Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guest Blogging

Have you read the baby blackbird blog? If not run, do not walk, skipping is appropriate to her site. She is a fab-o children's clothing blogging. Such style and she finds the best stuff. I can't wait till Brooks is a little older and out of baby clothes so I can get in on some of these things. Till then I read and drool.

Once a week she has a "Top Shops" segment. It lists some (or all) of the best places in a particular city to shop for kids clothes. And guess who got to represent Philly? Yeah, me, I know the suspense on that was killer.

A couple of weeks ago Brooks and I trekked around our great city and checked out a bunch of haunts, most I knew but two were a great surprise. So check it out and show some love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You Inspire Me

After posting about trimming our grocery budget, I got lots of feedback from people. All with ways and ideas on what works for their family. I was so inspired that I have decided to coupon (this is now a verb) in May. One of our local grocery stores double coupons up to $1. Since they don't have a huge organic selection, I will continue shopping at my regular store and then go to the other story once a week. I am going to figure out if A) I'm actually saving money B) the time output is worth the cost savings.

I figure it's going to take a month to really see a difference. As I mentioned before, I don't know if this will really work since we don't buy a lot processed or packaged food, but we do need the essentials, toilet paper, tampons, you know the fun stuff we all like to talk about.

So, my friendly internets, I will do a spreadsheet with the time I spent, what we bought and what we saved, and share at the end of May. I'm actually looking forward to my little adventure.

What's In Your Bag?

A friend asked me how I manage to get out of the house with two kids in tow, especially for the day. Firstly, I don't carry a diaper bag, unless we are gone all day. If we are gone all day, I take my tote bag AND a diaper bag. So here we go, please disregard all the crap on the table not related to my bag.

When we go out with both babies, especially, we use Flip diapers. They take up so much less room than the usual pocket diapers we usually use. If I have both babies then I would have another cover though.

My clutch contains my cards, money, phone and keys. So much less glamorous than before Brooks. But now it's much more colorful! Also taking a picture of purse contents before leaving helps you make sure you haven't forgotten anything, which I had, critical thing for cloth diaper users a wet bag, and mine is missing.

What does your bag look like?

Monday, April 25, 2011


Sorry I haven't been posting regularly, I promise some good ones this week. In the meantime, this is what our Easter was about.
Brooks and Grandaddy time. Taken through our screen door and window screens as to not disturb the moment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Most Awesomest Museum EVER!!!!!

Yes the post title required all caps for "EVER", double yes it needed that many exclamation marks, and yes I know that awesomest is not a correct word.

We took the kids to the Please Touch Museum here in Philly on Tuesday. It really is the grooviest kids museum on the planet. The building, on the outside, looks like any other classical museum. Granite walls, marble floors and some of the most stunning plaster work I've seen outside of Europe. This place reeks of stodgy blue hairs, then you get inside. The main foyer, which is the size of a small ballroom is the ticket area, and the colors are so inviting without distracting from the history of the building.

Once inside you are under the dome and there is a metal hodge podge (technical art term) artist's rendition of the Statue of Liberty's hand and torch. This represents the actual hand and torch that once stood a few yards away during the building's inception as a fundraiser for the rest of Miss Liberty.

I was going to go into detail about all the cool exhibits, but there are too many. Let me just put it to you this way, Brooks, who is 9 months old was laughing and engaged the whole day (sans nap on our back). My cousins were running everywhere, I was exhausted just trying to keep an eye on them. Once we left 2 hour naps were taken by everyone under 30, and those of us over 30 wished we could have done the same. The price tag of $15 per person, no reduction for children is a little steep, but we spent all day there 6 hours total, and it was worth every penney and then some. We're going to ask for a membership for Brooks' birthday *hint hint* John's parents, *nudge nudge*. Oh and finally you can bring your own food, which of course a lot of places don't allow, so if you take crappy overpriced amusement/museum food out of the mix it's not bad.

Oh and after watching two girls run around in a semi controlled environment, my baby rabies has been curbed. Not that it wasn't awesome to see them, but I was so exhausted from keeping track of them I couldn't enjoy myself, or have a conversation with John.

Lady Liberty's "torch" All day long this is what Brooks looked like

Tea with the Mad Hatter and March Hair

The entire day was a "blur"

Where Does the time go?

Sorry that last post was from Monday. I meant to post it yesterday, but time got away from me. I have been updating on twitter, so if you follow me there, you can get a bunch of pictures and see witty comments from my hilarious friends.!/blogfilledlife

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trimming the Grocery Budget

I do envy the coupon people that are out there. The Krazy Koupon Ladies, and Extreme Couponing blow my mind. But it never really worked for us, I admit to not being as dedicated to it as some, but we don't buy processed or prepared foods, with a few exceptions, but as my friend Kayla can attest I don't have ketchup in my house.

When I got laid off after Brooks was born we knew that we had to cut our expenses and since we were spending about $1800 a month on food we knew that was a great and easy (or so we thought) place to start. That amount includes all food and beverages, my morning lattes, John's expensive beer, and of course our daily lunches out.

We had originally wanted to cut the food expenses down to $100 a week, but after 3 weeks we found out that this wasn't possible unless we really wanted a decline in quality. So we bumped that budget up to $125 a week. This line item includes groceries AND eating out. Oy!

It wasn't difficult at first since we were all home all the time, our garden was producing and we were spending very little. Then local fresh fruits and veggies started to dry up with the winter and our food costs increased. So we had to stop eating out almost all together until we figured out how to shop smarter.

One cost cutting measure was to cut back on our quantity of meat. The average adult is supposed to eat 3-6oz of meat at a meal. Most people eat 8-10oz, but at $7.99/lb for steak, if we wanted to eat it we had to cut it back, so we did. We allow ourselves to load up on veggies and grains, (mostly veggies), and a lot of meals will start with a salad. Cutting back for us was really a mind over matter principle. This also allowed for leftovers the next day, so we could enjoy the yumminess twice.

This is about the time we started planning our menus as well. Since we buy organic or grass fed meat it almost never goes on sale, so we can't plan our menus based on sale ads. So we got creative and had pseudo cooking contests to see who could get the price per serving on a meal down the farthest. So far we haven't gotten it under a dollar, but we're getting closer. I'm hoping if our garden yields more this year that we will.

The grocery store that we frequent, Wegmans, also has an iphone app as well as a great online site. This allows us to price shop before we get to the store. This saves me time and money. Because I don't go up and down every aisle I save time, and because I don't go up and down every aisle and buy crap I don't really need, I save money. Soon I want to really get into couponing though, I admit I am a HUGE sucker for a good deal. If I can get our grocery bill down more that means I can buy more standing rib roast or clothes. Umm....duh, sign me up.

Brooks eats what we do, but even if he didn't we would make his food. Not all of his meals are exactly what we eat either, so we had to incorporate his portion into our food bill. I know he's eating about $10 extra worth of food a week, but I don't really notice. I'm doubly grateful for a)not noticing and b) knowing that one day he will be eating $10 more worth of food an hour.

So what do you do to help on your grocery budget?

I Collect Children

It's apparently my hobby and I didn't know it. I have my own child, but have always opened my house to others. This week Miss K's mom is on spring break so my cousins are visiting. Down a baby, gained a 6 & 9 year old. With that being said, these girls are AWESOME! They entertain themselves, LOVE playing with Brooks as well as singing and playing the piano. I might be able to get my house clean in time for the large family Easter gathering we are having on Sunday. But first we are going to Valley Forge National Park to get our history on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Super CulturedBaby

If I could find Brooks and Miss K superhero capes for their super cultured selves I would be set.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art
has a stroller tour once a month, this month we explored the Chagal exhibit. Yeah, babies don't get too much out of it, but they seem to enjoy looking at the other kids and walking around to see all the "stuff". Me, on the other hand, I get so much from it. A docent takes you around and you discuss a painting for a while, this time snipits of an exhibit. I've always enjoyed art museums, but being married to an artist I really wanted to appreciate them more and this has helped me do that.

I forgot to put the card back into my camera, so the only picture I got of them was of Brooks in his stroller (with the big boy seat attachment) in the parking garage. It will have to do.

That same evening was the dress rehearsal for the dance production at John's school. Last spring I went to every night of the tech rehearsals, all pregnant and waddling hanging out with lithe and toned college students, hoping that my gargantuan boobs wouldn't pop out of my top, and laboring to pick something off the ground. I watched 3 nights in a row their nimble bodies moving gracefully across the stage. Yeah I was envious. I've always loved dance and have the natural grace of a tree.

With the precedent set I knew I had to try and make it to this year's tech rehearsals too. Fortunately Brooks took an extra nap from 5-6, SWEET!!!!! Away we trotted to the school. Before the show he was a BIG helper making sure that the lights and dancers were all in place. I think this is my new favorite picture.

We didn't know how long he would last, but he stayed through the entire first act, 3 dance numbers. He started getting fussy during the first piece of the second act, but I swear if there hadn't been an intermission he would have made it to the end. My 9 month old big dude couldn't take his eyes off the stage. He would sit on my lap and then get down and stand never missing the movement or music before him. I was in HEAVEN. Just then John leans over to me and says, "You know this is the beginning of the end." I asked what he meant, he replied, "Next year he's going to want to be up there dancing with them." I smiled and thought to myself, I hope so.

We went during the warm ups of the first performance tonight and he was just as engaged. Ladies and gentlemen we may have a dancer on our hands. Of course if he got his mother and father's grace, dancing will not be his career. A little note Brooks, if you become a lawyer you can afford to go the ballet a lot, if you become a dancer you probably will not be able to afford a lawyer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Car Napping

Saturday was the first warmer and sunny day we have had in quite a while. We took full advantage of it too. My cousin and her family had spent the night and we went to the sculpture garden at John's school. Brooks was way behind on his nap so when he fell asleep in the car after company had left, I didn't disturb him.

We had gone to Petco to pick up some dog food, but Brooks kept sleeping. Eventually I rolled my window down to enjoy the breeze and the sun's warmth, then I started to nod off. Next thing I know I hear a Lady say, "Are you alright?" I had fallen asleep with my head on the window sill so it was partially out of the car. I pop awake and the first thing I think was, "darn it I was enjoying my nap", then I realized this lady probably thought I was dead. I replied, "No, I'm fine thanks. Just resting while my baby is asleep in the back." I thanked her and she waved at me as she drove off.

Of course Brooks was still totally unconscious, but I was too wound up to fall back asleep. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I kept this a secret

Remember on Monday what a great day we had? It was, it was a fabulous day, but I didn't share with you a little story that is a little humiliating.

I am fiercely independent when it comes to the babies. I pride myself on the fact that I can do so much with them by myself. I wear Miss K and push Brooks, or carry them both slung on a hip, or in the carriers one on each arm like a body builder lifting weights. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when we get where we're going especially with happy babes. I think I might have taken this to the extreme on Monday though.

Brooks is fascinated with Miss K's hair, he loves to touch it, which usually means pulling it. We are working on "gentle" and "soft hands" with him, but the dude is only 8.5 months old! Since they were side by side in the cart, Brooks was in hog heaven pulling running his fingers through her hair. I know that I spent half of our time in the grocery protecting my youngest charge.

The grocery where we shop has those new tiered carts, so the kids were atop with a small basket behind them and then there is a larger more protruding basket below it. Almost done with our shopping my penultimate purchase was a bag of flour. I grabbed it and while protecting Miss K's head tried to toss it between the tiers so it wouldn't crush the eggs at the back of the bottom tier. A nice gentleman asked if he could help me and I declined with my usual peppy voice of "no thanks, I've got it." Just then I make the toss, the bag catches the side and rips, flour goes all over the floor and I look like a donkey. My face must have turned 5 shades of red, just then Miss K shrieks and Brooks looking innocent, yet fascinated by her locks, has a chunk of her hair in his hand. I attend to them and then found a clerk. Apologized profusely and skulked away to get my last two items and high tail it out of there.

I had to pick up a few more items yesterday and went to a different store.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I had a really funny post planned for today, but instead Brooks decided to have a super development day. He stood for a bit unassisted, crawled on all fours instead of "army crawling" and then did this....... click here because I can't get the video to upload.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Although the calendar says it's Monday

our day was not a "Monday". John has been working a lot recently so he took off this morning. This gave us the chance to take the babies to story time at the library. The kids seemed to really enjoy it and both crashed on the way home or as soon as we got back. We love living so close that we were able to walk, babes strapped to us.

After nap time we went on our ritual grocery shopping trip. I normally wear Miss K in the bjorn while Brooks sits in the cart. I didn't realize until we were inside that my back was killing me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and put Miss K in the front, and it worked. I had to prop her up a little with a blanket, but that just added a little extra flair!

Now the day wouldn't be complete if there wasn't a little hiccup and this day was no exception. I didn't tighten the lid on Miss K's bottle enough and the milk spilled into my bag. Crises was averted though since it was sitting next to a cloth diaper that absorbed almost all of it. Reason number 112 to cloth diaper. Cleans up spills before you even know that they are there. Oh and this was like, 3 ounces of milk.

After Miss K went home and dinner was prepped we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and take a walk. We didn't anticipate a 2 hour walk, but we did. As you can see Brooks wore his Orioles jersey today, for our walk he added the cap for a little extra effect, I think it works, don't you?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I meant to post this yesterday

An Ode to the iPhone

When I first heard about your release my heart palpitated.
Then I found out I had to switch providers to have you.
I couldn’t justify a change, so I waited patiently hoping there would be a day when you could be mine.
For years there was speculation that you would be available to more,
So I waited longer and less patiently.
The announcement was made that you could be mine, and my heart skipped a beat.

My contract wasn’t up for another 7 months, thus making your purchase price unaffordable.
I lamented to my brother who reminded me that our parents were about to renew their phones.
I begged, stressed out and pleaded with my parents to allow me to use my Grandfather’s upgrade.
Squeals of unbridled joy when they agreed, yet more waiting.
The minutes seemed like hours, the days, eternities and then my Blackberry stopped working.
Oh, woe is me!

The postman came on a crisp late winter afternoon.
I stalked his path as he sauntered up to our door and I intercepted the package meant for the stoop.
My name and address, written in my mother’s unmistakable handwriting it was in my hot little hands.
I got both babies nay all three babies into the house as quickly as I could.
The brown package and knowledge that humans needed diaper changes still separated us.
I attended to my charges and opened my parcel as quickly as I could.

She shined like the sun, her ebony case as slick as 1980’s furniture.
I plugged her in and our love affair began.
Oh, iPhone, my sweet distraction, my outlet, my savior from isolation, my connector.
My life is improved with you as a part.

My true, yet ridiculous account about how I feel about my phone.