Spoonful Test Blog

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reverie Sweet Slumber Pillow Review

So, it turns out that I'm a cheapo.

...or I could call myself frugal.  That sounds better.

When we buy pillows, we always go for the least expensive one we can find.  They're fine for about two minutes, and then they're flat and awful and I hate them.

You didn't know I felt so strongly about pillows, did you?

In any case, when I was contacted to review Reverie's Sweet Slumber pillow, I said YES.  In all caps.  Because I need a great pillow.

The Reverie Sweet Slumber pillow is filled with shredded latex, which is supposed to simulate down filling.  It has a quilted cover that is removable and washable (always a plus!), and is hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and dust mite resistant.

When the box arrived, it was super heavy!  This definitely isn't a light, fluffy pillow.  It's dense and heavy, and it hasn't flattened at all, even after weeks of use.  I'm able to use just one pillow instead of two because it doesn't flatten much...which I love!

Although it isn't a flat pillow, it is definitely soft...and does resemble a down pillow!

I'm not going to claim that my sleep has suddenly improved tenfold (or even twofold), but it's definitely easier to get comfortable when I'm falling asleep.  And I shouldn't need to buy a new pillow for quite awhile...with my old cheap pillows, I had to replace them way more often than I would like!

If you would like to buy a Reverie Sweet Slumber pillow, head to their website!



Disclaimer: I was sent a pillow to review, but was not compensated monetarily for this post.  All opinions are my own!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Gibson the Tease

I mentioned in a post the other day about how Gibson loves being chased.  And he really, really does.  I spend a good chunk of my day chasing him around on all fours, growling loudly.

...now that I think about it, that's probably why my throat hurts recently.

How do bears growl all day without losing their voice?  Is there a bear expert out there who can answer that question for me?

Gah.  So adorable.  I love bears.
Anyway.  Gibson loves being chased.

And now he has figured out a way to get Ellie to chase him!  And it's super cute...although kind of mean to poor Ellie dog.

He comes over to me signing "more" and saying "Ka!  Ka!"  So I give him a cracker.  Then he walks over to Ellie and holds it out to her.

...you get where this is going, don't you?

When Ellie walks toward Gibson to get the cracker, he starts laughing maniacally and runs away as fast as his tiny legs will take him.  When she tries to lick the cracker or nibble it out of his hand, he giggles like crazy and runs faster.

At some point Ellie gets bored and stops chasing Gibson, so he walks toward her and holds the cracker out for her again until she gets up to follow him.  And yet again, he does an about-face and runs away giggling.

It's a super cute game, but it always ends up with Gibson throwing the cracker for Ellie.  Which is great for Ellie...but I don't especially want him to give her his food all the time.

That's a battle I'm going to lose, I'm pretty sure.  Those two are already in cahoots against me.

It's a good thing they're cute.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gibson

It turns out that naming children is hard.

I mean, they have to live with their name FOREVER.  They have to go to school with it, get a job with it, find a spouse with it.

I would have named Gibson "Turd Monster," except that I'm pretty sure a child with that name would end up single and living in his parents' basement for his entire life.  So it was a no-go.

...I officially apologize to anyone out there named Turd Monster.  I'm sure you live a very fulfilling life.

When we were trying to name Gibson, we absolutely couldn't think of boy names we both liked.  For awhile Jackson was our choice, but then the Social Security Administration popular name list came out for 2012, and it was the second most popular boy name.

So...it was automatically off the table.  Mr. Husband doesn't like things that are popular...although he fell in love with me, and I was the most popular girl in high school!


Just kidding.  I wasn't.  :(

Anyway.  Picking a boy name was super hard for us.  We spent every car ride together throwing names back and forth.  Which is Danny's FAVORITE game.  /sarcasm

At some point we came across Gibson.  GIBSON.  And it was so lovely and wonderful, and BONUS!  Musical!  We fell in love immediately!

So when it came time to have our baby, we had five names picked out: one boy name, and four girl names.  But the plan was to meet baby and then officially decide on the name.

Unfortunately, drugged-up Erin doesn't follow plans.  When Danny said it was a boy and the doctors asked what his name was, I yelled it out really loudly.

...oops.  I guess it's a good thing he was a boy, because who knows which girl name I would have picked?  Probably Erin Jr.  Or Ellie Jr.

Luckily, I haven't regretted Gibson's name at all!  Although I do wish people would stop trying to call him Gibby.  I mean, really.  GIBBY?  Just stop it.

...sorry.  I get a little worked up about Gibby.  Although I call him Google, which I guess isn't much better.  But I'm his mom, so I do what I want!


So that's the story of how Gibson was named.  THE END.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I'm good at things!

Congratulations to Kara H. for winning the doTERRA Intro Kit!  Hooray!
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So, I've realized something about myself recently.  I'm TERRIBLE at accepting compliments.

I feel like I come off as really conceited when I thank someone for a compliment.  It's obviously better if I deflect it and compliment them instead, or put myself down a little to make myself seem humble, right?

...nope.  It's turned into a thing where I kind of believe that I don't do anything well, because I don't want to seem (or be!) arrogant.

Here's how complimenty situations usually go:

Friend: Erin, you're really good at vacuuming!  Wow!
Erin: Oh, well we just have a really nice vacuum.  I'm not that good at it!
Friend: Well, I'm not a very good vacuumer, so I'm impressed!
Erin: I'm sure you're a good vacuumer!  Your house is never dusty...and besides, you're so good at feeding your dog!  I'm jealous of your dog-feeding skills!  I wish I was good at things!

I'm not saying that anyone should go around saying, "I'm so good at feeding my dog!  Did you notice my amazing dog-feeding skillz?  I'm so good at EVERYTHING!"  But I think it's important to be able to accept a compliment without feeling the need to put myself down.  Because God gave me the gift of vacuuming, and that's not something I should be ashamed of!

So now I'm going to tell you ten things I'm good at.  I think it will be good (and hard) for me...and I hope that you'll comment and tell me some things you're good at, too!

Spoiler: vacuuming will not be on the list.  I'm a pretty average vacuumer.

1.  I'm good at decorating.  Just ask Danny...the other day he said it looked like HGTV (and about five loads of laundry) threw up in our bedroom.

2.  I'm good at making Gibson laugh!  This might be my favorite skill.

3.  The food I cook tastes pretty darn good.  And I'm good at improvising when I cook!

4.  I'm good at researching things.  Most of the decisions I make are well-researched and thought out.

I'm also very good at telling Danny all the facts rolling around in my head from doing research.  Which I'm sure he loves!


5.  I am a good listener.  And talker.

6.  I make a very realistic-sounding monkey noise, which Gibson really likes!  So I guess you could say I'm good at impressions.

But only monkey impressions.

7.  I am a good musician...I hope this is a talent that Gibson gets, too!

8.  I'm good at sewing (although not so good at getting projects finished in a timely manner).

9.  I'm GREAT at finding sales!  Saving money is the greatest.

10.  I'm very good at small talk...awkward silences don't really exist when I'm around.  Even though sometimes my small talk is awkward.  I'm just awkward sometimes, but I like it!

You guys, that list was hard.  I feel weird about it.  It would definitely be easier for me to write a list of my shortcomings...and the list would be a lot longer, I promise!

So.  I'm going to try and accept that I'm good at some things from now on.  And if you give me a compliment, I'm going to try really hard to say "Thank you" and not put myself down.  You should do the same, okay?

And for real, leave a comment telling me something you're great at!  Or something you like about yourself!  Or what you ate for breakfast!
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I know something all of you are good at!  Voting for my blog!  Thank you for being good at that.  :)  And if you want to continue voting, I wouldn't mind a bit!  Just click the banner below!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tishtosh Tuesday

Let's do a lovely random post today, okay?  I'm going to call it Tishtosh Tuesday.  Because it's my blog and I can do what I want.

First of all, remember to enter the doTERRA Essential Oil Intro Kit giveaway today!  I'll be announcing a winner in the morning!

Every once in awhile Gibson likes to practice walking backwards as slowly as possible.  Or maybe he's trying to moonwalk!  That would be cool.

But realistically, the only moonwalking Gibson will ever do would be in a marching band like this:


I just highly doubt that he'll be a dancer.

Gibson's allergies have been out of control lately, which is exactly zero fun.  He's a snotty, coughy mess.  Poor thing.

Because of his allergies and teething and just being a grump in general, Gibson throws a tantrum every time ANYTHING happens.  My favorite thing is when we go to get him from a nap and he pushes the door shut after we open it.  And then he screams.  And does it again.  And again.  And the screaming just keeps getting louder.


It's not frustrating at all.  /sarcasm

Yesterday we painted our kitchen, and it's GORGEOUS.  So beautiful.  We also started doing the wainscoting, and I can't even wait until it's finished!

We decided to go with paintable beadboard wallpaper for the wainscoting.  And it turns out I hate wallpaper.  But it looks amazing and is WAY cheaper than doing real beadboard, so I'll deal with it!

Gibson's new favorite friend is a wooden spoon.  He carries it around and whacks things with it, and sometimes chews on it.  Weirdo.

Apparently Gibson listens a lot more than I think he does, because he's been signing up a storm lately!  And he says "Mo!" when he signs "more."  Adorable.

He is currently moonwalking across the living room.  My little MJ!

Gibson's hair is getting VERY curly and I LOVE IT.  It's especially cute when he sweats...which is all the time.  He's a sweaty kid.

I don't know if you noticed, but my blog is number 5 on Top Mommy Blogs.  It makes my heart sing!  Thank you for voting all the time!  You're the best.

Gibson ate dirt the other night and he really liked it.  Gross.

I was looking in Gibson's mouth yesterday and noticed a molar popping through!  But I'm pretty sure it's a two-year molar.  And he doesn't even have his one-year molars yet.  Why is he such a weird teether?  I don't even know.

I am currently very, very sleepy.  And I'm happy because Danny has a half day today!  Yay!  So we're going to finish the wainscoting today...so excited.  And tomorrow is his last day at school for the summer!!!


I don't think I can adequately express my excitement.  I'm SO EXCITED.

And, since May is coming to a close, let me remind you of some fun things!

If you buy a Mealtime Magic cookbook before the end of May, 20% of what you pay will go to Imagine No Malaria!

Get 30% off your order at VivoPrint through May 31st with the code aspoonfulofspitup30

Get 20% off your order at The Orchid Studio through May 31st with the code Spoon

And now I'm going to chase my child around the house while growling, because that's his favorite thing!  LOVE YOU BYE!  Remember to enter that giveaway, okay?
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Monday, May 26, 2014

My personable baby.

Until now, Gibson hasn't been super interested in other children.  He just kind of ignored them...such a diva.

But this weekend Gibson decided to be a people-person!  Hooray!

On Saturday I had a newborn session with a sweet little girl, and Gibson was SOHAPPY about it.  SO.  HAPPY.

When we were finished taking photos he came upstairs and saw the baby.  He started smiling and jabbering, and then started yelling happily at her.  It was this weird growly scream...so strange.  Every time she cried, he would happily yell back at her.

And then he started signing "baby."


It pretty much melted my heart.  It also showed me that he picks up on a lot more than I think he does...we don't sign "baby" very often!

I was so surprised that Gibson was interested in a baby...he hasn't ever shown any interest in them, unless it was to poke eyeballs.  He loves poking eyeballs.

And then we were at church yesterday, and one of the older kids started playing with Gibson.  He would roar at Gibson and chase him, and Gibson roared back and ran away.  Gibson was giggling SO hard...he could barely even walk!

Does anyone else have that problem?  When I'm having a laughing fit my muscles are the most useless ever.  Gibson seems to have inherited that from me.  He just kind of melts into a ball on the ground when he's laughing.

In any case, Gibson and his friend played their roaring/running/chasing/giggling game for at least ten minutes.  It was so sweet!  I love that Gibson can run around and play with other kids now...he was immobile for so long that it was hard for him to play!

And the best part about it was that Gibson was so worn out after church...he napped for three hours!

If having friends means that he'll sleep well, I want him to make SO MANY FRIENDS!
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don't contact paper your fridge. Trust me.

As part of our kitchen makeover, we decided to cover our refrigerator in contact paper.

I know that sounds crazy.  But hear me out!  Sometime last year I came across a blog post in which a refrigerator was covered in removable wallpaper.  And I thought it looked SO GOOD.

When we moved into our house I didn't love the white refrigerator, especially with the cream cabinets.  I figured that we would upgrade someday in the far-off future and get stainless steel to match the other appliances.

Except then we decided to redo our kitchen.  And with a white backsplash and white cabinets, a white refrigerator would be SO AWFUL.  Obviously.  And we don't need a new one right now, so I started my quest to find the perfect sticky thing to put on our fridge!

I looked into peel and stick wallpaper, but it's super expensive.  It would have cost around $100 just to cover the front of the doors.  Which is a lot.

Luckily, I found some navy and white chevron contact paper on Amazon!  It costs $10.99 for two big rolls, and is eligible for Prime shipping...perfect!  We're going to line our shelves with it, too, so we figured if it didn't work for the fridge we would at least have a use for it.

When it came, Danny was SO EXCITED to cover the fridge.  No sarcasm.  He was literally the most excited.  Such a weirdo.

I made him wait until Gibson was in bed to start the project...and I'm SO glad I did.  It was a NIGHTMARE.

...like, the worst nightmare you've EVER EVER HAD.  Even worse than that, actually.

The first chunk went on fairly easily, ish.  It was hard to get out the bunkles (which is what I call it when it bubbles up and wrinkles), but we did it.

This isn't so hard!
The second piece is where our nightmare began.  I think we must have stretched the paper or something, because it WOULD NOT LINE UP.  Oh my gosh.  I'm getting anxious just thinking about it.

We obviously did get it to (kind of) match up in the end, but it was super hard.  And we almost gave up ten or eleven times.  And we almost killed each other in the process.

Such. A. Nightmare.
A close-up of the seam.  It was a bear to match up.
The rest of the fridge went that way, too.  Lots of snapping at each other and removing paper and putting it back on and smoothing bunkles and saying "I DON'T EVEN WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!!  WHY DO WE EVEN NEED A REFRIGERATOR???"

It was miserable.  And it took two and a half hours.

But it looks magnificent now!  ...even if we didn't think so, we would say that we loved it.  Because it was HARD.

The pattern looks bigger in real life for some reason. I promise you won't get dizzy if you come over for dinner.
Luckily, we truly do love it.

So!  If you want to cover your own fridge in contact paper, here are some instructions!

1.  Buy your contact paper.
2.  Measure the fridge and cut your contact paper.
3.  Take the backing off the contact paper.
4.  Put it on the fridge.
5.  Scream in frustration when it's terrible and bunkly.
6.  Remove the contact paper and throw it away.
7.  Buy a new refrigerator and curse the day you read this blog post.

But for real.  Just don't do it.  But if you do decide to do it, figure it out yourself.  I don't have advice.  And don't ask me for help, because I won't do it.

...Danny might, though.  He REALLY enjoyed that project.

And now for real instructions, just in case you want to be just like me.  It really was pretty easy, logistically...it was just the execution that sucked.

1.  Take off the handles and put the screws and such somewhere you won't lose them.
2.  Clean the refrigerator to get gunk off.
3.  We removed the little Whirlpool sticker thing, and then put it back on top of the contact paper.
4.  Measure your refrigerator, making sure to measure enough to cover the edges.
5.  Cut the contact paper, and stick it on.
6.  Continue in that fashion, trying not to curse too much.
7.  When everything is done, use a utility knife to cut around anything you need to (hinges, etc)
8.  Put the handles back on.
9.  DONEZO.

So!  For $10.99, two and a half hours, and a lot of cursing, we now have a beautiful chevron refrigerator!  I'm really excited to see it with the finished kitchen...I think it will look even nicer with white cabinets!

And we covered the duct thing above the microwave in it, too!  That was significantly easier than the fridge.


And now a photo of the whole messy kitchen.  Don't judge us.  We were in the middle of a refrigerator vs. contact paper battle.  And those dishes by the sink are clean and drying.  I promise.


It's not always that messy.  Kind of.
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Friday, May 23, 2014

doTERRA Essential Oils Giveaway!

Congratulations to Karen B. for winning the Mealtime Magic cookbook giveaway!  If you would like to buy a copy of this fantastic book, please consider doing so before May is over!  20% of the cookbook's proceeds this month go to Imagine No Malaria.  You can buy a cookbook here!
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I've been thinking about researching essential oils for awhile now.

...but it turns out that thinking about something does not equal actually doing it.  Darn.

Lucky for me, Gina Gibson (coolest last name ever!) contacted me about doing a review and giveaway of some essential oils...and of course I said yes!

Gina sent me doTERRA's Essential Oil Intro Kit, which includes 5 mL bottles of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils.  It also comes with an audio CD with information about essential oils and a booklet with information about all of doTERRA's products.

I've had the oils for a month and a half, and they've definitely gotten some use!  Let me tell you how I used them!

Lavender oil:  I have used the lavender oil mainly to help Gibson sleep at night.  And it works SO well!  I diffuse it in his room at night, and he's been sleeping better...thank goodness.  Anything that helps Gibson sleep is worth it to me!

I also mixed it with coconut oil to rub on Gibson's neck to try and help with his ear infection pain.  I can't say whether that really worked since we were also using pain meds, but he seemed to enjoy the massage, at least!

Lavender oil is supposed to be good for bug bites and bee stings, and helps with nausea.  I haven't had to use it for those purposes, but I'm glad to have it on hand just in case!

Peppermint oil:  This has been a godsend for us!  Gibson has super fun allergies (hooray!), and has been coughing a lot at night.  One night I diffused peppermint oil in his room and he DIDN'T COUGH AT ALL.  Hallelujah!  It works WAY better than Hyland's cough syrup for Gibson, and I like that I'm not filling him with medication.

I'm also planning to make a peppermint oil bug spray...apparently there are a lot of insects that don't like it, so I'm hoping we can use it to keep them at bay instead of nasty bug spray!

Lemon oil:  Oh my gosh.  I LOVE lemon oil.  Love it.  So.  Much.

First of all, if you mix lemon oil and coconut oil, it smells like cookies.


Delicious lemon cookies.  I wish I had some right now.  

I've used my lemon oil like CRAZY.  It's almost gone, and it makes me sad!  I used it to scent my homemade deodorant, so now my armpits smell like lemon cookies!  Yum!  And it cleans stainless steel really well, and removes gummy, sticky residue from my counters.  I put a bowl of baking soda with a few drops of lemon oil in our very smelly fridge (don't judge me) and it made the smell go away!  Thank goodness, because it was awful.

Part of the smell in my refrigerator was a container of onion, cabbage, and cilantro that we had used on tacos.  I was washing it out, and even after washing it twice it smelled super oniony.  I put a drop of lemon oil in it and rubbed it around, and voila!  The smell was gone.

When I'm having trouble drinking enough water during the day, I just add a drop of lemon oil to a glass of it...it makes it so much easier to drink!

Also, if you smell lemon oil, it is supposed to lift your mood and make you energized...and it definitely does that for me!  If I'm feeling sleepy in the afternoon, I just take a whiff and it wakes me up a little.  And I have to do that at least once every afternoon...maybe I should go to bed earlier?

Needless to say, I'm really excited to be able to give an intro kit to one of you lucky people!  I've been doing some extensive research about essential oils, and I'm excited to make them part of our life!

This giveaway is open for United States residents.  I will announce a winner on Wednesday, May 28.  If you would like to enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below!  Make sure to do the option before confirming your entry...otherwise your entry won't count.  And I want it to count!

For more information about doTERRA oils, visit Gina's website here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Disclaimer: I was sent the doTERRA intro kit, but was not compensated in any way for this review.  Essential oils are truly the bomb.com.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi: Book review

When Brian Leaf contacted me about doing a review of his new book Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi, I was excited; I love reading, and the tagline of the book is "Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting."

CLOTH DIAPERS!

You all know that I love cloth diapers.  And this book was written by a dad...I definitely wanted to see what he had to say about parenting, and especially about diapers!

I was only slightly sad to note that there is only one chapter on cloth diapers.  Lucky for me, I enjoyed the rest of the book, too!

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi functions (for me, at least) as both a hilarious memoir and a truly informative parenting book.  Brian alternates telling stories about his family with chapters about decisions that he and his wife, Gwen, made when their children were young.  He touches on circumcision, home birth, breastfeeding, elimination communication and several popular parenting styles.  While I didn't find myself agreeing with Brian about everything (I would never wash my diapers with only vinegar and water!), I did learn a lot from him.

Some of Brian's stories made me laugh out loud...he's a great writer with a terrific sense of comedic timing!  One of my favorite chapters was the story of how Brian tried to sneak out of bed to meditate (and pee) at 5:00 in the morning while his wife and baby slept in his bed.  Any parent who has shared a room with a baby knows this struggle...sneaking out of the room without waking them up is a huge feat!

One of my favorite things about this book is that Brian didn't try to portray himself as a perfect parent.  He openly discusses struggles that he has had, which I really appreciate.  One of my favorite parts of the book happens when Brian has taken his son, Noah, to the doctor and was asked to hold him down to get eye drops:

I was sure I could have found a less violent way to get the drops in.  I had overpowered Noah physically and felt I had betrayed him.  But then a friend reminded me that my job as a parent is not to model being perfect but to model being human and compassionate and forgiving.

When we got home, I apologized to Noah and told him that I would never do that again.  Which I think is valuable.  I don't need to model getting everything right.  That would be too neurotic.  It's okay to mess up.  I just need to model taking responsibility, apologizing for my mistakes, and forgiving myself.

After all, kids learn from what we tell them, sure.  But even more, they learn from what we do.  So if I can do this, if I can forgive myself, well, then, Noah will likely learn to forgive himself.

And that would truly be something worth passing along (p. 84-85).

For me, that chapter was a good reminder that parenting isn't about being perfect.  There will be times that I mess up, because I'm human.  It's the way that I react to these things that matters.

I wanted to know more about Brian's experience with cloth diapers, so he agreed to do a Q&A!  Since cloth diapering is a different experience for everyone depending on what works for their family, I love hearing about others' experiences!

Q: What are your favorite cloth diapers?  If you could have only one kind of diaper in your stash, what would it be?

A: I have to ask Gwen which are my favorite cloth diapers. She usually lets me know the answer to this sort of thing.... Turns out Fuzzy Buns are my favorite. 

Q: What kind of pants fit best over your boys' diapers?  Or were you like me and have them in just a t-shirt all day?

A: In summer a t-shirt, but in New England for most of the year, we need more. Cotton or wool pants with an elastic waist. No zipper, button, or snap, and no big pockets. Function over fashion.

Q:  Did you and your wife both want to cloth diaper from the beginning, or did one of you have to be convinced to try it?

A:  Gwen made the final call on this one since she'd be dealing with the diapers more than I would. But I was thrilled that we were doing our part to keep disposables from the landfill. I had also heard that cloth helped kids transition away from diapers faster and more easily than when using disposables. It was only later researching for my book that I discovered the many other benefits of cloth. 

Q:  What was your favorite thing about using cloth diapers?

A:  I loved cloth wipes. Gwen's mom cut up some fabric and made us the wipes. In winter we kept a Thermos with a pump (like a coffee dispenser) so we'd have warm water handy to wet the wipes. 

Q:  How many poosplosions did you experience while your sons were in diapers?  Tell me about the worst one!

A:  Many poosplosions. I'll just say that projectile poop is real. The worst poosplosion? We were visiting The Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. They had just installed a new carpet in the cafe. We had to call the custodial team and Noah went home wearing an extra shirt from the diaper bag as his pants. 

You can buy Brian's book on Amazon, or go to his website for more information!
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Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Brian's book to review, but was not compensated in any way.  All opinions are my own!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Outdoorsy

Now that it's FINALLY warm here in the midwest, we've been taking Gibson outside to play a lot.

If you know me at all, you'll know that I don't like the outdoors.  So this is a challenge for me.

I love watching Gibson play outside...he's just so cute running all around!  But outside there are bugs and snakes and dog poop and heat and humidity and I just don't like it.

I much prefer being inside where I can control the climate.  And I can squish all the bugs I see.  And there aren't mosquitos to make me itchy.

Last night we took Gibson to the front yard to run around, and he was VERY excited.  For awhile it was fine (albeit sticky and humid).  He ran around the grass, and then we walked down the street a little.

But then he wanted to touch the fire pit.  WHICH IS COVERED IN CLOVER MITES.

Do you know what clover mites are?  They're tiny, itty bitty mites that are fire engine red.  And they eat grass and stuff and INVADE HOUSES.  By the THOUSANDS.


They better not invade my house.  Or else.

...at least they don't bite.  They're just nasty and tiny and red.  Ick.

And then Gibson was walking in the grass and I found a WASP'S NEST!!!

Except it was actually a mushroom.  But it certainly looked like a wasp's nest.

Also, the other day I opened the mailbox and a wasp was spinning some sort of nasty contraption inside it.


I kept my cool, of course.

...well, maybe not.  I shrieked.  Which probably wasn't a good idea.

So basically, the outdoors are trying to kill me.  And I should stay inside all the time.

But how can I deprive this happy little boy of being outside?  It's his favorite!




So I guess I'll suck it up and spend time with all the vermin in the grass.  Nasty.
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Remember to enter the Mealtime Magic cookbook giveaway!  And if you want to buy a cookbook, 20% of the proceeds will go to Imagine No Malaria as long as you purchase it in May!

Also, remember to click the banner below to vote for my blog today!  And thank you for all the voting you've done so far over the last few months...I truly appreciate it!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mealtime Magic Review and Giveaway!


I'm so excited about this giveaway!  As you probably know, I love to cook.  And I try to use leftovers in creative ways throughout the week so my family (read: Danny) doesn't get sick of eating the same thing over and over, but it's not always easy for me to figure out how to do that.

Lucky for me, Amy Houts has made this easy!  In her cookbook Mealtime Magic: Delicious Dinners in Half the Time, Amy writes three-day meal plans that use one common ingredient (usually meat).  With this cookbook, you can buy one package of meat and eat three different meals.  Perfect!

This saves money (she really stretches the meat!) and time.  And you know how I feel about meal planning...I think it's the best way to save money on groceries!  If I don't meal plan I end up with cheesecake and cheetos.  And maybe some grapes.  ...not so healthy.

Amy's cookbook is divided into chapters based on the kind of meat you will be using (and there's a meatless chapter, too!).  Sometimes I find meat on sale and buy it without a plan.  This cookbook makes it easier to come up with a way to use that meat.

www.houtsandhome.com
Last night we made Amy's Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken recipe.


It was super easy (my favorite thing!), and absolutely delicious.  Even Gibson liked it...and these days, that's a pretty huge feat!  Danny ate his chicken on a sandwich, and I ate mine with salad.  Tonight we'll have chicken fajitas with two of the leftover chicken breasts, and tomorrow night is Chicken and Walnut Stir Fry with the rest.

As delicious as the Honey-Lime Chicken is, I'm excited to have other ways to use it instead of eating it for three nights straight!

For the rest of May, 20% of the proceeds from cookbook sales will go to Imagine No Malaria.  All of the money donated to this organization will be used to continue the efforts to end Malaria in Africa.  To read more about how they are working to do this, visit the website here!  Please consider buying a cookbook in May to help with this cause!

Check out the Houts & Home website for more information about Mealtime Magic!  And there are lots of great side dish recipes there, too...I can't wait to try some out!

Amy has generously offered to give away a copy of her cookbook to one lucky winner!  The giveaway is open for U.S. residents, and I'll announce a winner on the morning of May 23rd.  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

**If you live outside the United States and would like to buy a copy of this cookbook, please email Amy Houts at houtsandhome@gmail.com to discuss shipping!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated to write this review.  All opinions are my own...it's a fantastic cookbook!  I promise!

Monday, May 19, 2014

My exclusive club

Last week Zulily had a great deal on Sam's Club memberships, so now I'm a member of an exclusive club!

It feels good to be exclusive.

We went to Sam's Club for the first time on Saturday with some friends to get our membership and gift card and free pizza and cheesecake (CHEESECAKE!), and to check out what they have there.

THEY HAVE EVERYTHING.

I'm pretty sure I could spend a million dollars there every time I go.  But, because I'm Erin, I made a spreadsheet of what would actually be cheaper there than at Aldi and Walmart.  Because what's the point of buying things in bulk if it's not cheaper?

I really love making spreadsheets.  In case you wondered.

I found that we will only be able to save a tiny bit on some things, like flour and sugar.  But some things are a MUCH better deal at Sam's.  We can save almost $20 a year on razors, $12 on printer cartridges, and $24 on trash bags, to name a few.

I seriously HATE buying razor cartridges.  I don't even like shaving, so it always seems like such a waste!  So the fact that I can buy one package of 16 cartridges and not have to buy any more for the rest of the year makes me SO EXCITED.


We also found a ridiculously cute romper for Gibson and some pants for me!  I love pants.

And we bought some chicken.

And a huge box of Goldfish.

AND FIVE MILLION ROLLS OF TOILET PAPER!

...I got home and immediately wanted to use the toilet paper.  I'm obviously so strange.

In case you wondered, the Member's Mark brand toilet paper is MUCH nicer than the Aldi toilet paper, and it's cheaper.  And since we have five million rolls of it, we won't need to buy any for awhile! 

Also, we were at Sam's Club for three hours (SO LONG) and Gibson was AMAZING.  He was super happy to be there, and everyone thought he was just the cutest thing they'd ever seen.

...they were right, obviously.  See?


So now I'm going to go bask in the glow of my exclusive club membership.  And maybe I'll roll around in some toilet paper for awhile.  It's veeery cushy.
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Internal monologue

Gibson hasn't been sleeping well lately, which is pretty much a huge bummer.  So I've found myself in his room snuggling him back to sleep at some point most nights, and my mind tends to wander.  So now, for your reading pleasure, is an example of my internal monologue while I try to get Gibson to sleep at night.
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Man, this sucks.  Why isn't he sleeping well?  Could it be a sleep regression?  ...probably.  There's always a sleep regression.

Or maybe he's teething.  He's always teething.  I hate teeth.

...could be an ear infection.  That would be the worst.  Maybe I should call the pediatrician?

Awwwww, he's so sweet!  I wish I could snuggle him all night long!

...but I really wish he would just sleep.  That's all I want.

I wonder what I need to make for dinner tomorrow night?  Maybe we should go grocery shopping.  I think we're out of bananas.  That sucks.  I don't even know what he'll eat for breakfast.

HOLY CRAP WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?  Oh my gosh.  There's someone in the closet, and he's going to murder me.  I wish it wasn't so dark!  Maybe he won't kill me since I'm holding a baby.

...it was just Ellie flapping her ears in the hallway.  Don't be stupid, Erin!  There's obviously no one in the closet.

But what if there is?

If there was someone in the closet he would have come out ten minutes ago.  Stop being silly.

I think he's asleep!  Such a sweet angel.

Ok, here goes.  Putting Gibson down...and...SUCCESS!  He's not crying!  I'll just rub his belly for awhile.

...I wish I had put pants on.  It's cold in here.  Maybe that's why he won't sleep!  I'll turn the space heater on when I leave.

If there's someone in the closet, he's going to see me with no pants on.  How embarrassing.

...I wonder if Danny is watching us on the video monitor.  Or what if someone else is watching on the video monitor?  What if this is like The Truman Show and our life is actually a television show?

Maybe I should start wearing pants more often.
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our very big kitchen makeover

I mentioned that we're doing a kitchen makeover this summer...let me tell you all about it!

First, a photo of our kitchen before, for reference:


When we first decided to make a few changes to the kitchen, the plan was to make new wood countertops and install backsplash.  And that's all.

But now the list includes:
-Installing over range microwave (DONE!)
-Repainting the walls
-Painting the inside of the cabinets
-Putting contact paper on shelves and in drawers
-Wallpapering the refrigerator (probably with contact paper)
-Painting the cabinets white
-Making new wood countertops
-Install undermount sink
-Extending the top of the island to one side and putting in bar stools
-Changing the light fixture above the island
-Installing beadboard backsplash
-Putting in wainscoting on walls
-Painting and organizing pantry

So.  There's that.  Here's how the list became so long:

It all started when we couldn't decide on a backsplash color.  Our cabinets right now are a really yellowy cream color, and white backsplash would look weird.  But we didn't want something with color.  So we decided to paint the cabinets white.

And then I decided that I wanted to paint the insides of the cabinets because they're the original oak and really ugly.

Then I was like, "But I can't paint the bottoms of the shelves, because I don't want dishes to stick to the paint!"  So now they're getting contact paper.

And the fridge is white and ugly, and wallpapered refrigerators look awesome.  Seriously, look it up.

We couldn't find tile that we both liked, so beadboard backsplash it is!  And it's less expensive!  And wainscoting would match!  We should do that, too!!

And then Danny revealed that he doesn't love the mint green on the walls, so we decided to go with Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue.  It's a BEAUTIFUL color, and less intense than the mint.

Then I remembered that we had never painted the pantry to match the kitchen, and decided that we should paint it to match the insides of the cabinets (a golden yellow) and line the shelves with contact paper.  And organize it like crazies.

And last night I decided that I don't love the light above the sink or island, but we may only replace the island one.

THE END.  The list-lengthening is *mostly* my fault, although Danny is obviously deranged because he went along with all of it.  And he spearheaded the microwave project, which is now finished!  I'll share photos now!

This is what we did to the cabinet above the stove: cut it down, and now it's an open shelf!  Danny is a genius with a jigsaw.  Also, we found some really lovely wallpaper under the cabinet.  And by lovely, I mean disgusting and sparkly.


And with the microwave!


I love it!  It's so nice not to have a microwave on the counter.  And the range hood was awful and ugly and dusty.

So, over the course of our makeover I'll write posts about each project we do...starting with the microwave!  I'll do that soon.  Not today.  Even though I know you want to hear ALL ABOUT IT right now.

I hope you have a lovely Saturday!  If you want to, tell me all about your favorite home makeover!  I always love ideas for new projects!

...but Danny wants you to tell me not to start on anything else until the kitchen is done.  He's obviously crazy.
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Maybe.  We'll see what Danny says about that.
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Toddle toddle

So, you all know that I'm super excited about Gibson and his newfound walking skillz.  I mean, what could be cuter than a tiny human stumbling around my house?

...a tiny human stumbling around with random objects in his hand.  That's what.

For real, I can't even believe how cute it is to see Gibson toddle into the kitchen holding something to give me.  Or to show me.  Or to whack me with.  It's just cute, that's all.

Yesterday I posted about how Gibson will sometimes come into the kitchen and grab a mixing bowl.  It's so cute.  He just carries that mixing bowl around like a tiny baker!

...maybe he'll make me some cake!  I could get behind a baking career if he made me cake.

This morning he toddled into the living room with a paintbrush in each hand (clean ones, don't worry!).  He was SO PROUD of himself for holding his paintbrushes.  And then he whacked me with them.

After the paintbrush whacking incident, I went into the kitchen.  In came Gibson, holding the spoon from his oatmeal.  And it was covered in oatmeal.  And he put it on my pretty carpet.


Thank goodness for Ellie the canine vacuum!

If you don't have a dog, you should get one.  They're very useful.  And also obnoxious.  And sometimes really sweet.

...you don't have to get a dog if you don't want to.

Speaking of dogs, one of Gibson's favorite things to carry around is Ellie's ball.  He also likes throwing it for Ellie, but doesn't like it when she doesn't give it back to him to throw again.

Everyone told me that walking made life harder on me, but so far I really like chasing Gibson around to see what he's getting into!  And seeing what he finds to hold while he walks is just the best.

Don't worry.  I'm sure I'll get tired of chasing him soon.  But for now I'm in the toddler honeymoon phase, I guess.  He's just so darn cute!

See?  So cute.  I told you.
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