Thursday, February 28, 2013

Its the Little Things That Make My Heart Smile

Little C seemed to get pretty upset over The Lorax. As soon as the movie started he began to beg "Turn it off mommy! Mommy turn it off!" He wanted to keep watching it later though so I have no idea what caused the reaction. He did not scream it or throw a fit. He was very calm and collected with his request adding just a hint of urgency. He has also been playing this new game with me. He will lay on the couch and demands that I "Say wake up mommy!" So I do. Then he does this weird groany jerky thing, looks at me and says "Why did you wake me up mommy?" I love how silly he can be.

Little M began making some adorable faces today. He would put the back of his hand to his mouth then open and close it. I have no idea where this came from but he seemed to love that it had me laughing and would just keep doing it. Sometimes I swear he waves at me when I realize he is most likely just reaching. He also smiles with his entire faces now and it melts my heart every time. I do not deserve the immense blessing God has bestowed upon me.

The Hubs worked late again today. Here is it 10PM and he is still on the clock. He knows I have not been feeling well lately and did the sweetest thing right before he headed out to his last job. As I was sitting and watching TV with Little C, I heard a knock at the door. Little C and I went to the door to see who it was but all we found was a happy meal and some Fishy McBites for momma. He will never admit doing something so sweet (its the man in him) but it is the little thing like this that make my heart smile when I think of him.

Well  have tons of birthday pictures to go through so I can post a blog on Octonauts birthday decor. Who know how long it will take me :)

Good Night All!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Trying The 8-Hour Diet

Being the mother of a new little has its difficulties. The one that is weighing on me right now is weight loss. As a nursing mother I can not do a serious/hardcore diet or exercise to vigorously (according to my doctor). So what is a woman to do when she wants to get er figure back?

A few days ago i saw an ad for a segment being featured on our local news station. The segment was to highlight a new diet called "The 8-hour Diet." I did not feel like staying up for the news so i went ahead and did my own research. From what I can tell it is a very simple diet. All you have to do is pick an 8 hour stretch of time and only eat during that time. sounds easy enough. The tough part is you still need to cut out those things we all know we should not eat or drink but just can't seem to quit. No more soda or sugary drinks. Have to cut the sweets and watch your portions. The most appealing aspect of the diet is that you don't have to over analyze what you eat, just watch the portions. You also should not binge eat during the right hours.

The problem: a meal is going to have to be cut. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, take your pick. You can't have all three. If you have your breakfast at 7 am then your eating window closes at 3 pm. When your normal dinner time comes around you would have to do your best to skip it. We all know its hard to change how often you eat.

As hard as it seems to cut back it is definitely worth a try. I need to lose weight and there aren't many options open to me. After you factor in time, patience, and doctor's orders, there isn't much left to work with.  I am going to give this diet an honest try and increase my water consumption.

I'll check back with a new blog on the 8-hour diet after one month. Hopefully I will have good news and a smaller waistline.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to Remove Lettering From a Ziploc Bag

I learned a new trick while working on Little C's birthday party today.

I had just finished putting the last batch of marshmallow fondant in Ziploc bags when I noticed something strange. The lettering on the bags had partially rubbed off! It had to have been the vegetable shortening. My hands were covered in the stuff. So to test it out I grabbed a new Ziploc bag and attempted to remove the lettering using the vegetable shortening. It worked! And here is how I did it:

1. Take a small glob of vegetable shortening and rub it over all of the lettering you wish to remove.

2. Take a DRY paper towel and begin to rub the lettering off. (you will need to switch to another paper towel once it becomes saturated with the shortening)

3. TAH DAH! You now have a plastic Ziploc bag free of any lettering.

I have seen this done with nail polish remover but if your looking for a less toxic (or smelly) method then this is perfect. It's also much safer if you want your little one to help.

I Just Discovered the Harlem Shake

But it's just so fun to watch :P

Good Morning

How I feel when I try to sneak a quick drink at 2 a.m.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Day I Met the CEO of TurboTax

You know the old saying: Nothing is certain but death and TAXES. Today (and into the night) I had an interesting (to say the least) experience with a tax "professional." I use the term professional loosely because this person was far from professional.

I hit a bit of a snag when using an online tax service. Needing some assistance, I trudged through the endless links to finally get that coveted number they are so reluctant to give. I will admit I did have hope. In my heart of hearts I knew I would get a very nice and very helpful person on the line and they would ease my worries and fix this high-blood-pressure-inducing situation. Well, that was not the case. I got "Debra" if that really is her name. What transpired was something I never expected and highly doubt will ever happen again. 

I explained my issue to her and for a little while things were going smoothly. She did not seem to completely understand what my issue was but she was making an honest effort to help me. After about 20 minutes of misunderstandings she asked me to let her view my screen. Great idea. She can now see what I see. We're going to get this all figured out. So I thought... and I thought wrong.

I knew something was up when, according to her, I was going WAY too fast when navigating the website. Had she never seen the site before? She literally had to read everything it said. This amazed me. Wasn't it her job to know this site and help people like me with using the site? But this was not the thing that caught me off guard. Instead of politely requesting I slow my pace she had reprimanded me as if I were a disobedient, insignificant child. She huffed and puffed. Sighed and whined. Nothing I was doing was right. She would not hear reason, no matter how many times I explained to her that the form I was having an issue with was a 1099-MISC and could not be filed under "other income that is not on a W2 or 1099 form." After another hour of her arrogance I realized this conversation was going absolutely nowhere and she had no idea what she was doing. I decided it was time to end this and ask for a supervisor. Hopefully I could get someone else and prevent this type of thing from happening to another person. Taxes are stressful enough. I don't need this on top of it. Well it was not going to be that simple.

Apparently I was talking to the CEO of this company. According to her there was no one above her. They did not have supervisors. Customers just have to fill out a review. Why? If there are no supervisors then why are there reviews? Who reads these reviews? I made it clear to her that I was not born yesterday. Every company has management and I would like to speak to hers. That was not enough for her. She had to educate me. I can hear her now, "Ma'am, let me explain how we do things here." I humored her and listen to her try to convince me that unlike every other company this one did not manage it's employees.

After some more discussion she finally tried to contact someone (so she said). Eventually she explained she would have to transfer me to another department. I went along with this. Maybe if I could get someone else on the phone I could actually get something done. I waited, and waited, and waited... for nearly an hour. No one ever answered the phone. I did not even hear the classic on-hold music. I then realized my call was going nowhere. She had placed me in digital limbo. What do I do? Well I was not going to give up so easily. I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number again.

It did not take long for me to get through to someone else (we will call her K). I explained the situation and that, as we were speaking, I was still waiting for Debra to transfer my call. K was a nice change. She was helpful and seemed genuinely concerned with my situation. She even helped me cool off a little. She also confirmed my suspicions. They do have supervisors and she assured me that in 10 minutes I would receive a call from one of them. Lo and behold, 10 minutes after we ended our conversation I received a call from the "customer escalations" department. So much for not having a manager. She thanked me for actually calling back and not just giving up. I believe they were actually surprised that one of their employees went to such lengths to hide their lapse in judgement.

I probably would have left this alone or not have made so big of a deal of it if she would have actually transferred me to her supervisor. I didn't really get angry until she lied to me as if I were completely ignorant. Hopefully no one else will have to go through that. Then again I wonder how many people she "transferred" who eventually just gave up and ended the call.

Don't get the wrong idea here. I actually like Turbo Tax. The site is easy to use, the prices are fair,  and I have never had a problem until now.  Every company has that person that just can't get it together and really shouldn't be working in customer service. The point is they did not let this person ruin my experience with them. They wanted to fix this unfortunate situation and because of that I will still file my taxes through them.

At least I did walk away with one thing: a good story to share at the next hang out.. and of course here with you :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cloth Diapers - Adventures in Budgeting

When I found out I was pregnant with Little M I decided to find a way to save on disposable diapers or cut them out entirely. Not long after that I learned about cloth diapers and how to use (and wash) them properly. The problem I ran into was how to get around the high cost of cloth diapers. I know that at $15 dollar a pop you are still saving money in the long run but I did not (and still do not ) have $300 to drop on name brand cloth diapers. I did some searching and found some great deals on eBay (I ended up going with the Happy Flute brand) but recently I realized that Little M would start eating solid food soon and the poop would not be the same. I needed an easy way to catch the poop and transfer it to the trash without having to get it off of the cloth diaper. So I began searching online and finally found these:

At $8 (regular price) for 105 liners it was definitely worth a try. You couldn't buy 105 disposable diapers for that price so this is an awesome deal. So I bought them and I tried them.... and I LOVED them. Now that Little M has more solid poops, I can use these and not have to worry about scraping a mess into a toilet and prolonging exposure to such wonderful smells or possibly ending up with an even bigger mess. Before I forget to mention it, I believe the cloth diapers cost me about $4.50 a pop (that includes one cloth diaper and 2 microfiber cloth inserts).
You can buy these liners here: gCloth liners

When it comes to washing the diapers I have had a lot of success with Charlie's Soap:

It does not take a lot to wash one load. I have been using the same tub for 6 months now and just now need to buy more. One scoop of this soap and a downy ball full of vinegar in cold water (if the diapers are lined with plastic like mine are) and they come out nice and clean every time. I bleach the inserts a couple of times a week. I would bleach the diapers as well but that would ruin the cute designs and no one wants that :) I always hang the diapers to dry but the inserts are OK to put in the dryer. I made the mistake of putting a few diapers in the dryer and learned the hard way that this will cause the plastic to separate from the diaper (then come the leaks). You can buy Charlie's Soap here: Charlie's Soap

I may be a little biased toward because I always find the best deals there. That could change one day though :)

Day One- Just Peachy

I had hoped my first post would be on a happy day and I could give this a good happy start but that is not the case. I woke up with a headache that Tylenol could not kill (causing me to hit that last nerve way too early) but since I am a mommy that means I still have to keep up the same pace as any other day. I log on to my work website to find no work. Great start. So I decide to work on some of my craft-sy stuff. I have this Harry Potter necklace idea stuck in my head and I NEED to make it. Every time I had an idea I would get an adorable interruption in the form of my nearly 3 year old, Little C. I think he has a stomach bug because I have changed way too may poop diapers in the span of just a few hours. He is running around like there is not a thing wrong with him and no fever in sight. Needless to say the necklace is not finished.

Little C's 3rd birthday party is this Saturday so I have been up to my eyeballs in party planning for the last month. Last year's birthday party pretty much bombed (cake messed up and I was completely stressed) so this year has to be better. He loves the Octonauts but since their merchandise is not available in the US I am crafting my own decorations. I will be taking a lot of pictures on the big day and posting them hopefully Sunday.. Let's be honest, that would be a miracle. Look for it Monday or Tuesday.

My mommy brain caught up with me this week. I would have sworn I had ordered some pull ups and cloth diaper liners (also some Muscle Milk for the hubs) from but apparently PayPal is crapping out this week. I knew something was up when I never received a "your item has shipped" email. Turns out PayPal did not go through and still will not today. This is a problem because I do not like to give my CC number to websites and I could not get those prices anywhere else. This is also the third time this year PayPal has decided to screw the pooch and ruin my day. Of course I will just try again tomorrow and not call anyone about it because I hate calling companies.

Back to birthday party stuff: One day I will learn to force my husband to help with things instead of asking and trusting him to do it. Forcing usually leads to him getting angry and saying he is not a child (exactly why I try to avoid this method). Asking never gets anything done. He always forgets or just doesn't bother. It also leads to an argument since he decides its better to lie and say he did it than admit he forgot. Well he forgets that eventually I find out he lied (sometimes in an awkward embarrassing way, especially when it involves reminding someone that they owe us money).

Today definitely did not turn out as planned (as it never does) but tomorrow I will at least get back on track with the Just Dance 4/Zumba 2 Wii workout plan.