the next step in eating

i was hoping to wait a little bit longer before starting gibson on food, but after a week of waking to nurse 3x a night (as opposed to his normal 2) and one night of just all around crappy sleep (i maybe got 1 hour) i caved and decided to start the little guy on some food (hoping that this would solve that extra night waking).  i figure, if he's not ready, no big deal.  i can wait and try again later.

so earlier this week he tried rice cereal.  he responded surprisingly well.  and that night, he only awakened once to nurse.  but it was just that night.  the rest of the week, even with the cereal eating, he's been back to his normal 2x a night to nurse.  which is cool...i can't complain about that.

since we had a positive response with his first food, it's time to start making some baby food.  making homemade baby food was something i did with emma, so i plan to do the same with gibson.  choosing to make my own baby food was a way for us to save money, and provide nourishment for our baby in a more natural way.  the task sounds a bit daunting, but it's much simpler than i had imagined.

check back here often, since i plan to post the food making process as gibson continues on his eating adventure.


wordless wednesday::big brother and little sister

more wordless wednesday here and here


top ten tuesday :: local eats

after watching high fidelity a few months back, i was inspired to start doing some sort of top 10 list of my own.

i like lists.  they're straight to the point.  direct. simple.  and they neatly organize all of your information (would you be surprised to know that i also enjoy shopping at the office supply store?).

back to the top 10 list. i had planned to post a top 10 list every week waaayyy back in may, but busy summer, baby and all sorts of other stuff came up and my weekly top 10 list never materialized.

so today, will be the beginning of my weekly top 10 post.  and what better way to start any activity than with food?

our top 10 favorite local eats (in no particular order):

1. the melt bar and grille (this place has gotten so popular that it's easier to order take-out or go right when it opens to avoid the sometimes hour long wait).
2. buckeye beer engine
3. sullivan's
4. asian grille
5. angelo's
6. aladdin's
7. crepes deluxe/west side market stand c-2
8. sakura
9. johnny mango's (more of my favorite than aaron's, but they have a pretty good brunch)
10. el jalapeno (aaron recommends #53)

it was difficult to just pick ten.  and i'm sure there are more wonderful eats out there that we haven't tried yet.  here are a few more favorite local spots that didn't make the cut: my friends (yummy breakfast!), nuevo acapulco, rocky river brewing company.



another october, another successful BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) pumpkin carving extravaganza.

this year marks our 5th year of pumpkin carving madness. lots of pumpkins, lots of pumpkin guts, and lots of pumpkin seeds.

pumpkin themed foods (pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin soup) were provided to help fuel the intense carving session.

 thank you to everyone who came.  it was a success because of you!  

my chunk monster

my chunky monkey.  my chubby bubby.  mr. chubs.

 oh man!  i love those cheeks.  i could eat them up!  and i just love all of his rolls. and that double chin (or triple chin??).  i just had to share these photos.

5 months of chubby goodness!


*gasp, cough, cough, gasp*

sometimes that's how i feel when i take a look in our home.

aaron and i strive to keep our home streamlined and clutter-free as much as possible.  but sometimes things add up...stacks of papers, unopened mail, 8 million pairs of shoes piled by the door, books, dvds, cds, emma's toys, tyler's toys, gibson's toys, mommy's toys, daddy's toys...

part of our problem is that sometimes we don't return things from where we got them after they've been used.  but sometimes, there's just no space place for them. 

in order to keep our home under control, we often evaluate the necessity of any item (whether bought new, used or free) before bringing it into our home.  sure, there's potential in the free dresser on the tree lawn.  and yes, we could use another dresser.  but realisticly, will we be able to fix it up within the next month or so?  if the answer is no, then good-bye free dresser...maybe someone else can take the extra time to make you look pretty.

the same method applies when it comes to our children's items...but sometimes it can be difficult to keep the kids' stuff (clothes, shoes, toys, books, what have you) from accumulating to the point of no return.  and with christmas creeping slowly around the corner, how do keep the addition of more stuff under control (let alone keep our kids from acquiring the whole consumer mentality when it comes to receiving gifts)?

check out this excellent, super-fantastic link on gift ideas for kids (and some can probably apply to adults too) at simple mom.  i especially love the idea of giving a family membership as a gift or lessons/activities as gifts.  i'm a proponent of giving/receiving gifts that are functional so an "experience" gift is a favorite.  i also like the "want, need, wear, read" idea for giving gifts mentioned at the bottom of the post.  when each person only receives 1 from each of those 4 categories, no one is overwhelmed, stressed or upset by receiving too much, gifts that don't suit them, or not having enough money to buy everyone something.  it also helps teach our children to live simply and appreciate the things that they have.

and now...i feel i have to de-clutter...


stewardship::they're not really mine

when i've talked about stewardship before, our material possessions have been the key focus.  how can we be good stewards of the money God has entrusted us with?  how can we be good stewards of our home, our food, our car, our clothes?  how can we teach our kids to be good stewards of their things and keep them for developing a consumerist mentality?

but something that has not been overly emphasized in our home is the fact that God has also entrusted us with people.  more specifically, a spouse, children, and even our own bodies.

in all honesty, i don't see my husband or my children as belonging to God.  i see them as mine.  my husband.  my kids.  but in reality, God has graciously provided me with a loving and caring husband.  and it is God who has graciously blessed me with our children.  they belong to Him, and He has entrusted them to me.

i think using that perspective has helped me view my family in a totally different light.  my husband is special because he belongs to the Lord.  my children are special because they too belong to the Lord.  how can i be a good steward of my family?  by treating them with respect, love, and extra-care because they belong to someone else, and someday i have to return them.

this perspective is also especially freeing to me when it comes to raising, training, and teaching our children.  our children are our special treasures, entrusted to us by God.  we as parents have a clear job to do, but there comes a point when we have to let them go.  because they belong to the Lord.  when i had my miscarriage, i remember in the midst of my grieving rejoicing in the fact that our sweet baby was where he (or she) was meant to be...back to where (s)he belonged.  i know what i need to do as a parent, and part of being a parent is learning to let go of our children and handing them over to God (easier said than done!).

because really, they belong to Him, and He has entrusted them to me.


the full show

okay.  remember the sneak peek?  i got it done and i can finally show you.  ta-da!

the robot illustration was done by my husband, who knew exactly what i was picturing in my head.  i really enjoyed the collaboration and being able to share the creative process with him.  and the experience was so easy since we think a lot alike (tyler will attest to that fact and sometimes thinks we share the same brain).  we have a few more embroidery design ideas that we've been throwing around, but just haven't found time to get things started.  in the meantime, i'll probably make a couple more of these robots to list on etsy if anyone is interested :).

i had to be a little sneaky with the work-in-progress since it was a gift for my little nephew, sam, who turned the big O-N-E this week.  it was supposed to coordinate with this super-cute bowl by one of my favorite local artists, but sadly the particular color i wanted is on back-order.  so the bowl will come later.

he was a bit overwhelmed at times with all the paparazzi, but i think he had a good time.


accepting fall

i had hoped that mid-october would bring us some random warm weather like last year, but alas it may not be so this year (though i still have 2 more weeks of wishful thinking).

so i have come to terms with the fact that fall weather is here to stay.  now that i'm no longer in denial, it has been quite enjoyable celebrating the cooler weather, the smell of the crisp air, and the changing colors of the leaves.

we had a great time wandering around the metroparks the other day, enjoying the beautiful things God has created for us.  it also provided a great opportunity for us as a family to reconnect and "catch-up" from the busy week.

might i add that those steps were a KILLER while you're also carrying a 20 pound baby, and a [insert sarcasm] pleasant reminder of how out of shape i am.


wordless wednesday::sneak peek

a tiny peek at a little collaborative project i'm working on with my husband...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


lady ga-ga doesn't know what she's talking about

me: hey emma, can you read my poker face?

emma: [giggle, giggle] no mommeeeeee! [giggle, giggle] you don't have words on your face!


the dreaded picture day

why are school pictures always soooo unflattering?  even when you go out of your way to look extra nice and take the precautionary measures necessary before the photographer clicks the camera (because you only have ONE chance to take a good photo), the picture never turns out how you imagine it would be.  never.

(of course there's always that one girl that always looks good in her school picture...grrr.  how does she do it?)

so this year, instead of wasting, er...i mean paying $40 on ordering prints from picture day, i decided to do a mini "photo shoot" and do my own rendition of the school photo (i like to pretend i'm a professional photographer ready to capture the moment with my point and shoot canon powershot).  the best part is that we get more than one chance to get a good shot.  and you can edit and customize the photo to your liking...for free.

ty was very happy with the results and here are a couple of our favorites...

and while i was at it, i did one for the other two kids too...

then i got brave and decided to take some photos of all three kids.  but i think the picture speaks for itself (maybe next time).

once i was done editing, i ordered prints of all 3 kids through snapfish, coming out with a grand total of $21.  talk about a HUGE savings.  and we were all quite satisfied with the end product.

so family, your copy of this year's school photo will be a little different.


wordless wednesday::innovative engineering?

beer can solve all your car problems...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


the month of "m"

we're up and running again for our monthly letter now that i've finally adjusted to life with 3 kids.

for the month of september we focused on the letter m. here are some of the "m" things we did...

introducing the letter m:
this time, emma cut and pasted all the m images herself for the capital m sheet. she sure has come a long way in the cutting and pasting department. some m's we included were mommy, monkey, milk, moon, and moose. note that gibson does not start with the letter m (nor is he an image of milk), but she wanted to put him in there with milk because he drinks mommy's milk (ha, ha!).

makan and minum:

makan is indonesian for eat and minum is indonesian for drink. obviously, we did a lot of that!

some m related books we read:
good night moon by margaret wise brown
exodus for the story of moses
the moon book by gail gibbons
mother goose rhymes
monkeys and apes (DK books?)
curious george books

mail and mailbox:
emma made some thank you cards a while back and after she "signed" them, we put it in an envelope, walked to the mailbox and mailed them.


sadly, we did not enjoy any mango to eat (couldn't find any nice, ripe ones at the store), but we did drink some tasty mango juice!

we visited the local farmer's market and the west side market (which we regularly do anyway, so it worked out that i was able to incorporate it into her lesson this month). we discussed what kinds of things we could find at the market such as: apples, tomatoes, lunch meat, cheese, etc.

and on the way home from the market, we stopped to study some moss growing on a tree trunk:

as a fun toddler introduction to science, we melted some crayon pieces together, and also watched an ice cube melt as we cooled off her hot tea. we discussed how heat can cause different things to melt depending on temperature...but it went over her head. she just liked watching the stuff melt.


we learned the story of baby moses and how his mama put him in a basket to protect him. i found a basket weaving craft here. the weaving part required a lot of my help, but she got the idea. since we couldn't find a little baby doll to put in there, we pretended the dog was baby moses. then we learned how God talked to moses through a burning bush. i found another simple craft she was able to do pretty much on her own here. we did read about how aaron and moses asked pharaoh to let the israelites go, but did not have time to do an accompanying craft.

we made some applesauce muffins which required molasses. and we also made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, which are a house favorite and perfect for fall.

we used marshmallows and toothpicks to build 3 dimensional shapes. well...i made 3 dimensional shapes. emma just liked poking the toothpicks in the marshmallows and then eating up all the mini marshmallows at the end.


emma really enjoys taking "little walks," and it was the perfect opportunity to highlight maple trees this month. she collected a few maple leaves, used maple syrup for breakfast, and played a maple leaf matching game which i got here (i just used all maple leaves instead of matching the little helicopters to the leaves).

we busted out the mini speaker and microphone and took turns singing (on some days this turned out to be a whole family affair). and of course, there was always plenty of music in the house...whether we were making it or just listening to it.

and lastly, my dear little sister reminded me that her name started with an m so we learned that auntie michelle's name starts with the letter m! how could i forget? yay for auntie michelle!
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