Archives for April 2009

Lucy’s Big Girl Bed

As I mentioned in Parker’s update, we have been having an issue with Lucy that I needed to speak with the doctor about.

Sunday afternoon, Lucy told Gene no, and he put her in her crib for a time out. When her two minutes were up, I went in to get her out and explain to her why we don’t tell Mommy and Daddy no.

When I got in there, Lucy was huddled in the corner of her crib in the fetal position, crying hysterically. She was shaking and absolutely terrified. As I got closer, I saw a fly sitting on the crib rail. That is what was scaring her so badly. I took her out of the crib, calmed her down, and told her that the fly could not hurt her. From that moment on, we have not been able to get Lucy back into her crib. Every time we would try, she would scream at the top of her lungs and climb out. That night, putting her to bed was horrible. She ended up sleeping in Ashley’s bed with her. It was the only thing that calmed her down.

So, we decided that it was time to get the crib moved into the boys’ room and get Lucy in a big girl bed. I took the crib apart, moved it into the boys room, and rearranged the girls’ room so that we could pull Ashley’s trundle bed out for Lucy.

At first, Lucy loved this idea. Monday night, she fought a bit, but eventually went to bed. Ashley HAD to be in the room, and Ashley had to hold Lucy’s hand until Lucy fell asleep. It was the only thing that worked. When I talked to the doctor about Lucy’s fear of bedtime, she told me that it’s completely normal, and Lucy’s just going to have to get back into the bedtime routine.

Tuesday night was awful. She absolutely would not go to bed. We tried exactly the same thing we did on Monday night, but Lucy screamed, climbed in Ashley’s bed, and got out of her bed a dozen times.

Last night, Lucy fell asleep on the way home from church, so we just got her dressed for bed and brushed her teeth. (All while she was sleeping.) We put her in her bed, and I thought that was the end of it. Wrong! No sooner had I gotten Parker down, than Lucy woke up screaming. I sat on the floor beside her bed to calm her down, but if I tried to move, she woke up in a panic. I finally got her to sleep, and Parker woke up, wanting to nurse. I just can’t win! LOL!

Maybe a few more nights of being in her big girl bed will help. Guess we’re just back to getting her in that routine again. I hope she catches on quickly!

Tasty Thursday: Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

This is my absolute favorite Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe. I make it far too often, but they’re just soooooo good that I can’t help it! The kids love when we make this, because they have a blast rolling the dough into little balls and smashing them with forks.

peanut butter cookiesI found the recipe here: CooksRecipes.com

They have tons of great cookie recipes, so be sure to check them all out. (Don’t drool on your computer, though. It may short out your keyboard!)

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (Do Not Use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F (175*C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Beat in both sugars. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir half of dry ingredients into mixture. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix in remaining dry ingredients.
  3. For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough into 1 3/4 -inch ball. Arrange dough balls 2 1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using back of a fork, flatten dough and form crosshatch design on tops.
  4. Bake cookies until dry on top and golden brown on bottom, about 14 minutes.
  5. Cool cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead). Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Have fun, and enjoy!

Parker’s 6 month well visit.

Parker had his six month well visit on Tuesday afternoon. I had lots and lots of things to talk to the doctor about, and I was also excited to see how much he’s grown.

He weighed in at 16 pounds, 7.5 ounces. He was 27 inches long. He’s still the peanut of the family, being significantly smaller than Zander, Jace, and Lucy, and even slightly smaller than Ashley was at his age. But, he’s growing *great* and the doctor was quite impressed with how well he’s doing developmentally. (That’s always such a blessing to hear!) He checked out just perfectly, got his 3 shots, and doesn’t go back (hopefully) until he’s 9 months old.

As I said earlier in the post, there were several issues I wanted to talk to the doctor about. First, Parker has thrush. I thought I could get rid of it with natural treatments, but it spread to me, and I’ve been having horrible pain with breastfeeding. So, the doctor prescribed oral Diflucan for both of us. Hopefully it will do the trick quickly!

The second issue is that Parker still has his days and nights mixed up. No matter what I do, I cannot get him down before 4 am. I have tried everything. The doctor said to just keep doing what I’m doing – keeping him awake in the late afternoon/evening, putting him in a dark room in a crib, and trying to help him “get it.” One can only take so much of the screaming, though. But, I’m trying. And I’m reading, lots and lots of books. (Anyone have any recommendations? I’ve got Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and a few others, but I’d love to hear what has helped you!)

The third issue is that my post partum depression isn’t getting any better. In fact, it’s getting worse. She upped the meds (again) and wants to see me again in about a month. I’m really hoping this works. Right now I feel like everything is falling apart.

The last issue was about Lucy, but I’m saving that for another post. 🙂

All in all, it was a great appointment. Gotta love those!

Wordless Wednesday: Time Out!

Katie’s Kreations & 55 Maple Designs Winner Re-pulled

Our last winner didn’t leave an email address so that I could notify her of her win, no blog link, and no way to contact her. She never stopped back by to see if she had won, so the prize went unclaimed. Using Random.org again tonight, I got us a new winner:
Martha said…
Happy Poppy Necklace Rocks!!
The crocheted pearl bracelet to die for!!

Since Martha has her email address easily accessible in her profile, I’ll be sending her an email tonight to let her know she’s the winner. Congrats, Martha! You’ve won a lovely prize!!

Moral of the story: Leave a way for me to contact you, or don’t just enter and run. Stick around. I promise I don’t bite! 🙂

Heads Up! Big Sale @ Macy’s!

Macy’s Biggest Savings event just got Bigger! From April 29th– May 4th 2009, Macy’s will be sharing their Friends and Family employee discount for 6 incredible days of savings and shopping! With Mother’s Day right around the corner and swimsuit season rapidly approaching, this is a great way to save.

You can access the coupon here.

USE THE COUPON THROUGHOUT THE STORE OR SHOP ONLINE WITH YOUR SPECIAL CODE!

Bring in this coupon to receive your savings in store. Receive FREE shipping at macys.com with your online purchase of $99 or more.

To use discount online at macys.com or at macysweddingchannel.com, enter code MACYSFRIEND in the box labeled HAVE A PROMO CODE? during checkout.

Still a Few Bugs

Ok, so there are obviously a few bugs that I still have to work out. I’m trying to figure out why some posts don’t want to load in the thumbnail version and want to display the whole post.

But, other than that, what do you think????? I *love* that I can categorize everything. For example, you’ll see “Monkey Mania” – this is the smorgasboard category. You never know what you’ll find there. Then we have Reviews & Giveaways, Photography, Family News & Updates, Follow-Worthy Blogs, and Only in the Mountains. Each of those is pretty self explanatory!

If you just want to know what’s new, look in the right sidebar and you’ll find “Recent Posts” – pick a link and there you go! 🙂

Bear with me while it figure out the last few bugs in the system. I appreciate you sticking around!

This is taking longer than I’d anticipated!

I’ve got my test blog all set up and ready to go. I cannot wait to show off the new design. It is awesome. The problem is with preparing this blog to take the change. Talk about time consuming!

WordPress uses categories, and blogger uses tags. So, since I tag everything, I have to physically go back into EACH post and change the tags so that they only have my categories in them. Ick.

BUT, I keep reminding myself that this will all be worth it. The new design will knock your socks off…. I just have to get it done! 🙂

Wish me luck! I hope to have it done soon!

MagnaPlay is having a contest!

Recently, I had the opportunity to review MagnaPlay and their products. I love them – and my kids do, too! You can read the full review here.

MagnaPlay contacted me and asked if I would let my readers know about a fantastic contest that they’re having.

MagnaPlay Mother’s Day Mom Contest

“MOM” – Being called that is a precious gift in itself. What Moms do for their children is priceless. MagnaPlay fully understands the commitments and responsibilities that come with the title MOM. To show our appreciation to Moms we are hosting a Mother’s Day Mom Contest.

2 Lucky Moms will be able to win a $50 VISA Gift Card. (Subliminal Message: Groceries, Gas, or maybe those adorable shoes you saw at the mall the other day?)
1 Mom blog spot nominated by Moms will receive the MagnaPlay Best Mom Blog Award.

To enter the contest, you have to do the things listed below. You will not be eligible for the contest if you complete only one of the two items given below.

1. Tell us about your favorite Mom Blog and why you like it. You as a Mom now have a chance to nominate
your best Mom blog for the MagnaPlay Best Mom Blog Award. The blog has to be hosted by a Mom to be
counted as a valid entry.
(Subliminal Message: Pick me! Pick me!) 🙂
2. Tell us what you enjoy most about being a Mom.

Please send us the requested information using the form on the Contact Us page. You need to leave a valid email ID to enter the contest.

The Contest will end Friday May 8, 2009 at 11:59 PM PST. This contest is open to Moms and US residents only. Winners will be picked using Random.org.

Mother’s Day Mom Contest Winner
The names of the 2 winners will be announced on Mother’s Day. Please visit our Contest Page on Mother’s Day to see who the winners are! The winners will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response another winner will be chosen.

MagnaPlay Best Mom Blog Award Winner
The blog that receives the most number of nominations will be awarded the MagnaPlay Best Mom Blog Award. The winner will be announced on Mother’s day. The winner will be featured as the MagnaPlay Featured Mom Blog of the year and a link will be created from our Mom Partners web page to the Award winner’s blog. MagnaPlay will become a sponsor of the blog and participate frequently in giveaways and special deals for their readers.

Optional Entry for Mom Bloggers
Post a link to this contest on your blog or tweet about this contest and email the link to mgowri@magnaplay.com to get nominated for the award by MagnaPlay. This nomination is to acknowledge the support offered by our Mom Partners. However, this will not be counted as an entry for the Mom contest. You will have to follow the above rules to submit your entry for the Mom contest.


So, hurry on over to MagnaPlay and enter to win. Make sure you use their “Contact Us” form to submit your entry!

Good luck!! (Subliminal Message: Don’t forget to submit my blog as your favorite!) 🙂

WordPress Templates for Blogger!

I could not be more excited! I logged on to Moody Mama Says to check out her new look, and I was blown away! She uses blogger, but her layout looks like a WordPress Blog!

I love the layouts you can get with WordPress, but WordPress and I do not get along. If I could still use blogger and make it look like WordPress, I would be one happy camper!

So, I’m testing things out behind the scenes. I found this website where you can get templates, I just need to figure out how to make it work! Once I’m ready, I’ll transform this page into something magnificent. (I hope!)

That being said, if you log on here one day and everything is funky and out of control, have no fear – I’ll do my best to have it fixed quickly.

Wish me luck! And check back often. I hope I can figure this out rather soon!

Katie’s Kreations & 55 Maple Designs Winner

32 Karen said…

I followed!

Congratulations, Karen! You have until Monday Evening (4/27) to claim your prize!

BreakPal: Exercise at your Desk (Closed)


I spend many hours at the computer. Late at night, when all the kids are asleep, I’m on here writing up reviews, designing things for clients, and playing catch-up. After awhile, my back and neck hurt so badly that I want to scream.

Thank heavens I was introduced to Break Pal! With their awesome desk exercises and desk stretches, I can get some much-needed relief, and get me in shape without finding a sitter and heading to the gym. This is the perfect option for WAHMs, Mom Bloggers, or anyone who sits at a desk! (Are you sitting at a desk while you’re reading this? If you answered “Yes!” then this is perfect for you!)

The desk stretches are my favorite to do. They help relieve all the pressure and tension that I carry in my back, neck, and shoulders.

Want to know how it works? First, you sign up for a free trial. Then, you download the Break Pal widget onto your computer. When you’re working at your computer, you’ll get an alert when it’s time to exercise. (How cool is that?!) You can set your alerts to come however often you’d like a break – every 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes. You click on a link and go to the list of exercises on the Break Pal website.

With each exercise comes a video. Liz is your very own personal trainer through every session! She walks you through, step by step, and makes the exercises fun and easy. Each video only lasts a few minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re in a time crunch or just need a stretching break. What a fun, easy way to get healthy!

Break Pal works on a points system. Talk about a motivator! When I log in, and see my measly point total, and then I see another user that has over 1,000 points, I want to get my butt in gear! The points expire after a week, so that’s one more way that they keep you motivated. We’ve got to keep that point total up, right?

So, what would you expect to pay for your very own personal trainer that you can access at any time – 24/7? A lot, right? Nope! Break Pal is available for just $9.95 a month! Want better news? They give you a FREE trial! Don’t like it? Cancel and don’t pay a penny. No questions asked. But, I’ll bet that once you try it, you’ll see how great it makes you feel and you’ll want to stick with it!

Now, want some really great news? Break Pal is giving 5 of my readers a chance to win a FREE Lifetime Membership. That’s right! Your membership will never expire, and you will have full access to the widget, all the videos, and every other feature the site offers.

Here’s how to enter:
Visit the Break Pal website and tell me one reason why Break Pal would help you reach your fitness goals.*
*Required

Want extra entries?
1. Comment on this post with a fitness tip. (You can do this an unlimited number of times!!)
2. Blog about this contest. (Please include a link to 5 Vinez Monkeys and Break Pal. – Leave a comment with a link to your post.)
3. Twitter about this contest. (Leave a comment with your twitter id or a link to your tweet.)
4. Follow My Blog or Subscribe to My Feed. (1 entry for each – if you already do this, you qualify!)
5. Put my button on your blog or website. (Leave a comment with a link to your site.)

The contest will end May 17th, and 5 lucky winners will be announced on May 18th.

Don’t miss your chance to become a healthier you! Enter today!

Follow Friday: Week 2

This week’s follow-worthy blog is The Snail’s Trail.

I love heading over there, because I never know what I’ll find! Momma Snail is awesome. She homeschools her two little snails: Big Snail is 4 and Little Snail is almost 3. While they’re not officially of school age yet, she teaches them so much. I love reading what she’s up to, and I use a lot of her projects and ideas for Jace and Lucy. It’s been fantastic!

I absolutely love her mission statement about homeschooling. I want to be just like her. We are having so many issues with Ashley’s homeschooling right now, and I think that Momma Snail may just have something. I can guarantee that I will be praying about this a LOT.

The first post I ever read on The Snail’s Trail was a post about Labeling the Environment. The very next day, I did the same thing with Jace and Zander. It was a HIT. They both made up flashcards and they are posted all over our house. She really comes up with some fantastic ideas!

This Wordless Wednesday post made me laugh out loud. The author must have been channelling my Lucy & Zander when he wrote that! 😉

Momma Snail is also an awesome photographer! This post about a recent visit with Grandpa & Grandma Snail has some excellent photos in it.

Stop by The Snail’s Trail and tell her hello! And definitely follow her. You won’t be sorry!

Momma Snail, feel free to grab this button and post it on your blog!



Don’t know what Follow Fridays are? Find out more here: Follow Fridays Explained

If you participate in Follow Fridays, be sure to come back here and leave a link to your post!

Mother’s Day @ 5 Minutes for Mom

Ok, so I’m late to the party – again. Seems to be a problem with me lately. But, I made my way over to 5 Minutes for Mom today, and they’re giving away some AMAZING prizes for Mother’s Day! We all deserve some spoiling. Click on the button below and enter to win the prizes that appeal to you:

Mothers Day 2009

You can bet I’ll be entering! 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: I Love His Baby Blues


I want to see your Wordless Wednesday Pics!

Photography Tips & Tricks: Posing Teens & Adults

Let’s talk about photographing teens and adults. Maybe your best friend asked you to take her son’s Senior pictures. Or your SIL wants some maternity portraits done. You agree, but now what? In all honesty, teens & adults are the easiest group to shoot. (With a camera! Don’t read that wrong!) You tell them something once, and they do it. The complete opposite of the toddler stage! 🙂

With teens, come up with a fun background. Brightly painted brick walls are cool, or a wall with graffiti painted all over it. Just make sure you match the teen’s personality. If you’re taking portraits for a teen that is totally into computers and wants nothing to do with sports, don’t take him down to the local baseball field to take his pictures. He’s not going to be happy, and you’re going to get a lot of frumpy face pictures.

Here’s a tip for shooting adults that has made many of my clients happy: If an adult has a large or predominant nose, shooting down on them will help reduce the appearance. I’ll have clients sit on the floor, then I’ll stand on a chair and have them look off to the side a bit. You won’t believe the difference.

Also, never, ever shoot straight at a person. You need to have your subject tilt their head slightly to one side. Also, by having them pull back their shoulders and point out their chin, you’ll help get rid of that double chin that many of us are blessed with. They may feel uncomfortable for a moment, but remind them that it’s only for a minute and it will make all the difference in the world.

Have some photos you want to share? Post them on your blog and then leave a link in the comments here. I’d love to see them! (Family friendly only, please!)

Next week we’ll talk about photographing families and large groups. Join us then!

Happy Re-Birthday to Me!

We recently celebrated Ashley’s re-birthday. Today, we celebrate mine!

One year ago today, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I put my life in His hands, and I gave Him full control.

I was raised in a Christian home. My parents sang in a group that traveled to different churches and sang every Sunday. If the church doors were open, I was there. I had to be on my deathbed before I was allowed to miss a service. I went to Christian school starting at the age of 2, and graduated from one of the top Christian High Schools in the nation.

Having Christianity shoved down my throat day in and day out, one would expect me to be nothing less than the perfect little Christian girl. Unfortunately, it was all a farce. I did my best to make people believe that I was born again. I won awards, was extremely active in my youth group, went soul-winning. I even gave testimonies of how Christ saved me as a little girl.

But it was all just for show. I didn’t serve God because I loved Him. I served Him because that’s what was expected of me. When I was 18, I canceled my plans to go to Christian college and stayed close to home so that I could be with my unsaved boyfriend. I ended up getting pregnant and dropped out of school altogether. I was thrown out of my church, and lost many of my friends. I was labeled “the bad girl” from that point on. I even had people tell me that if I hadn’t been so bad, my Daddy wouldn’t have gotten sick and died from cancer. It’s no wonder that I stayed out of church for awhile.

I eventually went back to church. I found an amazing little church with the most wonderful pastor. I knew it was where I wanted to raise Ashley. We stayed there until we moved back to Ohio, and we went back to the church I had grown up in. After a messy engagement/break-up with a family friend’s son, my mom and I found a new church and started attending. It was nice, and I settled into my routine of playing the part of the Godly Christian mother. It was there that I met and married Gene.

When we moved to Georgia, we started going to my grandparent’s church. We instantly fell in love with the entire church – the pastor, the people, everything. For several months, I felt like God was standing there, knocking on the door of my heart, begging me to let Him in. I ignored it for the longest time. After all, I was supposed to be saved! What would people think if I went forward and accepted Jesus as my Savior? For months, I did nothing. There were services that I would just sit there and cry, because I knew what I was supposed to do, but I was so stuck on what everyone else would think, I just couldn’t do it.

Finally, on April 20th, 2008, in a Sunday evening service, I couldn’t take it anymore. I honestly cannot tell you what our pastor preached on that night. All I know is that I the moment he started the invitation, I was at the altar praying. I had so many people praying with me that night. My husband was right beside me (and, boy, was he shocked!), and the Pastor’s wife prayed right along with me. It was truly an awesome experience, and one I will never forget.

So, today is my re-birth day. A celebration of the moment I accept Jesus into my heart, and the moment I truly gave everything over to Him. Maybe I was saved all those years, no one but the Lord knows. But now, I have a date that I can look back to. A day when everything changed.

Now, I pray for my children. I pray that they won’t make the mistakes I did. I pray that they won’t wait too long to accept His gift. I pray every single day that I might be the influence that shows them the Love Christ has for us.

Ashley is baking me a cake tonight for our celebration. She’s so excited that she gets to do it all by herself! 🙂

Contest Mondays!

If you’ve got a contest going on, be sure to add it to Mr. Linky below!

Here are some giveaways we think you might like:

Katie’s Kreations & 55 Maple Designs -Ends 4/24 – Gorgeous Jewelry, and you get to pick your favorite piece (up to $10)! Ends soon, so be sure to enter today!

Pay it ForwardBuy By Mom wants to Pay it Forward to 2 Moms in Business. If your business needs a makeover, or if you need help getting it off the ground, this giveaway is just for you. The total prize package is worth $670!! Get your entry in by May 15th!

Win a Peekaboo Products nursing cover in a beautiful light blue floral pattern.

Dore's Diaries
Dore’s Diaries is celebrating its one year blog anniversary. First prize includes a custom blog design or beautiful portrait tile pendant from Angela Vinez Designs.

Let us know what you’re giving away so that we can come enter! 🙂

A few funnies for the past few days…

We were watching TV the other night, and a Papa John’s Pizza commercial came on. They were promoting the new X-Men Beginnings movie and the new pizza they’re offering. Zander turned to Gene and said, “Dad! You and Mom need to go to Papa John’s and watch that movie first so that you know if Jace and I will be allowed to watch it.”

(Gene and I always watch movies before we allow the kids to. It’s been a rule since we’ve been married. Zander was convinced that you can only see the movie at Papa John’s.)

On the way to church on Sunday morning, We asked Lucy what CD she wanted to listen to. She named one, then named another. She then said, “Oh, make up my mind!”

Zander’s got a crush!

My son told a girl that he loves her.

That’s right. My 5 year old son has a crush on a girl that is 3 years older than him.

The kids spent Friday night at my MIL’s house. Next door to MIL there are a couple of kids. My kids spent much of Saturday playing with these kids.

Ashley said that Zander was playing with the little girl, and all of a sudden he said, “Kaitlyn.” She asked him what he needed, and he said, “I love you.”

AAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so not ready for this.

When I asked Zander about it last night, I told him that he’s not allowed to love another girl more than his mommy. His response? “I don’t love her more than you, Mama. I love you both the same.”

He’s just like his father. 😉 Here’s hoping I have a few more years before he really does love another girl more than his mommy!