Betty Crocker Wannabe has MOVED! I am now blogging solely at A Simply Klassic Home. I am still sharing printables, party ideas, and other inspiration. It's much more streamlined and clean. I hope you will stop by and say follow along there! I have lots of ideas for new printables coming this holiday season!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Allergies, Excema and Medical History in Adoption

One of the fears I have always had as an adoptive parent, even before Cooper arrived, was allergies. I realize that even with a bio child, there can be allergies that are unexpected, but with a child who was adopted, there is a lot of family history that you may not know. In my case, I know very little.

When a child is removed from the bio parents care, an extensive medical history is requested from the bio parents. Both parents were present to give information, but the BM was very unsure of her family's history. BD was a little more helpful, but still lacking quite a bit of information. So I have been constantly worried about what could potentially pop-up in the future.

Allergies & Excema, Part One:
My little guy had severe eczema as an infant. It was so bad that he got infections twice on his poor little cheeks, and required rounds of antibiotics. He would also get severe diaper rashes that turned almost immediately into yeast infections, requiring more steroids and antibiotics.

This picture was taken at his baptism, when he was four months old. See how red his cheeks are? That's after four days of antibiotics, and lots of this stuff:

Eucerin Calming Cream. It was recommended by the Dermatologist when the Aquaphor just made his condition worse. If you have a child with excema, this stuff rocks!

Thankfully, Coop seems to have outgrown the worst of it, but we still take precautions with his skin.

Because of the seriousness of his skin condition, our pediatrician suspected he would have allergies as well, so last week, finally, we had him tested. More about the results in my next post. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Summer Vacation

I love summer. I take a week off each summer and try to do as much as I can, even if it's local. It helps me to recharge, and "fill my cup" as Rick says (smart guy, that man of mine!). This past week was no exception.

I decided to take a week off from blogging as well, but now I'm back and ready to share some of our adventures. I spent a lot of time loving on this guy:

Waiting in line for Midway Mania at Disney's California Adventure

We spent a few days down in San Diego at Seaport Village and Sea World.

We forgot our Sea World tickets in the hotel room (oops), but we were able to get them reprinted (thankfully) at the Guest Services window, since they had been purchased online and were under our names.

We also spent a couple of days enjoying our Disneyland Resort Annual Passes. We spent time at both parks, and Cooper got to do several NEW things - like Pirates of the Caribbean, and Midway Mania!

All through the rides, he kept saying "Mommy, this is fun!" with a huge smile on his face. Melted my heart, and I was so grateful to be able to take the time off to spend with him. He is talking like a "kid" now, not just like a toddler, and before I know it he will be off to Kindergarten. Is it just me, or do the days go by faster when you have kids?

We ate lunch on the Seal Beach Pier, had a few playdates and had some 3rd birthday photos done. I'll post some of those soon. I've been spending some time getting things together for the big birthday party. I'm so excited and can't wait to share the whole party with you!

What did you do on your summer vacation?

Posts coming up: Birthday photos, Allergies, and Adoption Fears...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walt Disney World Wednesdays at Babes in Disneyland

I'm guest posting today and next week about some of my experiences with Walt Disney World over at Babes in Disneyland. Come check it out!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Purging, Organizing, and Basic Housekeeping Routines That Make Me Happy

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done? You work all day, or are with the kids all day, and come home to a messy house, dinner that needs cooking, dishes that need done, baths that need to be taken, floors need swept, laundry, and the list goes on. Oh, and let's not a child/children and significant other who require your constant attention. I have been feeling overwhelmed quite a bit lately; I look around my house and I just want to cry because nothing is perfect.

But here's what I have learned: It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to look like all of those beautiful homes we see photos of on blogs every day. No one's home looks like that all of the time. It's called STAGING.

I need to start learning to be happy with my home just like it is. There are a few things I can do to make that happen.

Here are my goals:
1. Purge: I've read a few suggestions on ways to go about this-
- Throw out (trash, donate or garage sale) five things each day.
- Spend 30 minutes going room to room filling a large trash bag. This is for trash only. You can set aside items to donate, but focus mainly on items that won't be reusable. The hardest part - don't think about it, just do it! Set a timer for 30 minutes to help keep you going. Then go back in a week or so and do the same with donations.
- Just go for it. Go room to room, spend hours, or days if you need to.
I think the first two sound pretty doable. I think I'm going to shoot for the second.

2. Organize
Work on one room per week, sorting, organizing, planning each room out. This may require purchasing tools such as boxes and bags, but I'm aiming to keep this a no cost activity. It doesn't have to look "cute" just organized!

I'm giving myself one month to get organized.

I already have several ideas for certain spaces, like the laundry room and pantry, to help keep them organized, but first the purging!

I also have daily goals. There are a few basic housekeeping routines I do each day to help keep my house lookng neat, even when I feel like it's a mess. Alltogether it takes about 30 minutes. And that's something I can live with.

1. Tidy up the Living Room - 5 minutes
Because in order for it to look like this,

I must do this:

I love the idea of having a large basket hidden away that I can toss all of my son's crap beloved toys in. We have a rather large playroom, but somehow toys always make their way into the common areas. Hmmmm...

I also fluff up the pillows.

2. Tidy up the kitchen - 15 minutes
I love waking up to a clean kitchen. It helps give me a fresh start each day. I make sure the dishes are done, dishwasher loaded, counter and stove wiped down, and the sink is clean. I also attempt to declutter the countertops, because it's amazing what accumulates there in a day!

3. Make the Bed - 2 minutes
This should be a no brainer! Having a freshly made bed makes walking into the bedroom so much more inviting and pleasant.

4. Room by room cleaning frenzy (adapted form the Inspired Room) - 10 minutes
I go room to room, picking up dirty clothes, and random misc. items and either returning them to the spot or at least the room they belong in.

Just spending 30 minutes doing these few things each night helps to make my home feel less cluttered and messy, and just makes me happier in general.

Do you have any basic housekeeping routines that help keep you sane?

I've got my evening routines down, and next week starts the purging...wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And Baby Makes Three Blogiversary Giveaway!!!

I have met some really cool people while blogging, but one of my favorites is Adriana at "And Baby Makes Three..."

Adrianna has a super cute blog, and an even cuter son, but she is also an amazing party planner. In fact she gave me the inspiration for my upcoming Carnival Party for Coop's third birthday!

She's been blogging for a year now, and is celebrating with an amazing giveaway - a $50 gift card to the store of your choice!!! I really don't want you to visit though. Because I want to win. *devilish laugh* But if you do stop by, tell her I sent ya!

Congrats Adriana!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Big Boy Room Reveal

Cooper moved into a big boy bed in February, and I *FINALLY* finished it!!

Here's what we started with:

 A not so eclectic mix of whatever.

And woods that didn't really match.

We needed two beds as Gracie, Rick's daughter, is with us on weekends. This posed a bit of a dilemma since the room couldn't be too much "boy" because a little girl would be sharing it.

I decided I would start with the bedding.

After much, much blog and web surfing I settled on bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. This was definitely a splurge, but so worth it. Their coordinating "Morgan" bedding made it easy to mix and match a quilt for Cooper, and a duvet for Gracie, since we already had a comforter for her. The sheets are PBK "Bedtime Stories" with animals reading story books - too cute!

And here's the finished space!

(Sorry I had to leave the railing on the's just too much of a pain to put back up!!)

The curtains behind the beds add great texture and height. Doesn't hurt that they were on 80% clearance at JCPenney! Yup, that's right, the curtains were under $10 per set! They also help to cover up the ugly blinds. Thanks to Wendy at The Shabby Nest for the great ideas!

The artwork above the beds is from Tiddliwink Designs, where you can find affordable PBK coordinating artwork. It was just $20 for four 8x10 prints! She designed it specifically at my request, since she didn't have the Bedtime Stories line on her website.

I made the headboards myself with fabric and batting from Joann's (love that 40% off coupon!) and pieces of plywood that I had cut at Home Depot.

The dresser was a Country Roads find, from my friend Kate's space. I love the element of shabbiness it adds to all of the new pieces in the room.

The lamp is another PBK piece, purchased with a gift card after Cooper arrived.

The "Wish" sign was on clearance at Marshall's.

All you Mommies know how much artwork comes home with your kids. Well, I've seen many ideas for how to display them out there in the bloggy world, but I decided to work with what I had on hand.

Nails, twine and clothespins. Works for me!

I also found these cute hooks at Ikea for $4. Perfect for hats and backpacks.

Now, for the best part of the room.

I present...

The reading corner!

This is my absolute favorite part of the room!!!

I wanted to keep with the Bedtime Stories theme, and since we have so many books (this is only half of our stash) I wanted a reading corner.

The shelving unit is from Ikea, and was incredibly easy to put together. The green chair was a gift card purchase from PBK. The Stitch artwork was a splurge from Disneyland right after Cooper came has special meaning to me with the adoption theme. And of course since Stitch is reading a book, it fits in with my room theme as well!

The rocking chair was mine when I was little, made by my grandfather when I was just a year old.

And the tree, oh yes, the tree.

A few months ago Gracie told me we needed a tree. I finally obliged!

I work for a church, and last week was VBS. The African theme was "Under the Baobab Tree" and our fantastic youth group created these amazing trees to decorate our campus. I called dibs on a few of the branches and part of a trunk on the first day! It's just crumpled brown kraft paper, a little brown paint and strips of green tulle tied to the branches.

Cooper was beyond excited. As I was stapling the branches up (yup, staple gunned to the walls and the ceiling), he was running up and down the hall yelling "Thank you! Thank you!" Not bad - an unpromted thank you from my three year old!

So there it is, Cooper's Big Boy Room! What do you think?



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Day I Met the Love of My Life

I've shared various parts of my adoption story at Wednesday's Walk; how I came to choose adoption, our finalization day and choosing the date, and the steps along the way. I haven't written a post like this in a while, so today, I'd like to share the most precious story of our journey.

The day we met.

November, 2007

I was waiting for the phone call, the one that said my baby was ready for me.

At birth, my son had been placed with a wonderful foster mother who had taken great care of him for the first nine weeks of his life. I had already had the presentation, received photos, and waited on pins and needles while a judge decided my child's fate.

I received the call from my Social Worker on November 19, saying that we were clear, and I could finally meet my baby. The plan was for me to go and visit with him the next day, on a Tuesday evening, and come back to pick him up and take him home the following day.

Monday night was filled with much preparation and anticipation. I washed bedding, set up the nursery, and bought an infant car seat and a few outfits, including a "Baby's First Thanksgiving" outfit, since the holiday was just three days away. My purchases were still in my car when I went to visit the foster mom's house the next day.

I barely slept that night, and just plowed through work the next day, as it was really NOT where I wanted to be. I even agonized over what to wear, because, you know, first impressions and all.

The thirty minute car ride to the foster mother's house, I just kept telling myself to breathe. I was about to meet my child for the first time.

When I pulled up, I realized my Social Worker wasn't there yet, and I was 20 minutes early. My heart was racing as I walked up the pathway to the front door and rang the bell.

A child answered, and went to get her mother, who came down the hall with an infant wrapped in a soft blue and white striped blanket. Tears filled my eyes as she placed the baby in my arms. 

"Here's your baby," she said, smiling; and to my son, "Meet your Mama."

I just held him and looked at him for the next 30 minutes until the Social Workers arrived. Like I mentioned, the plan was that this would be just a visit and I would come back and pick him up the next evening. The foster mom questioned the Social worker, "Why can't she just take him home tonight."

I don't think I took a breath for the next minute while the Social Workers pondered her suggestion.

"I guess that would be ok." That's when my mind started racing. Could I really do this alone? "Do you have a car seat?"

I told the Social Worker I had purchased the car seat, but hadn't even taken it out of the box yet. That had been on tonight's agenda! They set it all up for me while I just got to hold my baby.

I signed the paperwork, gathered up his belongings, said goodbye to the Social Workers and hugged the foster mom. We were off to start our lives together.

I remember praying in my heart as I secured him in the car, asking God for guidance, and above all thanking him for the most precious gift of my life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Five Question Friday and a Peek at My Bedroom

1. Are you a neat sleeper or a messy sleeper?
I think I'm a neat sleeper. I don't really know, as I am usually asleep. I do know that since I got my pretty new bedding, I sleep a little neater because I don't want to mess up the pretty! :)
I love it, 'cause it's all pretty and ruffly. I take care of it, 'cause it's all pretty and ruffly! The man says it looks like the lining of a coffin. What does he know?? See my cool new glass lamps? Read my answer to question #4.
Sorry for the lousy lighting. We have zero natural light in the room. One small window is taken up by an a/c unit, and the other opens into our enclosed patio. I'm getting ready to take a sledgehammer to the only free wall and knock out my own window!

2. Fill in the blank. I wish I was more ________________.
Wealthy. just kidding (sort of)
Actually, I wish I was more of an optimist, and less of a worrier.

3. What is something that you wish you had been warned about?

4. What was the best thing you ever found at a garage sale/flea market?
Not from a garage sale or flea market, but from the Goodwill...a friend found me a couple of gorgeous glass lamps! She topped them with burlap shades and they fit in quite nicely with my new bedroom decor.

5. If you could have any meal brought to you right now, what would it be?
A Breakfast Burrito from Alerto's. It's 10 am and I'm hungry!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When Random People Try to Help You Discipline

We've had a rough week, that boy and me.

The frustrations have been high and the screams high-pitched. We're battling naptimes, refusing them mostly, testing boundaries and pushing limits.

He sure is lucky he's cute, otherwise I might threaten to hang him up on the clothesline. (sidenote: I would not actually hang him up on the clothesline.)

He had one of his mini-fits in the grocery store again. He was sitting in the cart, yelling because he wanted to scan the eggs at the self-scanner and I wouldn't let him. The clerk came over and patted him on the head saying "Are you being a bad boy? You should be a good boy." I managed to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor and just looked at here like she was an alien from another planet (which I believe she may have been) and finished checking out. I didn't say a word to her, but wish I had.

So, here you go, Random Grocery Store Checker Lady: My child is not 'BAD' nor will I ever label him as 'BAD.' Children make choices, some good, some BAD, and that is what he's doing. It's up to ME as his PARENT to teach him the difference. And I will do so by example, not by harsh, deprecating words. His behavior is a choice, and yes, it is a BAD choice, but that does not make him BAD. It's certainly not your place, to tell my son he is a BAD BOY. So please, the next time you see a child screaming, smile at their mom, because she is doing the best she can. Don't make matters worse by trying to aid in the discipline of a child you don't even know. Thank you very much.

I feel much better now.