Friday, February 28, 2014

Downtime Reading

Last night was the boy's open house at their school. The main reason is to check out the class for next year and it was very odd to me that I only had one room to check out. Weird.

In Zach's current class the mom of one of his friends said that her son mentioned "Zach has a great sense of humor". What a great compliment, I thought, I can't wait to tell him. She then asked if I thought he did. I said that if your idea of humor is saying poop, pee and bottom, then yes. I am such an inspiration as a mother, no need to tell me; I know. His favorite joke is, "Knock-knock" "Who's there?" "Poop!!" Followed by a belly-busting laugh. She laughed and said that, for sure, is her son's idea of humor.
Here is what I have been checking out this week:

I felt the exact same way when Alex's Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue appeared in my mailbox. I love Chrissy Teigen but I don't need to see her hiney. - The 2014 VS Swim Catalog: A Mom's Buying Guide

I am still annoyed that I totally got in trouble for my sister saying "crap" at the dinnertable. And I see #11 with my boys entirely too much. - 15 Things Younger Siblings Don’t Know Their Older Siblings Did For Them

I loved the hardback version of Glennon's book and will be getting the paperback as well. She is inspiring yet totally normal. - Today is the Day — I Need You!

As someone whose husband still has Ignition on repeat on his July 2012 playlist - the only playlist he uses, this made me laugh. Jimmy Fallon's Ragtime Cover of R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My favorite frittata

Don't you have one? A favorite frittata that is? If you do, please share it with me immediately and if you don't, try this one and see what you think.
After Thanksgiving Alex and I tried the Paleo diet for a month. What is that most of you say? (and the rest of you are rolling your eyes, I can see you) Well, Paleo is a new diet that eliminates all dairy and gluten. You eat "like the cavemen did". I think there are more details about also not eating potatoes (I break that rule) and some fruit (also guilty) and I did actually buy a book that I have yet to read. Basically we stopped eating bread and cheese.

Alex has always had stomach troubles and I get super puffy (i.e. fat) eating carbs. Plus, I loooooovveee a fad diet. I tried to go vegan while I was pregnant with James, until the first page said to NOT do that while pregnant. Pregnant ladies are so crazy.  I did the South Beach diet at some point in my 20's and I have a love/hate affair with Weight Watchers. So this was my trick of the month.

But we both really like it! Oh, we totally fell off of it around the holidays and he has done a better job of getting back on (damn you Cheez It's, damn you) but we both like how we feel.

Now....I will say that I do still eat dairy in moderation and Alex eats only two of the three daily meals Paleo. It is really hard for him to eat paleo during lunch. And while at Ninfa's. There is really no risk of either of us turning into Gwyneth Paltrow anytime soon.

But back to my point - this almost-Paleo frittata is delicious and holds up well to re-heating. I make it on Sunday and we eat it for breakfast until it is gone. I combined two recipes to come up with this one. It is simple and satisfying.
Sausage and (moderate amounts of) Cheese Frittata

Ingredients
1 lb pork sausage
1/4 - 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp garlic powder
6 eggs beaten with a splash of milk

Directions
1. Heat broiler and place rack 10-15 inches from heat.
2. Brown sausage in large, oven proof skillet, stirring until it crumbles. Drain and wipe down skillet.
3. Return sausage to skillet and add the remaining ingredients.
4. Heat skillet on medium until the bottom of the frittata is just set.
5. Put under the broiler for 2 min and check doneness. Put under for one more minute maximum.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Downtime Reading

I don't know about you, but I keep seeing more and more links I like, shared by friends, on Facebook. Many of them I find super funny/clever but I can only share so many without looking ridiculous and like I have no life except to read what other people put on the Internet (but please keep reading my blog, of course). So, I thought I would start a weekly wrap up of my favorite ones here on the blog. If you have some I missed, please add them to the comments or email them to me! The contact form is over there, in the right margin of the blog.

Here are my favorites of this week:

Why I will still be un-gray for the foreseeable future as will my friends Debra, Tracey - 10 Unbelievable Facts You Didn't Know about Redheads

That's not nice - Mean Tweets

The girls on my upcoming girls trip will be getting this (shhhh) - Best Party Favor

I would like to reset most of 1999 - Pressing Reset

#4, #7 and Alex stands solidly behind #27 - 32 Things You Learn Growing Up

My entry today would have been "His brother is saying he is cute" - Why My Kid is Crying

I had to buy the rainbow knot immediately, for the charity of it of course - Glass Knot Trend

Death Sticks

I am not what you would call a helicopter mom. But, I like this about me. However, I might, sometimes, go a bit far in the other direction. My kids are the type of kids that (luckily for me) don't need my constant, constant attention and can, sometimes play on their own. Like at play dates. When I set up a play date with a friend it is because a) I like the mom and b) our kids play well together. Always A and B.

I like play dates because I get to talk to my friend while my children play with theirs. And we always go somewhere where my kids, both of them, can play on their own. If I have to play with them, that totally defeats the purpose, in my mind. I play with them plenty at home or when we go places just the two or three of us.

I had to explain this to my friend Ashley the first time we went to WonderWild. WonderWild is an indoor play area that is completely padded and fenced in. The boys and I arrived a bit early (rare) and I did what I usually do. I watch them climb, jump, swing, run all around to make sure they can do everything, then check my phone to see if my sister has texted me. Once Ashley arrived she asked a few times where my children were. I would look around, point them out then go back to my riveting tale of getting Uverse or how to watch paint dry.

Finally, I had to give it to her straight. "I am not going to be watching my children. I am comfortable with their abilities and if they need me, they know where to find me. If this bothers you we simply can't be friends, or you can watch my children for me. This is who I am as a mother." I told her.

She blinked at me then shrugged and said, "Okay." And while I think she does secretly keep a watch on my children, she never makes me feel bad or like a bad parent for not watching them every minute.

Well, this week she told me I was taking my casual parenting style a bit too far. Prior to Ashley and her girls coming over to play, Zach asked to play with toothpicks and marshmallows to "build things like we did at school". This is what he built at school.
You know I love a good project so I got out a pack of stale marshmallows and the toothpicks and told James and him to go to town.

Well, Ashley walked into my house at the end of the project and found, what she deemed, death sticks staring at her. She is so dramatic.
I put the marshmallows and toothpicks on cookie sheets to keep them from rolling around, what could be the issue? They played great with them, kept them on the table and had a nice time.
Well, I didn't really notice that I had a mixture of toothpicks. Ones with sharp points and one with dull points. Ooops.  And Zach had made some death stick pillows for Ashley's girls and took them (OK, ran them) sharp points and all.

So Ashley did what all my friends do, she swooped right in and took charge. She said the death sticks where done and threw them away. She even offered to try to figure out which ones were clean and dirty. I, obviously, told her that was not that hard up for toothpicks.
Then we just laughed. I am not above anyone telling me something I am doing wrong (with limits; like danger not like dressing) and get so much wrong with regards to parenting. I am glad to have friends that are more cautious than me to tell me when I have crossed the line.

Though, come on, they were just toothpicks. Right? Right?

No? Just me. OK, fine.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oh you're gonna hear him roar

My memories of riding in the car around Denton with my mom are of her playing with her fingernails (exactly as I do now) and listening to the easy listening station broadcasted out of Dallas. Any time I hear Billy Joel's Uptown Girl or For the Longest Time, I am instantly transported back to that car.

I think the same is going to happen for James, but with Katy Perry. He sings her song, Roar, constantly. Mainly the "ro-ar-ar-ar-ar" part. And it is not quiet. He sings it at his full volume. While it is a very empowering song, I would like him to start learning Dark Horse, just for some variety during our commute.

For reference, the words he is singing are:

...fighter, dancing through the fire
'cause I am a champion
and you're gonna hear me roar.
Ro-ar-ar-ar-ar-ar!

Just in case that is not crystal clear.

video

Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Steps to Crafting Happiness

As I mentioned in this post, my Valentine's for the teachers this year was a minimum of 10 steps. Which is clearly what I prefer.
But this was not my vision. This one was my vision. However, my vision crashed and burned at 9:30 a.m. the day before Valentine's day.
Let me break down the steps for you.
1. Find a printable online and immediately scale them and print them out, disregarding the time or the fact it is a week before V day.
2. Research a variety of s'mores mix on Pinterest. Scoff at most of them except this one.
3. Realize you have a delicious s'mores cookie recipe and wonder if those fit into the jars?
4. Decide they in fact can fit if you make them small enough and whip up two batches to freeze until you are ready to bake.
5. Order handled mason jars on Amazon and get very annoyed they will not arrive until the 12th. And yes, you need 12 because, of course you do.
6. Realize they don't come with lids (WHAT??) and that you have to drag your two year old to Target the day before Valentine's day in search of lids.
7. Find lids and $100 worth of stuff you didn't have on your list and arrive home to find that not only did you just buy the lids, not the sealers, but they are the wrong size.
8. Have a pity party for yourself because you have real problems. Debate dragging both children back to Target after nap time, then realize that is ridiculous since you have perfectly good bags ready to be used. Feel very proud of yourself for letting go of the original vision.
9. Put cookies in bags, tie a bow in the baker's twine (tell yourself it is totally fine that you only have red; no one will notice that you should have used pink) and staple it all to the bag.
10. Clip the tag on with the teeny tiny clothes pins you have been hoarding for years and try not die at the cuteness.

I would like to point out that while I used these for Valentine's day they don't actually say Happy Valentine's Day so you could use them for any teacher gift, at any time. Just make sure you have time to complete the steps.

Also, the blogger made some that just say "There is no one I love S'more than you" to be used for anyone, anytime! That is what I used for the director at the boy's school. .

But do buy some pink bakers twine when you make these. You will not regret it and I will need to borrow it immediately.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Now this is more like me

I could not be more thrilled with James' valentine cards. Giddy. I am totally giddy about them. How cute did they turn out?

I, of course, stole the idea from Pinterest and luckily had enough practice with Photoshop during James' monthly project that it took no time at all. I am not just saying that, it really was very quick.
I opened it in Photoshop and just added text and some standard hearts I found in their clip art. I did decide to make some of the hearts green and blue to tie in the colors of his shirt. As a side note, James owns no plain shirts. None. And the only red shirt he has, is covered with a giant tractor and the words MOVE, MOVE, MOVE on it. That is not romantic.

So, I took my chance when he was wearing a non-screen printed shirt and made him stand in front of a wall and hold his arm out. He didn't even bat a giant eyelash, only asked if he could take a photo with his dog (he is holding it in his other, hidden, hand). I am so flexible.
I printed them out on some photo paper, I had been hoarding, and made small cuts with an exacto knife to slide the lollipop through. 
When I sent it to my sister she said it was darling but creepy that his hand was 3D. False, it is not creepy, not one tiny bit. OK maybe a tiny bit. But I love it anyway.

Alex spotted it and asked what it was. When I gleefully explained it to him and how I was disappointed in myself for Zachary's, his response was "well, this is definitely you".

He embraces the crazy. I mean, he has no choice really, but let's just go with he embraces it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

January Cleaning

I know it is February, but just go with it. I don't know what it is/was about January that makes everyone feel the need to change something. The Y is packed with people exercising, my favorite (and only) yoga class was crammed with new people, who could not balance, and the grocery store had coconut water front and center. While I didn't fall for the start exercising more/eating healthy bandwagon, I did feel the need to clean out some of the clutter surrounding me.

Now that I spend more time at home and in the car, the piles of stuff are starting to get to me. My car has never been so clean. I actually take all the trash out every other day. This is a total revelation as pre-June I just waited for Alex to clean it out. It always bugged him that I would have trash in the open center console of my car and when he would drive it on the weekends, he would always clear it out. But now; now that I am in my car constantly shuttling children, and myself, that console is almost always clean.

In the house, the area that bothered me the most (because there are many areas) was near the computer. We have a small built in desk that routinely gets piled up with papers and "to do" items.
Glorious right? On the wall to the left I had a combo cork board and white board. Back when I was making all of Zach's food I kept a list of what purees I had in the freezer and a full list of our other freezer items. 2009 Kinsey was so crazy. And basically nothing has changed on that board since 2009.
I couldn't figure out what to do to make this area functional. I thought about pockets for papers, but if something is put away I think it is done. I have to keep it front and center. Then I spotted some 12x12 cork squares at Office Max.

Figuring I am incapable of leaving well enough alone, I decided to paint them black and cut them out in each person's initials. I thought of just doing Wall - you know I love a good pun, (get it Wall on the wall?) but I really needed this to be functional, not just clever (only to me, I know).

I free-handed our initials backwards on the tiles and cut them out,with some help from my trusty assistant.
You know this stressed me out, him wanting to cut my project, but I didn't let it show (much) and he did a great job for about 30 seconds until he decided it was too hard to cut the cork.
I stuck them up with the provided double stick tape and we were all set!
So far, they are working well. I pin up any notes or reminders for the boys, Alex and myself and I have to stare at them enough that I remember to do them, keeping the area to the left of the computer moderately clean. Moderately.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine's Dissapointment

No, I don't mean the possibility that Papa John's won't have the heart shaped pizza again (Pleeeease do, PJ's, please do), but the fact that the Valentine's I created for Zach's class were only a three step process. Why didn't I just pretend I was a normal person and buy them at Walgreen's? They are not even one consistent theme! Something must be wrong with me.

I know you remember the super cute parachute men from last year, so what is this year's Valentine? Printed ones stapled to Kit Kat bars. I know, I am horrified as well. I mean the printables are super darling, but I am having to force myself to not put them in a bag with confetti and bakers twine or something. Two years ago I sewed little animals to printed cards. And now? Now I am just printing and stapling?
Yep. Because this year, all I had to do was print and cut, someone else did the stapling. And was very, very proud of himself.
And I suppose they are his valentine's at the end of the day. 
But don't you worry I have about a 10 step process for the teacher's valentine's and James' involve me creating one in Photoshop. So, I guess I just took it easy on one of the three projects for this week. 

Maybe I am still crazy after all. 

Phew! That is a relief, I thought I lost my crazy-edge there for a minute.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Selfish

You guys, can I admit something here between the six of us? I am so over all the links on Pinterest about raising good sons and boys dating expectations, blah, blah, blah.

Let me back up a bit. Back when James turned two, he and I were having a tough time. He was fully in the terrible twos and, like his brother before him, a mini dictator. The main difference is that I am more tired and mentally drained than I was with Zach and James is much more stubborn. Also, I had just made a major life change and was not fully adjusted.
Then, I decided we had to get rid of the pacifier and, as you can imagine, James was not impressed. He decided to go on a hunger strike and instead of eating wanted to scream, like a banshee, at midnight for me to bring him hot milk. Not warm or cold milk, hot milk. And, like a woman being slowly driven crazy by a banshee, I brought it to him. But this two year old really does not need to be drinking hot milk out of a 6 month sized cup, so I tried to stop that too. Such a rookie mistake, trying to do two changes at one. I really should have known better. 
Then one night, he woke up at 9:30 crying like he was on fire. I knew he was not (thank you video monitor) and I knew what he wanted. So I caved. I brought him his hot milk and some Advil in case this was all wicked teething and rocked my baby to sleep. 

And you guys, it was so nice. This terror of a boy was sleeping so peacefully and sweetly on me like he was an infant. Those sweeping eyelashes resting on his chubby cheeks and his warm breath on my chest. 
And in that moment I realized I don't want to share him. Or his brother. I don't want to raise them to be polite and kind and thoughtful. I don't want them to be good huggers or open the door for people. They are just going to marry girls and leave me. 

That is right, I was feeling super selfish and wanting to keep them all to myself.

Now, I can look back on this time and realize I was just a tad bit emotional and overwrought...I was fully livid with all these lists of what boys should do and what good husbands do and what mother's should teach their sons. I was over it. All I could think is that we have just a few years with boys before they turn smelly and hairy and I refuse to think about their future brides, Katilyn and Harper. Refuse.

But, of course, that has not actually happened. While I still will not read the lists, I am, obviously, teaching my boys to be respectful, polite children (it is not really working, but we are trying).

Just to clarify though, that is only so I want to hang out with them. Girls, you are on your own.