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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration

Are you on Pinterest yet? 
(And Mom, I know you're not...for whatever reason the Pinterest gods dislike you. I'm truly so sorry!)

Pinterest is rapidly becoming the social media addiction of choice for many of my friends. So far I've managed to reign myself in by only following a handful of folks and not actually going to the Pinterest site very often. But lately I've seen lots of wonderful things in blogland and across the internet that have made their way onto my pin boards and some have even become reality.

Here are a few of my favorite new pins and if you want to, you can follow me on Pinterest HERE. :)

The caption under these is "Healthy Peanut Butter cookies"... which is completely hilarious. The recipe is 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 egg - apparently they are only 36 calories per cookie. I think the pinner misunderstands the difference between low-calorie and healthy. But I shouldn't criticize, I'm on a calorie-counting quest to minimize my pooch for our upcoming beach trip and these are right up my alley! Let me know if you happen to make them.

                                                            Source: via Katie on Pinterest

B Daddy made a version of this for me last weekend. Our old kid swings got a new home in the backyard and this beauty now seats two adults (and/or multiple kids) comfortably out front. It's been fun to sit out here with B and heckle our neighbors as they do lawn work.

                                                       Source: via Katie on Pinterest

I need some wellies for  daily tasks around here on the homestead and these are perfection. Yes, my birthday is coming up! How thoughtful of you! ;)

                                                                             Source: via Katie on Pinterest

The Squirt is in desperate need of something like this for his rapidly expanding Hot Wheels collection.

                                                          Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Mmmmmm. Pad Thai. I've made this (amazingly simple) version three times now and each time it gets a big thumbs up from husbands and children alike. Super easy and vegetarian-friendly or you can add chicken or shrimp (I've done both) for the meat-lovers. 

                                                                   Source: via Katie on Pinterest

And finally, 83 degree days + the threat of rain = disgusting humidity today in the ATL. Let's all go to Santorini for the rest of summer, shall we? - Sigh - 

                                                                            Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Grocery Shopping with 3 Little Bears

A few people have asked me how I get my grocery shopping done now that I have three little ones in tow. If I were a smart mama I'd probably just go to the store on Saturday or Sunday with my most docile child while B Daddy watched the others. But I'm extremely protective of weekend time with my man - I hate wasting a precious hour doing something like grocery I've developed a system that enables me to go to the store with all three precious darlings. It's working for now. I'll report back in a few months or a year when things change.

Here we go -

We back out of the driveway and arrive at Publix precisely five minutes later.  I only go to this one Publix store. Ever. This means we don't have to listen to more than one VeggieTales song and the children generally haven't started screaming by the time we pull in.

We park the car (same aisle every time) I unbuckle the 3 year old, stash my infant in the Moby Wrap and grab the 2 year old (my runner/least predictable child) last. We slowly make our way into the store and grab the only acceptable race car cart. Not the one with the loose steering wheel or the one with the broken buckle. Grab either of those carts and my children will LOSE THEIR MINDS.

Once seated, both toddlers steer their hearts out while I navigate the unwieldily cart down each aisle. Did I mention all children went to the bathroom/were fed/got fresh diapers before we left? Critical component.

I maneuver the race car around the store adhering closely to my list for the week. Along the way I will pick up my keys (dropped by the two year old) six times, re-buckle the 3 year old twice, reprimand the two year old for standing up in the cart once and remind myself of Rule #2 constantly.

Oh yes - the rules. Each time before we begin our nightmare shopping trip I go over the rules:
Rule #1 - Listen and Obey. 
Rule #2 - Be Kind and Loving to Each Other. 

There is a very special privilege attached to following these rules while at the grocery store... receiving the free kids' cookie at the end of the trip. Break Rule #1 or #2 and there is NO COOKIE. No exceptions. No whining. I'm confident the only reason I've successfully managed multiple children at the grocery store hinges on the few times I've had to enforce this penalty. The very first time was oh-so-memorable...

I was making a large deli purchase that day and needed to speak to the guy behind the counter for more than the usual 2 seconds. This was plenty of time for Squirt and Sweet B to start a show for the patrons around us and the other deli lady working the counter. After a minute or two of escalating conflict, I made an obvious show of turning and calmly reminding my darlings of the rules: If you guys can't be kind to each other there will be NO COOKIE. Now sit down and behave. 

I turned back around and tried to pick up where I left off when out of the corner of my eye I saw deli lady's eyes widen. I followed her gaze in time to see Sweet B poking Squirt in the face with my keys. I quickly snatched the keys from her, laid them in my purse (just behind her - still within reach...a mistake I have not repeated) and sweetly reiterated the rules for everyone's benefit.  

As I was reaching for my turkey, not five seconds later, I heard a shriek of, "He's getting her! He's getting her with the keys!" from deli lady. I turned to see my eldest standing up and pummeling Sweet B with my car keys. On another day I might have merely threatened to take away their blessed cookie yet again, but on this particular day I had an audience.


The wails that followed echoed all the way back to the stock room. 

Had we not been surrounded by a dozen on-lookers with gape-mouthed stares, some hineys would have been hurting then and there. 

And long last we'll end up at the check-out aisle, my patience always wearing thin. And this is the main reason I come to Publix and to this Publix in particular. The employees at the register will always cater to my children's whims when my strength for a fight is exhausted.

Yes my children would like a balloon! How thoughtful. What color balloon? The only color you don't have at your register of course. Yes my three year old would like you to walk down to register 8 to grab a blue balloon, thank you. And sure you can push the cart out to my car! It's the mini-van (obviously). I'll just walk slightly ahead while you dodge the blue balloon my son is beating against your head. Hold up a minute! Need to grab the keys that my daughter just threw overboard! Yes, you can load the car up for me. Don't mind the double stroller taking up the entire trunk. I'll wrangle the kids into carseats in the meantime. Pay no attention to the screaming! -Big Smile-  No tip? Are you sure? Well ok -see you next week!!

The drive home is mercifully short. Once  there, we all collapse from exhaustion and gear ourselves up for a repeat performance in just six short days.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Does Our Garden Grow?

Well the seed experiment was a SPECTACULAR failure. Not one little seed pod produced a seedling that went into the ground. Oh yes seedlings were produced...but only a few grew to a size of any substance and sadly those brave few withered and died before joining our little garden plot. I blame a pregnancy, a newborn, a lack of sunlight and poor weather. I certainly had nothing to do with it.

So we did what any other suburban homesteader would do and headed to Pike's Nursery. 

What a lovely place. Walking their gorgeous aisles full of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs in early spring is enough to convince even the blackest-thumbed novice that with enough money, dry and dusty garden beds can be transformed into lush paradises of color and texture.

We went. We saw. We bought. 

So far everyone is growing up and getting along just fine. Tomatoes, peppers, lemongrass and thyme. Stevia and mint, cucumbers and squash. Lavender! Oregano! Basil and marigolds too! We may have been a bit optimistic.

The Squirt LOVES to pick and eat the mint and stevia leaves while we're playing in the yard...Sweet B just likes to pick and pull indiscriminently. She plucked our first tomato, its young life still ahead of it, without warning one day. You'd have been proud of me, I only cried a little.

I'm looking forward to trying the stevia as a natural sweetener in my morning coffee, putting up lots of basil pesto for the fall/winter months, popping the sweet cherry tomatoes into easy dinner salads and of course making mojitos aplenty with our prolific supply of mint.

I'll leave you with our new favorite mojito recipe...because most everyone can grow mint. And if you can't for some reason, come grab some of mine, it's everywhere.

The Perfect Mojito (Serves 1)
10 mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
1 cup crushed ice
2 oz white rum
2 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar & water)
1/2 cup club soda (tonic water can be subbed in a pinch)

Place mint leaves and 2 lime wedges in a sturdy glass. Use a muddler (or a pestle) to crush the lime and mint and release their juices/essential oils. Add 1lime wedge and the simple syrup and crush again. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice, pour the rum over the ice and fill glass with club soda. Taste and add more simple syrup if you desire. Garnish with your remaining lime and a sprig of mint.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Playroom Progress

 Last time we talked the playroom looked like this:

I only showed you these two tight shots because what you see is all there was in this 11x20 room. It's a BIG room. And up until this weekend it was pretty empty. FYI - when you spend all your money turning a porch into a sunroom/playroom your savings account will be empty when you want to purchase furniture. Who knew?!

But mostly empty is okay because it is mostly a playroom after all. We want the kids to have space to drive cars, chase each other and throw things (hopefully balls?) We're dividing the room into a sitting area and a kids area and we're working on  s l o w l y  furnishing each side. We picked up two 5' x 8' rugs from Ballard's Backroom to define the different areas over the weekend - they were a STEAL at $86 each. They are even backed with a rubbery kind of material, so they don't slide around and we don't need to shell out for an additional rug pad. Yeah us! But they do smell a little... jute-y? Anyone else have a jute rug that smelled a little grassy/outdoorsy when they first got it? Fingers crossed it fades away.

This is the view when you walk in from outside now.

Just the "sitting area"

We pulled the storage ottomans in from the living room, which means we just created another empty space (aka project) for ourselves...but I love them having in here. The room desperately needed some color and pattern. Between the rug and the ottomans, this part of the room has really warmed up. The chair on the right is my new blogging perch. : )


Oh and see what we did here? Lots of hidden toy storage on the adult side of the room. I'm kind of obsessed with keeping brightly colored plastic playthings out of sight. Anyone else feel the same way? Or am I just stifling my children's fun?

And now looking back to the kids' side of the room:

Not much to see I know. The play table is borrowed from my folks'  house. It folds flats and the kids love it. But we want to find or make a round kids' table that splits apart into two half-moon tables. Anyone seen anything similar to that on the old interweb? We'd like stools that will tuck underneath the table to help keep the room open. Besides a permanent table, we'll probably add a few big storage baskets for art/craft supplies and the random toys that will inevitably migrate into the room.

We're debating a low-profile sofa against the windows in between the two rugs. We really do spend a good bit of time out here now and it'd be nice to have seating for more than just two adults. But would it be worth losing that extra play space? Hmmmmmm. Other things on the to-do list for the space are two overhead lighting fixtures, roman shades, some wall decor and possibly even plants!? Yes I will eventually kill them, but they always look so good at first.

So basically one project completed (adding the sunroom) and one project added (furnishing said sunroom).  We are absolutely loving the addition though, even in its unfinished state. The past few evenings B Daddy and I have unwound out here with a glass of wine, it's kind of magical at dusk with the windows open and the birds calling - like a big kid treehouse retreat.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Big Baby Ben

Ben had his one month check up last week. Six weeks have actually passed if you can believe it. This here is my - holy cow this is my third baby - face. Have we talked about the fact that I didn't want to have children for a large portion of my life? Kids this is why you should listen to your mama when she tells not to piercethat datehim gotothatparty movethere etc. You don't know what's best for you.

But back to Ben...the boy was 11.5 lbs at his check up, which puts our little darling squarely in the 85% percentile. As in, if there are 10 babies in a room, Tres is bigger than 8 of them. It also means he's in 3-6 month clothes already. This is terra nova for me. The Squirt didn't hit 11 pounds until he was 10 weeks old, Sweet B wasn't there til 8 weeks.  My biceps are appreciating the additional weight lifting, but my back is protesting a bit. The kid eats like a champ, sleeps like a champ and spits up like a champ. Remember this? Must run in the family.

Brother love. Squirt is explaining in detail how to make the parrot swing on his perch.

I love how different each of my children are. When I was pregnant with Sweet B and we found out she was a girl, I had more than a few people say to me, "so are you done?!" as if once you have one child of each sex, your parenting experience is complete. I love that these boys came from the same gene pool, are the same sex and are already so different. What a wonder it must be to watch your children grow up into totally unique adults... no two snowflakes are alike ya know.

Thanks for checking in on us. I'm mostly doing really really well, thanks to the help of a great hubs and a few angels who have blessed me with their service and their prayers. I'm planning to be back with a sunroom update for you later this week!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Little Man's Bike Party

My little man turned 3 last weekend. The babe who made me a mama is now a superhero-lovin' blur of motion. A noise with dirt on it as I read somewhere.

When we talked about his birthday a few months back, the Squirt matter-of-factly informed me that he was going to have a bike party and invite ALL his friends. Not one to disappoint, we had a bike party last weekend and invited some of his buddies. (I drew the line at ALL his friends - when you throw a toddler party, each invited kid comes with one or two parents and we have a small house.)

I'm always amazed by what balloons and crepe paper streamers can do to liven up a room. Give B Daddy a beer and a re-run of any action movie on FX (this time it was Avatar) and he will blow up as many balloons as I put in front of him. This little wall took about $1 worth of streamers to cover and we re-used the birthday banner I made last year. (This banner will be making appearances at every birthday party I host for the next decade I'm sure.)

B Daddy worked hard the last several weeks to create a usable space out of our jungle of a backyard. He carved out this little bike track for the kids, complete with rollers to make the ride more exciting and kid-sized bike rack. (When my man does something, he does it right.) I contributed the sign and the ballon-adorned start line. :)

Riding bikes and coloring in the playroom kept the party-goers entertained until it was time for the highlight of every birthday party: the cake. 


I thought it turned out pretty well. I was really surprised at how easy shaping the bike frame from Rice Krispie treats was. Betty Crocker makes a mean triple chocolate fudge cake too. We scooped out individual servings of ice cream ahead of time and froze them in muffin cups - brilliant! (Totally not my idea, I either pinned it or read it on another blog somewhere - it was genius and worked out great.)

The party favors were by far my favorite thing. My sister used her Silhouette and her precious free time to create a freezer paper stencil for me. A little black fabric paint and some Wal*Mart t-shirts and these Go Ride toddler t-shirts were created. (Note to any wannabe toddler t-shirt makers: plan your party colors around the t-shirts that are in stock and in the right sizes at Wal*Mart/Target, etc. :) I originally planned on pink and grey t-shirts and quickly changed my tune when I could only find the sizes I needed in royal blue and red.)

I love throwing parties like this. And I really appreciate that my husband/family/friends jump on board to make it happen. I'm pretty certain the Squirt would have been just as happy with a trip to Chucky Cheese as long as there were friends and a cake, but I love having a full house and getting creative.

Anyone else throwing a kid party this month? Any tips for making it easier? Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Everyday Moments

Life around our house is starting to take on a routine...albeit a crazy one. As I type this post I'm nursing the baby, supervising a tot breakfast of granola (she can feed herself now...which equals lots more clean up for mama) and serving as jungle gym for the big boy playing underneath the table in between my feet. 

Here are some scenes from life the past week. Better blogging in the future as we continue to adjust I promise! 

One of my high school girls took this picture on Sunday night. 
Is there anything sweeter than newborn feet?

Sweet B's hair style courtesy of maple syrup.

Little man's bath time is a family affair.

Ben and I visited my grandmother over the weekend. She was wowed by my smartphone's ability to take pictures and show them to her seconds later (she kept making me take this one over and over until she was happy with it. This was the keeper... she either didn't notice I was half-missing or she wasn't particularly concerned about me.) I kicked her tail at Rummy a bit later on in the afternoon.  

Far from facing the jealousy issues I thought we might have, we are in a bit of a Lenny situation around here with little Ben. Remember the scene in Of Mice and Men when Lenny pets the bunnies? 

...the little man is in danger of being loved to death almost daily by these two.

And the big news this week is that a certain big brother turns 3 on Sunday! This is the rough plan we worked out for his birthday cake yesterday (it's a bike, can you tell?) ...I'll share a picture if it turns out not to be a hot mess. :)

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