Monday, July 30, 2012

I Secretly LOVE Mondays

I secretly love Mondays. It's the first day of my "work" week. Justin leaves to his job, and I get to work with my kids and messy house. (Does anyone else's house get trashed on Sundays?)

The real reason I love Mondays is the chance to start over. The chance to keep the goals I set. The chance to stick to routine. The chance to improve. I love to have a fresh start.

Goals that I have:
Help the girls with chores every day.
Walk 30 minutes, 5 times a week
yoga before bed 5 times a week
play one silly game each day with my children
I've been working on these goals for a couple weeks now (except the last one, I just added that one yesterday). THere's been a couple slip ups, but for the most part I've been doing pretty good. I love goal setting and working hard at accomplishing them. I am most definitely a goal-oriented person.

QUick and easy dinners

I am compiling a list of quick and easy dinners so when baby comes...and hopefully a little on the healthy side.

taco salad
raviolis with steamed zucchini and grilled mushrooms
spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic mixed veggies
whole wheat bagel pizzas with carrot and celery sticks
whole wheat grilled cheese and soup with salad
chicken caesar salad
whole wheat breakfast burritos
tacos with carrot and celery sticks and fruit
whole wheat veggie quesadillas (grilled mushrooms, green onions, red bell peppers)
taco soup
baked bbq chicken with salad and fruit
baked sweet n sour chicken with broccoli
crock pot black bean soup
pesto chicken and pasta with zucchini
whole wheat baked french toast with ham/eggs
garlic chicken with spinach salad
asian chicken spinach salad
whole wheat pancakes ham/eggs
chili with whole wheat rolls and celery sticks

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Like My Mom

You know, I have found in the last year or two, that the older I get (I know, I'm still young, and I feel young) the more I become like my mother. At least in some ways. There are a lot of ways I wish I could be like her and fall short more often than I would like....However, that odd phenomenon-- of when you say something and  you swear it was your mother's voice and not your own--yeah that's been happening to me lately. And it's a little creepy, not a bad creepy, just kind of weird.

One day while I was at work (this was when I was home for the summer after my freshman year of college, I believe), I get a call shortly before it was time for me to come home. It's my younger sister.

"Don't mention anything about birds to mom, ok?"
"Ok....that's random. I don't usually just go around talking about birds, but ok."
"Mom found a bird that was dying in our yard today, and took it to the vet. The vet couldn't do anything for the bird, and just put it down so it wouldn't suffer any more. ANd Mom's really upset about it. She keeps crying."
"Ok. I see. Poor Mom, she's so tender hearted."

Ok so I go home and quietly eat my dinner at the kitchen table while my mom is washing dishes at the sink. I don't say ANYTHING at all. Just quietly eating my dinner, and Mom bursts into tears.

"Mom, are you ok?" (Mom doesn't usually cry very often so this is kind of unusual.)
"I just wanted him to fix the bird. I told him I would pay him for it. I didn't care how much it cost. I just wanted him to fix the bird."
"Mom, Amber said the bird was hurt too badly to fix."
"He could have tried."

I don't really know what to say, but just get up and awkwardly pat her on the back. Most tender-hearted person who will ever meet.

Fast forward to this summer. One day out in the backyard, we found a snake. Just a little garter snake. Katie  named it Petunia, and every couple days would spend some time trying to find it again, but we haven't seen it since that one day.
Until Justin was mowing the lawn this week. I will spare you the details since you might have a tender heart like my mother..... or me...
I was making dinner, and that is THE. MOST. STRESSFUL. part of every day for me...I rush around and get crazy focused on just getting something to the table...Justin comes in and starts to tell me about Petunia's fate. 
"Please, don't tell me. I don't want to hear about it."
He makes one more comment about it, and I am in tears, but still rushing around the kitchen like a crazy woman.
"Please, please don't tell me about it." I'm balling now, and Justin knows it's time to exit and leave me to my dinner preparations. And while I am standing there crying over a non-pet-I have only seen you once in my life-snake, memory waves of my mother crying over a random bird while washing her dishes come drifting into my mind. I had to smile through my tears. Like mother, like daughter.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pregnancy Confessions

(self-portrait of Katie)

Let me confess that I am not one of those women who loves being pregnant. I don't like getting big. I don't like being emotional. I don't like throwing up and cringing at the sight-the smell-the thought of food.  With that being said, I am having such a better pregnancy this time around.

I think there are several reasons. When I was pregnant with Katie, I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't like the uncertainty of everything. When I was pregnant with Grace, I knew we were moving at the same time I was going to have her. I was so stressed about moving to another state and Justin starting graduate school.

This pregnancy, we're not moving anywhere (already did that). And I've already had two babies so I'm not too worried about anything. And so I get to enjoy preparing for baby. But there's not a whole lot of prep to do. I mean, I already have the clothes and blankets, and everything a little baby girl will need besides diapers. I guess there is one thing that I will be making. I discovered with Grace that bibs come in very handy even when they are newborns. THey spit up ALL. THE. TIME. and I'd rather change a bib than the whole outfit. Plus I really enjoy making bibs. I make them out of scrap t-shirts that were headed for Goodwill and they don't cost me anything.

One thing that has been a drawback to this pregnancy, is the cravings. About once a week I get a craving for something that is not good for me and I am pretty sure I am going to DIE if I don't get some of whatever it Reese's peanut butter cups with the cookie in the bottom...Did you know they do not make them anymore? PREGNANT WOMAN"S WORST NIGHTMARE> they don't make the one thing she is craving more than anything else. SO I was left to my own devices...well, actually Justin's...and we had homemade chocolate peanut butter bars with an improvised cookie crust. Craving satisfied....weight gained.

Usually about the time I start having to wear maternity clothes, I start thinking "can I be done yet?" when I really have three whole stinking months left! This pregnancy is not this way. I think about the midnight feedings and diaper changes. I think about juggling two other children while trying to nurse. And then I think about having to give up peanut butter. and oats. and dairy. and I think "Boy, I am lucky I still have 3 months to go!"

Not that I am not excited for this baby. I am. I find myself day dreaming about snuggling a softie, and watching for the first little smiles, and counting perfect little toes...(Did I ever mention Gracie has webbed toes? But they are still perfect. In fact, I think they are adorable!) But all in good time. all in good time. I am happy to have the time now to prepare and stock up on ideas to keep little ones busy, and make bibs, and finally get pictures up on my walls.

Katie took this picture. She set up the camp chair and made Gracie climb on it and pose. She fancies herself a photographer. I need to keep the camera up higher. Don't you just love Gracie's bed head?

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Quick Catch Up

 Our 4th of July Festivities!
A parade of course!  Justin doesn’t care much for parades, but he humors me, and every year we go to one for Independence Day. I love parades.  To me there is something irreplaceable about all different people gathering together to celebrate our freedom, and I am always so moved when everyone stands with hand over heart as the flag goes by.

Flag Cake!  I have to have a flag cake for the 4th of July.  I have been trying to avoid food coloring (especially red) over the last year, so this year we opted for a cheesecake with strawberries and blueberries…I think we’ll have to make a repeat of this cake next year! Katie and Grace got to put the berries on themselves so they were pretty happy.

Fireworks!  My kids are pretty much terrified of the big firework shows.  Heck, they are scared of the ones the neighbors set off. (Notice Katie's hearing protection, and Grace didn't last in that chair for more than 30 sec. She was in my lap the rest of the time.) So we opted for our own little show at home this year.  It pretty much consisted of ground flowers, snakes, snaps, and a few noiseless fountains.  They were pleased.  We put them to bed, and then we tried to watch what we could from our yard. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I am not a hippie, but...

I know this post is going to paint an inaccurate picture of me, but I wanted to share my experiments. I am not a hippie and I don't usually spend very much time worrying about my hair or face. With that being said, here is what I have been trying out.
Sometime time ago I came across what is known as the curly girl method. Basically to for curly hair and some wavy types, you give up shampoo, and use only silicone and sulfate free products for conditioner and hair styling products. Having wavy hair that sometimes wants to be curly and sometimes wants to be straight,  I was intrigued by this method. A friend who has very similar hair to mine gave it a try and now has real curls instead of just waves. So I wanted to give it a try.
I decided to go with the extreme side at first to really jump start my experiment. I gave up shampoo and conditioner and replaced them with baking soda and vinegar solutions. After one or two washes with the baking soda solution, I realized that it was too drying for my hair to use everyday, so I only used it once a week after that. After almost two weeks, my head was so itching and dry, I went and bought some silicone free conditioner, which cleared up the dryness in a few days.  

I still only use the conditioner, and a baking soda rinse every once in awhile, and no dryness or oiliness. Just normal hair-actually, super soft, normal hair.

I haven't found a hair styling product that I really like yet that is silicone free. And I really miss hairspray. I have heard good things about more expensive products, but I just can't rationalize that much money on a hair product. I would rather use the money to go on a date with my handsome husband than a bottle of spray gel or mousse. So still looking for the perfect product to hold my waves in.

I have enjoyed trying new no heat curl favorite is the headband method, and next I like pin curls, but I have had success with the sock bun method too.

clover honey Clover Honey and its Benefits.
Face Wash:
A blog that I follow had a post about washing your face with honey. Lately I have been breaking out like crazy which is unusual for me, and I was washing my face twice a day and starting to just go without make-up (not super uncommon since I stay at home most days with the squirts and don't like getting dolled up every morning), but I felt like I couldn't wear makeup without it increasing my already high risk of breaking out. 
So anyway, I come across this random post about using honey to wash your face. And I have been doing it for about two weeks. Not going back! I love it. My skin feels so good right now and i haven't had a pimple since I started doing it. Every third day or so I use a baking soda solution for an exfoliant. WOrks great!