September 4, 2015

Consignment Shopping Induces Labor

The Internet is full of ideas for how to naturally induce labor...Eat spicy food. Take a walk. There are all kinds of ideas out there, but do you want to know what really works? Consignment Sale shopping. Yes, I am here to tell you that consignment sale shopping induced my labor.

Let's rewind to last Tuesday evening when I headed off to my first consignment sale of the season. I wasn't sure if I would be able to go to any this year, but I decided to go to this one (even though I knew I was dilated to 2 cm. and anything was possible). I had been spending my days cooped up at home, and I was simply dying to get out of the house! 

This particular consignment sale is a big sale...held in a big building...a big building that doesn't have air conditioning...Did I mention that the sale is held in a big building that doesn't have air conditioning? Heaven, help us.

Upon entering, I immediately regretted my decision to shop consignment that evening...but I started looking around anyway. I found a few things...a couple of items for my boys, and several cute things for my soon-to-arrive baby girl...and then I saw the check out line. In the past, I had dealt with long lines at this sale. One year, we didn't return home til after 2 am. Yes, you heard me correctly - but in recent years, it seemed that this sale had gotten their line issues under control. Well, that evening...not so much.

I wasn't sure what to do. Put my cute items back on the racks and head home? Yes, that's probably what I was going to have to do. While I was roaming around contemplating my decision, one of the workers brought me a cold bottled water. I almost kissed him. I have never been more thankful for someone to notice that I was big...and sweaty...and miserable in every way. As I stood and chugged my bottled water, I crossed paths with another worker who I happen to know. In our conversation, she picked up on my panic regarding the l.o.n.g. line and she offered to take me to the front of the line. 

Oh, you don't have to do that, I said. 

Absolutely, she said. 

No, no, no! Don't worry about me! Half the women in here are pregnant, I said. 

Not nearly as pregnant as you, she said. 

I almost kissed her. I have never been more thankful for someone to notice that I was big...and sweaty...and miserable in every way.

After checking out, I made my way home...and before I went to bed, I sent this dear soul a Facebook message that read: Thank you! You saved my very life tonight.

Two days later, I went to my weekly o.b. checkup - My near death experience at the consignment sale had resulted in my now being 3 cm. (Are you uncomfortable with this centimeter talk? Warning: I'm not done.)

I wasn't feeling great....Getting around was a challenge. My joints were sore. I could hardly bend over. I couldn't lift my kiddos. Cooking dinner was not an option...period. I was done. My daily prayer was God, if baby girl is not ready, please give me patience to wait on your best timing...but if today could be the day she comes, that would be great.

The next day, I decided to hit another consignment sale. Why not?! It was against my better judgment to go...I felt terrible. Terrible. But my friend and I had discussed going, and I really didn't want to miss hanging out with her. So, we met up at the sale...each with a double stroller and a thirty-one tote...and we got our shop on! Thankfully, this sale was held in a building that had air-conditioning...but their line? Well, once again, I was faced with standing in a crazy long line. Fortunately, the line didn't take too terribly long...but I decided that we needed to go to Chick-fil-a so I could recover with a Cookies & Cream milkshake. I had earned it. 

The milkshake led to a slight sugar I made the trek back home and napped while my boys did. As we made our way through the evening, I started to wonder if something more than just 3 cm. was going on. Friends, there's no need to discuss these particular details. Let's just fast forward to my calling the triage nurse...running my symptoms by her...and her suggesting that I drive over to the hospital to be checked just in case...because it was my third time around the baby block

On our way to the hospital, hubby assured me that it was probably just a false alarm. We had been through false alarms he was convinced that we would be heading back home later that evening. My contractions were intensifying a bit, and as we entered the hospital, he said manly things like You're okay, just walk it off. (Wasn't that sweet?)

After walking it off, we made our way to triage where it was quickly determined that I was 7 CENTIMETERS!! YES, FRIENDS! S.E.V.E.N. Walk it off, he said?!

Do you know what a girl like me hears when the doctor says, You're already seven centimeters!? She hears, You are too late for your epidural. (I knew about all of the preliminary stuff they needed to do before they could actually give it to me.) 

Friends, I panicked. 



Totally lost it. 

Began to cry. 

Began to shake...and lose my breath...and quote the Psalms. 

Listen, I had been to 8 centimeters without an epidural before, and I was not interested in going down that road [or further] again. Not ever.

You may think I'm a wimp. You may think I'm a terrible mother. You may think I am an embarrassment to women everywhere. 

But listen...My birth plan included one thing: An Epidural! 

I had no plan B. If there wasn't going to be an epidural, I was going to have to go back home. Having the baby was not going to be an option. I literally could not face it. 

My hubby tried to call me down...Getting upset is only going to make things worse, he said. (This was the second time that evening when I almost strangled him.)

There was no calming me I implemented my not-so-subtle plan of telling e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. who came in my hospital room that I needed the epidural immediately. When will my epidural arrive? How much longer until I receive my epidural? Where's the anesthesiologist? Is he in surgery? Is he on site at the hospital? Can I have his cell phone number? No one would give me a straight answer - including the housekeeping staff who had simply entered my room to deliver additional trash bags and bed sheets.

Finally, the medicine man arrived. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my entire life. I began to clap...and cheer...and squeal in delight! Yes, please stick me in the back with a giant needle! I love you, sir. You are my favorite person in the whole wide world. You may be wondering if I really said those things out loud. Yes, yes I did. 

It was the most beautiful epidural I have ever had. All three have been good, but this one worked perfectly. 

It was a full moon weekend (which I knew because I had been watching the date for 9 months!). The hospital was slammed, and I labored all.the.way.down - waiting on the doctor to be available to come in and deliver our little girl. A nurse popped in the room and said, The doctor says to go ahead and start pushing - She's right down the hall when we're ready for her. I will - once again - spare you the details - but let's just say, no pushing took place. 

The nurse immediately yelled for the doctor. 

The doctor ran in and yelled to the nurse Get me some gloves before the baby hits the floor. 
(Such comforting words that every mother wants to hear.)

And seconds later, I was holding the sweetest little baby girl in the world. 

I immediately noticed how tiny she seemed! My first baby was 9 lbs. 6. oz. My second baby was 10 lbs. 4 oz. This little gal entered the world at 7 lbs. 7 oz. We still can't get over the difference! She is actually wearing newborn diapers...and newborn clothes! 

Born a couple of weeks before her due date, she has completely stolen our hearts. We are so thankful for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby girl...

...and for epidurals...

...and full moons...

...and consignment sales.

September 3, 2015

Painting with Cookie Cutters

Painting with cookie cutters is so much fun and the options are endless when it comes to using them for teaching and learning:
Demonstrate to your child how to dip each cookie cutter in an appropriate amount of paint. 
*For this activity, we usually put paint out on paper plates or small foil pans.* 

Allow them to dip & stamp.
*White drawing paper or construction paper works great for this activity. 





Seasonal Designs 

Grab any kind of cookie cutter - plastic or metal - and let them get started!

August 31, 2015

How to Purge Your Kids' Closets

Keeping up with my kids' clothes can feel like a full time job sometimes! 

Between finding great deals on items that they need, laundering their clothes, keeping their dressers/closets sorted/organized, purging items that need to go, transitioning out pieces my older one has outgrown and adding them to his little brother's closet...maintaining organization in this area definitely keeps me busy! 

Today, I am sharing my best practice for How to Purge Your Kids' Closets
While preferences will differ when it comes to how to tackle this, these tips have helped us be successful in eliminating clothing clutter and staying organized!
Purge Closets

1. Remove everything from the closet (or dresser)! This will allow you to take a close look at each item. Check for stains/wear. Check the size - Does it still fit? Do you/your child (depending on their age) love the item? Does your child actually wear the item? If they don't wear it or you find yourself thinking They might wear it someday. get rid of it: unless it is a size/piece you have purchased for a future season. (Read: How Buying Ahead Saves Us Loads of Money)

2. Think carefully about each item that you return to the closet/dresser. Purge items that are stained/worn. Purge items that no longer fit. Purge items that were gifted/passed down to your family that you/your child don't really love/wear - Yes, even if the item(s) came from grandma.

In the dresser drawers, there is a drawer for casual shirts, a drawer for shorts, and a drawer for jeans.
Keeping this simple makes it easy for my little ones to assist with putting away laundry and picking out their own clothes to wear. 

In the closet, I hang nicer tops/sweaters, dresses, and coats. 

*Your approach to this may differ depends on where you live (We are in the Carolinas where many items work year-round.), the size of your closets, etc.*

3. Make smart decisions about what to do with items you have purged:

My Recommendations
Return any/all recently purchased/gifted items that still have the tags - Yes, even if you don't have a receipt. Many stores will offer you store credit toward/or the option to trade for something you actually need. This is just one small part of How I'm Able to Dress My Kids for Free - and you can, too! (Read: How to Dress Your Kids for Free)

Sell higher end name brand items on eBay or another great on-line marketplace - new options seem to be popping up all the time! (Read: How I Earn Extra Cash from Home)

While I choose not to consign my kids' clothes, you may love this option! 

Have a yard sale! Now hear me out...I'm not talking about a yard sale where you practically give your items away - charging customers only $.25 or $.50 for nice children's items simply because you want to get rid of the stuff. There are ways for you to actually make money having a yard sale, and I would love for you to read my tips for how that is possible! 

Donate your items! Help a charity of your choice while also taking a tax deduction for yourself - It's a win/win for everyone! 

I love this tip from A Bowl Full of Lemons
Keep a laundry basket (with a trash bag inside) in your closet. Whenever you want to purge clothing, just toss it into the basket. Once the trash bag is full, it's time to donate!

A Little Encouragement: 
Keep few (if any) sentimental items. When it comes to purging items that are no longer needed, sell them...donate them...pass them along to someone else before they yellow...before they become dated/out-of-style. Release them - allowing someone else to enjoy the life that's left in them rather than you hoarding them for years to come.

Want to have a cleaner home? Own less stuff. It works every time. - becoming minimalist

August 28, 2015

5 Books I Plan to Keep

In Tips for Purging Your Home, I shared my thoughts on storing already-ready books:

We do not keep [very many] books (including completed Bible study workbooks, cookbooks, etc.). There are a few books that have literally changed my life. These [less than a dozen] books can be found on the bookshelves in our study, but all other books - after they are read - are purged. I may take a snapshot of any interesting thoughts, inspiring quotes, etc. but the books do not stay in our house. I do not take the same approach with children's books - We have plenty of those as they serve a very different purpose in our home.

So today, I am sharing 5 books that have had a powerful impact on my life...
5 Books that I Plan to Keep.
5 Books I Plan to Keep

1. It's Not About Me by Max Lucado

This book is all about reminding us that there is more to life than living for ourself. Max Lucado challenges his readers to a lifestyle that is very different from what the current culture embraces. This is a quick yet powerful read that I have always kept on my bookshelf.

2. The Fifth Gospel by Bobby Conway

This book is centered around the following idea: There are five Gospels...Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and You - the Christian. Most people will never read the first four. Wow!

3. The Zippered Heart by Marilyn Meberg

Several years ago, I read this book, and it impacted me in a powerful way! It deals with many issues that so many women prefer to keep locked inside. I have always so appreciate the real-ness of this book and have held on to it to read again in the future.

4. Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend

This book completely changed my life! The principles in this book revolutionized my way of thinking. As a result of this book, I left [most] of my people-pleasing habits behind and began to live with healthy boundaries in my life. I am a better for it! I can't say enough about the impact this book has had on me.

5. Weird by Craig Groeschel

If you have looked around and realized that normal isn't working, you will love this book and the challenge to live Weird. Powerful stuff, friends - Get ready for some major changes in your perspective and way of life.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!
Today I am sharing My Friday Favorites.
I am so glad you have joined me!

Did you see the Mr. Potato Head Birthday Party we threw for our little guys?

In the post, I mention the template that I used for creating the birthday party invitations. 

Jocelyn and Jason actually created this to use for a quiet time activity! On my printer, I played around with minimizing/maximizing the sizing of the original - until it was the perfect size for my invitations. The sky is the limit when it comes to all of the fun things you could do with this pattern set!

Have you heard of A2Me Preschool
Pre-school learning activities and monthly supplies delivered right to your door!

 A2Me recently sent me one of their kits, and I am in love! These kits are perfect for homeschool pre-school moms, but they are also excellent for supplemental learning at home - The perfect addition to any program! Here's a glimpse in to the package I received!
The organization...the fun ideas...they do an excellent job!

All of the work is done for you - the planning, the organizing, the gathering of supplies!
They've literally thought of everything...and every learner!
Check out their affiliate program!

If you don't already follow along with them on Instagram, I would definitely recommend it! 
So many great ideas~
This is where I originally connected with them, and I am so glad I did!
Click Here For More Details or to Place Your Order

Have you seen this book? The publisher recently sent a copy my way, and I am so excited about all of the practical ideas that Lisa shares for resetting your family's mood...even in the toughest of moments. This book is proving to be an excellent perspective-shift for me, and I am excited to share it with you gals!

I recently popped in to Burlington Coat Factory and found two gems that I couldn't wait to show you! First up, check out these adorable little puzzles by Little Golden Books. These are the kinds of things I like to put in my kiddos' Easter baskets. Sooooo, I'm stashing them away in my gift bin so they are easily accessible when it's time to stuff baskets next Spring. Can't wait!
Three-Pack of Puzzles Available Here

 The other gem I found at Burlington is this Coloring Book. It is gigantic...

It includes stickers...

It has a spiral binding that allows it to lay flat...It's genius!

This is the kind of thing I loved as a kid!

 This is also headed to the gift bin...but it may be a Christmas gift for this year. I haven't decided yet!

Have you seen these pens by Zebra? I love the colors...I love the smoothness in how they write...I love that they are retractable...I love that they do not leak all over my purse. Looking for a teacher gift or a fun stocking stuffer? (There I go talking about Christmas again!) These would be perfect!

Okay, one more favorite today! Have you seen these Attractions Books? They are definitely a favorite of ours! They are LOADED with coupons! We usually purchase them from a local kiddo that is selling them for a fundraiser. We typically pay $20 and we make that back (and more) time and time and time again. 

You can grab these for your specific zip code, and I promise you will be glad you did! 
I have enjoyed using Entertainment Books as well, but for our area, the Attractions Book is my top pick!

Check out the list of gals I'm connecting with today~