Friday, May 24, 2013

7 Quick Takes vol. 14

I'm not actually sure that's the volume number for my 7QT, but hey, we'll start there and maybe later on, I'll actually look up the number and correct it.

1. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the Oklahoma tornado.

2. This weekend is Mr. ADM's birthday AND he has the ENTIRE weekend off! This has not happened in months! And before that, I had to work weekends, so it was pretty much the same thing. We have birthday party plans for one of Matthew's best friends (LOTS of May birthdays in our neck of the woods!), hanging out, maybe the zoo, hanging out some more. I'm beyond ecstatic about this!

3. My dear sister-in-law just introduced me to this series of youtube videos. I haven't watched more than 2, so if there is anything offensive, my apologies. But from what I've seen so far, it's a good chuckle or 2 for your time. 

4. I spent yesterday evening braving something I would never do unless my life just about depended on it...and it just about did. We're having family pictures done this weekend. About 2 months ago, I thought I'd, for the first time in my life, not procrastinate and bought the boys a couple of matching shirts. They really are quite dapper in them and I was excited. My mom was with me to give opinions and we desperately tried to find something to go with them, but the one dress I found that I loved, the store no longer carried in Miriam's size. So, I decided I had plenty of time and went on my merry way. Until this week. Yesterday, I realized that I had approximately 2 evenings (b/c I work all day) to get haircuts for the boys and clothes for Mr. ADM, Miriam and myself. Mr. ADM was working late both last night and tonight, so I knew I had to suck it up and brave the public world with all 3 kids in tow. And brave the public world I did, with my mind only going insane on the inside most of the time. We managed to get through Once Upon a Child (they have a gated off play area that the kids love...even Miriam!), Old Navy (their carts only hold babies, so I could only corral the littlest one), and Target (THANK YOU for your giant-sized carts with the additional seating ones that feel like I'm pushing around a semi, but the novelty of it all makes my kids WANT to sit there). Only one mishap of Mark falling on the cement parking lot because he was goofing off and I was attempting to get him to act prudently and managed to trip over him instead. Minor yelling inside the car to get a point across and Miriam screaming off and on in Target for about 10 minutes before we made our way to the applesauce pouches, where they downed 3 a piece. But we ALL survived. 

5. I think I'm going to see if I can get my hair cut this weekend. Part of me wants to keep it long, but now that I know Mr. ADM loves it when I get an angled bob (he's usually opposed to short hair), I'm more tempted to chop it off. We shall see.

6. If you are looking for new material to listen to, I would highly recommend Fr. Michael Schmitz. Many of his homilies can be found here. I listened to a great CD from Lighthouse Catholic Media called From Love, By Love, For Love. Excellent, excellent talk! He breaks down thoughts so that anyone can understand and has a great sense of humor. 

7. We will soon have a bigger car!!! I'm SO excited! Some generous friends of ours are gifting us their old vehicle and my family will be taking ours, so it's a win-win-win. I'm so grateful for their generosity and this will help us out BIG time. Praise God for wonderful friends :)! 

For more great 7 Quick Takes, visit Jen@ConversionDiary.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Organizing is not my favorite thing to do.

Today is one of those days where my creative outlet feels like it's about ready to burst. I want to create! Everything! And I have no time and limited resources and zero energy by the time I get home from work. 

We live in a fairly decent-sized apartment, as far as cheap apartments go, but it's never enough room. I spent my weekend, attempting to sort through the main bulk of our mess - laundry. With five people, even the smaller ones (haha), needing to be clothed, it adds up quickly. Add that to my obsession with clothes and great garage-sale finds and I'm just a mess, or rather, my apartment begins to look like we're hoarders (see picture below).

Off I set on the great adventure to get ALL this (plus another bin and four garbage bags of winter clothes) into those 3 bins plus one more for the adult winter clothing. It took me an entire day, but at the end, I had a bin the size of these 3 combined full of clothes I'm selling/getting rid of. I felt so much better and these bins actually fit in my closet. My point? My next goal is to get my craft area back into business. I had one in our bedroom a while back, but it was still so unorganized that I got rid of it. Mr. ADM hates clutter and mess and I tend towards both of those, so I thought it'd just be easier on the eyes (and the stress levels) to get out the craft stuff when I had time. But I've found that with my machine not being out and available, I rarely go to it (not that it was that much better when it was, but a tiny bit better). I just need to REALLY organize my projects and I'm hoping that will help. So, that's my next step. 

This is what helped get me through the laundry mountain. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

7 Quick Takes - My Favorite Children's Clothing Brands

I am a resale-aholic. I am a consignment-aholic. I am a thrift store-aholic. Possibly even a garage sale-aholic. Let me say, it's very rare I buy any clothing brand-spankin' new, except for Mr. ADM. Something about men's clothing - either they wear through most of it or I don't know. It's just not easy to find anything besides ratty old tshirts and gigantic pants, most days. I did, however, score a couple pairs of Banana Republic pants for him at Goodwill. I was happy. $4 pants? Heck yes! Anyway, with second-hand clothing, you have to be picky and now that I'm on kid #3, I've found many brands I love and many of which I am not so much a fan. I am by no means an expert, but since I'm terribly sleep-deprived and surviving on half a brain today, I thought I'd post something light and cohesive. So, without further ado, my top 7 children's clothing brands...

1. Hanna Andersson - Before having a girl, I had heard only wonderful things about HA brand for dresses. They offer a decent variety of modest, simple play dresses for girls from baby to pre-teen. Since having Miriam, I've enjoyed putting her in these cotton dresses. I'm a huge fan of 100% cotton clothing in general. Rarely, do I put my kids in anything synthetic because of our skin issues in this family. The clothing is made of quality fabric and they last. It's not easy to find that with rough and tumble kids. The other clothing item we've enjoyed is their boys' organic undershirts. Matthew's gotten blood (not to be gross) all over them with his eczema and the stains have come out of them without even putting stain remover on them! I am in love :).

2. Gymboree - Pjs. I love Gymboree's pajamas. I buy their 100% cotton ones and they are good quality. They also allow for my kids to get their arms in the armholes. All pajamas today, pretty much, have really skinny arms for fire safety reasons. While good in theory, my kids must have extra thick arms because it's really, really difficult for them to get their arms in most pajamas. Not these. They are super soft and are adorable. AND Gymboree runs some great sales. It's not easy to find pjs in resales and garage sales without them looking completely threadbare, so I usually buy these new. I hit a $10/pair sale last winter and went crazy! I even bought the kids' matching ones (see below). They also have very cute, very child-appropriate clothing. Their girl clothing doesn't look like miniature teen clothing. That's a huge deal for me, considering I don't want my daughter to look like she's imitating a 16 year old, especially with the fashions that are "in" today.
Christmas in matching Gymbo pjs

3. Baby Gap - I love Gap for adult clothing. They provide simple staples that mix and match well. I've always had a fairly simple style. I love a good pair of jeans with a solid colored shirt and I'll be perfectly happy. So, we've gotten lots of pants, especially the boys' church pants that are Gap. I also love their dresses that are simple and delicate. Not too busy and very feminine. They also have great tshirts and polos.
Miriam in her Baby Gap, Matthew in Gap pants and Mark in a Gap shirt

4. Tea Collection - This is a brand that is fairly new to me. They have adorable cotton dresses. I have not tried out any of their boys' clothing yet, nor have I really come across any, but their dresses are wonderful and come in adorable patterns!

5. Lands End - Once again, adorable dresses! Can you tell I love dresses? I'm just thankful Miriam does as well! They wear really well. And they have great pants for the boys too! Durable and long-lasting. And they are not as pricey as some of the other brands (mind you, I almost always by second-hand, so I'm never paying the prices that I find way above my budget for most things).
One of my favorite dresses when she was this tiny.

6. Naartjie - Now, I am actually not a huge fan of the girl's side of this clothing brand. There are a few things here and there that make me look twice (in a good way), but most are just not my taste. However, last fall, I bought Matthew 3 pairs of their pants. When I bought them, they looked enormously long. My kids have exceptionally short legs. They inherited that from their mother. I figured I'd more than likely have to hem these bad boys, but they were in good condition and Matthew was in desperate need of pants. When it grew cold here, I had him try on the first pair and voila! They fit perfectly! They might have been a tad bit long, but not enough so that he wore out the backs of his pants, like he often does. And the elastic in the waist was not too big, so they did not droop either. They were fairly thin material, but they still have no holes in them and the elastic is in almost perfect condition. That is pretty impressive considering this household puts everything on high heat in the dryer for the most part.

7. Mini Boden - This is one of my favorite brands to dream about when I'm browsing websites or getting catalogs in the mail. They have incredibly cute stuff for both genders. And they cost an arm and a leg. So, I've been very excited to score a few dresses and some random shorts for the kids. High quality and cute and modest. And fun!
Mini Boden purple polka dot shirt

Honorable mention goes to Baby Lulu and Carters. Baby Lulu makes adorable outfits for girls, but they are pretty expensive, even resale. Still very feminine. My favorite winter outfit for Miriam was a Baby Lulu. Cotton, frills and flowers. Could it get any better? :) And Carters has cute dressy dresses and great onesies and sleepers.

Stop by and say "hi" to Jen @ Conversion Diary for more great (and probably deeper) 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Warm weather brings...lots of stripes?

The boys, enjoying the warm shorts weather. They obviously dress themselves most days. They love the stripes. And mismatched socks, which apparently are "in." They also love to wear them with sandals, which I swore I'd never let my children do, along with mismatched outfits (I thought I'd pick out stylish matching outfits before I actually had kids and then I thought, "I'll make sure all their bottoms are neutral so they can pick ANY shirt out and it'll match..."). Put that down into the "things I said I'd never do as a parent...and then, I did."
Miriam, multi-tasking. She'd take a look out at the yard, then put her hand in the water, then look back out and talk to the tree, then put her hand back in the water. Also, this is the cute, easy skirt I made her. Fits perfectly!

Matthew wanted me to take a picture of him, so he held up what he was playing. Note Mark's knee also in the picture. He has a current obsession with band-aids. Anytime he falls, runs into a wall, imagines he has hurt himself, he needs a band-aid. Thankfully, I got four boxes of the kids ones free recently, so, Mark, band-aid away, my son!

I love this picture because you can see Miriam's dimple! Love it! That and it's a pretty unique facial expression too.

This is one of the kids' favorite toys currently. I scored this little bee at a resale for $6. I have already gotten my money's worth out of this little guy.

p.s. I love that Miriam loves wearing skirts!