Thursday, August 18, 2011

Late Night DIY

Here is a quick late night DIY! Hubby works nights, so sometimes I am up way to late with nothing to do. I've been going through the girls clothes and trying to make room for back to school shopping. This was a really cute dress Maya had from Justice. It had a big stain, so it was unable to be donated. Since the girls are constantly wanting new outfits for their American Girl dolls...voila!!

I just quickly hand sewed this because I have not set up my sewing machine since we moved into the house. It is not perfect, but I am betting the girls will love it!
I kept it as separates so they could use the tunic alone if they wanted. I can't wait to show them in the morning!!

Summer Days!

Our days are getting busier and busier as the fall approaches. Ugh! I hate to even think of summer's end. I love having the girls home with me, I love the break in schedules and lack of routines. It seems like kids these days are involved in so many activities and I'm finding it hard to fit it all in. We had a two week break when Maya had her tonsils out, but now its back to full fledge craziness. Here are some snapshots of our summer!

I'm trying to remind myself to slow down and enjoy summer!

We've been working real hard on our reading! Maya is loving Bob Books. I think the Bob books are the best learn to read series available.

Cheering practice started and its keeping us very busy! Three nights a week! Phew!

Watching lots and lots of Adventure Time!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Starting over!

Gasp! I am just starting over trying to be healthy. I really can't remember anytime when I've been healthy. I grew up like many others on take out and pre-packaged food. This is something that I really struggle with as a parent. I want to give my children a healthy start in life and it is honestly a daily struggle. My weight recently reached an all time high. As I approach thirty-five I feel like it gets harder to maintain. I weighed myself recently and was depressed to see that I weighed more than when I gave birth to my first daughter. Ugh!! Besides the number on the scale, I was not feeling good at all. I was very tired and feeling burnt out.

Step 1: Stop drinking Coke.
This was the hardest of all health issues for me to conquer. I love my Coca-Cola. Specifically McDonald's fountain coke. I was up to the point of having three large Cokes a day from McDonald's. As my children began to ask for soda more and more, and my health got worse, I knew I had to quit. I did and it was hard, but after the first two weeks I began to notice that I had alot more energy.

Step 2: Get Juiced!
Haha, so this was my crazy husbands initiative. He watched the movie "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead". This is a really great and inspiration documentary about one man's journey to get healthy. The idea behind it is a juice fast. For sixty days, Joe Cross did not eat, but only drank juice made from fresh, whole fruits and veggies. He lost a ton of weight, became much more healthy, and inspired many people. Needless to say, Chris was all jazzed up to go on the juice fast. I am not that extreme, but I'll tell you, the juice is good!! We've only been juicing for a couple days, but I love it. I've always preferred to drink my calories (ie. coke), but now I am drinking something so healthy for me and it is giving me tons of energy.

Step 3: Exercise

I struggle with fitting exercise into my schedule. I always feel better when I do and I notice my stress level goes way down. Today was my first day back and I did what is always so hard for me. The Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD. That video is hard!! At least for me, haha. I used to do this everyday and got to a point where I could easily do it, but now I am back to square one. I am going to keep trying and hopefully I will get healthier each day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Saving Ideas

I've been missing in action lately and have lots to catch up on. Things have been non-stop around here since the girls got out of school for the summer. We've been having lots of fun and even had a mini vacation to Disney!! I promise to share pics as soon as I get them on my computer. I hope everyone is having a great summer.

One thing that's tough during summer is trying to find activities to do with the kids without busting our budget. We have been taking advantage of many free programs offered through our public library. The library is such a great resource for families. My girls go on both Monday and Tuesday for a free class. Mondays they do "Thinking outside the Box" and Tuesdays they do "Just add Water". Each program usually involves story time and a craft. Sometime even outdoor games! Today the girls made fishing poles with a magnet on the end, and a water bug out of a styrafoam plate. The fixed a paper clip to the water bug so they magnet works to fish it out of the water. Very cool!!

I also wanted to post about a new site I found courtesy of Money Saving Mom. Its called Recyclebank! This site is great. It offers great ideas on how we can improve recycle efforts. You earn points by viewing different recycling facts and then you can redeem the points for coupons, discounts and free items. I redeem 100 points tonight and earned myself a buy one, get one free discount at Monster Golf! This will be a fun activity for the girls and using my points will cut my costs in half! That makes me very happy! Click here to check out the site.

Sorry for the pic free post, will post more pics next time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's only Tuesday?

I am so off this week. I can not believe it is only Tuesday. This may be a very looooooong week. Today was very busy. Sami had a friend over after school. We are still in the unpacking and organizing stages, but I feel I can't hold the kids off any longer from having playdates. Maya helped me make chocolate chip cookies. I did that alot with Sami in the old house, but not so much wiht Maya. It was nice to have the time just the two of us while Sami played with her friend. I want to make an effort to spend more one on one time with each of the girls. After I everyone had gone, I started making dinner, which was lasagna and homemade sauce. Chris is the "sauce maker" in the family. This was one of the first solo attempts. It came out ok, I guess. I used sugar to weaken the acidity of the tomatoes. Chris usually uses carrots, but we were all out. The end product was quite a mess in the kitchen and a very "cheesy" lasagna. Still room for improvement! The good news is I have three jars of sauce to freeze and keep using!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Toulabean now open on Etsy!!

I am super excited to announce the opening of Toulabean on Etsy!

I have been a long admirer of people's beautiful work on Etsy. I've always wanted to open a shop, but have yet to get myself organized enough. Finally, I've convinced my super talented husband to put his design skills to good use and collaborate with me to offer some unbelievable art prints! Chris has such a great eye for design and specializes in a clean, modern style. I am so excited to begin this venture with him. He loves creating designs and its time he puts them out there for everyone to see. The first series of prints he designed is a set of 4 camera illustrations. I love the colorful look of these prints. Please check out our new shop, we would love feedback as we are new to this!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Apple Camp

I'm super excited that I reserved a spot for Samantha at Apple Camp. This looks like it will be so creative and fun. Sami loves all things computer and technological, so she will be psyched! This is a free three-day workshop run at Apple stores nationwide for kids ages 8-12 yrs old. Check the Apple site for more details.

My goal this summer is to really try to enjoy things with the girls, but also take advantage of all the freebies out there! Being a stay home mom can get expensive in the summer when you are trying to entertain two kids. Even the beach cost money! So I was thrilled to be able to get Sami a spot at this Camp.

Thanks, MoneySavingMom for the tip!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Baby Bullet!!

I am up way too late, fighting a battle in my kitchen with teenie tiny ants. Not fun!! In the midst of my frustration I get a little ray of sunshine when something on the tv catches my eye. It's the Baby Bullet!! Have you seen this?

I am probably the last one to see this as my baby days are a few years behind me. I've been so longing to have a third, but we are trying to wait until the time is right. Now that the girls are 8 and 6 yrs old, the possibility of a third seems more distant each day. But then comes a commercial for Baby Bullet and I'm swooning all over again. Look at the cute little faces on the cups! Love it!! I never did have a chance to make my own baby food because at the time I had a horrible job in a telecommunications company. There are so many things I would want to do with a third baby now that I am home. Ah, wishful thinking. If a miracle does happen and we get pregnant again, this may be the first purchase I make!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Low key weekend

We have been keeping it pretty low key this weekend. Maya came home from school Friday with a fever of 102.5 and that set the tone for the weekend. We went to the doctors, spent way too much on co-pays and prescriptions, only to find that she has yet another ear infection. Life as a kindergarten-er can be very exhausting. This has been a rough year for her. She has had five bouts of strep and now two ear-infection. Tonsillectomy is scheduled for this summer. My poor lil ducky!

Chris did the early morning duty and took Sami to softball at 8:30.


Maya and I took a pass and stayed home snuggled up watching Good Luck Charlie. Sometimes it is nice to have a reason to stay all cozied up with Mama!

I spent the afternoon dosing out antibiotics and cutting up some of my neglected coupon stash. Now that we have been moved into the house for more than a month I feel its time to get back to business with the coupons. CVS is now offering a promo where you can earn $10 gas cards with $30 in qualifying purchases. Pretty good since gas prices are going so high. I'm excited to get my Sunday paper tomorrow because I've heard of alot of good deals this coming week!

By the end of the day, everyone was feeling a little better, so we took a trip to a fairly new restaurant The Great Escape in Salem, MA. This restaurant opened maybe a year ago. There was quite a bit of hype around it because it is the old Salem Jail converted into a restaurant. I grew up in Salem, so all the spookiness of the witch trials is somewhat lost on me. When you've grown up around it, the history somewhat loses the appeal. But a while ago I had purchased a Groupon for a discount there, so we figured we would give it a try. The food was decent, but too pricey. The atmosphere was cool, but the interior is very small compared to the size of the building. I had homemade fusilli pasta which was really good. However, we probably wouldn't go back unless we were able to get another discount. The menu was overpriced and they even charged for soda refills. Chris had to listen to me complain about that the whole ride home, haha.

Tomorrow's forecast includes a soccer game, more arguments with Maya over why antibiotics are important, laundry and groceries. Blah! I am hoping to get my scrapbooking space finally set up, but we'll see. Hope you enjoy what's left of the weekend!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Welcome to Toula Bean!

Welcome to Toula Bean. My name is Melanie and I'm a stay at home mom of two beautiful girls. Motherhood has become quite a challenge as my girls have grown from the sweet babies they once were. I never thought being home with them could be so challenging. I worked full-time until about a year ago. I always felt I was missing out on the most important time of their lives. When my company offered a buy out to its employees, my husband and I took a big chance and I left my job. After a year, I still have not settled into a solid routine of being at home. There are many things I thought I would have so much time for, but oddly enough I still find myself running out of time.

I've decided I have wasted enough time trying to find my way and now it's time I start accomplishing my goals. I have many ideas and I am hoping this blog will help motivate me to get busy in obtaining some of them. There are many blogs I read and I love the bonds that can be created in this online community. I love all things craft and cute! I am looking forward to sharing this adventure with you as I try to become a better mom and wife.