Friday, January 29, 2010

Through the Eyes of Grace

The world is always more fun through the eyes of a child - especially those of Grace.

Grace and her papa were perusing a Cabella's magazine discussing items on each page.  As they turned one page, Grace got excited and exclaimed, "A deer stroller!"  Said "deer stroller" is pictured below:


Hmmmm, something tells me this deer is not out for a leisurely stroll...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We've Been Invaded!

They're everywhere!  They're on pajamas, tiaras, books, stickers, furniture, dishes, and various toys in our house.  Every parent feels my pain, I'm sure.  Licensed characters are running rampant in my house.  It's not like we did it on purpose either!  I think there's some sort of character element that gets absorbed by osmosis.

It started with the Disney Princesses.  My girly girls love their beauty and their magic.  First it was a sticker set here or a sippy cup there, but by now we've collected a princess arsenal that would make it through the roughest times.  Since the girls, Grace especially, have just started enjoying tv (she wasn't still enough to watch tv before), they haven't yet been introduced to the princess movies.  Though their discovery of tv has catapulted us into character zone and made me totally eat my words about a character free life.  We'll just file this under "Never say never."

Cindrella, Snow White, and the gang still reign supreme, but are now accompanied by the likes of Sesame Street, Backyardigans, Wonder Pets, Dora, and Super Why.  Our tv watching is dictated by a couple of toddlers.  Emma Kate even yells "Melmo!"  every time she sees that loveable red fuzzy puppet.  And, I'll admit, I'm drawn to the character merchandise in stores and have found myself singing "We're not too big and we're not too tough..." and "Dora Dora Dora the explorer..." on more than one occasion.

Here's a glimpse into the character madness.

Dora and Tinker Bell Chairs

Santa got in on the Princess action with a riding toy and shopping cart


 We even go to sleep with Princesses on our pajamas

And after 1 shot, they caught sight of Wonder Pets on tv and the glazed over look appeared

Oh, the torture we put ourselves through for our kids...

Shout out for Designs by Cathy

Since Valentine's Day is coming up soon, I thought I would post a picture of an idea to be shared with the guys.  For my last birthday, Justin got, okay was told he was buying me, a necklace from etsy.  It was handstamped by Cathy at Designs by Cathy at  She does beautiful, rustic, personal jewelry.  She can customize to any design you wish.

I had been wanting a necklace that would reflect my family, so when I stumbled across Designs by Cathy, I got super excited and started thinking about the message I wanted on my necklace.  I decided upon Joshua 24:15.  The large circle disk says "As for me and my house, we serve the Lord."  The rectangular charm is inscribed with "Joshua 24:15."  It is completed by a flower charm and the birthstones of Justin, Grace, Emma Kate, and me.  As we have more children, I can add their birthstones as well.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Supper Sunday!

Sunday is usually the day I do my meal planning and grocery shopping.  I've found I get a lot of enjoyment (I'm easily amused, I know) out of clipping coupons, meal planning, making grocery lists, and grocery shopping.  As I'm attempting to be more frugal, there are a few simple ideas I've put into practice.

1.  Less trips to the grocery store
It's been my experience that the more frequently I go to the grocery store, the more money I spend.  So a couple of years ago, my weekly grocery trips became bi-weekly grocery trips.  When I go, I make sure I have my list in hand and I have accounted for food items, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and baby products that we will need for the next 2 weeks.  The concept is simple - if you're not at the store, you don't spend money!

2.  Coupons!
Coupons have become my best friend!  There's a lot of satisfaction to see your grocery total going down as the cashier rings up your coupons.  Coupons can be found in the Sunday paper, but if you don't get a Sunday paper, there are lots of coupon websites.  Some of my favorites are, smart, and  I like to have my coupons handy as I'm making my list so I can coincide the list with the coupons I have and I don't have to fumble for them in the checkout line. 

3.  Sales
Matching the store sales with coupons equals an elementary math problem.  More savings!  Especially take advantage of the meat sales.  I always buy meat in bulk, portion it out, and freeze it for later.

4.  Price matching
I was just introduced to price matching by a lovely stranger at Wal-Mart.  I was putting milk into my cart and a lady told me to "Comp my milk."  I had no idea what she meant, but then she told me that Kroger had milk on sale for $1.99 that week and to mention it to my cashier.  Viola!  I got the $3.98 gallon of milk for $1.99!  A lot of stores claim to honor price matching, but Wal-Mart is one that doesn't require a sale paper as proof.  A lot of frugalistas suggest shopping at several grocery stores to take advantage of all sales, but price matching is so much easier!

5.  Meal Planning
Write down what you plan to cook.  You don't have to write specific dates, but writing down your options saves time, money, and unexpected trips to the grocery store.  As you're doing your meal planning, write down all the ingredients needed.  Use the grocery sales and coupons to aid in meal planning.  At least once a week, I try to make enough dinner so that we can have leftovers the next night.  Make sure to account for evenings that you'll be out late, eat out, etc.  The ocd list maker in me loves meal planning! 

If you have any additional tips or some yummy frugal recipes, don't forget to leave me a comment!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Celebrating the Daddy

Justin's birthday was this past week.  He turned the big 3-0!  He was actually out of town on his birthday, so our little family celebrated a few days early.  Grace and I baked him a funfetti cake complete with sprinkles and whipped up a meatloaf.  Helping in the kitchen is one of Grace's favorite activities.  Mix that with a pint of cake frosting and she is one happy camper!

I'd like to post a picture of a perfectly baked cake with beautifully piped icing.  But it wasn't even close.  After I greased the cake pans, I forgot to flour them so both cake layers stuck to the pan.  Okay, since I am no domestic goddess, this has happened to me before, so I pulled a trick from my "domestic un-goddess" stash of secrets - turning a cake into a trifle.  Trifles are an easy way to turn a cake disaster into a yummy treat.  Simply crumble the cake into a trifle bowl.  The kiddos loved helping with that step!  When the bottom is covered, spread some frosting.  I like to melt the frosting so that it can be poured and will seep between the pieces of cake.  Continue layering the cake and frosting.  When you're finished layering, you can strategically scatter sprinkles or you can use Grace's tried and true method - dump 'em all in one big heap!

Thanks to some help from Grace, Emma Kate, and Pillsbury, the birthday trifle was a pleaser!

One last picture to make you smile

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Day!

The new year started of frigid!  I'm not talking about a nice crispness in the air or good weather for a cute scarf and hat.  I'm talking about sub freezing temperatures for days straight.  The kind of weather that makes you dread walking from your car to the indoors and definitely the kind of weather made for keeping itty bitties inside.  The stage was perfectly set for snow.  This past Wednesday, bread and milk were scarce in our town in anticipation for the snow that was to come.  On Thursday, school was dismissed early.  We got home just in time for the flakes to start falling.  It was thrilling to see how excited Grace and Emma Kate were.  Grace was jumping up and down wanting to go out and build a snowman right away.  She taught Emma Kate to say "snow" so Emma Kate kept repeating "No! NO!"

We bundled up to see if we could catch some snowflakes on our tongues.

And, when Daddy got home, snow playing commensed in full force!

By the way, getting 4 people bundled up in multiple layers, snow suits, coats, hats, mittens, and boots takes about the same time that it takes Congress to pass bills.  But, it was so worth it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Cast is Off!

On Wednesday, we took Emma Kate back to the orthopedic doctor to have her cast taken off.  It was a day our family has anticipated with great excitement.  If you don't know the story of the cast, it's a long one, but let's just say it involved a move that resembled the 2-step, 3 fractures in the forearm, 5 weeks in a red cast, and 1 guilt ridden daddy.

After asking how her arm got broken, everyone's next comment has been "Poor Justin!"  Poor Justin is right.  He has been upset, nauseous, and spoiling Emma Kate rotten.  It's like my mom put it to the x-ray technician.  Emma Kate will have it made for the next 15 years.

Emma Kate has actually handled the incident much better than her daddy.  She has acted as if the cast wasn't even there.  She developed great coping skills and new ways to use her little fingers.  And, yes, she learned quite quickly that her cast was a great weapon. She's got an awesome left hook

The doctor said her bone is completely healed and the bow in her forearm will straighten out on its own within 6 months.  She's already using it and building strength in it.  She's also loving having it rubbed on and scratched!  Obviously it's much easier to dress and undress her.  The best part of having the cast off has been real baths!  No more sponge baths or covering the cast with plastic and rubber bands! 

Here are a couple of pictures of her festive red cast.  How weird is it that I kept it?

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Goals

Resolutions. Usually, I stay away from them like the plague because they are forgotten the first time I spot a piece of cake or that perfect pair of shoes. But I'm attempting them with a renewed attitude. I WILL keep them. At least for now. :) I've heard that by writing things down and by having an accountability partner you are more likely to keep resolutions. So that's exactly what I'm doing. My resolutions are typed out here and I'm counting on you all to keep me accountable.

1. Lose those extra 10 pounds
I think this one's been on every New Year's Resolution list I've ever made.

2. Be more frugal
No more frivolous spending from this Mama. I mean really, what kid needs 15 dresses for church for one season? And, I already have 3 pairs of black ballet flats in my closet. I do not need a fourth. I've been reading up on ways to save the family money by making small changes. A lot of them seem really doable so I'll be sharing some my family is trying soon.

3. Be a more patient mama
If you've ever spent more than 10 minutes with my kiddos, you know why this one made the list. I've always said whoever keeps my girls has to love them otherwise, the arrangement won't last more than a day. We've been blessed to have my mom, my granny, and some great ladies from our church keep Grace and Emma Kate while I'm at work. Thank goodness for these saints! The antics the girls put me through are hilarious (as I've been informed of by my mom) to the outsider, but when you're the mama, patience is on the daily, no make that hourly prayer list. Some recent events that have made me realize more patience is a must are as follows:
  • My yellow dining room walls now have blue accents thanks to the colored pencils that were a present from Mimi and Papa. I suppose the upside is that the artist chose a complimenting color.
  • The playroom rug needed "to be made pretty" according to aforementioned artist so she gave it a makeover with purple eyeshadow. We can thank an aunt and uncle for that lovely present.
  • Speaking of makeup, the little sister also has an infatuation with cosmetics. Between the two of them, I have come into the bathroom on more than one occasion to find powder on the floor, mascara from ear to ear, lipstick on everything but the lips (I haven't had a tube of lipstick without teeth marks in who knows how long), and nail polish on every surface (I've got to choose a color other than Fiesta Red).
  • Another walk into the bathroom found a certain toddler holding a certain Mama's dripping toothbrush. Said toddler proclaimed that the toilet was sparkling clean. Ummmm, that's how you know it's time for a new toothbrush.
  • And let's not forget the nights spent trying to get one if not both girls to sleep 3 hours past bedtime only to be woken up before dawn to the sounds of "I need to tee tee" or "I want some milk" or "We've had a good night's sleep; now it's time to get up" or my personal favorite "Waahhhhh". Apparently, Justin and I are the perfect recipe for fun because Grace and Emma Kate seem to not want to miss a moment with us.
  • Last but not least, are the tantrums with a side of whine. The terrible two's definitely did not wait until the 2nd birthday in our house. Remind me that they will not last forever.
Exhibits A and B

Keep checking The Business of Being Mama to see how well I stick to these resolutions. Drop me a line to keep me in check!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Meet the Mama

As with all new relationships, introductions are a must. So, here goes...

I am Laura. Child of God, wife to my high school sweetheart Justin, mama to Grace and Emma Kate, teacher to 20 first graders, graduate student, cook, maid, tear wiper, craft lover, baby doll dresser, nursery rhyme reciter, bath giver, and toddler rocker. I love all things family.

I have dreamed of being a mommy since I was a little girl. I can remember playing with my baby dolls, making lists of baby names, and combing through catalogs selecting nursery decor and layette. What I did not dream were the sleepless nights, teething tablets, never ending diaper changes, or temper tantrums that come along with the name. And I certainly couldn't comprehend the joy of watching your little one take her first step, hearing "mama" for the first or the millionth time, the feeling of providing nourishment and comfort to these precious creations, or loving another person so much it brings tears to your eyes every time you try to wrap your mind around why God would bless you so much.

After Justin and I were married in August 2004 and way before having children were on our radar, I began praying for my future children. I asked God to bring them safely into the world, to help Justin and me rise to whatever challenge He had in store for our family, and to help us to be Godly parents. I prayed and continue to pray for the hearts of our children. It is my desire that my children give their lives to Jesus Christ, for them to have a true understanding of the power that He can have in their lives, and for them to keep God as the center of their lives. I have also prayed for the future spouses of my children. I continue to thank the almighty Father for every blessing He has provided and pray for guidance as a Godly mother.

When I began these prayers several years ago, I had no idea the blessings that God would grant me in my children. These blessings came in the form of Sassy Grace and Sweet Emma Kate. Grace is an almost 3 year old with more spunk in her pinkie than most contain in their whole bodies. She keeps us rolling with her quick wit and grand imagination. Grace loves baby dolls, books, singing, and anything girly. She is my conversationalist, my shopping buddy, and my right hand gal. Stay tuned for many Grace tales! A year and a half later Emma Kate was born. She is now 15 months and is the sensitivity to Grace's sass. Emma Kate is expanding her vocabulary daily, beginning to explore toddlerhood, loves following after her big sister (or staying on my heels), and showing her affection with hugs and snuggles. She is my soft hearted baby and my snuggle buddy.

My hopes for this blog are to give insight about all the roles of a mother and share the laughs and challenges that come along with it. I'll be peeking out from behind Mt. Laundry or jump on between tripping over toys and attempting a healthy meal for my brood to update frequently about the business of being Mama.