Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday

So this tiny talk actually comes from my oldest. Abby was eating lunch today and said to me, "Mom, I was smaller in dance class today. Usually I'm much bigger."

So I asked, "How did you get smaller?"

She said, "I think it's those vegetables. That healthy stuff from yesterday did it."

I about laughed out loud. She was as "serious as a bee" (as she oftentimes says).

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Got Sticky!


Today Ali Kate and I indulged in an Oreo dessert at lunch while the girls were away at preschool (we have a tendency to treat ourselves sometimes while they are away). Anyway, I let her have one oreo for dessert with her lunch, and this is what she looked like! She lifted her hands to me and said, "I got sticky." So I said, "I'll help you after I finish feeding Grant." She then screams, "You gotta clean it. I got sticky. It's yuck!" So we had to pause a minute and disinfect her, oops I mean wipe her down, before I finished feeding Grant. How one child can make this much mess with one cookie is totally beyond me. But leave it up to Ali Kate to make a gigantic mess out of nothing. She's the best at that!
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Those Eyes!


Have you seen a sweeter baby?
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The Woes of Diabetes


This was supposed to be a great picture of my little ones in their matching Easter outfits to send to my mom (who graciously bought these for the kids). We snapped a few photos on our way into church (lest we get paint or marker on our outfits during SS), but none were good. So after church we went back to the courtyard to try again. My rule? We only try for a few minutes....we get what we get. I never want my kids to feel like I'm being OCD or crazy about getting the perfect picture, so we are very laid back and only try for a few minutes. (That may be why I don't have any great photos of all 4 together....but getting four little kids to all look in your direction at once is asking ALOT!). Anyway, we went to take photos, and Abby just lost it. She started being rude to us and refusing to take any photos at all. Well, I was not pleased because these were to be a gift to my mom. So I told her to just smile for a minute and we'd be done. She instead stormed off and hid behind these bushes. She just started balling. A quick sugar check showed us that her being rude wasn't her...it was a dangerously low blood sugar that she hadn't detected. After some juice, she was a jovial, upbeat kid again (of course we were halfway home by that time). So we'll be wearing our Easter clothes another Sunday and attempting to get a good family picture. Poor Abs. She's a trooper for sure!
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Grant's First Easter


I can hardly believe that Grant's first Easter has come and gone so quickly. He will be a year old in less than a month. Where did this past year go? Time literally flies when you have little ones. I remember bedrest this time last year like it was yesterday. Last April I was holed up in my tiny old house in clothes that could fit a baby elephant stuck in bed and going to the OB about every 3 days for ultrasounds and fetal monitoring. Wow...a year ago!

Grant gave us some great photos like this one at Bellevue Sunday morning. Doesn't he look adorable in his bunny jon jon? Matt wasn't very keen on this outfit. I think it may actually be his least favorite of all of the clothes I've ever bought Grant. But you can only do this when they are little. He wasn't even one yet! I think he looks so innocent in this sweet outfit. The girls had the matching girl bunny dresses...too sweet. Grant enjoyed playing on the Bellevue lawn while Mommy snapped some quick photos. He's always up for a photo shoot.
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Easter Egg Hunt @ Getwell Road


Last weekend Abby and Isabella's preschool had a morning of Easter activities for the kids on Saturday. We headed over there and were overwhelmed by what a big deal it was! I think nearly everyone I know in Desoto County was there! They had face painting, tons of preschool games, the Easter Bunny, craft centers, bracelet making, a Bible story activity, and an Easter Egg Hunt. While we personally don't do the Easter bunny at our home (and thus didn't take pics with the bunny), we did have lots of fun making faith bracelets, playing in the wading pools, etc. The girls had a blast. Here's our whole crew after the hunt, all partaking of a little candy. That was Isabella's favorite part she said! They sat like this for about 10 minutes to rest after their crazy egg hunting (we just hoped no one ran off because they split up in 3 different directions!). We enjoyed the time together as a family. We then had to head down to Hernando to pick up Isabella's Easter dress which had FINALLY come in (I ordered it back in February!). A little drama keeps life interesting, right? We had a wonderful day as a family that day.
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Another cute frame!


So I have shared this with Angelina and with Laura H. Both adored it, so I thought I'd share it with everyone else! I had fun making this about a week and a half ago. I got so encouraged with the way this turned out that I went crazy buying more papers, ribbons, and gems to make even more! Yes, I think I'm on a kick! Matt says I'm dangerous with this crafty stuff....I think he's right. My dad was in town last week, and he bought me a jigsaw for my birthday. He taught me how to use it, and I'm so excited. Matt thinks I'm going to sever a finger, but I think I'll be ok. I have some crafty ideas in store that require a jigsaw, and Dad thought it was great that I was interested in woodwork...so I'll keep the blog posted when I dive into sawing projects! (probably in June after I launch my website and finish the party month of May...Grant's 1st birthday, Mother's Day, and my 30th birthday all wrapped into one little ole month!)
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Spring Clothes Shopping....Multiple Kids Mondays

So I oftentimes get asked by these sweet older ladies at church if I make the girls' matching dresses. The answer? No. I do sometimes make their hairbows, and I have handsmocked one dress for Ali Kate's birth...but that's it. I did buy a sewing machine a few months ago and have yet to learn how to follow a pattern and actually make something. But as I always tell these sweet ladies, " I don't know how to sew, but I do know how to shop!" So here are a few of my tips on affordably outfitting a small army! After all, I stay home and we have four children!

First of all, we always use hand-me-downs. Ali Kate's and Isabella's wardrobes this spring are probably 85% hand-me-downs from their big sister. They'll wear the better ones to church, playdates, etc...and keep the grimy ones for backyard play. Many are in excellent condition, so you probably can't tell these from the new clothes. As for Abby and Grant, they get new clothes (although I have for the first time ever bought some gently worn clothes off Ebay and been very satisfied with the exception of one Kelly's Kids dress....lesson learned....Don't buy Kelly's Kids second hand....their stuff fades and shows wear too badly).

As for new clothes, I am the queen of the Carters outlets. They run sales where the entire store is 40-50% off....that's when I go. I also go with a coupon in hand (usually another % off or a $10 off). I bought tons of clothes for like $300 a couple of months ago for all four kids. The cashier actually gave me another 20% off because I was buying so much! Carters makes the best playclothes (they hold up way better than the other playclothes like Target or Children's Place). The other bonus? They make their clothes coordinate (like Gymboree), so I can get my girls matching or at least coordinating outfits for the zoo, park, etc. (which I always try to do for safety reasons).

We also have a local favorite boutique called Itty Bitty and Co. They have some of the cutest smocked dresses, appliqued outfits, and other delightful finds....and they are always so willing to re-order to get my girls matching pieces. They've started carrying some more moderately priced dressy clothes, so we can buy them more since they cost less. The girls who own the store are fabulous, and they are great about letting me know what they've gotten in that they think I'll like. Great prices, wonderful service, cute clothes. You can't beat that!

Before Itty Bitty opened, I was the queen of Little Lambs and Ivy's clearance sales. I was the girl who got there at 10:00 the day that the clearance sales started so that I had lots to choose from. I always bought seasonal clearance for the year ahead, saving us tons of money on their nicest smocked and boutique outfits. Now that they are closed, I shop clearance on the websites of my favorite high-end brands. I got some incredible deals on some Remember Nguyen on their clearance section for this spring...very nice clothes for under $20 each!

I've also gotten into the new habit of stopping at consignment sales that have overstock of boutique clothes. These are new clothes that are priced WAY below retail. We've gotten some Anavini and other not-afforable brands for wonderful prices. That way I can dress my girls the way I love to dress little girls and still remain frugal!

Ebay has been a huge money-saver this spring. I have bought Grant so many smocked jon jons for under $15! All have been in like new condition, and have arrived looking wonderful. You probably can't tell his Ebay ones from his new boutique ones. While it takes some effort to buy on Ebay, it allows me to shop while they are sleeping (without having to make Saturday shopping trips that detract from family time) and at my convenience. I can't do whole wardrobes from there, but it does make a difference.

I also check many other online sites (many recommended by my friend Lauren Busbee who is a smart shopper!) for great deals on those nicer clothes that I love. I've found some unique items that way. In fact, I received the cutest personalized t-shirt I ordered for Grant off Etsy today in the mail...it's adorable.

Anyway, the lesson here is that I try to stretch our dollars as much as possible. I really have learned to shop smartly so that I can dress my kids adorably but without the ouch of the price tag! I oftentimes tell Matt how much I saved him...now he just expects that I found a bargain. Perhaps one day I'll be able to tell those sweet ladies that I did make their clothes...but time just does not permit right now!

If you want to post your clothes shopping tips or any other ideas about families with multiple kids, join our carnival. Link to your blog here....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shopping with Four Kids! Multiple Kid Mondays

Well, I am going to be brutally transparent and share what happened to the Stines Saturday night. Matt and I decided that it would be fun (and a little on the "wild side") to eat dinner out. We never eat out on Saturday night because that's the time to prepare for church/go to bed early/etc. Well, we had a free meal at Logan's near Wolfchase since we'd had an awful experience there a couple of months ago. Just let me note that our Saturday experience was wonderful! Much better. Anyway, so I have been in dire need of new clothes. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that my children dress lovely and I dress horribly! I've been pregnant for the most part from 2003-2008...so I have loads of maternity clothes and very few real clothes. And have you been shopping recently? Clothes cost a fortune! I'm very frugal (cheap), and I can't bring myself to spend $49 on a shirt...and that's a bargain at many places! I went in a place in Saddle Creek and saw a cute dress with a price tag of $250 in that store next to Gap. Are they crazy? $250 for a dress...that will eventually get some type of kid stain on it? NEVER! I want at least 5 dresses for that!

Anyway, we left Logan's and went to the mall (I don't really do malls...I am a boutique and online shopping kind of gal). But I love Macy's (INC, Style & Co., etc.). So we had to go to the mall. Well...we took all the kids in so that Matt wouldn't have to wait in the car. I think we've only taken our kids into the mall 2 or 3 other times in their lives (and never four kids). I believe in setting them up for success, and this is NOT setting them up for success. Especially nearing bedtime! But I really wanted some clothes and we don't have any nice stores near my home. So it made sense logistically. Well, they did good for a while...holding hands, being quiet, dancing in the dressing room. After I tried on about a dozen things, we decided on 3 items and got in line to pay. That's when we lost control. Isabella took off to look at some clothes. When I called her name, she took off farther. I chased her in horror. This is how kids get lost, kidnapped, etc. Thankfully, she made a circle and came back to Matt. (He was staying in line with the other 3 so that we didn't lose them!). Anyway, then she proceeded to have a meltdown and Ali Kate joined in too. Not pretty. In fact, the cashier even mentioned how wonderful Abby was in comparison to her sisters. Yikes!

I quickly told the cashier that I never do this (I only take all four of them into Target for quick runs where they are in a buggy and into small boutiques where we know the owners...and places like the Post Office that take only a couple of minutes). She then asked me how I shopped. I told her that I really don't shop much. Her eyes about bugged out of her head. I then told her that I shop online a bit and run out for an hour here and an hour there while Matt has the kids. It blew her mind that I'm not in the mall alot. Am I weird? I just don't have the time or the money to shop alot. I could have spent $3000 in an hour in Macy's....so I rest my case....I need not go there but once or twice a year except when I dart in to pick up makeup!

The lesson here? Don't take your kids on your shopping expeditions unless absolutely necessary. At least not all of them. This would have been totally different if I'd just had two kids with me...but four? Crazy! Carve out time to do your shopping and always strategize. I go to an "area" (i.e. Germantown, Collierville, Hernando, etc.) at one time and shop all the places I love in that area. Then I don't go again for a few weekends, sometimes many weekends. But I don't go all over creation in one time period. Stock up when you do shop. Buy it if you'll need it in the near future to save shopping trips! Learn from my adventure in Macy's....let the kids stay home and play!

Got any tips on parenting your crew? Link here:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh, that Ali Kate

Ali Kate is just a barrel of fun! That girl is absolutely crazy! I have the most fun with her.

Let me tell her ladybug story. Yesterday we were driving home from MOMS (so it's close to nap time and they are exhausted). Well, I was on the cell phone (yes, talking and driving...that's my best talk time unfortunately) with a mom from preschool. Ali Kate starts this hysterical screaming and crying. I just knew she had cut herself on something or was bleeding profusely. It was that kind of scream. I start peppering Abby with questions (you have to visualize this. I am driving on I240 at 65 mph. Ali Kate and Abby are in the 3rd row of the minivan, so I can't reach them.). Well, Abby tells me that she isn't hurt and that she doesn't know why she's crying. Then I hear "BUG!" Ali Kate apparently saw a ladybug crawling on her window and instead of wanting to play with it like I did as a kid, she was in complete hysterics. I had to quickly end my phone call and try to calm her down until we could reach an exit. We had to pull over in a very unsafe area off I240 to release this ladybug. She was screaming at the top of her lungs the entire time. What was probably 2 or 3 minutes felt like 100! By the time I pulled over, I didn't see a ladybug. So I told her that it was gone and eventually she calmed down.

That in and of itself is worth remembering. But it gets even funnier. We get home and have an Easter delivery from my mom. Bunnies, stickers, games, movies, books, etc. I let the kids stay up a while and enjoy their new gifts. Well, I neglected to mention that Ali Kate was wearing an adorable ladybug dress by Bailey Boys. In the middle of playing, she starts ripping at her dress and screaming, "Get that bug off. The bug has poop!" She was in hysterics again! Now let me point out that these are hot pink and lime green ladybugs (cute...not creepy and crawly). She starts trying to rip her dress apart as she screams about these pooping ladybugs. I was about to fall out laughing. I quickly removed her dress and let her play in her bloomers for a while. So then I began to wonder...was there ever a real bug in the minivan? Was it her dress all along? Am I going to have to retire this precious dress because it has ladybugs on it? Do I need to save up for psychiatric help for big Al? Just kidding on that last one! I may need to save up for me some help!

So there you have it. Ali at her finest. Yesterday was ladybug day for us. And even when she was asleep last night, she called out "bug" in her sleep. We had to calm her down and assure her that we'd taken care of all the bugs!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My newest project


Okay...so this has Lindsay Jones written all over it...girly, cute, and girly! Yes, I know I said girly twice. Lindsay, if you're reading this before Easter, you are definitely too addicted! Just thought I'd say hi to you on my blog!

So I decided that I'm going to offer a few non-stationery items in Duck Duck Goose Designs. I plan on offering 95% stationery items but a few personalized gifts such as this (I can paint your name on these to make it truly yours!). Anyway, this was my first attempt at these frames, and I thought they turned out fabulous! I plan on attempting some new designs tomorrow if time permits (translated...about 2 weeks from now!). Angelina shared a bit about decoupage with me, so I'm going to venture into that for these frames. I also have a few rabbits up my sleeve involving monograms for these too. I'm so excited!! For now, this lovely frame is a love gift to my Isabella for use in her cotton candy pink room. She wanted cotton candy pink, so she's got cotton candy pink!

Anyway, it's very late. I have to clean up my art mess all over the kitchen and get some sleep. Our days start early with our little man. Then the girls all join us about 30 minutes later. I do have tons to blog about Ali Kate and Isabella in the next few days (hair cutting, ladybug story, ladybug dress...jotting down topics so that I won't forget them!).

Too da loo!
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