A Present For Myself

When we got married, we were really fortunate to have been given a new vacuum cleaner as a wedding gift. It survived two different apartments and the first two years in our house. However, for the past year, it just doesn't seem to be picking up dog hair, dirt, etc. like it used to in the past. Kya sheds a ton, so this has been a huge issue! It has gotten to the point that I don't even bother vacuuming (I know! How gross is that?) because I will vacuum SO SLOWLY and take my time (despite wanting to rush to finish so I can move onto the next thing). Then, when I look at the carpet closely, I still see dog hair everywhere!

I have been reading reviews on vacuum cleaners for about a year...maybe more. There seem to be wayyyy more bad review than good ones. Dysons are expensive to purchase and often break down, so you're left spending more money to fix them. Hoovers and Dirt Devils didn't seem to fair well either. Finally, I was talking to my friend Beckie about my dilemma one day. She told me about the Eureka Boss SmartVac, saying that it is a decent price and that Consumer Reports rated it really high! PERFECT! I borrowed hers to try it out on the dog hair...I mean carpets...before we steamvac'ed them. It was AMAZING!! I got on my hands and knees and could only see like two dog hairs on the entire carpet. WOW! I was sold. I ordered it earlier this week from Amazon for under $130 and have been patiently waiting ever since.

After Noah woke up from his nap, I saw this beautiful package waiting on my doorstep:

This is when you start OOOing and AHHing! I took the pieces out of the box, and scattered them on the floor. Noah was clinging tightly to me. I think he thought it was a monster or something.

A few minutes later and VIOLA! Presto-chango...a beautiful, bright red vacuum cleaner! I know this blog really is telling of my stage of life. I used to get excited about cute new shirts, a great new movie, etc. Now, a vacuum cleaner really gets me going! :)

Of course, one of the best parts about a new vacuum is the HUGE box for Noah to play in for a few hours. Again, why play with toys when you can play with a big old box. I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all. :)

75% of Toys at Target...WHAT?

My friend, Rebekah, is always sending me different deals that are happening, especially ones related to Target. She finds out about most of her deals here. The website isn't the easiest one for me to navigate, but if you look in the right places, you can find some pretty incredible deals. Anyway, Rebekah emailed me earlier this week to say that Target was marking down lots of toys to 75% off on Thursday...and she noted to be there right at 8:00 a.m. I instantly got the Black Friday jitters all over again! Thank goodness I did get there right when the store opened because there was this lady (and her poor husband who was getting bossed around all over the place) who was just filling cart after cart full of toys! I'm telling you, these carts were filled with 10 of the same item, stacked to the ceiling. I said to her, "Oh are you buying for needy families?" She replied, "Nope, my husband and I own a business. I'm not that generous!" Can you imagine saying something like that? I felt embarrassed for her. They ended up renting a Menards truck to get the TWELVE shopping carts full of stuff home. They'll turn around and sell everything on Ebay and make a huge profit, but I just feel bad for all of the families in our community who really could have used a 75% off sale to help make their kids' Christmas, birthdays, etc. that much better while saving their family money. The poor Target people were sad, too, because they didn't even know about the deal until they came into work that morning, and they are not allowed to shop until their breaks or lunch. I always assumed since they worked there, they got first dibs. Sounds like it's just the opposite...

I didn't end up sharing the info with too many people b/c you always wonder if the sale will actually be there. I hated to call a bunch of people and then not have any good deals in the end. Well, note to self...the last week of July was a huge Target toy sale! I'll try to remember that next summer. :) You can find my deals below. While most of my deals were 75% off, you'll notice that some were a little less than that.

Easy Bake Oven Ice Cream Cone Set: $3.24 (originally $12.99)
Gourmet Cupcake Icing Set: $3.24 (originally $12.99)
Rub-a-Dub Pirates Bath Tub Toys: $5.12 (originally $20.49)
Refrigerator ABC Bee Hive: $5.12 (originally $20.49)
Cadoo Kids Cranium Game: $3.75 (originally $15)

Pixos Set: $4.98 (originally $19.99)
Moon Sand Play Set: $4.74 (originally $19.99)
Extra Moon Sand: $4.57 (originally $18.29)
Cars Play Set: $6.22 (originally $24.89)
Slinky Dog: $3.24 (originally $12.99) -- Noah will love this!!

Big Blast Gun $2.48 (originally $9.99)
Sonic Leapsters Game $6.22 (originally $24.89)
Puzzibits Play Set: $4.98 (originally $19.99)
Blue Care Bear: $4.24 (originally $16.99)
Pink Care Bear: $4.24 ((originally $16.99)
My favorite find was this wooden tool set! I can see why no one grabbed it. There was nothing on the outside of the box to let you know what was inside it. I have this love for wooden toys, so after trying to break into the box, which was completed tied up, I found that there were tools inside. It is originally $36.29, and I got it for $9.07!!! I was SO pumped! This will be a great Christmas present for Noah. I also got him a pair of jeans for $6.48 (originally $12.99), as he has grown out of his other pair. I also got one other item, but I can't write what it is or show a picture because I may give it to someone who I know reads my blog! :) Anyway, it is sold for $20, and I was able to get it for $5. How awesome is that?!
Total Value of Toys: $336.24
Total Spent: $93.01
Total Saved: $243.23
A great find was a Leapster Handheld Game System that was originally $50, but I found it for $12.50. Can you believe that?? When I found out my nephew already had one, I gave it to my friend, Jill, after she got to Target to do some shopping herself. Now that is a steal! :) While we'll end up giving several of these items to Noah, we also have our nephew's birthday party this weekend, so he'll get some of them. My mother-in-law will also give some of them to the grandkids, and I will give the rest of them to my elementary school to use as rewards for kids when they have good behavior. All in all, it was a successful shopping day!


Noah's Obsession

Noah has quite an obsession! At all times, he has to be carrying around some type of object, and typically, it is not a toy. Why play with cars, Legos, and balls when you can carry around a dish towel or a broom? Seriously. What is it with our son?? Thank goodness he is so social or I would start asking questions about the big "A". GEEZE! :) I tried to replace his favorite dish towel with a little blanket that has a stuffed animal attached to it. NOPE. Ryan even let him fall asleep with the dish towel last night. HAHA! Want to know what keeps my son from screaming in the store while I'm shopping? Eating a snack? NO. Sucking on a pacifier? NO. Holding a diaper? YES! So, in case you are wondering what to get Noah for Christmas this year, it sounds like a pack of dish towels, a broom, or some diapers will do. :) What a silly kid!

And for your entertainment, here is a video of Noah traipsing around the house with his friend, the broom. As you will see, he still likes to say "Dada" instead of "Mama", though he will say "Mama" when he is really fussy. Thanks Noah!


Sara's Baby Shower

Right before we left for vacation, my friends, Michella and Trish, and I (sitting on the couch with Sara) threw our friend Sara (the beautiful one in the pink skirt) a baby shower. J. Nash Crafton is due to arrive August 7th, and I can't wait to meet the little guy! Sara and I met while we were at Hanover, and I have always just loved this girl. She is such a free-spirit and is probably one of the most kind-hearted people I've ever met. Sara was one of my bridesmaids when Ryan and I got married, and she asked me to be in her wedding, last year, but I was going to be 9 months pregnant at the time. After Noah was born two weeks before his due date, Ryan said to me, "We can still go to Sara's wedding!" He knew it was just so important to me. Sure enough, we made it for the big celebration. Now just 14 months later, Nash is about to arrive!

The night before the shower, I drove to Madison to have some girl time with Sara and to get a few things ready for the shower. Living with two boys, I was due for some one-on-one girl time without interruptions! I think my favorite part of the night was grabbing Chinese food from Hong Kong Kitchen - my favorite take-out joint on the planet - sitting down by the Ohio River, and just chatting for hours with Sara while having dinner. It was just the perfect weather and exactly what I needed! Sara has been preparing to have Nash naturally, and so it is fun to talk about that whole process, as well as what's in store for her once he is born. It's amazing how many people say such discouraging things to women when they are pregnant. Whether it's about their weight, the assumed lack of sleep they will have once the baby is born, etc., those comments can really bring you down. I was so fortunate to have such an amazing experience in childbirth, so it's fun to share that with people. Although the first month was trying with breastfeeding and just getting used to a newborn baby, it's important to remember that that time of your life is so small in comparison to everything else. After what can be a difficult beginning for some, life just gets better and better with your family! People will even say horrible things like, "Your marriage will never be the same," meaning in a bad way. Who wants to hear those kinds of things? I really wanted Sara to know that she and Trevor will be the same people they are today doing the same kinds of things...except they will just need to add a baby to the equation. So, if she likes to hike and read books and go on dates, she will still do all of those things! Of course the frequency in which she is able to do them may vary, but she does not have to become an unhappily married, resentful housewife who watches day time soap operas and eats McDonald's all day. Yes, these are the messages other women have been giving her the past few months. I can honestly say that I really feel like my marriage is stronger than ever, my television is never on until after 8 p.m., and I rarely eat fast food. :)

My big project for the shower was to create these Baby Cupcakes from Hello Cupcake. WOW! I thought the Old Swampy was going to be difficult. It was NOTHING compared to these little guys. I needed about 20 different ingrediants, and it was just so meticulous. Thank goodness for my friends Lisa and Beckie giving me teddy grahams, Starbursts, marshmallows, and fruit loops to help put these little guys together. It was quite a project! When I had finished making them, I had a total of 15 cupcakes, and I felt like I should've had 100 for the effort that I put into them. :) Regardless, they did turn out pretty well, and I'm glad I made them for Sara's shower!

My friend, Emilie (above top left in brown), brought her little guy, Jackson Frank Thurman, to Sara's shower, and I was so excited to meet him! Is he the cutest or what? Jackson had the longest hair I have ever seen when he was born, and it is just the softest, curliest hair ever. I just love it! He was SO well behaved the entire shower. Thank you, Em, for bringing him! All in all, it was a great day spent with some of my favorite women from Hanover College. Now I'm just waiting for the phone call that Nash is on his way here!


What an Honor

Kendall - 3 Weeks Old - Kangaroo Care with Daddy

My friends Jessica and Nathan were blessed with a HUGE surprise last summer...the news that they were having TRIPLETS! That's right, folks, triplets. :) As if that wasn't a surprise enough for a couple just trying to start a family like anyone else, they found out that they were expecting three girls, two of which would be identical. Isn't that just wild?!

Soon after the girls were born, I was talking to Jessica on the phone. This time I was the one surprised! She asked me to be the Godmother of one of her baby girls. I felt - and still feel - so honored! Being a Godparent means different things to different people. To Jess and Nate, they have asked that if - Heaven forbid - something would happen to them, that I would make sure that my goddaughter knew God and had a relationship with Him. WOW! What an awesome responsibility. :) I love having the opportunity to do this with Noah, and now I have the chance to share His love with one of her daughters, too. :)

A couple months ago, Jess told me that she wanted me to be Kendall's Godmother. Kendall is the tiniest of the three girls, weighing only 2 lbs., 1 oz. at birth. She is one heck of a fighter, and Jess seems to think that she's going to be the fiery one. I like that! Earlier this month Ryan, Noah, and I made the three hour trip to Georgetown, Kentucky for the baptism. I got to hold Kendall for the first time that day, and as you can imagine, I fell in love with her instantly. She was such a good girl throughout the ceremony, too. Even though she was asleep when the priest poured water and then oil on her head, she only cried out for a second. She was a trooper! Thank you again, Jess, for inviting me to share God's word with Kendall, but also to love your girls and to be close with you and Nathan for the rest of our lives. I love you guys!

Jess, Kendall, Nathan, Addison, and Kate


Little Monkey

When I was a little girl, I was always climbing everything. Noah is definitely following in my footsteps...he is our little monkey! I found him in the kitchen like this earlier in the week:

Why he insists on carrying around an electrical cord, we'll never know. We finally had to put a stop to it because he was starting to unplug things, and we really don't want him doing that. He sure loves those cords!

Just chillin'
Climbing into the dog bed :)


Terrific Tuesday

Noah and I had such a terrific Tuesday! We got together with my friend Jill and her little boy, Jake, who was born just a few hours after Noah. Seriously - Noah was born at 11:15 p.m., and Jake was born between 2-3:00 a.m. How funny is that? Ryan and I went to college with Jill's husband, Aaron, who back then we knew as "Big Irv." It has been really fun talking with Jill throughout the past year because Noah and Jake are often doing the same things at the same time. I think we've had countless conversations where one of us will say, "Oh my gosh, ____ is doing ____," and the other will say, "Oh my gosh, _____ started doing that two days ago!" It's pretty hilarious.

Jill & Jake

Anyway, we met Jill and Jake at their house and then headed for downtown. Originally, we were going to go to the Children's Museum. Noah has never been there before, and Jill's family has a membership. Well, because the weather was so perfect - warm and a little overcast...not too hot - we decided to go to the zoo instead, agreeing that we could always go to the museum when the weather isn't nice.

The boys are loaded up and reading to go! With that blond hair, couldn't they be brothers?

We started out looking at the marine life and checking out the shark exhibit. The boys really thought that was neat! The seals were especially happy, swimming all over the place and jumping above water. I quickly began to realize that going to the zoo in the morning is SOOO much better than in the afternoon. The animals are being fed, and their day is just beginning, so they are happy, moving around, and playful. The last time we went to the zoo, it was the middle of the afternoon, and most of the animals were so hot and tired that they just laid around napping. So, I made a mental note to go in the morning from now on if possible!

Between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., the zoo has lots of activities for the kids to see and do. For just $1, we got to feed the giraffe a slice of sweet potato. I think the giraffe is one of my very favorite animals. I am just amazed by them! So, I was really excited about this opportunity. Jill and Jake fed the giraffe first, and I snapped a couple of pictures for them. Then, it was Noah's and my turn. We walked over to the giraffe, and before I knew it, he/she slurped that sweet potato right out of my hand and left it all slobbery!!! Can you see the look of surprise on my face??

Noah reached up and was petting the giraffe while we were snapping a quick picture. I think this giraffe really liked him. I would get one, but I'm not sure it would be as happy in my little fenced in back yard without any tall trees. Hey, Noah could always feed him sweet potatoes through his bedroom window. How sweet would that be?? :)

After checking a few more sections of the zoo, we all sat down and had a bite to eat. After lunch Jill walked away to throw away her trash, and Jake was in his stroller. He was looking back at Noah like, "Are you coming, little buddy??" It was precious! We went to the playground area to let the boys run around freely and play. They had a blast!! Noah had a slight meltdown when I put him in his stroller, but he came around pretty quickly. We were fast approaching nap time. We went and checked out the butterfly exhibit because we had never seen it before, and then we headed home. All in all, it was a perfect day at the zoo with friends!

Even more exciting is that Jill, Aaron, and Jake are going to join us for our vacation to Cape San Blas, FL! I think the boys will have so much fun, and we parents will all have a relaxing time away from home. Who could ask for more?

Update on Grocery Shopping

With all my other projects this summer, I have kind of put grocery shopping on the back-burner. I hadn't done a HUGE grocery stock-up trip for awhile, so yesterday was the day! Thank goodness for The Grocery Game making my life so much easier! Because of that website, my preparation for the trip only took about an hour! I had lots of organizing to do.

I ended up going to Kroger, Meijer, and CVS. Here are pictures of everything I bought:

CVS Total = $10.64 (saved $31.73)

4 bags of lettuce & 3 lbs. hamburger were only 60 cents total at Meijer!!!

We drinks LOTS of Powerade now that we're training for the Bourbon Chase.
Buy 10 get 5 free at Meijer

Doing some major stocking up!

We are usually breakfast-on-the-go kinds of people! The pie crusts are for my famous pizza pies.

I love my chips, and Noah eats hot dogs almost every day.

Are you ready for the totals? Drum roll please......

Total Value of Products: $236.66
Total spent: $100.69
Total saved: $135.97
I love when my fridge and pantry are overflowing, and I know I just saved my family so much money! It is so rewarding!
Can you believe I got all of that stuff for just over $100!!!


Ryan and I were sitting in the living room, and Noah was playing nearby on the carpet. All of the sudden, he just started screaming and buried his face in the floor. Ryan picked him up and checked him out, but we couldn't find anything wrong with him. You just wait for some body part to turn red so that you can figure out what is hurting. It's horrible when you kid can't tell you what is wrong. :(So, Ryan put Noah in his highchair, and then we saw it...a big blue swollen area on his forehead. It looks like a bee of some kind stung him, though we never saw anything around him except what was possibly a sweat bee. Who knows! I get so nervous about stuff like that because you just never know when a person will develop an allergy. I'm just so glad it was just a little swollen that evening and nothing worse! We have a 24 hour nurse hotline with our insurance plan, and we have used it so many times. It really beats paging your doctor all the time, and we get good information from a registered nurse. One bee sting down...probably several more to go in the coming years...

Swim Lessons

One of my coworkers sent out an email about the Southport Swim Program this summer. Ryan and I decided to enroll Noah in the Parent/Tot swim class to do something fun this summer. The swim classes were 5 days a week for 2 weeks, each lasting 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to have your little one in the water if you ask me! Sometimes Ryan, Noah, and I were all in the water together, and other times, just one of us would take him. We would sing songs and play different games with the kids while introducing new "skills" that they were supposed to be learning. The picture below shows the day that Noah had to wear a life jacket. I think they do that to help the kids get used to them.

Noah practiced kicking and splashing while we held him in differnet positions. I think the only thing he couldn't do was blow bubbles. He thought it was hilarious to see us do it, but whenever we tried to give him a chance, Noah would just open his mouth to try to drink the water. Silly boy! I think we only made it to 5 of the 10 classes because Noah ended up having a HIGH fever (102.5 to 103.3) for about 4 days from cutting a tooth. He didn't have any other symptoms, so that's all I can guess would bring on his fever. We also had our 5K run at church, so we missed class that night, too.
Daddy and Noah before swim lessons

Not only did Noah have a great time at swim class, but he was usually so wiped out afterward! If we were lucky enough to keep him awake in the car until we got home, Noah usually fell asleep so quickly and slept really hard until the next morning once we put him in his crib. Here is a video of Ryan and Noah doing the Hokey Pokey!


I love my family.

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