and for doctors and therapists we don't actually see anymore. It's kind of a problem, because tomorrow morning I have a speech therapist and a nutritionist coming at the same time, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. I should go get a notebook, but I'd probably just lose it.

Good for Chuckles

I asked my friend, Bryan, about his favorite websites. One of his favorites is Engrish.com. If you have ever visited a foreign country (especially those located in Asia), you'll appreciate the random humor that comes out of non-fluent English speakers writing things in English.

Here is one of my favorites:

Yikes! I'd hate to be the owner of that ice-rink! Isn't it funny what is lost in translation?

Here's another one that String Bean, Cashew, and Peanut would completely appreciate:

*Warning: there are some Engrish sayings on this site that cross the line (although most unintentionally). Please use discretion when sharing this website with your children, or you may have some explaining to do!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homemade Stuff

I like homemade stuff. I'm not crafty at all so just admire other peoples homemade stuff. Mandie mentioned Etsy a while back and it is a great place for homemade stuff. Hyena Cart is good, too, but it's mostly cloth diaper stuff (which I also like) I'll link you to some stuff I've gotten or would just like to get.

Here is an earring set that tatmom designed for me. I absolutely love her tatted snowflakes. I want a whole boatload for my Christmas tree. My grandma used to tat and I have some snowflakes she made, but my cat chewed on some of them, so they're not in great shape.

Sunflower Sweeties This mama made a pair of custom wool longies for Cashew, that I absolutely adore. She threw in a crocheted wool ball as an extra and all my little nuts love it, and it's not dangerous which is a plus. (Just ask Cashew who got hit by a plastic ball this afternoon.)

This apron from ladyjenevive is gorgeous and I totally want it, but alas, it's sold.

I also love homemade soaps, does anyone know a good place to find them? Let me know!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Exciting News!

No. I'm not pregnant.

We have been in contact with several companies asking us to do product reviews on our blog! Some of these companies are even asking if we would like to do giveaways!! So...if you aren't already, start checking our blog out everyday for some exciting giveaways. Some are edible, some are wearable, and some are useful for everyday.

Be sure to pass the word that Just We Moms is the blog to visit in the next couple of months!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We Picked a Peck of Apples.

We had a fabulous time at the apple orchard!

The kids had fun drinking their hot apple cider and eating their apple cider doughnuts.

Cashew was hilariously concerned about her cup and didn't want to leave it at the hay bales, but wouldn't believe me when I told her I was carrying it. Then halfway to the Ark, she just set it on the ground, 'cause it was slowing her down.

We fed goats and sheep and looked at alpacas.

Walnut made a big pile of leaves and Peanut got lost in it.

And of course we picked apples. Everyone got a lot of exercise and fresh air, the weather was absolutely perfect and we can't wait to do it again next year!