Friday, March 27, 2015

The Pierogie Babies: Birthday Month! Age 3 and 1

The girls were born 2 years and a week apart in March. It was awfully convenient to be pregnant at the same time because I didn't have to change anything about my maternity wardrobe! I thought that I'd luck out and get to pass on all of Penny's clothes to Ruby, but no such luck. Miss Ruby grows more quickly than Penny did; in fact there are many outfits that they share currently. But the silver lining is that it definitely cuts down on dresser space to not have to have two entirely separate sets of clothes for them!For as different in size they are, their differences in personality are also becoming more evident.

Over the last year we've learned that Penny is very much a little version of my husband, Adam. She has the same complexion, his eyes and definitely his love for sleeping in. She has a very analytical mind and I could see an interest in STEM in her future.

When she was 2 years old she was still very much into all things Elmo. Since then she's moved on to being deeply in love with the princesses. Frozen was the thing in our house for a large part of the year, but her big cousin Ella expanded her horizons (and showed her how fun dress up is) so now she has equal love for the different Disney gals. Closer to her third birthday she started watching the show Dinosaur Train and has quickly learned over two dozen different dinosaur species and is really good at pronouncing the 4-5 syllable names (Argentinasaurus, deinosuchus, troodon, pteranadon, just to name a few). This is what sparked her inspiration for a dinosaur-fairy themed birthday party.

Much of this year was spent at home, keeping quiet and getting a handle on having two kids. We have had many adventures with cousins, friends and have worked on making sure she gets a good social outlet with kids her age too. In this next year I'm looking forward to getting more time to sitting down and doing "school work" with her, because that's definitely slid to the backburner.

She also had her very first hair cut, her bangs were just too far down into her face so I gave them a little trim. If you've seen pictures of Penny through the months, you'll know that this girl took a long time growing these precious hairs. She also potty trained at 30 months.

Some of my favorite Penny posts:

Miss Ruby is definitely going to give me a run for my money. She's definitely a trouble maker! She loves opening drawers, figuring out what's inside, manipulating objects and God help us if she doesn't get her way! For the last couple weeks she's been waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to bonk my head or push her head into my face really hard. I'm not sure why, perhaps it's teething, but when I gently tell her no.. she gets really upset! And she never cries at night! Then there's also the cute-but-not-so-cute times where she flops onto the floor and throws a mini tantrum. Those quickly pass and she's back to her bright-eyed-happy self.

My coping mechanism for transitioning to two kids this year has been mainly that Penny leads what activities we do for the day and Ruby is along for the ride (literally, babywearing has saved my life). Now that she is standing, walking with assistance and taking those precious first steps, Ruby is getting a say in what we do too. Now that spring is here we've been outside more often and she has gotten to be on the ground and she is really not entirely ok with this. I can't say that I blame her, for her entire life until this point she's always been up and away. Now I'm encouraging her to get dirty, play in the bark and dirt, touch the grass and feel all the textures. It's taking some getting used to.

She truly adores her older sister. When she wakes up from her nap, the first person she seems to look for is her. If she wakes up first, I take her to crawl into Penny's room and Ruby always exclaims with such glee when she discovers Penny within the sheets. They both play together (I caught them conspiring not too long ago) and even have those typical sister battles over the same doll or book.

Words are coming along, she's still sticking to "mama," "dada," "Nee-nee" (Penny), "this this" (when she points to something)"tickle tickle"and we're working on "book" and discovering body parts (she is very proud of knowing where other people's noses are). It seems that at the moment she is somewhat afraid of the water, there's some nights where she's really against going in the bath tub and during a recent visit to the pool she was really quite scared.

Some of my favorite Ruby posts:

Catch the moment: Week 8

Nurse Loves Farmer

Well, the last time I checked in was on Week 7. EEP! Well, the last 5 weeks have been filled with birthday party prep, a visit from my parents and then the recovery phase. HA! So now that life is back in order, I have finally caught up on my daily photo and am going to share these as I can.

 I love taking pictures of my kids sleeping. Sometimes it's super sweet, other times just plain hilarious. I always go in to kiss Penny one more time before going to bed and this is how I found her.
 The following morning, her sister was found sleeping like this.
 My baby is scooting along furniture now!
We pass the world renowned Skagit Tulip Fields on the way to my in-laws. The daffodils are early this year!

 According to Penny, Olaf was cold. "He needed a warm hug!"
Training this girl that hats are important! We took a walk outside for the first time in months where I wasn't chilled.

This morning called for a huge cup of coffee. And I mean effing huge. Poor Ruby is teething, zero teeth at 11 1/2 months, but she's slept for 10-15 min at a time for the last 2 nights. Times like these I am thankful for bedsharing, because at least I'm not up and walking to a nursery. I'm also much more thankful for the blessed hot cup that awaits me the following morning. We will push through, the teeth will come and my baby won't be uncomfortable any longer. Here's hoping for a new night.

Catch up on previous weeks: 
Follow along on Instagram daily!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Saving Money & Time on Children's Clothing with Just Between Friends

According to Baby Center, children's clothes can cost on average $20-50 per month. Isn't that incredible? I don't know about you, but $480-$1200 in just clothes in the first two years is not in my budget!

Luckily I am a deal hound and have zero qualms about buying used children's clothes, toys and accessories. Let's face it, most of the clothes that our children wear will not be used for a very long because kids grow so quickly! I love to shop around to find the best deals and I've found be best bargains and quality of used children's items at Just Between Friends sales.

Just Between Friends is a nationwide consignment sales event that features children and maternity clothes and gear. Each event is a local franchise and the items that are consigned come from families in the area. In the last 3 years that I've been shopping at these events I've spent less than $1,000 on clothes and toys for both of my girls! Because the wide range of sizes are available at these sales I am able to shop ahead for what I'll be needing in the near future - so I'm also saving a lot of time by having it all available in one spot!

The JBF consignment sales events focuses on selling items that are in great shape and are gently used. This round of sales will be my third time consigning and they really do a great job in picking out the clothes that are in the best quality. Stains on kids clothes is a part of life, but at least you can rest assured that when you buy them at a JBF sale, they'll be almost brand new.
I count myself as lucky because even though there are 9 locations for JBF sales in the Seattle area, the one closest to home right in my town at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, WA.
For the general public, these are the days and times you can shop for the JBF Everett Spring Sale:

Wednesday April 15, 2015
4p-7p PRIME TIME SHOPPING $15 Buy Tickets
5p-7p PreSale for First Time Parents/Grandparents, Expectant Moms, Foster/Military Parents & Teachers Get a Free Admit Pass

Thursday April 16, 2015
11a-7p Early & Free Entry with donation of NEW Socks/Underwear (size 4T to Teen) to our Charity DriveDonations accepted throughout event.
12p-7p Public Sale Day 1, $2 Admission Fee or Get a Free Admit Pass

Friday April 17, 2015

10a-6p Public Sale Day 2, NEW ITEMS have arrived, FREE Admission 

Saturday April 18, 2015
9a-5p Public Sale Day 3, FREE Admission

530p-7p HALF PRICE EARLY BIRD SHOPPING $2 Open to Public, items w/o a star are 50% OFF: Buy Tickets

Sunday April 19, 2015
8a-1p Half Price Public Sale, FREE Admission 

Plus, if you consign or volunteer there are several time slots that will get you shopping before the general public times, so I highly encourage you to learn more about how to consign with JBF. Also, if you have never shopped at a JBF event before, here are tips on how to shop at JBF.

JBF Everett and I have put together 4 fabulous prize packs that 4 Pierogie Mama readers will get to win!

Winner 1: Prime Time Shopping Pass (good for April 15, 4p-7p) + $10 JBF Bucks
Winner 2: Prime Time Shopping Pass (good for April 15, 4p-7p) + $10 JBF Bucks
Winner 3: PreSale Pass (good for April 15, 5p-7p) + $5 JBF Bucks
Winner 4:  PreSale Pass (good for April 15, 5p-7p) + $5 JBF Bucks
(JBF Bucks are good only for the JBF Everett Spring 2015 Event)

What are you looking for at the next JBF sale?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Just Between Friends of Everett. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Springing into Spring with a Carter's Coupon!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Well it's finally hit an average of over 50 degrees in Washington and I've started to cycle out our winter clothes and am opting for layering and lighter fabrics. We needed some spring sprucing of our wardrobes so I called my good friend Ann to come shopping at Carter's with me and we met up for a mamas-daughters date and met up at the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall in Tulalip Wa.

Our three year old daughters ran up and down the sidewalks in the outdoor outlet mall while Ann and I caught up. We live less than an hour apart from each other but life gets in the way and we just hadn't had a good in depth catch up in almost a year. So while the girls ran and oogled through windows we strolled, sipped our Starbucks and dished on the trenches of motherhood and how our families were doing.

And then we walked by the Disney Store without realizing it and were of course obligated to go inside and see what was there.

So after that whole mess we made our way over to Carter's, where the clothes were ahem reasonably priced and perfect for everyday wear!

I'm a big fan of Carter's but I haven't actually been to a real Carter's store before. You can find their collections at other big box stores and because they last so long they make great handmedowns. I was impressed with the great deals at this store! Plus, there were a ton of designs that I hadn't seen locally yet.

Penny is at the age where she is terribly picky about her clothes. I swear, she wore the same Frozen shirt for a week and I was only able to steal it away long enough to wash it. So this was the first time where I followed her around and listened to her talk about which outfits she really liked.
When it was all said and done, we walked out with a bag full of deals that will last both girls through the spring and as it warms up for summer.

Thank the Lord, there wasn't a fight about getting to wear said Frozen shirt to MOPS this morning - she chose one of her new Carter's dresses instead!

You'll find these deals and more at Carter's:

Tees and Shorts Doorbuster Sale lasts from March 11 – March 25
Easter dress up for boys and girls 
Swim suits are here!

Bring this coupon when you shop!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pasta Alfredo with Ham and Asparagus

This has been one of my favorite dinners to serve lately! My sister in law made a similar dish for us a few months ago and since then I've been totally craving it.

You'll need:
1 lb of your favorite dried pasta. Trotolle is my favorite for this dish!
2 cups of diced ham
1 bundle of asparagus
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper

1. Wash the asparagus and cut off the woody ends. Cut the remainder of the stalk into 2" sections.
2. Boil the pasta according to the directions. In the last 2 minutes, toss the asparagus into the pot and allow it to blanche with the pasta. Strain the pasta and asparagus when the pasta is al dente. Give it a quick rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
3. While boiling the pasta, give your diced ham a quick pan fry to give it a caramelized finish.
4. Heat a pan and gently melt the 1/2 stick of butter. Don't heat it enough to separate the butter, just for it to be slightly melted.
5. On medium heat, slowly pour in 2 cups of heavy cream and continually stir until the cream starts to barely bubble. Add the Parmesan cheese and continue to stir as it thickens. Keep control of the heat; if it gets too hot the butter will separate and you'll get a greasy versus creamy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Once the sauce reaches the process consistency, turn off the pan and combine all of your ingredients.

Buon appetito!


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