Monday, February 23, 2015

The Very LONG Snow Break

Facebook Update: First real snow dump 
since living in Utah. Realized that I haven't 
missed it as much as I thought I did. Go figure. 
While Ben feels inspired to shovel, I feel
 inspired to sit by the fire, make stew, 
and read a good book. We all deal with 
snowy weather in our own ways
So my kids haven't been to school since Friday, February the 13th because of snow, ice, and heavy rain.  AND I had high hopes of them going back today, but it didn't happen... then I just got the call that it's cancelled tomorrow too.  Talk about cabin fever times 10!!  Four little guys trapped indoors for a week and half!  EKK!

On the bright side, we did get out once last Saturday, and then today... but it's been so cold, and 2 of my boys have had a stomach bug, that we have tried to stay in and keep healthy and warm.

I have been DYING to go out and run!  It's killing me!  The treadmill is getting old after a long winter.  Because of my asthma, I can't go running outside unless it's over 60 -- that's the temp that doesn't hurt my lungs for a week post-run.  And it hasn't been near that in a while :(

But I am a glass half full kind of girl and I am willing to take each day in stride... as long the kids can go back to school tomorrow, I will be a happy mama!

I am keeping myself busy so I don't go crazy.  I have read about 8 novels this last week.  I have cleaned the house many times over.  Been watching cooking shows on Netflix and have improved my cooking skills.  In fact, I made some gourmet-style Raman Noodles yesterday and they were pretty tasty!!  Of course, everyone loved them, except my 7 year old who wasn't impressed and said, "Mom, I used to love your cooking, but this just tastes weird."  The turd.

I also decided to try doing a foil weave on my own hair.
I've done many on my friends, but not on myself...

Turned out pretty good I think!

Oh, the things we do when we are trapped indoors.

Meanwhile, the baby is growing well, and will be for months this weekend!

And Ben is getting promoted on Friday, YIPPY! Congrats to him!!

Life is good... but it will be better once school is back in session :)


Sunday, February 22, 2015

6 Nuts in a Nutshell Coming Soon!!

I have had some inquiries about when I am going to change the name of the blog... And I am!  It's all part of the plan.  But I want to give the blog a new look a the same time.  So it's going to take me a while to get all the designing done and up.

So, it will happen :) Hopefully, sooner rather than later.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Congrats to the Winner of the FitBit!!!

For every entry I get for any contest I do, I assign it a number.  Then at the end of the contest, I use to pick a random number and that's how I get my winner.  I always try to be as fair as possible.

This time, picked the number 6, who happened to be....


Super congrats!!  And a BIG thank you to everyone who participated!  We had such and excellent number of entries... which means we are likely to get more cool things to giveaway in the future!  Yay!

Winner: please email me your mailing info so I can get your prize sent your way! nutsinanutshell(at)gmail(dot)com

A big thanks to Staples who let us do this!


Friday, February 6, 2015

DIY Baby Play Mat (Toy Stand) for $8!

The first thing people would say to me when they found out I was pregnant with my fourth boy is: "Wow, you have your hands full!" I don't get offended and I don't let it bother me, I just smile and say, "Yep.  And they are dang good boys too!"  Then they'd say something like, "Well, at least you already have all the stuff, right?"


This is the big myth about boy #4.  No, you don't have "all the stuff" and I will tell you why.

With boy #1 you have all your showers and family members and friends shower you with new stuff.  You can't help but load up on onsies and other cute stuff yourself.  And when baby boy #1 grows out of it, everything is "gently used" from clothes to toys to blankets and burp cloths.

Then comes boy #2, you pull out all your "gently used" items and reuse it all.  But by the time it goes through kid #2, it starts to become a little hashed... and definitely well used looking.  However, it's all still good!!  Right?

Along comes boy #3.  By the time all your baby stuff makes it through kid #3 it's garbage.  Total trash.  Clothes and toys are so stained and nasty even thrift stores won't accept them.  Jake doesn't even know that most of his toys used to work with batteries... Not even kidding, Crap.

Poor little #4 comes... and no one thinks to get the little any gifts, because hey, after 3 boys I should have everything right?  And a shower in this situation is taboo. Well, we pulled out our pack-in-play to see if it could be saved and found dead mice in it.  Yeah, GROSS!  The only clothes we have are those we got new with Jake -- some onsies and a couple PJ's.  I just have to say that I am very thankful for my neighbor who brought me a bag of gently used baby boy clothes.  She totally saved us!  We had to buy a new baby carrier, a new pack-in-play, a new crib... we still have a good stroller that a friend gave me with Jake.  But basically it was like we were starting with #1 with very little help.

I'm not complaining.  We feel extremely blessed.  Especially, having a blast finding new ways to save money.  One of the things we wanted was a new play mat for Jake.  Our last one had been trashed. But they range from $35-150!!  It's a total rip off.

Anyway, I was talking to my mom and she suggested I try making one.  So for about a week I mulled it over in my mind and came up with a design.  I went to Home Depot and got the parts and then Ben helped me put it together.  It turned out GREAT!!  And the best part, it only cost me $8!!!

I looked on Pintrest and have seen some homemade ones, but nothing like mine, so I feel cool.  Here is how you can make one and save a bundle!

8 Feet of 1/2 in PVC pipe.  (I bought 4 pre-cut 2 footers)
2 T connectors (1/2 slip ones -- not threaded)
2 90 degree Elbow connectors (1/2 in slip ones -- not threaded)
1 Insulator tube thing -- looks like a gray pool noodle (these ones came in a 4 pack for $3 -- but you only need one)
Something to cut the PVC
Optional: 1/2 in end caps -- I didn't use them, I used pieces of the foam noodle on the ends of the feet.

We left one PVC the two feet for the top.  Then cut a 1/3 of 2 PVC lengths off for the legs (we used one of the cut offs for one of the feet).  Then cut the last one into 1/3rds and used them for the other 3 feet.

We cut the insulator noodle up and slid it in place along the top so there there spaces in between so the toys wouldn't slide around.

Ben glued the elbows on and the bottom part of the T's onto the PVC... but we left the top of the T unglued so we could turn it and store it like this:
We also put chunks of the noodle on the ends of the feet so it wouldn't scratch our floor.

Now I think I might pop over to Hobby Lobby and use my 40% off coupon to get some of that cool designer tape and tape this up to look cooler.

But that's it!
It's sturdy (Jake tried to ride it like a horse and it survived), movable, easy to store, cheap to make, AND you can set it on top of any of your child's favorite cozy blankets!

Let me know if you have any questions!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hands Down, the Best Purse I Have EVER Owned!

I just need to give a shout out to R. Riverter Handbags.  A company founded by military spouses... which makes it ever cooler!  A few months ago they sent me a purse.  Handmade.  Gorgeous! I tweeted and Facebooked about it, but I am not sure anyone really paid it much attention... at least not the attention it deserved.  So here I am posting a much deserved update on my super purse.

This is the one they sent me:

Now, having 4 boys, I was skeptical that it would survive long.  Usually I have to get big clunky bags at Wal-Mart to withstand the wear and tear of being a mom of boys.  But this lovely beauty not only held it's shape, it is easy to clean off, has many pockets, it is also stylish... which is usually a luxury I can't normally afford.

So if you are one of those people who LOVE to support small businesses, and buy American made, you HAVE to check these purses out!


PS I forgot to add that there are a few criteria for a purse that I look for other than duribility.  The purse must:
-Fit a book
-Have easy access pockets for a cellphone and sunglasses
-Also can fit a kindle, a diaper, and some wipes...
-And also a few kids' toys without looking too bulky

This purse houses it all plus some!  Ben calls it my Mary Poppin's purse.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

From Head to Tummy: A Book Review

So we have already established the fact that I am behind on my book reviews.  Behind even on blogging, as it is.  But there is no excuse for my slacking on doing this review, especially since the author is a beloved friend of mine from my high school days.

Haley Hatch Freeman wrote a book some years ago about her struggle and overcoming anorexia.  It was an amazing eye-opener and so gripping that I read it in one sitting.  You can see my review here.  Recently, Haley has published a new book, a picture book for children and a guide for parents to teach their daughters about having a healthy body image. The book is called From Head to Tummy.
Now, having 3 boys, I don't know squat about raising little girls.  Even though I was one once upon a time and I have a sister.... life, social, and media pressure these days is like it never was before!  It's crazy!

I think this book ROCKS!  And I'm not just saying that because I love Haley to pieces, but I really think this book can make a huge difference in many young lives.

So if you have a little girl, you NEED this book!  You can purchase one here. Or you can check out Haley's website for more information.


Coming Home: A Children's Book Review

I hate feeling horrible.  And I do, right now.  I was sent a lovely picture book to review a few months ago, just before I had the baby.  It is called Coming Home, by Greg Ruth.  And I read it, I planned to review it here just before Veteran's Day, and then I had the baby and the book got lost under a stack of baby paraphernalia.  I just found it today.

So being true to my word, here is my review.
Coming Home is a beautifully illustrated book about the emotions of welcoming a loved one home from deployment.  Not a book of many words, but the illustrations tell the story better than anyone could describe with words anyway.

I loved the book, and my boys thought it was great too!  A must have for any military kid's book shelf.
And it even has a little unexpected ending.

So check it out!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Skinny Baby to Chunky Cutie in 3 weeks!

I want to start off by thanking all of you who send prayers our way for our little guy who wasn't putting on weight.  We all felt your love and support these last few weeks, I know they have helped because my little guy is now thriving and healthy!  Yay!

Three weeks ago at 2 1/2 months and 8 lbs 6 oz:

This week: (weight unknown for sure, but looking great!)

He's a precious boy and brings us so much joy!