Ready to Hit the Road

My dad is sure to love these pictures:

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Éamon’s feet can’t quite reach the pedals, but I bet his brother will be happy to take it for a spin one of these days!

(Updated with red-eye removed! Hurrah!)

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7 Quick Takes #50 (wow)

— 1 —

First, some adorable diaper derby pics. It was hard to get good ones during the actual races because there were a lot of people, but we managed as best we could:

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Éamon came in second in his heat, which wasn’t enough to advance him a round but was still very respectable. He was a bit shocked by all the people so it took him a few seconds to realize I was holding his absolutely favorite toy on the other end (Alisdair’s Mr. Potato Head.) He bulleted across that mat when he saw it, though!

— 2 —

It was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning, and overall the derby raised over $25,000 to fund crisis pregnancy centers in Pittsburgh.

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Alisdair also had a blast, competing in the “Toddler Trot” and then playing on all the other stuff they had set up for the non-diapered set.

— 3 —

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind. I started couponing, maybe because I’m a crazy person. So far my big savings are coming on things like shampoo, soap, and other personal care items. Not a lot of great food coupons, since I cook most things from scratch and even at the best sale prices, Aldi store brands generally win out. But I’ve only been at it a few weeks so we’ll see what turns up. Most of the coupons I get for free (or I print them), but then I found that I could get the Sunday paper for under $5/month at Discounted Newspapers so I’ll start getting those, as well. Some people like to subscribe to multiple copies, but with my other free coupons I think I’ll end up hitting the maximum household numbers anyway for the best deals.

I am starting to understand that “couponers high” a bit. Stocking up on shampoo for 50 cents a bottle, instead of running out unexpectedly in the shower and then running out to the store and having to pay three times that much (at least)? Awesome.

So far my method is a binder. I have been assembling a price list of our most commonly purchased items on Excel, and I’ll print that out to go with the coupons, which are in baseball card holders, sorted by type. I clip, sort, and plan shopping trips on the weekend (usually on Sunday evening) while checking out the deals posted on Money Saving Mom and viewing the weekly ads. Now that the weather is warm I don’t mind going out with the kids more than once per week to shop, and since we live close to a lot of stores I am not wasting my savings on gas, which was a concern I had before I started doing it.

(In case you are curious, right now I can buy all of our food, cleaning products, hygiene items and baby stuff, and other householdy things for $300/month, which is not bad at all, though some of the crazier blogs out there do better than that, or use that much to feed more people. Still, $10/day for two adults, a toddler, and a baby isn’t bad. I easily used to spend twice that on just Ian and myself.)

— 4 —

I’ve also been doing some important work getting together some presents and the stuff I need to make a cake for this kid:

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Nobody asked my permission, but he turns three (YES) years old TOMORROW.

— 5 —

Alisdair’s Birth Story

Alisdair

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— 6 —

So, my oldest is not a baby anymore. I know every mother in history goes through this, but I still have to say watching a child grow up is the most heartwrenchingly beautiful but also awful thing ever. If you would have told me before he was born that I would be experiencing all these feelings before he even reached school age, I’m not sure I would have been able to say yes to being a mom. But the cool thing is that being a mom has forced me to do a lot of growing up, and I have to say the benefits are awesome. I have this cool little dude to thank for starting me on that journey.

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Not a baby anymore, but still adorable when he’s sleeping

— 7 —

Let’s go back to lighthearted fun, shall we? Alisdair asked for a red cake this year. I borrowed a dinosaur cake mold from Ian’s mom, so I’m going to be attempting red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, which will be green to make it appropriate for the dinosaur, even though maybe T-Rexes were white. I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I may not have entirely learned my lesson from last year because I am using Internet recipes again. But the cake is from All Recipes and had about 1000 reviews, and the frosting is Martha Stewart, so I think that’s a bit more trustworthy.

(I did already check at the grocery store, though, and they do have red velvet cake mix. So I’m covered.)

Happy birthday, Alisdair!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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7 Quick Takes #49

— 1 —

I call this “Alisdair attempts a thoughtful looking selfie”:
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— 2 —

Look who loves to Swiffer, just like his brother:

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(Of course, this may be an elaborate ruse to get to the crumbs on the floor first.)

— 3 —

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Cheer this kid on tomorrow at the Pittsburgh Diaper Derby!

— 4 —

After getting to a good start running, I ended up sick at the end of March (which means I got a three-month break after being sick every month at least once during the fall…probably because we were snowed in), so I am just now starting week 2 of Couch to 5k. But I’m not discouraged! We’ll be participating in the Family Fun Run for the Pirates charities in a few weeks, and I’ve still got a lot of months to train for an actual race.

— 5 —

I know this isn’t a recipe blog, but I do feel like sharing this very easy, very yummy pretzel (or whatever) dip recipe with you. But first, a story: When I was growing up, my mom would occasionally make this dip, that tasted so awesome you would never guess how easy it was – one packet of onion soup mix + container of sour cream. The end. Then, last fall, I went to a in-home party for a multi-level-marketing company (like Thirty-One or Pampered Chef) that did spices and cake mixes, etc. There was a really, really good dip there that was like the dip my mom made growing up, but kicked up a notch in spiciness and heat, which made it even yummier (I was shocked this was possible). But the price of the spice mix was out of our budget, so I decided to look up the ingredients. Some of them are hard to come by, BUT I’ve now made an approximation of it that is close enough for my purposes, and since I make it with fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (my usual substitute), I can even say it’s not that unhealthy!

Yogurt Pretzel Dip
(These ingredients are an approximation. You can adjust according to your tastes. This makes about 1 cup of dip.)
- 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1/4 cup mayo (or less. I always put in a little because I think the dip needs a little bit of fat to be satisfying, but if you enjoy the texture as is do a whole cup of yogurt or sour cream.)

- 1/4-1/2 tsp of the following spices:
Paprika (smoked is awesome)
Chives
Parsley
Crushed red pepper (if you’re into heat)
Onion powder
(optional) Seasoned salt – I only add salt if I’m making it to go with a non-salty snack, like veggies
Anything else you think might be good, it probably will be

Mix up in a small bowl. Serve immediately or chill a bit and let the flavors mix together more. Use pretzels, chips, crackers, veggies, whatever, to dip. Enjoy. Theoretically this can serve multiple people. Alisdair and I can polish off a LOT of this very quickly, though.

— 6 —

Alisdair said he was “hiding”:

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— 7 —

After doing a lot of discerning, I’ve decided to become an in-home babysitter/daycare provider. I don’t have any clients just yet, but I am on several babysitting websites and have made a few contacts. I’m excited to be doing this. If you had asked me five years ago if this would have been anywhere on the radar, I would have said absolutely not. But it fits us and our situation and I’m excited to do it, hopefully for many years to come.

I guess my Quick Takes this week really lived up their name! Have a great weekend! Enjoy that it’s actually looking like spring!

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Mischief, Thy Name is Éamon

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He seems to know it, too!

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Support Éamon in the Pittsburgh Diaper Derby!

Éamon will be “competing” this year in the Pittsburgh Diaper Derby. Click to support him!

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Because races are fun, and babies are cute, so seeing babies race will be cute AND fun, and the funds raised benefit local pregnancy centers. :)

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This is the Tower that Alisdair Built

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And when I asked him to stand next to it…

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…he decided to run around it in circles.

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7 Quick Takes #48

My mind has been all over the place this week. Here are some scattered thoughts:

— 1 —

It’s been busy around these parts! Here’s one fun new addition to our home:

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A kitchen table that fits in our kitchen! Thank you, Craigslist.

— 2 —

I’ve also been going through – finally – our boxes of stuff to get rid of. There were several boxes of donations that finally made it out the door, and I’ve Craiglisted and eBayed a few other things. I can probably get more money out of eBay, and I know there are some people out there who practically make a living from selling on eBay, but I have to say I don’t like it. Craigslist is faster and there’s no fees (or shipping!)

— 3 —

My sister is here for her Spring Break and she’s helped me do a few things around the house. We built the tumbler-style composter that had been sitting in our guest room for a year unassembled and I’ve had fun actually using it! We also enjoyed the couple of warm days and got outdoors to clean up leaves and let the kids play.

— 4 —

We also bought some paint remover because I am done scraping that tub to only have tiny splinters come off. The plan is to put it on tonight and then let it work its magic overnight.

— 5 —

Since yesterday was the first day of spring, we headed over to Rita’s for our free Italian Ice. Alisdair quite enjoyed his even though it was very, very cold:

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— 6 —

I also went for my very first run on Wednesday! Followed by a second one today! I am sore but very, very happy. I should start using my pedometer though. I know I am going over a mile (measured that out with my car a few weeks ago) but that might give me a better estimate of my distance. Just because I’m curious. :)

— 7 —

Here’s today’s weather:

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Go home, winter! You’re drunk.

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For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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