Garage Sale Finale

August 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Family Activities

Ethan had asked last week when we’d go to another garage sale and since I doubt there would be any good ones after Labor Day, we decided to spend yesterday morning going to a bunch. I looked them up on the online classifieds the night before and John arranged them in the best driving order and printed them out. Our first house was the best because they had 2 boys older than ours who were selling a ton of their stuff. At that house we got: a complete Batman costume in great shape, Stormtrooper body costume (minus helmet), Darth Vader mask, 7 nice lizard/turtles/frogs, 1 shark monster truck, NJ Devils hockey jersey, talking Care Bear, new coffee table (for playing with toys on in livingroom) and several “guys” (Power Rangers and the like). We ended up only going to half the houses on our list after that. At other houses we got: Lincoln Logs, monster trucks, another Care Bear, and at the last house we went to we got a GINORMOUS SUPPLY OF IMAGINEXT CASTLE AND KNIGHTS SETS and pirate ship (there is at least 1/3 more you don’t see in the pictures)! The car was packed and that was our big garage sale finale for the year!

After we went home and played with the Imaginext stuff before lunch and then John took the boys to a great local carnival while Jamie and I napped. It was a pretty great day.

Ben as Batman and right before bed putting his fingers in his ears so he can’t here us say its bedtime.

My new exercise BALL “chair”!

August 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

I have been thinking for some time that my posture is awful and with my big pregnant belly it seems worse now. I was looking for an easy way to help myself sit better and I decided to try an exercise ball while I’m on the computer. Ball Dynamics was nice enough to send me one of their FitBalls to try out. I knew that sitting on exercise balls helps strengthen your core muscles and improves your posture but the people at Ball Dynamics explained it well: “Active sitting, or unsupported sitting, puts the user in motion in a controlled manner. It eliminates static loading and can help nourish the spine. It can encourage better posture by activating and strengthening the tiny muscles in our back and core area. It can force the body to strengthen its weakest muscles in order to maintain balance. It can be used to improve focus and alertness by enhancing sensory awareness and simulating the vestibular sense.”

Here is what I think now that I have one:

  • Its fun to sit on and bounce a bit while I’m at the computer.
  • I immediately noticed I was sitting with much better posture.
  • I just have the basic ball in the 65cm size and its just right for me (the range for the 65cm ball is 5’3″-6′).
  • I can’t use it first thing in the morning when I am drinking my coffee so I need to keep the chair handy still! I am considering buying the stabilizing ring so that I can try drinking my coffee on it and so that it has a “home” in front of the computer.
  • I have to share it with the kids who LOVE bouncing and rolling on it (another reason the chair has to stay near the desk or maybe they just need their own)!
  • Did I mention its fun to sit on? It makes me feel a little like a kid again!
  • When I’m not so pregnant I would like to try some actual exercises with my “chair” too.
  • It was VERY easy to inflate with the pump, I did it myself in no time.
  • I don’t normally mention price in my reviews but I think these exercise balls are priced well, here is the link to the one I was sent 65cm FitBall with poster and pump which is $33.95 (its $29.95 without the pump).

John thinks its a neat idea but at 6’3″ its not the right size for him so we might get him the 75cm size or he might try one of the discs or wedges to use on his regular chair at work. They do make really neat ball chairs also for adults and kids! I was really impressed with the catalog I got, plenty of fun and interesting things (like hopping balls for a wide range of kid sizes and this bouncing Teddy) to exercise with for all ages and abilities!

*If you are pregnant like me I know woman use exercise balls to help them during labor and I’m also starting to hear of people sitting on them instead of a rocking chair to soothe babies (with a base for stability).

Cold fish!

August 27, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

My little fish are freezing now when they swim and its still August! They still go in at least once a day but they start to turn blue and have to come out much earlier than they would like. It makes me sad that summer is ending and school starting next week. The boys have really taken to swimming this summer and amaze me with how well they’re doing. John showed Ethan the backstroke on Sunday and he is getting good at it. They’re both turning into great underwater swimmers and dive down to get toys off the bottom of the pool all the time. We got some neat dive balls (and other fun swim things we’ll have to do a blog post about next spring) and Ethan now holds his breath to see how many he can get in one dive. Its making me wish John and I had bought that house we looked at around the corner with the indoor pool instead of this one (I guess we would have needed to come up with at least $20,000 more and it would have cost a ton to heat that pool/house in winter)! Oh well! I tried getting Ethan excited about the hockey rink John will build again this winter but that wasn’t helping cheer him up about our dwindling pool time this year!

Yoplait Yogurt doesn’t last long around here! Win a Kids Yogurt and a Yoplait cooler bag!

August 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

My kids are really drawn to “kids” yogurt, they like the little designs on the cups, they like the size of the cups but mainly they like the actual yogurt in them. Since the kids can eat a lot of yogurt, I had decided last winter to make my own and bought a yogurt maker. Unfortunately the kids didn’t catch on like I had hoped and I haven’t used it in forever now (I personally like how it came out but the kids stopped eating it and said it wasn’t as good). So it was back to buying them yogurt! Yogurt is like a treat to them, they love it like its dessert and don’t get sick of it. I can give them a lot of yogurt in place of less healthy snacks and its a win win situation. When the Parent Bloggers Network sponsored a Yoplait yogurt review I had to say yes since its something I already knew the kids loved!

Yoplait offers some great yogurt options for kids and I love that Yoplait Kids has 25% less sugar than other kids yogurts. Yoplait kids has DHA now and of course calcium. Its also available as a yogurt drink and my kids LOVE those. I have to hide them in the fridge so that they last more than a day, even Jamie searches the fridge for them and has helped herself a few times. I have found the yogurt drinks along with a cup of dry cereal are the perfect “eat in the car breakfast” for when we are having one of those hectic mornings and are running late. The only Yoplait product that I try to stay away from is the Trix yogurt, it is too brightly colored and does have more sugar than the other Yoplait Kids (of course its still yogurt so its a good option for people who have very picky kids that might need extra enticing to eat yogurt).

With Ethan starting kindergarten next week I have to get more organized and plan out his lunches and snacks ahead of time. I think I’ll rely on yogurt a lot when I’m packing his lunches, I really want to send him with things he likes but that aren’t junk food! He has an insulated lunch bag but I think I’ll put the yogurts in the freezer first thing in the morning so that I’m sure they stay cold.

* Visit Yoplait’s website here and download a coupon for $1.50 off!

WHAT YOU CAN WIN: I have a Yoplait cooler bag and a coupon for one free kids product to give away to a lucky reader! Not a huge prize but one I’m sure most of you would use! To enter leave me a comment letting me know what healthy snacks and lunches you send your kids to school with (or pack with you when you take them out for the day). I need some new ideas in addition to yogurt before my pickiest kid starts Kindergarten!!! Contest ends Friday Sept 5th and is open to US mailing addresses only.

*Congratulations to Eloise on winning the Yoplait prize!

30 weeks pregnant!

August 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

I had my 30 week baby appointment today and it was my first time seeing the OB-GYN this pregnancy. I see the nurse mid-wife for most of my pregnancy each time and then since having the c-sections I switch to the doctor for a few visits and delivery. The arrangement works out great and I LOVE both of them even though they are so different. Seeing my midwife is generally much easier, with less waiting and more chit chatting. The great thing about seeing my doctor today is that we got to talk about setting a date to have the baby and he is so relaxed and calm that its just nice seeing him now and then anyway. My due date is Halloween and he is going to try to get the delivery scheduled for October 24th. With this pregnancy I really wanted to make sure I got the earliest date so that I’d be able to go trick or treating with the kids still and so that the baby will have more space between her birthday and Halloween every year. My babies are so big (10-4, 9-10 & 9-7) that actually this isn’t any earlier than we’d normally schedule and is just a week before my due date but I figure every day counts so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll hear in a day or two that we’re on for 10/24/08!

The last day of soccer

August 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Sports

Ethan and Ben both had their last YMCA soccer yesterday. It was hot out but somehow it was one of their best days at soccer. Next summer Jamie can play and we’ll have one kid in each age group (fortunately they all meet at the same time and place). I lucked out and got quite a few good pictures of the boys and their friends AND a few cute ones of all 3 of our kids (of course I had to include some pretty silly pictures too)!

My baby is starting KINDERGARTEN!!!

August 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life, Past Contests, Tips and Websites

This week’s blog blast is sponsored by  the Parent Bloggers Network and its on The First Day of School. Its obviously fitting for lots of people this time of year but especially me since I’m sort of half excited and half dreading the start of the school year right now!

Ethan will be starting K and I am nervous that he might not like it at first and I fear its a big change that I’ll then follow up with adding another sibling to his life the month after! He went to orientation on Wed for 2 1/2 hours without us and it went well. He has one friend in the same class and so that is a great thing. I am having a tougher time with it than he is but I still worry that he might come home that first day and say he hates it! His school is just finishing up a huge new playground that will be open for the start of school and that has been fun for him to watch. He seems fine with it when I bring K up (but I try not to talk about it too much so I don’t freak him out or annoy him). He got a letter in the mail from his teacher but we won’t meet her until the night before school starts. I am making John take the day off so that he can go with me to drive Ethan on the first day. He can be the calm one while I can try not to cry too much and take a few pictures.To make the day a bit special I plan to take Ethan’s picture holding a sign that says “my first day of kindergarten”, I already have some cookie dough frozen for him to have as his snack with lunch and we’ll probably go to Friendly’s for dinner that night. I know Ethan and I will adjust to school and by the time Ben starts K in another year I’ll be a pro at it (and Ben loves school so I won’t have as many fears for him) BUT until we get past that first day, week, month of school I will be a bit on edge worrying. I also will be a mess waiting for the bus in the afternoon that first day! I really didn’t want to have him ride the bus at all but picking him up in the afternoon would be too hard with Jamie (and soon the new baby) napping when school gets out. Plus I am driving him at 8:30, then Ben to preschool at 9 and then I pick Ben up at 11:30 so that is enough in and out of the car time with the kids 5 days a week for me already. Can you tell I am a mess! Come Thursday September 5th life will change a lot around here and I wish summer could last longer to delay that first day of school!

*Stay tuned to find out how the start of the year goes and hopefully I can post about how silly I was to worry so much! Oh and I can’t post without a picture (okay so I came back already and added 3 at the top of the post) so here is Ethan on his first day of preschool 2 years ago, I was a mess before that day too but it all worked out well!

WordPress 2.6.1

August 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Misc

After having problems with our permalinks when we upgraded to WordPress 2.6, I have been waiting anxiously for 2.6.1.  The wait is over, the site is upgraded, and so far everything is working well.

I also decided to upgrade one of my favorites plugins, cforms.  This plugin allows me to create custom forms, like our Contact Us and Comment forms, but I’ve had problems in the past with the Ajax.  This upgrade was no different and the forms broke, but I have been unable to get them working again.  To get around the problem I turned the Ajax off and am using their simple version of the form and that seems to work.

If you hit any problems please let us know

Just a few things I felt like blogging about!

August 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

Sometimes there is nothing that inspires me to write a post and other days I keep thinking that every little thing we do needs to be mentioned on here! Yesterday I had so many ideas but I had already posted a review and it was a busy day so I held off. Lets see if I remember anything!

  • Ben was in the pool swimming away and rescuing Japanese Beetles yesterday and he made up a cute song “Japaneetles, Japaneetles you’re my favorite kind of bug…..” but I forget the rest. Yes both boys call them Japaneetles and I never correct them because its cute. I had been shaking the branches of our Chestnut tree that gets ravaged every year by them so that they would fall and the chickens would eat them (really worked) and I (who tells the boys not to squish any bugs) had been killing them with my shoes. So I stopped the war on beetles weeks ago after the boys started rescuing them from drowning in the pool and collecting beetle families and playing with them until they flew away. The tree looks brown and ugly but the boys don’t notice!
  • I made some pancakes with old bisquick and they turned out rather yucky so we fed them to the chickens the other day and I actually got some pictures of all 7 of them together (harder than posing the 3 kids) next I’ll have to work on getting pictures that aren’t fuzzy.
  • Jamie has been teething with molars and has been having a super cranky week but she manages to still be cute! She has been saying something that I wanted to mention and now I forget, guess I should make notes in the future!
  • Ethan and Ben started football this week and wow was their coach a space cadet! Luckily my friend’s husband is stepping in to “help” him and really running things now because the first practice made me insane! They meet 3 times a week and the boys are excited, especially Ben.
  • Ethan missed football last night because he had his first run in with our driveway. He is a bit of a daredevil but he managed to fall off his razor big wheel while doing one of his spin outs and he wasn’t wearing a shirt so he got VERY scraped up. He also got a golf ball sized bump on his head. I was glad he didn’t want to play football after that because it would have hurt.
  • We have lots of pumpkins in our garden this year so we checked those out the other day and then the kids picked all of the carrots. They didn’t get big but it was our first attempt at them and I’m just glad Ethan was happy with them since its all he wanted to grow. I washed them and left a short handle of stems and they ate them dipped in ranch dressing.
  • Oh well I forget whatever else I thought was so great to blog about! Maybe I’ll think of it later and tack it on!
  • Oh I remembered one thing, Jamie is STILL talking DAILY about how “the bee hurt my belly” and its been over 2 weeks now. Its the first thing she says if she talks to anyone on the phone and I am wondering when it will stop but there hasn’t been a day since she got stung that she hasn’t mentioned it at least once (today it was twice so far). I keep responding “yes but you’re okay and the bee went bye bye” but its not working!

Little Miss Matched review and COUPON CODE!

August 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Past Contests, Reviews

Jamie loves shoes (and I mention that a lot probably) but she also has a thing for socks and who could blame her when she has two sets of adorable Little Miss Matched socks (see the first 2 pictures below)! She received her socks as gifts from two different people and I had never heard of them prior to her first set. I’m not calling them “pairs” because they very cleverly come in sets of three “mismatched” but coordinating fun socks. I love the idea and kept hoping to find them out shopping but unfortunately I have yet to see them in any store near us.  I recently went online and found the Little Miss Matched website and was so excited to find that they make a lot more than just socks! They were kind enough to let me review a pair of pajamas for Jamie and they even threw in a cute mini sock change purse for me (or at least I’m pretending it was meant for me)!

*Just found out they recently started to carry Little Miss Matched at Macy’s!

The pajamas came packaged in a fun little box that makes it perfect for gifting so I had to take a picture! When we opened them they were adorable, the pants are striped with bright colors and the top is polka dotted with flowers and then has the same stripes for the sleeves. Jamie looks so cute in them that I took her out with me to dinner wearing them and she got a lot of compliments (it was also handy since we got home late and she was all ready for bed). The PJs we got conveniently “go” with but don’t “match” her sock sets so its too cute to save the combo just for bedtime. In my opinion a 2 year old can get away with PJs anytime of day so for late nights out this is Jamie’s new outfit! Jamie just turned 2 and isn’t a chunky kid (she is tall though), she normally wears a 2T but these PJs are a 3-4T and I think they are the ideal size for her now and she has room to grow. I always buy any brand of cotton PJs a size or TWO larger than the kids wear normally because sleepwear has to be cut snug fitting for fire safety purposes. So my take on these PJs is that they are unique and fun and the PERFECT present for any little girl. Oh and they have them in big girl and adult sizes too (although I’d like to see adults sizes larger than a L, XL isn’t too much to ask for is it, maybe even an XXL please?).

The change purse is also a terrific gift idea for moms like me or school aged kids who need to bring lunch money but don’t need to carry a wallet to the cafeteria. The little sock shaped change purses come in a variety of prints and are double woven so they are strong enough to hold a lot of change without stretching out. I love mine because its cute (obviously) but also because Jamie can’t figure out how to open it and now when she goes in my bag she can’t dump my change anymore!

You can get 10% off your order of Little Miss Matched products by entering the code MYFAM10 but HURRY the offer ends 8/31! Go look, they have such a huge range of fun things from bedding sets to skateboards to socks for the whole family!

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