Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Finds

I hope everyone has had a great week! The snow definitely made it exciting around here. I'm sharing a few random things I've been thinking of - CDs we love, sunglasses for when it warms up, table lamps - random!! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

1. Aviator Sunglasses - Under $10!! I'm dreaming of summer and how cute these would look on my little guys. These come in gold or silver.

2. hi/bye Tote - Is it sad I want this hi/bye tote for me? This would be a cute car bag (with all the extras a toddler may need) or maybe a great library book bag. It would also be a super cute Valentine bag to stuff goodies in!

3. Philadelphia Chickens CD/Book - This is a rediscovery for us. N received this as a first Christmas gift from a friend and we loved it. 5 years later, it may drive me a little insane, but T just discovered it and loves it. It's like Broadway for kids and if you are familiar with Sandra Boynton books, a lot of them are made into songs on this CD.

4. Shea Butter Hand Cream - I've mentioned before that T has terrible eczema, well with the dry winter and all the hand washing his poor hands are in really bad shape. While we use Mustela or Burt's Bees on his arms and legs, we had to step it up a notch on his hands. We've been using this for a month and things are looking good (he prefers the cherry blossom scent, I prefer original). He hasn't cried over his hands hurting in a few weeks. 

5. Whale Lamp - The boys' new dresser arrived yesterday and now I'm thinking of what lamps to top it off with - I LOVE this one. N would prefer the PBK's one with R&R lights, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to nix that idea. I think two of these would look so cute facing each other. Now to talk the boys into it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Southern Snow Day

The snow came and the boys were out of school yesterday and today (which means very little time on the computer). And when I say snow I mean less than an inch. But it was enough. I put together our Southern Snow Essentials, and added a few pictures of our day to the bottom.

1. Rain boots - Unless you have friends that visit up north and hand down snow boots, rain boots are the way to go. You can use them year round (unlike snow boots that *may* get used once a year).

2. Hot Chocolate - This hot chocolate is a must for warming up after snowy adventures. Ghiradelli has the best by far (we have tried quite a few). Don't forget marshmallows!

3. Fun Mug - We have exactly two "fun" mugs (gifts with gingerbread men ice skating in snowflakes) and the boys request them EVERY time. 

4. Cute PJs - When snow is predicted, every kid has to turn their pjs inside out and sleep in them. It's guaranteed to snow if this happens.

5. Warm Hat - The cheeks will still turn pink, but at least their head will be warm. We tend to lose gloves and mittens, so socks work but I haven't found a good substitute for a hat (and an added monogram - huge bonus).

My boys were so excited to wake up to snow.  They were out before 8am and only came in for pancakes and hot chocolate (and to warm up by the fire). Then they went right back out.  T wasn't a huge fan of the cold so the playroom was his retreat. There was one more sledding session before dinner.

I'm sure school will be back in session tomorrow, so we are off to play today. I hope everyone has a great Thursday (and stays warm)!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunshine Heart Garland

It is supposed to snow today! I love how it looks outside before it snows. The gray clouds and the soft light, on any other day it would seem gloomy, but today it's exciting. I have a little art project to share today. The boys and I have created different versions of this, but what I'm sharing today is my favorite one by far (even N was surprised how pretty it was this morning - we put it up last night when the sun had already set).

Sunshine Heart Garland
Here's what you need:
coffee filters
washable paint and brushes
contact paper
hole punch
ribbon or yarn

This project is super easy (but does require a bit of adult help). To start, get as many coffee filters as you think you can paint and washable paint (not watercolors, they will barely show up but definitely washable because the paint will be EVERYWHERE).
 Then paint away - try and not golp it on. If you want a smooth look, then use a paint brush, if you like the tie-dye/stained glass look, glop it in spots and fold it over.

 Leave them out to dry. Once dry, stack them and cut a heart shape. (My 6 year old is giving one to his teacher and cut his own, I did the rest). Notice all the paint on my table.
 Roll out the contact paper and lay the hearts on it flat. Then top them off with another layer of paper (basically you are laminating them). Cut out the heart shape one more time.
 Hole punch the sides and tie the hearts together.  I used yarn because I had it and it looked sweet.
Then the last step is to hang it in front of a window and wait for the sunshine.

The boys made single hearts for their teachers. I attached a pretty ribbon for it to hang from and a little note that says "You fill my heart with sunshine. Happy Valentine's Day!"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Review

After a serious Friday post, I'm ready to take this week and make it mine (with working heat and cars of course). I hope you are too! This weekend was just what we needed, lots of things happened that needed to happen (among that playing in the backyard). 

technically this is Thursday, but my sweet boy was still asleep at 8 (in our bed) and he looked so snuggly. Friday we lucked out into a two hour delay before school which gave us lots of play time and a hot breakfast (including hot chocolate).

N likes to dress himself. The day before he dressed in a button down and sweater vest. Friday he appeared in a double polo with collars popped. Not sure I would have picked any of it (especially the colors) but it made me laugh - and think of Nolan from Revenge.

Friday was a PJ day for T (serena and lilly pjs here and $24.99!).

Saturday was a get things done day. We switched the boys' closet over to their new room and put up their painted letters. Their dresser should be here before next week!

 There may have also been chocolate chocolate chip cookies consumed.
 Sunday we headed off to church. This was our week to volunteer in N's room and he was so excited. We always joke that we could have 20 3 year olds in our room and it would be easier than 5 5 year olds. Afterwards N asked to go to lunch before heading home to play. It was windy and cold but we made it out and had some time outside to play at home as well (bring on t-ball season).

T and I are headed to the grocery store (probably with a thousand others - they are calling for a whole inch of snow tomorrow night :) ) and maybe to the trails for a bike ride (it's going to be almost 60 today!). It is going to be a great week.

Ohhhh - and PBK's Easter items have free shipping today. I've never found a better Easter basket (and I've ordered a few) and I LOVE the liners. 

The Peter Rabbit liners have always been my favorite but they sell out fast!!

Tegu blocks are on Zulily today. I've been interested in these for awhile, and played with them at the store. I think they will be part of our toy collection at some point (and since they are magnetic they seem great for restaurants and travel). 

One of my favorite brands, E-Land, is on Rue La La today. In my last pic from the weekend, T is in an E-Land sweater. So many great items (need an invite, click here). It is so hard to pick favorites but here are a few:
dress (silk and in stock in all sizes)

Happy Shopping and Happy Monday!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Something a little different...

Usually I post my Friday Finds today, but this has been on my mind and I've been up since about 4am feeling the need to write it down.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, technically most of the night. I’ve written and rewritten it at least five times. This January has been quite a month. We started out with our sweet older dog hurting her ACL, followed that up with a car needing to be towed and repaired (and sharing a car for two days), and most recently our furnace has broken three times (in one month). It is really easy for me to get down about silly things like this. It doesn’t help that this January has been bitter cold and we’ve been inside a lot. I start feeling like life is just too overwhelming (I am a huge control freak). Often these feelings lead me to think of my boys who will someday face situations like this (or much worse situations such as health issues or environmental disasters) and I cannot handle the thought of them suffering in any form. It was thoughts like these that contributed to my severe postpartum depression, and it is all too easy for me to head right back to that line of thought.

Yesterday after I dropped T off at school, my dad texted asking to have lunch. He had the day off and wanted to drive down (it’s a two hour drive one way, but that is my dad, and mom – they’d drive four hours total for an hour of seeing us). I called and told him I needed to pick up T at 1 and I was waiting for the repairman to call about our furnace, but as long as he was flexible it sounded great. He arrived, surprised T at pick up (which T LOVED), took us to lunch (T’s second lunch of the day), and wouldn’t leave until he heard if the repairman would make it before the end of the work day (not that I was pushing him to go, he wanted to purchase a few space heaters for us if we weren’t going to have working heat). The repairman came, fixed our heat once again (apparently multiple parts were bad) and I paid the bill. Then I went upstairs to fold laundry and cry. The price of things this month was excessive, and this bill sent me over the edge.  N arrived home from school and was super excited to see Grandpa and Grandpa even offered to take us to dinner (I offered to cook but apparently veggie fried quinoa didn’t sound too appetizing).  At dinner my dad slid some money into my bag. And this is where I truly lost it – all out bawling.

Part of me feels like my parents always come to my rescue. My dad has moved multiple pieces of furniture (and a 200+ lb tv down our stairs just this week), they’ve painted rooms, babysat every time we’ve asked, fixed our dryer, our washer, purchased a new lawn mower (because I ran over the old one with the car), and obviously the list goes on. It's this rescuing part that sometimes feels like I’ve never gained independence or grown. It makes me ashamed.

But last night I realized something. My dad was playing with my boys and I saw things from a parent’s perspective. I do have a lot of fears for my boys, but you know what, I’m going to be there. I’m going to help them. They aren’t facing things on their own, just like I haven’t faced anything alone. My parents always tell me that this is what was done for them, especially when I was little. They received the support they are now able to give. I only hope that I’m as giving and selfless as my parents are, and that my boys see it as love and support and not as them failing (as it took me way too long to realize).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes are T's second favorite meal (only to cheesy pasta, which I've already shared). These also happen to be my husband's favorite meal. I originally found the recipe on pinterest but since then (over a year ago), the link has been removed. I've been making them for some time, and I've changed them up just a bit. Just recently I started making the "lazy mom's cucumber sauce" to go with them instead of our usual Annie's Cowgirl Ranch and we always serve them with kale chips. N is not a fan of zucchini cakes, but he will eat a whole tray of kale chips and ask for more. Often I also throw together a smoothie, it just seems to work so well with it all.

My little helper grating the zucchini (he helps with the entire process until they go on the stove)

It's a one bowl, one saute pan deal - and so quick.

the plate full (technically one was already eaten - so I spread them out a little)

Zucchini Cakes
you need:
2-3 zucchini
1 c Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c parmesan cheese (not the powdery kind - I like the flakes)
a pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of paprika
2-3 eggs
oil for the pan

the process:
  1. start by grating the zucchini, once it's all grated, use a paper towel on top and bottom to get all the moisture out (as much as possible - I usually end up doing three rounds of paper towel presses)
  2. throw zucchini in a bowl with everything but the oil (I add eggs one at a time to see how sticky the mixture becomes - I almost always use 2, but sometimes it still seems too dry so I throw in another. You want it to be sticky but not wet).
  3. heat the oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan
  4. form cakes out of the mixture and place in the pan
  5. flip after about 5 minutes (you want the bottom golden brown)
  6. after another five, remove and place on paper towel (both sides should be brown now)
if I have a large batch, I'll have to do a few rounds in the pan.

If you want to make my lazy cucumber sauce, just mix equal parts greek yogurt and sour cream and squeeze a little lemon in there too. (It's a little ridiculous to even call it cucumber sauce.)