Thursday, February 28, 2013

Keeping it real!

Quite a few times lately have I ended up in conversations with my friends about people being fake and people being real. I'm very much a what you see is what you get type person. It would require way more energy than I care to use to put up false pretenses. I'm also not very good at omission either, it just comes out and everything is directly or indirectly related... I'm not smart enough to dissect and separate the moment it's coming out of my mouth. Both good and bad. I think the great thing about keeping it real as a female and as a mother is that both of these groups are notorious for constantly comparing themselves and worrying about what others think. So the best service we can do for each other is to show the down times and imperfections... it helps the next person not beat themselves up about their own!

Anyway... for a little fun for you and me... I thought I'd keep it real for you...

This is my beautiful plant accessorizing my bedroom... isn't it a beaut?

Why in the world is it still there?? It died months ago!

Oh look and it has a little friend on the other side of the room.

Even after I took this picture and blogged about it... the plant (or lack thereof) is still on the dresser ;)

In an attempt to make myself feel better as a wife and mother, I planned out and did "14 days of Valentine's Day" for Greg and the boys. Sounds enthusiastic and involved right? Yes, and way too much for me!

For the boys I did cut out 14 hearts for each boy. Then wrote something I loved about them on the heart and taped to each of their doors each day starting on the 1st. I'm pretty sure it turned into every other day... then I left them taped there until just the other day ;)

As for the days for Greg I did get some stuff during one of my target trips. I got about 10 items (Starbucks Lattes - love you 'a-latte', Mints - we're 'mint' to be, Nuts - I'm nuts about you, etc...), and while I did end up giving them to him I didn't do any fun tags and it all went a little something like this...

Right before Greg heads out the door for work I shove a 4 pack of Starbucks Lattes (which I'm just realizing NOW are technically frappuccinos! duh!) into his arms.


He looks at me all confused.
 I'm still not completely awake, haven't even ran a brush through my hair yet and I certainly haven't brushed my teeth.
 "I love you "a-latte", I tell him. Takes him a minute to get it, he says thanks gives me a kiss then he's off to work.
Probably NOT how you'd pictured it right? Me neither, BUT... it is what it is! I tried!

I also already shared that my February Sensory Bin bombed. Not a single one of the boys were interested in it one iota!

Right now this is how my mantel looks. I have no inspiration or idea of what I want on the mantel. So I keep putting stuff up there hoping to have an idea hit. Nothing yet.

I think the toy hammer really pulls it all together ;)

One last confession... I let Evan pick out these pepperidge farm milano cookies when I went to the grocery store today.

He refuses to ride in the car part with Luke. He wants to hang of the side of the cart. No way. It's hard enough to push those stupid carts as it is (definite love-hate relationship with those carts).

Plus he's four, he can walk. He cried and whined the entire time. I couldn't take it anymore (normally I'm more resilient, today that was not true) so I let him pick out our lunch (pizza!) and dessert. They both ate all their pizza and their sides of cottage cheese, pears and carrots. Luke got one cookie, and Evan got two... I... well, I... probably had EIGHT (I think there's only 12 in the bag). Holy cow, I know right?? I couldn't stop shoving them in my mouth. Oops. This is why I don't buy any kind of junk food!

Tonight I'm heading to my first yoga class in almost a year! I've been trying to go for a month now, but apparently 8:15pm is too late for my exhausted butt. I had to buy myself a new mat because when we moved the cat peed on my tired and true old one. So now I get to walk into the class looking like a total newb with my stinky (new plastic smell), won't-lay-flat-new yoga mat. Sigh. Oh well, at least it's not the cat pee one! :) Namaste!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Melancholy to Motivation Monday here

It's amazing in a way how easy is it to get out of the blogging groove. Or just off track in general. Usually it's just when I'm starting to pick up speed again!

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All it takes is one thing to throw you out of whack or of the track. On Friday I found myself wanting to call my Grandma to tell her somethings I found funny, or annoying, or interesting... only to quickly remember... oh. I can't call her anymore :( I took it pretty hard, I think because it surprised me and snuck up on me.

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Soon as we got back from our road trip paying our respects to Grandma I went immediately the next day to the gym, and kept my schedule the rest of the week. But I am wiped out. I'm really frustrated in this. I get to the gym at least 4 days a week... either for an hour spin class, kickboxing (I was going to post about how I finally got my nerve up to join the class and I really like it!), or do a 3 mile run. All things that except for spin I wouldn't of been able to do a year ago (although I did do the tri!). I'm still waiting for all that energy and adrenaline that's suppose to come from working out. All it does is wipe me out and make me extremely sore. Sigh.

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Most of all I'm really tired of winter. The winters here in VA are nothing like midwest or Chicago winters, but four winters in Texas spoiled me!! I will admit it was exciting to have the season change and begin winter. That was four months ago. I'm ready to ditch the coats, hats, gloves, and layers! I'm over seeing gray, gray, and more gray.

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Give me some sunshine and color please! I want to see green shoots of life pushing up and out!

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Ah. I feel a bit better. Thanks for letting me get that out! On to living life (aka doing laundry :))

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Third Flaunt my Friend Friday! Shelley!

I'm really loving doing this series, even if it is only my third one. I have so much contact that week of their posts, more than we normally do. It's nice to have that! I have the neatest friends!

This week I introduce to you my friend Shelley. I've known Shelley for almost six years, we met online :) Haha, laugh if you want... but my online moms group that I became a part of when Jake was born has been the source of a lot of support and has taught me so much. We talk often on the phone and Shelley and I have some plans for the summer (you'll be seeing us painted as we're doing the Color Run 5K together!). That's one good thing about all of my moves, it allows me to meet up with these gals.

She's fabulous in the kitchen! She's not afraid to try something new and she always does it using what she has and keeps it all budget friendly (she'll tell me - "I need to go run to this store they have chicken/spice/product/etc on sale"). I'm always asking her for ideas, substitutions, or what kind of meal I can throw together with random items... she's always there answering! I'm waiting for the day she responds "Really, Tyson?" :) Here she is...

Hi! I'm Shelley! I have two wonderful kids, a six year old daughter and a two year old son.  I also write a food blog called C Mom Cook.

Cooking and baking have always been something that I have enjoyed, but not something I ever specifically focused on. After my daughter was born, I decided to start my food blog as a creative outlet - a way to dive into my hobby and be creative just for myself.  Since beginning my blog, I have joined many food blogging communities, met some great people and been introduced to so many new recipes that I otherwise would not have had the nerve to try.

The kids are always getting in on the action in the kitchen.

But, being a mommy food blogger, I have found that there are certain assumptions out there that people have about... well... mommy food bloggers...

Assumption - My kids must have such broad tastes and eat a huge variety of foods.
Reality - I try, I really do. But, no matter how daring I might be in my menu selection, there are times when kids are just picky, and mine are, too.  Ask my six year old what her dream menu is and, guaranteed, it'll include boxed macaroni and cheese. Emphasis on the "box." And the two year old? The only meat he wants to eat these days is chicken.

Assumption - I must have a huge kitchen and every kitchen gadget available.
Reality - I wish! We have to be a bit creative with our cabinet and counter space, but it's all about using what you have, right? I don't like single-purpose utensils, so that cuts down on a bunch of the smaller tools, and, with limited storage space, I don't have room for many appliances. For example, I don't have a food processor - a tool that you would find in almost any "real" kitchen. But I don't let that stop me. I used to just flip away from a recipe if I saw that it "required" a food processor, but not anymore. People have been cooking and baking long before food processors or juicers or lots of other gadgets were invented.

Assumption - We must have big, fancy meals every single day.
Reality - While I love to try new recipes, prepare delicious and prepare well rounded meals, we are a real family with school, activities, time commitments, and, referring back to that first assumption, food preferences to manage.  There are some days when, as much as I'd love to prepare something exotic and fancy, I just need a meal that I am guaranteed will be eaten without any arguments.

Little man is picking up on food-photography early!
There are some other mommy-blogger confessions I can make here...

  • There are days, even weeks, where I take more photos of food than of my kids.
  • Not every recipe works... sometimes it's the recipe, sometimes it's my own fault.
  • I don't make everything from scratch. I'd love to, but there are some days where the six year old gets her wish of boxed macaroni and cheese!

The key, though, is to keep looking at it as fun, as a hobby. And to enjoy it all - the successes, the failures, the messes all over the kitchen and every delicious calorie that goes along with it.  If it wasn't for my blog, I never would have made this...

Homemade tiramisu, two ways.

or this...

Fresh strawberry frasier
 Or even this...

S'mores cheesecake
And I am pretty proud of all that I have accomplished.

Thank you so much Shelley!! Doesn't all that just look as yummy as can be... and she makes it look easy and doable! I'd like to mention one more blog post of hers that I just love... because it's real...

Her son got into the Black Bean Brownies ;)

She's too humble and polite to tell you all the great stuff she does... but I'm not and this is Flaunt my Friend! Be sure to check out and follow C Mom Cook... her blog... on Facebook... AND she has a board on Pinterest of her kitchen successes! Also if you follow her, you'll find she does stuff that involves Daring Kitchen, Sourdough Surprises (a blog she co-hosts), Secret Recipe Club, and much much more. I would never be able to do the stuff she does, I love reading about it though! To me it's about the same as the guy with a chainsaw and a block of ice that turns it into a sculpture!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A limb has fallen from the Family Tree

We lost my grandma (I called her Mammaw when younger and started again with the boys) last week. It's hard living cross country away from everyone else. It was the hardest living away from her. Nothing was better than stopping by grandma's house for a bit to eat, some laughs, hugs and be on your way. Had some of the best conversations out on her porch watching the birds. She could make anything grow, and every single thing she ever cooked or baked tasted delicious. I think I'll miss the most is just simply knowing she's there. I know in my heart she still is there though, it's still not the same. I can't wait to share your stories and stories of her with the boys as they grow older. Even though it's such a sad time, I can't help but smile when I think of her.

Will love you forever Mammaw!

Friday, February 15, 2013

2nd Flaunt My Friend Friday! Ellie!

Thank you so much for helping kick off my very first post in the Flaunt My Friends Friday series last week with Elizabeth! Today I am pleased to introduce to you another creative friend of mine that is always busy keeping busy.. She also owns her own business, Rose is a Rose Designs! Her and I became friends through our Houston Moms Group and always enjoyed catching up over a workout, a nice dinner, glass of wine, a margarita, playdates, mommy woes & wins, and any creative whim either of us had!

I introduce to you, Ellie (and her handsome guys!)...

She's is going to share with how she redid this dresser for her little man's nursery! Great personal touches with creative storage!

I wanted to do similar to THIS  Ikea Hack, but those Ikea spice racks were too long for my not so deep antique dresser.  Big Brother moved to the BIG room and took the BIG bookcase with them full of books.  I was not going to duplicate books and get little brother another big bookcase, but still needed a little space for the small baby board here is what I did.

I'm calling this Dresser DressUP!  I've had a great antique dresser that just kept getting re-painted and shoved in closets.  Not quite the attention it deserved!  So 1 dresser, 1 spice rack, and a handy husband and this project was a GO!!
Here is the old beauty in the before stage (minus a couple drawers/knobs)

We decided to divide the spice rack so that we'd have 3 separate "shelves"

Next we had to paint the shelves and the dresser

And attach the knobs

I got clearance lettered knobs from HOBBY LOBBY for $1.49each.  His name is only 7 letters so we had to do 3 plain white knobs. His name is in the shape of an "L" on the hub's great idea

And attach the shelves

And the finished project!

I'm so very excited to have a special place for Lincoln's books.  It's right next to the rocker for some good light reading for the little guy and we didn't have to add a piece of big furniture to pull it off.

Don't you just love that dresser! You can also see more of what she did for the nursery on her blog.

If you're in the market for suspenders, bowties, ties, girls skirts, etc... don't forget to check out her esty store and there's a Facebook page too! Thank you so much for sharing with us Ellie!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Indiana Jones Kindergarten Valentine's Bag

Valentine's Day is just a few days away! Busy week for us!

Just registered Evan for 4 year old PreK for next fall. Jake is star of the week at school (take something to share about themselves every day), it's the 100th day of school (so we'll have to take something in - not sure on what exactly yet) and I'll be going in to volunteer for a bit that day, then it's also Valentine's Day! Yowza!

Sometimes we make our Valentines (you can check out past ones by clicking on the year 2010, 2011, 2012) this year we simply bought some Star Wars Legos ones... the school is asking that you do not attach gifts, especially candy. Always interesting to follow what the school asks, then see all the parents do it anyway. What's up with that parents?? What in the world do you think you're achieving??

We do get a white paper bag sent home to decorate for collecting their valentines!

I threw out a couple ideas to Jake. Then he suggested... Indiana Jones?? I love this kid.

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We've slowly over the last year been introducing them to our childhood faves... Star Wars, Indiana Jones (not Doom yet though), Goonies, etc... they LOVE them! It makes Greg and I squeal with delight (if we could technically squeal!).

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - #6 on

Right now, ole Dr. Jones is quite the hit in our household!

Here they are with their satchels and Short Round

He wants an Indiana Jones bag... let's do it! I really feel these types of things should be done by the kids... so I just help with general direction. I can suggest placement, etc... but he has his own ideas and THAT IS OKAY. I'm quite shocked at some of the things I see "kids doing" for projects when it's pretty darn obvious that the kid barely touched it, except to carry it into school.

Here's his bag...

We had a good time creating this together.

First I googled "Indiana Jones Coloring Pages". Found a good image for him to color, copy & pasted into publisher so I could shrink it down to fit on bag.

Then he cut it out (Indy almost lost an arm! lol!) and pasted onto the bag.

Next he traced the whip with school glue and we laid yarn over it. I did assist in cutting it at the right lengths and adding the little flourish of the heart.

To make his name look like the logo I drew the block letters and colored in first on a separate piece of paper and then he copied mine. Cut that out and pasted to the bag.

Then he added all the "flare".... most of the hearts he put on say "cool"... of course! Dr. Jones really is the coolest of the all.

On the back we came up with "Valentine's Day Treasure" and added some things that made him think of the movies.

I'm thrilled he has an Indiana Jones Valentine's Bag that he's pretty darn happy with!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Painting we will go!

Last Saturday I did a fabulous thing! I met up for dinner with an old friend then we went to dinner and then to a painting class in Georgetown. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Now how am I meeting up with an old friend considering I just moved here 6 months ago?? Well... this is actually my very first friend I can remember having, we went to elementary school together a few years. Thanks to Facebook we reconnected a few years ago. They had already lived here a couple years when we moved here, and now they're moving back to our hometown. So I'm glad our time living here overlapped for a bit!

It had just started to snow big snowflakes when we arrived in Georgetown. After we parked we started to walk around to find a place to eat... we quite literally went into the first place we came across. It was delish, so we lucked out! Clyde's American Bar is a narrow but long restaurant in the heart of Georgetown with hardwood floors and wooden paneled walls covered in vintage travel posters and what nots. What I also loved about their menu was that they have a little spot under the dish suggesting what glass of wine to pair with your meal. Perfect! I like wine, used to know a whole lot more about it... but typically don't try anything new. This was a great way to try something new (a red, that I don't normally get anymore) with wild mushroom stuffed ravioli. So very delicious!

Wrapped up our dinner just in time to head out to the painting class at Brush N Blush. We were just a couple blocks away from it... having a gps on your phone really is helpful!

Neither of us had ever done this before, but I know it's becoming very popular. They supply you with the canvas, paints, brushes and an instructor to guide you through it. You may also bring your own wine or can by it by the glass there. Although I didn't really feel like I had any time to sip my wine.
The two hour class flew by!

This is what it's advertised as for the class... "Splash of Wine"

Not too shabby for my first attempt!

I had a little trouble with my red wine "splash" it looks more like those windsock people things you see out in front of car dealerships. I messed up with my brush, there was no going back after that!

You can see their sample on the wall there over the top of my friend's painting... even theirs didn't look like the above advertisement one :)

Yes, my glass is the love child of a margarita glass and a wine glass. Don't laugh until you try to paint a wine glass with black paint keeping it in the middle, and not only symetrical but same height!

It's been probably 25 years since we've hung out! Fun night!

I found a nice home for it in the dining room (slight wine theme in there), almost hiding behind the coat rack ;)

The boys think I'm artist. Jake was so incredibly impressed that I painted that, he did one of his own! Love it. It's nice to know this is an option now if I'm feeling like I want to do this again, I could go by myself now that I know where it is and what it's about. I think I want to do more of a nature based one next time so don't have to worry as much about straight lines :)

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