Keeping it Clean at the Stuckey House!

 Lovely Kelly is hosting Show us Your Life Friday on Cleaning Tips! 

I have to admit that I am easily won over by the cleaning and organizing sections of Target... I love the prospect of a fresh, clean home. Even more now that Lu is on the move.  
Though the actual getting it done... that takes some extra discipline for sure! 

    1. The best piece of information I have been given regarding being a working wife and mom is  
"Never underestimate the power of 15 minutes." 
My best friend told me that when I was pregnant with Lucy and having one of those days. 
I have found it to be true.
      Taking just 10 or 15 minutes before you go to bed, or even first thing in the morning is a lifesaver when you find yourself short on time and long on... well, dirt. I have really tried to remember this and put it into practice and it really seems to be helping me and my home!

      2. I LOVE Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner in Lemon! I bought a big thing of it from BJ's and I use it for so many things. I invested in a few empty spray bottles and made my own slightly diluted cleaning solution. I'm sure you can do this with vinegar and water.. but I love the lemon scent and it feels like everything is so much more clean!

     3. We use Scotchbrite Sponges in our kitchen (no dishwasher. boo!) and since we have to trade them out every week or two, I save them under the sink and then use them to clean the bathrooms. They scrub the tile really well and we feel like we get double duty out of them!

 When I feel I am out of fresh cleaning advice, I check out REAL SIMPLE.COM for tips and hints. They have an entire cleaning section and a featured spot removal guide for things really get messy!

P.S. I dare not mention cleaning or cleaning products without publicly praising my wonderful Husband for all that He does around the house during this season in our life and marriage. Regardless of the fact that I often get frustrated that He is the one doing all the things I feel are "my job" He is SUCH a big help and I am most GRATEFUL for the blessing he is!


Almost Wordless Wednesday


YAY!!!!! Spring is HERE!


Monday's Must Have: Tomato Paste in the Tube

Today's "Must Have" is pretty practical and not at all exciting... unless you just love Italian food--

which I do.

I love to make it. I love to serve it. AND, I love to eat it!

I have noticed that many recipes (whether Italian or not) often call for a small amount of Tomato Paste. At some point in the past, I realized I was buying a small can of tomato paste every time I need a Tablespoon and then having trouble deciding what to do with the rest. I hate waste-- and throwing away the rest of the can definitely felt wasteful.

Then I found this product, Amore Tomato Paste in the tube. This was a great little product for me, as I could squeeze out a small amount of this super-concentrated paste for sloppy joes, meatloaf or whatever, and then pop it back in the fridge for next time! It goes a long way and has proved to be very convenient as one of those, 'have on hand' items. Many grocery stores carry it on the top shelf, and it will usually cost about 2-3 dollars per tube.

I will say, that when I make marinara sauce, I do not use this, but use an entire small can of regular tomato paste merely because it is more cost effective. If you really want to plan ahead, you can buy a case of it here!  Twelve tubes for $26.77 comes out to a little more than $2.00 a tube! I definitely plan to do this if we move somewhere that does not carry it at a good price!

This may be a little silly for a "must have" but we have enjoyed having it on hand-- perhaps you will too!


Almost Wordless Wednesday

You have no idea, kiddo.


A little note to my little girl...

Dear Lu-
    Thank you for being such a constant source of joy in our lives. 
You daily remind us how good God is and how very blessed we are. 

    On the worst of days, when we are tempted to doubt His plan for our lives-- 
your happy giggle is a sweet bright spot at the end of the day. 
God has graciously given us you and we are honored to be your parents.

You cause us to reflect on all He has given and not on the fact
that He has not seen fit to give us a job just yet.

On the long days when I want nothing more than to rush ahead and quit my job to be your 
stay-at-home mommy-- you greet me at the door with a 100-watt smile and I realize
that I would rather spend three hours a day with you than none at all.

You are, in short, a beautiful treasure and we cherish you, little girl!


Monday's "Must-Haves"

Today's must have is from Crate and Barrel-- which I absolutely love and will miss when ever we move elsewhere. They seem to carry many functional things-- many of which do not also carry a very high price tag. I once found small juice glasses for .75 cents a piece there-- so cute. We had four... now we have 2.  That will teach me to buy only just enough. :) Anyway, they were adorable with oranges etched on the side and the phrase, "squeeze me." Love them. But, I digress.

These Parker Mini Bowls are adorable and functional. They scream "springtime" and we have already put them to great use several times! I chose the Mimosa, Provence and Macaw for our little kitchen and we have used them for small servings of dessert, soup, snacks, even prep bowls for cooking! And at $3.95 a pop, they are an inexpensive little Spring upgrade for your table or kitchen! (BTW, they also carry a large 5-piece set of Parker mixing bowls, and if we had not too many bowls already, I would have seriously considered them as well. What can I say? I love dishes and serving-ware!)

I have to admit that in our current economic situation, both as a country and as a family, an item has to work on several levels to be considered a "must have." And still, the term is a bit of stretch. There are few "things (i.e. people)" that I must have and they are currently both sleeping peacefully. Never the less, I have thoroughly enjoyed my little bowls, and I think you might as well!


Little Stinker

Someone has discovered the fun in unrolling the bathroom tissue. Lovely. 

 I love her cute little mischievous face though.


9 month checkup!

Today L had her 9 month appt! She is in exactly the 50th percentile of height and weight and she seems to be right on target developmentally. The Dr was very happy with the way she is growing and changing and
all three of us were relieved that she did not need any shots this time! YAY!

She was quite the little ham-- babbling and giggling--
18.7 lbs, and 27.5 inches long!!!

Look! She almost has enough hair to flip out in the back! How excited am I??!?!

All kidding aside, I was reminded today how very blessed we are to have a healthy child. God has been very gracious to keep her safe and sound. I literally cannot believe how she is growing before our eyes. 
It seems she changes every other day. I am not at all ready for her first birthday in a few months...
but I am truly grateful to be this little girl's mommy.

We are blessed to be sure. So much to be thankful for.

Girl after my own heart.

Only 9 months old and already she seems fascinated with shoes. What can I say?


What I've been up to...

Hi! I've been getting into pretty much everything. My exersaucer is a little old hat now that I can crawl fast-- so I have learned a creative way to play with it...

I have been spending more time in my highchair since my mommy and daddy are trying to get me to eat different types of foods--- Baby Yogurt is my new favorite! (Pay no attention to that big bruise on my head... I fall down sometimes.)

Much to the chagrin of my mommy, I have recently learned to climb the stairs. Look at me go!

Daddy says this is me "In the pokey."

These are my new shoes... Mommy thought I needed them since I seem to be trying to walk sometime soon! I kinda like them.

Don't I look like such a big girl with shoes on?
I love to play!!!!


Baby Stuff: Part One-- Maternity

Now that my little L is quickly moving out of the "itty bitty baby stage" and into the "let me see what I can get into stage," I have decided to share some of the products that worked, or did not work for me. A lot of people gave very helpful advice during my pregnancy and after L was born and I would like to pass on what I have learned.. even if it only affects a small handful of 1st-time moms!

My plan is to do this in several segments, the first being Maternity (Clothes and Products)

Disclaimer: Let me say at the beginning that I strongly believe that what worked for me may not work at all for another mom. That's perfectly fine-- I do NOT claim to be an expert, how could I be, after all I have only one child! :) I merely want to share "what works for me." Enjoy.

Maternity Clothes:
I once heard a joke that goes like this: "With your first child, you run right out and start buying maternity clothes as soon as the test is positive. With your second child, you wear your regular clothes as long as possible. With your third child, your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes."  HA! That first part was definitely true with me-- although, I hope the latter will not be for sure! Keep in mind that with your first PG you may not show nearly as early as you think you will, then again, you might. I felt like I hardly showed at all until I was all of a sudden, as big as a house. That being said, I was pregnant from September to May so where I hardly needed winter MT clothes, I certainly needed Spring and Summer things. It all depends really.  Many of my regular clothes looked so much better than Maternity clothes until I really had a bonafide bump.

When it came to actually purchasing said PG clothes, I was pretty okay with making a few small investments hoping that I would have the chance to wear them with Baby #2. I got a great pair of jeans (on sale at a department store I think.) And I HAD to buy a couple of pairs of serviceable work pants for obvious reasons... but the majority of my maternity wardrobe was on sale at Old Navy or the Gap (definitely clearance!)

Several things to keep in mind:
1. Be patient with yourself as you shop. Don't try to hit the mall after a long and tiring day at work and find things you absolutely love on the first try. Shop in little spurts if possible.

2. Be prepared to get frustrated a time or two when you visit a store and find that in that whole huge store, the maternity section is this teeny tiny closet of three racks containing 2 pairs of pants and 5 shirts, 3 of which look like something your 3rd grade teacher wore. (See point 4 for a solution) If you are like me, and have shopped in the tiny corner of the store that is the petite section-- be warned, this is like that only worse. But it's SO worth it to have your little dear 9 months later!

3.  Try to find yourself a couple of really comfortable maternity camis to wear underneath things and you will have really stretched your current wardrobe. I found them in black and in white on sale at the Gap. I must confess, I still wear them on occasion because they are comfortable!

4. Be prepared to shop online with a store that has a great return policy. For example, OLD NAVY has a tiny little maternity section in the store, but they have a lot of stuff online. Cute stuff too. AND, if you visit their coupon site on Thursday after midnight, you can usually score a great coupon. I found several great things at Old Navy that did not have the smallest amount of frumpyness to them. Check out this little cutie---
pair that with these pants and voila! you are sporting that bump with all the style of your pre-preg self, 
not to mention the brand new glow! 


(Brief Old Navy cheerleading session over.)

Unfortunately, I could not always find what I was looking for, so I did visit the little shop of Motherhood a time or two to find pants and the like. Let me go on record as saying that though I found several of my things there at somewhat reasonable prices, I was not thrilled with them in the least. I believe that they know they have somewhat of a monopoly on the impregnated world and they take it. You can only return non-clearance items within 10 days for an exchange with a receipt. WHO DOES THAT ANYMORE??????? Some of their items are not made very well. They just aren't. Several shirts I found there did not look nice after less than 3 washings. (yes, I used cold water, yes, I dried on low or hung dry.) I guess I often felt cheated because if I knew I needed something, I could find it there in a pinch-- but I did not often appreciate the quality as on par with the price. But, what can you do? It is what it is. I will be fair and say I found my favorite white capri's there!

All in all, keep in mind that you can get by with a few basic items at first and find things as you go along. You will not wake up one morning and be huge. Although, it may feel that way sometimes. :) There were many months in the beginning when I wore my fav. jeans longer than I should have by sticking a hair elastic through the button loop and wrapping it around the button. Instant extra inch!

I hope those of you that are or will become pregnant have found this at least a little helpful. Hopefully you will find what works for you right away too! And now for a little blast from the past (last year.) SINCE we are on the Maternity topic....

Here we are.. just weeks before the big day!


Almost Wordless Wednesday

I LOVE this guy. 


In the midst of this seemingly never-ending job search, he has been so faithful, so strong and 
just so God-honoring in his love for the little one and I..

I am one blessed woman.