Monday, September 30, 2013

Mom's Night Out - Cooking Demo!

This weekend I was lucky enough to meet up with the ladies that I did the Color Run with in Philly this Summer!

We decided to meet in Delaware this time. We didn't need anything special, we just wanted to get together again. A couple of us would be celebrating our birthdays in October, so that made it a good excuse ;)

I did a little searching and I can't remember what made the idea pop into my mind... but I looked up cooking classes!

Found Celebrity Kitchens that offers cooking demonstrations by local surrounding area chefs for dinner. Thought it sounded different, interesting and I don't know... watching someone else cook your food as a mom is quite freeing!

It turned out to be a great evening! Basically it's like eating at a fine dining restaurant but with the chef cooking in front of you, giving some tips, telling you about what he was doing and providing the recipes to take home with you!! They also offered wine that was paired with the meal.

We had a wonderful and delicious time!

Looking back I don't know why we didn't take a picture of ourselves... but I did get some of the food! ha!

Curried Scallops with Beet Cous Cous

Port Wine Poached Pear with Fig Honey Vinaigrette over Bed of Salad Greens

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Herbed Risotto Cake and Wilted Spinach

Lemon Yogurt Cake with Strawberry Balsamic Compote

It was a nice 24 hour escape! I think while I was rested from us just hanging out, I was also exhausted from our non-stop chatting & laughing!

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" ~ J.R.R. Tolkien


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall 2013 H Fam Mantel!

Yesterday it was a little chilly and I whipped up a yummy Chai Latte per a friends "recipe" (pre-made chai latte in a box & some vanilla almond milk) and decided it was time to "Fall- i - fy" around here... starting with the mantel.

Then I saw that Thrifty D├ęcor Chick was having a fall party as well, so I'm going to try to link up a day late! (hi if you're visiting from the linky party!!).

Previous fall decorated mantels, from when we lived in Texas (click on pics for post)...

When we moved here last summer, I simply didn't have it together yet to decorate last fall. Here's what my current mantle looked like from Spring until yesterday...

And...Now! Welcome Autumn!

Simple, but I'm really enjoying it! Made sure to have a little green, that room can be a bit brown at times

I have a few "H's" floating around so I gave the brown one I had a sand paper rubbing to rough it up a bit.

Love that little owl!

Now I have this mess to contend with, but ran out of energy! More chai latte perhaps? :)

Evan came home from preschool and was so excited he started decorating himself. I tried to encourage some placement of things but decided to just let it be for a few days... he was just too proud of his decorating for me to rearrange yet.
"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket
than all the other seasons."
~Jim Bishop

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In a lull...

Not just a blogging lull, but a lull in general.

The last few weeks have been crazy. I feel like having two kids in school should thrown me for as much of a loop as it has.

We now start out with what I call the Jake to Bus stop - Evan to Preschool Tango. It's a delicate dance. It's all the bus' fault too... she comes anywhere between 8:40-8:55... and I have to get Evan to preschool by 9am. I prefer to actually see Jake get on the bus, most times I do. I do not like that I have to drive the car to the bus stop now, I like to walk but can't since we have to immediately leave to get Evan to school.

All the "back-to-school" events going on, parents only, and my babysitters are not working out. Stresses me out when my schedule is totally dependent on others, hate that trapped feeling. Greg will start his fall work travel soon which leaves me even more in a bind with all that.

I've pretty much been completely crashing every single night into bed can't even hold my eyes open. Then waking up just as exhausted 7-8 hours later! Even on the weekends!

Our cat is old, she's decided not to use the litter box. The dog is in the cone-of-shame because she keeps chewing off her fur. Greg's car just need work done... cost the same amount as the car is worth. I've been stress eating for sure, and the muffin top is back! I saw some thing last week that there was only 15 Saturdays left until Christmas (less now!), um, Yikes!


However... I did start a yoga class on Saturday mornings! Every Saturday 7:30-9am until the end of November. I'm excited about this because our gym's yoga classes are ALL at a time I cannot make. So I signed up for this one through the local park district.

I also applied for my passport last week (a little scary that the government agency has the only copy I have of my birth certificate and marriage license)! YAY! No, I don't have a plane ticket to anywhere... yet. I just thought at least having a passport is one step closer to some sort of travel. Which is hard to do... Greg and I can't travel like we wanted (remember THAT pipe dream?) because we have no one to watch the three musketeers. Then Greg is telling me to go on my own... but he'd still have use vacation days up to be home with boys while I go fulfill some mid-life crisis. BUT, he really wants me to do it... so I've got some things in motion. Hoping they pan out!!

Anyway, haven't done much lately worth blogging about besides the daily grind.

Oh and I know I said I was going to start back up the Flaunt My Friend Fridays series, it just doesn't look like it's going to work out anymore. I'm always up to flaunting if someone comes to me with something to share! Just not going to do it every Friday like I did from February to July! It sure was fun while it lasted though, big thanks again to everyone that participated!

Hopefully I'll soon have some fun blogging in the future... right now all I can think of is... "um, hi. I'm tired,"... ;)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Evan off to Preschool!

This year my middle cutie is off to 4 year old Preschool! I really don't know if there was ever a more excited child.

So excited! Forgive the fogged up camera, didn't realize it was so hot and muggy out!

Not that Jake cried or was clinging to me or anything, but he was certainly a little nervous. Evan doesn't even say bye, it's more like "see ya!" and he's off running into the classroom!

Last week I went with him to Open House. They had the parents sit at a table while the kids sat at their table and started to play. Then the teachers instructed us to fill out/double check the paperwork while they played with the kids. And they did, they got down on their level, asked them questions... you can tell both these teachers have not only worked together a long time, but really love what they do! One teacher took the kids on a tour and to the playground while the other wrapped stuff up with the parents. When it was time to leave, Evan was angry with ME that it was just Open House and not a school day! Sorry dude, I promise you'll start school on Tuesday!


He was very proud to have daddy take him to school for his first day

I got everyone else ready then realized I was barely ready! Oops!

Greg was able to take him to school on his first day. Then Luke and I picked him up at noon. Side note: this was Luke & mine FIRST time alone together at home. We both kinda looked at each other, like "what now?" I'm sure we'll get into our own new groove here soon! I know I've been a little off my game with blogging. Quite honestly having both needing to be here or there for school, on top of some bus scheduling issues for Jake, has left me a bit chaotic feeling. We'll get balanced soon! Last week & this week were our learning curve.

Happy to report he was all smiles when we picked him up! I asked him what his favorite thing about school was... he said... Everything! I said "oh there wasn't one thing you liked the absolute best?".... his response, "Mama, I already told you EVERYTHING"... he was getting a little annoyed so I let it go ;) He's constantly telling me... "Mama, I really love school AND I really love you!". Doesn't get much better than that!
"A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood."
~ Rachel Carson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Closet Reogranization: Double the Space & DIY Shoe Rack!

Continuing our quest to organize our closet, starting with the laundry room/closet... next up was Greg's closets. Each of his closets are about 36", so not really that big.

 We converted one of his closets from a single rod, to a double rod, giving double the hanging space.

Before - A single rod with a shelf

Out came the shelf and two rods hung. Wall anchors used when mounting these rods to the wall.

Dress Shirts hung on top

Casuals and Polos hung on the bottom
Enough room left at bottom for workout clothes in rubbermaids

Then the other closet became his pants closet. Got his pants out of my closet and gave me some more room! Woo-hoo!

This closet also is over the stairs so the "floor" of it as at a steep angle. You can't put anything there. So after adding another shelf and moving all his pants into this one. We created this little shoe rack.

We just used already white quarter round trim that we pre-cut at Home Depot (was about a $1 a foot I think). We stuck with white so that it would go with the trim work and not have to worry about painting.

Just pre-drill your holes (it'll split if you're trying to drill into the quarter round AND the floor), then screw into the floor. Voila! Previously unused space is now a shoe rack!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We have a FIRST Grader!

Yesterday was back to school!

We did attend Open House last Thursday. I was able to get a sitter, so it was just some time for Jake and myself. Jake got to meet his new teacher, find his seat, do a little class scavenger hunt! He was very nervous about it all.

Once we made it out to the playground you could just see the anxiety slip away! Plus there were snowcones!

After that he spent the rest of the weekend being VERY excited! So that was a relief, I was a tad bit worried in seeing how nervous he was.

The night before I rounded up some back-to-school type books to read at bedtime. He informed me that he did not need to read "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn. That he didn't need it anymore and to save it for Evan and Luke. Awwww.... I mean I'm thrilled for him but kinda sad for myself at the same time.

Product Details

Then that morning both Greg and I asked if he wanted us to come check on him right when school was starting. To make sure things off the bus and to class went well. He said, no thanks!

First Grade here he comes!

Waiting on the bus

There he goes!

I DID however drive by the school about 20 minutes after it started... I didn't see him wandering around outside or anything ;)

Having some trouble with the buses though. Everything went so incredibly smooth last year... but this year there's a new superintendent and budget cuts. Less buses, more stops = messed up routes. They were 30 mins late for pick up and an HOUR (that's right an HOUR) late for drop off. Lots of parents contacting the transportation department. Supposedly they see their error (printed out the route backwards) but still didn't tell the drivers (you know, the people actually doing the route). What a mess. There were about 20 sets of very worried parents at the bus stop for an hour. But have to give credit to the kids, they all popped off the bus happy and not anxiety ridden or anything. Jake was extremely tired, a bit confused, and very very hungry... but wasn't that upset about it.

Transportation said it was "fixed" but we have yet to see any proof in the pudding! Hoping it gets truly fixed soon!

Jake was so tired and hungry... so we took him out to Pizza Hut to celebrate his first day as a first grader and being such a trooper about the bus fiasco!

I did ask him what was his favorite part of the whole day... his answer... everything! :)
"The object of education is to prepare the young to
 educate themselves throughout their lives. "
~Robert Maynard Hutchins

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Secret Agent Week!

So I'll start off by telling you that I made a huge error! It wasn't very realistic to have one more at home mom summer camp week - the week before school!

But we did do a few fun things :) So here it is... H Family Summer Camp - Secret Agent Week!

First when they woke up that Monday there were "Top Secret" Folders at their seats.

Boy were they full of questions about why a blank white piece of paper was the only thing in there. Maybe it was a secret message?

Just use a white crayon (the waxier/cheaper type, the better) and then use watercolor paints to "reveal" the message!

Introducing (since their missions are over, their cover can be blown):

Agent Green Spider

Agent Yellow Bear

Agent Orange Banana

Our first mission was to get mommy to the gym... they hadn't moved so quickly in weeks! ha!

Then of course the next day our mission was to get our library books:

Mission Complete!

Another day involved a mission to the grocery store (again, first time in a while that they were excited to go! ha!)

Some "secret agent training" we did...

Finding shapes by touch!

Thank goodness for Costco, this was a perfect box for this activity!

Just random things in various shapes and sizes

Then taped a cover to the box, no peeking!

Jake read the book to them as they went over the shapes

I did have a couple of issues with this agent... he couldn't help himself from wanting to peek!

Helped the little guy with his shapes, he definitely knows what a circle is now!

Then we even tried to figure out what things were by smell!

We also did a memory type game, I put a bunch of "secret agent tools" on a tray and then they had one minute to look at the tray and then tell me everything that was on it.

They worked together as a team to remember all the items! High Five!

There was also a watching of one of the Spy Kid movies, and Inspector Gadget! Then Jake had Open House for school and then Greg took Friday off... so that ended our Secret Agent Week. I had BIG plans for us to go to the International Spy Museum in D.C., but our weekend just sort of got away from us! Maybe another time. Maybe next summer I can do a better secret agent week with lots more activities and fun stuff like obstacle course, fingerprinting, scavenger/clue hunt and codes.

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure"
~ Colin Powell