Friday, August 28, 2009

Product Reviews

My all time favorite baby item we have ever and will ever get.The BabySense Monitor. We got this for Claire when she was 3 months old and WOULD NOT sleep on her back. We tried everything for her but all she wanted was to be on her tummy. After much research, I decided on the HiSense Babysense V Monitor. It is a simple and safe system that detects your baby's breathing. The two sensors go under the crib mattress.And connect to the alarm box shown above. If the baby doesn't breathe or has slowed breathing for 20 seconds. The alarm goes off. It is very loud and shrill so you won't miss it. This system is VERY sensitive. We always had to make sure the fan and a/c vent weren't pointing at the crib or it would make the sensors think a baby was in it. This item cost $115 and worth every penny. I would spend twice as much on it if needed. It is a great quality and has had no problems for us.
Some people say it is too expensive but to me, $115 could save your baby's life. This product gets 5 stars.

The most ridiculous car seat EVER.

This Eddie Bauer carseat is horrible. It is the kind that grows with the child so that means we have it for years to come. Yay! (sarcasm) This is how happy Claire is every time we put her in this car seat. The buckles are metal so that right there is something to look out for. The shoulder strap is very hard to adjust and fit right.
Notice how her head is pushed way far forward by the head rest. That for some idiotic reason is not removable. She cannot sleep on roadtrips because her head has nowhere to fall but forward and it wakes her up. Lastly, the buckles are VERY hard to get undone. I'm pretty sure that if we ever fell into a lake or canal she would drown before I would be able to push the red button hard enough to get it to unlatch. This product gets 0 stars. It has no redeemable qualities.

This last item is an amazing idea that I can't believe I had never heard of before and I can't imagine why this isn't sold as a baby item. The car fan.This is clipped on to the back seat and blows on Claire as we drive. It can even oscillate if you want it to. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and has a simple on/off switch. I got this at Walmart for $9. Claire is much less sweaty and limp when I get her out of the car now. The car fan get 4 stars. (just because I don't like the way it mounts in the car and could be more sturdy)

Alternative to Fabric Stores

I really enjoy making dresses for Claire but I found a few downsides to making them.
1. The patterns are all too big for Claire right now. I made the smallest size and MAYBE it will fit her next summer.
2. The fabric you buy in stores is not the same as regular dresses you buy. It can be cute - but sometimes you don't want a dress that is obviously homemade.
3. Fabric is expensive!! The dresses I made Claire in the past both cost close to $16 when all was said and done, making them the most expensive clothing items Claire owns.

I had this great idea the other day when I was at my favorite Swift Thrift. Every Thursday is dollar day on a certain color tag. So not only did I find a bunch of nice clothes for Claire... Every item shown cost $1 and is either Gap, Old Navy, or Child's Place.

But I also picked up this skirt. It is a Tommy Hilfiger. It was $1. Size 6.
(The bigger the better. This was hard to work with.)
Then I strategically used the skirts best qualities and cut it like this
and a very short while later.... Voila!
Claire doesn't pose well..
and the back...I have two more items ready to turn into dresses. I like this because each one will be different depending on what the clothing item has to offer. I also like this because it was a fun, inventive and inexpensive way to sew.

Who Needs Dog Food When You've Got a Baby?

So, the other day I was getting ready to go to my mom's house and Claire had just woken up. It was almost 8am and I was letting Claire run around nakies to let her poor bottom air out. (She has had some sort of infection ever since summer hit and she started wear swimsuits) and I called my mom to let her know we would be a little later than normal. While I was on the phone, I looked over and I saw Claire standing on the carpet going poopy and I was like "ah! shoot!" but I couldn't do anything about it because I was on our non-brain cancer-causing-corded phone. Not two seconds after her business dropped to the floor, Harley came right up behind her and gobbled it down like it was a brownie and he hadn't eaten in days (when in fact I had fed him about 10 minutes prior). I am ashamed to admit that my first thought was not one of disgust but rather relief that I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning it up. Then, Claire did another poopy and that one hardly had time to hit the ground before Harley ate it. I was relating the events as they happened to my mom and I couldn't help but laugh as Harley sat with his nose close to Claire's bottom intently staring in anticipation. Yum!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Drags On

We are all ready for the summer heat to be over at our house! To keep our S.R.P. bill down we cool the house down to 83 degrees until exactly 1pm (when the electricity gets expensive) then we turn the thermostat up to 87 degrees until we can turn it down again at 8pm. I like to take Claire shopping in the afternoon to get out of the hot house. The rest of the day we try to keep busy.
The stroller has cured boredom for us many days.

We also painted Claire's toes recently. She likes her pretty toes.

Most of our days though are spent dancing. Claire especially loves dancing to her VBS music. We have a few other cd's with songs for toddlers but I can only take so much of....

"Polly put the kettle on, Polly put the kettle one,

Polly put the kettle on, we'll all have tea"

Suki take it off again, Suki take it off again,

Suki take it off again, they've all gone away"

What does that even mean? What a pointless song! There are several songs that talk about death, sickness, mourning, killing roosters and thowing old men downstairs for not saying their prayers. I don't get it. My favorite is this one.

Go tell Aunt Rhodi, her old gray goose is dead, (repeat each line 3 times)

She died last Friday, standing on her head. (am I missing something? Is this a common way for geese to die)

The gander is mourning because his wife is dead. (The death march plays in the background)

The gosselings are weeping because their mothers dead.

Anyway, here is a video of Claire dancing to her happy and non-depressing VBS music.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Christmas Gift of the Season

I have had great luck with thrift stores lately. Probably because it's been a while since I've been visiting them regularly. This week I found this at Savers.My first thought was, "I can probably resell that since it is in perfect shape" (it has never been used, the absence of scratches on the bottom gives it away.) Claire starting pointing to it and making her annoying "eh eh eh" sound (still no words) and so I let her try it out. As I set her on it, I realized that I had hit an all time low. A few months ago, I remember complaining to my mom about how all the kids in the thrift stores play with the toys and carry them around and how gross that is. Anyways, Claire LOVED the horse, it rocks on the blue "rockers" and the black elastic/rubber cords make the horse bounce so she was having a great time on it. I looked at the price and it was $12.99 but I quickly remembered that I had a $3 off coupon in my purse. I decided my little Claire must have this since it brings joy to her precious heart but as I was checking out, I became guilty and aware of the fact that we buy Claire things (as long as they are cheap) all the time and that she gets pretty much whatever she wants. For example this $3 dollar baby doll stroller purchased at the same Savers less than a week ago. (which she is in love with and it keeps her busy for hours pushing it around the kitchen and running over my feet while I cook) Or, this Classic Pooh Jack-In-The -Box (which we saw in California for $20 but we got this for $2 yesterday)SO, I justified the purchase by making it her Christmas gift which she will love to find near her stocking on Christmas morning and it will look impressive in pictures so she will be excited for Santa to come the following year. (yes, we are going to lie to our children.) It is stored in the garage until then.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrifty Finds!

I went to one Goodwill yesterday and found all of these things.
The spice rack was brand new in the box and the spices in the jars are sealed so I do not have any qualms about using them. I paid $12.99 - Price on Amazon $69.95.

Decorative grape vine plant. I paid $6.60 for it and I really needed it for above our cabinets.

The Pampered Chef Apple peeler was $2.30. It came in the box and has never been used. Price on Amazon $31.50

The little metal things were all stuffed in one of the bags they hang on a wall. You know, the kind with a bunch of junk with maybe 1 thing someone will actually want. (it's how they get rid of worthless stuff) I got that bag because it had two super nice sets of measuring spoons that I have seen in stores and they are at least $5 each. I paid $2 for the bag and also got a bonus hole punch, two ice tongs, and some little rotary cutter. I'm not sure what it is really.

Then wet suit was only $7.99 and as far as I can tell I should be able to sell it for at least $40. (it doesn't fit me or Josh.

And lastly, the little girls swimsuit. It's a Children's Place brand and it was $1. It was brand new and will fit Claire next year. It would have been at least $15 in the store.

So there you have it. I spent $30 on all these things with a real value of about $170.

Jam Making

I have been wanting to try making jam for a very long time. Since the stores have had blueberries and a fairly low price I have been buying them and freezing them like crazy. Then I thought I might as well give canning a try.

I bought small jars because I didn't want to make a huge batch not knowing what the outcome would be. Plus, these jars are super cute.

This is the recipe I used.

10 cups of frozen blueberries
1 cup of organic pear juice
1 cup of sugar
1 -1.75 ounces package of pectin

I put the blueberries and the juice in the blender because mashing just wasn't working out for me. Then, I cooked the blueberry mush and sugar and pectin until it was boiling hard.Meanwhile, I had the empty jars in simmering to sterilize them and for whatever reason the jars should be hot when you fill them. (In the black pot.) My stove got a workout but I did this after 9pm so our electricity was cheaper. I filled the jars but left to much head room apparently.Then, I boiled the jars for 10 minutes. (in the big red pot)

Ta-DA! It tastes amazing too!
This took me exactly an hour from start to finish and I am very happy with the way it turned out. Now I know to fill the jars more next time, get a canning tong because, well, lets just say bbq tools aren't the best for this job, and I will add a little more pectin as the jam is not a thick as I think it should be.

If you try this beware that your spoon will never be the same. This is clean.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So Long California

Well, this post is late in coming. Here are some pictures from our last day on the beach.

We finally made a substantial sand castle that didn't get knocked down by the waves.

Claire was here usual helpful self.

This day Claire FINALLY took a nap on the the beach. It was short, but it was still very nice to not have to worry about her for a whole 45 minutes.

We were sad to leave that day knowing that we wouldn't be back. Bye Bye beach!

The next morning we left for home. It was a looong drive and Claire didn't sleep during any of t. She has been acting super strange ever since we've been back- Hardly napping at all and really whiney. (thus the reason I am finally getting to this) Well, that and that our internet service isn't as good at home and it takes f o r e v e r to upload pictures now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fun with Friends

On Thursday, we went to visit our friends the Cowells. They live about an hour north of where we are staying but it was worth the drive. We took the kids to Newport beach which turned out
to be not such a great idea. The beach is totally different than where we are. The waves were so strong ans big and the water was at least 30 degrees colder than San Diego. The kids wanted to play in the water but it was too dangerous to let them go out on their own at all.
We only stayed a little over an hour because everyone was ready for a nap. Once back at their house the twins went down right away but Claire and Eszter stayed up for a bit longer and played. Eszter is the only little girl that made me hopeful when I found out Claire was a girl. She is such a sweety and very very smart.
Claire saw Sophie pushing her baby stroller around so after she went to bed Claire tried it out. She pushed it around for a looooong time.

After diner, we went to Balboa Island to walk around andtake in the beautiful scenery and be flabergasted at how rich the people are who live there. The full moon was rising as we walked.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Another Day in Paradise

Wednesday was another day at the beach. It was by far the best. Claire was such a sweety and had a lot of fun playing. It was totally a Grandpa day and they spent the whole time digging in the sand,
chasing birds and splashing in the waves. We were in the most perfect spot on the beach where the waves were very little and gentle, there was always a few inches of water to play in.

I caught some of the hugest sand crabs I have ever seen. Claire was funny, when she touched them she would wipe her finger on her suit right away to get the yucky off.

Here is some video of Claire in the ocean. It's not the best footage - I took it with our little camera.