Friday, January 28, 2011

You're So Vain

As I typed that title, I was thinking of the movie "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" where Kate Hudson sings that song to/with Matthew McConaughey. But check out this vain little boy:


Yes, he's kissing his reflection in the oven door. I started laughing, so of course he continued to do it. Then...


He tried to kiss the camera, so you get the full frontal. Pretty cute kisser, huh? I'm smitten.

A couple of other points/thoughts for today, since I don't want to dedicate an entire post to them...
#1: I can't BELIEVE he's 18 months old already. 1.5 years old. That means only .5 left until he's 2. NOOOOOOO!
#2: Why is it that my kids went to bed at an insanely late hour last night (swimming lessons first, then dinner with friends), because we didn't get home until 10:00. So, it was AFTER 10 when they got to bed (I know, we're bad parents) and they still woke up by 7 this morning! Are my kids the only ones who do that? Really hoping all 3 of them decide to take a nap this afternoon.
#3: Trying to decide what to do for school for Preston next year. Not thrilled with the "Kinder Center" that the public schools ship all the kindergarteners to (well, really not thrilled with the public schools in general here, except for the Charter School that starts in 6th grade). We're looking into private schools, but yikes they're spendy (especially when it's x3). Homeschooling = no go for me. What to do, what to do.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Silence

I seriously have NOTHING to blog about.

Swimming lessons started this week. I have a love/hate relationship with swimming lessons.

And I'm completely sucked in to The Hunger Games books.

Friday, January 21, 2011

DIY Cheez-It's!

The boys are driving me just a little bit crazy today (it's been a long week), so I decided to attempt something that has been on my to-do list for far too long: cheese crackers!

At the grocery store the other day, John tried to toss a box of Cheez-It's in the cart. Um, no thanks. Processed cheese product? Blech. (In all fairness to Cheez-It's, I don't even really know what's in them because we don't buy them...) I told John that I had found a recipe a while ago for goldfish crackers, and I would attempt to make Cheez-It's from it. And WHY NOT attempt it on a day when I was already close to pulling my hair out?

TADA!



And guess what? They were easy. I wish I had doubled the batch as the boys declared that they "wanted cheese crackers every day." They taste very close to Cheez-It's (or what I remember of Cheez-It's...it's been a few years), but I think they are a little salty. Also, next time I think I will attempt to roll them out even thinner because the thinner ones were nice and crispy! Yum.

Okay, want to try? HERE is the recipe! I mixed it all up in my Vita-Mix and stuck it in the fridge for about 20 minutes (but next time I will chill it for longer because it was still a little sticky). Then, I rolled the dough out on wax paper (I didn't have parchment), cut it into squares with a pizza cutter and plunked the whole thing on a cookie sheet. Worked perfectly.

Possibly Preston and Bryton are currently cleaning their playroom with the anticipation of more cheese crackers. (Hey, it's not bribery...it's positive reinforcement!)
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

QOTD

(Talking to Bryton)
"I did that once, when I was a kid." - Preston

QOTD

"I blew on my ice cream to make it colder." - Preston

Monday, January 17, 2011

Garden Nerds, Phase 1

This weekend, we started phase 1 of our indoor gardening plan: we bought a grow light.


L-R: lime, banana, mandarin orange, lemon (all dwarf), and the aerogarden

As you can see, our lime was doing pretty well as far as growth previously, but it has never bloomed. Our banana has done okay, except that Jasper keeps eating it (it used to be about 4 feet tall and is now attempting to make a comeback). Our mandarin orange is just sad...this could be partially due to the fact that John found it on super-clearance at Lowe's. John pruned the top because it was growing up but not out and it's little "trunk" was barely big enough to support the weight. Our lemon (that I got for free!) has produced a couple of lemons, but it just doesn't seem to be getting any bigger...as far as I know, it should be about the size of the lime, and they were close to the same size when I got them. None of them have been doing particularly well, so I can only figure that it's due to lack of sun. We have them in the sunniest areas of our house, but our south-facing windows are tiny so we mainly had them in the east/west windows.

We now have plenty of "sunshine" in our house, so hopefully our plants will start thriving. Unfortunately, phase 1 was the easiest portion of our plan. We haven't quite figured out how to do most of the rest of it yet.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy

Doesn't this just make you happy?


Tomatoes, day 7
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Making Up for Yesterday

Last night's dinner = complete flop.

Tonight's dinner = complete opposite. I ate WAY too much!

First up: making tortillas! With the amazing tortilla press that my dad made for Christmas. It looks good AND it's functional. So much easier than rolling each one out by hand.

The boys loved helping with the press...because obviously it's a 3 person job! :) I love B's eyes in this picture.

Archer had to sit this one out, but he's just so cute anyway.

The finished product! Yummmmmy.


John, mid-eating. Obviously it was a hit!
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yam Soup & Couscous Muffins!

I have made both of these today, along with some breadsticks but those don't sound quite as interesting right?

I made Spicy African Yam Soup for dinner tonight - it's currently in the crockpot, but I tried a bite and it's good! I decided to cook it in the crockpot because I needed to cook the garbanzo beans anyway (I used dried instead of canned), pureed it in my VitaMix (not in the recipe, but P&B claim that they don't like sweet potatoes even though they LOVE sweet potato fries...anyway, I decided to disguise them!), and then added the rice and peanut butter after pureeing. We're also having breadsticks and some home-canned green beans. Yum.
ETA, regarding the soup: It was NOT a hit. I liked it, but no one else did. Not even John, who apparently REALLY didn't like it since he suggested we go get dinner somewhere, and then proceeded to eat lots and lots of breadsticks. :)

The other interesting thing I made today were these Gritty Banana Mango Corn Muffins. I didn't have any dried mango so I used dried apples, and we also ran out of eggs so I subbed ground flax seed and water. We had them for dessert for lunch and everyone but B liked them. Maybe it was the texture that he didn't like? Either way, definitely unusual (who would have ever thought to put couscous in a muffin?!), low in sugar, and overall pretty healthy I'd say. I think mango would be really good in these - I do have some frozen mango that I could maybe try? I'm not sure it's a repeat recipe, but none of the boys like couscous (even Arch refuses to eat it which is VERY rare) so it was a good way to use some up in a way that at least 2 out of 3 them of will eat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

QOTD

"I know EVERYTHING!" - Bryton

Confession

You are about to see how big of a nerd I am.

Every year for Christmas, I am given money by relatives. Probably because they don't know what else to get me because I am constantly decluttering my house. This works perfectly for me because then I can pool the money, and buy something that I've been pining after. Last year I bought myself a nook and let me just say, BEST frivolous item EVER. I'm still in love a year later. I have read more books in the past year than I have since college, and done more pleasure reading than I have since...probably before I could drive? Anyway, back to the point. This year, I bought myself another frivolous, techie item that I had been drooling over for a few years. An Aerogarden! (Alright, let me confess again...I actually got 2, but only because it was a really good sale and I could buy a smaller one along with the bigger one for the same price that the bigger one is normally!)


Tomatoes! They just started sprouting. And you see that plant in the background? That's my lemon tree that I'm hoping will benefit from the overspill of the aerogarden's light.

Living in N. Idaho, we have a fairly short growing season which I don't really enjoy. I would prefer 80 degrees year-round, but obviously THAT'S not going to happen considering it's snowing buckets right now and is frigidly cold. (So many times I have wished that John had taken the job offer for Hawaii...) Since we moved here, I've begun to wonder if I suffer from a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (hey, I was a psych major, I can self-diagnose right?). We lived in Oregon prior to moving north, and although it was gray throughout most of the winter, it was still warm (at least compared to here). It wasn't torture to walk outside and get some fresh air. Here, it might be sunny more often, but it's C-O-L-D and I'm not cut out for that. Therefore, I try to avoid going outside for any length of time in the winter - from about October through March here - which in turns means lack of good ol' sunshine! Winter in Idaho makes me cranky, but in the past couple of days, I have noticed that I feel happier. I have more patience with the boys and I'm just HAPPY. It almost feels like summer in our house, thanks to the fact that I have 2 little tomato plants and some various herbs sprouting!

So now you know. I'm a nerd. A gardening nerd. Thankfully I'm married to one as well, and we have plans in the works for a serious indoor growing system at some point (although I did decide to start small with the Aerogarden to see how it goes). John got inspired when we happened upon an indoor gardening/hydroponic store in Spokane last weekend, so who knows, you might see more garden-nerd posts in the future.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I just realized...


...that my baby is growing up. I can no longer ignore it. In the past couple of weeks, here is what has happened:
1. He spent the night with his grandparents (obviously this was huge for me too...I was a little nervous but he did well).

2. He is having a major verbal explosion. Words now include: ball, moo, baa, drink, Bad Dog, mama, dada, orange, open, banana, cheese, book...and lots lots more. I'm sure some of them are just words that only I can understand, but still!

3. He stopped nursing. I had mixed feelings about this, being that he is my last baby, but I was also happy that he just stopped on his own without it getting to the point where I WANTED to wean him.

4. Last night he slept IN HIS OWN BED from 7:30 pm - 6:00 am. This is huge. I know, for a lot of kids this is normal, but for Archer it's amazing. He has been a terrible sleeper since birth (and therefore I have been sleep-deprived for the past 1 1/2 years), so for him to sleep this long alone is big.

5. He is starting to understand the concept of teasing...he now thinks it is funny to call his brothers "Bad Dog" when they do something/say something that he doesn't like. He marches up to them and points his finger right at their nose and says BAD DOG! Then he giggles. It's so cute. He especially likes to tease B this way because he generally responds "I'm not a bad dog!" Archer LOVES that.

6. He points to his (or others') tummy, nose, ears, mouth, etc.

7. He is big into imitating. It's cute, but can get dangerous also. For example, if he hears the word potty, he IMMEDIATELY runs to the toilet. He really likes the toilet a little too much! Maybe he will be an easy/early potty-trainer?

8. He is starting to protest at being rear-facing in his car seat. We did get our car seats replaced when we got hit, so I bought a "roomier" seat for him. It doesn't seem to help too much, but hoping he'll tolerate the rear-facing for a while longer since it's so much safer!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why?

Why is it that on a day when I'm extremely motivated to get things done, Archer decides that he doesn't want to nap? Slightly difficult to get ANYTHING done with the little troublemaker awake!

The Goals

We're 10 days in to 2011...I guess it's time for my goals!
1. Pay off debt! We have lots of student loans (thanks to both of us attending a private undergrad college, John's dental school, and my time spent in law school) and our mortgage. We are currently trying to refinance our mortgage which will save us A TON, and we're knocking out the student loans one by one. Last year we paid off quite a bit of loans, but I hope we can do more this year. My student loan is just a few months from being paid off, and John just received a sizable chunk of loan repayment money - he'll get more in about 1.5 years if he decides to sign on for another year of public health. We're on a plan to be completely debt free (including our mortgage!) by the end of 2016. It's attainable assuming we don't have any major setbacks, but it means a tight budget.

2. Work out. I started the 30 Day Shred which is only 20 minutes long - definitely within my time constraints. I can handle getting up 20 minutes earlier every day (well, okay, 5 days a week anyway). It is practically impossible for me to work out any other time because by the end of the day I'm too tired, and during the day I'm chasing little boys. Too bad that doesn't count as a workout! I don't really have any weight loss goals because I think my weight is okay (I wouldn't complain about an extra 5 lbs off though!), but I would LOVE to get my abs back since I'm finished with pregnancies! A size down in clothes would be a nice bonus.

3. Try to be less crazy about the state of the house. This is difficult for me since I REALLY like a clean house, but it can be a source of tension between me and the rest of my family (since they don't really mind a messy house!). So my plan is to try to ignore the little things, but keep it clean enough so that I don't feel like I'm living in disaster. Don't sweat the small stuff, right? Easy for me to say, not so easy for me to do.

4. Simplify! I love to simplify, so this will be easy for me in theory, but the difficult part will be finding TIME to simplify. I am currently working in the closets of our house. 2 down. 4 to go. After the closets, I'll move on to my sewing room (SCARY). I also have plans to tackle the gigantic bookshelf and the playroom. Yikes, I better not over-commit myself, I only have a year. :)

5. And probably the most important: patience. In every way.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday

Last night was a big step. Archer (along with the other 2) spent the ENTIRE NIGHT with his grandparents. John's job (he fills in 1-2 days per month) had a holiday party in Spokane that went until 11:00pm, so we decided to give it a try. Plus, it was so icy we definitely did not want to drive up the road and stuck to the freeway home instead. I think Grandpa & Grandma were a little tired today, but everyone survived and had fun!

We went to pick up the boys earlier today and decided to take them ice skating. It was COLD, but even B decided to give it a try!

Preston getting ready for the ice

Archer watching from my back

B waiting his turn...passing the time by jumping off the steps


"Mommy, I fell down and hurt my behind!"

B after he finished a lap

The boys on the way home...they were being so cute holding hands. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Granola Bars

excuse the poor quality phone picture - I'm lazy...

I'm taking a break from my kitchen decluttering today to catch up on other (slightly more enjoyable) things. Like making granola bars! I used this recipe but modified it to make it slightly more healthy. Here's what I did:

1 c. steel cut oats

1 c. rolled oats

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c white chocolate chips (I had some leftover from holiday baking)

1/2 c. craisins

1/2 c. wheat germ

1/2 c. ground up walnuts (I don't really like walnuts, but I figured if they were ground up enough I wouldn't notice them...thank you Vita-Mix!)

1 tsp. cinnamon (actually used a little more than that)

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 c. honey

1/2 c. rice bran oil

2 tsp vanilla

Press into 9x13 pan, bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Mine were brown around the edges at about 18 minutes so I took them out. Cut with pizza cutter after a minute or 2...then let sit in the pan until cool.

They are plenty sweet even though I completely left out the brown sugar. Next time I might try eliminating the egg and using flax seed mixed with water instead. Or, I might try an even healthier (no bake!) recipe that looks pretty interesting that I found here. My dad happened to leave us with an abundance of chia seeds! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

QOTD

"If I ask, and you say no, then I'll deal with that." - Preston

"Resolutions"

Well, I'm not much of a New Year's Resolution kind of person, but I do have a couple of goals for the year that I will blog about sometime (maybe). Either way, I figured I should start the year off organized.

I have a couple of issues with this. First of all, I am a slight perfectionist (John would laugh at the word "slight" in there), and I live with 3 small boys and a husband who is a complete and total perfectionist when it comes to things like people's teeth, but he is definitely NOT a perfectionist when it comes to a clean and organized house. I have yet to figure out how he made it through dental school with flying colors and loves his job that requires an insane amount of perfection, but he doesn't even see the mess in the house.

One huge problem area in our house is the small counter next to the fridge. We have lots of counter space in our kitchen so it doesn't get used for "kitchen stuff" - it's the drop spot for anything and everything. Not only is there a counter there, but there are also 2 drawers and some cupboards that are kind of for miscellaneous storage (in other words, stuff we probably don't need but can't throw away...and by "we" I mean John, because I get rid of things obsessively and I'm constantly on a decluttering rampage). So far I have tackled the bottom cupboards and I'm halfway through the drawers. It's SCARY. Good things I'm doing it while John is at work because he won't notice the things I'm donating, and by the time he reads this, it will be long gone! :)

I have also cleaned/organized 2 big closets in the last couple of days, but those weren't nearly as scary as this area is! Next up will be the guest room closet. Seriously, sometimes I wish we didn't have so many closets in our house...it just means room to stash stuff!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Only 10 Days...

Christmas was 10 days ago, but we've been a little busy around here with Christmas celebrations and my parents' visit. My parents left last night, so I guess it's time for things to get back to "normal" around here (except that the boys apparently want to continue their lack of naps which is NOT making me happy...I really could have used a little nap today!).

Anyway, back to the point of this post: my Christmas present! Remember when I blogged about the KitchenAid that I got 90% off at Lowe's? I have a bit of a history with KitchenAid mixers - we got a nice Professional KitchenAid mixer for our wedding, and I burned out the motor making bread. Then I borrowed my Mom's old Bosch mixer which I discovered was infinitely more powerful than the KitchenAid, but after giving it back I had been just mixing up bread by hand. Anyway, I thought I'd give the KitchenAid another try since you just can't beat $15 for a mixer, but sadly it just wouldn't cut it. It was too small and definitely not powerful enough to make 4 loaves of bread at a time. I was a little disappointed, but figured I'd just go back to mixing it by hand.

Well, fast forward to Christmas morning, and my amazing husband got me this beauty:A shiny new Bosch Universal mixer! Apparently, along with being a last-minute Christmas shopper, he's a pretty smart guy. I'm definitely one of those girls who appreciates a good functional - yet thoughtful - gift, so I was not insulted by it being an "appliance". Maybe next year I'll get a Dyson? :)

My other Christmas present (that I bought with my Christmas money) should be here Friday...hopefully I'll blog about it next week sometime!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

QOTD

QOTD: "Can I have some shakey-milk?" - Bryton

QOTD

QOTD: "I'm 5 years old so I'm stronger...Mom, can I try to pick you up?" - Preston

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Big Day

I still can't believe my baby is five. 5!

We had a fun and exciting day: presents, skating, birthday party at our house, and then out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Ever since B's birthday (at Texas Roadhouse) Preston has been begging to go there for his birthday. He loved the dancing, the loudness, and the saddle...not to mention the fact that he got to have a hot dog AND ice cream.

Opening presents
My old mitt, courtesy of my parents

Fish tank cake, partially decorated by P&B (they especially loved eating the candy, but they both helped frost it and put the decorations on).


Cake time!


Playing with some new train track pieces...Toy Story 3 Exploding Bridge set!

Poppa, Archer, and Daddy at the restaurant. Archer was dipping a lemon slice in salad dressing and eating it. So disgusting. That is what happens when he is left in the care of his Daddy and Poppa! :)

Preston on the saddle...he was SO excited for this, and made sure to tell the waiter (who thankfully listened to Preston's incessant chatter!) over and over that it was his birthday.

Preston is now finally in bed, and I just heard him turn off his Tag reader (he was reading Scooby Doo in bed) so I guess he is finally going to sleep at 9:20 pm! The sugar rush must be ending.
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Skating

Yesterday John and my dad set up a mini ice rink in our front yard, and since it's so stinkin' cold out, the boys were able to give it a try today. Preston LOVES skating and has gone a couple of times at the big rink in Spokane, but Bryton has always been a little intimidated by it and hasn't wanted to even attempt it. Well, today he gave it a try in the yard! He was able to stand without falling so that gave him a little more courage. He didn't want to stay out there for long, but John helped him make a couple of laps around the rink.


Daddy helping B


Preston trying to skate on his own...he is starting to get a little more confident, but spent quite a bit of time on his behind! :)
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It's Magic!

So far, Preston has just opened one present, but it's a hit! He's been putting on magic shows non-stop.


The opening trick

Check it out..."just a plain black hat."

"Abracadabra!"

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5 years ago...

We became parents to one sweet, chunky, much-anticipated (as in, 15 days past his due date) little boy.

I had tried everything to get labor to start - acupuncture, castor oil, spicy food, tons of walking...you name it, I tried it. As illogical as it sounds, every day I became less convinced that I would go into labor, and more convinced that I would be pregnant forever (have you seen those shows on Discovery channel???). Finally, finally...labor started in the early mornings hours of the 31st, continued all day, and we brought in 2006 in the birth center while I was in labor and fireworks were being set off outside. Of course, when I went into labor at about 3:00 am, I figured we'd have a 2005 baby, but Preston had other ideas. At 9:21 am on January 1st our "little" bundle was born, all 9 lbs 14 oz of him.


He was such an angelic little baby, even as a newborn. He hardly cried, slept amazingly well, and basically was just an easy-going kid. He is mostly like that now, with some 5 year old independence being asserted (which I'm thankful for - most of the time). He made it easy to forget the insanely long labor, except for the part where I vividly remember thinking "oh so THIS is why women go to the hospital and get epidurals!"

It is hard to believe it's been 5 years, but at the same time, it seems like he has been in our lives forever.