Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Labels, day 31

Today was a rare day when the organizing bug hit in full force.  A year or so ago, I read an article about Jamie Lee Curtis in a magazine and her organizing system.   I don't practice her methods to the extremes like she does, but I was already doing a lot of similar things like removing items from their packaging when they come home from the grocery store.  A few years ago I started buying the nice BPA free plastic storage containers for bulk items.  These are not cheap, so I would just purchase a few here and there.  My next step was to store items in Mason jars or glass containers.  I love that you can see items like nuts and tea bags without seeing the branding and packaging instead.  

My pantry is one of my favorite parts of my kitchen.  However, it's usually always a mess.  So today I tackled organizing it by category and getting rid of the excess.  Even if it won't last this way for long, I love the result!   Even the kids were amazed, so I'll say it was worth the time investment!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beans, beans, day 30

Pinterest is a great thing.  It stimulates the creative and inspiring parts of my brain.  But there always comes a point where you have to step away from the computer and actually make something that you saw on Pinterest.  I have made a wreath, some crafts for the kids, and countless recipes.  They have mostly been tasty and well received by the family.  Until today.

Like everyone else in January, we are trying to eat healthier and be a little more weight conscious around here.  So when I saw this brownie concoction on Pinterest, I went straight to the pantry to test it out.  

Here are the ingredients:

That's it.  A box of brownie mix and black beans.  You actually puree the black beans and use them as a substitute for the eggs and oil in the recipe, eliminating the saturated fat and adding fiber.  They smelled good.  They looked good.  They tasted HORRIBLE.  I said nothing when the kids came home, but it didn't take them long to find the plate of special brownies.  They were too nice to call them horrible, but they did tell me they were dry and kind of like cardboard.  You should have seen their faces when they found out they had beans in them!  I wish I had video taped it.  (Yes, I'm a child of the 80's, I will always use the phrase video taped.)  Just goes to show you that you can't always believe the Pinterest recipes, even when they state - best no fat brownies EVER!  Who else has a bad Pinterest experience?  I can't be the only one!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Walk in the park, day 29

I apologize in advance - this is a picture heavy post.  I forced myself to leave my iPhone and it's fun Instagram app at home and take my real camera to the park with the kids and I'm so glad I did!  The weather has been perfect and it made for some great pics of the kids.
She is such a great big sister.  Always willing to help out and show her little brother the ropes.

Is there anything cuter than watching a 3 year old boy navigate a playground?  No fear, only determination and speed.  It's probably the only time he ignores his mom and wants to be on his own.  He did stop long enough to tell me to stop taking pictures of him.  Sigh.  

Sparkles is all about the swings and flying high.  It's the reason she loves cartwheels and round-offs and why she's working so hard on a back hand spring.  She loves to feel like she's flying.  

One handsome dad.  Enough said.

Sweet sisters that are not too old for the park.  Not yet.

We have a new amphitheater in our town that over looks the city.  At the right time of day, it is beautiful!

This picture is one of my all time favorites.  I love the strong arms of my husband.  I love the little hand of my baby.  I love the purple stamps all over his hand (and his room, and his face, and his tummy.  But that's a post for a different day) and his blond hair in the sun light.  I pray they will always be close and they will have years of making memories together just like this.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Good Fortune, Day 28

Out of the 5 of us at the table today, I received the best fortune from the fortune cookies.  Hands down.  I may or may not have acted like Tom Cruise and jumped up and yelled, "Show me the money!"  :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oh boy, day 27

If you have a boy, whether he is 3 or 30, you simply must read Ann Voskamp's post on (In)courage today.  Such a beautiful picture of a mother's love for her son.  It has been almost 4 years to the date that I found out I would be the mother of a boy, of a man, one day.  I was unprepared for the fierceness of his love and attachment to me.  What a source of joy he is to me - this little bundle of energy and excitement and mischief!  Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from Ann's post:

I remember when you were small enough to hold in my arms, warm against me, this sun bathed stone, us engraved into rock here. I hadn’t known how fast the wings would come and that you would fly into the dark, into the sun, and so soon. That when you became a man, I’d feel so empty – and so very fulfilled. I wish we had read even more books.....

...The Bible’s true, son. Every infallible, sword-sharp, breathing word of it. Don’t let anyone ever rationalize one beautiful iota of it away. Love it because it’s your Life...

...I know I’ve forgotten something – many things.
This parenting gig’s an experiment in radical grace and the work of every parent is to fully give to the child. And it’s the work of every child to fully forgive the parents. This is how it turns, the torch passing from one to the next.
Remember that we made meals and beds and mistakes and memories – and look hard for the good ones.

You really should read the entire post.  As a mom with 3 young children, it is easy to get lost in the day to day routines.  It really is a blessing to stop and consider the entire journey.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Take a seat, day 26

After Christmas, I happened to catch a great sale on One King's Lane, where I snapped up this Aiden Gray  chair for a fraction of the price.  And when I say fraction, I mean less than 1/3 of what it retails for online.  I finally got it delivered today and I love it!  The colors are definitely off in this picture, but it is a great spot for reading and sitting by the piano.  My favorite is the burlap backing.  So cute from all sides!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baking up a storm, day 25

I love a rainy day. Home all day with my boy and a hectic schedule from 3:30 - 8:30 p.m. means a day spent cooking. It's one of the things I love best about being able to stay home. There are many days I am cooking dinner at noon, so it can be quickly reassembled for the masses at 5 before we run out the door. Today was a new recipe (chicken and spinach enchiladas) in a new dish. I love this red baking dish my mom got me for Christmas from one of my favorite stores, Sur La Table.  I also love it because it makes me think about my mom now every time I use it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where is winter, day 24

We have had some amazing January weather. I'm a little worried to find out if that means a tornado filled spring or a summer full of 100+ degrees, but I'll take the nice weather for now. We have spent many afternoons learning how to ride bikes that we thought we might conquer in March or April!  Even Sparky and our border collie, Lexi, have loved the warm afternoons.  I can't say that we have missed winter much this year!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Smash, Day 23

Next week, a new show is debuting on NBC.  I was curious and watched the pilot episode which is streaming for free for the next week or two.

I actually really liked it! I love New York, Broadway, and Debra Messing, so it's not too surprising. It reminded me of Glee without the teens and totally inappropriate story lines. I am going to say it's going to be, well, a smash. :) Completely cheesy, I know.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mishaps, day 22

Our little guy has been all boy this weekend.  First he fell out of the bed and hit his head on his nightstand which left him completely unfazed, but with a nice size little gash on the side of his forehead.  Yesterday, he decided to test our stove burners to see if they were hot, which left him with a palm full of blister.  This afternoon at the park, he proceeded to fall against a metal stair.  Nice, yellowish goose egg right between his eyes.  I bandaged his blisters, but those lasted less than 10 minutes.  It's amazing to see how different his tolerance for pain has been compared to his sisters.  I hope he will be accident free for a little while!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Miss Manners, Day 21

Tonight is another junior cotillion dance night for MJ, our oldest girl.  She attends cotillion dances/classes where she learns manners and etiquette and classical dances.  It has been so much fun to watch her and all of her friends get dressed up.  It is hilarious to hear them tell stories of how awful it is to dance with a boy.  Apparently if you are a 5th or 6th grade boy, the girls are not interested in how cute you are, but rather with the sweat factor on the palm of your hands.  I'm sure all mothers feel this way about their daughters, but she is just so beautiful it takes my breath away sometimes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tennis, anyone? day 20

I love warm, sunny days in January spent watching my big girl play tennis.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Like father, like son, day 19

I came home the other day to find these 2 guys taking a little nap.  They look even more alike (besides the hair, of course) when they are sleeping than awake.  I love these little moments!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Domestic goddess in the making, day 18

My sweet Sparky brought this paper home today. I adore the answer that her dream is the day when I let her sew alone. This child is the most domestic child I know. I pray she is able to be a wife and mother one day. She loves to cook, clean, decorate, sew, and scrapbook. She's going to make a great wife for some lucky boy and will probably be addicted to Pinterest.

Gaming, day 17

I love Tuesdays because it's the only day of the week that we have no scheduled activities. It is so relaxing to come home after school and just hang out all night. On this particular night, my 8 year old, "Sparky", made her own board game- Counters. Such a cute and creative idea. I loved watching the girls actually get along and play together.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It only took 16 days, day 16

I knew this day would come.  The day when I would be hard pressed to find anything joyful to write about.  Everyone has these days - the ones where the plans you envision for the day never quite materialize and you end up 180 degrees from where you intended to be.  My kids were out of school for the day, and we had talks of going to the dog park, eating at our favorite yogurt place, maybe catching an afternoon movie.  Instead, we got in the car to the sound of alarm bells letting me know there were problems in the engine.  We were on the way to my husband's office, so we changed course to meet him at a service department close to his office.  Which was how I ended up entertaining 3 kids for 3 hours in a tiny unused room at my husband's office.  Thank goodness I had grabbed the iPad before I left home.  They watched movies and played office, but things weren't exactly fun after a while.  Although the car issue was minor, any repairs on a vehicle start adding up fast.  And then we were told of future repairs that need to be made in the next month or so.  Cha-ching.  Cha-ching.  Then tonight, we got some news that will probably put a home project on hold for a while.  Adding to the mix were some discipline issues at home tonight and a cranky mom and dad.  I'm sure there was joy in my day somewhere, but it was hard to see anything past my little black rain cloud.

Of course, I am still thankful.  Thankful we have the funds to pay for my car and even discuss home projects.  Thankful my engine did not catch on fire or leave us stranded.  Thankful even to spend the day with my kids even when the circumstances were less than ideal.  But that's the thing about joy.  It can't be circumstantial.  That is what happiness is for.  You are happy when circumstances go your way, and unhappy when circumstances are difficult.  Joy is not based on circumstances or feelings, but more an essence of who you are.  I was not joyful today at all.  And I missed an opportunity.  An opportunity to be a light unto others.  An opportunity to share joy with my children in all circumstances.  An opportunity to pray more and grumble less.  Thank goodness for Lamentations 3:22-23.

22The faithful love of the LORD never ends!b
His mercies never cease.
23Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's a dog's life, day 15

I am happy to report that the shower went  well, with great weather and more importantly, a great turnout for my sweet friend.  After the shower, I was pooped, so we ordered takeout and spent the entire evening on the couch watching the Emmys and of course, my favorite show of the moment, Downton Abbey.  After spending the day with his grandmother and cousins, my little guy was even more worn out than his mother.  When it was time to go to bed, he managed to sneak our dog's new pillow bed into his room.  This was how I found him 30 minutes later.

And yes, I did let him stay and sleep there all night.  He just looked so cozy!