Sep 4, 2015

Trying To Decide Between Seeding Or Sodding? READ THIS!

Last September, I began a partnership with Trugreen where they offered to care for my lawn for a year in exchange for a few posts on my blog about the process and results. Needless to say, I was all for it! My lawn was predominantly crab grass and clover, and desperately needed some major weed control. 

The General Manager for my region came out and deemed the yard 90% weeds, and said the best thing would be to kill the entire lawn back and reseed it with triple blend Fescue, the best grass for my region. He insisted that it would only take about 4-6 weeks to see the lawn growing back. 

Two weeks later, he came out and used total vegetation control to kill back my entire lawn. You see, in order to reseed, you have to kill back your entire lawn. Which, is super sexy and gets the neighbors talking. 

Thankfully, once the entire lawn died back, 7-10 days from spraying the round up, Trugreen came out and seeded using a "power seeder". A power seeder cuts ruts in the lawn and shoots grass seed in the ruts. 

Then, you water. And water, and water, and then, water some more.  Morning and night!

Diligently, I watered. I made Ollie stay off the lawn. I babied the yard like a crazy person. FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS!

This is where it goes from bad to ugly...

Sep 3, 2015

Because Mommies And Daddies Have Bad Days Too

You know that morning when you wake up and the very last thing you want to do is get out of bed? But, you do anyway. Because the kids are hungry, lunches have to be made, kids dressed and somewhere in between, you have to get ready for your day too.

So you drag your tired ass out of bed and go to the kitchen on autopilot. You immediately start your coffee. Because you know, if you don't get that into your body in the next two minutes, it's possible someone could die. 

While waiting for the coffee to brew, you turn to the child who is "starving" and start playing the, what do you want for breakfast?, game. 

Kid: Cake? 

You: Sure. 

You don't care. It's food and you want the child to go away so you can drink your coffee and start your day. After all, it's clearly going to be a challenging morning, so you have to do whatever it takes to make it through. Including letting your child have cake for breakfast.

You turn around just in time to realize that the coffee is brewing and you've failed to get the coffee mug under the brewing spout. You laugh out loud in disbelief, then scramble to throw the cup under the coffee maker and begin cleaning up the hot coffee spilling out everywhere. Eventually, it makes it way to the edge of the counter and drips down onto your foot, burning you. 
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Sep 2, 2015

5 things I Always Do Before The First Frost

*I've partnered with MakeLifeEasy to talk about ways to organize and save big during the holidays and colder dryer months. All opinions are my own.
I'm just going to come out an say it, I'm an obsessive organizer and planner. I can't help it, I need order to stay sane... Even if it makes my husband and child insane in the process.

I admit, sometimes my "organizing" can go a bit overboard. I am guilty of over organizing things by putting them away way in places I think are a great idea at the time, but apparently was not, since, sometimes, it takes me a while (weeks) to find them again. It's just that I need a clutter free life, to balance out the chaos my crazy Aussie husband and his mini-me (our son) create.

Now that it's September, I'm turning my attention to fall, the holidays and the dreaded winter months.  In order to not completely lose my mind, every year I do a few things now, so I'm prepared for the inevitable challenges Autumn, the Holidays and Winter can throw at me.

Below are my 5 MUSTS to prepare for the upcoming cold weather and holiday season:

1. Create a holiday/winter budget. It certainly doesn't help that the holidays begin when the kids need new seasonal clothes, the electric bills starts to skyrocket, and the grocery bill nearly doubles.

If you prepare your budget now, so you don't break the bank later. Factor in how much you will need for seasonal clothes, holiday gifts and groceries (People always forget about holiday groceries!) higher utility bills and every other inevitable incidental that breaks the bank year after year.

2.  Start stocking up. Over the next few months, depending on where you live and the holidays you celebrate, a few things are about to become hot commodities, things you can grab in the stores and online now, that may not be easy to find or marked up later. Things like holiday wrapping, ice melt/salt, snow shovels, ice scrapers, gloves, hats, mittens, batteries, blankets... You see where I'm going.

Rather than wait until the first snow storm to race out and get ice melt, I get it now. I also check our car windshield wipers, scrapers and snow shovels now to make sure they will withstand another season. Basically, I make a list of things I need and keep it in my wallet so when I'm out I will keep an eye out for sales and specials for each item.

3. Prepare the yard. Beginning in fall, plants, especially the delicate ones, need to be prepared for bitter winters and droughts. If you don't know what your Azaleas, rhododendrons, shrubs and trees need this time of year to safely make it through winter, look it up now! While some plants will need mulch, others will be fine. Some plants need to be cut back now, others after winter.  Some will need fertilizer now, others not until after winter. Knowing what your plants and trees need, can make a HUGE difference in the spring, especially with the bloomers, so take the time now to make them happy and thriving later!

4. Weatherproof the house.  As much as I pride myself on being organized and a great planner, it took me a few years to grasp the fact that most home weatherproofing needs to be done well before the first frost! I can't tell you how many times I have started to put plastic on the windows only to realize it's WAY too cold outside for the adhesive to stick. Most weatherproofing materials need it to be at least 55-65 degrees outside to work, so don't wait for the first frost to weatherproof under your roof.

5. Prepare the car for emergencies. There's no doubt about it, the winter weather is notorious for creating stranded motorist and long delays. The last thing I want to do is be caught on the side of the road in a snow storm without a few essentials.

In my trunk, in addition to a small bag of ice melt/salt, I keep a duffel bag with a blanket, flashlight, a few bottles of water and packs of peanut butter crackers. I also have a super great car passenger seat organizer with adjustable compartments loaded with winter essentials and daily must haves.

It's mom must. I keep tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, lotion, lip gloss, a few snacks and a bottle of water. Pretty much anything I can think of that I may need I stash in one of the compartments. (I told you I was an obsessive organizer!)

It's basically a storage case with a bunch of compartments that can be re-sized to fit my needs using Velcro sides, and a huge mesh pocket on the side I throw my wallet in.  It's great having everything at my fingertips, so when the wild-child needs something, I don't have to dig in my bag for it, or worse, take my eyes of the road. I just toss back the snacks or wipes and hope for the best.

FYI: There's an adjustable strap that goes around the seat so when I slam on my brakes to save a squirrel, everything won't tumble down on the floor. You can find it on Amazon, Here. (I'm ordering a second one for my holiday wrapping essentials. No more looking for tape, labels and scissors EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!

Is there anything you do now prepare for the holidays and colder dryer months that saves you time and money later?

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Sep 1, 2015

10 Signs That Your Child Is Spoiled. Or A Toddler. Same Thing.

I recently came across an article on POPSUGAR titled "10 Signs That A Child Is Spoiled." At first I thought, Ugh. Do I really want to read this?

Inherently, I know my kid is spoiled. I am a spineless twit when it comes to that kid. I spend my days trying to come up with creative ways of saying, "no" because the word itself doesn't register with him.

I read the article. I had to. 

I'm so glad I did! By number four on the list, I was laughing my ass off.  It was clear my kid was spoiled, but according to the list, it wasn't all my fault. Or FTD's.  

It was Nature's fault. 

As in, the Nature of the beast...

Here's the list and my thoughts on each one:

1. S/He throws tantrums, often.  

 --HA! He's a toddler. Tantrum is his nickname. 

2. He isn't ever satisfied.  

--Debatable. He's satisfied... when he gets his way.  Does that count?  

3. He isn't helpful.

--Well... He's "helpful," just not in a helpful way.  He's always happy to help in his own way, which usually includes either making a huge mess or making things take three hundred times longer than they should. Or both.

4. He tries to control adults.  

--HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Hell yeah he tries to control adults. He was born thinking that was how things worked. When it comes to just about everything, he tries to control the situation. This would be why he's sleeping in my bed, not potty trained, picking out his breakfast and lunch and bitchy about bathtime and bedtime.

5. He frequently embarrasses you in public.  

--Um. Yes. Always.  He's a toddler! His behavior in public is atrocious. Before we even leave the house, I start prepping him for our day and what he will get if he is a "good boy."  It never works. The kid's behavior in public is work-in-progress that might kill me. 

6. S/he Won't Share. 

--He is really great about sharing.  Except when it comes to his food or candy.  He will cut someone over his food or candy. 

7. You have to beg him.

--I'm not a beggar. I'm a barterer.  "If you go to sleep, I won't lose my shit..." 

8. He ignores you.  

--I wouldn't say he ignores me... Unless, if staring right at me with the look of, "I can do what I want, and right now, it's not what you want," while continuing to do whatever he wants, then yes, he ignores me. In my defense, I shoot back my best, "Are you kidding me right now?" look.  From there the standoff can go in many different directions.  Sometimes, literally many directions when I have to chase him.

9. He won't play alone.  

--He has always been good about playing alone in short 10-15 bursts before seeking me out.  Still, I can tell the older he gets, the more he wants a regular playmate.

10. You have to bribe him. 

--Ha! Is there any other way?

I must be in denial, because even though I could identify with more than a few of the traits listed, I don't think my kid is spoiled. Sure, he puts up a toddler size protest to many things, but he goes along with even more. Most of his ridiculousness is wanting to explore things on his own and test his limits. Which, at just shy of three years old, is par for the toddler-course. 

What do you think about the list?  Is your child spoiled or annoyingly age appropriate? What age do you think this list best relates to?

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Aug 31, 2015

5 Eye-Opening Lessons Learned During Back To School Week

Last week was my three year old's first week of Pre-K.  Yes, Pre-k. In case you are wondering why, read this post, Why I'm Sending My Three Year Old To Pre-K, then come back here.  I thought the decision to send him was hard enough, little did I know, the first week would be the most eye-opening itimitdating experience. Between orientation, buying school supplies, paying fees, and leaving my son with people I had only met once before, I thought I was going to need an IV of valium to make it through. Then, the first day of school happened, and what an experience it was!

Thankfully, I survived to tell the story.

I tell you, nothing beats first-time parent ignorance. Silly me, I thought back to school would be easy and fun.


Below are 5 Eye-Opening Lessons Learned During Back To School Week.

1. It's A Whole New World- So much for the easy days of the 'Mother's Day Out' program Ollie attended 2-4 days a week at church. Real school is a whole new world. Picture it, Parents everywhere, children everywhere, kids crying, parents crying, photo after photo being taken in front of the school. Teachers shoving stacks of papers in your hand with lists, rules, expectations and snack rotation schedules, all while your child is clinging to you for dear life, begging you not to leave him in this madhouse.

Yep, this was me last Monday. I'm not really sure what I expected, but I definitely didn't expect Pre-K to be so formal. Well, it is. You show up on time, you follow the rules, you read the lists, and you don't screw up snack rotation.

2.  Your child isn't the only one crying on the first day of school. The first day of school was rough for both Ollie and I, but we were certainly not the only ones. It was beyond cute watching the moms and dads taking photos in front of school. Whole families were tearing up. At times I couldn't tell who was being more brave, the parents or the child. School is a huge step, yes, but it's also a huge reminder that our babies are growing up.

3.  Moms bite. Hard. Especially in the morning. I get it. It's 8:30am, you're trying to get your kid in school and be at work by 9.  But, the fact that it's a knock down free for all to get your kid signed in and in class and be back in your car in 4.3 seconds flat, is a little crazy.

Thankfully, I am not that mom, so I am a little less rushed, but God help me for not getting out of the way of the mom that is! The mornings are the worst. I hope it gets a little less frantic over the next few weeks.

4Organization is key. The stacks of papers didn't stop on Monday. Since the first day of school, I've been given a small forest in reading materials. I cannot get over how much there is to know about the school, Pre-k in general, State laws in regard to education and the ridiculous amount of activities, fund raisers and school events I'm expected to attend.

Over the weekend, I bought a huge calendar just for schools events. I can't keep up with all of the stuff. AND THIS IS JUST PRE-K!!!  What. The. Hell.

At this rate, I'll need an assistant to keep up with my child's school schedule and extra curricular activities by first grade!

5.  Make hand washing a household rule. There's no doubt about it, school is a germ paradise. It's full of germs, sneezes, coughs and miserable sick children whose parents had to get to a meeting.

As most of you know, my husband works at a school for children with learning differences, which can call for close hands-on help with the students. By the end of FTD's first week back to school, he was sick with a cold. Two days later, I caught it. SOB!

What a freaking early reminder that cold and flu season are at our doorstep, and with two boys in school, hand washing has become a MUST. I make the boys wash their hands the second they walk in the door from school. I refuse to spend the next six months in a sick boy sandwich.

I'm still happy with my decision to send my lil' guy to Pre-K a year early, but it's certainly been one hell of a crash course in what having a child in school is like for a parent.  I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be so demanding of my time or require so much organization and planning. Looks like my lil' guy isn't the only one learning and growing up as a result of starting school.

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Aug 28, 2015

Ever Notice How Toddlers run EVERYWHERE?

Do you ever notice how when a toddler goes from point A to Point B, it is always in a full sprint?  The Wild-child runs from one room to the next just to get a toy, or just see what's happening. Sometimes he does a victory lap around the house just for fun. 

I often think if I spent a week following him and doing exactly what he does, I would lose half an ass cheek on each side. At least!

This is one of my favorites, taken on his 1st Birthday.
Yes, he has been in haul-ass mode since turning one! 
I absolutely love to watch the little man run around. He gets so excited that sometimes he gets going faster than his little legs can actually carry him, so they do this weird two step run. It's like he gets in an extra step mid-air. I cannot explain it, but I have faith if you have a toddler running around you know exactly what I am talking about.  Lately, Ollie's thing is to run as fast as he can down the hall and then take a flying leap on to the couch-- Think: Superman style.  The kid needs a cape.

Speaking of the ass hauling two step, he is also a dancing machine.  After lunch I turn off the TV and play music for a couple of hours while we play.  It never fails that as some point we have a dance party where we both dance and run around the house. I am actually super proud of this. The kid has got moves.  Good ones too. In fact, for your viewing pleasure, here is a video I took of him dancing to the theme song for Mighty Machines... (Sorry in advance for my spotty video taking skills.)


See!  How badass are those moves?  I love the 'crazy leg bounce', and the 'head on the shoulder' spin move.  It really is fun to watch him, even in the car he will dance in his chair.  OH. SO. CUTE.

That's it. That's all I have got for you today, just my amazement with how toddlers run everywhere, even if it is to nowhere, they still run there.

I hope you have a fabulous day!

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Trying New Flavors And Textures With Your Lil'? If So, You'll Love This

Tracking Pixel 
Today I am partnering with Gerber to talk about the importance of exploring flavors and textures with your infant to toddler.

When I think back to the days when I began transitioning my infant from exclusive breastmilk to solids, I get a headache. Because, what a headache it was! One day he would LOVE carrots, the next, he would turn his nose up at them. 

Desperate to get my infant to eat, I would go through three of four different fruits or veggie purees. Between busting my budget and driving me crazy, the transition to solids was not the easiest.

I turned to our pediatrician who told me to keep trying the same foods, sometimes up to ten times, before casting one out. It turns out, it can take up to ten times for an infant to acquire the taste for something. So, even though he threw the spoon full of peas across the room four times in a row, the fifth just might be the charm.

As much as I wish I could say I was that diligent, I wasn't. Sweet potatoes were my kids favorite, so I stocked up on it. I just wanted the kid to eat, is that so bad?

By the time the wild-child was progressing from purees to chunkier foods, he had clear favorites and clear dislikes. Still, I at least tried to keep introducing new flavors and textures. Sure, he spit them out, but the times he gobbled up his food, I did the victory dance!

I was determined to not let my kid become a picky eater. I wanted him to constantly try new flavors and textures. Of course I kept our sweet potato fave as a back up, but for the most part, he at least tried everything.

I continued to introduce new flavor combinations and textures to help him both learn to chew, and understand that there is more to life than sweet potatoes. Gerber’s NEW 3rd Foods® Lil Bits™ recipes offer exactly that.

Not to mention, chewing is an essential milestone in a baby’s development;  Gerber’s NEW 3rd Foods® Lil Bits™ recipes offer a gradual texture progression which helps babies learn the skills they need to transition to table food.
Fact: Gerber is the only baby food company in the country which uses a special cooking method that gives Lil’ Bits recipes the right texture and perfectly sized soft bits to help babies master chewing.
Side Note: So what goes into the creation of the perfect meal for little ones learning to chew? 
At Gerber this is how the magic happens:
  • 80 experts spent over 120,000 hours on product development for Lil’ Bits recipes.
  • Over 80 taste tests were held with 700+ samples to ensure that Lil’ Bits recipes had a baby-approved taste.
  • Experts analyzed over 20 hours of video footage and spent 150 hours of analysis and coding on chewing and mashing.
  • Gerber tested 30,000 spoonfuls of Lil’s Bits recipes to develop perfectly sized bits to help babies master chewing.
If you are at the stage where it's time to explore new tastes and textures, make sure you don't stick to the same ol' favorites. Keep introducing new flavor combinations and chunkier textures, even if it takes ten times with the same combo, don't throw in the spoon so soon!

As long as you keep the flavors coming, your baby will keep trying them. Sure, some will end up everywhere but in your baby's mouth, but it's essential to keep trying.

As much as you would like to have your favorite things over and over again, eventually, you would get bored with the same thing, the same goes for your baby.

Fight off the baby food boredom by keeping mealtimes fun and full of new flavors. For ideas on how to introduce new flavors and textures, and claim your chance at instantly winning prizes from Gerber (100 Winners Daily!) Sign your baby up for Gerber Chew U, Here

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gerber. 
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Aug 27, 2015

UPDATE: Second Day Of School, COMPLETE 180...

If you read yesterday's post, First Day Of School. My Kid Already Claimed Class Clown. #Awesome,  then you know, the first day of school went horribly!  My three year old was awful on his first day of Pre-K.  He didn't listen to the teacher, he kept sticking his tongue out and blowing raspberries, and even almost got sent to the principles office!  After hearing all of this, I was really thinking about pulling the plug on sending him to school early.

Thank goodness I didn't, because day two was much much much better...

But first, I need to back up a little.

When we got home from day 1, I had a heart-to-heart with Ollie about his first day and his behavior.  My heart shattered when he said, "Mommy, I don't like it. When you left me I got very scared."

Hearing those words from my baby, the little human my heart has sworn to protect, nearly killed me.  I really can't imagine the fear he must have felt when I left him!

I spent a great deal of time reassuring him that I will always protect him, will never leave him in a scary place and that school is fun and that's why he goes. And that Mommies and daddies go to work, and boys and girls go to school.

When I walked him into his classroom for day 2, I knelt down and reminded him about how school is safe, fun and above all, I will be right back! Even though he clung to me, he didn't cling as hard as day 1, and let go much easier.  I walked out, looked back and knew, he was OK...

MUCH BETTER than day 1.

Still, I kept my phone close by in case the school called for me to pick up my heathen child.

When the time came to claim my spot in the carpool line, I was nervous and excited. I couldn't wait to see my little guy, but I was a little worried about how day two went...

As I pulled up, his teacher smiled and brought Ollie to the car...

Me:  How did he do?

Teacher:  GREAT! He apologized for sticking his tongue out, and was sweet, kind, and very helpful at clean up time!

I nearly shit my pants. Was I dreaming?  No, I wasn't, because I never would have dreamed up a better day 2!!!!

Me: Fantastic. I'm so happy to hear today was better.  I really want this to work out.

I thanked his teacher again, then pulled up from the carpool line to where you get out and buckle your child into the car seat. I practically flew into the backseat with Ollie. I smothered him in kisses and tickles and praise. I was SOOOOOOO PROUD!

As if that moment couldn't get any better, he grabs my face with each hand, pulls me close and says, "Mommy, I did it. I didn't even get scared when you left me. I like school."

Why, yes, my heart did melt. Tears came to my eyes. In my heart I knew putting him in Pre-k at three was the right thing to do, but this moment solidified it.

I gave Ollie one more kiss, told him how very proud I was of him, then,took him to get ice-cream.

It's hard to be a parent, and make all the right decisions. But if I've learned anything over the last three years, it's to trust my heart, because it has yet to let me down.

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