Monday, November 29, 2010

Let Your Shutterfly!

While I always stress about getting a decent photo of the boys for our annual Holiday card, I always love capturing that great shot being able to mail them out. And I especially love receiving them from my friends and family. I set the cards up throughout the living room and often leave them there well past the Holidays. Since my mom so generously gave me her Canon SLR camera, I am particularly excited this year and hope to score a great photo.

And now with the help of Shutterfly offering 50 FREE cards to bloggers, I'm going to attack this year's cards with vigour.

As our family is a mixed bag of Christmas and Hannukah, I especially like Shutterfly's Holiday Cards. Oooh, like this one . . .

And while I generally give my grandmothers photo books, I was thinking about putting together a Wall Calendar this year to mix it up. Here's an example. . .

In April, after Baby Girl is born, I will definitely be checking out their selection of Birth Announcements. Doesn't this make your heart melt . . .

I am so excited to use this opportunity to check out Shutterfly's huge selection of cards and creating gifts to treasure for years to come.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's a Girl!

I've wanted a baby girl for so long, that I'm not sure what to think now that I have a little one growing inside of me. Going into the ultrasound yesterday, I was sure I wouldn't be surprised either way. I had felt it was a girl. I thought a girl would be a great addition to our family, but on the other hand, I have two boys and just thought chances were that this would also be a boy. Like I told mom and Tamara, I felt a girl would be best for our family, but what if God didn't agree? Obviously, I've been praying for a healthy baby, but I will admit, I would have been just a bit disappointed to never have the chance to mother a daughter.

When the ultrasound tech was able to get a perfect shot of her girlie bits, I was a little in shock. Even I could tell it was a girl, so clear was that shot.

And what a showoff she was. I've never felt her move so much as she did in the ultrasound. Wiggling around, on her head (literally), sucking her thumb and one time, I swear she waved. She was kicking so much, the tech felt her move. At one point, she got on her hands and knees and was kicking backwards, like she was exercising.

And now all the new emotions set in. A daughter. What will I do with a daughter? Boys, I'm starting to get them, but a girl is a new ballgame. (see, boy reference!)
I'm excited and feel very blessed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cure International

Living in the United States, it is often hard to imagine the difficulties other parts of the world face every day. Brant Hanson with Way FM is in Afghanistan now helping raise awareness for Cure International, a hospital in that area that provides care for the Afghan people that wouldn't receive it otherwise. Specifically at this time, Brant and Way FM are helping to raise money to cover a year's worth of pre and post natal care for the Afghan women and safe delivery for their babies.

Even in this time of recession and difficulties, we are still so blessed. Obviously, this has an additional meaning for me right now as I know that I can call my ob for any problems I may have big or small. I know that when the time comes, I will be in a hospital and Lord willing, this baby will be delivered safely with the best medical care there is. The women in Afghanistan don't have this luxury.

If you are so inclined, click on one of those links above and read about their hardships. And then see how only $65 will provide care for the mother and $125 provides care and a safe delivery. And imagine these women, who are often told horrible things about Americans, receiving this gift from one.

Even if you can't give, stop for a minute and offer up a prayer for the work that Cure is doing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

I've begun a quest to save money where we can. Larry and I have been more conscious about bringing our lunches to work and eating dinner at home. I've clipped some coupons, even though I haven't actually used any yet. I'm trying to pay more towards our credit cards every month trying to get them down. I'm really working towards the goal of staying home after the baby is born, or at least trying to cut my hours some.

Along this same line, when I saw Chickens in the Road's recipe for Making Your Own Laundry Detergent, I was intrigued. I always hate spending that $12 to $15 dollars on laundry detergent, which is basically glorified soap. After I read the ingredients, I thought it was even better because it's simple and I figure I can use it on the baby's clothes as well instead of spending more money on separate detergent.

I purchased the ingredients a few weeks ago at Publix. They were all in the laundry detergent aisle and easy to find if you are looking for them.

1 regular (not large bath-size) bar of plain soap
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup baking soda

I should have paid more attention to how much the individual items cost to compare, but I didn't. I don't remember being mortified though and the boxes are so big, I'll be able to use it for a long, long time.

The directions were easy to follow (I made the concentrate) and within 20 minutes or so, I had a coffee can full of laundry detergent. Now, even though the mixture is a liquid when it is warm, once it cools it thickens and honestly, becomes the consistency of snot. Nice, I know.

I initially used the measuring cup that came with my last detergent, but I'm going to look for a scoop with a handle so I don't have to spoon the stuff into the cup before putting it in the machine.

I was so enthralled with measuring out my own detergent, that I forgot to add fabric softener to the first few loads, which may have been for the better for the initial tests as there were no extra smells to masked the detergent. Everything just came out smelling clean and fresh. So, yay, it was a success.

And with the ingredients left over still in the box, I probably have enough to make, well, I don't know, a lot more detergent. I'm going to try and keep track of how long this batch lasts me.

If anyone else has any tips for saving money, I am all ears!

**Edited to add: If you're not too crazy about making liquid detergent, I also found a couple of recipes for powder. It's basically one part of all the incredients mixed up really well. That's easy enough and I may do that for the next batch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shellac Nails by CND

My fingernails have always given me grief. They are flimsy, take forever to grow and don't hold polish for anything. About a month and a half ago, I went into a new salon for a pedicure and noticed a brocure for Shellac nail polish by CND. I had heard about this before, but hadn't been in a salon where they actually utilized the new technology. I went back 4 weeks ago to try it out.

The process is really simple and much like a regular manicure. There's no filing of your nails like with acrylics or gels. The only difference is that in between coats, you place your nails under a UV light for about a minute or so. That's all.

Here is a picture of my nails on Tuesday.

Ta Da! They still look almost as good as the day I received the manicure, except for the growth at the bottom of my nail and if I would have picked a lighter color, that wouldn't even be that obvious. My nails have held up better than ever and actually have some length on them now. I'm finally going today to have them done again because I can't take the growth anymore. It's like a reverse French manicure.

In reading reviews, the average cost is $10 more dollars than a regular manicure. My salon charges $30, which is normally more than I would spend, but since it lasted a whole month, it was worth it. Especially with the holidays coming up. I love having nice nails without the damage of acrylics.

CND didn't compensate me for this review, but if they'd like to send something my way, that would be cool.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

17 Weeks

So, here's the belly. Don't mind the stretch marks, courtesy of Shey or the flat butt, courtesy of my mom. :) I should post a picture of my boobs. Hello! One of my coworkers yesterday commented, "Wow, your boobs have really gotten big." So much for my reduction. Oh well.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Second Play Off Game

Well, our poor little Orioles were pitted against, I believe to be, an undefeated team yesterday afternoon and needless to say, we were not able to beat them either. Rumor had it, all but two of the players are also on traveling leagues, so these kids are always at the ballfield.

Their first batter hit a long drive to left field and was able to get all the way home before we got the ball back in the infield. And that's about how the day went. We tried our hardest, but by the 4th inning, they were up 14 to 4, so the game was called.

It's so nice though, our guys were ok when the game was over. No tears or kicking and screaming and the parents gave them a standing O for their hard work. We have another game tonight. Hopefully, since we drop to the loser's bracket, we'll be a little better matched up.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

First Playoff Game

I'll be channeling my best budders, Tamara today (on her Birthday, no less) to tell you guys about Peyton's baseball team's first playoff game.

Peyton plays rec ball for the city and their team is the Orioles. Tuesday night, they were slated to play the Mets for their first play-off game. This is the first time Peyton has been old enough to have a play-off game, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Apparently, it is very official and serious! Well, we had an actual adult umpire and the Mets' coaches sure were serious. Arguing with the ump when they thought he made a bad call. Telling their kids to stay on base even when they were called out. I thought it was pretty humorous myself.

Honestly, I thought Peyton's team had a 50/50 chance of winning this game. Their playing has been hit or miss all season (no pun intended). There are some really talented kids on the team, but they can't always pull it together. We had played the Mets a couple of weeks ago and they beat us then, so my hopes weren't too high.

We were actually playing really well. Getting some good outs and hitting ok, but we just couldn't get many runs in. At the top of the last inning, the Mets were up by three. Our first two batters weren't the strongest hitters and they quickly got out. We thought the game was over. The little boy who batted third, well, this is his first year playing, so he never really gets a good hit. Funny enough, if he does make contact though, it's such a short hit, he can usually get on base, which is exactly what happened this time.

And then our little guys that can hit seemed to be in the line up one after the other. Hit after hit, out past the outfield and runners started coming in. Peyton, I am proud to say, was able to get two runners in with his hit. Before we knew it, the kids had tied it up. Our parents were on their feet and the boys could feel the excitement. Two more batters got up and two more runs were brought in and the inning was called. (Only 5 runs per inning)

We were up by TWO!

Now the nerve wracking part. The bottom of the inning. Oh, it's so wrong to wish a child poorly, but when I saw their first batter, I had a little twinge of excitement. He had not done well the whole game and this at bat was no exception. He struck out.

With the next batter, the crack of the bat brought a little fear into my heart, but our little bitty shortstop jumped with his glove in the air and SMACK caught the ball. Two outs!

The third hit was an easy one to the right infield which was snagged by the second baseman and a quick throw to first was the third out.

We had won the game!

We could have won the World Series with all the cheering going on. It was so much fun and the boys were so excited. Like they finally got it. Oh, this is what winning is about!

Our next game is Saturday morning and I hope they can bring this excitement with them.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

16 Weeks

Moving Right Along . . .

Watch what you say... tiny bones forming in baby's ears mean the little one can now pick up your voice. Eyebrows, lashes and hair are starting to fill in, and taste buds are forming. And, if you're interested, an ultrasound might be able to determine gender.

We go in just under 3 weeks to see if Little One is a girl or boy.