Monday, October 29, 2012

Bits + Pieces

1.Hair is getting long enough to do some fun styles!
2.Answering the door with her friend, on a play date.
3.Carly got a bad cut, but it was nothing a hello kitty band aid couldn't fix.
5.Decorating our pumpkin with markers, stickers, and crayons.
6.Sink bath. Only a couple more left before she will be too big!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food Friday: Very Easy Split Pea Soup

 It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday...

I now apologize for making you think of that terrible song. I will now make it up to you with an awesome recipe!

Split Pea Soup:

This recipe is so incredibly easy, quick and tasty! Mackynzie will eat an entire bowl of this, so that speaks for itself!

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bullion cubes (we use veggie)
  • 1 cup dried split peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. once boiling, turn down and simmer for approximately 45 mins. Blend with emulsifier, top with Parmesan or cheddar cheese, fresh chopped cilantro, or nothing at all and serve. That's seriously how easy it is!

OPTIONAL additional ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp curry
  • 1 tbsp turmeric 
  • 3-5 medium sized carrots (chopped in large chunks)
  • spinach added in last 10 mins or so

Happy tummies!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Birthday

Mackynzie and Cody's birthday was so much fun. Since we had already had their birthday parties, their birthday was calm, quiet, and tons of fun!

We do an all day, drawn out birthday at our house, so it started with waking up to balloons on the floor.

Then, before breakfast, she got to open one of her gifts from us ( baby doll. Girl can't get enough baby dolls).

We played and hung out until nap time, then she got to open gift number two from us (a bunch of animal figures.).

 We had a nice dinner together, did some more quiet play, and baked her birthday cake together. Then family came over to give her their gifts and have cake.

She also got to open her 'big' gift from us. I'm happy to say the guitar was and is a huge hit!


Right before bed she opened her last gift, which was new pj's for bed. (I had pre washed them)

Cody got gifts and cake as well. It was a really wonderful way to celebrate our sweet girl turning two and my wonderful husband; surrounded by the people who love them more than they will ever know.

The Miller's Go to the Zoo

One of the things we did to take advantage of Cody's time off, was visit the zoo. Cody hadn't been since Mackynzie was an itty bitty baby. so it was high time he went! 

we got to see some awesome hot air balloons landing on our way there. These guys are part of the hot air balloon club, which just makes me laugh! "...and on Fridays I have hot air balloon club." hahaha.

We got lots of looks and comments about Mackynzie's ride. We always pillow pad and blanket the wagon to make it super comfy. we didn't realize how amusing/surprising it would be! We just figured it was how we would want to ride on a cold day. It was a funny surprise non the less.

We managed to snap some somewhat decent family shots. Someone usually has their eyes closed though...

 I discovered this past summer, that I have a great love and fascination for meerkats. It's most likely from watching meerkat manner when I was days away from having Mackynzie, and laid around a lot.

It was probably the best day at the zoo we have ever had (Mackynzie and I go often.). Definitely going to be sneaking away for more family outings from now on!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Carseat safety: proper and Improper use of a car seat

 Most of you probably know this already, but I am a bit of a carseat junkie. I educated myself and became passionate about it when Mackynzie was only a couple months old; when someone let me know that we were not using her carseat correctly. I am forever grateful to the person that pointed it out to me, and now I do my best to pass what I know onto others. I snapped some photos of proper and improper harness placements while I was adjusting Mackynzie's straps for winter wear. 

Improper strap placement:

The photo above is a good example of one of the most common errors in child harnesses. The chest clip should be at armpit level. Having it lower disregards the point of it completely, and will not do it's job in a collision. 

Another common mistake, is having the straps twisted. Straps should lay flat and have absolutely no bunching or twists.

Along with the chest clip, I would say this is the most common and *extremely* dangerous mistake. Having the straps too loose. As you can see in the photo above, i can fit my entire hand (sideways) under the straps. Having straps this loose is a deadly mistake. This will NOT hold a child securely (if at all) in a collision. (even a small one.) 

Proper strap placement:

In the photo above, The chest clip is at armpit level, and safely securing the child. straps are also snug and flat.

This photo shows how snug the straps should be. I can NOT fully fit my two fingers under the harness while they are sideways. You want to test this above the chest clip at the shoulder and breast bone area. you could also test the tightness using the pinch test- not being able to pinch any strap between your fingers at the shoulder/breast bone area. ( I personally prefer the fingers under test, but both are valid.)

The above photo shows something even many safe carseat users don't realize  The straps should be coming out of the carseat at or below the child's shoulder for rear-facing, and at or above for forward facing. Also, the bottom buckle should come from under the child's bottom, or directly in line with the crotch. not ahead of the crotch area.

More important tips:

*Your child should remain rear facing until they have reached the maximum height or weight limit for their carseat. (whichever comes first.) see HERE for more details as to why. (not every child likes to cooperate while rear-facing. whether you and your child can tolerate and get used to it, or you turn them around early, is something you as a parent will have to decide. Be sure to be informed and know all your pros and cons. (and Myths!) about rear and forward facing)

*The seat belt and LATCH system should never be used at the same time. Use one or the other when installing your seat.

*When your seat is installed, you should not be able to move it more than one inch back and forth or side to side.

*You should not have any snow suits, winter coats, or bulky clothing on your child while they are in their car seat. Doing so does not allow the restraints to hold your child properly. The bulky clothing compresses in collision and your child can be thrown out of their seat. (see here for an at home demonstration.) Instead, you can place the child's coat on backwards after strapped into seat, or use a this polar fleece sweatshirt and a blanket while driving.

*Do not use an expired, broken, or worn seat.

*If a seat is dropped from as little as waist high, it becomes unsafe for use and must not be used for your child. (It can fracture parts of the seat, even hairline ones, and shatter, break, or come apart in a collision.)

*Because of the two reasons above, you should never buy a second hand carseat (unless you can know for absolute certain the seat is in it's best condition.), Or put your car seat with regular luggage when traveling by plane, bus, boat, or train.

*Another important tip is to keep all projectiles secured in your vehicle! Things as simple as a small toy or sippy cup (or your phone) could cause devastating harm to everyone in your vehicle in even a small collision.

I think I have covered all the bases. If I have missed any, please let me know in the comments below!
It can be a hard pill to swallow when someone says you are not doing something right, but if we just remember that we are all trying to look out for each other, and to be as gentle as possible when sharing information, their shouldn't be too many hurt feelings. It can be hard since everyone does things differently, but we have to remember car seat safety is not a parenting choice; there is only one right way to do it, so spread the word and let keep all our babies safe and happy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting our 'Spook' on

 I had planned to do another catch up post this morning, but I need to grab some of Cody's photos first and I forgot to! That just means I will post two of them tomorrow!

 Halloween is a mere 14 days away and I am not going to lie, I am having a hard time costuming everyone. We already had two costumes on hand for Mackynzie; one from last year and one that will fit this year/next year. you can see photos from last Halloween here. She took one look at last years costume and declared she wanted to be a chicken (I doubt she has much memory of last year.). We tried it on and what do you know? It still fits! Hooray! Her other costume is a fairy, but she has absolutely no interest in it. Who wouldn't want to be a big fuzzy chick? I think I am going to try and at least make us all animals (because pretty soon costume coordinating with mom and dad is going to be lame.), so I'm pretty sure I am going to be a cat. super simple. Now we just need to figure out something equally as easy for Cody.

 We are still deciding exactly how our Halloween is going to look, since being sugar/gluten/dairy free can be a bit challenging on a day full of candy. (If anyone would like to know how we plan to stay on track with our eating, and or more about our diet, let me know and maybe I will share some food stuff.)

In the meantime, we need to get some decorations up around the house! Looks like we will be in for a fun week of crafting!

Anyone else dressing up with their kids? Or have a super cute costume for your little ones?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New hours

I really dislike adjusting to new schedules. With a toddler, it feels like we are doing it all the time, but the one we need to adjust to now is the hardest yet.

 This will be our first winter with Cody's new company (technically the switch happened last December,  but things were still up in the air.) and they have a 'winter hours' policy  This is something we had never heard of prior to this, but apparently it's something a lot of American companies do. Anyway, this means that Cody will be leaving a little later in the mornings, but in turn, he will not be coming home until 6pm. Factor in the time he needs immediately, to shower and de-workify himself, we don't get to see him until about 6:30pm. That's approximately an hour and forty-five minutes later than we are used to.

 It may not seem like too big of a deal, but to us, it's a huge hurdle to work around. Mackynzie goes to bed between 6:30 and 8pm (depending on if or when she napped.) so that gives Cody a very small time frame (if any) to see her, eat dinner, and do his regular stuff around the house. Last night, for example, he brushed her teeth, brushed her hair, and got her pj's before his shower. When he came downstairs, she was already asleep.  The company tries to balance it out by not having him come in as early, but it doesn't mean a whole lot since everyone is still asleep.

 It won't last forever, but we have long  winters, so it's going to be a big balancing act around here until we adjust. I feel so bad for him.. he has to come home from a long day of work just to rush around and hardly see anyone. After Mackynzie goes to bed (time depending again) that gives us hopefully an hour to spend together and clean up. I am just realizing this post may sound whiny .. I hope not! That's not my tone about the situation, it's just new. And we have never had to deal with seeing each other so little in our entire relationship.

 It wasn't supposed to start until November,  but Cody was surprised with his new hours when he went back to work from holidays yesterday.

So far, we are just taking it one day at a time and not letting ourselves get down in the dumps about things. After all, we have a ton to be grateful for. At least we all get to see each other every day, no matter how short the time. Definitely gives me even more sympathy and respect for all the military/navy/rig work families I know. You guys are amazing.

 Plus, seeing this little face after a phone call with daddy makes me think we will adjust just fine.

Thanksgiving at Jamma's

Last weekend was thanksgiving for us. It was nice to have an awesome free meal that I didn't have to cook, between birthday parties.

Our thanksgivings are always short and sweet, seeing as we have a very small family. We went over to Cody's grandma's house which is just down the road from us. Mackynzie stayed on the porch swing almost the entire time (this kid loves to swing.), and only took breaks to color or do puzzles with family.

 I hope everyone (who is Canadian) had a wonderful thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Morning Walk

There is just something about a morning walk on a beautiful day... This morning I didn't realize how much I needed to get out and breath in some fresh air, until I dragged our butts out the door. Everything is always so calm and quiet. You pass the occasional person out jogging or walking, or tending their lawns, but it seems as though everyone is trying to maintain the peace and quiet of the morning.

It was so nice, we decided to take a long walk and stop at the park at our half way point. Of course, our furry friends were much more fun; I caught Mackynzie trying to smooch Carly.

And of course we can't forget Fynn. The one who doesn't have size and weight to his advantage, making him the perfect target for surprise scoops and snuggles.

Cody and I traded walking schedules a little while ago, so this was the first time in what feels like a long time, that I walked Carly. Cody usually bikes with her, so I let her take lots of sniff-stops for a change of pace. 

I really hope I can continue to take our morning walks. We are in week one of test driving a new daily routine; fingers crossed it goes smoothly and becomes habit!

Mackynzie's 2nd Birthday party

 Oh my goodness, it's been a while! We started having internet problems at the beginning of last week and so I have been internet-less for the past few days. I have so much catching up to do! We have had thanksgiving,  birthday parties, treats, family outings, and Cody has been on holidays this week.  I guess the easiest way to do this will be in order of events, so we will start  with Mackynzie's second birthday party.

 Mackynzie and Cody's birthdays were on Tuesday, but we had her birthday party on Saturday to make things a little easier. As I had mentioned before, in this post, we were not doing a big shindig this year. Unlike her first birthday, we decided to keep things very low key and stress free. We let her invite a few of her friends, and kept the party between meal times so we didn't have to worry about feeding everyone.

 I didn't get many pictures; partly because I forgot, and partly because I was too busy (we didn't have a photographer there this year haha. well, technically we did, but she was a guest!)

 We had fun making her invitation this year. It was one of the easiest things we could have done!

We spent the evening before the party prepping. Mackynzie loved making her cake replacement.

Since she only had a few friends coming, we kept things simple with a play tent, tunnel, foam pit, and a bird house decorating and coloring station.

She awaited her guests like this:

We replaced a cake with rice crispy treats to keep things gluten free.

We had put them into pretty liners, and I had checked to make sure they came out of them. They did. Then 20 minutes before the party I decided to double check them. They did not come off... So we hurriedly tried to get them off a few different ways before everyone got there. I decided to pop them in the oven real quick and thankfully they came off. What's a birthday party without a little last minute near disaster, right?

 Like I said, I completely forgot about photos, I really didn't grab any of the decorations, so I snapped these afterwards. Still not much, but you can kind of see them!

These are the little bird houses the kids got to color. They were different shapes and sizes, and they were a huge hit! Everyone got to take their bird house home and they were all so proud.

Mackynzie's friends were extremely generous and they all had a blast checking out her birthday gifts.

The rice crispy treat cupcakes were a hit with the kids, and with the paper crisis averted, it all went smoothly. We had so much fun celebrating her, and the relaxed feel of the whole thing was heaven to my hectic mind. We sent Cody out to dinner with his friends afterwards, Mackynzie crashed really early, and I got to enjoy pizza and a rom-com. It was a super fun day, and I think we did our job of making some great memories for Mackynzie.