Elise: Two & A Half

Dear Elise,

While we were off on our Spring Break trip, you celebrated your half birthday! You are 2 1/2 years old now. Here is what you are up to:

•Eating: Snacks! You are a grazer and prefer to eat little nibbles all day rather than eating big meals. You are big on "smoovies" right now, but no "babanas," please...

•Sleeping: You are a good sleeper, but you like routine at sleep time - a couple books, a drink of water, fuzzy socks, and then covers. And of course, you want to be surrounded by your stuffed friends.

•Wearing: You weigh about 27lbs. and wear mostly 2T clothing, with a few 3T shirts mixed in (you are TALL!). Most days you want to wear silly socks and even though they rarely match your outfits, we have just given up that battle and let you.

•Talking: Non-stop, 24/7...sometimes even in your sleep!

•What You Love: Music and dancing, Piper - she is your best friend, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, preschool and Ms. Sallie and Ms. Sherry, Taco Tuesday, your baby (and you won't name her, one is baby, the other is girl...), trips to the park, helping in the kitchen, coloring, using your Doc McStuffins kit to give us checkups, watching videos and looking at pictures of yourself, bossing the dog around, ice cream, your friends at church, blowing bubbles, telling us secrets, singing songs and giving piano concerts (we get a daily dose of the Doxology or "Praise God" as you call it), painting your fingernails and toenails, lipgloss (I let you have a little of mine and a little hairspray on Sundays for church and you think you are big stuff), surprises, and "twootsies" (Tootsie rolls).


•What We Love: ALL OF YOU! You have become so animated and are a joy to be around (even if there is a little drama and 2 year old whining in there!).

You are our most favorite girl!

Mommy (and Daddy!)


Tipsy Tuesday (#312)

I'm pretty tech savvy and thought that I was a Google pro...

Tip #312

but there were several of these tips for searching on Google from The Meta Picture that I did not know.

This information is going to make me way more accurate at diagnosing medical conditions and looking up song lyrics that I cannot remember but must know before I am able to move on to the next thing...

What do you Google?


21 Day Fix: Round 2 Done!

Last Monday, I finished my second round of 21 Day Fix and I thought that I would give you a little update on my progress.

Weight Lost: This round: 4lbs. Total: 12lbs. (Though if I go by the scales at the Dr. office instead of the ones at the Y, it is actually 22lbs. lost - not sure how they can be so different, so I'm sticking with the Y since that is where I weigh most often.)

Inches Lost: I still need to take some measurements, but my pants fit differently for sure.

Exercise: I exercised almost every day of the round. I still really enjoy the DVD's, though if I live to be 100, I doubt that I will ever be flexible enough for Pilates or Yoga! I'm trying to walk at least 2 miles 2 mornings of the week before work and the Rev is turning me into a Body Pump junkie at the Y. I enjoy taking that with him on Saturday mornings. I am getting a FitBit for my birthday (it's today!), so I will be kicking the walking and working out into overdrive, since I will be able to set goals and track them - ya'll know if I put it on a list, it has to get checked off!

Food: I am still tracking calories (1,500 per day) using My Fitness Pal, but it is time to go clean and use the 21 Day Fix containers...wish me luck!

Water: I'm up to 5 water bottles (15 - 8oz servings) a day!

On to Round 3!


Mother's Day Journal 2015

Last year, the Rev and Elise started my Mother's Day journal, an alternative to cards, which I don't like to save or waste money on. Elise can draw in it for me and the Rev includes a few pics from the year. I love having it to look through and look forward to filling it up as the years go. Elise painted me a little pot and made a framed picture and painting that are all decorating my office. The Rev rounded it out with a beautiful vase of forced tulips. 

Add in dinner and free Sweet Frog with the amazing little girl who made me a Mama and it was a great Mother's Day weekend.

But my absolute favorite part of the weekend? This conversation that I documented in my journal. 

I sure do love these 2!


Tipsy Tuesday (#311)

Planning and preparing meals ahead has been helping us eat healthier. I have been using our George Foreman grill to cook several different flavors of chicken each weekend to have for the next week. I love getting all of the chicken cooked and ready for the week, but I loathe cleaning the grill....

Tip #311

I found this easy cleaning tip from Budget Savvy Diva  (all you need is paper towels!) and I'm going to give it a try!

She says, "After you’ve finished using the grill, unplug it and put a wet paper towel on the surface of the grill. Close it so that the top and bottom are both touching the paper towel. The heat from the grill will provide steam to clean the grill. Wipe dry with another paper towel."

Anybody else have tips for cleaning the Foreman?



Listening...to office sounds.

Eating...nothing yet...and my stomach is not happy about that!

Drinking...water...until I float!


Wearing...jeans (gotta love the end of the school year rule change!), brown T-shirt, statement necklace, and flip flops.

Feeling...overwhelmed - get back to me when the school year is over...

Needing...a weekend without a long list of To Do's.

Wanting...chocolate...MASSIVE amounts of it, but I'll eat an apple instead.

Thinking...too much about things that I can't control. Anybody else do that?

Enjoying...the warmer days and the chance to take Elise to the park in the evenings again. She loves it!


The Smoke Smell? Yep, It's Still There...

When last we talked about my crazy health issues, I was frustrated with my neurologist, taking EVIL Topamax, and still experiencing almost daily headaches and smoke smells.

Fast forward 2 1/2 months and my appointment with a neurologist that specializes in headaches finally arrived. There are only 2 of these neurologists serving our area so the wait was crazy long! She is awesome! She spent over an hour with us listening to everything that has been happening and asking all sorts of questions to help get to the cause of the smell and headaches.

I'm stepping off on the Topamax and starting a different daily medication called Inderal. She completed some lab work and has ordered an extended EEG, an MRI to specifically check the veins and blood flow in the brain, a sleep study, and a visit to an opthamologist. And oh yeah, she said to stop googling symptoms...she clearly has me figured out. So no real concrete answers yet, but definitely taking steps in the right direction. We shall see.....


Tipsy Tuesday (#310)

I really need to purge our closet...

Tip #310

this list of questions from The Everygirl seems like a great place to start!

Do you sort through your closet and eliminate each season? Are you a tosser or a save just in case kind of person?


Spring Break Recap

Elise had quite the eventful Spring Break a few weeks ago. We traveled to Columbia, SC to take in some fun and enjoy family time together. Here is a picture recap of all that we managed to pack in!

{First Manicure}
{EdVenture Children's Museum in Columbia, SC}

{Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, SC}

{USC Gamecocks Spring Game}


Stink or Wink?

Not sure if the photographer said "Can you wink, Elise?" or "Show me your stink eye, Elise!" Ah, school pictures.....


Tipsy Tuesday (#309)

It's almost my birthday month! I'm not really excited about getting a year older...

Tip #309

but I don't mind celebrating with free stuff! All*You has a great list of freebies that you can get for your birthday, most just by signing up online.

And don't forget to check with your favorite local shops and restaurants, since many of them will help celebrate you, as well!


DIY Household Cleaners

I'd like to tell you that I use DIY cleaners because they are better for the environment, but the truth is I am cheap and they are better for my wallet! Here are the cleaners that work well for us:

Super Laundry Sauce - I cannot say enough about this one! In the past 10 months, I have only had to make 3 batches of this at a cost of $1.76 per batch. I use a generous tablespoon per load of laundry (we do about 3 loads per week), so I average about 55-60 loads of laundry per batch. It is just a very good clean smell, and the Rev likes a little more fragrance, so I do add an In-Wash Scent Booster (whatever is on sale), but even with that I am still saving tons in this area.

DIY Febreze - Grab a spray bottle, add 2 tablespoons of fabric softener (any kind), 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and fill with water. Shake it up and you are ready to go! Your cost will be about 15 cents per bottle, depending on the cost of your fabric softener. Huge savings!

Stain Remover - A mixture of 2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide to 1 part Dawn dish detergent and you are done. I store this in an old stain remover bottle. I don't like to spray it because it makes me cough to breathe it in, but for soaking on a stain, it can't be beat. We have rescued 3 pair of muddy pants that I thought were sure goners using this!

All-Purpose Orange Cleaner - Eat some oranges (or other citrus!), collect the peels in a jar or pitcher, cover with white vinegar (I use cleaning vinegar found in the cleaning supplies section), and let sit for 2 weeks. Discard the peels and pour the remaining liquid in a spray bottle and you are finished. Great for wiping down counters (not recommended for marble or granite), cabinets, and other hard surfaces.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent - All ingredients that can be readily found at the store - washing soda, baking soda, LemiShine, and sea salt - combine to make this detergent. I have had some clumping of the detergent in my storage container, so I'll add one of those little disks that you use in brown sugar to prevent clumping, like she suggests.

Next on my list to try: Homemade Clorox Wipes

Do you make any of your own cleaners? Have one to share?


Tipsy Tuesday (#308)

When I clean out our refrigerator at the end of the week, I realize how blessed we are...and how much food we waste, especially produce.

Tip #308

Ecocentric has some great tips in this article and infographic for decreasing your food waste.

What food is your family most guilty of wasting?


21 Day Fix: Round 1 Done!

On Monday, I finished my first round of 21 Day Fix and I thought that I would give you a little update on my progress.

Weight Lost: 8lbs.

Inches Lost: It's a long story, but the Rev and I apparently stink at body measurements since my numbers were up from when we measured at the beginning of the round. I'll get corrected measurements and update inches lost at the end of Round 2.

Exercise: I exercised every day of the round, minus a few that we were out of town for Spring Break. I really like the format of the DVD's, 60 seconds of exercise, 15 second break for 30 minutes. I was using a resistance band that I had, but the Rev bought me weights for Round 2, so I'm excited to push myself a little harder. I'm also going to add some walking into this next round as well.

Food: I didn't use the containers in this round, I find them a little intimidating to be honest, but I have been tracking calories (1,500 per day) using My Fitness Pal. I'm learning all that I can about clean eating and planning to incorporate a little at a time this round, using the containers. I have been using Shakeology as my breakfast choice and I really like it.

Water: I'm up to 4 water bottles (12 - 8oz servings) a day!

On to Round 2!


Tipsy Tuesday (#307)

Elise brings home artwork from preschool every week and the collection is rapidly taking over. With 16 years of school left for her, I know that we cannot possibly save every piece of artwork.

Tip #307

Consider any one of BuzzFeed's 19 Genius Ways to Immortalize Your Kids' Artwork or consider one of these apps suggested by Heather over at The Pioneer Woman Homeschooling section to save those crafts digitally.

I am leaning toward a yearly collage (see example in photo) or book of the favorite projects that she creates, and then saving only those most special pieces in a file box for safekeeping. But I have to also say that I have heard great things about the Keepy app, so that might be a possibility, too.

What do you do with artwork that your children create?