A Day of Beauty

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Several weeks, possibly months have passed since I realized the boys needed their first haircuts.  George willingly would have taken the task on himself, but I wasn’t about to let him chop at their baby locks.   Last spring, I allowed him to snip the girls bangs and it was slightly disastrous.  His handiwork ended up as super short, blunt bangs that took months to grow out.  I cannot cut along a straight line on paper so I wasn’t going to attempt any scissor work.    This was clearly a job for professionals.

Mason's hair had a disheveled appearance most of the time prior to his cut.

Mason’s hair had a disheveled appearance most of the time prior to his cut.

I knew of three children’s salons in our area and began a little recon.  Do you have any idea what they charge for toddler cuts????  Both boys together would cost more than I pay for a cut and style with my stylist.  The bad news, these three salons were in cahoots.  The prices were exactly the same!  I did, however, find that Sweet & Sassy offers a discount on “Toddler Tuesday.”  Score!  Except I had one problem, I wasn’t about to take four toddlers to a salon on my own.  Reinforcements were needed.

Yet, most everyone we know is at work on a Tuesday.  I racked my brain trying to figure out who might be available.  Then, BAM!  My long time friend, and college room-mate, Kristen sent me a text.  She wanted to let me know that she and our other room-mate, Neha, wanted to spend Tuesday with the quads and me.  Sometimes things just work out.  I was totally stoked that my two buddies would be present for the boys’ first hair cuts, and I would have two extra sets of hands.  When the big day arrived, we all met up at the salon and maneuvered two double strollers through the glitzy salon.  The entire store front was jam-packed with sparkly fashions, accessories, and make up.  Clearly this joint is suited for the girliest of girls, but thankfully they offer boy hair cuts too. IMG_8889

We checked in and found that each of the boys had his own stylist.  Harper is generally the most content of the babies so I plopped him in the chair first.  Maria fitted him with a cape and the tantrum ensued.  Harper squealed as if his skin were being scalded with napalm.  It was horrific.  Meanwhile, our resident “Drama King”, Mason, happily sat in his chair as Morgan snipped and shaped his strawberry brown mop.  I expected that someone may be unhappy so I came armed with a variety of toys and Annie’s cheddar bunnies.  Harper was having none of it.  He continued wailing and sobbing with increasing intensity. It wasn’t long before Maria suggested I give him a lollipop.  It sounded like a good distraction, only I didn’t bring lollipops.  Maria pointed to a gorgeous display of gourmet flavored lollipops molded into a variety of shapes.  I cautiously selected one in the lightest shade, bracing myself for the potential price tag on said lollipop.  Considering I was purchasing sale hair cuts, I hated the idea of paying a hefty penny for a piece of candy.  However, we desperately needed something to help calm Harper.  I happily presented the lollipop to Harper and he refused.  Instead, Mason enjoyed every last lick.

Even though Harper was in hysterics the entire twenty minutes of his hair cut, Maria worked without missing a beat.  In fact, it was proof that there’s a reason toddler cuts don’t come cheap, these dear people are worth every penny. Once Harper’s cut was done, we unfastened his cape and the tears magically stopped flowing.  The next time we go in, we may nix the cape if that means we’ll have a happy child.  Both boys looked quite handsome in the end.  As soon as we loaded everyone back into the strollers, the girls were each offered a lollipop, and I realized they were complimentary.  Whew!

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Don't they look dapper?

Don’t they look dapper?

After his torture treatment was complete, Harper appreciated his lollipop much more.

After his torture treatment was complete, Harper appreciated his lollipop much more.

The girls waited patiently the  entire time and therefore earned their lollipops too.

The girls waited patiently the entire time and therefore earned their lollipops too.

The weather was stunning so our little quadventure continued.  Neha, Kristen, and I let the quads romp around the town square fountain.  They had a blast running freely, however redirecting them from the street was no cake walk.  We then enjoyed a little time in Earthbound Trading Co. where there were plenty of toys to explore.  Following our time exploring, we hit up Cristina’s Tex Mex because kids eat free on Tuesday!  It turned out to be a lovely day with some special friends.

Neha was impressed to find the babies can label most any animal, including iguana and produce the corresponding sound.  Mason was impressed with this owl puppet, which boasted moving eyes and beak.

Neha was impressed to find the babies can label most any animal, including iguana and produce the corresponding sound. Mason was impressed with this owl puppet, which boasted moving eyes and beak.

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What service do you appreciate even if the price seems a bit hefty?

 

hugs! Amber

Southern Hospitality

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This week the quads welcomed our friend, Sara’s new baby into our home.  To date, they’ve had a few opportunities to play with other babies younger than themselves, but Emma was by far our youngest visitor.  The quads enjoy admiring babies in public, reading about them in books, and caring for dolls, but I wasn’t sure how well they’d actually interact with an infant.  From the moment they laid eyes on Emma, they were enamored.  At first, they curiously peered at her through our baby gate.  Then, they crept up close as I held Emma.  In typical toddler fashion, they mercilessly fought among each other over coveted toys.  Thankfully, they behaved differently with Emma.  Each of the quads took turns generously presenting Emma with plastic food and sips of tea.  It was quite the display of southern hospitality.  Initially, they were a bit too loud and rowdy for an infant, but with reminders, they tamed things down and proved themselves capable of being gentle with a wee one.

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Each of the quads spent time getting a closer look at Emma, but Rylin insisted on sitting right next to her. She was surprisingly obedient about only touching Emma’s feet.

Sydney also thought looking at pictures of Emma was fascinating.

Sydney also thought looking at pictures of Emma was fascinating.

I snapped at lightning speed to capture this one.  Mason bolted shortly after.

I snapped at lightning speed to capture this one. Mason bolted shortly after.

 

In the next year or so, I think Emma will be a great play mate for the quads!

 

hugs,

 

Amber

A Few Good Toddler Reads

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A few months back, I loyal reader informed me that Twiniversity, an online resource for parents of multiples, was seeking parents of quadruplets to contribute for them.  Being unfamiliar with Twiniversity, I curiously perused the site.  There, I found a wealth of information and tips for everyone to expectant parents to school aged children.  After learning what Twiniversity is about, I found myself submitting some of my favorite posts and pitching ideas to them.  To my delight, they thought I’d be a good fit for them.  With that I present my first piece for Twiniversity, Reading to Toddlers: Tips for Boosting Language.  I hope you’ll pop by Twiniversity to read my tips for yourself!

There's no better way to wind down for the day than with a bedtime story.  The quads love to pile onto my lap together, and I'm enjoying it before they get too big.

There’s no better way to wind down for the day than with a bedtime story. The quads love to pile onto my lap together, and I’m enjoying it before they get too big.

Thinking about this post, I asked you to name your favorite children’s books. Many of your favorites, were also beloved in our home. You named several that were my childhood favorites that are not currently in our library, and I’m adding those to our wishlist.   On the top of the list, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!  I fondly recall the illustrator of that book coming to my elementary school and have loved that book since.  Here are our top 10 quaddler-approved books (in no particular order).

                                                             

                                                

 

                                                                                                                          

Do you have any of these books in your personal library?  What books would you add to this list of favorite books for toddlers?

happy reading!

Amber

Disclaimer: Four to Adore participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program, meaning that if you choose to purchase a product linked to Amazon, Four to Adore receives a small commission from the sale.   The proceeds of any sales are intended to help contribute to an educational fund for the quadruplets.  

Toddler Tips #934: Yogurt Reinvented

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With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I'm sharing.

With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I’m sharing.

Being independent toddlers, the quads refuse to let me spoon feed them anything.   For the most part, it’s not a problem because they are highly skilled at finger feeding and are using utensils a little better each day.   Some foods such as applesauce and yogurt don’t lend themselves to finger feeding and aren’t ideal for novice utensil users.  This led me to find some alternative solutions, especially for yogurt.

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I snagged this little gem from Gwen’s Nest.  I put a little yogurt in the bottom of a bowl or plate and top it with dry cereal.  This is one of my favorite ways to serve yogurt because it helps the babies work on spoon-feeding themselves.  The yogurt sticks to the dry cereal, making it easier to scoop.  Sometimes they pick up the cereal as a finger food, and it’s a bit sticky, but it’s not terrible.

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I also found a recipe for Orange Dreamsicle Bites from Cookies & Cups, which used Greek yogurt and orange flavored Jell-O.  I experimented with it and found that other flavors make tasty yogurt bites for the wee ones (and adults too!).  Plus, using other flavors creates fun colors, which is helpful when teaching toddlers about colors.  The best part- Greek yogurt transforms Jello-O into a snack packed with probiotics, calcium, and protein that is easy to serve and clean up!

You'll need just two ingredients to make yogurt bites: 1 1/2 cups Greek Yogurt 3 oz. box of Jell-O

You’ll need just two ingredients to make yogurt bites:
1 1/2 cups Greek Yogurt
3 oz. box of Jell-O

Mix the yogurt and Jell-O in a microwave safe bowl

Mix the yogurt and Jell-O in a microwave safe bowl

Microwave the mixture 1 minute then stir well.  Microwave another minute then stir again.

Microwave the mixture 1 minute then stir well. Microwave another minute then stir again.

Spoon the mixture into molds, or muffin tins with cupcake liners.  If you use a mold, be sure to spray it with cooking spray first.

Spoon the mixture into molds, or muffin tins with cupcake liners. If you use a mold, be sure to spray it with cooking spray first.

I forgot to spray my mold and only two of our animals came out clean.  I found that mini muffin tins are just the right size for a snack, and clean up is easy.

I forgot to spray my mold and only two of our animals came out clean. I found that mini muffin tins are just the right size for a snack, and clean up is a cinch.  I made these as a toddler snack so I didn’t get fancy, but at Cookies & Cups, she topped these with whipped cream and candy, which would be cute to serve at a party.

I’ve been serving banana milk shakes for a while, but recently began adding yogurt to them.  I also like adding yogurt to whole milk as a drink.  This is by far the easiest way to serve yogurt to toddlers!  I do this often for Mason and Sydney because they are so tiny and often need extra calories that are nutritious rather than empty junk food options.

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Toddlers absolutely LOVE dipping.  They recently discovered they joys of ketchup and sour cream so I began using yogurt as fruit dip for the quads.  Sometimes they spear fruit with a fork, which is good utensil practice.  They also do well just dipping fruit as a finger food.

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The yogurt I used for this was white, but I added a drop of red food coloring to make it pretty for the picture. Rylin is currently obsessed with pink things and thought it was fantastic. I think I’ll experiment with making our yogurt other colors such as green and orange to help teach colors.

Do you have any clever ways to serve yogurt or otherwise messy foods to toddlers?  I always enjoy tips for feeding toddlers, and have been enjoying the Tyke Bites series at Texas Tales.

hugs!

Amber

What Paintbrush?

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As much as I enjoy doing art projects with the quads, I’ve admittedly avoided them in recent months.  Winter wardrobe is simply not conducive to messy art projects.   However, I knew it was time to put my reservations aside and let the quads try their hand at painting with brushes for the first time.  I waited until George had a day off so I had help managing the eight little hands and forty fingers. Thanks to Sesame Street, the quads are highly interested in the alphabet and letters in general.   Given that, I thought it would be fun to let them paint their initials.   We started with square canvases and taped off each baby’s initial with masking tape.  Then, we let them go with a cup of paint and paintbrushes.

We gave each baby a square canvas with their initial taped across the top.

It took Sydney less than 30 seconds to dip her fingers into the paint and slather on some crimson lipstick.  Red is not easy to pull off, but  it was a good color for her.  This is also the reason we use non-toxic tempera paint!

Things started out slowly with daps here and dots there.

Things started out slowly with dabs here and dots there.

It didn't take long before babies started "borrowing" paint from each other, creating some uniuqe color palates.  You may notice they not only painted their canvases and the table, but also their hair!

It didn’t take long before babies started “borrowing” paint from each other, creating some unique color combinations.

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You may notice they not only painted their canvases and the table, but also their hair. Mason added the most color to his hair, he loves adding “product” to his hair.

 

This is how everyone looked after painting their respective masterpieces.  I believe Rylin was channeling Frida Kahlo.

This is how everyone looked after painting their respective masterpieces. I believe Rylin was channeling Frida Kahlo.

When it was all said and done we had a gigantic mess to contend with, but it was thankfully bath night and our Bumkins smock bibs protected all clothing perfectly.  Even better, the paint was easily rinsed from the bibs and they came out of the washing machine looking like new.  Once the paint dried, we peeled off the tape, revealing the initials.   Even though the babies weren’t quite yet skilled with paintbrushes, it was certainly good practice and a fabulous sensory experience!

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Here are all of the little masterpieces. I think they turned out really cute. Now I’m just not sure where to display them.

Hugs!

Amber

The Little Things Thursdays: Joy Despite Stress

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It’s been a hectic week littered with sick babies and tragedies for some of our closest friends.  Our stress levels heightened this week, making it easy to forget the precious moments that brought joy.  I thought it would be a good week to link up with Rebecca at a Beautiful Ruckus for The Little Things Thursdays.  Even with added stress, we had plenty to celebrate.

Seeing these eight little legs dangling from the quad table warms my heart.

Seeing these eight little legs dangling from the quad table warms my heart.  They’ve grown so much since we began using this table.  Can you guess whose feet are whose? (Hint: look at the pajamas they are wearing further down in the post)

The babies may fight nearly constantly, but they have a strong sibling bond and adore each other too.

The babies may fight nearly constantly, but they have a strong sibling bond and adore each other too.  They often dole out hugs and kisses to each other.

It always makes me chuckle to see how the babies fall asleep and what they choose to snuggle with, I mean a drill???

It always makes me chuckle to see how the babies fall asleep and what they choose to snuggle with, I mean a drill???

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Apparently Elmo wanted to snuggle Mason.

Early on in my pregnancy, we bought four antique chi'dren's chairs.  They've been taking up space in our bonus room nearly two years.  Recently, the babies proved they were big enough to use them, and they are great for table top activities.

Early on in my pregnancy, we bought four antique children’s chairs. They’ve been taking up space in our bonus room nearly two years. Recently, the babies proved they were big enough to use them, and they are great for table top activities.  The only problem, Sydney figure out how to move the chairs to climb onto other things such as the sofa.

Sydney is finally  starting to engage in pretend play.  She and Rylin have been feeding and rocking their "twin" babies all week.

Sydney is finally starting to engage in pretend play. She and Rylin have been feeding and rocking their “twin” babies all week.

It's not easy, but I love it when all four babies pile up in my lap for stories.  I'll keep cramming them in as long as possible.

It’s not easy, but I love it when all four babies pile up in my lap for stories. I’ll keep cramming them in as long as possible.

One of my daily stressors is naptime.  One little diva seems to think she doesn’t need a nap at all, and often likes to wake her siblings with a banshee scream.  Sure, I’ve moved her into other places, but this girl has pipes and can rattle the whole house.  One day I caught her beckoning me in a kinder way than usual  When she didn’t get a response, she decided to heckle her sister.  Take a peek for yourself-

What little things brought you joy this week?

Hugs!

Amber

Why Women Don’t Grill (Usually)

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This post is rather ironic given my recent post about exposing children to toys geared towards the opposite gender.  Several readers pointed out the importance of embracing our innate talents.  I agree with that 100%.   I think it’s wise to allow children opportunities to play with toys that aren’t necessarily for their gender, but not at the expense of their natural talents and preferences.   By design, men and women typically have tasks they are naturally better at than others.  Grilling is one that typically falls within the male domain, and apparently for good reason.

In honor of President’s Day, George enjoyed the day at home with us.  The weather was stunning and the quads enjoyed playing outdoors well over an hour before nap.  Enjoying such springlike weather inspired us to make plans for grilled chicken for dinner.  George and I enjoy cooking together, but when it comes to grilled food, I leave the grilling to him while I manage side dishes.

As the babies snoozed, I made a rub for the chicken and diced  veggies for our salad.  (We try to make the best use of sleeping babies by preparing everything in advance.)  Naturally, they woke up a bit too early and were super cranky so we ushered them back into the yard before dinner.  As the dinner hour approached, we brought the quads in for an Elmo movie so we could wrap up dinner.  This meant George would grill and I’d finish the sides.  Our plans quickly changed when a menacing Little People chicken aggressively jumped in front of George, causing ruckus.  We heard a pop as George tumbled to the floor, narrowly missing the quads.  It was apparent that George had a major big toe injury, which required immediate TLC.  I managed to get the Elmo movie started as I packed George’s toe in ice.  Clearly he wasn’t grilling our dinner- I was.

This chicken wreaked havoc on our dinner plans, and the rest of George's week for that matter.  Poor guy has been forced to wear slippers to work!

This chicken wreaked havoc on our dinner plans, and the rest of George’s week for that matter. Poor guy has been forced to wear slippers to work!  If you see this chicken, RUN the other direction!

Here's the damage!

Here’s the damage!

I knew I could handle it.  We have a gas grill and I already seasoned the chicken.  All I had to do was toss it on the heat, flip it and check it for doneness, right?  Wrong.  George hobbled outside to turn the grill on for me as I gathered my grilling tools: tongs, clean plate, fork, knife, Pam, and of course the chicken.   Once I plopped the chicken on the grill, I shut the lid and headed back inside to finish the rest of our meal.  I figured I’d leave the chicken out there 15 minutes or so then flip it.   Upon my return to the kitchen, the babies became restless and extremely fussy.  Elmo was not entertaining them at all.  I scampered about trying to appease them as I worked. Every five minutes, George reminded me to check the chicken.  I was trying to do a bazillion things so of course, I never would have thought to check the chicken.  In fact, truth be told, I probably would have forgotten it even after 15 minutes without reminders.  Over about a thirty minute period, I tended to the quads, miscellaneous kitchen tasks, and George’s toe.  Thankfully, George periodically continued reminding me to check the chicken.  I found grilling chicken to be surprisingly daunting.  When I cook chicken, I typically use the Crock Pot, oven, or stove and it requires very little monitoring.  I can “set it and forget it”, which is exactly what I normally do with chicken.  Grilled chicken, however demands a little more attention.

Thinking back to social psychology and neurospychology classes, I can recall learning about how men and women filter information differently.  Typically men are able to focus intently on one thing at a time, whereas women divide their attention amongst many different tasks at once.  This is why it drives me insane when the television and radio blare simultaneously and George is unphased.  I hear EVERYTHING from both sources and try to attend to both while he chooses to attend to one while totally ignoring the other.   Having the tenancy to attend to multiple things at once comes in handy when caring for quads, but not so great when grilling.  In the end, I proved myself capable of grilling chicken that looked decent and tasted good.  However, I realized there’s a reason George is better at this task: he can focus on it and only it.

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I was pleasantly surprised when the quads gobbled up their chicken since they don't usually eat chicken well.  That night we decided to call chicken "meat" at the dinner table.  When we called it "chicken", Rylin gave us a puzzled look as she said, "Bock, bock???"  We weren't ready to explain that one yet...

I was pleasantly surprised when the quads gobbled up their chicken since they don’t usually eat chicken well. That night we decided to call chicken “meat” at the dinner table. When we called it “chicken”, Rylin gave us a puzzled look as she said, “Bock, bock???” We weren’t ready to explain that one yet…

George ate dinner with his foot nicely elevated.

George ate dinner with his foot nicely elevated.

Do you focus on one thing, or several simultaneously?  Do you think your answer is related to your gender?

Hugs!

Amber

Premier Designs Online Trunk Show & GIVEAWAY! (closed 2/25/14)

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This giveaway is currently closed,

Congratulations to Justina Who, giveaway winner!

Shopping has always been one of my favorite past times (it counts as a past time, right???).  I’ve even written myself a few prescriptions for “Retail Therapy” over the years.  However, life after quadruplets has altered the way I enjoy said hobby.  It’s not so simple to gallivant around town searching for whatever Holy Grail I have in mind.  Instead, I’ve learned the fine art of online shopping.  Just prior to Christmas, our UPS driver stopped by our home almost daily.   After the quads are snugly tucked into bed for the night, I can sit back in my pajamas with a cup of hot tea or a glass of vino as I browse.   Most of my online shopping, however, is for the quads.  On occasion, it’s nice to make a more self-indulgent purchase, say on jewelry!  I really do love jewelry.  I just adore how the right necklace can dress up a boring tee-shirt or earrings can detract from a bad hair day.  That’s why I’m excited about teaming up with my friend and Premier Designs consultant, Claire, to bring you an online trunk show featuring the latest in jewelry trends.  The Premier Designs Spring Style Guide reveals a few of the trends you may want to try this spring, including high gloss enamel finishes and contrasting colors (e.g. teal and melon).   Mmmmm!

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In order to shop the trunk show, visit the Premier Designs Catalog then enter the access code: CLAIR.  The access code is in ALL CAPS.  I was a bit disappointed to discover that you can’t actually make online purchases.  Claire pointed out that it’s for good reason though.  Premier Designs motto is, “How can we serve you?”  They want to ensure each order is given a high level of customer service, meaning you have direct contact with your consultant.  Don’t fret!  Ordering is still a piece of cake.  Simply cruise the catalog and create your wish list.  Once you narrow down your order, just contact Claire at clairetastrophe@yahoo.com

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Premier Designs offers a tremendous selection to cater to a variety of tastes.   There is something for the simple, chic palate to the bold, overstated style preferences.   They literally have most anything your heart desires (regarding jewelry, that is).  As I perused the catalog, I had a difficult time pinning down my favorites.   Atop my list of favorite items, Silver Chic necklace page 24 (this would go with ANYTHING), Mirror Image chandeliers page 28 (very classy and refined), and Jellybean necklace page 30 (so vibrant).

Premier Designs pieces are created with versatility in mind.  For example, their watch bands can be swapped, earrings are often reversible or convert to studs, and “enhancers” clip from one necklace to another.  This allows you to create many different looks with only a few pieces.   Fabulous!!!!  When browsing the catalog, keep an eye out for designer tips that tell you exactly how to get the most out of each piece.

The best part, we are giving away three pieces from the Mint to Be collection.  Each piece is in a matte gold tone complimented with pale mint.   Did you know pastels are trending this season?  (When I let the quads tear through my unread fashion magazines, I noticed that pastels are H-O-T for the spring!  This particular collection certainly fits that bill.)  Our giveaway includes the Mint Condition necklace (16″ chain with lobster closure), Hint of Mint earrings, and Minty Fresh chandeliers, all shown below.  While Mint Condition appears to be a just a necklace, the inner chain can be removed and worn as a bracelet so it’s really a two in one piece.  Nifty, right?  The Illusion and Arabesque bangles are fantastic compliments to the giveaway pieces, check catalog pages 114-115.

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{Images and item descriptions courtesy of Premier Designs}

To enter to win these fabulous pieces from the Mint to Be collection, visit the trunk show online,  to decide which Premier Designs piece is your favorite.  Then, visit a Rafflecopter giveaway to cast your entries. 
The contest is open to U.S. residents only. The giveaway closes at 12:00 am CST, Monday, February 24 and the winner will be selected using rafflecopter.com and announced on Tuesday, February 25. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck, & happy shopping!

Amber

*Disclaimer: In exchange for hostessing an online trunk show with Premier Designs, I’ll earn jewelry credit based on the amount and number of items purchased via my online trunk show. I was not further compensated for providing the giveaway item and views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

And…It’s Valentine’s Day

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This week I decided it was FINALLY time to wrap up everything remaining from Christmas. George nagged me enough about our Christmas card display, and I knew our thank you notes were far overdue.  And…it is Valentine’s Day!

I am certainly no Emily Post, but I try to maintain proper etiquette, particularly regarding thank you notes. When someone takes time, effort, and money to purchase and wrap a gift, I want them to know it was appreciated. This year, I thought I’d diverge from our traditional hand written notes, and send electronic versions including pictures of the quads enjoying their gifts.   I started strong.  In the first few days following Christmas I busily snapped pictures and attached them to texts and emails thanking the gift givers.  Then, it became overwhelming.  I started losing track and getting confused so I gave up, leaving about half of our thank you notes undone.

After almost two months, it was high time I finish the thank you notes.  I bailed on my original idea and insead reverted back to traditional hand written paper versions.  Even though these would not come with pictures, I wanted the quads to add their mark.  I wrote a  quick note to each gift giver, then let the quads decorate with stickers and crayons.   In the past, they typically ate both stickers and crayons so I partially expected a futile effort.  However, the quads really enjoyed playing with stickers.  I started by handing them stickers and pointing to the paper and telling them to “stick it”.  It wasn’t long before they convinced me to let them peel the stickers off and place them independently.   I really didn’t give them enough credit, and found our project to be relatively relaxing.  They did, however, munch a few crayons in the process, leaving most of our crayons without tips.

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Once we stuffed our mailbox with completed thank you notes, it was time to tackle the Christmas card display.  At the beginning of the Christmas season, we hung a wooden “S” in the entryway with three strips of ribbon dangling from it, then used clothespins to attach cards as they arrived.  Christmas cards are one of my favorite parts of that time of year.  We get updates from our friends and family from near and far, and I enjoy looking back at them all season long.  If it were up to me, we may leave them up until the next year.

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As I took the pictures down, the quads were given the task of storing the clothespins in an empty wipes box (it’s not my permanent storage place for them, but it was a great toddler task).  Then, I borrowed an idea from a fellow quad mom.  I punched a hole in the corner of each card and put them on a ring, creating a flip book.  Since the quads are interested in learning names and labels, we’ve been pointing out each person pictured as we name them.  Perhaps at our next extended family gathering, or play date the quads will recognize everyone better.   The best part is that our cards didn’t end up stuffed in a storage box indefinitely or worse, thrown away.

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Now that Christmas is finalized, I suppose we shall take time to show our love for each other in honor of Valentine’s Day.  George and I aren’t the biggest fans of Valentine’s Day so we are keeping it simple.  I’m planning to pick up dinner after work, and perhaps a movie rental.  I also made our favorite sugar cookies in heart shapes for each of my five Valentines.

What do you do with Christmas cards at the end of the season?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Toddler Tips: #1,120 Don’t Recycle That! (Yet)

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With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I'm sharing.

With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I’m sharing.

Thankfully, our city makes recycling simple.  All we have to do is rinse our recyclables and toss them into a giant bin that we place curbside for weekly pick up.  Consequently, our household waste is drastically reduced and we recycle the majority of what would otherwise be trash.  Now that the quaddlers are fascinated with containers, I let them play with our clean recycleables before dropping them into the bin.  As I cook dinner, I dole out the newest materials and the quads are easily occupied for 20-30 minutes.  But, it doesn’t just occupy them and allow me to cook, they are working on fine motor skills as well.  They open and close flip top and screw top containers, flip and tear magazine pages, stuff containers with smaller ones, and drum with kitchen spoons.   Sydney’s occupational therapist would be proud of the page turning we get with magazines. (She told me that at 18 months they should be turning paper pages one at a time.  We all know what they do to board books so I wasn’t letting them at paper paged books, but magazines meet the same end.) Once they are done playing, I scoop up everything and toss it into the recycle bin.  Super easy!  I am aware of the many toys circulating around Pinterest using these types of things as toys.  However, the quads seem to enjoy the novelty that each day brings rather than using the same containers or materials again and again.   Plus, four babies tend to wear out flimsy plastic and cardboard containers relatively quickly.

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While I’m on the topic of recycling.  I love re-purposing linen packaging, specifically the clear zip bags used for new sheets and comforters.  They are ideal for storing toys with many parts.  For example, the bag from our pillow shams now houses a few Lego sets, and our old Boppy Pillow bags are fantastic for storing our ball pit balls. All the small parts are contained, and the contents are visible so labels are unnecessary.  Each time we have a new bag like this, I make a point to let George know it’s a keeper.

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What is your favorite item to re-purpose?

hugs!

Amber