Monday, August 30, 2010

The Garbage Bowl

When I cook I make a mess. I am not the "clean up as you go" sort of gal. Wishful thinking. Making dinner should be an Olympic sport. Between preparing the meal, breaking up fights, calming crying children at my feet, hunting down wandering children that get into everything cleaning up as I go just. ain't. happening. Period.

But, because I cook from scratch most (if not close to all) of our dinners I found that I was making a huge mess of peels, vegetable guts/seeds, corn husks, packaging wrappers, paper towels, etc. all over my counter leaving me with little work room. Since my trashcans are not easily accessible right at my counter that I prepare food at I found myself making several trips back and forth to the trash. It gets to be quite inefficient with the rest of the chaos going on.

One night I had a mixing bowl on my counter that I hadn't put away from earlier in the day. As I was chopping up some items to throw in dinner that evening I started to throw the left over unusables into the bowl. Suddenly it dawned on me....Why didn't I think of this earlier?!?!? A garbage bowl! At last my counter was free of peels and garbage and all my trash was disposed of in one trip to the garbage can! I now use it pretty much every meal and, even though it's just a simple thing, it makes preparing meals that much easier!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's Officially Nothing Left to Fight About

I knew the day would come where I would constantly be breaking up fights, hear the words, "she's touching me," or "she's staring at me" over and over again. But really, no one prepared me for this:

Kaiden: (singing in the backseat of the car) "LaLaLaLaLaLaLaLa."
Madelyn: (Quickly joining in. Bless her little almost-15-month-old heart) "LaLaLaLaLaLa."
Kaiden: (promptly glancing at Madelyn) "No baby. Dat's my La La."
Madelyn: "LaLaLaLaLaLaLa."
Kaiden: "Nooooo....that's MY La La, baby.

5 minutes later...

Kaiden: "MeMeMeMeMe"
Madelyn: "MeMeMeMeMe."
Kaiden: "Nooooo, dat's my MeMeMeMeMe."

There may not be enough patience in the universe to help me survive each day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

One of the good things about Kaiden being in preschool is the extra time that I now have in the morning to get things done! Hallelujah! The other good thing is that I have extra quality time to spend with Madelyn without her having to compete with her older brother. Oh how special it has been. Since Madelyn still takes a pretty significant morning nap I am able to tackle some projects and/or daily chores in a timely manner along with giving her some Mommy and me time. Today I have felt oh so productive!

To Do List:

  1. Clean master bathroom (check!)
  2. Dust all furniture
  3. Dust and reorganize china cabinet (check!)
  4. Laundry. Wash, fold and put away (2 loads down, 2 to go!)
  5. Put away and organize Madelyn's baby burp cloths, bottles and bibs.
  6. Make Eggplant Parmesan for dinner.
  7. Take pictures and post pool table on Craig's List.

I actually was able to do a few things yesterday like strip all the beds and put clean sheets on them and clean the kitchen. So far this week is getting off to a productive start!

What are you tackling?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reminiscing

When I recently uploaded all of my pictures onto hubs computer, I found some old video that I had forgotten that I had. I remember trying to post it here awhile ago with no success. It must be something with my laptop, cause turning it on and off a million times still hasn't fixed it. I can't imagine that it is user error. No. Never. Anyways, here are some videos of my babies from a bit ago. I can't believe how much they have changed!

Kaiden teaching his sister about the "butterflies" on her playmat. I believe Madelyn was about 3 or 4 months old in this video making Kaiden just about to reach his 2nd birthday.


Here's a video of one of Madelyn's first rice cereal eating experiences. She was about 5 1/2 months in this video.


Kaiden at Christmas 2009 discussing Santa's cookies and the reindeer's treats that we left for them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pennsylvania Trip

It's been about two weeks since we returned to AZ from PA. My laptop has been doing something funky which isn't allowing me to upload pictures to Blogger or any other site for that matter. Being the techy gal that I am my solution of cussing at the stupid thing and turning it off and back on 100 times still has me sitting here wondering why that didn't do the trick. Isn't that the solution to any computer problem? Anyways, I finally decided to load all my 847 pictures onto hubs desktop and quit fighting the never ending battle with my laptop.

So we had an AMAZING time in Pennsylvania. It was so nice to get out of the ridiculously hot temps of Phoenix to where the weather actually cools down at night. And the breeze that blows in your face is actually refreshing rather than feeling like you've opened a hot oven door and stuck your head inside. We were so active everyday that the month slipped on by without us realizing it. Here's a glimpse of some of the fun that was had while we were there.

We started out swimming in a blow up baby pool before hitting the BIG pool.


We wore P-pa's hat on our head
We helped P-pa dig a ditch

Before going to PA I had hopes of taking the kids to the beach since it is only a 2-3 hour drive. But that dream was quickly squashed by the thoughts of not having a place to go back to in order to take naps, get cleaned off, etc. I was talking to my friend Maureen (who's mom owns a beach house in Bethany Beach, DE) one day while she was driving down to Bethany. She said to me, "come on down and stay with us. There is plenty of room!" So, we borrowed my parents car and drove down for three days. It was perfect and the kids LOVED the beach! Kaiden kept wanting to jump in the water as the waves slammed onto shore. I can't wait to take them back sometime! Thanks Maureen!

We went with P-Pa to a Phillies game!

We played at the playground

We went to the Kimberton fair! I remember going as a kid and teenager every year. It hasn't changed a bit and people still wait in line for their donuts! Kaiden actually went on a few rides with Mommy! I was so proud that his adventurous side is coming out.

We saw the cows, pigs, sheep, ducks and chickens at Milky Way Farms. We may or may not have had some of their delicious ice cream too!

We caught fireflies with P-Pa

We sat in a rocking chair that was Mommy's when she was little.
We visited with Great Mom-Mom Powers and attempted (very unsuccessfully) to get a group shot with Mom-Mom and P-pa.

We played at the Smith House in Philadelphia. *Note: If you live in the Philly area, go check out this place. Although it was raining and we didn't get to go on the playground, it looks amazing. Our kids had fun inside too!


We went to the Philadelphia Zoo with Mommy's Uncle Dave.

We met up with Kaiden's girlfriend, McKenna.


We had breakfast at the counter every morning.


And looked cute!
And we swam with P-Pa almost everyday in the big pool! Can't wait to go back again next year for more fun-filled adventures in Pennsylvania!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Assure You I Won't Be Hugging Any Trees

Since the time I watched the movie Food, Inc. in February I have had this fire inside of me to make a consistent effort to get my family on the road to a healthier lifestyle. I have since come to find out that not only do I have to look at the food that we are putting in our bodies on a daily basis but I also have to look at the products that I am using in my home and products we are putting on our skin.

Now before you think "Oh here she goes on her organic/vegan/lets smear mud on our face and stop shaving our underarms" soap box again I assure you that I am far from putting on my Birkenstocks and spending the day outside hugging my favorite tree. Stay with me here.

Hubs and I have often talked about the beauty products that we use on an everyday basis. (He may be strongly opposed to the fact that I just said that he uses "beauty products," but I digress...) We got to thinking that the long list of ingredients on our favorite shampoo and moisturizer bottles can't actually be good simply because half of the products aren't even easily pronounceable (totally a word).

About three weeks ago I was watching Good Morning America in which Sophie Uliano was a guest plugging her book "Do It Gorgeously" which gives recipes for all natural, homemade beauty products. I was instantly intrigued. As soon as I got home I logged on to the library website to see if I could put this book in my queue. Apparently everyone else had the same idea and I am now currently on the wait list to read it. But, I was able to get her first book, "Gorgeously Green" in which I started reading last night.

The first chapter touched on beauty products and the chemicals that they contain. Did you know that only *11% of the 10,500 ingredients in the beauty products have been tested for safety? Or that *the average woman's morning routine puts her in contact with a hundred chemicals (that are known or probable carcinogens) before breakfast! Absurd!

Sophie explains that there are 7 ingredients that are in beauty products that are of the "RED ALERT" category. If you have products with any of these ingredients in your bathroom cabinets or shower get rid of them ASAP! Low and behold, my bathroom was swimming with products that all contain these killer chemicals. Not to mention the ingredients from her "Orange Alert" category...no wonder cancers, Alzheimer's, autism, allergies, etc, etc, etc are all on the rise.

My first reaction was to take every product in my home and dispose of it immediately. But, my "let's be completely realistic" voice yelled loudly in my ear to quickly get a grip of myself before I totally fall of the loony wagon. So I left all my products alone safely in my cabinets. But, I will tell you, that I will be slow to go out and buy any more products after the ones that I already have are used up. And will strongly be looking into alternative beauty products whether I choose to tackle the make-it-yourself category or buy from a health food store.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book and if indeed I do choose to make some products on my own I'll be sure to pass on a review of the recipes that I take a shot at. In the meantime, take a look at your products and stear clear of the "red alert" chemicals! You owe it to yourself to live Gorgeously!

*Confused if your products are safe? She also lists a webiste called Safe Cosmetics where you can actually type in the name of your product and it will give you a safety rating. Sophie stears clear of products with a 5 or higher.

*facts taken from Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano Copyright 2008

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of Preschool

Kaiden started preschool today in a "real" school. In January we had him enrolled in an in-home preschool with 3 other kids. It was a great way to get him used to leaving mommy and daddy in a new learning environment. He did EXCELLENT with that experience so we felt confident that he would be ready for a "real" school. We enrolled him at North Valley Christian Academy in their 2's program. Even though Kaiden is almost 3, with him having a late birthday he technically can't be in the 3's program quite yet. But, I think this will be just perfect for my little shy man as he needs time to really mature before he gets to the 3's. He was so excited and has been asking to "go to school peeease" ever since we visited and met his teacher last week. He just couldn't wait!

Here we are ready to walk out the door

Here's Kaiden standing outside his building
...And playing nicely before the final bell rings for school to start!

Good luck, buddy, on your first day! Mommy will be counting down the minutes until I can pick you up!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday Cooking

We made it home safe and sound from Pennsylvania.  It was a fabulous time and the kids really loved being with Mee-ma and Pee-pa everyday.  But we did miss our home, my hubby and our old routine.  More to come on the fun times we had in the not so distant future.

So I came home to bare cabinets and a bare refrigerator.  Saturday I spent the day running around getting staple items to replenish our supply.  Sunday I wanted to spend most of the day baking and cooking to get some items in the freezer and in the cabinets that I almost always have on hand.  I thought I would post the recipes because, yum!  Enjoy! 

Crock pot Refried Beans
I originally got this recipe from here.  I read all the suggestions in the review section and tweaked it to my liking.  I always have a batch made and freeze it in smaller containers.  It is easy to pull a small container for that nights dinner when I need to.  It's so yummy and soooooo much better than the canned version. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion peeled and halved (Yes, only half it.  It disintegrates while cooking)
  • 3 cups pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2T minced garlic
  • 3-5 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 9 cups water
Directions:
Place all the ingredients in the crock pot.  Slowly stir in the water.  Crock on HIGH for 8 hours (add water as needed-if it seems to loose more than a cup of water add more).  Drain beans and save liquid.  Mash the beans with a potato masher and add some liquid to achieve the desired consistency you want.  Freeze in individual containers if you want.  I also freeze the liquid in several small containers.  I have found that after I thaw the refried beans I usually need to add a little liquid to get the consistency that I like again. 

Granola
Having used to buy granola I decided to try making my own.  Have you ever noticed the price of granola in the store?!  So I have tried a few different recipes that I found online and this one seems to be my favorite so far.  Again, I have added just a few minor changes to achieve to desired taste that I wanted. 
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3/4 c shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup + 2T maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup + 2T brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • I also throw in a scoop of ground flax seeds and 1-2T of wheat germ
Directions:
Combine oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine oil, maple syrup and salt.  Mix both together.  Lay out mixture on 2 baking sheets.  Bake @ 250 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Turn every 15 minutes so that it will brown evenly.  (I usually bake it at 250 for the first 30 minutes then turn it down to 225 or even 200 for the remaining time)