Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Afternoon at the Park

 We got a little break in the winter weather (it got up to 50 degrees!) which has allowed the girls and I to spend some much needed time outside.  I get so worn out in the winter, being indoors all day under artificial light all while looking out the window at gray skies.  We received a few warm days along with some sunshine and the girls and I made the most of it.

We spent a lot of the summer at the park just down the street from us (buying a home 1/4 mile from a park was a brilliant idea) and we have missed it.  So I strapped the girls into the stroller and off we went.  My girls love the swings!

 Charlotte was too little to try out the slide during the summer so this time I let her try it out.
 She liked it!  So much so that she wouldn't look at me, she just turned around...
 and tried to go again!
 And while Lily went back to her favorite swings,
 Charlotte tried out the rocking elephant.  The girl is a master on the rocking horse at home and caught on to how to rock the elephant really quickly.
It was a fun afternoon, it didn't last nearly long enough, and now I am ready for Spring!  Bring on the warmer weather and sunny days!

Friday, January 27, 2012

....Eleven Months....

Can you believe it, just one more month until our little girl is one year old!

I know that I say this every time, but she is growing so fast!  She is walking, but not all of the time.  She still prefers to crawl, but will walk short distances.  She has 8 teeth and is working on #9 and #10.  Charlotte has also started talking, she can say "mama" and "dada".  She has been babbling for a while, but now she will point at Tyson and say "dada" and reach to me and say "mama".  She is also pointing to things to indicate what she wants.  Our girl is just growing up!
I swear, the piggy must have shrunk, remember when they were just about the same size?
It was tough to get pictures of her this morning, she is such a busy little bee, always on the move.  I'd sit her down in the chair and by the time I lifted my camera she was up and rocking the chair.
Charlotte is also becoming very interested in her toys.  She cuddles her babies and her piggy, and tries to mimic Lily when playing with blocks and coloring.
Lily really wants Charlotte to be walking.  Every time Charlotte stands up to walk Lily runs over and yells "hands" and holds her hand and helps her walk around the room.
My sweet girls!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Silly Growing Girls

Time keeps passing and these silly girls just keep growing!

Earlier this week Lily had a first, as in, her first piggy tails that didn't require extra plastics or clips to hold all of her hair in.  It is FINALLY long enough!
Charlotte is still goofy as over, her new favorite is to climb up on my lap, stretch out, and
get me to tickle her tummy.
 Lily received some foam building block shapes which she calls her Christmas tree, because she was given them for Christmas and apparently built a tree the first time she played with them, and now everything is a tree and she always has a star to go on top.  Her daddy helped her build this structure.
 This afternoon Lily heard Charlotte wake up from her nap and went in to get her.  She decided to climb up into the crib with her sister.
And then cause all kinds of trouble.  I know that Lily's pants are inside out, she is on an "I do it!" kick lately and wouldn't accept any help with getting her pants back on after her post-nap visit to the potty.
 Charlotte takes her apple eating very seriously, she can eat an entire apple if you give her long enough, core and everything.
 I love this silly face though.
 Lily took a break from her game of Candy Land to eat her snack as well.
 Her break didn't last long, she wanted to get back to her game.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Things Organized

I like to cook and I'm a little bit obsessive compulsive. I like things organized and I function best when I have systems set up.  I've been making menus and planning our meals since we were first married, and sometimes I do better at it than others.  I also love to try new recipes.  I have more cookbooks than I could ever use and yet I still spend a lot of time online looking for recipes and ideas.  I've ended up with so many sheets printed off all over my kitchen counters and menus written on shopping lists on the fridge and I finally decided to buckle down and organize it all.  This is what I have come up with:
I started with a binder, just an ordinary binder, some plastic sheets, and dividers.  I found this cute cover the binder here (she also has several other color options).  I went online and printed out a calendar for the year, that's right, all of 2012.  I found this particular calendar here.  You should have seen Tyson's face when I told him that I was printing off an entire calendar for menu planning, poor guy thought that I was crazy enough to plan out our meals for the entire year all at once!  I put all twelve pages in one sheet protector, that way I can see two months at a time, but I also have past months to refer back to for ideas.  We tend to get stuck in a rut and repeat meals so this way I can see when we last ate something so that I can space them out better.
Before filling in any spaces I went over our normal calendar and made adjustments for days that we would not be eating at home, like date nights or time out of town.  Then I marked our leftover days.  My husband has a crazy schedule so two days a week he is only home for breakfast.  Those days we have leftovers.  I make sure to plan meals that will leave lots of leftovers for the day before our leftover day.  Sunday is also crock pot day in this house because I have such a limited amount of time to get dinner ready between church and the time that Tyson has to leave for work.  I also write down the primary vegetable that I plan to serve with the meal, one less thing to think about when it is time to grocery shop or cook.  With these things in mind, I turn to my meal ideas list and then fill in the calendar.  My list continues on to the back and keeps growing.  No more meal ruts for us!

 The meal ideas list is a lifesaver, it will save you so much time and frustration with your menu planning.  I made a list a few years ago and recently updated it with new favorites.  To make the list I went through my favorite cookbooks and printed recipes and wrote down the names of all of the recipes that we have tried and would like to make again.  I wrote today's date in the corner and as we try new recipes I'll write them on the list and every few months I'll add them to the doc and reprint it.  This is my current list of meal ideas if you want to some ideas.  And if you would like any of the recipes just shoot me an email, I love to share!  No secret recipes here!  

Behind the meal idea list I have my recipes.  No, I didn't type out the recipes from my cookbooks, I'm not that nuts.  This binder organizes the recipes that I find online or friends give me.  I like having systems for things and loose recipe cards and sheets of paper, pages take out of cooking magazines just make me crazy!  I type them up, and put them in sheet protectors, organized by category.  I use the sheet protectors for 2 reason; first they keep the recipe clean, and second, because I can keep things in alphabetical order.  I love having things in alphabetical order, they are so easy to find that way.  I've seen a lot of people just put the recipes that they printed off or clipped from a magazine right into sheet protectors and that would work great, but my OCD wants them all to be uniform in typeface and format so I retype them.
 Isn't that so nice and clean?  I love it!  I have to admit, I am way too excited about this binder!  My husband can't quite understand my excitement, but I'm sure that there are others out there who can.