Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Serene Bean

Since Serena is baby #4, there aren't as many photos of her as the other kids in her first year of life. We decided to splurge a bit and have some fun and fancy photos taken of her. Jessica and Peter did a fantastic job!! Now I've got to get her photo album together, any suggestions of which site to use, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Picasa, etc.??

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's about that time...

to update the blog, post some new photos, and make an announcement!

My husband finally joined me in our 30's last month! We celebrated with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. Remember when you were SO excited to be at a birthday party with an ice cream cake??!! It is STILL exciting! But that isn't the big announcement.

I like taking pictures of my kids when they are sleeping. It is so sweet and it just cracks me up! But, again, that isn't anything new.

(Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lutz!)
Serena is going to be a big sister! Yes, we are expecting baby #5! I am due in early November and thank God, have been feeling really good, no sickness at all! Wow!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Neighborhood Nice

Erin had a post about their neighborhood, so I thought I would chime in!

We love our neighborhood! We have lived here for 5+ years and it is nice to have a "street" to call home. We are blessed to live right next to (share a wall with!) a wonderful family who loves our children and puts up with our noise! Another family across the street told us they love to hear our children laughing and playing outside. Although, I do occasionally have to remind the kids that our neighbors do not like to hear kids whining and crying, that keeps them in check usually. It is amazing what people living in close quarters (city living) have to endure!

It definitely helps to have common interests with others, i.e. kids, vehicles, gardens, etc. we tend to gravitate to those types of people first, which isn't always bad. We didn't talk to some of our neighbors until they had their first baby! Now, we are outside playing together and talking about parenting and life. Thankfully we had some other neighbors host some gatherings to allow people to meet and greet one another. It may be a little awkward at first, but even if you just pick up someone's name during that mingling time, your street will be that much better off. You know when you see someone walking or driving down the street it is just nice to be able to have a name to go with that face. I'm not so great about reaching out to the more difficult-to-know type of neighbor, but it is possible to break the ice with kindness and just being available!

We spend A LOT of time in front of our house, especially on the weekends. I also spend a lot of time in our kitchen, which faces our front street. I usually know who is home, who is at work, and when people are there or shouldn't be there! We have called the police a few times, just because there were suspicious things happening! Did you know that the more times the police get called to an area, the more they start patrolling that area? We learned that at a neighborhood meeting to address certain crime items and just to get to know the officer who is on this beat (or whatever it is called). That night also helped create an email list that our neighborhood has. It is super helpful to find out about neighborhood events, concerns, and other community items to be aware of. It also helped to piece together some bits of info the police needed as they were "watching" a certain unsavory neighbor we had. You get a clearer picture of a situation when you piece together different perspectives from the neighborhood! There are certainly times when people have called the police instead of just going over to talk to their neighbor about a problem, that usually doesn't end up with the greatest of outcomes. Problems or not, a neighborhood is almost like a family in that you have to see these people almost every single day!

Our kids are getting old enough to play with the other kids on the street. While it is fun being able to see them grow and branch out, it will be interesting to see how things unfold as there are already certain kids they are going to have to steer clear of or play with when Matt or I are around and can keep a close eye/ear on. The good and the bad of living near people, I guess!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Great Inventions!

Unfortunately, I (or anyone I know) didn't come up with these, but I think they are wonderful inventions for moms and families!

The first is a product by the company Boon Inc. that I have been eyeing for a while now, but just recently went ahead and made the purchase. It is the Oval Animal Bag, Stuffed Animal Storage and Soft Seat. In about 6 years and 4 kids, we have accumulated quite the stuffed animal collection. There are some that I have been able to get rid of, but others, I just can't. This bag is the perfect place to store those bears, dolls, and lambs, with easy access if a child wants to play with one or another. There are 3 zippered sections to see and access the toys and the material is super soft! I love it!

The next product is one that bought at Jellibeanz, a local children's store that buys/sells/trades new and used stuff. It was barely used and would be the perfect item to use at the beach. Gianna has been more like her big brother Ezra, super daring and adventurous, so last summer I wanted something to hold on to her in the waves, instead of her poor arm that I was yanking and dragging her around with! It is called Walking Wings and while it worked perfectly at the beach, I really didn't get to realize it's full advantages until Serena was starting to walk. It really is a back saver and your baby doesn't have to learn to walk with their arms in the air! Serena loved it (she is walking on her own now) and would bring it over to us to be able to go walking!

(Why do I talk in videos??)
Anyway, I love learning about new products that are helpful, so here I am to pass along the information! Sorry, I'm not a pro-blogger and cannot offer you these products to try out for yourself, but if you live in the area, you are welcome to try out our Walking Wings or come sit on our stuffed animal bag!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

My friend has been doing a helpful Thrifty Thursday over at her blog and I thought I'd join in!

I really get most of frugal living info over at My Frugal Adventures, but I do have a tip of my own to finally share!

When you are done grocery shopping, be sure to check your receipt before you leave the store. There have been SO many times that I have been overcharged (the computers aren't perfect) or gotten the wrong item to get the sale price (even I'm not perfect!!) and have had to go to the customer service counter to get a refund/exchange. It has taken me so many times and lost dollars (they really do add up!) to finally check my receipt before I leave the store. Just last night I was shopping at Safeway and as I was slowly walking towards the door, I realized that the cleaning items I bought weren't at the sale price (because of my mistake, the third item I picked up to get the promotion wasn't included in this specific promotion). I made a u-turn and returned the items (I was just stocking up because they were at a good price, I didn't really need them, which is an entirely different subject!), and I was on my way again. It would have cost more to buy the 2 items than to buy the 3 items together.

So, most of this necessitates knowing how much you are paying for each item going into cart and sticking to your shopping list (you ARE using one of those, aren't you??). My goal for the next month is to make a price book and really know, rather than just casually knowing, where the best deals are for certain items (I usually get my dish soap at CVS- free-$.75, foil at Walgreens- $.59), yogurts for Matt's lunch-Safeway, $.25-$.35 each, etc.). Costco doesn't always have cheapest items, cereal is one thing that I know I can get cheaper elsewhere.

Have fun living and learning the frugal way of life! It is a game that I like to play and I don't always win, but it is always a challenge!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Little Sister

Serena will be turning 1 year old next week! She still seems like such a baby, but is quickly trying to keep up with her brothers and sister!