Sunday, May 27, 2012

Things I've Been Doing - May 27, 2012

Wearing skirts and new shoes.
Wearing dresses and new shoes.
Using my FastPop to make popsicles.
Making popsicles with cold-brewed coffee,  almond milk, and agave.
Making popsicles with low-fat yogurt and Trader Joe's  cookie butter (speculoos/Biscoff spread).
Going to hippotherapy.
How are you?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Thrifting Trip Before the Long Summer - May 23, 2012

School is out on Friday for the summer...and it's going to be a long one. We have no camps lined up, but we do have four therapies, the pool, the work-and-play spot, a few girls who have volunteered to help out and play with my kid while I'm home...we should be OK.

But that said, I'm trying to get everything done before I find my time extremely limited. First, most exciting, tonight my husband and I are going on a CHILDFREE DATE. A friend of mine has volunteered to watch my daughter with her two daughters (who are adorable, wonderful, and sweet to my girl). I'm so excited I can't stop grinning.

And yesterday I ran off to have one last hurrah with my friend Amy and hang out, relax,, yeah. I didn't get much - I wasn't feeling the magic yesterday, but also I honestly don't need much to get me through the rest of the summer. Still, I had a ton of fun.

What you won't see are the seven books I bought for my kid's classroom - her teacher asked for new books, and I was glad to be able to provide. The woman at the thrift store for some reason gave me an incredible deal and only charged me $2 for the whole pile, which included two new Fancy Nancy books, a book about Yankee Doodle, Duck and the Truck, a giant board book version of Moo Baa La La La, a paperback of Quack Quack Moo, and one other that I can't remember.

Here's what I got at the Humane Society:

Soooo cute. 50 cents.

Plain turquoise T, Red Sawx St. Patty's Day T (soft! comfy!) - 50 cents each.

More breaking out of my comfort zone - orangey-reddish Old Navy capris. $1.

Crinkle cutter! Now my carrot and butternut squash fries can look cute - I've been looking for one of these for FOREVER. 50 cents!

Ridiculous gothy witchy dress that actually fits nicely and looks cute. I say it's meant for "Princess Dragonblood Isis" or something - but I finally gave in and thought maybe I'd wear it for Halloween. $2.

Absolutely adorable dress that is poorly photographed. Can't wait to wear this one. $2.

Comfy flowy lovely dress - I love this one too. $2. Trust me, it's great.
We wandered into Goodwill, scoffed at the prices, and I bought a single Backyardigans book for my kid for $1.50.

Then we went to our other favorite indie store, where I scored...

SQUEE! AND OMG! AND WHEEE! The 70s Weight Watchers recipe cards as seen at Candy Boots/in the Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan/made fully humorous by Wendy McClure! SIXTY CENTS.
Could you just die???
AND a full set of Betty Crocker recipe cards from the same era! These were also 60 cents OMG.

Men's Favorites. Indeed.
I think these were $2 each - plain brown shirt, and P-A-T-S Pats Pats PATS! shirt.
Super cute beach bag for the summer. $2.

And finally, I had a $50 Target gift card that I'd earned from MyPoints. I decided that despite the fact that we're having some financial issues (two freelancers + one disabled child = things can get kind of sticky), I was going to spend this on ME...

I'd been staring at this bag for months, figuring I'd wait until it went on clearance. Instead, my local Target ran out of this design. I was at a different Target, saw it, and gave in to its charms. 

The story is the same for this. I really really really want a Zoku (anyone want to buy me one?) but I saw this and figured I'd wait for it to go on sale. Here's the ridiculous part - the reddish one was on sale for $25. The blue one that I bought was on sale for $24. The blue ones that were on the fancy summer display at the front of the store that had an item number that was identical but ended in an R...were not on sale at all and cost $30. (I checked all the prices with the store scanner.) WTF Target. Not cool. Anyway, the parts are drying right now and will go in the freezer tonight. Note that this, the Hamilton Beach FastPop Gourmet Pop Maker (68772 for blue, 68773 for red, 68772R for...something weird at Target), is the NEW version. When I looked for reviews of this product, I came up with an older version that required a key (Zoku-style) and that had terrible reviews. This one doesn't seem to have been reviewed yet - so I will let you know!
 And that ends my shopping for...quite some time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Honey Bunches of Oats Contest and Review! - May 15, 2012

Disclaimer: Post provided a free sample of its Honey Bunches of Oats - Honey Roasted for me to review. All opinions expressed in my blog are mine - as always. Post also provided me with the prizes for the contest/giveaway - keep reading for more!

I haven't been eating much cereal on Weight Watchers because for a while I couldn't be trusted to not eat an entire box in a sitting. However, now that I've learned the tools to keep that impulse in check, I'm back to enjoying cereal once in a while.

Honey Bunches of Oats is one of my favorite cold cereals, and it was nice to be able to revisit it. I have always liked the contrast of the light flakes with the denser, crunchier "bunches." Now that I'm watching my weight, I particularly like that it's not oversweetened - there are only 6 grams of sugar in a serving (3/4 of a cup - make sure you measure that out!) and 10 grams of whole grain. And if you are good about measuring out that serving, it's just 3 Points Plus. I made mine with 1/3 of a cup of almond milk, which is zero points, making this a nice light part of my breakfast. It also would make an excellent afternoon snack!

Would you like to try Post's Honey Bunches of Oats? Thanks to A Place to Write Things and the generosity of Post, can win two - TWO! - coupons for a free box of any variety in their line. There are two sets of two coupons available. Just enter with Rafflecopter and you'll be alllll set.

(U.S. residents only, please.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 4, 2012

I got me some horses to ride ride on... - May 4, 2012

I am always looking for new things for my kid to try if it will help her in some way. If it's noninvasive and affordable and accessible to us, I'll give it a shot. I've been hemming and hawing about hippotherapy for months now. Possibly years. I definitely wanted hippotherapy to be a part of our repertoire, but until very recently I didn't sit down and actually make the calls and fill out the paperwork. A few weeks ago I did, and yesterday she had her first session.

I had been warned by a few people that it was possible she'd be afraid. She wouldn't necessarily want to pet a horse, nevermind go anywhere near one. However, I know my fearless daughter and I wasn't worried. A few weeks before I started the process, we took her to watch a friend's (neurotypical) daughter ride. My kid squealed and waved and petted that horse right on the nose. Yeah, I wasn't worried.

I didn't need to be. In fact, I could barely hold onto her once the pony was brought out all saddled up. My daughter twisted and turned in my arms as she reached reached REACHED to get near that horse. We handed her over to the therapists (warm, wonderful, delightful therapists!) and, well...she was the happiest I've seen her in a long time. In fact, these sessions last as long as they need to and as long as the kid cooperates, and my daughter did NOT want to stop riding. At all. At the end of the session she let the horse give her a kiss and a hand-nibble.

And I noticed immediate results. I did not get the miracle I am always hoping for, admittedly. Sometimes I believe that this is the thing that's going to make her stand up and walk across the room like a scene in the movie. That's not reality. But she felt stronger, immediately. Her babble seemed more organized, her words had a new clarity. Yet the bottom line was that SHE LIKES THIS - so if we simply look at it as an afterschool activity like any other kid might do, that's plenty for me. But it's also therapeutic, and that is just amazing.

So now there's PT, OT, speech - in school and out - and hippotherapy. We're on a waiting list to get evaluated for an AAC device too, and I have great hopes for that path as well. We'll swim a lot this summer and maybe someday I'll get her into aquatherapy too. We're moving forward, and she's moving forward. Her teacher recently showed us the incredible progress she made from last year to this year (based on one of those formal tests, of course - all the little numbers/percentiles went UP UP UP). Progress. It's all I can ask for. It's all I want. And it's wonderful.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Check out the Children's Place's Summer Line! #placepoolparty - May 2, 2012

Thanks to a sweet friend (who will remain anonymous unless she gives me the OK to say her name here), I was able to participate in a media event in Atlanta for the Children's Place and check out their new summer line of clothing for newborns, babies, and older boys and girls. And let me tell you, I had a BLAST.

Disclosure time! Right up front. You love it. I was given a gift card with which to shop, courtesy of the Children's Place, and I was given a special one-on-one tour of the store and the new line. However, all opinions are my own - and let me assure you, I'm going to be brutally honest here. 

I feel like TCP (can I call you TCP? Great!) is trying to reposition itself more in line with BabyGap and Gymboree and to move a bit away from where I always saw it, which was as at the same level as Carter's/OshKosh (which I am a huge fan of but I also know is a slightly lower-end brand with prices to match). TCP has hired a new designer away from - what a coincidence - BabyGap, and the pieces I saw today definitely showcase a new direction.

The summer line is full of neon colors (I don't know WHY I know this, as I am fashion challenged, but those are very IN right now). It's also full of details - sequins, extra stitching, accessories, and so on. I like that. Some of the dresses I saw even reminded me of high-end brands like Tea Collection in the general detailing.

I found the prices very reasonable overall. Some things cost a bit more than I would normally spend on my girl (have you been reading my blog? did you perhaps notice that I go to thrift stores a lot? hehe) but other items were definitely priced for my budget. There were some very cute T-shirts that I noticed on my way out the door that were only $5 each - and with the coupons that flow freely from TCP (sign up for their emails! do it!), those could be even less expensive. The most expensive thing I bought today was a Hello Kitty shirt for $13, and licensed items like that do always cost more (I could not resist the KITTY).

Ah yes, I bought. I bought and bought. I was given a generous $100 gift card with which to shop, and I am proud to say that my entire total for everything was $100.08.

This is what I got:

Here's the overview. I stuck with the pink/purple category, as you can see. I like that everything I got matches with everything else I got - and within the store, that was the case as well. Lots of mixing and matching, which is great!
T shirts! The purple and pink have sequins and butterflies and flowers  - but they just don't feel overly girlygirl to me since they're still T-shirts. $10 each. Hello Kitty is....Hello Kitty! $12.95.

I love these shorts. They're the longer style and they'll both go with so many things. They were $12 each.

The khaki shorts peeking in the back were $10. They're true shorts, and they have an elastic waist. Since we're still working on potty training (I'm determined to get that going this summer) those will work well. The pants roll up to become longer shorts, but I'm not sure if they'll fit and/or if I'll keep them. I liked the versatility but the fabric is a little heavy. We'll see when she tries them on. $10.
Super adorable plastic strawberry purse. That I may steal. That I probably will steal. That I love. $7.46!

My favorite piece that I bought today - a sweet denim skirt with a pretty purpley waistband. She might actually wear it because...

Peek-a-boo, there are shorts under there! She doesn't wear skirts that often because she's still usually crawling around or falling as she tries to take steps, so having a skort is a huge bonus. $10 - a steal, I think.
Now a quick note on what I didn't like. I didn't like the bathing suits that were available in her size. While I liked that they have SPF 50 built in (they called it...UPF I think?), the designs were just a bit too grown-up for me. I'm not a prude, I swear, but my five-year-old doesn't need to be wearing a two-piece or an off-the-shoulder suit to look cute. And the one-piece suits had odd detailing on the breast area. No. I skipped those. There was a super-cute rashguard but they didn't have it in my kid's size - I liked it a lot though. And I am not a fan of skinny jeans and/or jeggings for my little girl. That's partly because our situation is different and I need her pants to be easy to deal with, but also it, again, just feels a bit too OLD for a little girl. Leggings yes. Skinny jeans no. (She actually has a pair of skinny-ish jeans that I thrifted and I think she looks kind of weird in them!)

Those are minor issues though. Overall I thought the selection was great and well-thought-out. I also really liked the boy designs - there was one pair of shorts with skulls all over that I considered getting for my girl! It was nice to see a wide selection of styles and colors for the boys - friends with boys, take note! And the newborn stuff was really cute and would make a great baby shower gift because it's affordable so you can get two outfits instead of one.

I would like to thank the local and the imported staff of the Children's Place for hosting this event, and I hope I can participate in future events as well! Whee!

By the way...she looks really cute in the clothes!

My grown-up girl! (Watermarked. Deal with it!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's happening with the kid - May 1, 2012

OK, OK, OK. Enough about thrifting. No more about the Ekobrew (STILL my most-viewed post). I'll give you an update on my daughter, who is almost five and who has cerebral palsy (hypotonic - the rare kind, lucky us).

  • She now can slide off a chair onto her feet and take up to four steps in a row across the room. They're wobbly steps, but she's doing it.
  • She can stand for 30 seconds at a time and even shift weight and turn her body a bit. Stability before mobility - this is good.
  • Her speech is improving but sometimes it sounds like she's speaking a very deliberate foreign language to which I've lost the dictionary. She has words, and she'll use them, but she'll also get frustrated very rapidly because I don't understand everything she's saying.
  • To that end, we're on a waiting list to get her evaluated for an augmentative communication device/AAC. That probably won't happen for a month or two, but I'm glad we've gotten moving on that.
  • She begins hippotherapy this week and I am SO EXCITED. Not just because I love horses and used to ride when I was at camp in the summers. OK that's a lot of it. But also because of the things that hippotherapy can do to help a child like mine. She's so close to walking and talking - could this be the piece of the puzzle that pushes her over the edge? We'll see!
  • She's more or less outgrown her walker and it's time for the next one. I have a picture of her from about two years ago when she first got it, and the walker comes up to her armpits. Now she towers over it. I actually think we might buy it out of pocket - it's available on Amazon, I could have it within a week, and the price is extremely reasonable. On the other hand if we were to pursue it in a medical/insurance manner, it could take months, we might actually pay more due to deductibles and hoop jumping (plus time and energy and gas). Nothing's been decided, but I find it funny that in this day and age I can buy something like that. (I know about my other options - I'm just giving you one of them!) Which means that I'd love it if you clicked on any of my Amazon referral links in this here blog and bought things because every bit of Amazon credit I accrue goes toward her walker. Like, hey, I just read this really AMAZING book - possibly my favorite work of fiction that I've read this year - go check it out via my referral link!

  • She's also outgrown her SMOs and is getting fitted for those next week. Growing girl!
  • She's adorable, gorgeous, and funny. She has tantrums when she doesn't get her way. She loves listening to music on her iPad and making me read the album titles to her. She can read, she knows her colors, she knows her numbers, she can count aloud to three (I believe she can count higher but she stops saying things at three). I adore her.
Tomorrow I'll be taking part in a media event for the clothing store the Children's Place and I am really excited about it! Watch for a post about that in the near future. (They are not making me write a post, but they are going to be giving me a gift card with which to buy brand new clothes. My kid usually wears thrifted clothes - and I have no problem with that! - but getting her some nice new clothes is extra exciting.)