July 31, 2011

road trip: northern OR

We've been on the road, sorry for the silence. We're finally home and I have some catching up to do...

Samuel. Not impressed by road trips.

Little feet make for cute photos. We enjoyed the lawn and cooler weather. By cooler I mean 85, not 95. 

How many feet you meet.

We spent time with the cousins.

And parting was such sweet sorrow. 

I want to give a PSA: Lock your doors! 

On our way home we stopped at the rest stop just south of Salem. I sat in the car and nursed a frantically hungry boy while the hubs took Millie for a little walk. As they walked away down a path, a man kind of followed them as far as a trash can, then turned around and walked the other way.. towards our car. My heart started to beat fast, and then he stepped off the curb and reached for the car door. 

There's this moment in life, when something really scary is about to happen... Everything seems to go quiet for a minute and then the click of the car door opening seems so loud. Click. 

As soon as the door was open - so was my mouth. I shouted at him, "Hey, you've got the wrong car!" I was already reaching for my phone as he spun around. Todd was back around the corner in about 20 seconds. The man was nowhere to be found.

You read and watch these horror stories, so of course the worst case scenario is running through my mind. And although this guy looked like he walked right off a sexual predator poster, most likely he was just interested in our valuables (apparently he didn't know we don't have any). 

The most frustrating part: I was so freaked out about the event taking place I didn't even notice what he was wearing. I'd never be able to spot him again. 

So lock your doors, folks. Keep valuables out of view. And pay attention to details. 

We will now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging. See you tomorrow.
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July 28, 2011

therapy thursday: pinterest

Just popping in to appoligize for the silence.

We took Sam to see the pediatric urologist yesterday, he has hypospadias and it's worse than we thought. :( He'll need surgery to correct it. I'll write more about that when I get a chance to sit down without the wiggler on me.

For a little therapy - and a lot of eye candy - check out my new favorite site: pinterest!

I'll fill you in on the going-ons soon. Promise.
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July 20, 2011

wifley wednesday: romance tips

It's been a goal in life (I have many) to write a book.

Although this isn't quite what I had in mind, I technically have WRITTEN a book. As in, filled up a notebook. In writing. That I've spent several years working on and adding to.

I know, I know, I'm suddenly not very impressive as you thought I might be.

Today I'm going to encourage you do to the same! You don't have to follow my format (not that there's really a format) - be as creative or as UNcreative in your presentation as you wish. It's the content that really counts.

The idea behind it is that I know what *I* think is romantic, but that doesn't mean the hubs doesn't know what I think is romantic.

So I figured I'd tell him.

It's not just romance tips either, it's also filled with journaling, random thoughts, and lists. I love making lists.

So, I hope this inspires you to start something similar. :)

romance tips:
all the romance you can muster


My series on struggles will hopefully continue next week. My poor blog has taken a back seat to catching up on past seasons of my favorite show. Any guess what that might be? ;)
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July 13, 2011

toddler tuesday: art, dates, and tips

A day late, yes. A dollar short? I'd like to think not. Better late than never though. :)

3 Parts to todays post - art, dates, and tips. Here we go:

Part 1: Art (no explanation needed)

Part 2: Dates
To insure a successful play date, the following is required: cute kid, best friend, and mama's camera. :)

The whole crew:

Part 3: 3 Tips
Just some things I've found to be very helpful in keeping my toddler busy while I learn how to juggle her and the wee one.
1. A wet rag. I'm not sure why, but I'm gald - Millie takes great joy in helping mama clean. She can "clean" windows, floors, the TV... you name it, she'll clean it (or at least wipe a wet rag on it).
2. A squirt bottle - hours of endless enjoyment (this one is best outside or in the bath tub).
3. Buckets and cups outside - just add water.
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July 11, 2011

make it monday: mending bones

I didn't make anything today but a trip to the doctor's office and hospital with a newborn and a 22-month old. Unless you count lunch.

Samuel has a broken clavicle bone. :/

So I guess when he got caught on my pubic bone (or when he became uncaught) his poor little clavicle broke. We only discovered at 3.5 weeks, Todd happened to feel a large bump on the bone. That bump is from the bone healing - and it's healing up just fine without any help at all.

So, I didn't get to the project I had planned on sharing today. I'll have to save it for another day. But I've got a whopper lined up for tomorrow. You won't want to miss it. ;)

Here's a little gem - Millie helped papa feed Sam from a bottle. Papa fed him a few bottles while Mama got a little sleep. :)
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July 8, 2011

field trip friday: down on the farm

We took a trip out to the farm to tend to our garden, I brought along my camera. :)

Waving goodbye to the chickens

Just out for a stroll.

She sat on every bench we came across...

And hunted for treasures...

And climbed on the fence.

It was a very successful outing. 

I love all the old farm equipment and tractors.

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we need cookies

(I'm changing this post to take out "field-trip friday," we went on a field-trip :D)

For our "field trip friday" we took a trip to the kitchen. Too much of a stretch? Maybe.

But I have a toddler...

And a newborn.

So the kitchen is about as far as we've got today. 

Of course for me, venturing into the kitchen can seem like a big trip. 
And making cookies - or any food for that matter - from scratch is especially out of the ordinary. 
For me at least... Cooking from scratch is not easy. 
Unless of course you happen to have (as I do) the world's best cookie recipe. 

And Millie and I decided that we needed cookies. It's just a cookie kind of day.

Not only were we making an especially delicious and uncannily easy recipe, but WE were cooking. 
"We," as in, Millie and mama. Together in the kitchen. 
Millie's first batch of cookies. 

Do I have to tell you that she LOVED it?

Especially the pouring. With few exceptions, I let her add all the ingredients. 
And she even got to sample the butterscotch chips!

From start to finish:

She couldn't believe her good fortune. 
She ate her lunch as the cookies baked, and by the time she had finished her lunch, 
the first sheet of cookies was cooled and just asking to be eaten. 
So we did just that. 

We need cookies:
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. butter
1/2 c. milk
2 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 bag chocolate/butterscotch/carmel/etc. chips

Preheat oven to 350
Cream sugar and butter
Add vanilla and milk

In another bowl - mix flour, baking powder and salt.
Blend with butter mix.
Stir in oatmeal and chips.

Place on cookie sheet (I like to use parchment paper)
Bake for 9-10 minutes
Be exact if you like soft cookies


For more awesome recipes, check out my favorite food blog: Creations by Steph. The author of this blog is amazing. And my sister. She's been neglecting her blog to work on wedding cakes and party desserts, so she needs some blog lovin.


From yesterday's blog:
Here is a photo I took this morning of the freshly swept and ready for a makeover patio:
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July 7, 2011

therapy thursday: space dreams

Do you ever find yourself sitting around dreaming up the perfect way to organize/decorate/redo a certain space in your home? I do. A lot. Lately that space has been our back patio. Currently our back patio is divided into 2 main functions: storage (bicycles, freezer, cooler, etc) and usable area - with the sand box, 2 chairs, and kiddie pool. Draped along the length of the patio are two clotheslines. It's not a large space - it's a fenced in concrete slab with bark chips along the fence opposite the house (townhouse).

The hubs helped me kind of squish the storage items to the far side a bit more tonight, and I gave the ground a good sweeping. I'd like to trade the current camping chairs for a 4-seat patio table, chairs and umbrella. The sandbox is now up against the wall to allow for more playing room for Millie. Tomorrow I'm going to put out a large foam play mat I bought second hand (you know those ones that you put the squares together like a puzzle). Soon I hope to have transformed our mostly unused patio into a play/relaxing space the whole family will enjoy.

Tomorrow Millie and I will take some of Papa's leftover seeds from the garden and plant them in some of the unsightly barren pots of dirt that one day housed some other plants. We're going to learn about how things grow.

Investment so far = $5 (foam mat)
Investment goal = $50

My dream patio space would include lots of greenery, cushy chairs and room for the kids to play.

For some patio therapy, check out this site. I'll post photos of the patio when the makeover is complete.

So, what's the space you dream about changing? Tell me about it...
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July 6, 2011

wifley wednesday: struggles with chores

Today I want to talk about the struggles that I'm guessing lots of other stay-at-home moms face - I know I do. While I don't have all the answers (after all, this isn't a calculus class) - I can offer some suggestions or just a little encouragement. I listed 5 of my top struggles, and I'll work on addressing them all over the next few weeks. I'm going to be mostly speaking from personal experience here, so well, I'm about to get personal...

My top 5 struggles:
1. Staying on top of the chores
2. Having a kind and loving heart (read: patience)
3. Mommy guilt
4. Feeling beautiful
5. Giving time - and more - to God

1. Staying on top of the chores
I am forever trying to scale a mountain of laundry, dishes, or toys. In the past few weeks our dryer broke, and we are unable to replace it at the moment. So, I am line-drying our laundry which, in my ideal world, I should/would be doing anyway. The reality is, I'm just a little bit (read: super) picky about my laundry, so a job that already took me longer than the average bear to do now takes even longer. I am meticulous about how it is hung on the line and I hate wrinkly clothes - and I keep my cloth diapers looking new. So while I AM saving money and energy and the environment, I'm not saving any time - which I feel short on already. However - it's what needs to be done and I do it. I actually kind of enjoy the process - especially when the hubs is home and I can close the door (read: crying and whining) behind me. It's peaceful. I just wish I had a little more time.

The kitchen - the thorn in my side. Oh kitchen, why for doth thy plagueth me? (I'm pretending to speak old-English, go with it). In our home, the hubs does most of the cooking. I never learned how to cook, and therefore never learned to enjoy it. That's my sugar-coating way of saying I hate cooking. Hubs, on the other hand, can pretty much make anything I can order up. He enjoys experimenting and dabbling in the culinary arts. And, he's good at it. I can preheat the oven, turn on the microwave, and add water. That's about where my talent ends. So, I end up with the meal-aftermath (read: natural disaster relief needed). Not a bad system in theory, but as much as I enjoy scrubbing the pots, the time-monster rears it's ugly head again. I end up cleaning the kitchen in waves - wave 1 is after breakfast, this is when the dishwasher gets unloaded. Wave 2 is after morning shower time - typically with Veggie Tales playing from the front room. This is when I can re-load the dishwasher. Wave 3 is the actual cleaning of the room - the counters, the sink, the floor. This happens when Millie is eating lunch.  As much as I love surfing (at least I think I would if I tried it), these waves make me nuts. I just want to have a clean kitchen. However - it's what needs to be done and I do it.
Noticing a trend? It's what needs to be done and I do it. Not always very well, and not always in a timely manner - and almost never all at once.

Here are some ideas to help with getting the chores done:
`Go at it in waves. You might not be able to make a room sparkle, but you can get a start on it.
`Involve the kids. Millie's eyes light up when I let her put all the clean silverware (sans knives) in a tupperware for me.
`Make a cleaning chart. Monday clean the bathroom, Tuesday mop the floors, etc.
`Visit a site such as Fly Lady for tips and practical ways to get on top of the cleaning.
`Make a daily schedule or routine, put it on paper, and stick to it.
`Make yourself a reward system (peanut M&Ms anyone?!)
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July 5, 2011

toddler tuesdays: colors and sticks

It's a known fact - at least to toddlers - that things taste much better if they're on a stick. 
Or if they're a cool color. 

So, in celebration of our nation's birthday, I made lunch red, white, and blue. 
And put it on a stick:
Oh good, the lighting captures all the scratches on her tray. 


I was hoping to take more photos than I did yesterday, but as it turns out, Sam is having a growth spurt. 
And I ended up nursing him. 
All day. 

Here's how he spent the Independence Day parade:

Millie was just as cozy:

I had planned on a little festive photoshoot, but... well I was busy nursing a growing boy.

Colors and sticks:
^Food dye
^kabob sticks
^cut up fruits, veggies, cheese, etc.
^sauce (I often times use yogurt or cottage cheese or such - these are the easiest to color)
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July 4, 2011

make it monday: a year of birthdays

Happy birthday, America! Celebrating the birthday of my country got me thinking...

I have always wanted to be THAT person. There's one in every family. You know the one, usually an aunt or a grandma. That person that always remembers to send a card on everyone's birthday. Every year. My maternal grandma is that person in my family. Every year. Every birthday. And she always knows how old we are too.

And how cool is it to get real, live mail? With a stamp. And delivered by a mailman/woman. Email and facebook have a time and a place, but the art of sending cards still has a place in this world. I know it does.

If I'm going to be THAT person, I'd better (finally) get organized. And today is that day. 

Step 1:
Gather birthday information. I had to combine my wall calendar with my ical to get them all in one spot. I sent emails, texts, and looked people up on facebook to get birthday info. Leave no stone unturned. This is family, after all. And a few close friends. :) Take all those birthdays and put them in a Word document (or text edit or whatever word processing program suits you). Just a simple list to start out with. Print a copy out. Got them all? Let's move on.

Step 2:
Designate a birthday card box/folder/etc. Something that will hold enough cards for the whole family. That's right, we're going to get all the cards ready BEFORE their birthday is past. What a thought! But we have to have a place to put the cards before we gather them. Otherwise, we'd just have another pile... 

Step 3: (optional)
Decorate said card-holding container. Fabric, paper, buttons, ribbon... whatever you have around to use. This can be done now or later.  

Step 4:
Organize your container. Get some card stock and make tabs to separate each month if what you're using doesn't already have such a system. These don't have to be fancy - or they can be totally fancy. Functionality is the key. Label each month. On the front of each separator, or on a paper in each folder, list each birthday for that month. Remember that babies will be born, people will marry, and new friends will be made - so leave room for more birthdays! That list of birthdays you printed out should go in here as a reference. 

Step 5: 
Gather the cards! You can make them (I prefer making my own), use what you already have (another great option), or go on a birthday card shopping spree! Choose a card for each person in your family. I'm advising to get all the cards together now so they get written and mailed in a timely manner (a week before the birthday is a good time for domestic mail, longer for international mail). If you don't have the supplies/cards/money to do them all at once, start out with a month or 2 (or few) at a time. Once you get them going you can replace cards as you send them. 

Step 6:
Address each envelope. Nothing will get mailed without an address. Don't put stamps on them just yet if there is a chance a person might move. But for those who aren't planning on going anywhere, start stamping! Get them as ready as you can. The point is to make it as easy as possible to mail a card when you might not otherwise send one. 

Step 7:
Send birthday greetings! Now the only thing left is the followthrough. Mark on your calendar to check each month for birthdays. Write out your cards and mail them off! Note how I don't say, "just sign your name" - I say "write." As in, a personal, thought out message. The whole point of being a card artist is to create a lovely birthday message that lets your family know you love them. So tell them! 

Happy birthday to all, and to all... a happy birthday. Especially America, cause it's your birthday today! 

A year of birthdays:
*list of family birthdays
*art supplies (optional)
*cards (homemade or store bought)
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July 2, 2011

saturday afternoon adventures: water park

We spent the afternoon at a small park tucked away in small town. It's a gem of a little park. 

Millie was very excited to get her swimming suit on.

She wasn't sure if she like getting wet or not...

She took it rather personal when water would spray her without warning. 

It was sometimes more exciting to watch the other children. 

Taking a break from water play.

The water was SO exciting at times!

But not enough to get all the way wet.

Well, maybe a little more.

Splash, splash, splash.

My two handsome guys.

PS, I found this article on yahoo about taking photos of fireworks - give it a try on Monday!
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