Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Caleb!

 It's Caleb's First Birthday today! He continues to grow too fast for my mommy heart to take.The last few days I've been thinking about all the changes and milestones Caleb went through during his first year of life. Here's a few memories and milestones that come to mind (not always in exact order):
  • Caleb's arrival. One year ago today, we welcomed a handsome, chubby 9 lb, 6 oz baby boy into the world. He was a week late and seemed to be very content in my tummy. The doc finally had to open me up to get him out!
  • Caleb was a very content and peaceful baby. He was pretty quiet, didn't cry much, and had huge eyes that seemed to just take everything in. When he heard loud noises, those eyes got even bigger!
  • First baby smiles
  • Tummy time, which he hated. He would be fine for the first few seconds and then the screaming would start.
  • Learning to hold his head up
  • Rolling over
  • Sitting up
  • Moving from the infant bath tub to the yellow ducky bathtub, which he still loves.
  • Learning to crawl. He started by scooting backwards and eventually got the forward motion going. His first crawling technique was affectionately called "the inchworm" or "the bellyflop." It was hilarious. Then he moved to a one-legged gimp crawl. And then he started the bear crawl - straight legged on just his hands and toes. He still does that one the most, but sometimes he'll do a normal crawl.
  • Transitioning from just milk to baby food, and now to soft solids. Caleb's always been a good eater and often gets very mad when his food takes too long to get to him or when it runs out. It's a one meal to the next
  • Learning to laugh and then great big belly laughs (always caused by something Stephen has done, of course)
  • From baby jibberish to learning to say "Mama" and "Dada." Caleb said "Dada" first and very often. The "da" sound is probably still one of his favorite things to repeat over and over.
  • And I have to mention one of his very favorite things to do: bounce in the bouncy seat! Caleb LOVES to jump and when he really gets going, he is usually laughing as well. So cute and fun to watch.
He's grown so fast over this past year and has been such a blessing. We're so thankful for the special gift of Caleb Spurgeon Webb. We love you buddy and can't wait to see what this next year holds for you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Birthday Eve

Tomorrow is Caleb's 1st Birthday! So in honor of the soon-to-be birthday boy, I'm posting one more video. This video isn't really about anything in particular, but just shows off Caleb's sweet smile. Plus, I can't help but to smile myself as I watch it. So enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Caleb Videos!

Our little man is starting to walk! He's still hobbling from one close object to the next and hasn't gotten up the courage to walk any great distance, but he's definitely getting there! Here's a few videos we took last night.
Caleb starting to walk

He was having so much fun playing with Stephen and wrestling with Biggie Bear

Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: The Reluctant Entertainer

The Reluctant Entertainer
Every Woman's Guide to Simple and Gracious Hospitality
By Sandy Coughlin

I really appreciated Sandy Coughlin's The Reluctant Entertainer. This book is just as much about the heart and purpose of hospitality as it is about tips and recipes to use when entertaining. Coughlin emphasizes that true hospitality should focus on connecting deeply with others, and not on having the fanciest table setting or most delicious meal prepared. I felt like she did a great job of encouraging women in every walk of life, whether single, a busy mom with kids running around, or an empty nester, to open their lives up and reach out to others. I truly appreciated the tips she gave for having a nice gathering, but not stressing over perfection. She also addresses entertaining fears that I could definitely relate to: what to serve, how clean my house is, how to keep the conversation going, etc. Again, I was reminded that hospitality is not about me, but is all about making my guests welcome and at ease. As someone who loves the idea of opening my home to others, but sometimes lacks the initiative to actually make it happen, I feel like I probably need to read this book at least every other year to be reminded of these truths and encouraged to open my home even when life is somewhat chaotic. I would definitely recommend this book as a general guide to practical entertaining and the heart of hospitality.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

 Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half
With America's Cheapest Family
By: Steve & Annette Economides

One of the tag lines for this book says "You Can Save Thousands a Year on Your Grocery Bill Without Cutting Coupons." I'm always one to look for ways to save money, and since grocery shopping and meal planning/prep are two of my household responsibilities, I was definitely interested to see what the Economides had to say. If you are looking to cut down on your grocery bill and willing to invest some time, then I think this is a good resource. It's really a wholistic look at how to save money in the areas of meal planning and preparation. The chapters cover everything from how/when to grocery shop, the most economical ways to plan meals, time-saving cooking strategies, and even basic gardening. I found tons of good tips, some of which would take a significant amount of time and energy to implement and others that were quick and easy to adopt. I felt like this was a fairly practical guide that most everyday mom's could appreciate and glean tips from.

Overall, I really liked this book and their approach at saving money and planning meals. I wish I had more time to implement some of the strategies they suggest, but maybe one day I will.... maybe. The book is pretty lengthy at 300 pages and is probably best read from cover to cover, although you can fairly easily scan individual chapters based on titles if you're looking for pointers in one specific area. I would also say that you'll need some time to process and implement tips from each chapter before tackling the next one. 

One thing I really like about this book was at the end of each chapter they give three different action levels for you to pick from and work on: The Timid Mouse, The Wise Owl, and The Amazing Ant. Each one is more advanced than the first, so I could easily read the Timid Mouse action plans at the end of each chapter and find  quick tips.

I would recommend this book to someone who has a good bit of time to invest and really wants to make a difference in saving money when it comes to your grocery bill. It might be a little overwhelming if you are new to grocery saving strategies and just want some quick, easy tips.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Holiday Card Offer

Hey Ladies - is offering a promotion right now where if you write a blog post about your favorite holiday card design from their site, you get a code for 50 free cards! You can find out the details and how to sign up HERE.

We haven't sent out holiday cards in the past, but there's just lots to celebrate this year, and I actually have some decent photos of our soon-to-be ONE YEAR OLD, and since it's a really good promotion that should only cost me about $6 shipping, why not!? So without further ado, here is one of my favorite cards and the one we will most likely be using this year for our family Christmas card.
"every good gift"

"every good gift is from above. merry christmas"

Of course we'll add our own pictures and probably an extra message on the inside underneath "merry christmas". I think we might try to take some pictures this weekend, although I need to find a nice Christmas outfit for Caleb first. We'll see. BUT, the plan is for us to actually have some Christmas cards this year! Hooray! Thanks to Shutterfly for offering this promotion, because I probably wouldn't have given Christmas cards much thought otherwise.

If you want to see some of their holiday card designs, check out these links. Once you get to the Christmas card page, you can also narrow down to Religious Christmas Cards.