To Preschool or not to Preschool

to preschool or not to preschool

That is is the question. There is a lot of discussion about Preschool when kiddos are around McKenna’s current age (2.5). On top of that we are in a Mommy Group where the kids are all about a year or so older than her, so it’s been a topic for quite some time! I have thought long and hard about whether I should put McKenna in Preschool. There are some definite reasons why Preschool is a big help. Here are the main 3 that I have kept in mind:

1. It helps children to learn their basics ahead of the game (obviously).

2. It teaches children how to  be in social situations.

3. It creates a setting early on for how to listen to directions, especially to someone other than the child’s parents.

As I consider these and have tried to think of more reasons (besides just being fun) that Preschool would help McKenna, I just can’t think of a reason to put her in. The truth is, McKenna is a smart cookie. I have gotten very lucky with her, in that I teach her something and she usually picks it up pretty quickly. Well, except for counting, ha! But that’s a story for another time.

McKenna has had the opportunity to be around a lot of children. We have our Mommy group (which has been great for her to get to know other children), we have close friends and we have cousins! When I worked she went to an Aunt’s house every day and got to spend that time with 3 of her cousins most days and 5 of them on others! Now, I watch two of her cousins once a week and she gets that time with them.

Because she has had the chance to be watched over by her Aunt and she is super comfortable with about 10 other adults watching her, I know that she listens well to other adults giving instruction.

As of right now I’ve decided not to put her in Preschool unless I see other benefits. To be honest, we almost were a part of a Preschool Co-op this summer that we were really excited about, but it was way different than most. It fell through but I’m open to other opportunities to help McKenna learn if it’s a fit for us. For now I’m happy teaching her myself and sometimes a friend or two as well!

What is your stance on Preschool? Are there other reasons I should consider putting McKenna in Preschool?

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Dear Future Baby – 13 weeks

13 weeks pregnant

How far along: 13 weeks

Gender guess: I still think it’s gonna be a boy!

How I’m feeling: I have been less queasy, but when I look at uncooked meat I do want to hurl. I am also getting food aversions like I had with McKenna (meat mostly). Almost all food sounds disgusting. I’ve also been super exhausted – except for one day where I got a ton done around the house. Then the next day I was back to blah.

Highlight this week: I had one day in the last two weeks where I felt energized and was able to get some things crossed off my list. That. Was. Amazing.

Miss anything: This week we hosted a couple for dinner and I watched 3 adults down 3 bottles of wine while I drank an Italian Soda… so wine.

Movement: None yet.

Cravings: Pizza rolls. I watched an episode of Scrubs where Turk had some and that’s all I wanted after that. To be fair, nothing else sounded good.

Looking forward to: It feels like this pregnancy is taking forever, so I’ve already started planning the gender reveal party and I’m super excited for that even though it won’t be until September!

What Brandon says about the baby: Brandon says he’s tired already, lol!

What McKenna says about the baby: McKenna is still obsessed with the heartbeat and wants to tell everyone she sees about it.

 

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Dear future baby,

We are so SO excited for you to be here. Your daddy and I are already starting the good fight over names, and we don’t even know if you are a boy or a girl yet! I personally think you are a boy, and he thinks you are a girl. I refuse to fight over girls names yet because he is SO ridiculous about girls names. Don’t worry, whether you are a boy or a girl I won’t let you get stuck with an awful name 🙂

I’m already scheming the gender reveal party, and we are so thrilled to find out whether you will be a boy or a girl. We don’t really care which you are; we just want to start planning.

McKenna is also super eager to hold you already. She begs to hold our friends’ newborn twins all the time and when we say “no” or “not right now” she looks at my tummy and says “but I get to hold MY baby!” I’m already gearing up for that fun…

So! Be good in my tummy please!

Love, your future Mama

 

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I don’t share well… the covers that is!

twoduvetsonebed

via Apartment Therapy

I don’t know about you guys but I’m no good at sharing the covers (or dessert but that’s a whole other story). Now why am I telling you this? Well, we are upgrading to a king size bed soon and I’m starting to look at bed linens and it might be weird but I’m leaning towards getting two twin sized down comforters and duvets instead of one king size.

If you look at the article from which I took the header image you will see that I’m not alone! It’s apparently a common thing in Scandinavian countries! I’m gonna put the blame squarely on my heritage now since I’m Swedish and Danish.

There are a couple of factors at play here. The first I already mentioned…. I’m no good at sharing. The second is I hate making the bed. I’ve read a bunch of the studies about how making your bed affects your productivity, blah blah blah… I just don’t care. Let me rephrase… I must not care enough. It ranks low on my list of things that need to be done. In fact, the other day I tried to make the bed. Do you know what happened? It tried to suck my pregnant self in and wanted me to stay all day! Anyhow, now I’m looking at options and I think if I find a solid or a small pattern for the duvets it could look ok. I may be trying to just make myself believe that but either way I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen.

Here are a couple of options from ikea that I have considered:

 nyponros-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-assorted-colors__0109179_PE258860_S4

ikea

alvine-stra-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-white__0150800_PE308877_S4

ikea

 

stockholm-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-beige__0390421_PE337616_S4

ikea

 

I think I’m leaning towards the blue and white stripes. Any suggestions? I’m open 🙂

Motivational Monday – begin!

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This quote has been in my mind for the past few months as I’ve started to think about getting this blog up and ready. Of course it still took me a long time to start hitting “publish” and to stop worrying, but I am enjoying it so immensely now!

Disney Quote

 

Feel free to download the above printable for your personal use by clicking on the image to make it full size and then click on “save image”

I hope that whatever it is that you want to get started, that you take Walt Disney’s suggestion and “quit talking and begin DOING.”

Paprika Review – Part 2 Organization and Categorization

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 This series is all about getting dinner on the table and making it as easy as possible. That’s the way I roll. Some people call it lazy, I call it smart ;-). If you missed the first part I have it linked below. I also listed out what I’m going to be covering thereafter.

  • How to add a recipe to the Paprika app
  • How to organize recipes in Paprika app – including categorization
  • How to utilize the grocery list aspect of the Paprika app
  • How to meal plan within the Paprika app
  • Misc features of the Paprika app (if I can fit them into the previous four posts I will)

I cannot begin to describe how much I love this app. I really despise cooking, and anything that makes it easier for me I am all about.

Also, as I mentioned in the last post, this is not a sponsored post. I just really love it. I’m sharing it in the hopes that it can help out more than just myself!

Let’s start off with organizing your recipes and figuring out how to categorize them. As you can see I have 533 recipes saved so far in my Paprika app. If you look along the left hand side you will see a few different parts. It starts off with the top 5: All Recipes, Most Recent, Top Rated, Favorites and Uncategorized. These I will cover after I talk about your organization options.

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If you look below the 5 standard “categories” you will see that I added 4 overall categories. These can be created for however YOU cook. I generally look for a recipe based on the type of diet (have I mentioned how my hubby loves diets?!), or how easy/hard it is to make. Occasionally I have a craving for a “type” of food such as chinese, mexican, etc. Anyhow, I created these categories because they work for me. I will show within each category how I sub-categorize. The only one that I don’t have sub categories for is the house cleaners section since it’s only used for that.

First is my diet category. I have Keto, Paleo, Sugar Free and Whole 30 sub categories since those are the most common diets that we try to follow. I should add a carbalicious diet! That’s my kind of diet….

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Next, we have the sub category of “food type/when” This is basically anything that I might search for as far as a type goes. Breakfast? I got you. Dessert? Even better. I also listed homemade spice/condiments, casseroles, indian, italian – you get the idea. This just helps me get to what I need as quickly and with as little brain power as possible.

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The last category I created is a Time category. What do I mean by time? Well I really should go through and clean this one up so that it’s more clear but here’s what I use it for…. I like to know how something is cooked (crockpot, stove top, oven baked, no heat, DCB which is deep covered baker, etc). This helps me because sometimes I want something more hands off such as a crockpot meal and other times I want to know that I can get ingredients together and just throw it in the oven. The other big factor for what meal I’m going to make is how much time (both cooking and prep time) that each meal takes. I can always look at a meal individually to see both prep and cook time but it’s easier for me to have these categorized. A few I use are high prep, low prep, marinate me, quick n dirty, less than 30, easy peasy. If I’m being honest with myself this is the area that I look at most often because I’m super lazy when it comes to cooking.

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Besides the categories that I’ve chosen, I also have two other ways that I look for recipes. I look up a lot of recipes by ingredients that I have handy already. It’s pretty self explanatory but you can see in the pictures that you can search at the very top of the page under any category for ingredient or name of recipe.

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One of my favorite things about this app is the top rated option that is listed on the left hand side. Within each recipe I can rate it between 1-5 stars and I can also make notes! Below you will see the biscuits and gravy casserole I made for Father’s Day. We had a few notes on how it could be improved but still loved it!

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As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, you can choose your own categories. Whatever makes YOUR life easier is what you should use. These are what I use and it works really well for me, but every family is different so think about what you need and make it happen!

Next time we grocery shop!

 

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Is sleep really that important?

sleep tips

Why yes, yes it actually is. A week ago I had a stretch where I hadn’t slept more than 4 hours broken over 5 nights. Two of the nights were because of my beautiful toddler who is having bad dreams, is hungwy, not sweepy, etc.  One of the nights was due to nausea, and getting up to pee 6-7 times. But the other two happen more frequently. Those nights I just had insomnia.  I’ve had insomnia for as far back as I can remember even as a small child.

I’m focusing now to try to get back into a good sleep rhythm because I know it won’t be good if I can’t sleep during the precious time available with a newborn.  I have spent a lot of time working out ways to improve my sleep habits, here are a few:

  • Exercise regularly (I’ve been doing yoga 4-5 times a week when I first get up before McKenna does).
  • Drink water all day but stop a few hours before bed.
  • Herbal options (in the past I’ve tried chelated magnesium, valerian root and melatonin).
  • Hot herbal tea (peppermint is one of my favorites! Chamomile is also delightful).
  • Stop screen time an hour (2 if possible) before bed time.
  • Make sure my tummy is full (I swear this relates to more than just pregnant women but it’s especially important now because hunger wakes me up or keeps me awake right now).
  • Warm bath.
  • Wine (not right now!).
  • Stretching before bed.
  • Massage before bed (I’m a lucky girl because when I’m pregnant I get a massage almost every night!).
  • Keep bed time and wake up time consistent.
  • White noise or calm music helps me. We started using white noise through our daughter (we hear it through the monitor) and now I love it. Sometimes I will also listen to the best of Enya album which is nice because most of the words are unrecognizable.
  • Every once in awhile I  get up and go through my bedtime routine again. It’s basically a do-over.
  • Flipping my head to the opposite end of the bed.
  • Sleep mask! I just started using one and I love it.
  • Herbal mist on sheets and blankets. The one I use right now is a blend of peppermint and lavender.
  • If my mind is full I do a brain dump and this helps me to get out all of my thoughts on paper in order to leave my mind clear and ready for sleep. Sometimes I have to do this a few times to really get it empty lol.

There may be more that I haven’t tried or some that I’ve tried and forgotten but this is a list of my most common tactics to sleep better. A little over a week ago a friend gave me a suggestion that I had never heard before! She suggested that I get out as soon as I could in the morning to get some time in the sun. She recommended at least 10 minutes but to try 30 for best results. The idea is that it reminds your body when daytime is and it should help your body also realize when it is nighttime. I’ve been doing this now for a week and it has made a huge difference! In fact, I had a day in the middle that I missed and that night took me 4x longer to get to sleep. I’m still having some other sleep issues (active dreams, wake ups, etc) but getting to sleep is usually the hardest part for me.

Dear Future Baby – 11 weeks

DFB framed

How far along: 11 weeks

Gender guess: A boy!

How I’m feeling: So sick to my stomach, but no throwing up.

Highlight this week: Hearing McKenna talk to you in my belly

Miss anything: I’m already missing sushi

Movement: None yet

Cravings: Carbs, carbs and more carbs

Looking forward to: Our next appointment (16 weeks) so that I can hear  your heartbeat again

What Brandon says about the baby: Brandon is mostly just excited but nervous about having a newborn again

What McKenna says about the baby: “I hear heartbeat! And daddy, and mommy too”

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Dear future baby,

We love you so much already. Much like with your big sister, I dreamed of this long before you came to be a reality. Last week was rough on me mentally and physically. I’m not getting much sleep, and I’m super nauseous all the time but thinking of you makes it better.

It feels like January is so far away but I know you will be here before we know it. For now, we will prepare for you in any way we can. Your sister is so so excited to meet you and is ready to give you A LOT of love. She mentions hearing your heartbeat several times a day and that happened a few weeks ago!

Love, your future Mama

 

Thanks for letting me share…

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Do or do not…

Yoda

“Do or do not there is not try.” –Yoda

 

We’ve all heard this quote and I’m particularly fond of it! So why is my blog about TRYing to DIY? Well I consider trying to be the short period of time before it (whatever IT is) is done. Then it’s a matter of figuring out whether or not your “try” was a failure or a success.

I have struggled for a lot of my life with the disease of wanting to be perfect. Now of course there isn’t a soul out there who is perfect but there are a lot of people out there who want to be perfect, amiright? Well, I have been making a huge effort to stop worrying about the end result. Life is about trying things out and seeing what works for each of us individually.

I have a vast amount of interests. Am I good at all of them? Nooope. Have I found some things that I can rock pretty well? Yup! I’ve let go of the need to be perfect (in most cases) and I’ve realized that I really enjoy the process of simply trying things out.

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m not here to impress others. I’m here to have some fun trying new things and to inspire others to get out there and do the same. It’s a big, bright world out there and I’m here to enjoy it! Come along with me and if there is ever anything you want to try, lemme know! I’ll try it with ya and share here.

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Foil and Saran Wrap for days

New Wrap

Supplies:

Small dowel

Clothing rod side brackets

Poster board

Colored masking tape

Clear command hooks

Elastic (to hold the wraps and bags in)

Bekvam spice rack

When I can’t find an answer to my organization and or style needs I turn to DIY and crank up the imagination. Of course I look at Pinterest and even Amazon for some inspiration.

So here is what I needed: I was desperate for a solution to organize our many food wraps (foil, wax, Saran, storage bags, etc), but nothing that I found commercially fit all of my needs:

* space saving
* no chaotic mess
* a uniform place to cut all of my wraps

I started off by taking all of my wraps out of their boxes. This was mostly done before I could even think of the consequences because I was so annoyed with how ugly and bulky those boxes were. Once I emptied them I found that my plastic wrap from Costco had a separate cutter in it that could clip over the existing wrap cutter.

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I tested it on all of my wraps and it worked like a charm – score! This got me thinking that I could make something to fit my needs.

First I had to come up with something to store all of my wraps and bags and then another place to cut them. Since I could cut them all with this new piece I was finally able to throw those crappy boxes away! (Well I saved one for another project I will show you soon)

Anyhow, I came up with a solution that works great but it’s not very pretty… yet. I’m gonna work on that next. I took the most sturdy box and I used that to store all of my wraps vertically in a cupboard just above where I hung my wrap station. Then I used some small command hooks and elastic to wrangle everything into place. This is mostly working… except that life happened and people (myself included) put stuff in front of it so that it isn’t as accessible as I would like. I’m going to work on this part when I beautify the box for the wrap storage. Here is a pic… it’s horror movie status right now…

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On to happier things! The wrap and foil cutter!

This was easier than I thought it would be. I started with the IKEA Bekvam spice rack that has been used in a million different ways.

bekvam-spice-rack

In order to attach the foil/wrap cutter I cut 3 same size pieces of poster board to gain some thickness and used some colored masking tape to attach them together. Then I taped these pieces to the front of the Bekvam and added the wrap cutter. After that I screwed a pair of curtain rod holders to the inside of the Bekvam (this is where the foil and wraps will be held) and used a dowel that I had cut to size at Home Depot. It holds everything very nicely and now I just need to hang it on the wall to get it off the counter!

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Again, this is working in a practical sense for us… However, I’m not liking the way the poster board and masking tape makes it look a little chintzy. I think that I’m going to try balsa wood or another thin wood in my next iteration. That way I can use wood glue to secure it and I might just paint it.

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Paprika Review – Part 1

paprika final

  Have you ever used the Paprika app? No clue what it is? Well, you’re in luck! This is one of my favorite ever apps, and that’s saying a lot considering it means I have to cook. I will never say that meal planning is my favorite thing to do… it ranks pretty low on my excitement range BUT this app has made my life a whole lot easier so I don’t dread it nearly as much. That earns an A+ in  my book.

  First things first, this is not a sponsored post. I just really love it. Second, I’m going to break my review into a few pieces because otherwise this would get pretty lengthy. Here is what I’m going to talk about in this post and upcoming posts (in no particular order):

  • How to add a recipe to the Paprika app
  • How to organize recipes in Paprika app – including categorization
  • How to utilize the grocery list aspect of the Paprika app
  • How to meal plan within the Paprika app
  • Misc features of the Paprika app (if I can fit them into the previous four posts I will)

First up I am going to talk about the most important (IMO) part of this app, which is how to add a recipe within the Paprika app.

Find the recipe.PNG

  If you look along the left hand side of the app you will see 4 icons near the middle – those are the hub of the app. The little world that is highlighted in blue stands for Browser. This is where you can do a search (just like on a search engine) for a particular food or type of recipe. You can also copy a URL (the full website address) of a recipe that you know you already want to add to your Recipes.

  The recipe you see listed is one that I got from a mini meal plan from Once A Month Meals. I will be reviewing them after I have a chance to use that meal plan.

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  I simply copied the URL from the browser page I had open and then upon entering my Paprika app it tells me that it has detected a URL. Once I hit load it brings up the same browser page but inside the app.

  Now here is the fun part… Once you have the page loaded you should see an area at the bottom where it shows some components of the recipes and a blue Save Recipe button. This is the magical part. On most recipe sites people have their recipes formatted so that Paprika knows what is what. (Name of recipe, Ingredients, etc). Once I click on Save Recipe this comes up:

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 I could just click on the blue Create Recipe button and it will add it to my recipes. At this point I like to customize things a bit by adding in some Categories which makes it easier to find the type of recipe I want right away (right under the Create Recipe button in the upper right). I will talk more about categorization next time!

  If you have any questions let me know!

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