Friday, July 31, 2015

Living in One Room

One of the most difficult things about Jack and I moving in with my parents is the whole space issue. Jack and I have all of our essentials in one room. I have to be very organized to make it all work.  As you can see from the picture below that this is not organized. I had just decided that I needed to do something with all the papers I had. I'd been dreading going through them but since I added the desk I thought this would be a great time to get it all organized. 

One space in our bedroom is Jack's table where he reads books and colors. He has a chair there but he rarely sits in it. We usually don't get into our bedroom until after bathtime so this is something we do later in the afternoon to night. 

Here is the view from me sitting at my desk. The shelf you see in the back houses pictures, books, movies, games, and items that I deem too special for storage. 

To the right of my desk I have a plastic storage container that I have all of my essentials. I have my products, contacts, hair items, cords, and basically the stuff us gals gotta have daily. I try to keep this thing pretty organized since I don't have time to search through it every morning. I go through it every so often to see if there is anything that needs thrown away or like lots of times I discover something I had forgotten about. The pink bag on top is my nail stuff. I had recently used it so that's why it isn't put up. Also there is Jack's piggy bank.

Here is the view of my desk complete. Above is our August calendar. To the right of the plastic container is Jack's baby bed. He is still staying in it so I'm letting him stay in there until he climbs out. I also have a chair to the right of my bed. I like to rock Jack in it while we watch Thomas the Train. We have one dresser that we share. I keep most of our clothes hung up in the closet. I also have two containers in the closet for our shoes. The closet also has my baggage. 

I know this situation isn't forever but it has been long term so I'm making it as organized and comfortable as possible. Thankfully my parents don't mind all the toys taking over the living room. I try to keep the toys out of the bedroom. 

Well there is a little glimpse into our living in one room. Does anyone have any suggestions? 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Construction Party Planning Underway

One of the main activties my sister has planned for my nephew's construction party is letting the kids play in dirt. Today my Dad made that wish come try. This pile is Jack's but Bennett has one at his house for his birthday party (their house is right beside ours). 

I want to give a major shoutout to Erin at How to Nest for Less for providing these adorable printables. I was able to use some of them to edit on picmonkey and do some cute signs. I used these blank food cards to make the two signs below.

construction food cards

I got these cute 3 pack of frames from Amazon for just over eight dollars! I also used Erin's happy birthday banner but I haven't figured out how I'm going to hang it or from what. I'm not sure if I want to punch holes or attach to something. The party isn't until the 15th so I have a little time to figure it out. I can't wait to share more of the party details at a later date. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oh What a Night

It's my summer break. I'm not going to the beach or anywhere else for that matter so every so often I have a little staycation at home after everyone is alseep. I stay up to like two in the morning catching up on tv, I read blogs and possibly write, and I eat junk food. Jack goes to daycare during the day so I just take a nap following the night of my staycation.

So here I was last night just chilling in the recliner. I'd watched Big Brother, Gilmore Girls, and a quarter of the way through the show Friday Night Lights. I'm gonna run to the bathroom but as soon as I turn the corner to the hall I am taken back by the smell of dog shit. Yes, I am saying shit because when it is one am and there is dog feces everywhere then it is automatically dog shit. Our little yapping dog Lily had gotten shit everywhere. I found her and sure enough she had it all over herself also. I'm not going to lie. I thought about pretending I never saw it (or smelt it) and just sneak off to bed. I really had to weigh it out but I knew if my Dad woke up and  stepped in dog shit it would not be good. He can't even stand being in the same room when I change Jack's poopy diapers. So the angel on my shoulder won and I popped on the gloves and gave Lily a bath. While she was shaking it off at 3 am the back porch I am inside cleaning everything possible. Once I get things ready to go to bed I open the door to let Lily in and she pees right there in the floor. Lily is house broken but for some reason she has been peeing (and apparently shitting) in the house again like she's a baby. I throw some papertowels on the pee, go to the bathroom, and wouldn't you know it, when I stepped out the bathroom door I stepped right in pee. I think she's doing it on purpose.

So I get my foot cleaned up, throw some paper towels on that pee and head to my sweet bed. At 4:13 I hear Jack say "it's dark". Sure enough I notice my Dad walking down the hallway with a flashlight. Everyone in the house was up at this point and according to Facebook the whole town was without electricity and awake.

My Dad is a serious coffee drinker. He makes instant coffee throughout the day (how he drinks hot coffee when it's 100 degrees outisde I do not understand). Well no electricity means no way to make his coffee, or so I thought.

This is one serious coffee lover! 

I talked to daycare and they were still open so I went ahead and took Jack. An hour later they called me and said they were sending the kids home. We got home and I tried to entertain him but of course all he wanted to do is run throughout the house which I didn't want him doing because I wanted to clean the floors really good before I left Jack loose and I couldn't mop because we have well water and it can't pump with no electricity. 

My Mom had physical therapy at noon 30 minutes away that I drive her too each day. I got the great idea that Jack and I would hit up the Splash Pad while we wainted for Mom's sessioin to be over. Well they are closed and don't open for another hour. Then the gas light comes on. I don't even have my wallet with me. So I have to text my mom who is in physical therapy and she says just go to the front desk and have them say I needed to see her. There is a place to park where you can see the receptionist really close so you can pick up people easily. I ran in there and she said I would have to go around the corner to my Mom so I asked her if she could watch Jack who was in the backseat. I saw my Mom, grabbed the money, and left. As I was walking to the truck I could see Jack and he was freaking out, like crying real tears. I guess he felt abandoned. It broke my heart so when we went to get gas I let him get an icee and some m&ms. He even ran behind the counter and grabbed a toy and the sweet lady let him keep it. 

Thankfully, by the time we got home the electricity was back on. We took a much needed nap. The rest of the evening went well which I was happy about because the night before and that day had been rough. It's for sure one of those days where it's a lot more funny now that it's over. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fig Strawberry Preserves

Figs are one of those weird fruits that don't get a lot of hype. Today I'm giving them a purpose with this wonderful fig strawberry preserve recipe. It is crazy easy and super delicious!

Picking from the fig tree in the backyard
(My dad and I were picking them and he said never pick what you can't easily reach because the birds have to eat too)

First you have your figs. Now some people like them peeled while others leave the skin on them. We peel ours. It is a very tedious job but with the real ripe ones you can pretty much mash the middle out.
Get 3 cups of figs that have been either peeled or clean stem cut ones.

Put them in a large saucepan 

Add 3 cups of sugar

Add 2 boxes of 3 ounce strawberry jello mix 

Mix well

Heat at medium, mixing at times

Bring to a boil

Boil for 10 minutes, stir enough so it doesn't stick to the bottom

After 10 minutes, pour into sterile jars and put on lid. We steralize our jars by boiling them as we are making the preserves.

There you go-a super yummy preserve recipe that I've eaten for as long as I can remember.

Have you ever had anything with figs? I'm looking for other uses for all these figs.

I Love Being a LaLa

Before I had my own little bambino Jack, I fell in love with a baby, my nephew Bennett. I truly loved him as if he were my own. He came into this world six weeks early and was born via an emergency c-section. I clearly remember breaking all the rules and going past doors we weren't allowed to open just so I could hear that cry. It's like I was living outside of my body as I waited to hear how he was doing. He had to stay awhile in the hospital and then had to come home with a heart monitor but it didn't take him long to thrive.

On August 17th, my first baby turns four. Four! It's crazy to me because he has grown up so quickly. He is super smart. His vocabulary is better than most grade school children. He loves picking words and learning how to spell and write them. He can work a computer really well and loves the site It's free and has lots of learning activities. 

I love that he calls me LaLa. It feels like a special name just for me because he's the only one to call me that. The other day I walked into his house and he and a friend were sitting on the couch and he pointed to me and told his friend "that's my LaLa". It just melted my heart. 

Bennett knows that with LaLa he will always get his way. As soon as he sees me he asks for chocolate milk. LaLa will also play Peppa Pig with him because LaLa can quote Peppa Pig also. He'll ask me to scare him and I have to pretend I'm a monster and catch him. 

We have a very close relationship and I hope we always stay this close. I want him to always depend on his LaLa and enjoy having fun with me. When he gets older and wants to run away from home I hope he runs to me. I never want it to turn awkward where we can't say I love you. My hope is that he and Jack treat each other like brothers. He was the first baby I ever loved so much that I knew I would give up my own life for his. 

Bennett's first birthday party with Mom and Dad (razorback theme)

Second birthday party at the train depot in McGehee (train theme)

Bennett's third birthday (Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme)

This picture was taken the other day. He was in the pool and he said "LaLa, I need my glasses". We are in full party planning mode for birthday party number four. This year's theme is construction. We are getting a huge pile of dirt brought in for the kids to have a blast with. LaLa has been busy on Pinterest. Here is a little sneak peak. I would like to thank Erin at How to Nest For Less for the printables that I was able to pull up on picmonkey and edit to make them our own. 

This is a really bad picture but I just had to show you because my blunder was too funny not to share. I put down the wrong age. Oops! This one was just a practice anyways because I want a picture of him wearing construction clothes. Since my Dad is a contractor getting materials is quite easy. It's funny that this is the theme for his party because this isn't the kind of stuff he is into. I told my sister she should have thrown him a Peppa Pig or an Andy Griffin birthday party. Yes, this 3 year old loves to watch Andy Griffin. He quotes it all the time and it is what he watches to go to sleep at night. He's such an odd kid but I do love him. Something else that is odd about him is that he is scared to death of the show Jeopardy. Like I'm talking will claw you up trying to get out of the room. Even if you say the word Jeopardy he starts screaming and crying. When he was a toddler he was standing in front of the tv and the double jeopardy block was chosen and it scared him so badly that even at almost four he acts like a mass murderer is after him if he sees or hears anything about it. 

My sister Samantha (the blonde) with three friends who are all having girls. 

My sister is 25 weeks pregnant with a baby girl so I get to be a LaLa again and to a little girl. When we found out she was having a girl I was beyond thrilled. One, because Jack will most likely be my only child and I need a little girl to go with me to get pedicures. Two, girl clothes are too stinkin' cute. Three, I want Bennett and Jack to have a very close brotherly relationship and since Bennett isn't having a brother then he and Jack are more likely to keep that brother connection. She offically has a name now, Maybree Lynn. 

I'm looking forward to planning and celebrating Bennett's 4th birthday and also planning a sweet, and very girly baby shower for Miss Maybree. 

If anyone has any cute girl baby shower ideas please send them my way. I want it to be really girly and that is as far as I've gotten with the planning. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Facing My Problems

The one thing I try to do as a blogger is stay as much of an open book as I feel comfortable. I also understand that no one likes to read a bunch of negativity so I try not to come to this place and lay it all out there each day. I come here today to explain my situation and how finally getting the courage to face my problems has changed my life. 

First, I need to explain the situation. After my husband and I split up, we went from a two income household to one. The house we lived in was mine and I had purchased that house three years prior to me getting married. At that time I didn't have Jack nor did I have a pile of medical bills from the problematic birth of Jack and the surgeries I had to endure due to the botched c-section. Basically, the mortage wasn't an issue for me to pay up until my husband moved out. I tried for two months to keep up with the mounting bills, but with no financial help, I finally had to move out and move in with my parents. For a few months I paid the mortgage and just didn't have to pay any utilities. Then I began getting my wages garnished for medical bills and student loans. Those two garnishments are $800 a month. I also pay $425 a month for Jack and I's health insurance. Daycare costs $400 a month and my car payment is $328. Each month, after bills and garnishments, I would only have around $300 to pay for gas, diapers, food, and other misc items. Each month I was having to borrow a little money from my parents just to make it. 

When you are 33 with a toddler, living back with your parents, and broke it can be difficult to find the positive side of things. Not to mention I was going through a divorce. Life pretty much sucked. My phone rang all the time. It wasn't friends calling to see how I was doing, but random numbers that I knew belonged to companies wanting their money. I didn't blame them but I also couldn't face them. I ignored those calls and would let my voicemail fill up. I hated myself for it and I felt a lot of shame. I'm the kind of person who hates owing people money so this was extra hard on me. I didn't know how to get out of this situation because the bills weren't going away and no more money was coming in. During the school year I would make myself feel better by saying "this summer I am going to take care of everything". It made me feel good in the moment but I knew when summer came I still wouldn't know how to face it. 

I hit rock bottom. Depression was taking over. It was the middle of my summer break and all I could think about was my situation and how dire it all felt. I cried too much. Honestly, I had no idea how to fix it all. I didn't even know what all needed fixing. 

One night after everyone had went to bed I gave myself a pep talk, picked up pen and paper and decided I would just start writing down every single thing that came to my mind that was causing me pain. I wouldn't allow myself to be vague and write debt, I made myself write down every company that I could think of that I owed money. I wrote down ways that I could possibly get financial assistance. My divorce was/is still at a standstill due to us not being able to reach a custody agreement so I added ways to reach an agreement. I wrote and wrote and wrote. It hurt. Seeing all of my pain right there in front of me was hard to face. It also felt good to have finally done something, even if it was just writing stuff done. 

Since I was feeling like I was kind of on a roll I went ahead and opened my computer and started writing down phone numbers of companies I needed to contact to see how much I owed. I also began researching the possability of getting food stamps or daycare vouchers. I even filled out an online application for food stamps and printed an application for daycare vouchers. Before I went to bed that night I made myself a promise that I would answer all the companies that were calling me. I had to face them. 

A week has passed since that night and I feel much more in control of my life. It is a pleasing feeling. I've figured out a way to get $700 of my monthly check back by November. I worked out an arrangement to stop the garnishment of my student loan no later than November and my car will be paid off by November. Now once the student loan garnishment is stopped I already have another medical bill waiting to garnish my check but I've spoken with them and I hope I'm able to work out an arrangement with them before that happens. I haven't gotten food stamps or daycare vouchers yet but I'm still in the process. I've also spoken with my ex and as of now we have reached an agreement and are now waiting for a final hearing date. 

I'm nowhere near the light at the end of the tunnel BUT I can actually see the light. If you are reading this post and you are running away from problems I'm not going to tell you to buck up and just face them because it will make things easier, that is not my message. My message is that you have to face your problems when you are ready. When you do get ready, ride the thrill of accomplishment as long as you can to motivate yourself to get even more done. When you hit a bump, and you will, then stop for a few days and pick it back up with a small step until you gain momentum. 

Facing your problems takes a lot of courage so don't forget to give yourself grace.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Motherhood Surprises

I've now been a mother for two and a half years. During that time I have dealt with many obstacles and the regular adjustments that all mothers have to handle. Looking back from who I was before I became a mother to now I have realized that motherhood has changed me. Here are some of my motherhood surprises.

1. Getting poop on me does not freak me out.

2. I can now say I have picked someone else's boogers.

3. My body doesn't require as much sleep as it once did.

4. I find cartoons funny.

5. Naps and nights out are precious gifts.

6. Finding sippy cups in random places is normal.

7. Having someone put their fingers in my food is too usual.

8. All those shows "I HAVE to watch"....are they still on these days?

9. I may not know what is going on E news but I know the Thomas and Friends trains.

10. My train impressions....wait, I have train impressions. Dear Lord!

11. I'm obsessed with poop. Did he poop today? What did he eat? Is he getting diarhea? Oh no, I think he might be constipated.

12. I use to cook tilapia all the time. Now, we stock up on chicken nuggets.

What motherhood surprises have you discovered?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Seriously Best Cake Ever

Almond Joy Cake

What you need:
1. Brownie mix
2. 4 cups of shredded coconut 
3. 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
4. Can of chocolate frosting

What you do:
1. Cook brownies according to package in a 9 x 13 pan
2. While brownies are cooking, mix coconut and milk together
3. As soon as you take brownies out of the oven pour the milk/coconut mixture over brownies
4. Microwave frosting until it is easy to pour (around 30-45 seconds)
5. Pour frosting over brownies
6. Let sit until cooled.

The cake is better the next day. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Active Mama-Activities With Jack

I'm so thankful for Jack's daycare and all the things they are teaching him. Even though I can't be a stay at home mom and have to hand over most of his hours to daycare, I still like to do fun activities with Jack when I can. If it is educational, then even better. Here are some activities that I'm excited to try with Jack in the near future.

Color match: He will get to work on his colors and discuss circle. Also, they make a great snack.

Cookie sheet sight words: Jack is too young to fully understand sight words but he's never to young to start practicing. 

Animal cracker counting: Such an easy activity. Jack can count to ten but he doesn't have his number recognition down. I believe this activity will help, and once again, a great snack.

Number recognition and fine motor skills: Another acitivity to help with number recognition plus he loves clothes pins.

I'm looking forward to working with Jack as we learn and play today. If you would like to see these and more activities follow my Acitve Mama board on Pinterest. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rain, It's Been Real But It's Time To Go

Oh the rain has really put a damper on things lately. It has rained the last several days which means very little outside time. On the 4th it did clear up for a few hours and so we tried to let the boys play for a little while but the mosquitos were so awful that we had to go in.

Friday I had to drive over two hours away to pick up my brother and his girlfriend for the 4th and it was raining/storming so badly. I hate that added pressure of having to drive in so much rain. I ended up missing my turn and ended up back on the interstate which I was avoiding because of all the rain. Also, it added about thirty minutes to our drive when I went the wrong way. Trying to stay focused in so much traffic with all that rain was hard. We kept seeing emergency vehicles where others had wrecks which was even more stressful. When we finally made it out of the heavy traffic and storms I had to stop for a milkshake. Of course, the ice cream machine was down at McDonalds. Isn't it always? We then had to find a Sonic and they got our order wrong. Ugh!

The yard is so flooded that it is going to take days for everything to dry out and we still have chances of rain for the next few days. I don't mind letting Jack go outside and play in the rain for a little while but like I said, the mosquitos are so bad that we can't stay outside too long. Life in the south!

I know you can't see the billboard at the end but it say "Jesus is the reason for the season". We don't have a lot of people buying billboard space in our little small town. At least we should have it when the holidays come back around.