2015 Resolutions

Each new year brings with it the chance to start over.  I’m not quite sure where “New Year ‘s Resolutions” originated, but I like them.  I like the thought of clearing the cobwebs and thinking about what matters to me and reevaluating my goals for the year.

What's In That Diaper Bag?

Now that Jane and Emma are toddlers, I no longer carry a purse, and what I carry around in my diaper bag has changed quite drastically since they were newborns.  When the girls were little, we needed a LOT of stuff, and my diaper bag weighed a ton!  It was so freeing to unload some of that crap, and replace it with lighter, more friendly items.  Here’s what my diaper bag looks like today:
Diaper Bag

6 Pin Sunday

Pinterest has gotten HUGE.  I remember when it first started out.  No one was quite sure what it was because it was this secret, members only, invite only platform.  So when a friend invited me to join, I accepted the invitation and excitedly started surfing around.  I’m not quite sure what I thought or what I expected at the time, but my love affair with Pinterest has grown exponentially since our initial encounter.
In July of 2013, Semiocast reported that there were over 70 million pinners on Pinterest, and that number was growing exponentially.  Digital Marketing Ramblings reported that there are over 30 billion Pinterest pins currently active on Pinterest.  So what’s my point?
I pin at least 2-3 pins that I would like to try every day.  But who the heck has the time to DO all of these things that we look at and imagine would be AMAZEBALLS in our own homes?
I always wished that at the bottom of each pin there was some sort of disclaimer.  Something that said, “Tried this, and it took 19 hours, don’t know how this girl got it done in 30 minutes and it looked perfect,” or “Don’t believe the hype, this monkey bread comes out tasting like a pile of horse manure,” or even, “She said ‘DIY for $75’ but it really cost $147 after I bought all of the pieces to fix the mess ups!” Then maybe I wouldn’t waste so much time trying things out on my family just for my patient husband to exclaim, “Why can’t you just make some chicken cutlets?!”
This new Pinterest blog series will hopefully help you all with this same gripe.  I’m going to be tackling Pinterest, 6 pins at a time, and reporting back to you each Sunday.  And I encourage your input and opinions!  If I try a pin and have a different opinion than you did on that same pin, let me know in the comments!  If there is a pin that you are dying to try but just don’t have the time, send it to me and I’ll see if I can give it a go.  My goal is to help mommies like you and I feel less overwhelmed and less insufficient by this amazing digital medium.
And without further ado, here are our first 6 Pinterest pins!
1.  Hug Machine by Scott Campbell.  I first learned about Hug Machine when it popped up on my Pinterest feed as a Barnes and Noble pin. I headed right over to our town library and requested a copy. The girls loved it SO MUCH that when our borrowing time was up, I bought Jane and Emma their very own copy on Amazon. We read it almost every night, and the girls even know parts of the story and can repeat them as we read, or even read it all by themselves!  A lot of times when products pop up on Pinterest, I research them extensively before I purchase, and this was no exception.
2.  10 Ways to Save on Your Heat Bill.  I always think of these as BS, but since we’ve been really struggling with keeping our home warm this winter, I decided to give it a shot.  The one part that stuck out to me the most was the part about the oven vent, because I ALWAYS turn on the vent over our stove from the beginning to the end of my cooking.  So last night, I turned it on just long enough to suck up any splashy-fumey stuff, and then I turned it off.  Not only did our house smell delicious (I made shrimp scampi, yum), but the stove warmed our house up!  Winner, winner, shrimpy dinner!  We are also saving our rainy day pennies for this programmable thermostat, which I would like to have installed before next winter! Overall I thought this pin was super helpful.
3.  Chicken Fajitas.  We LOVE fajitas.  Well, Hershey loves burritos (no beans, extra cheese, which I would argue takes all of the Mexican out of the burrito, but, let’s let him think he’s eating “ethnic food”), but fajitas lend themselves well to burritos because then all I have to do is make a pot of rice on the side and toss in some cheese.  So when I came across this recipe for chicken fajitas, I was so excited.  My biggest issue is that I never read through the recipe before I go into the kitchen to make it, so I didn’t realize ahead of time that I would need to let the chicken marinate for an hour.  That being said, I like that the chicken has to marinate for an hour, because that meant that I could spend some time
cleaning up after spending time with my girls.  Here are some pics of how it all turned out:
Chicken Fajitas
I use plain Chobani yogurt as sour cream and a tiny bit of salsa just to give it a little bit of extra kick.  We also use whole wheat tortillas.  It was fairly quick and easy, and I swear I would have licked the marinade out of the bowl if I didn’t have a tiny bit of self control.
4.  7 Tips to Organizing with a Messy Family.  So I clicked on this one and saved it because, well, I usually like the things that Sarah Titus has to say.  And I thought that the girl in the Pinterest image looked JUST LIKE ME most days.  This time, I was not happy.  The whole post is about turning to the Lord for answers to your questions and guidance in just accepting that your spouse is messy and taking things away from the kids when they don’t cooperate with your cleanliness expectations.  I felt like I had just gone to church.  If you’re into that kind of thing — great.  I, however, am not.  I wanted to know some tried and true tips on how to live a more organized life when your twin tornadoes are tearing the house apart and your husband is working 12 hour days and you are struggling to stay sane in your little OCD world.  Guess I’ll have to find a different pin for that…
5.  25 Fun Indoor Activities for Toddlers. This post has 25 activity suggestions for your little ones, but they are all links to other pages.  So you go to the writer’s page, and then from there you have to go to 25 different pages to find the set up for the activities.  Most of these are too sophisticated for my 20 month olds, but we do have a bowling set that the girls like, and we do bubbles inside all of the time, which keeps them occupied for about 37 seconds.  We also have done the indoor water play, which is fun but messy.  It takes more time to set it up and CLEAN it up than it actually keeps them occupied.  I actually liked this site, which one of the links brought me to, better than the original link.  I think I’ll just pin that one…
6.  How to Clean Your Humidifier.  So I’ve been just following the directions that go along with the humidifiers forever, but I’m so happy that I found this pin because with the vinegar being diluted, I never felt like it was getting totally clean.  I used bleach (I don’t have peroxide in the house — I know, Mom!), but I think I’ll use peroxide next time because I hate the smell of bleach.  Otherwise, this was easier and I feel like our humidifiers are much cleaner overall.
I hope that this series is helpful to you!  Please let me know if you try any of these pins out, and how you like them!  Also let me know if there is anything you would like me to try in the future!
Oh, and as we await Winter Storm Juno, here are some pics of how we made out after Winter Storm Iona.
Front door Snow
Winter WonderlandWoah SnowReady for SnowPretty SnowJane Smile SnowFun SnowHappy Snow
 Stay safe and warm out there this week everyone!
 photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-79-BE2F1C230B2E09DDB90549082CF6E130_zpsogacqeac.png

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Baby It's Cold...Inside?

Cold and flu season is in FULL SWING here in freezing cold NJ, and the Groff household has taken a serious hit. As I alluded to in the last post, Hershey had the flu, Emma and I both had a stomach virus (Emma's virus landed us in the ER at 1:00 in the morning), and Jane had strep throat.  Poor all of us.
Sicky Boo
The part that really stinks extra about the girls being sick this year is that they totally know that something is wrong, that something is hurting, but they don't know how to tell us.  Which results in a lot of whining, wailing, and reaching out to us screaming "UPPP UPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!"  I swear, one day I felt like I had lifted weights all day long after putting the twincesses to sleep.
And they are BORED.  I've started breaking out the emergency Christmas toys because they've been home for a week and they are literally climbing the walls.
Emma Upside Down
Blown Away
It was really fun when the balls all rolled under the couch and when I turned on the elephant a volcano of Cheerios came flying out.  Hmm...
Whenever we are all sick, I find myself going back to the same few comfort items to help relieve the ick.  This time around, it's been over a week that one and/or all of us have been sick, so I'm starting to go to desperate measures.  One blogger who I follow, Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teethposted a couple of natural remedies that she swears by, and Hershey came home tonight to me swallowing garlic by the clove.  A little voodoo anyone?
Here's what I rely on (religiously) to get us through the snot.
Crane Drop Shape Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier.  We have one in each bedroom.  They are a bit of a PITA because we have to empty them and refill them every night, and it's important to sanitize them once a week (I spend about 15 minutes every weekend doing this step, and I'm not even sure that what I'm doing is always the right way), but I think that they're totally worth it.  Emma and Jane have been snot-mongers since day one of daycare, but it's always coming OUT instead of compacting IN. I contribute that partially to the humidifiers.  Plus, they help with the winter dry skins.
Vicks BabyRub.  I definitely follow the directions and rub on the girls' necks, chests, shoulders, and backs, but an old wive's tale says to also rub it on the bottoms of their feets and put on socks, so we do that, too.  I swear it helps them sleep easier through the night when they are stuffy.
Boogie Wipes .  These are so much easier on the girls' sore little nosies.  I feel so bad wiping and wiping at their raw nostrils, and the saline in these makes it somewhat easier on them (and me!).
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.  Hershey and I eat it with crusty bread and butter and dip the bread in the juice, but I strain most of the liquid out for the girls and serve with toast squares.  Either way, we put Parmesan cheese on it and it is so delicious!  I love this recipe.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer.  This thing was a LIFE SAVER for this past illness.  I hated having to take rectal temps.  Be sure to allow the thermometer a couple of minutes in between readings to re-calibrate.  Whatever that means.
TEA TEA TEA.  Cammomile tea.  And honey.  I give the girls spoonfuls of warm tea and a teaspoon of honey whenever their throats seem to be hurting them.  I swear it works wonders.
The only other advice that I have to get you through this disgusting season is to bundle up and get lots of Elmo on your Netflix.  The girls are finally at a point where I can lay on the couch and snuggle with them under a blankie for about 20 minutes at a time, and that is the best part of my day.
What are you doing to survive this nasty cold and flu season?  I'd love to hear from you!
Have a great weekend, friends!  xoxo

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Hello, 2015

It's official.  Just when we think that parenting can't get any harder, the Universe doubles down.  Last week, our school had over 100 absences in one day, and between 60-70 absences every day the rest of the week.  Our students were hit with a mutated strain of the flu that was not vaccinated against this year, a wicked stomach virus, and strep throat.  And Hershey and I brought all 3 home with us.  The Trifecta.
That being said, I thought that this would be a good time to start thinking about what we are looking FORWARD to in 2015, considering the last 5 days have pretty much been Hell on Earth in the Groff household.
Vacation.  The first thing that I'm looking forward to this year is VACATION.  This could be a double-edged sword because we are flying to Florida, which will be my 4th time on an airplane (I don't fly well), and the girls' first time!  But I am looking forward to some much-needed R&R and sunshine.  I dragged the girls out onto our back deck for exactly 37 seconds today just to get some fresh (27 degree) air.  Blech.
Birthdays.  I am also looking forward to Jane and Emma's second birthdays.  We were unable to have a birthday party for them last year, so I am excited to be able to throw them a huge bash this year, and the fact that they will UNDERSTAND it will be priceless!
Potty Training.  This is both exciting and terrifying for me.  I haven't had much luck so far in this category, but I'm slowly but surely putting supports in place to get them going pee pee on the potty as quickly as possible.  I'm so OVER double diaper duty (and the expense that comes with buying diapers, sorry Amazon Mom, no more Huggies Little Movers for us!).
Summer Break!  This one is huge, because I get to sit in my hammock, do some gardening, and focus on my mommying and my blogging.  Special bonus - LESS ILLNESSES!  And a round of applause for that please...
Emma Claps
Plus, I'll get to spend more time with these two crazies who, when they're not sick, are a barrel of laughs nowadays...
Locked up
What are you all looking forward to this year?  I'd love to hear from you!
I hope that you are all doing better than we are over here in Boogerville.  As Jane and Emma say, "NA-NIIIIGHT!"  xoxo

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Big BLOG News!

Well, it is a new year, and with a new year always comes new adventures.  This year, I have decided to focus more on my blogging, and my family has invested in that dream.

We are currently working on migrating over to WordPress, and you will be able to find us in our new home soon!  In the meantime, please be patient as we move all of our posts and adorable pictures along with links and lists to our new place of residence on the Internet.  It's going to take some time/energy to spruce it up and get it looking good for you, but I promise you that it will be worth the wait!

See y'all soon!  xoxo

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Top 5 Twin Toys of Xmas 2014

Tomorrow I'll be 35.  The big 3-5.  Where the heck does time go?!  I was having a conversation today with one of my fave Bostonians (also one of my pledge sisters 13 years ago --YIKES!).  She texted me to tell me that she was wondering why her Pinterest feed was clogged with pins about potty training, and then realized what I'm currently doing with my life.  She then quipped, "I thought adulthood was going to be way more glamorous than this."  Indeed, my dear friend.  Indeed.

That all being said, I figured that since birthdays usually come with gifts, what better time than now to round up our top 5 favorite Christmas gifts for Jane and Emma this year?  

Instead of having a bunch of conversations about what the girls wanted and what they already had, I decided to streamline the process by creating an Amazon wish list for the girls.  As you already know, I am a faithful Amazon customer and one of their biggest Prime fans, so this was a no brainer for me.  I then shared the list with the Grandma Squad and our closest friends, and this hopefully helped take some of the guesswork out of Christmas shopping for Jane and Emma (something that I always really appreciated when shopping for friends' kids!).  

Here are the girls' FAVORITE gifts from this year's Christmas extravaganza!  You may notice that some of the gifts were NOT on the wish list, which just means that the girls were extra spoiled this year, which was fine with us!!

5.  Melissa & Doug Nesting/Stacking Blocks.

Emma spends a TON of time taking the nest apart and very carefully stacking all of the blocks up.  She LOVES to put the tiny little Z block all of the way at the top of the stack, which she needs help to do since the stack is taller than her.  The only caveat to this is that Jane's favorite thing to do is to come by like the tiny tornado that she is and smash all of her sister's hard work while screaming "NOOOO!!!!!!!!"  But this just gives Emma the opportunity to rebuild her masterpiece.  (We got just one set for both girls.)

4.  Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Pots Pans Set.

Seems simple, but since Jane and Emma already LOVE their little kitchen set so much, and they also LOVE tearing into my cabinets to take out my BEAUTIFUL Calphalon pots and pans to scratch up bang on, this seemed like a natural choice.  They love to disassemble the whole tower and "make" breakfast or dinner, bringing the little wooden spoons over to Hershey and I so that we can "taste" their culinary masterpieces.  Noms. (One set for both girls.)

3.  Baby Alive Luv n' Snuggle Baby Doll.

The twincesses already had little baby dolls, so my mom went out on a limb with this one, but the girls LOVE their Baby Alives.  They carry them around, giving them bottles and putting the blankies over the babies' heads and saying, "Na-night babyyy."  I even caught Emma singing to her baby and spoon feeding her this morning!  They also love to put them in the little baby strollers that my MIL bought them over the summer and "take them for walks" which really = DRAG RACE AROUND THE HOUSE, in which case we've had a couple of baby doll casualties when the babies went flying from the strollers and unceremoniously run over by one or the other or both girls. (One for each girl.)

2.  Mega Bloks First Builders Play 'N Go Fairytale Table.

I had bought Jane and Emma some Mega Bloks from the Target Dollar Spot over the summer, so I knew that they were interested in building blocks, but was unsure just HOW interested they were.  Let me tell you something -- it only took a little nudge from this beautiful little table to get the girls engaged!  This was their big combined gift from "Santa" this year, along with a big bag of pastel colored Mega Bloks, and our friends and family bought them all kinds of accessories, like fairies on unicorns and primary colored Mega Bloks and tulip cars, and there are now FIGHTS over putting the blocks away and going to bed.  They go crazy for these beautiful little blocks! (One set for both girls.)

And the #1 gift for Christmas 2014 was....

1.  Step2 Pink Whisper Ride Buggy!!!!!

Ok, get ready to laugh...

The girls LOVED getting these on Christmas Eve, and we can't WAIT for the weather to make up it's mind and GET WARM so that we can take Jane and Emma out in these babies.  The BEST part is watching my 6'3", 200 lb MANLY MAN of a hubby pushing the girls down the street in these little pink buggies.  I crack up...

Jane and Emma spent most of the night in these on Christmas Eve, and even opened most of their presents while sitting in them.  Talk about drive thru service!

We received so many amazing and wonderful gifts for the girls from our friends and family that we decided to pack a lot of it away and we plan to take out one new toy a month until we get to their birthdays in May, at which point we will begin the whole dance over again.  The girls don't know just how lucky they are (but we do!!).

What toys did your babes get for the holidays this year?  What would you suggest as must-haves?  

Hope your weekend is going GREAT!  It's sunny here, and we're heading out to eat with the girls tonight, which is ALWAYS an adventure, but one that they really enjoy.

Happy Saturday!  xoxo

P.S.  Don't forget to click below to vote if you like us!  All you have to do is click the links!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs