What’s Cooking Tonight: Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

This recipe Joel has asked me to make for him a few months ago. I keep forgetting that we need to try it, so he suggested that I make it this week for a snack for our road trip to San Antonio.

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Toddler Appropriate Chores

When I first had the girls and was struggling to keep up with the laundry, cleaning, and other household chores as well as play and take care of the girls; Joel would tease and ask when do you think they can start helping. 🙂 He was only kidding at the time. The girls are now 4 months shy of turning 3 and the idea of appropriate chores has crossed my mind a few times. Not because I am lazy and do not want to clean my own house but because they like to help and they need to learn responsibility. So we have started giving the girls tasks to do around the house, while I am cleaning or cooking. It gives them something to do and they like that they are helping us. Here are a few things that my 2 1/2 year old twins do for “chores”:

1. Clean up toys
We started this process with learning to clean up after themselves. After playing with toys, they were told to clean those toys up. This was started right after they turned 1. We would constantly practice cleaning up our toys and sing “Clean up, clean up everybody, everywhere…” 1 1/2 years later they are still singing that song but not cleaning up as well as they should. Most of the time they ignore me or refuse to clean up there toys. So cleaning up toys is a work in progress.

2. Laundry Baskets
This is a task that they do together. They help me push the laundry baskets into the laundry room. Together they walk the baskets in. They help me dump out the clothes so that I can sort them. Then they take the baskets back to the room they were in. They love pushing the laundry baskets around and it keeps them busy long enough for me to get clothes sorted. 
3. Laundry 
They love helping with the laundry. They try to sort clothes but are way to young to help with this part. But once I have the laundry seperated, I allow them to put laundry in the washer or transfer it to the dryer. I am there supervising, of course. The girls love being able to help mommy work on the laundry. 
4. Groceries
They have a job of helping put away certain groceries. I have them put away their snacks in their snack drawer. They usually put one item at a time in the drawer which also keeps them entertained while I am unpacking groceries. This task sometimes causes a little bit of arguing or tantrums. They sometimes think they need those snacks right then and will get upset if they are told no. But usually they will put them away without asking. 
5. Make their bed
When we change the sheets or make the beds in the morning, they are in charge of putting their stuffed animals in the bed. They each have a certain way that they like to put their animals in their bed. They will wait patiently while I put the sheets and blankets in the right position, then they hurry to place their animals. 
6. Trash
The girls have learned to throw away their trash. After a meal they will take their trash to our trash can and clear their plates. We have a pull out trash drawer in our kitchen that they are big enough to open and throw the trash away.
7. Dishes
The girls are finally tall enough to reach over the counters. This is a good and bad thing because it means they can reach things on the counter. But it also means they can put their dishes in the sink. They are really good about finishing something and putting it in the sink. They have learned that dirty dishes go in the sink for me to clean. 
These are a few small tasks that make them feel like they are contributing when we are cleaning or completing household tasks. One it keeps the girls busy and two, they enjoy being able to help. If your little one is old enough and you are up for the challenge, this may be a fun way to start introducing responsibility. 

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Scentsy Saturday: Ribbons of Hope

I absolutely love sponsored items. Today’s feature Scentsy is the Ribbons of Hope Warmer in honor of breast cancer awareness. 
Ribbons of Hope Premium Warmer
Scentsy Description: 

RIBBONS OF HOPE SCENTSY WARMER PREMIUM

Is pink your signature color? When it comes to breast cancer, we never get tired of thinking pink! Help us spread a message of continued hope to breast cancer survivors and encourage early detection through mammograms with your purchase of Ribbons of Hope. This new design, inspired by our beloved 2010 Love, Life, Hope Warmer, features a fresh, trendy marker art design celebrating the iconic pink ribbon.
Proceeds from Ribbons of Hope support the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) in its mission of helping women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services. Scentsy will donate $7 from the sale of each Ribbons of Hope Warmer to the NBCF.
You can find the the Ribbons of Hope Scentsy Warmer at A Wickless World – Ribbons of Hope Premium Warmer.

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Friday Favorite: Snickers Bar Pie

Today’s Friday Favorite is a recipe that I have searched and searched and searched for…and FINALLY found it!!! When we moved here two years ago, our sweet neighbors brought us a pie to welcome us to the neighborhood. Being from a big city, I didn’t know people actually did that, so I was pleasantly surprised. This pie was one of the best pies Joel and I had ever eaten. She told me what it was but I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. The other day I was looking through pinterest and decided to search for this pie again. YAY!!! I found it!
**Tip keep the pie in the freezer for it to last longer.

 

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Top 10 Twinstastic Items For the First Year

In the first year there are a few things that made life a little easier for me. Having a baby is not easy and having two is certainly not any easier. So having gadgets or items that make life easier through those tired beginning stages of parenthood, is certainly worth having. This post is based on the things I found most important during the first year of my girls’ lives.  document.write(unescape(“%3Ca%20href%3D%22 http%3A//www.thecutestblogontheblock.com%22%20target%3D%22blank%22%3E%3Cimg%20 src%3D%22http://thecutestblogontheblock.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/find-joy-in-the-journey-now-free-blog-button.png%22%20border%3D%220%22%20/%3E%3C/a%3E”));

#10 Bouncers

When I registered, I requested 2 bouncers. I was very thankful to have two of them. From the time they came home from the hospital until they were about 6 months old. They loved their bouncers! The bouncers were used daily. The bouncers helped the girls nap during fussy times. Both Bailey and Brooke enjoyed the soothing vibrations and the music that played.

 

#9 Boppy Pillows

There are two reasons and two types of Boppy pillows that are useful in the first year with twins. There are single boppys, we had 2, and the twin nursing pillow. Boppy pillows are great for multiple reasons. For single nursing, the Boppy pillow supports a baby while nursing. The Boppy pillow was also a great way to prop the girls up on their tummies an dto rest in their Boppy between play time. As they grew older I used the Boppy pillows to encourage crawling positions. I would plae a toy just out of reach on the other side of their pillow. They would use the pillow as leverage to move towards their toy.

The twin nursing pillow is important for tandem nursing. It is large enough to hold both babies while the mother is nursing.

#8 Baby Carriers

Having baby carriers so that you can carry your baby was important to me. You need multiple hands when caring for babies. There are many different brands so choosing one can be difficult. We looked at several and compared them all before selecting the one that worked best for us. You will want to research before registering or purchasing because the options have changed in the past 3 years since we registered for our showers. We received two because we wanted one for each of us. That way we could each carry a baby while we were out. They have twin baby carriers but we did not get one, or even know about it before we had the girls. If someone has experience with these carriers please post in the comments section your experience with them for other moms.

#7 Extra Car Seat Bases

Something that we both wanted was an extra set of car seat bases. We kept one set in my car and one in Joel’s vehicle. This way we could put the carriers in either vehicle. This can be expensive because bases range on average from $35-75 each. It was really helpful when going day to day places.

 

#6 Dual Camera Baby Monitor

Having a baby monitor that scans multiple cameras has been a blessing for us. My girls are active sleepers so this has been something that we still use today. The baby monitor was something that helped me with the adjustment of them being in their beds. While they were in our room I could watch them from my bed but I was nervous, as first time moms usually are, about them being in their own room. With the dual camera video monitor I could, and still can, watch them at night and nap time which eased some of the anxiety of them being away from me.

 

#5 Twin Bassinet Pack-N-Play

This was very important for the first month of their lives especially. Many pack-n-plays now have a bassinet on top. When I was pregnant, there was only one brand that was designed for twins. It was bigger than most and was really helpful when we traveled. Even after the bassinet stage the girls could share the pack-n-play for naps, travel, and play time. Later we purchased an additional pack-n-play for when we traveled.

 

#4 Breast Pump

The breast pump was something valuable during the first few months as a new mom. The girls were preemies and unable to nurse. Many moms use the breast pump to increase their production of breast milk. It also allows for you to store breast milk for later times. Medela was the top brand after I had the girls. I rented one from the hospital. It worked much better than the one I had purchased. Hospitals will rent the machines, you will have to purchase any pieces that touch you. But it is a less expensive way to use an expensive pump.

#3 Double Frame Stroller

This stroller made my life so much easier after I had the girls. I had registered for a double travel system which included a stroller. I received the stroller at one of my showers but it was too big for my car and too much for me to lift in and out when we went places. The double frame stroller is lightweight and collapses to a smaller, more car friendly, stroller. This may not seem like an important item but the stroller is something I used every time I left the house with the girls.

 

#2 Lifetime Cribs

One thing we felt was a must have was the lifetime cribs. These cribs convert from crib to toddler bed to full size bed. We purchased two. The girls have slept in their own beds from the beginning. They really like having their own space. The reason we chose this crib was that beds are expensive. Having beds that could last throughout their lives at home can cut some of the costs.

#1 Table For Two – Feeding System

The Table For Two feeding system was something I found during my pregnancy. It was a must have that I recommend to moms having multiples. This table for two is designed so that you can bottle feed both baies at the same time. This was helpful when Joel fed the girls as well. The table for two is one of the more expensive items but worth every penny, in my opinion.

Table For Two

I hope this can help any moms preparing to register for multiples. Good luck with your little ones!

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Scentsy Saturday

This week I am featuring another new Scentsy warmer. This one is one of the most unique warmers I have seen. My sister recently purchased it and absolutely loves it. Today’s Scentsy Saturday warmer is the Parlor Lampshade Warmer. 
Parlor Lampshade Warmer

Scentsy describes this warmer as,

PARLOR LAMPSHADE WARMER

Infuse your space with the romantic glow of an Edison bulb. Smoky gray glass and a cement base add to the vintage ambience.
You can purchase this warmer here at A Wickless World – Parlor Lampshade Warmer.

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Friday Favorites

This week’s Friday Favorites are special toddler moments of my sweet girls. As I watch my children each day, I see how much they have grown. They watch and listen to everything their daddy and I say and do. Their favorite thing to do right now is to be just like Mommy or Daddy. They try to walk around in our shoes. They imitate me drinking coffee and how I clean the house.  They are becoming more and more independent with each day, leaving behind my sweet babies and emerging into amazing almost three year olds.
Bailey in Mommy’s heels
Brooke in Daddy’s shoes
Bailey Moment
This week we have been priming some wall in preparation for new paint. The girls absolutely love to help, which we think is so cute. So when Daddy was priming the walls in the living room, Bailey thought she would help daddy. She picked up her pretend mop and dipped it into the primer and attempted to prime the walls. Instead of just the walls, she primed her hair and her clothes as well before Daddy saw her. Luckily her hair and clothes were the only things that were white.
Brooke Moment
Brooke and Bailey dancing to “Let It Go”
This week Brooke’s focus has been on her best friend, her sissy. She calls for Bailey to come and be wherever she is. She wants Bailey to be with her every moment. She takes care of her sissy, making sure that she has toys and that she is having fun. When her sissy is upset she rushes over to give her a hug and a kiss to tell her it is okay. Earlier this week they were watching Frozen and Brooke had to have Bailey dance with her to each song. They would hold hands and dance in circles. PRECIOUS!! 
Bailey and Brooke Moments
Having twins does not automatically mean that they get along or love each other all of the time. My girls are no exception to this. But this week they have been so sweet to each other. They make food for each other, they share their toys. They are making sure that they take turns with each other. It has been a really sweet week watching them work and play together. Which is a HUGE change compared to the fighting and screaming at each other. 
On Wednesday they played together so much. Especially during nap time. Instead of sleeping they played with their stuffed animals together in their beds. They rotated whose bed they played in. We could hear them laughing and talking on the monitor. Although, we wanted them to lie down and take a nap, it was absolutely precious listening and watching them play together. 

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Book Challenge #7: Christian Fiction

I chose The Color of Heaven (Series, Book 1) by JuLianne Maclean for my Chrisitan Fiction book challenge book. This book is a very popular hit right now that I have heard is a wonderful read. So I couldn’t wait to start this book. 
Amazon describes it as
“A box of tissues should be included in the purchase price of this book…. I finished THE COLOR OF HEAVEN in a matter of hours, but I’ve no doubt the read and the lessons imparted through Sophie’s story will stay with me… probably forever. THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is an incredibly poignant and unbelievably gripping novel, deserving Romance Junkies’ highest rating.” FIVE BLUE RIBBONS – Chris at Romance Junkies

A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter’s unexpected illness and her husband’s shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold dark depths of the water, a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie’s past, and teaches her what it means to truly live…and love. Full of surprising twists and turns and a near-death experience that will leave you breathless, this story is not to be missed. Print edition includes a Bookclub Discussion Guide.
“A gripping, emotional tale you’ll want to read in one sitting.” – New York Times bestselling author, Julia London
“Brilliantly poignant mainstream tale.” – 4 ½ starred review, Romantic Times
Other books in this series:
Book One: THE COLOR OF HEAVEN
Book Two: THE COLOR OF DESTINY
Book Three: THE COLOR OF HOPE
Book Four: THE COLOR OF A DREAM
Book Five: THE COLOR OF A MEMORY
Book Six: THE COLOR OF LOVE
Book Seven: THE COLOR OF THE SEASON
Book Eight: THE COLOR OF JOY

“Full of high emotional moments and unexpected twists and turns, these Color of Heaven books are impossible to put down.” – New York Times bestselling author, Emily March
Once again, I started this book not fully reading the description so I was a bit caught off guard as I began the first few chapters. Having recently been through a traumatic experience where I almost lost my own daughter, I felt every emotion that this Julianne Maclean describes in this book. All of the emotions from our traumatic story, you can read about here Love My Life With Twins: A Mother’s Nightmare, came back to the surface.
As I read this book, I was able to feel every single emotion that the author describes with this main character. I felt the joy, loss, anger, frustration, and more as I read each word. The emotions of her daughter’s illness and the hospitalizations struck me hard emotionally. I do not think I have ever cried so hard while reading a book in my life! I was truly touched by the emotions that ran in this book.
Then as I read about her husband’s affair, I felt more emotion, not at my own husband, but at hers. I was angry and felt like yelling or slapping him for his betrayal. There was so much emotion through the first half of the book that I had to stop myself to regain my emotions and center myself back to reality.
At that point I stopped and prayed. I prayed for how much the Lord had blessed me with, how He saved my little girl 6 months ago, and how He has given me a husband and partner in life that I know is beside me each day. Reading the first part of this book made me look at my life as such a HUGE blessing. So much could have gone wrong, especially in the past 6 months, but it hasn’t. Things can always be worse and this book shows that. 
 “Life is hard. It’s cruel sometimes. It’s merciless and unfair, but we all go through difficult times, one way or another. You have had more than your share of knocks, lately, I’ll give you that, but it doesn’t mean you get to quit. No one gets to quit. You keep fighting, every day, and sooner or later, the grief fades a little. You grow stronger, find joy again, and everything gets easier. You come out of it more equipped to handle the next wave, which will come eventually. There will always be waves.” -JuLianne Maclean in The Color of Heaven
This quote really touched me. I had to include this quote in the review because it reminds you to get back up. As she states, “There will always be waves,” it makes me think about my past, the moments I have had over my entire life. I have been hit with many waves, some that have knocked me down so hard that I wasn’t sure I would get up again. But her statement is so true, the grief fades a little more each day and you become more “equipped to handle the next wave.” This book makes you think about the life you have. The main character, Sophie, goes through so many traumatic situations in her life, things that I NEVER want to endure. In all the things that I have experienced, the losses, the sickness, everything… I have so much to be thankful for. That quote is something that I want read and think about each day because there are many things that will knock me down, but it’s just preparing me for the next one, so that I can handle it and fight through it. As one reader stated above, this book will forever be apart of me. It truly changes your perspective for the good that life has/is. 
This is a must read book. I think that it is one that you will cry through, so make sure that you have your tissue box ready. It’s a book that will make you appreciate your life and make you want to live it better each day, because things can be worse. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

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Bailey’s ENT Update

We went to Bailey’s ENT appointment yesterday to follow up. Bailey had surgery February 14, 2014 to place tubes in her ears. For the past 14 months we have waited on the tubes to fall out of her ears. Now, our original ENT retired in December so we had to start with a new one then. Bailey had a slight infection in December that cleared by her follow up in January. When he, the new ENT, saw her yesterday she had another infection. The tubes have not fallen out like they should have and her body is starting to reject the tubes. They are treating them as a foreign object in her body so the doctor has to remove them surgically. It will be almost the same surgery as the placement of the tubes except removing and placing a patch on the holes to allow her ears to heal.
She will have the surgery on a Friday within the next few weeks, I am not sure of the date yet. So, we are hoping and praying that she does well under anesthesia again and that this time her ears heal properly without needing another set of tubes. 

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Brooke’s Eye Doctor Update

April is our month of busy appointments. With dental appointments and doctor appointments, we seem to be somewhere multiple times each week. This appointment is one that seems to take the biggest toll on us. Since we do not have many pediatric specialists in our town, we have to drive two hours each way to a town that does have the specialists we need. Brooke’s eye doctor is one of them. Let me just say, she does not have an eye condition that makes her need a special kind of doctor. Our town does not have anyone that specializes in eye care for small children. Since Brooke was diagnosed with far sightedness last April, we make quarterly trips to Lubbock for her checkups.
This appointment was a good appointment. Her far-sightedness causes her to have a lazy eye, which is something we found out with this visit. Since having glasses, with the correct prescription, her eye has regained more control over the inwardness that was occurring before.  When she wears the glasses you cannot see the inward turn of either eye anymore.  She will continue to wear glasses as her vision changes through her childhood if not longer.
She currently is wearing her second pair of glasses in one year and the doctor believes we may get another four months out of them. YAY! If you have children in glasses or have ever paid for glasses yourself, you know that the insurance pays for one pair per year and in our case it’s not very much. So, being able to get a few more months with these glasses really is a blessing.

She will follow up again right before her 3rdbirthday, which is when she will get new glasses and probably a new prescription. 

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