Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Thoughts on Daycare

It's been a year since I returned to work although there are times when it feels like it happened just yesterday.   I am still struggling with my decision on why I even returned to work.  I thought over time my decision would get easier but it hasn't.  It weighs on my mind constantly with no decision feeling like the right one.  Some days are easier than others.  There are days where I finally think, "OK, perhaps I can do this, things are finally falling into place" when the following week something happens at work or with daycare that I ask myself, "Is this even worth it?"

Let me preface by saying I love Jillian's daycare.  Jeff and I looked EVERYWHERE when we made the decision that I was probably going to return to work once maternity leave was over with.  We visited some pretty scary places to say the least.  After a day of "daycare hunting" I almost decided to quit my job right then and there.  I had already arranged that I was going to come back on a part time basis, however, there was no way we were going to take a new born baby to such a scary place.  Even if it was for only two days a week.  Then we decided to try out a center that my neighbor brought her kids to.  I also had received a positive recommendation about the very same place from my co-worker, Janet.  So we decided to give it a shot and we loved it!  As soon as we walked in the door, we experienced the same feeling that you do when your house hunting and you find "the one".  It was such an adorable place, all of the babies and kids were happy, and it didn't have that daycare smell......

So we decided to sign up our unborn baby girl for two days a week and agreed to talk to them a few weeks before I returned to work.  The first day of daycare was hard.  Leaving Jillian with strange women was really hard for me to handle.  I was also worried about the Cutis Aplaysia sore on Jillian's head and if it would get disturbed.  Slowly I got to know the women and the other babies in Jillian's room.  I also started to notice that Jillian actually LIKED these women at daycare.  She was also starting to make friends with the other babies.  As she got older, it was so cute to see her smile and interact with them.  She started to recognize their faces and she would light up when once of them would smile at her.  Jillian loved everything about the Infant I room and it did start to finally put me somewhat at ease knowing that she was getting the social interaction and stimulation that she just wouldn't be getting at home.

When Jillian transitioned into the Infant II room at ten months old, she didn't have as an easy time with it.  I think she was intimidated by the older babies in her new room.  Most of them were walking and she had only just learned to crawl.  Her teachers have told me on a few occasions that they were worried about her being so quiet and not interacting as much with the other kids.  She would just sit and play by herself.  Now when we would drop her off, she would cry and latch on to me with her "death grip" in protest.  I felt horrible.  Jillian obviously just felt more comfortable with the younger babies and was afraid of the older ones.  I tried to look at the positive side and justify it by saying perhaps this is what she needed then, to develop her social skills more by hanging out with older babies.  It was a hard couple of weeks as Jillian got used to her new room.  I feel she was at a disadvantage since she was only there two days a week, I am sure that was only making the transition even longer and more difficult for her. 

One of the biggest challenges of daycare, any daycare, is the sickies! Oh my word, have we been sick this Winter.  It's been an ongoing 3-4week illness/wellness cycle for our family ever since the beginning of December.  It's starts off like this.  Jillian goes to daycare during the middle of the week.  By the weekend, she starts to develop a fever, or a rash, or vomits during her nap time.  Then a day later, I will develop the same symptoms, or Jeff will, or we both will.  Then we lay around all weekend trying to take care of a sick baby while trying to make ourselves feel better.  Sometimes it ends in a trip to the pediatrician on Monday morning.  So then I have take off of work for a few hours to sit in the doctors office.  You already know about the numerous ear infections my poor baby girl has had which has led her to get tubes in her ears.  Our ENT told us as long as she is still in daycare, we will continue to see ear infections and drainage, even with the tubes.  The symptoms and pain that Jillian will experience will just not be as severe as it was without the ear tubes.  There have been a few times while I am working away in the middle of a project and I get the dreaded phone call from daycare.  Telling me that I need to come pick up Jillian because she has a fever or a strange rash that needs to be looked at by a pediatrician before I can bring her back. 

Where does this all lead me to today?   I don't know.  I still struggle with what to do.  I wish that something were to happen one way or the other giving me a huge sign.   A sign from God telling me what path I need to take.  I still like Jillian's daycare, I really do.  We have come to know and like Jillian's care givers and we still love the cute environment of the facility.  I have so many neighbors and co-workers that bring their children there that pick up and drop off sometimes turns into one big social event.  I feel very comfortable knowing that Jillian plays with other children who's parents I know and trust.  All in all, it's just hard leaving your baby, your whole world, and having them get sick over and over again.  As I type this now, I am home from work battling a fever/flu that I have had for five days that I can not seem to shake.  I got it from Jillian who came down with a similar flu this weekend from daycare.  I don't know what the future holds for us but I am still waiting for it to get easier.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweet Bean - Simply Sweet Designs

One of the most rewarding benefits of blogging are all of the wonderful women that you meet.  If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you have heard me sing the praises of my very talented and creative friend Shannon.   I met Shannon a year ago and we instantly hit it off once we realized we both had baby girls with the same name!!!  As I got to know Shannon, I realized not only was she one of the nicest bloggers out there, she is also one of the most creative.  That is why I am so excited to share with you the launching of her new design shop Sweet Bean - Simply Sweet Designs, formerly Persnickity Pages and More.  You'll find a little bit of everything at Sweet Bean,  from invitations to full party packages, Shannon does it all!  All design products can be easily customized.  If you are also interested in having a Bloggy Makeover or just want to purchase a premade design template, Sweet Bean can help you with all of your blog design needs!

Sweet Bean Designs can create cards for any holiday and any occasion.   Please check out the adorable cards that Shannon designed for me below!


I thought this card was simply perfect, we are truly blessed to have Jillian in our lives!!


Please visit my friend Shannon at Sweet Bean - Simply Sweet Designs to place your Easter Card order.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you are all having a great week and looking forward to the weekend!  It's lent for us at the Karen At Home household so I have been breaking out all of our favorite Lenten recipes.  I wanted to share with you an easy and delicious recipe for tuna noodle casserole.  It's a hit in our house and I hope it will become one in yours!  Enjoy!!

{What You Need} 

  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup (you can also alternate one can for cream of celery soup)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups cooked peas
  • 4 small 5 oz cans of tuna - drained
  • 1 package egg noodles - cooked
  • 2 cups dry bread crumbs or stuffing mix
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Pinch of garlic salt
  • Small bag of shredded cheese
{How You Make It}

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir soup, milk, peas, tuna, cheese, noodles, and garlic salt in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Spread mixture evenly into a glass casserole dish.

Bake at 30 minutes until hot.  Stir.  Mix bread crumbs/stuffing with butter and sprinkle over casserole.  Bake for another 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pictures of Model Homes

As I mentioned in my last post, we had some beautiful weather here this weekend.  I was finally able to take Jillian on one of our first walks of the Spring.  I had also heard at some point this Winter that our builder had opened a new model that I couldn't wait to get my hands on!!  This particular model was a townhome decorated in a more contemporary style which I love.  I apologize in advance for all the goofy camera angels.  I just couldn't get a full view of the rooms with my little pocket camera.  Enjoy!!!

{The Entry Way}
Gotta love the sunburst mirror!

{The Kitchen and Breakfast Nook}

{The Great Room with 2 story Ceilings}

The view from the stairs looking into the Great Room.

{The Yoga Room}

I think I need to look into getting one of these in our home!

{The Guest Bedroom}

{The Master Bedroom}

My sweet girl making herself at home.

Hope you all enjoyed the tour!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekend Playdates

Jillians turns 15 months today and I can't say enough how much I am enjoying this stage.  I can finally shout from the rooftops that my baby is a GREAT sleeper!!!!   Jillian has been sleeping through the night now for four weeks straight and has probably only woken us up at night 2 or 3 times.  It has been wonderful.  Her bedtime is also slowly becoming 8pm instead of 8:30pm and I think this is helping her too.  She is sleeping a solid 11-12 hours a night and it has been WONDERFUL!!!   We are really getting into a great routine with her and I am loving it.

Another fun perk I am finding about this new stage is playdates!!!  Jillian is starting to make friends and is having so much fun playing with her new friends.   Jillian and I met my friend Janet and her daughter Sara at Barnes and Noble this weekend for story hour.  Janet and I work together, were pregnant together, and our daughters are now in the same room at daycare together.  I really enjoying talking with Janet about our girls and I know Jillian absolutely adores Sara.   This was Jillian's first story hour and she did so well!! I wasn't sure how she was going to act.  I pictured myself chasing her all over the the Barnes and Noble kids section as the woman read the book, however, she just sat on my lap and listened intently to "The Hungry Caterpillar".  Both girls did!  Janet and I were so proud of them!   Once story hour had ended, I walked Jillian around to look at all of the other books.  At that point, Jillian was tired of me holding her and was crawling all over like a mad woman.  I swear, all I have pictures lately are of Jillian's back!!!!  Here is one of her climbing all over the story hour corner, trying to get her hands on The Hungry Caterpillar.

On Sunday, my friend Shannon came over with two youngest babies.  Her daughter is three weeks younger than Jillian and they have such a fun time when they get together. 

Shannon was in the neighborhood and I was so happy that she stopped by.  Shannon grew up on the east side of Cleveland and I grew up on the west.  She now lives in the community that I grew up and I live where she grew up.  Does that make sense?  LOL!  I only wish Shannon lived closer.  We have so much in common.  We only just met a few months ago and I feel like we have know each other forever.  

Sunday was such a beautiful day here in Cleveland.  It was a rare 55 and sunny degree day.  Even though it was still on the chilly side, it was warm enough for a quick walk around the neighborhood.  I had heard about another townhome model that had opened up in our neighborhood this weekend so off we went with my camera in hand.  I took some great pictures which I will hopefully have up later this week so you will have to check back.  Hope you all had a great weekend!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Make Tissue Paper Poms

When I was planning Jillian's first birthday party, I fell in love with the beautiful and colorful tissue paper poms.  These poms are the perfect accent to any party and really give your decor a punch of color.  I also never realized just how easy they were to make. 

I have received a few questions about how I made the tissue paper poms so I put together a quick tutorial on how I made my beautiful poms!

In creating my Poms, I followed Martha Stewart's tutorial.  I ended up tweaking it a little bit to make the poms to my own taste.  Martha's instructions called for 8 sheets of tissue paper, I ended up using 12 which I thought made for a fuller pom.

{How to Make Tissue Paper Poms}

{Tools and Materials}

  • 12 pieces of 20x30 tissue paper.  I used the standard packages of tissue paper from Target.
  • 24 gauge floral wire.
  • Scissors
  • Mono filament (any clear thread will do).
Step 1

Stack 10 Sheets of Tissue paper on top of one another.  Straighted the stack so all four corners align.

Step 2

Make 1 1/2 inch folds creasing with each fold.  Your folds will look like an accordion.

Step 3

Fold an 18 inch piece of floral wire in half and place it over your folded tissue paper.  Twist the ends together securely around the tissue paper.

Step 4

Trim each end of the tissue paper into round or pointy shapes.  I chose round edges in my poms.

Step 5

Separate each layer of tissue, pulling away from the center one layer at a time. 

Be careful not to rip the tissue paper, it's very easy to do! Make sure you fluff each layer of tissue paper, creating a rounded ball.

Step 6

Tie a piece of clear thread from the wire to hang them.   I have also seen these poms hanging from chandeliers tied with ribbon too. 

Step 7

I found hanging the poms to be the biggest challenge.  Once I had all my poms created, I realized, how in the world was I going to hang them from the ceiling?  Taping them to the ceiling would not work, the poms were too heave and I didn't want a massive amount of tape all over my ceiling.   So I bought a few packages of the Command hooks by 3m.  I bought the small, clear hooks so they would not be obvious.  I took the clear thread, tied it around the hook, and fastened the clip to the ceiling.

I hung my pom's for Jillian's birthday party at varying lengths to give it a different affect.  You will have to play with the length of your string and how low you want your poms to hang from your ceiling.

Now that I finally know how to make these, I can't wait to make them for other parties and holidays!!  Thanks for stopping by! 

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