Friday, May 30, 2008

The solution

I have been looking for some sort of temporary clothes line for over a month now. We are renting and are not able to pour concrete to put up a traditional clothes line. Most temporary clothes lines are either flimsy, expensive, or need to be bolted to the house {not really an option}. I finally found my solution here at Ikea. It's made for indoor or outdoor use. It's pretty big and heavy, so I don't think the breeze can blow it over. And it's cheap! I love Ikea. I love just walking around that place. Anyone up for a road trip?

I love this place!

I love living in the Valley! I am so grateful that our family will be staying here. Henry and I went to Sherando Lake today with Emily, Caleb and Gracie. It's a nice park inside the George Washington National Forest. They have a beach area for swimming, nice camping sites, and great hiking trails. We went for the afternoon to play with the kiddos in the water. It was a beautiful day.
I couldn't believe how well Henry played in the sand. We are going to be spending 2 weeks of our summer at the beach, so this was great news! He was completely content hanging out at the water's edge. He only tried to eat a couple rocks :)
After awhile he decided to take a look around. He's such a people watcher {I wonder where he gets that from}.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Suits...Bad Timing!

We received a Lands' End catalog in the mail today that was completely dedicated to swimsuits and beach wear. I can't believe how cute the suits are and the selection is amazing! This is one of my favorites. I'm really liking navy this summer. They have a lot of "slimming" suits as well. I think it's funny how they put skinny mini ladies in these slimmy suits, as if they have anything to slim. I've decided that under all pictures of models in bathing suits, there should be a disclaimer stating if this woman has been 9 months pregnant before and how much digital editing has been done :)
So to the bad timing part...I don't know if any of you have been bathing suit shopping recently. These days you have to start shopping for a bathing suit in March or else you are left with slim pickings. It's kind of annoying. I don't know many people who are ready to try on bathing suits in late winter! I ended up buying a bathing suit 2 weeks ago and have already worn it. grrr. Why did Lands' End wait so long to send out their catalog? Bad Timing!

I've been eyeing this type of sandal for awhile now. I really like them and I think I'm going to add them to my wish list.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A hero among the devastation

There seems to be devastation all around the world today more than ever. I can't watch the evening news with the footage of Myanmar and China without tears falling. One beautiful thing that always comes out of these events are the stories of everyday heroes. Realizing that when people are truly needed, a hero appears in everyone. I had to share this story that I received through one of my yahoo groups.
Hundreds, if not thousands of children have been left without mothers and fathers after the quakes in China. It has been estimated that 50,000 people have been killed. These children are being sent to orphanages. These orphanages are not prepared and many do not have formula or powdered milk to give to the small infants. This Chinese policewoman had just given birth herself. She is now breastfeeding 8 orphans that would otherwise perish. Not only is this woman giving these children the gift of life, but she is providing these traumatized babies with the ultimate source of comfort. This woman is a hero and makes me proud to be a breastfeeding mother.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Sunday Afternoon

Week in Review

We have had a fun filled week! Henry and I went to Williamsburg in the beginning of the week with Grandma and Grandpa Swinson. We had fun swimming, relaxing and shopping. We even introduced Grandpa Swinson to American Idol...hehe. Unfortunately, I forgot to put the memory stick in the camera. I will post pictures and more details when I get them from Grandma's camera.

Wednesday was our 4 year wedding anniversary! Mike took me out to the Joshua Wilton House. Amazing food! We really enjoyed the time out. Thank you Lindsay! I think we are going to make this an anniversary tradition. Thursday night we went to an MS Foundation fundraiser dinner with some of Mike's co-workers. It was a nice dinner and a nice presentation. Thank you Emily! One benefit of having a sister that looks like you is that your children get you confused sometimes. When we got back, Henry looked at me and then at Emily and then at me. He seemed pretty confused. No wonder he was so upset that Emily wasn't feeding him!

We've had a great weekend. Mike got a set of golf clubs from one of his friends. Thank you Drew! We've been going to the driving range together, which has been fun and hilarious all at the same time. Mike and I have some improving to do! Church was nice today. Mike was called back in as the Venturing advisor. I'm excited for him. They are planning another big trip for this summer {some of you may remember the week long canoeing trip 2 summers ago}.

Henry is growing so fast. He is waving and saying bye-bye and hello. He says da-da and always looks for Mike when I ask him where his da-da is :) He has been cruising around the house for almost 2 months now. He's getting really close to walking. His personality is so fun! I love getting to know him. He really knows how to show love. I'm so grateful for my little man. Mike has been around a lot more now that school is out. We've had fun playing together as a family. I love watching Mike and Henry together. I feel so blessed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First Time Camping as a Family

A Family Photo in the Woods.

Henry had a great time helping to keep an eye on the fire

Henry continues to try new foods, let's see during the campout he tried some good 'ol sticks and rocks...and a little dirt also...

Gena was able to relax and read a newspaper

Henry loved playing and chewing on his metal cup.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

At what age...?

At what age will they give me kisses whenever i want them!

At what age will I stop taking pictures of my baby sleeping? He looks so sweet sleeping! He is so sweet.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cleaning Song Ideas

I want to start some sort of clean up routine with Henry. I like the idea of singing a "clean up" song, but the Barney song drives me crazy. Does any one have any suggestions? How about this one? :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Feel Good Song!

I'm a big fan of musicals, especially the happy feel good ones! Enchanted is a cute movie. But viewer beware...this song will be in your head all day :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cloth Diaper Comeback!

Back to my Earth Day posts....I think most of you know that we use cloth diapers. I'll be perfectly honest. When I decided to use cloth before I was pregnant, it had nothing to do with environmental concerns. My #1 reason for using cloth was my concern for my children's health. Also, saving a ton of money was a great bonus. It has only been recent that I have begun to feel that cloth diapering is very important for the environment.
Cloth diapering is really quite easy. Many people comment that I must be a super mom or something. I think those people are thinking that I'm using the same diapers that their mothers and grandmothers used. There are no rectangle diapers and pins in this house {though I know some people that prefer them}! There are dozens of cloth diaper brands. Some are in the picture above...clockwise from top left: bumGenius {a one size pocket diaper}, Bummis swim diaper, MotherEase {a one size diaper with a seperate cover...we use these}, and some prefold diapers.
There are also great tools available. These sprayers {similar to these ones at your kitchen sink, but much stronger} attach to the back of your toilet. All you have to do is lift the toilet seat and spray any solid into the bowel. And FYI, if you read the disposable diaper package, you are suppose to dump any solids into the toilet before throwing them away. Human waste is not suppose to go into landfills. It is dangerous for our water supply and wild animals.
There are many other "green" benefits to using cloth. Every child that uses disposable diapers puts 1-2 TONS of diapers into landfills. That 1-2 tons of trash takes 200-500 years to decompose. There are many great resources online that talk about all of the health and environmental benefits of cloth. You can find some here and here.

Weekend Travels

We went to Richmond this weekend to visit some of Mike's family. His Grandpa Bill had a birthday, so we all got together to celebrate. Mike's cousins were so excited to see Henry and Toby. We also went to Waynesboro on Sunday for Toby's blessing. We somehow missed the pictures, but I promise we were there :)

This is for everyone that tells me they don't know who Henry looks like. He's definitely a Swinson.

Henry is hitting his clingy stage. He was getting a little jealous when his Daddy was loving on someone else.
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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Good movies and a great recipe

I've seen some movies lately that I've really liked. My nephew, Caleb, is a big fan of Meet the Robinsons. It's a really cute story. I'm not a big Disney fan, but this one is worth adding to the library. It's about a boy that lives in an orphanage and loves to invent. He's trying to find out who he is and find a family. Very cute!
Becoming Jane is a good chick flick. I love Jane Austin movies {I haven't been able to read her books}. This is about her life and her love.
Dan in Real Life is hilarious! This movie was recently recommended by a friend {thanks Jesse!}. I was cracking up throughout the whole movie. It definitely doesn't help my fear of daughters though :) All of these movies made my cry, but I'm a bit of a sap.

This recipe is another great one from Cooks Country magazine. I made beef enchiladas last night for Cinco de Mayo. All I can say is YUM!
3 garlic cloves
3 T chili powder
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
1 t sugar
1 1/4 pounds top blade steaks, trimmed
1 T vegetable oil
2 medium onions
15 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped canned pickled jalapenos {i didn't add these}
12 corn tortillas
1. Combine garlic, chili, powder, coriander, cumin, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Pat meat dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Heat oil in Dutch oven over med-high until shimmering. Cook meat until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer meat to plate. Add onions to pot and cook over med heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and water and bring to boil. Return meat and juices to pot, cover, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer until meat is tender and can be broken apart with wooden spoon, about 1 1/2 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Strain beef mixture over medium bowl, breaking meat into small pieces; reserve sauce. Transfer meat to bowl and mix with 1 cup cheese, cilantro and jalapenos.
3. Spread 3/4 cup sauce in bottom of 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Microwave 6 tortillas on plate on high power until soft, about 1 minute. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture down center of each tortilla, roll tortillas tightly, and set in baking dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beef mixture (you may have to fit 2 or more enchiladas down the sides of the baking dish). Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and spread to coat evenly. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over enchiladas, wrap with aluminum foil, and bake until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese browns slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Do you think he likes it?

Henry got a new swing this weekend. Some of Henry's friends had some swings that they had out grown, so Henry inherited one. He loves to swing! He gets so excited...he kicks and squeals when we start walking towards it:)
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We have tried to reduce the amount of trash going out of our house and the amount of stuff coming in. My grandmother always had the neatest multi~colored cloth napkins when I was growing up. I remember picking my favorite color out when we would eat at their house. Up until recently, we just tore a paper towel in half to use as our napkins. We decided to go back to the cloth napkins that I grew up with. Not only is it good that we aren't going through a bunch a paper products, but it makes the dinner table a lot more interesting looking. I just throw the used napkins in with our load of towels. You can also find tons of websites {like this one} teaching you how to make them if you are a project kind of person.
We also switched to reusable shopping bags. I love these fruit and veggie bags, but for $100 I think I'll stick with my $.99 grocery store bags. It hasn't been an easy habit for me to get into. I have walked into a store a couple times now, only to turn around and go back to the car to get the bags. It's the only bad thing about not having an addictive personality...the good habits are as hard to start as the bad ones :) If we all purchase {or make} our own bags, plastic bag production will have to decrease {making plastic is very hard on our environment}.

Why do we buy so many things new? It's frightful to think of how many perfectly useful things are thrown into the Earth and buried. I was watching a video about how there are actually engineers that figure out how to make a product break sooner so you have to buy a new one. The trouble is making sure it doesn't break so fast that you lose faith in that product. Yikes! This time of year is great for yard sales. Almost all of Henry's clothes were bought at yard sales or were hand~me~downs. It wasn't just for financial reasons either {though I must admit that it's crazy how much people spend on a pair of pants that will be worn for 2 months}. It's fun finding the best yard sales. There are some houses in northern Virginia that we have a continual relationship with. I will continue the hunting even when my husband is a successful accountant :) We also let people reuse a lot of things that we don't want anymore. We either take our things to the local thrift store or sell it on eBay.

Breezy Boy

I think this is the cutest picture. We were outside yesterday afternoon and Henry was enjoying the breeze. So cute!
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