Wednesday, July 24, 2013

midweek randoms

Linking up with Megan today for the "Midweek Randoms" post.

- Yesterday morning we found ourselves at the pediatricians office after waking up with a swollen, crusty eye. Diagnosis: pink eye :( Luckily, it doesn't seem to be bothering her at all, though by the end of the day it had spread to both eyes and she just looked sick. She is on an antibiotic eye drop for 7 days. Already this morning it looks much better!

- Today I went to Old Navy to return a couple jersey knit dresses I had bought over the weekend. I got home and tried them on, and didn't like the fit. I planned to just put the money back in our account, but of course I checked out the clearance rack and found another shirt for Audrey. I have a problem! I did pass up on an adorable stars & stripes bikini though. It was $6 and so, so cute..but what 17 month old needs 4 bathing suits? And its nearly August. Self control, I has it ;)

- This morning was a lazy morning. Little girl wanted to just cuddle on the couch for a long time. I am okay with that :) We watched some cartoons, and even had a lazy breakfast of cheerios and leftover fruit & spinach smoothies.

- I was a complete sloth this afternoon during nap time. I had planned to use it to fold some laundry, but instead I spent it on my butt, browsing the internet. Good times. Now, I have a big basket of laundry to fold, and it sure ain't gonna fold itself!

- We got barbecue for takeout tonight from Pittsburgh Barbecue Company. Ryan got a good deal on some vouchers through work, so we decided to use one. I'm not a huge BBQ fan, but Ryan is, and their food IS delicious. PLUS, it means I don't have to! Audrey loved it! We gave her a little rib and she was chowing down like a champ. Daddy was proud :)

- I think I am contracting a cold myself. I am getting stuffy and my throat is a little itchy. Lovely! I really, really hope I do not catch pink eye. That would not be fun.

- Has anyone ever tried the ready made salad's from Trader Joe's? I bought a couple over the weekend to try, and just cracked one open today -- delicious!! Pretty healthy too, and all you need is a fork since the dressing is included. We used to never shop at TJ's because we were under the assumption that it was pricey and out of our budget. We were so wrong! The meat is a little more than we like to spend (though we get Audrey's turkey/chicken hot dogs from there) because we like to buy in bulk. But everything else is very comparable to other grocery stores! We try and get a lot of Audrey's "snack" foods there like cereal bars, corn puffs and yogurt. If you've never been and you have one nearby, I urge you to check it out!

- Wednesdays might be a favorite for some, considering its "middle of the week" or "hump day"..but not for me! Wednesdays are actually my Mondays, and in fact, I don't really like them at all!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

toddler smoothie!

For quite a while, my little one would never turn down her fruits or her vegetables. I could serve her almost any type of veggie with her meal, and she'd eat it with no problems. As of lately though, she's been much pickier. She may eat a few pieces, if I'm lucky. The ones that were always a home run? No go. Obviously, this is not ideal considering she needs to eat her veggies!

So, I decided to be sneaky and make her a smoothie -- with spinach blended in!

She has been feeling under the weather the past few days and was diagnosed with pink eye today, so I wanted her to have an extra boost of nutrition. I didn't follow any sort of recipe, just kinda threw together what I had on hand. I used the basics -- spinach leaves (stem removed), plain nonfat yogurt, frozen fruit I had in the freezer (mango, strawberries and peach), half a banana and carrot juice (not pictured).

I blended to a thinner consistency because I put it in her straw sippy and if it were too thick, she wouldn't have been able to drink it. The beauty of smoothies is that you can literally make tons and tons of combinations! I would suggest "sweeter" fruits if you are blending with spinach though to help mask it, as the spinach can give it a bitter taste. The possibilities are truly endless!

And yes, it was toddler approved :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

my dearest little girl..

Sometimes, the words to a song speak directly to your heart and can say perfectly, exactly what you are feeling. This is one of those times.

Rascal Flatts "My Wish"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

beating the heat!

Linking up with Heather @ My Tales with Two today!

These past few days here have been awful, weather wise. Complete scorchers between the 95 degree temperatures and humidity...plain awful! As if you couldn't tell already, I am not a fan of the heat. I never have been. Fall is where its at just a couple short months away! Meanwhile, my husband seems to think he's going to get me to move to Florida, with similar weather, but basically year round...but that's a story for another time.

To beat the heat, we've been trying to do activities to keep cool. We have central air in our home, and in all honesty, I'd be completely okay with hunkering down and hibernating in our cool house all week...but, with an antsy toddler, that's just not possible!

Early on in the week we ventured out to the local Cinemark to catch a $1 movie with my friend Heather and her munchkins. Happy Feet was playing, and it was perfect because Audrey totally prefers 3D animation movies over 2D (who doesn't?). It was also her first movie experience, so I wasn't even sure what to expect. Surprisingly, she did pretty well! She sat on my lap for about 20 minutes and actually watched the movie. It probably helped that she had popcorn to munch on and distract her, but hey. She started getting wiggly, so I put her in the seat next to me, and she really seemed to enjoy that and being a "big girl" She did start to get antsy and started walking up and down the row (which, luckily, was empty) but she was quiet. Eventually, we decided to pack up and let the kids run off some energy at the mall play area (also air conditioned!)

We hit up the Troy Hill Spray Park this week too. I wore a sun dress in anticipation of the hot weather, and I was STILL dying. I didn't wear my swimsuit, which I wish I had. But, Audrey had fun. She wasn't all too interested in playing IN the water, but she had fun running around and trying to be one of the big kids :p

And finally on Friday, we decided to check out a different pool in the area. I packed a bag with pool supplies, lunch, snacks & drinks and off we went! This time, we went to the Robinson pool. It was heated, which is nice, but the kiddie pool was not what I was looking for. The steps were shallow, but beyond that, the rest was 2.5 feet, which is obviously too deep for Audrey. She likes to be independent and walk around/splash around by herself. They do have a cute little water table area, which she seemed to enjoy. We'll continue checking out other pools in the area, but so far the winner is still the Cranberry pool & Waterpark!

I'm not sure what the weather forecast holds for next week hopefully much cooler, but if its anything like this past week, you'll be finding us in the water or air conditioning somewhere!

What fun things do you do to beat the heat??

My Tales with Two

Saturday, July 20, 2013

balancing chaos

I would never consider myself a fully organized person, but I am by no means messy or disorganized. I like things in order and clutter free (just don't look in my closets). But, with a toddler and a husband running around, that is next to impossible.

I thought that by being a "stay at home mom" (technically, I am also a working mom by night) my house would always be clean and organized, dinner would be on the table every night, and life would be chaos free. Wrong. In fact, I think its almost worse at times. Probably because we are home way more often than we would be if I were working full time during the week. I sweep up crumbs all over the floor, 5 minutes later, crumbs magically appear on the floor again. I clean and disinfect the counters, shortly after, husband comes downstairs to make a snack and somehow misses a whole patch of crumbs or dribble of some type of liquid. I put away and straighten up all of my daughter's toys, when she wakes up from her nap, they are all over the living room again. It's a vicious cycle, I tell you!

I try to keep things in order, but somehow, chaos always ensues. My house is not dirty by any means, but cluttered at times? Absolutely. There are so many..things just all over the house, that I wish I could just throw away. I won't say I am a packrat, but I definitely have a hard time parting with certain things. A lot of times, its just things from my child hood, little memories, etc. Most recently, its baby things. Can anyone else relate with me on this? My child has SO MANY clothes. I haven't given away a single piece of her clothing since birth, and I have about 6 giant diaper boxes packed with clothes. I know I could sell half of them, and still have a decent collection "just in case"...but, I just can't do it. I've even put clothes aside, taken photos of them to list on a local flea market page..and I can't bring myself to put them up for sale. I keep asking myself "but what if you have another girl within the same season??" just to reason with my insanity. But who am I kidding? Even if I do have another daughter, Lord knows I'll continue to buy HER clothes. Girl clothes are hard to resist, you can't blame me for that one.

This week, I was finally able to get Audrey's room in semi order. Laundry is the one thing that does get done in a semi timely fashion around here. It may not get folded right away (guilty.) but, it gets washed. There was A LOT of laundry when it was just Ryan and I (mostly his, not mine). Add a little person to the mix and laundry five. The worst part about doing laundry is putting it away. I hate it. And, I can't even attempt to try and do it while the little one is awake because she finds it absolutely hilarious to wreck my piles of folded clothes, dragging them across the floor. So, clothes get folded in piles by person (except Ryan's work clothes, I do hang those up...Begrudgingly). Audrey's clothes get put in her clothes basket in her room because I just don't feel like putting them all away in drawers and closets. But, THIS WEEK, I did. I hung everything up that needed hung and put everything away in drawers where they are supposed to go. What a great feeling! I know I'll have that feeling again next month, when I do that whole putting away process again ;)

Many things make me happy, but one of them is the look of freshly vacuumed carpets. You know what I'm talking about! We bit the bullet on Black Friday last year and finally purchased a Dyson...and we love it. That thing has amazing suction power, and can get the smallest cheerio crumbs from the depths of the Berber fibers (and trust, there are A LOT of those these days!) The carpets probably get vacuumed at least once a week, usually more. And of course, Audrey likes to "help" by pushing the vacuum. I can't wait until she's strong enough to push it on her own -- put her to work! ;)

I try and keep the bathrooms cleaned and the beds made. The floor swept and the counters wiped down.

But there are days where I feel like I can't keep up. Even the days I DO clean, and by the end of the day, my home looks like I hadn't lifted a finger all day. Dinner is less than impressive, and the dishwasher is still loaded with the dishes from the last clean cycle.

At the end of the day though, I have to remind myself that these things are trivial. I might not be getting the house straightened up in a timely fashion, because I am too busy. I am too busy doing the most important job in the world, which is raising my daughter. I get to be with her all day, every day. I get to be there for her when she's happy and when she's sad, when she's excited and even mad. I get to teach her new things, watch her grow and learn. I get to spend my time cuddling and hugging her, reading her stories and letting her explore new things. I get to experience the world, for the first time through her eyes. The past year and a half has been the quickest 18 months of my life, and they are only little once.

As long as she is happy, I am happy...and the laundry can wait.

Friday, July 12, 2013

17 months old & a trip to round hill farm

First off, my baby girl is 17 months old today. Um, where has the time gone? No, I mean really. Seems like just a few months ago I was still writing monthly updates leading up to her 1st birthday, and here we are, a mere month away from her being a year and a half. She's most certainly not a baby anymore, but a full blown toddler. And every day she does something else to remind me of this, whether its something she does or says, or even a face she makes. Time really ought to slow down, its just not fair! Here she is from this morning, looking all big girl like.

Some of my friends and I had been talking about how we wanted to check out Round Hill Park at some point this summer. We had decided to go Wednesday morning, but of course, it rained the majority of this week, so those plans were postponed. Today, the weather looked pretty clear (cloudy, but clear) and so today was the day!

I had never been there before, but heard great things and best of all, everything was FREE. It was very cute! When you first enter the park there is a big pond full of ducks you can feed bread. Of course, Audrey wanted nothing to do with that and just wanted to explore. They also have a little farm area where you can walk around and see the animals. A lot of the animals were missing (horses? sheep?) but there were still pigs and chickens!

The pathways with the trees, fences and barns make it such a pretty place! I smell a good photography location in the future ;) I imagine its very pretty in the fall and I know we'll be making more trips in the future!

Once the kids were done looking at the animals, we headed over to the spray park area. There was a summer camp group (or two..maybe even 3) there, because it was PACKED. We still had fun though. The day was slightly cooler and the water was cold, so Audrey was a little more hesitant to full submerge herself in the streams. She had just as much fun observing everyone else! She did get a little brave though and got a little wet :)

I can always tell at the end of a play date if it was fun and Audrey-approved by whether or not she falls asleep almost immediately..and today? She was out within 5 minutes ;) I'd call that a success!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

busy toddler, busy summer!

Life with a busy toddler can be challenging at times. Audrey is, and has always been, a child that is always on the move. She is much like me, and gets stir crazy very easily. On days when I have nothing planned and we spend the whole day at home, she gets restless, which often ends in her constantly trying to get into things she shouldn't and me getting frustrated.

I am thankful that I have met a great group of Mama's here that have kids all around the same age. Play dates are a saving grace -- for both mommy AND kiddo! However, as with anything, we all have busy lives and schedules and regular meet ups do not always happen. So for this reason, I am often left trying to figure out how to entertain my busy girl.

A couple months ago we purchased a zoo pass to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. We figured that it was the most cost effective option as otherwise it would cost me (or us, if Ryan comes along on a weekend) anywhere from $14-28 each visit. Having the zoo pass has been great because we can get out of the house for a few hours, Audrey enjoys looking at the animals, and it doesn't cost us anything!

I recently discovered the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library which is a fantastic place to go on a rainy day, or even a hot day when you don't feel like being outside. They have SO many things for little ones to do, from climbing toys, a play kitchen, puppet area, books, arts & crafts and more! Audrey always has a good time, and it allows her to run around and play with different kinds of toys she doesn't have at home. It's also child proofed, so I don't have to worry about being inches behind her every second, making sure she's not getting into things she is not supposed to. For $5 a visit, you can't beat it!

We've also been to many parks & playgrounds around the area. Audrey loves it, but its definitely harder on me because you need to be on her at all times, making sure she doesn't fall down or off of anything! But it does help her run off some pent up energy she always seems to have! And its a quick decision if there is nothing else planned and we just need to get out of the house for a bit before nap time (mommy's favorite time of day).

The city and surrounding areas also offers lots of public pools and spray parks. Last summer she was a bit too young to really enjoy any of these things, so this summer has been great for these types of activities. She's at an age where she is pretty independent, even in a baby pool. I have to be right there with her, but I don't have to hold her the whole time and she can splash around and play and just have fun. We've tried two different pools, and so far, we've preferred the heated option! :p She really is a water baby though, which makes me happy!

A few local movie theater's offer free or very discounted (as in, like $1 a ticket) movie tickets for older kid movies a few mornings a week. I know for a fact that Audrey is not old enough for a movie theater yet, but for free or a dollar, I may try and take her one day soon! She does love watching movies at home, so who knows? She may end up surprising me ;)

I also took her to the library right up the street for the first time a couple weeks ago. Luckily it has a whole basement designated for children books, because my child does not quite get that you are supposed to be quiet in the library. She was running around laughing and yelling "hi!" to the other kids! I let her choose a few books herself, and did not really look at what she picked until later that day when we were home. The title of one of her selections would explain why the librarian asked me if I wanted to add "my spouse...or...someone else" to my library card. HAHA! We got a good laugh out of that!

So far, our summer has been a busy, but fun one! I feel like we are always on the go with something to do.

What types of things do you do to keep your little one's busy during the hot months of summer? I'm always looking for new ideas!

a day at Idlewild

A couple months ago my Dad had the opportunity to buy some discounted tickets to go to Idlewild and SoakZone. My mom called and asked if we'd be interested in meeting up some day in the future and going. The last time I was there, I was childless and back then, I did not really enjoy myself as its mostly geared towards children. However, now having a child, and one that is old enough to ride pretty much all of the kiddie rides, I jumped at the chance!

Fast forward to last Friday. We decided it would be the perfect day to go, so little miss Audrey and I piled in the car and made the hour drive to Ligonier to meet up with my parents, sister and nephew.

The weather reports were sketchy, but we ended up with a nice (albeit hot, humid, muggy, whatever) day! We started the park in Storybook Village where Audrey had a blast going in and out of the little houses, climbing on fences and whatever else she could get to. Wild woman! She also got her first sucker from the pirate ship treasure chest, and she loved it! Normally, I would not give her candy, but it was a treat and it helped keep her occupied and not trying to climb out of the stroller!

Our next stop was Raccoon Lagoon, which houses all of the kiddie rides. The first ride they went on was a ride similar to what Audrey had ridden before at Waldameer (and loved it) but not this time! She was already mad about being strapped in, and once the ride started she was not having it and screamed the entire time. Ha!

At that point, Audrey decided a meltdown in the line for the mini ferris wheel was appropriate. Life with a toddler! In her defense, it WAS close to lunch and she hadn't eaten much breakfast, so I knew she was getting hungry and gave her some snacks to tide her over. Luckily, this tact work because we were able to get a couple more rides in before we ate!

After lunch, she was like a whole new child! ha! She was back to her usual happy go lucky self and was able to enjoy more rides. We went on the Mister Rogers Neighborhood train ride and she was in trance of amazement. She also rode another car ride and said "weeeee!" as she was going around and around. She's hilarious :) After some more rides, we decided to head into the water park area where we had a great time cooling off in the spray park area.

Before we had to leave for the day, we stopped at the ball pit on the way out of the park, where again, Audrey had a fun time crawling around (and sinking) into all of the balls.

All in all we had a wonderful time and we can't wait to go back!