"It takes wisdom to have a good family, and it takes understanding to make it strong." - Proverbs 24:3

Monday, September 19, 2011

Moving day!

Head on over to THE NEW BLOG and catch up!

Toddler Valone will always be here, but going forward we'll be updating Twelve13.

See you there!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top 10 reasons I have been a bad blogger

10) I started a new position at work in the beginning of July and it actually keeps me BUSY during the day.

9) My company has blocked Google Reader. Somehow I have forgotten how to read blogs without it...

8) There are 37 days to go until our wedding. THIRTY SEVEN!

7) Our 2 1/2 year old. What the what? How did he get so big? And fast? And has he always had this much energy???

6) Then there's this surprise we got on Father's Day:

5) Which of course means we have about 6,000 doctor's appointments scheduled.

4) Which also means we need to get the above referenced toddler potty trained. ASAP.

3) And there's the big boy bed issue to attend to.

2) And my need to sleep. All. The. Time.

1) Finally, there's the nausea. Let's not even go there.

So, there you have it. You're all caught up. Does anyone know if you can hire people to potty train your kids? That's about where I'm at right now. And every time I go to address the toddler bed issue, I just fall asleep in it. We aren't very productive these days. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To: camp with a toddler

Make sure there are plenty of chairs for everyone.

Pack water shoes.

Bring a boat.

Slather on the sunscreen.

Take lots of hikes.


Catch fish.

Smile. Relax. Get dirty.

Enjoy the company.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shoes, cool sites, and saving money

First off, how awesome are these?!
They're wedding shoes. :)
79 days to go!
Let me tell you a little story about how I purchased them for 37% off without any sales or coupon codes.

First, Google's shopping search found them for me for $84.45 at ShoeBuy, which was the cheapest price online. Next, I went to Ebates to see if ShoeBuy offered a rebate through them. They did! 10% back! Not only was that awesome, but they also informed me that if I bought them on a Thursday and used EBillMe to pay for them, I would get another 20% back.

So, it's Thursday. I got online this morning to purchase my Navy Satin Nina Evelixas and first went to Ebates (in case you don't know, Ebates is a rebate site for online purchases-- it's FREE to join and you get a $10 credit just for signing up) and Ebates sent me to ShoeBuy.

When you create a ShoeBuy account, you get 10% off your first purchase, so that brought my $84.45 shoes down to $76. Since it's Thursday and I used EBillMe to pay (it's where you send them a payment through your bank's online bill pay), I got $15.20 back. Now the shoes are $60.80.

Ebates will give me 10% back from the original $76 price, so another $7.60 off. That makes my shoes $53.20. Just doing a couple extra things that took me maybe one minute to complete saved me $31.25!

Lessons learned:
1. ALWAYS go through Ebates before you make any online purchases.
2. Bookmark ShoeBuy for shoes and make purchases on Thursdays.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

You know how life is... not always going as planned and all. That's what happened with the most recent meal plan. Between an impromtu camping trip, dinner with a friend, and some schedule changes, we ended up missing a few nights. Luckily, that means I can repeat some recipes over the next two weeks from the last meal plan.

As far as the meals we did make, the Cheddar Turkey Burgers with Guacamole were hands down my favorite. The BEST turkey burger I have ever eaten. Even Matt loved it.

Here is the menu for the next two weeks...

Monday: Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Rice
Tuesday: Chinese Chicken Salad (make-ahead meal)
Wednesday: Lasagna Roll-Ups with green salad (meatless)
Thursday: Chinese Chicken & Broccoli over rice
Friday: Pizza Friday
Saturday: Baked Barbecue Ribs and Garlic Mashed Potato Cakes
Sunday: Yosemite!
Buffalo Mac & Cheese
Monday: Yosemite!
Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Wednesday: Grilled Shrimp & Corn Gazpacho
Thursday: Black Bean Burritos (meatless)
Friday: Pizza Friday
Saturday: Blue Cheese Portabello Burgers and Baked Parmesan Fries
Sunday: Date Night
Blue Cheese Portabello Burgers
Have you tried any great new recipes lately?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend in Pictures

Concert in the park!

Matt, AKA The Playground

Happy Father's Day!
Notice the shirts? Oak tree... acorn... get it? Possibly my best freezer paper stencil yet. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

How To: take a spontaneous camping trip

Thursday night Matt and I found out we would be toddler-free for the evening on Saturday. Here is a snippet of our conversation that night in bed...

Me: What do you want to do on Saturday?
Matt: Let's go camping!
Me: Yes!

It didn't occur to me until Friday when I was talking to my friend Heidi that that may sound crazy to some people. Here is a part of that conversation...

Heidi: What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: Matt and I are going camping.
Heidi: What? What do you mean? For the night? Like, you're going to set up a tent and everything?!
Me: Uh, yes!
Heidi: What a waste of a perfectly good Saturday night!

Granted, some people are just not "campers". :) I think there are a lot of people though, who want to camp but are overwhelmed by the thought of all the work camping can be. That is true. Sometimes. Here are some tips on how to enjoy a last-minute over-nighter in the woods and have it be relaxing!

Be prepared. I know, right? That seems like a lame one, but here's what I mean: make a camp box. Take a plastic bin with a lid and add the following...
  • Box of matches
  • Set of plates, mugs and utensils for each camper
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap (eco-friendly, please)
  • Heavy pot
  • Foil
  • Barbecue tools
  • Wooden spoon
  • Perculator
  • Instant coffee, tea bags and instant hot chocolate
  • Water bottle with a filter
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Wine opener
  • Can opener
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Notepad and pen
  • Poncho(s)
  • Rope
  • Clothespins
  • Utility knife
Store your camp box next to your tent, sleeping bags, lantern, propane, camp chairs, tarp and ice chest so that when you are ready to pack up, you can just throw everything in the trunk in less than two minutes.

Keep it simple. The food, that is. For this one-night camping trip, our menu consisted of hot dogs, cole slaw (you could just pick up pre-made potato or macaroni salad) and baked beans for dinner, s'mores for dessert, and muffins, instant oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. Assuming you had NOTHING in your pantry, here is your entire grocery list...
  • hot dogs (or, if you're fancy, chicken apple sausages... mmm...)
  • buns
  • deli potato/macaroni salad
  • can of baked beans
  • bag of chips
  • beer/wine
  • muffins
  • bananas
  • chocolate bar
  • marshmallows
  • graham crackers
  • instant oatmeal
  • orange juice
  • ice
Pack up your vehicle and head to the store on your way out of town. We ended up having everything we needed for this trip!

Pack lightly. If you've had a baby, you packed a hospital bag. Same idea here, people. Just bring the basics and don't freak out if you've forgotten something. Say it with me, "It's just one night." Um, hypothetically, if I were to keep an over-night camping bag packed at all times, this is what would be in it...
  • wool sweater
  • wool socks
  • flannel pj pants
  • cami
  • flip flops
  • shorts
  • swim suit
  • towel
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • brush and hair ties
  • sun screen
  • baseball cap
  • beanie
It all fits nicely in a small duffle bag with my pillow and water-resistant wind breaker secured on top. Since we are usually leaving late-afternoon after work on a Saturday, I wear jeans because it will probably be cool when we get there. Add to that a tank top, long-sleeved shirt, ankle socks, sneakers, and sunglasses, and I'm good to go.

Relax. Enjoy the drive. Play car games. Open up that bottle of wine as soon as you get there, take a few pictures, watch the sunset over the trees, and kick some butt in rummy. Or Go Fish. Your choice. :)

Next month's "How To" installment-- camping with toddlers... wish me luck...
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