Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes Gold

I remember the Tony the Tiger commercials from when I was a kid, but didn't realize he was still the spokes-tiger for Frosted Flakes until we received a box from Kellogg's recently.

Frosted Flakes Gold are very crunchy and have a definite honey-taste to the flakes. They were a big hit with my kids -- the box was empty in just a couple days.

I found it a little amusing that the boys were both impressed with the verbiage on the box stating that it would give them "long-lasting energy." One word that I often use to describe N is "energetic," and he was all about a cereal that would give him even more energy. We took some time to talk about how foods give us energy and were able to create a nice little lesson around it.

Kellogg's has created a site with lots of information about healthy eating, exercise and ideas to stay active. They've partnered with ESPN for a contest and also have freebies and fun downloads on their site

Thanks again to Kellogg's and Mom Central for the opportunity to try this new cereal!

Monday, April 28, 2008

sweet boy

My boys have been feeling under the weather the last few days. I don't think it's anything serious -- a fever, body aches and lethargy. We've been encouraging plenty of liquids, plenty of rest and doses of Motrin.

It's 8PM and N crawled into bed a few minutes ago and fell asleep almost immediately. C went into N's room and came back out saying "N can't be tucked in already! We haven't said prayers!" And, then, he went back in and said our evening prayers over his brother so he could be properly tucked in.


That's how much it cost me this morning to fill our minivan with gasoline. I haven't filled the tank in a long time (instead I put in 7-10 gallons at a time), but with the prices continuing to rise, I decided I may as well fill it when the gas was only $3.35/gallon.

ONLY $3.35/gallon.

Ouch! I realize it costs more in other places, and I realize that as Americans we've been "spoiled" with inexpensive gasoline for a long time. But, it still hurts. Living where we live, there isn't public transportation and we're not within walking distance to stores. I am fortunate that we do have grocery stores within 5 miles, but I have cut our driving so much in the last couple years that I can't cut it any more. I remember feeling the pinch when gas was $2.25/gallon and curtailing many of our playdates with friends who lived more than 15 miles away!

I combine our errands as much as possible, and try to stay home as many days as possible to avoid driving. I really don't know how else to cut our gasoline needs at this point!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

birthday celebrations

L turns one on Tuesday. We're not having an extravagant party -- just a simple celebration with us and my sister. Which is actually happening tomorrow, since we never know if DH will be home for dinner during the week.

On Tuesday, we're meeting her godmother & her son for lunch. And, then we'll celebrate again when my parents are in town in early May.

I picked up a sweet little pink birthday crown -- which I'm hoping she'll wear long enough for at least one picture! LOL! My sister bought her an adorable pink dress with cupcakes along the border. I need to get busy and make some cupcakes for tomorrow's dessert!

It's hard to believe that a year ago today I was on bedrest and worried about her (and my) health. In many ways, it seems the year has flown by and I haven't accomplished much -- but then I look at her little sturdy self, getting ready to take her first step any day now, and I realize I've accomplished a great deal in just caring for her and her brothers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Review: Special K Bliss Bars

L turns one next week and I haven't lost any weight in months. In fact, I've gained a few pounds back, which is frustrating. Well, I guess it would be frustrating if I was actually working towards losing weight! BUT, I am working towards losing more weight and I was thrilled when Kelloggs sent me 2 boxes of their new Special K Bliss Bars.

These bars are only 90 calories, and they have a chocolate coating on the bottom! They are made of puffed rice cereal and fruit bits, and are lighter than a granola or protein bar. There are 2 flavors -- orange and raspberry.

I tried the orange bars first and was pleased with the orange flavor. It wasn't too strong, but it was clearly orange (which I love.) Later the same day, I tried a raspberry one and liked that, too! If I had to pick one over the other, I would choose orange -- but I will happily eat both flavors.

These are perfect for me to throw in my diaper bag or purse so I can have a quick snack while we're out. I have a sweet tooth, and tend to want chocolate or other sweets when I'm stressed. This bar is a great alternative to a full-size candy bar!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

messy eating

I try to enjoy all the different stages kids go through. On my third, though, I have to admit that this early self-feeding stage is one of my least favorite stages.

L prefers to feed herself. She doesn't want to be spoon-fed, and will spit out anything I try to put in her mouth via a spoon. If it's on her tray, and she can pick it up and feed it to herself, however, she loves it.

This means that every mealtime is a big mess. These are the days when I really miss nursing 42 times a day. It was much simpler when all I had to do is latch her on and wait for her to finish. Nowadays, I have to figure out what she can safely eat, prepare it, try to keep a bib on her, watch her make a mess of herself and 5 feet around her, then clean her up.

She still nurses, too. So, if I'm not preparing, feeding or cleaning up after a meal -- I'm nursing her. Honestly, it feels that way lately. Between her and the boys (who really are just fine -- and good at helping and getting food for themselves and picking up after themselves -- but they can't do it ALL by themselves) I don't know how I manage to eat.

I talked to a friend today who was shocked that someone gave her almost two year old a french fry. He's her first child (she's currently pregnant) and she has made sure he has never had any fried foods, and very few sweets. He had his first cookie just a month ago (and that was only 1/2 a cookie.) The thought of being that vigilant exhausts me. I'm glad L eats a few french fries and 1/2 a hamburger when we stop at Wendy's after the boys' enrichment program. That's one less meal I have to prepare and clean up after!

Review: Wild Animal Crunch Cereal

Kelloggs (through MomCentral) sent us a free box of their new cereal, Wild Animal Crunch. They have teamed up with Animal Planet and have created this yummy cereal with tons of information about animals on the box.

My boys loved the box. We received a box with polar bears on the front, and my boys spent some time remembering the polar bears we saw at the Milwaukee Zoo last summer. C immediately turned the box around and began reading the animal facts and wanted to complete the crossword puzzle.

The cereal has a slightly sweet flavor and has a soft feel. The cereal is shaped like dolphins, elephants and turtles -- but I only know that because I read it on the inside of the box. L liked the cereal the best, and the boys said they would eat it, but preferred more crunch to their cereal. C almost didn't try it because the cereal is vanilla-chocolate flavored and he's on an anti-chocolate kick at the moment. He did try it, however, and said he couldn't really taste any chocolate, so it was okay. The flavor of the cereal is very mild.

I like Kelloggs "Nutrition at a Glance" labeling on their boxes. It is nice and large print giving the basic information about each serving, including the percentages of "guideline daily amounts." A 3/4 cup serving of this cereal has 100 calories, 1g fat, 130mg of sodium, 8g sugar, 3g fiber and 15mg of Vitamin C. You can still find all the detailed nutritional information on the side panel -- but these days I need a magnifying glass to read that fine print! I really appreciate being able to quickly see how much fiber and sugar is in each serving!

You can see that L enjoyed it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Novena to St. Joseph

I'm starting a novena to St. Joseph today and thought I'd share the prayers for anyone interested.

I will include in my prayers all those with employment intentions, as well as my dear husband and our family!

The novena I'm saying can be found here.

A few travel tips

I thought I'd post a few of the things I learned (or was reminded of) during our recent travel.

  • Wear clothing with pockets for going through airport security! This is something I didn't do, and almost lost my photo ID as I was trying to keep track of my kids, our carry-ons, the baby, the boarding passes and the stroller. Thankfully, a kind TSA agent found it and caught up with me so I didn't end up stranded in NC. If I had been wearing something with pockets, I could have slipped it into my pocket.
  • Buy diapers when you arrive. Carry only enough diapers for your travel (plus 3 more) and buy diapers at your destination.
  • Let your older children (ages 4 and up) carry their own carry-on. My boys carry a backpack and do a great job of keeping track of it.
  • Pay careful attention to what is packed in the carry-ons. While my boys carry their carry-ons, I pack them. Each boy had their favorite stuffed animal, blanket, travel pillow, snacks, colored pencils, sketchpad, empty water bottle, book, MP3 player and DS. Everything they could possibly need for a 14 hour trip! (time it took between leaving our house, flying on 2 airplanes and then making a 2 hour drive to our destination.) I fill the water bottles once we get through security, and I carry those packets of powdered flavoring for my picky kids (okay, and me!)
  • Take a stroller AND a sling if you're traveling with a small child. While L did sit in the stroller part of the time, we used it more often to carry our bags. I did have to put my maya wrap through the x-ray machine, though -- the ring wouldn't go through the security machine while I was wearing it. We gate-checked our stroller with no problems.
  • Check your boarding passes so you understand where you're sitting. I did this before we got to the airport, but a man traveling with his 2 young sons obviously never even looked at his until they got on the plane. They had split them into 3 separate rows, which obviously wouldn't work! People were kind enough to move around so they sat together, but it could have been handled before they got on the plane.
I know I'll think of more, but that'll do it for now!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

amazing video

I rarely post links to videos, but this one really touched me.

I owe my life to my courageous mother, who was encouraged (by her parents, her doctor, her priest) to choose an abortion instead of give birth to me. I am very grateful that she chose to give me life.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

forgotten tidbits about L

I've been meaning to add to my recent post about L, but decided to just make a new post.

She loves bananas and can clearly say "Na Na" when she spies one.

She can clap, wave, blow kisses and play pat-a-cake (complete with the "rolling" motion.) She can also nod her head and shake her head "no."

She loves the color red. She has shown a clear preference for red items for a long time, but I keep forgetting to mention it. Yesterday when we were shopping, she spied a dress with red trim and reached out for it. A little later she was on the floor near a row of different colored rompers. She immediately crawled over to the only red one, pulled it off the post and tried to put it on. (I bought her both.)

I was looking for onesies on sale and we turned a corner. My sister was holding her and she started to yell and tried to climb out of her arms when she saw a wall full of stuffed dinosaurs. My sister walked her over there and she grabbed a T-Rex and started kissing it. We offered her a few of the different dinosaurs, but she pushed them away and kept loving on the T-Rex. My sister bought it for her. LOL!

She's currently in a very clingy mood. She has no patience to be more than 3 inches from me, and I better be holding her. It's very difficult to get anything done. I put her in her pack'n'play today and went into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher. I listened to her yell, then say "BYE" and heard an item hit the floor. She began to yell again, say "BYE" and something else hit the floor. She was throwing all the toys out and onto the floor. As soon as I picked her up, she stopped yelling.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

back to the airport

I found a fairly inexpensive flight for B to travel back to NC today. I searched various travel websites, airline websites and made a bunch of phone calls to find out about bereavement/compassion fares. I found the best deal through I was most surprised to find out that the fares I was able to find at the actual airline sites were at least $200 more than the travel sites. I don't quite understand how the airlines can't charge the same (or less), but I don't have time to do the research into why at the moment.

DH's flight left at 6:05AM, which meant we had to leave the house at 4AM. We scooped up the kids and put them in the van with blankets from their beds. All 3 fell back to sleep promptly.

We got to the airport without incident, but when I was attempting to leave, a truck backed into our van. Thankfully, the damage wasn't great and the man was very nice. He had all the information handy, was polite and apologetic, and had even already made a claim by the time I called the insurance company.

We share the same insurance company (GEICO) and I have to say that so far, they've been great. The CSR took my information quickly and efficiently, got me a claim number and if I had wanted to throw the kids back in the car, we could have dropped off the van today! Since C had come home and gone back to sleep, I opted for an appointment tomorrow instead. They are supposed to have a minivan rental waiting for me. It really has been painless! Plus, the other driver accepted blame, so it won't even be a ding on our insurance.

I've been with GEICO for over 15 years now and I've always been pleased with their service. I think this might be the 4th claim we've made in that time, and the first in Arizona.

My DH will be in the air or at airports for a little over 10 hours today, and then he has a 2 hour drive to his sister's place. I wish we could be together for this journey, but I'm glad we made the journey we did earlier this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


We returned from our trip to NC late last night, and my husband got a call this afternoon that his mother passed away. I have much I'd like to write about the trip, but for now --

Eternal rest give unto her, Oh, Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon her.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

travel stress

I love the idea of travel. I love exploring new places and experiencing new things.

However, the stress of getting ready to go on a trip often overwhelms me. Writing out various lists and checking them 42 times is stressful. Trying to pack for 5 people is stressful. Ensuring we have all the necessary chargers for everyone's electronics is stressful. (yes, I know we could leave all that at home, but DH won't do that. And if I leave it to him to pack the chargers they don't get packed. Went through that on our last trip and spent too much money to buy duplicate chargers.) Planning the kids' traveling outfits is stressful. (I want to make sure they wear slip-on shoes since we have to remove shoes to go through security. I also want to make sure their clothes are comfortable since we'll be flying through the night.) Going through the boys' carry-on is stressful. (They want to bring their entire room.) Doublechecking all the little things is stressful. (Is the gate locked? Is the garage door opener disabled? Are the computers turned off? etc. etc. etc.)

Oh, and trying to do this while caring for 3 kids is stressful as well. I wish Lydia would learn to walk soon as my hips are completely out of whack from carrying her non-stop.

Even though we're only gone for a few days, I still feel like I should leave the house spotless. It IS nice to come home to a clean house, but this time I don't know if it's worth the stress at the moment.

The important things are that the boys are completely packed. L is packed. I have 2 more loads of laundry to do for DH & me before I can pack for us. My diaper bag needs to be re-packed and I need to pull out diaper creme, etc. and separate into a quart size bag for airport security.

I really need to let it all go. This trip will be stressful on so many levels that I really want to make the best of it and let my "travel" stress go so that I can better handle the stress of visiting people we haven't seen in 10-11 years. I want to be a supportive wife, not one that needs to be supported. I need to do this for my husband and I need to do it well.

Tomorrow is a new day, thankfully. I can try again!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


C says "blurzy" instead of "blurry". It sounds so cute that I don't correct him. A friend of his just did, though, so I don't think he'll be saying it much longer :(

This is how N sings "Baa Baa Black Sheep":

Baa Baa Black Sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir
3 bags full.

One for my boss,
One for that lady,
And one for the kid
that lives down the lane.

He sings it to L when she's cranky in the car and it's very sweet. He had the meanings right, but filled in different words. I thought it was cute, but C insisted on correcting him.

L at almost one

I realized I haven't done a milestone post about L in a while.

She's 11 months, 2 weeks and still an absolute joy.

She claps, blows kisses, and loves peek-a-boo.

She speed-crawls, but doesn't stand independently or try to walk (other than cruise). She is starting to use various things like a walker, though, so we might see about getting her one for her 1st birthday. I really like this wagon/push toy.

We haven't yet found a food that she won't eat. She isn't interested in being fed mushed up foods, though! She'd much rather feed herself. She prefers to drink from cups that aren't spill-proof (like Tupperware cups with sippy lids), but has recently figured out how to drink successfully from those cups that are spill-proof (they require suction when she'd prefer it to just pour in her mouth.) She still nurses 5-7 times a day so I feel like I'm always preparing food, serving food, cleaning up after meals or nursing her.

She recently had a big growth spurt and pretty much skipped over 9 month clothing into 12 month sizes. I swear she literally grew before my eyes one night -- I put her in the highchair for dinner, and by the time she finished eating she had popped 2 of the snaps on her shirt.

She's likes to empty things out, but isn't interested in putting things back yet. She especially enjoys emptying my wallet -- going into each pocket and crevice to complete remove everything. She also likes our phones and remotes and gets tickled pink when the phone rings as she holds it. (yes, I'm guilty of calling my cell from our land line just to watch her giggle in amazement!)

She takes at least one solid nap a day, usually 2. She doesn't sleep through the night, but since she still sleeps with us, I couldn't tell you when or how often she does wake up. My best guess is that she sleeps from 9:30/10 until about 4 most nights, and then after she eats she sleeps until 7 or 8.

Monday, April 07, 2008

cell phone tip

As we're preparing for our trip, I'm gathering confirmation numbers for our flight, hotel, rental car, etc. As I was forwarding some information about something else to DH's phone, I realized I could text all those numbers to MY phone and have them handy when we arrive at our destination!

A few quick text messages, and I have all our confirmation numbers and addresses saved to my inbox!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

why the title?

Someone asked me recently why I named my blog "Little Patch of Sunshine."

It's a good question, and a bit of a long story.

When we married, we struggled with infertility and our attempts using drugs got us nowhere. We were told by 2 different doctors that I would never conceive on my own, and my only chance would be to try IUI or artificial insemination. Because that went against Church teaching, we decided that we would adopt instead.

We had been married for about a year and 1/2 when DH had the opportunity to attend a sales training in Tempe AZ. We came and really loved the area. A few months later, DH was at a conference in WI and met a man with a company out here. One thing led to another, and DH had 2 different job offers.

We sold our company and made the move. There was more thought that went into it, but that's what happened.

We were here for about a year and half and a couple different adoption scenarios fell through. I went to the doctor for what I thought was a bladder infection and found out I was pregnant. An ultrasound the next day dated me at 28 weeks!

I joke that I needed the perpetual sunshine of Arizona to make me fertile! It seems especially true as I've gone on to have 3 more pregnancies and 2 more live children!

When I started this blog (almost 5 years ago!), my boys were little -- 1 and 2 1/2. We were struggling financially (when don't we?) and I felt that the only thing I could count on was that I could sit in the sun -- my very own "little patch of sunshine." And, it was wonderful that sunshine is free! (my URL address)!

I truly do love the sunshine and never get tired of sunny days.
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