Thursday, August 19, 2010

Double Review

This week I get to review two products from, the Jeep 2-in-1 Baby Carrier, and Jeep Baby Products Back Seat Organizer.

First I'll talk about the Back Seat Organizer.  The organizer shipped very quickly and arrived about 2 days after purchase.   CSN upgraded my shipping to priority for free, which was a treat, and as always, checkout and purchasing on the site was simple.  The organizer is very nice.  It has lots of pockets for holding a variety of items and was very easy to install in the car.  I have some concerns about the clear vinyl pocket holding up over time, but so far it is working fine.  I love that that pocket is removable so I can keep some diapering items in the car and take them into a store or restaurant if needed!  I can see this being a useful item in the car for years to come as its not made specifically for baby or children's items.

photo courtesy of CSN stores

 The baby carrier did not ship as quickly or arrive as fast, but it was still a reasonable timeframe.  The carrier is very nice.  The straps are padded very well and are adjustable in all kinds of ways!   I love that the straps cross over in the back, providing a great way to spread out the baby's weight.  The new "secure fit indicator" is very handy - it shows you when the sides of the carrier are adequately locked so that there is no question if baby is secure.  There is a mesh vent on the front to allow baby more air circulation around the body, which I really like.  I also love that there is a bag for the carrier.  This will be very nice when we fly to Korea next month - it will keep all the straps and buckles contained in one spot.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I have been lucky enough to have been selected by CSN stores to regularly do a review on this blog of an item from their site.  I will be starting them soon and then be providing a review about once a month.  They won't be huge items like dining room furniture or anything, but smaller items from their online store.  I did a review for them last month on my work blog and decided to move the reviews to here instead.  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lake House

My family and I were fortunate enough to be invited to a friend's lake house this weekend, and we had the most wonderfully relaxing time!  We spent all day on the lake exploring all different modes of water transportation (kayak, paddle boat, tubes, floaties, jet ski), we collected snails, explored shores, observed nature and just plain had fun.  It was an ideal, inexpensive family vacation.  We were joined by 3 other families and my brother who is home from Italy for the summer, which made the whole experience that much more fun!  Enjoy some pictures below :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Anna!

A few weeks back, Anna turned 5.  Five seems to be a magic number - sense of humor starts developing, real personality starts emerging, and interests become clear.  Anna is a silly little girl who (still) loves tiny things.  She's very interested in collecting things - she collect rocks, shells, leaves, anything she can find many of!  Anna has also begun to show a talent for art.  She loves to draw animals and people, and will often hear a song or a story and then promptly draw what she's imagining. She still loves her monkey "Monk" and has recently aquired a new favorite animal - Pokey the lizzard.  Both of these are garage sale purchases!

This year we had a jungle-themed party for Anna.  She was allowed to invite 12 of her friends and she had a great time!  I'll put up a post about that later.  For now, enjoy photos of Anna over the years:

Newborn Anna

1 yr old

2 yrs old

3 yrs old

4 yrs old

 5 yrs old

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much.  We enjoy your silly jokes and the way you love to sing and draw.  We are proud of how loving and giving you are toward your brother and friends.  We love your enthusiasm for God and how "God can do anything!"  We are excited to see how you will develop over the next year!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Wow, this blog has been suffering.  With my craft site, the adoption blog, and my facebook page (both personal and Knits and Knots) I don't have much time or energy left for updating this space.  I mostly post family photos and updates on facebook, which doesn't leave much leftover for here.  I thought it would be fun to share on here about something new I am trying out with the kids though.

It is summer here.  Since we could be called to leave for S. Korea to get Alex at any moment, I've become aware that its our last summer for a while where everyone's potty trained and no one needs a nap!  The kids and I sat down the other day and worked out a weekly schedule that includes time with Aunt Lisa, time at the pool, downtime, and playdates.  I didn't want to fill the summer completely with entertainment though.  I thought it would be smart to start having the kids help with weekly chores.  Once we have another child in the home, maintaining a clean living space will be that much harder.  I realized that Eli and Anna were probably also more capable of helping then I give them credit for!

Today I assigned each of the kids a bathroom.  We went to the store and bought for each of them: a bucket, a toilet brush, a empty spray bottle (to contain vinegar water), a small bottle of liquid dish soap, wash cloths, and a pack of baby wipes.  I took them one by one into their assigned bathroom and taught them how to clean the toilet, sink, and tub.   The removed the bath towels and put them in the washing machine and hung clean ones on the racks.  We used vinegar water for the sinks and tubs, and dishsoap for the toilets, and the baby wipes were for wiping down the toilet seats and rim of the toilet (the one place in my home I insist on using a disposable wipe on... eeew!).  They were both so proud of helping, and they did a great job!

I think as parents in our society we tend to think of our kids as something we have to take care of, but we forget our responsibility to raise them into adults who can care for themselves.  While they may not have done as thorough of a job as I would (and I'll still have to go in and do a thorough cleaning myself at times) they did pretty good for their first time.  It did take longer than it would have to do it myself, but if I can train them well over the summer, its possible that by the time the school year rolls around and we've got a 3rd child, I may be able to send them off to clean their respective bathrooms and we'll have an overall cleaner and healthier home.  And, my kids will have the self-confidence to know they are an active part of our family!  Hurray for empowering my children :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Long-overdue Update

Well, it seems as if this blog has gotten ignored!  I could blame it on many things and make lots of excuses.  Instead, I'm just going to post some pictures of what we've been up to (in no particular order)!

Celebrating Easter at Nana and Papa's

Another visit from Bubba

Celebrating Valentine's Day

Cheering on the Colts

Enjoying Spring at Eagle Creek Park

Playing at the playground

Drawing (this one was done by Anna and includes the baby)

Playing games

Soaking up the sunshine

Attending work events

Getting fit together (The one day that Eli ran with me!)

Using our imaginations

Reading together

Losing teeth

Eating ice cream

Acting just like daddy

Cuddling with Daddy and Mommy

Hanging out with Papa and Evan

Spending time with friends

These are just snapshots of the last few months, but they've been filled with so much more!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

He's SIX!

It happened.  He got older.  He's SIX and I feel old!  In August Eli started Kindergarten and has made a best friend.  He's got a loose tooth and can count to over 130.  He's reading at a 3rd grade level and loves to tell jokes.  Eli is totally into robots and gears and "anything with electricity".  He got a ton of robot/machine related gifts for Christmas and birthday and enjoys playing with these along with Legos and Frigits.  He is so much fun to spend time with at this age!  He can talk your ear off and stump you with questions you thought you knew the answer to :)

We celebrated his birthday with two parties this year:  a friend party and a family party.  Eli was thrilled to spend his actual birthday with friends AND get a second party :)  We also took him out to Red Robin where he got a free birthday sundae and balloon.  He felt very celebrated this year, and I think I'm finally over the guilt of his thrown-together-at-the-last-minute first birthday party (it was the day after I was released from the hospital from being treated for dehydration when I was pregnant with Anna)!

Here's is photo lineup for age six!

Newborn Eli

1 yr old

2 yrs old

3 yrs old

4 yrs old

5 yrs old

6 yrs old

Happy Birthday to the coolest 6 year old we know!  Mommy and Daddy both love laughing with you and have so much fun as your parents.  We love your tender heart and concern for the needs of others.  We know you will grow up to be a good man!

Robot Party!

Eli turned 6 on New Year's Eve.  I can hardly believe its been a year since his last birthday post!  I'll post another one of those, but for now I'm going to share some photos of his Robot Party.  Eli got really into having a themed party this year and inviting friends from the neighborhood.  We were going to do a joint family/friend party, but when I counted the number of friends he wanted to invite (12!) I figured it was time to do separate ones.  We got some "Robots" the movie invitations, thank-yous, and centerpieces off of freecycle, and the theme for our party was born!

First we worked on decorations.  Eli wanted the house to look like you were inside a robot.  It was a lot of fun to scheme ideas.  Each year we leave the Christmas tree up through Eli's birthday.  On that day it becomes the birthday tree!  This year we covered it in red crepe paper and taped gears to the crepe paper.  We also taped gears on the front door to "show people its a robot party and not just a regular birthday party" (quote from Eli). 

Birthday parties require balloons, so we blew up 25 balloons and on each we drew a robot, gears, or an electrical circuit. 

We also had a silver bowl filled with (silver) hershey's kisses, and even the old computer board from inside the dishwasher (replaced this summer) as a decoration.

I kept the food to a very simple minimum, cake and icecream.  We ordered a cake from Walmart with a Transformers theme - gray with black gears.  Eli was so excited (and quick to point out that there were actually 7 candles on the cake not 6... but I couldn't have it be asymetrical)!

Every good kids' birthday party needs some games.  We did:

pin the antenna on the robot


just like pin the tail on the donkey, but with antennae (each child got their own color) instead of tails and, of course, a robot in place of the donkey :)  The prize for this game was silver colored sixlets that I found in the wedding section at Walmart.  I thought they looked like ball bearings!

gear toss

I cut 2 large gears out of cardboard, covered them with aluminum foil, then covered that with clear packing tape.  The pole they were tossing the gears onto was a weighted box covered in aluminum foil and packing tape, with an empty wrapping paper tube covered in duct tape and then stuck to the top.  Each child had as many chances as it took to hit the target, each receiving a prize bag of candy.

and robot freeze

Eli was lucky enough to get an awesome robot for Christmas.  This one dances on command, so we would start the music and have all the kids dance like robots.  When the music stopped they needed to freeze.  If they didn't they were out.  The winner got a bag of jellybeans, by Eli's request.

I wanted the kids to be able to take a robot home, so we did a robot craft.  I found some suggestions online and found all the parts I needed at our local dollar store.  Here's what our masterpieces turned out like:


I had so much fun planning this party!  I think all the kids had a blast and will remember a fun time with Eli. We're already dreaming up ideas for Anna's party this summer :)