Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In our constant effort...

In my continuing effort to make our home work better for us, I have decided to move my children in the same room. This had originally been the plan all along, but when VO was a baby and ready to move to his crib, I freaked out. I didn't want one kid waking the other kid up, etc, etc, etc, craziness, craziness, craziness.

Well, 2 years later they sleep through the night fine, they go to bed at relatively the same time, they wake up at the same time. They play in each other's rooms all the time. There is no need for them to be running back and forth all day long. And I need a place for all of my sewing stuff.

So, here is the plan...we are going to move SO in with her little brother, because, quite frankly, that room has the best storage in the entire house. We are keeping the walls white. I am not concerned that their bed spreads don't match. Of course they don't. He is a boy and she is a girl. He, of course, has not figured that out yet, but I am banking on a good 5 to 6 years of them sharing before we will have to move them back to their own rooms, you know, for puberty and fun stuff like that!

And once the room moving and sharing is worked out, then, oh then, the fun will begin! I will be able to leave my sewing machines out all the time. Set up and plug in the ironing board without creating a tripping/fire hazard in my bedroom. My fabric that I am working with will be able to stay on the table. That table will no longer be the dining room table. While I am at it, I am moving my desk and all office related things in there too. I WILL HAVE MY. OWN. STORAGE. CLOSET. FOR MY. OWN. STUFF. It really will be a remarkable achievement.

This room will need to be painted. Because, as much as do love the two-tone turquoise (I really do), it was for SO, not for me. So more fun with paint for JO. And did I mention the closet??

Befores and afters will be posted for your viewing pleasure at some point...I am hoping next week. You know, it is the holidays and I apparently do not have enough to do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Grosgrain: Social Darling Frock GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY!!!!

While looking for gifts to make for a certain gift exchange tonight (I know, nothing like waiting until the last minute, right!) I came across this super cute dress that is just being given away! Hopefully it will be a Merry Christmas to me!!

Grosgrain: Social Darling Frock GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Help From the Big Guy

How soon is too soon to bust out the "Elf on the Shelf"?

And work it for all it is worth?

I am seeking reinforcements.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Give Me Shelter

I have an addiction.

I love shelter magazines.

I love them.

I can do without Time, Newsweek, People, Real Simple, etc...but I can't do without...

Fresh Home which is my current favorite.

Or Dwell.

Or even This Old House, which we still get from our "old house" days. There is some good, useful information in there.

I was very sad, I repeat, VERY SAD, when Domino closed up shop. Granted, towards the end they started to suck a little bit, things were expensive and the uniqueness of it was waning, but I still LOVED it. I would curl up on the couch, ignore my family and go through it page by page, reading every article and looking at all of the pictures. I got some great ideas from Domino and used them in my home and business regularly. It provided a wonderful source of inspiration to me.

So today, I was so excited to read on Apartment Therapy, that Domino is BACK. Well sort of.

Photo lifted from Apartment Therapy.

Lonny is a new online magazine that is taking some of its inspiration from Domino. But it is online (the jury is still out on how I feel about that - I think I may miss the tactileness (is that a word) of holding the magazine, but we will see!) I have not made it much past the Table of Contents, but so far it looks great and I am so excited about it!

Happy reading to you all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sclemeel, Schlemazel

I just blogged about our bottling over @ and included some cool pictures if you wanted to check it out! EO may not let me blog about the biz anymore after this one...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunny Day in Auckland

Just wanted to update your mental images of my boys. We were just hanging out in the back yard today (practising some surf moves)in the beautiful sun. Yay spring is here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Going to Have To Try This

OK, so I made it...and the texture is awesome! It is the consistency of thick, creamy ice cream! The downside - it isn't super banana tasting! Even with really ripe bananas. hmmm...
I think if you blended some fresh fruit in, to give it a flavor, or maybe some cocoa powder, then you might have something. I will try it another time and let you know - or let me know if anyone tries it. But I gotta tell you, the texture is perfect!
I made it for SO's preschool's snack and the kids seemed to enjoy it. And it is great for the lactose intolerant kids!
And prep wise, don't use a blender (of course if that is all you have - then use it), use a food made quick work of the bananas while my blender just kind of groaned.

I found this today on the kitchn (the kitchen section of Apartment Therapy).
"How to make ice cream with only one ingredient." Intriguing, no?

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy the kitchn

So I go to check it out because we are BIG fans of ice cream around here.

And do you know what the ingredient is?


How awesome is that?

Peel banana. Freeze banana. Blend banana. Eat banana.

Wish I had some bananas.

And some chocolate sauce.

This will be perfect for my son because the poor little guy can't quite digest milk yet, so he gets fruit popsicles while the rest of us enjoy our creamy delicious ice cream. (Can you tell I am not so much a fan of the popsicle?)

Read the article (for better directions than the ones above) and the comments because there were A LOT of good ideas to add to this already delicious idea!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Modern Economy

Modern Economy next online sale! YAY!!
Wednesday, September 9.

Sign up for their newsletter and get an early bird password!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2009 Version

Kid covered with Oklahoma BBQ'ed corn on the cob!

Me and the Kids with Papa and Grandma Great Great in OKC.
4 generations.

Cool "splashgrounds" at the parks in OKC - free and right next to the playground. Wish we had those around here, of course they wouldn't be on because our state has no water.

Sweet Children's Museum in OKC. You could take lesson on the Segway.

These are not in chronilogical order because blogger can be very non-user friendly! They are actually in reverse chronological order - I didn't feel like fighting with it.

I don't know about you, but I am wondering, exactly, where this summer has gone. It would seem that in the effort to keep the kids (and myself) busy so we do not go crazy with the lack of a regular schedule, that we keep the days filled with activities that seem to make months fly by. (I need to figure out a way to do that for the fall/harvest months!)

Pyrotechnics and sweet 70's Rock!

*KISS and Gene Simmons in NO way endorse this blog*
But they look awesome in their makeup!

Water slides are the best things ever!

So are pools. Both make for great naptimes!

Me in DC.
Camping - looks like winter, but just early moring!

It wouldn't be camping with out s'mores.

We took the kids camping for their very first time, E and I went to DC for a dear friend's wedding (the woman who introduced us), we took the kids to the fair, took ourselves to see Kiss at the same fair (Oh My Gosh, such a great show, never considered myself a "fan" per se - but I can now see why they are uber-famous - they KICK ASS ON STAGE), took the whole family to Oklahoma City to visit family and have filled the rest of the time with swimming, water slides and trips to the library. Whew. When does school start so I can have a break?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Call Off The Search Party

Some of you may remember this post where I chonicled the missing loves of my daughter and the follow-up strip search of my house. It is with great relief and honest-to-goodness shock that I am able to report to you that three favorites have indeed been found. All together. By my daughter. In her brother's room. Inside this fabulous little gift box.

Do you want to know many times I have moved that box?

Too many times.

And not once did it feel like there was anything in it.
Damn Beanie Babies.

Now we are a family of twins.

Some cleaner than others.

If anyone placed bets on how long it would take to find them, 11 months would have been the winning bet. ELEVEN MONTHS.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lasagna Jill

This is the pasta roller I found in the back of a bottom cabinet of the last house I rented in Santa Barbara when I moved out. Left behind by one of the many interim roommates my roommate had in between me living in the house. I was her first and last roommate in that house, but there were a few others between those stints! I am guessing the metro-Italian roommate forgot that this was in there and is probably wondering to this day what happened to this thing. Needless to say it got boxed up with my things and began its long journey of moving from one house to the next with me. Never once being opened or used. For 10 years. But hey, these can be expensive and I knew I would use it someday. Maybe.

While I was searching Smitten Kitchen for a basic tomato sauce recipe, I found this yumminess and I was inspired. Since I have been making other ridiculous things from scratch recently, I decided I would break this puppy out. So my trusty travelling companion (the pasta roller) and my favorite helper (preschool face paint included!) got started on making some noodles!

I was pretty impressed with this little guy and pretty happy I had carted him around for ten years.

I was pretty impressed with this little thing too! She rolled ALL of the noodles. By herself, of course, because that is what four year olds do. Everything, by herself.
Noodles. Check.

I sauteed up some deliciously fresh veggies (unfortunately not from my sad little garden, but I am holding out hope for things non-squash related).

I cut up some of the mozzarella I had made the day before. I know. I know. I said I have been making ridiculous things from scratch recently.
I am afraid to tell you that there is more.

This is the ricotta cheese that I made after I made the mozzarella. Did you know that ricotta is a by-product (so to speak) of the mozzarella? I did not either. But after you make your mozz, you boil the crap out of the whey that is left in the pot for 10-15 minutes. Dump it into a flour sack lined colander and what do you know, ricotta! The funny part is, I like the ricotta better than I do the mozz!

This is the Basic Tomato Sauce that caused all this crazy-business in the first place. Mmmm.

And the final melty-cheesey-saucey-goodness. And yes, you would be correct if you asked why it looks like there is not any melty-cheesey goodness on one side of that beautiful lasagna. And the would be because the boy can;t have dairy. So I just left a little off one of the edges for him to eat.

The lesson for today is - do not throw out valuable appliances because you never know if you might use them. Once every ten years.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Panic! (Not at the Disco)

A couple of weeks back, the weirdest thing happened, I started spotting. A week before I was "scheduled" to get my period. Weird, right? Didn't think too much about it. The next day I was lying in bed thinking about getting up and was all of a sudden overcome with nausea. So much so, I had to kick my daughter out of my bathroom as she was finishing up and tell her to go wash in her hands in her own bathroom. I didn't end up getting sick, but I had to stand there for a little while until the feeling passed.

I know! I was thinking the same thing.

So, I go to tell my husband that I think I am pregnant. And you know what, he starts laughing at me. You read that right, LAUGHING. Personally, I did not think this was anything to be laughing at. This was what I have been paranoid about for 19 months (the age of my youngest). That I was going to get pregnant again and we would have three children. THREE! Not the two that I had been planning on FOREVER. I knew this would happen, I had been so sure all along that we were only going to have two kids - that THIS is what I would get for being so sure. It was going to all come back and bite me in the ass, as so many other things had done in the past!

Right, so back to the laughing. He was laughing at me because of his vasectomy from almost a year ago. You know, the one where they snip out a section and then cauterize both ends. Really, cauterize, I didn't know about that part. But, BUT! I said, sometimes they grow back together, it has happened before, I am pretty sure I could find a statistic online somewhere! Know what I got with that...more laughing. More laughing and the look, the look of "well what have you been doing that you would go and get yourslef knocked up..." "Yeah, right." I said to "the look". When on the ever-loving-earth would I have the time to have an affair. I mean really.

Needless to say, he talked me down off the ledge and brought me back to reality. I am indeed, not pregnant (whew!) not that we wouldn't have welcomed that baby into our home, but HOLY COW...I was convinced!

Days later, he tells me that his first thought when I told him I thought I was pregnant was "great, now we are going to have to get a mini van!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fuct Ducts

WTF. As in, how the f%$@ can my adorable, sweet, easy 6 month old be waging such enormous amounts of havoc on my ladies (my boobage, the girls, the lovely lady lumps, etc)???

Lets get it all out there, shall we? I am, by no means, "a newbie at the boobie". I did a full, count them, 15!!!! months of breastfeeding with my first, and by all accounts, it was definitely the easy way out....rarely a bottle to wash, less than $30 bucks total dropped on formula, harder to ween than to feed, etc....

Now, suddenly, my adorable, sweet, easy second baby has unleashed her power to cause mayhem upon me. This power is not flung at the dinner table in the form of rice cereal and pureed sweet potatoes (she is a perfect, gaping-mouthed eater- adorable, once again), nor is it recognized during playtimes (her brother constantly thrashes her physically and mentally and she giggles, seriously giggles), even during long rides in the car my dear little one amuses herself with toys and gurgles and occasional outburst of baby jib-jabber...NO NO NO...the power to cause MAYHEM is 100%, without question or hesitation directed at MY BOOBS. I have had 5 clogged ducts in 3 weeks. Not overestimating here, possibly even underestimating.

Theories as to why my daughter is employing mediaevial torture techniques against the woman that birthed her:
1) Distraction: extremly plausible considering activity level of 3 year old brother multiplied by square feet in house = 10,000,000,000,00,000,000 (ie 10 trillion-zillion)..and I live in a 1,000 sq. get the picture.
2) Teething: As my orthodontist of 8 YEARS+++ once said with glee, "You have HUGE teeth and a TINY mouth....."
3) husband's family is known for it, serioulsy, just ask them. I give the poor child avocado and banana and they look at me, totally straight-faced, and say, maybe it was the food- THE GAS.....

Whatever the reason, I have been spending WAY TOO MUCH time massaging, rubbing, and squeezing these ladies without any form of voyeuristic monetary compensation...I feel like a horny middle school boy with a way too easy girl friend. If anyone has any advice, experience, or just wants to yell- WEAN THAT BABY AND GET IT ALL OVER WITH...I'm ready and listening...seriously, WTF?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In Case Anyone is Counting

I have made the PW's Cinnamon Rolls 3 times since I first posted about them on April 30. That's right, 3 times in 6 weeks...I am probably going to need to start using my gym membership if this keeps up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Fabric Shop

So, awhile back, I purchased some fabric from an etsy shop, Fabricworm. The owner, Cynthia, upon entering my shipping information, sent me an email. Her shop was based in Paso Robles (!) so why didn't I just come by her house and pick up the fabric. So I did! And I checked out all her fun fabric at the same time! She has some of the coolest and latest fabric that is not always carried in most of the other fabric stores.
The last time I cruised over to her "shop" she told me she was opening a store front down town Paso Robles. I am super excited. I do not know if she is officially opened or not yet, but she is getting close! The store, Birch Fabrics, is located off 12th street, in the little shopping center behind Aardvark Music. Birch Fabrics and Gifts, 585 12th Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446 (to be exact)

Here is a shot of her new shop, work in progress that I lifted from her blog (thanks, Cynthia!)

You can follow her progress on her blog . And I encourage you, if you are looking for some fabric or some inspiration, stop by her shop!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chicken Lickin' (Or Make These NOW!)

I am going to post two chicken recipes here - I know, SO boring! I don't make a lot of chicken for that exact reason and because it is not my favorite protein. But in the last two weeks I have made these recipes and they are delicious. So delicious, that I wish I had made more than enough for the four of us. Of course, I don't EVER have all of the ingredients on hand for any recipe, so there is a fair amount of substitution which I will detail (sort of). And in case I haven't said it before, I LOVE SMITTEN KITCHEN!

The first dinner, I had a hankerin' for a roast chicken (right, like that ever happens) so I decided I needed to make it. Went to Smitten Kitchen and found this beauty, Zuni Cafe's Roast Chicken and Bread Salad. Before you start this, read the whole recipe through (one of my many cooking downfalls!) So the day I was going to make it, I didn't because I had not salted it ahead of time...and I know from my turkey cooking at Thanksgiving that salting ahead of time makes everything that much better. So, we tried again the next day! Deb is so nice to have shortened the recipe up a bit and I made some of my own shortcuts, but if I can say one thing about this dish...DO NOT MAKE IT WITHOUT THE SALAD! It was the best part. Of course I did not have the following salad ingredients: dried currants, scallions, arugula, frisee or red mustard greens. Instead I used golden raisins, red onion and spinach. I did not plump my raisins. I did a quick saute on the onions and the garlic and I toasted the pine nuts with the bread. I also added a squeeze of lemon into the dressing because I thought it would be nice! The most important and delicious step of this recipe is the very last one "Drizzle and toss with a spoonful (or more) of the pan juices" from the roasting chicken. Oh. My. Gosh. This was the best part, it made the salad so savory and yummy that we could not stop eating it. The kids ate a little but didn't want more and I didn't care because that meant more me!

The second chicken recipe is a far less complicated one, Chicken Milanese and Escarole Salad. Super good and quick week night dinner. Would be better if I had a hood in my kitchen, but I don't let it stop me. My tips: 1. Make the pickled onions. They are delicious and add a nice zip to the salad. Even Stella ate them and loved them! 2. Use whatever kind of greens you have - I used mixed greens because that is what I had. 3. I did not make the hazelnut pecorino portion of the recipe, I used a simple lemon-honey vinaigrette which is my favorite wine-friendly dressing (lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper).

So, make these if you can and seriously make the bread salad - so good!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I got this from Delightfully Diva-ish it made me chuckle. Thanks Geegeedomdivas

An 'aging' woman:

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, The class was over.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Laura Ingles Wilder

Or maybe, Barbara Kingsolver.

Alex, what is, the two people I thinkI might be morphing into?

That is correct, for no money but some homemade cheese and canned tomatoes.

Yes, that's right, I think I have gone over to the other side. I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and I am inspired.

I spent yesterday gathering the ingredients so that today I could make cheese. The vegetable rennet I actually ordered in advance through my local grocery co-op and the citric acid was easy because EO has that on hand at work.

I just whipped up a batch of homemade mozzarella. Just now. In my kitchen. And it would have been perfect, except that I forgot to salt it at the right time. I was so excited for the stretching that I forgot to salt. But whatever. I made cheese and we are going to eat the cheese! While, I am sure that someone who has done this before could really get it done in 30 minutes, it took me about an hour. I tasted it, and it tastes like cheese! Success. I tried to take some pictures, but I can't find my camera...

Stay tuned for the next episode of life on the farm, I mean in town, when JO convinces her husband that he CAN, in fact, build that do it yourself backyard bread/pizza oven!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Whole Other Level

This takes my whole "DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING" to a whole 'nuther level!

Picture courtesy of mom4life via ivillage.

I am pretty sure I would have used this when my kids were this age, but I can't be certain...Is it wrong that I kind of wish I could use one now, for the boy...and not just in public restrooms. Think of how many other uses...while vacuuming, washing the dishes, taking a shower, Time-outs? You're probably right.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Before and After

OK...I guess I was a little too anxious to start my project, as I do not have any proper BEFORE pictures showing the entire area. But those of you who have been here, know what a cramped space the kids and I shared for my office and their community play area. But below are a few pictures to give you an idea of the space and the color before the make over.

This picture is what the area looked like when we bought the house, taken on our inspection day. The large bookcase stayed and we filled it to the brim with photo albums, kids books, files and stuff.
Here you can see my mini desk in the background (behind the beautiful family!). With the printer on it, leaving me not much work space.

And another shot of the "toy closet" and book shelf, my desk chair and the kids table.

So, a brief run down of what I did...

1. Husband left town early Monday morning and I decided to complete a project while he was gone. So the first day I purchased everything I would need: paint and rollers. We like to paint, so we have all the tarps and pans, etc., etc...I am all about instant gratification and painting a room gives it to me!
Prior to him leaving though, I moved the majority of toys out of the "toy closet" and into their bedrooms. The toy explosion fallout seemed to be growing exponentially everyday, so I decided to minimize the fallout by moving ground zero to their rooms. The "toy closet" is now my sewing closet :)
2. Started to do a little bit while the kids napped, moved most of the books outside and started clearing out junk.
3. Put the kids to bed and got to work. The first night I painted the dining room area of the room. I got two coats on and one coat of cutting in. Whew. Time to go bed.
4. The next day I finished clearing off the book shelf while the kiddos were napping. But ran into a problem getting the humongous bookcase out into the back yard. (My plan was to cut this bookcase in half...putting the lower two shelves into SO room and then mounting the top three shelves to the wall above my desk.) Well it was bigger than the door going out to the backyard, so I had to call my dad for help. I thought I was going to have to cut it in half to get it out the door, and was afraid to use the circular saw on our dining room floor - I knew it would not end well. Fortunately my dad was thinking more clearly than I was at the moment and suggested we turn it on to its side. WOW, why didn't I think of that! - and to think I care for two children on a regular basis - scary!
5. Put the kiddos to bed and began the arduous task of priming the other side of the room. I primed because of the backside of the fireplace and the stucco, I wanted to make sure the interior paint I was using would cover up the terra cota color. I got the fireplace covered in the primer and the two coats of black paint on the "work space" walls. Yes, that's right, I said black paint!
6. The next day I dropped my kids at preschool and Papa's house and made the 2.5 hour drive one way to the Palo Alto Ikea to get the items I needed for my project. (Yes, tj and crew, THAT Ikea.) The nice thing about IKEA's website is that it can tell you exactly where in the get-it-yourself-warehouse the items that you want are! So you don't have to waste any time going through the showroom. So, I spent about 45 minutes in Ikea getting my items, checked out and drove 2.5 hours back home. But this night I took off. We went to the beach to spend the night with Gabrielle. It was fun and a nice break from painting until 11pm! And, yes, the next day was as freezing as it looks, but it was still the beach and we were there with friends!

7.Thursday night I cut in with primer around the fireplace and wall area and got the first coat of the off-white paint on.
8. Friday night was a long night...Hubby was coming home late Saturday night, so I had a lot to get done. The final coat on the fireplace and adjacent walls (that fireplace was bitch to paint because the surfaces were all so uneven. But I bought my new favorite paint rollers at OSH, they are sponges that were sliced so that they could get into the grooves. I didn't realize I was buying them at the time, I thought I was just getting the regular thick nap roller. But I am extremely happy with my purchase - they rocked!) Anyway, this night was a late one (1am) but the painting was completed!

9. Saturday morning was the day to assemble all of the Ikea items. I put the two desks together and they looked great. So exciting! Then I got the Billy bookcases together. I decided to stop before mounting anything on the walls. I had to make some changes to my list while in Ikea and now everything didn't fit exactly how I had envisioned. So, I decide to wait for EO and to get his opinion on everything thing else. And, I was exhausted! I could barely lift my arms, so there was no way me and the screwdriver were going to be getting along!

EO got home (finally, no thanks to the storm in Chicago) and was happy with the painting (and more happy that he didn't have to do any of it!) He was maybe a little less happy with the fact that I had decided to save us money (happy about that part!) by reusing the existing bookcase, but to cut it down (less happy because project for him!) But he embraced the vision and we got it done and mounted on the wall this week. Plus SO is VERY happy with her new book shelf in her room. And in full disclosure, I did break the garage door in the process of all of this (because I was stupid!), but fortunately for me it was not as bad as I thought it was and EO fixed in a few minutes. Damn, he is handy! Gotta love a man in a tool belt! (but it had made a really loud BANG, so I thought I was screwed!)
So with out further adieu...the AFTER:

I must say, I could not be happier with how it turned out. Even with two of the walls painted black, the area is so much lighter. EO thought it extremely out of character for me to be painting walls white (I am usually the anti-white), but after three years of not being able to decide what color to paint the room, white was the best I could come up with.
The kids have a bigger table now to sit at so they are not on top of each other. And I love sitting at my desk doing WORK! So it could not have turned out much better! Now all I need is a new chair...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Still Not Done

So, I jumped in with both feet. Into a Do-It-Yourself project. While my husband was on a sales trip for a week. I will post some before and after pictures for you soon (not quite in the after yet, still trying to finish some things up). I will also post the list of everything I did, on my own, without my husband even knowing what I was doing!! I am very happy with the results so far.

But today, I am making dinner for my friend (and fellow poster on this blog, Erin) who just had her second baby girl on Monday. I am making the Chicken and Dumplings from Smitten Kitchen (love her!) and starting on the Cinnamon Rolls from Pioneer Woman. I have checked out the Pioneer Woman occassionally. Lately though, I have been diving deeper into her site and she has a lot of great stuff. I am pretty excited about this recipe because it makes SO MUCH!! Which means there will be plenty for the new family and for this family!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Top 10 Favorite Things Today

1. Amoxicillin: The wonder drug that has so easily transformed my snotty and cranky 2 year old into a fun person to be around.
2. Step-ups and Lunges: Performed ALONE at the gym. Booty-burners, very rewarding.
3. Kiehl's Unusually Rich- But Not Greasy At All- Hand Cream: Comes with SPF10 which is good for these days in the garden.
4. Neopolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches: Because it is freakin' hot and I'm freakin' lactating.
5. California Couscous Salad: Uses cilantro from aforementioned garden and requires minimal use of the stove top which is key in these aforementioned weather conditions
6. $12.99 Inflatable Baby Pool: allows me to spend 10-15 minutes in the garden uninterrupted.
7. Multigrain Cheerios: In the purple box (obviously marketed towards the feminine persuasion, as noted by my husband). Whatever, they taste damn good.
8. Brunch out with ladies for upcoming babies. Whatever will we do when we stop breeding????
9. Nothing more than a total time sink, but the geek in me can't stay away.
10. Retreats to a certain someone's beach house where, while our young-uns frolic in the water, we clink our beer bottles at 11:30 am on a Monday and remember that these are the payback stay-at-home-mom days for all those 'other days'.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anyone up for a Road Trip?

Modern Economy is having one of their sales again. Not online this time, but at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The bummer is that it is Saturday, May 2. That's right, the same day as the last day of Hospice du Rhone. Anyone up for blazing up there in the morning and getting back here in time for the Grand Tasting at 3:00pm? Why do all the good things always happen on the same day?!?!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another New Favorite Website

I am a Do-It-Yourselfer.

Sort of.

I like to find great ideas to do around our house and then I like to give the instructions to my husband and let him Do-It-His-Self!

I was not always this way.

I was extremely independent.

I had my own tool box, and it was not pink (not that there is anything wrong with that.) I could hang my own shelves - correctly. I could fix my car when certain things went wrong (this was probably more out of repitition, but still - I could do it!) When I started my own business, I was the one that had to fix the toilet when unpleasant conditons would arise.
And now, I start out doing the Do-It-Yourself project with my husband, but then it is snack time, and then it is lunch time, and then diapers need to be changed, and then someone falls down, and then it is naptime (yay!) and I can get back to the project, usually just in time for the clean-up.

I hate the clean-up part of a project.

Most of the time, no matter how badly I want a project done, I will wait until he has the time to do it. He has been really busy lately and no time for projects!

But now I am even worse than that. Now if something breaks or requires a screw driver - I wait until he gets home. How lame is that? Part of it is not so lame, because battery replacement usually requires a screwdriver and, well, sometimes I need some peace and quiet. But other than that, pretty lame - especially when I KNOW I can do it.

So, I am taking a cue from Gabrielle over at Cultured Nativity regarding her recent post on PMS (Pre-Mommy Self). She came from a one direction and I am going a totally different one, but still PMS! And on that note, I am going to share an inspiring site for you. My New Favorite Website.

This website is full of all kinds of stuff. I love it. Want to know how to make your own laundry detergent? I probably won't ever do this, but, hey tell me anyway! Need 12 beauty hacks from your kitchen? Maybe, money's been tight, I may have to start doing double duty on kitchen staples. Need a spring cleaning guide and checklist? Absolutely!

Since I am relatively new to this Homemaker Profession, as a single full-time job. I found the following tips extremely helpful (and nice reminders to keep in mind while going through my busy day!)

From the following article:

10 Secrets To Rewarding Homemaking

1. Know: You are a Home Manager, not a slave, martyr or responder to chaos. Each day is a fresh start with new things to accomplish and feel pride for. Even though deep down I know this, sometimes i need to be reminded.

2. Realize: Actively managing your home is one way to nurture your family and their environment. There will be positive reflections: a more harmonious household, a little more eagerness attending to household chores, more appreciation and gratitude. I have started to clue into this recently and I think this is compelling me to put a little more effort onto my job.

3. Be Proactive: It’s easy to get sucked into despair (and resentment) when your home is in constant shambles. Keep on top of things daily if possible and work in chunks of time on busy days. Again, recently started to notice this too - I feel less exhausted and more inspired if the house is in order.

4. Establish Routines: Remember Mondays for laundry, Tuesdays for Ironing, Thursdays for Shopping, etc.? Routines work and work well! Schedule household routines that will serve your household best. This I need to do. Not the ironing part, but being on top of things a little better. I work well with deadlines and a schedule - so maybe I won't hate laundry so much if I spread it out over the week. Sounds promising, we'll see if that works out.

5. Clean As You Go: Pick up and clean as you go, this makes less “piles” of work waiting to be done. Again, something I need to work on and feel as if I am getting better at. But I am a procrastinator at heart.

6. Appreciate: The shabbiest of homes can be more comfortable and welcoming than gilded show homes. Neat, clean & harmony will always shine bright–appreciate your home and what it has to offer. This is my ultimate goal.

7. Daily Treat: Each day do an unexpected nice thing for someone in the home (like having coffee ready in the morning or make a favorite dessert) or add a lovely puttery treat to your home. Hmmm, I am good at the cooking favorite dinners and special treats, but I really like that my husband makes coffee every morning.

8. Delegate: Three people each doing a ten minute cleaning chunk accomplishes 30 minutes of cleaning in 10 easy minutes, good managers are good delegators. Choosing tasks that compliment a person’s ability as well as personality and preference will go a long way. I am looking forward to this! SO, the 4 year-old has become very helpful in her ripe-old age so I am starting to utilze her helpfulness to my advantage...putting away her laundry (we are still working on the folding), picking up her toys, taking her plate to the counter, etc..

9. Entertain Regularly: Years ago women would hold weekly bridge parties and afternoon teas. Socializing was looked forward to and friendships flourished, but you also made darn sure the house was presentable. This is a great technique to regularly “force” a well-kept home. You could entertain a few friends for an afternoon tea, a weekend bbq, or have family visit for a few days. My husband and I learned a long time ago that this worked well for us. Our yearly barbeque is yearly catalist for getting at least one of our major outdoor projects done each year!

10. Be Kind: Gruff, impatient, bitter, biting words and attitude will undo and damage all that you accomplished with the above. Enjoy serving your family, your home and yourself–your job as a home manager will be more rewarding and successful. Always a nice reminder - one that I need from time to time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My cleaners are making me sick

OMG I have always wondered who really knows or is affected by the tv shows that highlight dodgey service providers. The show in question is Target made in New Zealand for New Zealanders. They always have a section where there is a hidden camera and an actor for varying services, glass installers, pest control, cleaners etc. Well I sometimes watch this show and tonight just happened to turn it on when I was stopped dead in my tracks. They were showing a video image of a man cleaning the toilets with a childs bath towel and then the shower AND THEN folding it neatly and returning it to the towel rail. This family had been getting sick for a long time and had no explanation!!!!!. Plus the fact that things had started going missing in the house, Mum had stepped in and installed a security camera. AND OMG it was MY cleaner. I feel so very disgusted and sick about this and to top it off they are scheduled to come tomorrow. NOT NOW. The unfortunate thing is that I was not really happy with they work of late and was going to stop having them come and now I am sure that they will know that I have watched the show. I will probably be one of many (if infact they have been honest with the number of clients they have) who call them tomorrow.
I was even recommended them by the neighbours cleaner. Wonder how she feels now? (if she watched Target) Anyway the tragedy of this is that it falls days short of my sons birthday party and the house is in much need of cleaning. Looks like I'm going to be up late.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Let the sun shine in (I need the energy)

I need summer for another couple of months please. I am not too happy getting up in the dark and as for night closing in earlier than usual not so happy about that either. There is something wonderfully comforting and energy boosting about the sun. Yes we talk about lazy days in the sun (mostly a saying used by those who have escaped reality to a beach somewhere. Mmmmm I wonder what that's like??)but the warm summer days are filled with trips to the zoo, to the park, running in the back yard and I am so very pleased that we have a large back yard. I more amazed each day by how much energy my two older boys have (and how much energy it takes to keep up with them). I dont just mean running in the park with them. My day starts with being woken up to, "Mummy I need....." and ends with "Mummy I need......." It is also, for me, that time of year when my Husband goes on his winemaking spree. I have to say being a solo Mum in charge 24 hours a day 7 days a week is not exactly relaxing esp with 3 young children to manage. I have also had the unpleasantness of having the house we rent being reclad, meaning outer walls have been pulled off, lots of repair (old builder was dodgey)and then there's putting everything back together. I am finding it tough, its been about 5 or so weeks now and we're about 3 weeks out from the finish. All I want is 5 mins, just a little time to have a cup of tea and read a mag. Am I asking too much? I have a young girl who comes once a week from 4.30pm til 6.30-7pm however she has not been here for about 2 weeks. Today is a beautiful day the sun has heard my cry and has responded, I have been gardening and enjoying being outside (with the boys of course) however the boys have also got the extra energy and its been constant all day. Maybe it more noticable due to the fact they are hyped up from seeing their Dad but unfortunately I can not stop the sun's energy reaching them as well as me so as I struggle to keep up they are also keeping up all the activities that little boys enjoy. Oh and it doesn't stop when the sun goes down because my wee babe is still waking at least once in the night and then around 5.30am, which is neither a here nor there time, just too early to get up and yet not enough time to go back to sleep for any great length of time. My life is definitely written all over my face at the moment. I tried to get a nice pic of me on my Husbands phone last night and the photos were terrible I looked exhausted, now I'm going to have to try twice as hard to get ready for kindy on Monday. Darn it wish I hadn't looked at that photo! I'm banning all cameras in the house for awhile! Well my name is being sung out like church bells on Sunday. Keep at it sun, and please come back and replenish me after 8pm when all the little boys are fast asleep.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crying, From Laughing So Hard

I read Barefoot Foodie every now and then, but I need to start reading every day. It is only by chance that I caught this entry from a little over a month ago. It needed to be shared. My stomach mussles still hurt.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Really, C'mon

Really? Over a month since anyone last posted? What is the matter with us? Is it because we have the winter blahs, your entire family is sick with the stupid cold that is going around, you're depressed about the nations (not to mention your own) financial situation?

I don't know about you, but for me the answer all three.

But the end is in sight...SPRING, HERE WE COME! I am. Officially. Over winter. It is my least favorite season. Sure, I like to take the kiddos up to the snow, dress them up in their snowsuits (that they freaking grow out of EVERY year) and take some seasonal photos. But really, that is enough of winter for for around January 15th, I'm done. But the sun is shining, it is in the 60's to 70's and my kids played outside in the backyard for HOURS this weekend. I am starting to be one happy mommy. I will be a little happier when the last of this snot-monster-barking-cough-bitch-of-a-cold has finally left my house. I went on an exorcism mission yesterday, me and the disinfectant...and the box of Kleenex that I can't seem to stay too far away from!

But I feel better today, SO feels better today and I think VO feels better today. Of course, EO woke up with a sore throat this morning...I thought he was going to escape, but it does not appear likely. That's ok, he is the last one and then we are DONE. Because the sun is shining and the air is warming and all germs will be banished from our house by the anti-bacterial gods.

As far as the last thing, I have come to the conclusion that I have a sickness that cannot be treated with anti-bacterial wipes, zicam or tylenol (narcotics, maybe could work but...I don't think we want a TOO happy mommy). I want to open another business. I had this same obsession last year at this time...but it went away when I convinced myself that I was crazy. But now it is back and I am starting to think it is a good idea...AGAIN. Hopefully the sun will come out and warm things up and melt this crazy idea out of my head. We can only hope.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Pondering a Life with all Boys

I have been dealing alot with the "Oh three boys" comments lately, mostly because my 3rd son, H, is only 9 weeks old. At first I got the "... My three Sons comment" but I had to knock that on its head due to the fact, there is NO Mum in that show! Anyway since the birth of my 3rd son I have had some interesting yet very noticable changes in the way I view my life. Minutes after H was born I had a mental shift to gearing my life to accomodate intense physical behaviour at all times. I see it now with my elder two, D and E. The running through the house, the play fights, the real fights, the tree house that becomes a pirate ship, the backyard is a battlefield, anything that is longer than 10 cm becomes a gun, a sword, a weapon, (just want to add a note that neither I nor my husband are aggressive people and do not promote guns swords or violence in our house and I am constantly asking myself where did they get it from, but that is another story for another time).

Anyway I get excited for the challenge of keeping these boys so active that they don't have time to become idle and bored. I am excited by the idea of hikes and bushwalks plus keeping up with my boys should mean getting back in shape (its been too long). We all love camping, and fishing. I want to teach my boys how to be gentlemen, how to clean up after themselves, take pride in themselves. To help them find and nuture their interests, encourage them to try new things, to have an appreciation for music and the arts and the importance of sport and physical activity.

With my eldest approaching school age (he starts yr 1 in April)I have also been wondering how they'll cope with school, is this talk about how boys are struggling with school these days real and how do you deal with it? Will they cope should I offer more help, will this aid him or hinder him?

It worries me that my boys will become those boys you see hanging around the streets, getting into trouble and causing trouble so much so that I have already told my husband that they are to be so busy with sports, music, drama, school and other activites that they dont even have a chance to be idly walking the streets, not to mention the curfews and other guidelines that they are to adhere too:) Mind you my boys are 4yrs, 3 1/2 yrs and 9 weeks old (ok I'm a little nutty about it).

My boys make me laugh, cry and feel so amazing all at once that it is hard to imagine life before them. They are always on the move and their energy levels astound me. They'll challenge me and make me crazy but the love that they have for me is so precious. The only downside to only having boys is that I'll never be the mother of the bride, or share the emotion of a daughter having a baby or just sharing the bond that a mother has with her daughter. All these emotions are leading me to think I might want to try again .......

Friday, January 23, 2009

Working On

Just wanted to show you what we have been working on lately, the hubby and I. Check out the before and after pics on the Zenaida blog.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My middle child

I am expanding a comment I made on 'culturednativity' blogsite, on which I was expressing concern and guilt over how I have let myself slot my second child E into the middle child category. Today held the eye opening moment. I have 3 boys D (4 1/2yrs), E (3yrs) and H (6weeks).It is hard juggling three especially when the youngest one is so demanding (ie he needs me and me only most of the time and then wants me and me only the rest of the time) He not so good on getting the Mummy needs to spend time with D and E just yet. Mostly I love that D and E are best friends, constant companions and always there for each other. This has come about due to their close proximity in age and the fact that a year ago we up and moved our family to New Zealand and left all their little friends in California. So they had to be each others companion. However as they have headed off to Kindy and started making newfriends I am starting to see D heading off with others more and more. No-ones fault, he turns 5 in a couple of months, he starts school this year and is generally growing up and wanting other kids his own age to play with. This leads me to E, he is a trying child and yet such an emotional and cuddly kid. For all his rough and tough exterior (He pushes everyone's buttons nearly all the time) he actually wants and is desperate for their love and company. Today it broke my heart as D was asked and went to a friends for a playdate, E asked if he was invited (what words could I use that wouldn't sound so much like, no sorry darling you weren't invited) so I decided right this is a great opportunity to give him one on one time with Mummy, H was due to have a nap (he doesn't sleep long so they are just that 'naps')I gave E lunch and then feed H and put him down. I then got myself some lunch and did two small jobs before saying to E (who was watching a little show while I fed H) lets play. He was so excited and his little face lit up, I knew he was thrilled to be here with me. I had been with him for maybe 5-10 mins and H started to cry. I looked at E and just caught a glimpse of that look of "Oh well that was that and now she'll leave. I nearly just left H to cry but I got up and of course H never went back to sleep, the time past and we had to go out and do some jobs before picking up D. I did go early to pick up D so that E could have a little play with the boys but that will not make up for ditching him and allowing him to succumb to the 'Middle Child' syndrome. I vow not to let this happen again but it wont be easy. I have not given in to adverse conditions with him prior and I wont let him down now!!!
Probably what made me realise that I have to help him gain his own identity, friends and time in the light, is that just after D left and I was feeding the baby, I heard him call out to D a couple of times before he remembered that D wasn't actually with him anymore. He needs to be E without D.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Talk About Cream, Baby

I want to talk about facial cream regiments. I want to know your secrets.
As a life long sufferer of extremely dry skin, I have done little in face hygiene besides lather on the Pond's at night (whether or not I've actually washed my face) and applied copious amounts of greasy Banana Boat Sunscreen during the day. I get a zit every year.
But recently, I've realized some serious creases in my skin, splotchy discoloration, age spots, need I go on? I'm aging and the proof stares me down every morning in the mirror. How do I stop it?
I want to know the secret methods all you Sephora, Cosmetic Department, Infomercial shopaholics swear by. I want to know how to treat the problem. I want to know how to pamper this limp wrinkled, warp-speed aging skin. And finally, what make-up to use in order to hide the stubborn parts? I want the dewy glow of that 18 year old checker at Albertson's. Who has plumbed the fountain of youth? And how much does it cost?
The past few issues of Lucky Magazine have found me skimming the pages for skin secrets, lip plumpers, and make-up tips. I keep looking for the section titled "How To Make Your Eye Lids Tighter, Your Lips Fuller and Erase Those Eye Wrinkles Without Surgery" but they haven't written it yet, nor have they listed the specific magic treatments available for purchase. Maybe we should put together a list for reference. I'll start...
I just spent an embarrassing amount of money on my personal version of the Elizabeth Arden facial care starter kit. What I bought: Visible Difference Refining Moisture Cream (prevents moisture loss) , Good Morning Eye Cream (let's hope so), Hydrating Mask, First Defense Anti-Oxident Lotion SPF 15. In addition I have also invested in some daily exfoliating facial scrubs. IS THIS GONNA KEEP ME YOUNG??? Or just broke and wrinkled? Somebody please let me in on the secret.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Backwards, Forwards and Epiphanies

Here's to 2009!
2008 was what I like I call to call our "Year of Adjustment." I settled in to, more or less, being a stay at home mom after having my second child at the end of 2007 and selling the business that I spent 8 years growing into a successsful company. That part was great. More time to spend on family things, without stressing out how to squeeze them into my busy work schedule. I embarked on a healthy cooking regiment that included a basket of fresh, organic and locally grown produce that I would (and still do) pick up every other Tuesday. I became excited at the new possibilities for dinner entrees. I would get my list and begin searching online recipe websites for what to make using the interesting assortment of vegetables filling up my vegetable drawer. Vegetables that I would NEVER pick out on my own have become staples in our house. Fortunately my children are great eaters!
I discovered that I have a hobby. My grandmother and mom taught me how to sew when I was a kid and I had played around in the last few years sewing baby blankets for friends and family members. But this year, I went a little crazy. I sewed clothes for my daughter, new pillow covers for my couch, reusable shopping bags, a million sets of reversible napkins, insulated lunch bags for my neice and nephew for Christmas...I am sure there are a few more things that I whipped together and just can't remember right now. I didn't realize I had a hobby until a friend of mine pointed it out to me. Sewing is my hobby and EO decide to encourage the hobby by purchasing a sweet new sewing machine for me for is super fancy and high quality...I am looking forward to working on it!
While this sounds all rosey and happy, there was one thing that did make the "Year of Adjustment" a bit of a challenge. I no longer had a "job." Which meant that I no longer had "my own money." I still get "paid" through our other business, but it is just enough to cover household expenses, barely. EO had to adjust in order to be able to pay me a salary plus cover all of my regular monthly expenses (car payment, insurance, etc.) So there was a lot of adjusting all around and this was probably the hardest part of the whole year. EO and I have always kept everything seperate money wise because we each had our own business. So combining money and having to discuss larger purchases before hand was something very difficult for me, it still is. I think what it comes down to is freedom, and there are times when I feel I have none, financially speaking! We are getting better at it and getting used to working together and I am hoping that things will be easier this year.
This year I am hoping to make our house work for us, which means complete and total organization. We have been space and storaged challenged in our little 1950's ranch house. But, we are going to be here for at least another 5 years, so we may as well as get comfortable. We are already on our way. I purchased a wardrobe from IKEA and EO installed it in our bedroom. It looks great, fits in our room perfectly and has tripled the storage space in our tiny bedroom. EO and I now have all of our clothes in our room...novel concept...I am very excited. Now we are one step closer to being able to eliminate the micro-closet that our room was built with and add that space to the micro-bathroom that we are currently working with. Depending on what we get to there will be before and after photos (someday).
My epiphany came while putting away the Christmas toys. My children and I are currently sharing the 10'x7' "area" in our house. I have a mini desk shoved in corner on one wall, we share a bookcase that came with our house and they have the rest of the space. We are crammed to say the least. I was not ever really sure how to make it work better for all of us. BUT I HAVE FIGURED IT OUT! I was so excited that in the middle of putting away all of the toys I had to sit down and DRAW A PICTURE of what my plan was. I have planned, measured and made my shopping list! Now all I need to do is to come up with the $640.00 necessary to put my plan in motion...refer to above paragraph!