April 2015

April 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sick Days

By now you have probably gathered that I have a son, and you've probably gathered that I am sentimental, too.  On top of those things, I'd be willing to bet that you have caught on to how important I find the details of life.  Throw all of that together and you get a happily teary-eyed momma on the day of my son's first stomach bug.  Yep.  You read that right.  My poor baby was pitifully laying on the couch, after his first official stomach bug experience and I was moved.  Let me explain.

I'll start by saying that my home as a child was a magical place.  It was old and warm and cozy.  And, there was lots of brown.I think this is why I still love to surround myself in the color brown today. The doorways and windows were framed with stained wood, the console television was a beautiful piece of wooden furniture, and the couch.  Oh, the couch.  It was a rough apolstered, orangey-brown plaid, and I can remember plucking my fingernails back and forth over the bumps.  There was always a hand-crocheted afghan draped across the top, and it was the perfect place to be sick.  The light was diffused through the many windows by curtains my mother had crafted from a set of white sheets.  They kept out and let in just the perfect bits of light.  Yesterday, as my son lay napping on his couch, the light was just exactly the same.  

Within seconds, I was back on Freeman Street.  The Price is Right was on the old console, and our scratchy couch was covered in our soft and fluffy Holly Hobby quilt.  I think it was Holly Hobby, but regardless, I can see it clearly, it's yellow and orange squares held tight with little ties made from yarn.  My pillow is there and I am comfier than any person alive.  Next to me is the can.  If you know me well enough, you know I still have those milk cans that my mother found.  What treasures.  They have been a seat to many dinning children, both when I was a kid and now.  But, on sick days they were special.  They held the ginger ale, complete with a plastic bendy straw.  Lastly, I see the brown bowl.  I think most families have their own version of the brown bowl.  It was never too far from reach when a stomach bug came around.  

What this vision brought back to me, moved me because I realize what a lucky little girl I was.  My mom could even make sick days and their memory, one that brings feelings of nostalgia. Memories that bring a yearning to travel back and lay there listening to her in the kitchen making me a special sick day lunch.  Memories that I will always be grateful for.  

So, when I realized my son was sick, I also realized that it was now my turn.  I had the chance to start forming those memories of safety and comfort and love for him.  What a blessing to be the safe spot for someone needing comfort.  I happily got him set up on his couch, with his pillow, soft blankets and our version of the brown bowl.  Straight from an unexpected mid-morning bath, in fresh pj's, my sweet boy feel right asleep.  And the light in the room was just exactly the same...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Long Time No See

Hello all!

I'm back from a post-Easter break.  Do you ever do that?  Take a self-imposed timeout for a bit?  I do it often, and it reinvigorates me.  I drop out, regroup and then I'm ready to go again.  It's no secret that I am, by nature, a bit on the hermit side of the fence, so a little step back always does me good.  It's odd to some people, and a part of my character that is often not understood, but I really require it.

I spent time with my family and with old, dear friends.  By the way, is there anything better than watching your kids play with the children of your high school friends?!?  There really isn't.  I am so grateful for such friendships.  Your high school friends know you, I mean they really know you.  For me at least, they know the girl that still had braces in the eleventh grade.  They know all of those coming of age chapters in my life, and they were there when I met my husband and started to grow a family.  I am confident that they will be there indefinitely, and vice versa.  Yep.  Not much cooler than that.  

I avoided packing up my Easter decorations.  That kind of work is definitely not part of a week long Sabbatical.  I did, however, collect all of it to one spot.  Then I spent some time in the kitchen, on the couch, and exploring our new part of the world a bit more.  We had fun, but now it's back to work!

Today's been a cleaning and laundry day, but after that's finished I have a new project.  I'm off to explore kale.  Kale, kale, kale.  All I ever hear about is kale.  Kale smoothies, kale chips, you name it, I need to try it!  I've never eaten it, have no idea how to prepare it and have been intimidated by it.  Weird, right?  All things new take some time, but this week is the week of kale!  It has been purchased, and I welcome any recipes you are willing to share with me.  If they are toddler approved, all the better!  And by "welcome" I mean, I'm begging for recipes.  Thanks in advance.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pre-Easter Fun

Hey!  We have had a fun week, and we hope you have, too!  With Easter weekend just around the corner, there is lots to do, but I wanted to share with you some of our fun.

Monday- We got things off with an epic Pinterest fail.  Those are always fun, right?  If nothing else, they bring hysterical laughter.  The kind of laughter we shared on Monday night is the kind that makes your eyes tear and gives your abs a mini-workout. Peep Play Dough, if you read the instructions, is probably a very nice alternative to the stuff you buy at the store.  Here's what happens when you miss a few of the directions...

Everything started out fine.

We somehow ended up with different quantities of each.  Again, when you barely read the directions...you end up with tons of blue and very little purple.

 People began to play with it....
Sadly, this happened next.  If you choose to attempt this, keep your hands dusted with the powdered sugar as you play. Apparently, we missed that part. Please excuse the disgusting photo that follows, but I think you need to see it, Peep eyeballs and all...Yuck. 

Tuesday-  We decided to take our son to the movies...in our playroom!  We closed the blinds, set out movie candy that I grabbed for $0.98 each, and surprised him after his nap with some Springtime Max and Ruby.  He was so excited that he actually sat and watched a whole episode cuddled with dad.  I think the M&M's helped with that a bit...

Please ignore the unsightly cords hanging all over the place.  I abhor them, and welcome any secrets you have for hiding them.
Wednesday-  Cookie Baking Day turned out great!  My son was excited to help, and by help I mean sit in his chair and chat with me about what I was doing.  He really watched and was thrilled when the cookies were ready for tasting.  The Rice Flour Sugar Cookies that we tried turned out very nicely.  They are a brown sugar cookie, and almost taste like a soft, puffy oatmeal cookie without the oatmeal.  I drizzled a powdered sugar glaze on them, and  added some Easter sprinkles.  They were tasty.  My guys loved them, I liked them, and they are worth a try.  Here is the recipe.  

I used the small Pampered Chef scoop to make them uniform in size

Thursday- I forgot to do our Easter Activity.  Ha!

Friday-  This morning while my son played around my ankles, I made these super fun and easy Easter Pretzel Candies.  You can find the recipe here.  I used gluten-free pretzels, candy melts, M&M's and a mix of sprinkles and sugars that I had on hand.  I need to check on all of those extras to see if they are also gluten-free.  I'm new to this, but I'm pretty sure that sneaky gluten is everywhere!  This is a start. 

I squeezed in some sewing, too, and am working on a fun and exciting project!  I mentioned it a few posts back, but can't really share just yet.   Stay tuned!

I am off to get some eggs boiled up, and I wish you a very Happy Easter!  Enjoy the time with family or friends.  If you don't celebrate Easter, I wish you a wonderful weekend with family and friends, as well!  See you Monday, and make it a great one!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Review

Hey there!  We are well into our Easter festivities over here. It made for an awesome and busy weekend.  Aren't those great?  The ones where you leave one thing, just to get to the next as fast as possible?  Did a nap or two get skipped?  Sure.  Did home-cooked lunches get replaced with something fast and on the way? Yup.  Did it feel special and memorable?  You bet!  

Our first stop was our little boy's first non-family Easter Egg Hunt at church.  I felt like it called for a special outfit, so I pulled a very special sweater from his drawer.  This sweater was knit by my nana for my cousins son over 20 years ago.  She tucked it away after each of her three sons had worn it, and passed it along to my sister.  My sister lovingly stored it in the years after her son wore it, and passed it along to me.  How wonderful is that!?!  I know my nana was smiling down at her great-grandson on Saturday, and I felt it.  Thanks to those mothers, the ones that save things, for having made that possible.

The Egg Hunt was tons of fun!  And to top it all off, Elsa and Anna, along with Woody and Spiderman were there for photos and autographs!  Um, unexpected at an Easter event?  Yes, but so awesome. 

We ran home, changed clothes, grabbed a quick nap in the car and headed outside.  A little sunscreen and a whole lot of energy accompanied us to the You-Pick Strawberry field.  I went on a recommendation from a local mommy group, and it was a wonderful experience!  We will make this a family tradition.  

We, or I should say, I, picked and picked and picked!  My guys, ran up and down the rows, and up and down the rows and up and down the rows!

It was perfect.  The sun was shining, but it wasn't hot.  There were no bugs, and it wasn't very crowded being the last weekend on their schedule.  I picked 6 quarts of berries and only paid 50 cents a quart.  

I think, next year we will plan better and go a few times over the season.  That way we can stock our pantry with jam, and our freezer for smoothies, without having to clean, hull and freeze all of them at once.  That took a bit of time, and I'd rather break it up.  

If you have this type of farm by you, I suggest a family trip there.  We all had a blast!

Lastly, we attended Palm Sunday service at our new church, and our son went to Sunday School for the first time.  Now, some back story on this...I have never left my son with anyone other than an aunt and his grandparents.  Ever.  This was only for an hour, and he had a ball.  For me, it was rough to walk away from my little boy!  It only took a few seconds of awesome music for me to relax and let go.  It was a terrific first experience, and I'm so excited for him to spread his wings a bit.  The very best part was receiving his first little Sunday School craft!

It's a palm, that he calls his "leaf", and it says his name in black sharpie. I had tears in my eyes when they handed it to me. 
We had planned to attend an earlier service then swing over to our neighborhood egg hunt, but sometimes plans don't come together like we...plan.  And it's okay.

I hope your weekend was also one for the books!  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Time Flies...

I can't believe that another week has passed, and that it's Friday already!  I am knee-deep in Easter preparations and having a great time.  I decided to plan out next week to ensure that I have one special Easter related activity per day.  If I wait and do it on the fly, like I do many times, I won't have the materials I need when I need them.  Here is our plan:

  • Saturday- Church Egg Hunt 
  • Sunday-  Neighborhood Egg Hunt after Palm Sunday Service
  • Monday-  PEEP Play dough
  • Tuesday- New Easter DVD 
  • Wednesday-  Bake and Decorate GF sugar cookies
  • Thursday-  Color Easter Bunny pages with MARKERS (a special treat around here)
  • Friday-  Paint a Cross with PAINT BRUSHES (equally as special)
  • Saturday-  Color Easter Eggs and make Eastery Pretzel Thingies
  • Sunday-  The Bunny comes, and off to church

Even though it will only be the three of us this year, all of that stuff up there requires a plan, or a recipe, or a shopping list or a special outfit.  The bunny visit alone, is intense, with filling eggs, filling baskets, hiding eggs.  That's what I hear.  He'd have to tell you about that part, though.  As much scurrying as is going on, there's nothing I'd rather do.  Easter is such a special holiday.  Embrace the hustle and bustle!  Love all over it!  

What special traditions does your family have for celebrating Easter?  And, if you do celebrate, please share with me what you eat for Easter Dinner!  Really.  I haven't gotten that far yet, and I need help.  Have a wonderful weekend!  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Who knew?

There are many things our mother's or in some cases father's, did for us growing up that we noticed and remember, and may even be trying to do for our children, too.  Things that come to my mind include special meals for our birthday, a bendy straw in our ginger ale when we were sick, or a fun tv picnic on top of an overturned laundry basket in our living room.  Stuff like that sticks.  I noticed that those things were happening, and they felt like love.  One thing that I now know was ongoing behind the scenes, and for three children mind you, was Clothes Management. It is the definition of love.  Cleaning and ironing and keeping clothes wrinkle-free, pulling extra special pieces and tying an equally special ribbon around them for safekeeping, and ensuring that the next size is ready and waiting in the closet are all true acts of love.  And, they are a bigger job than I ever noticed!

In hopes of someday having a sibling for our son, I planned to tuck away his outgrown clothing and bring it back out if I ever needed it.  After all, I wore my sister's hand-me-downs.  Doesn't everyone wear someone's?  I never thought any further on this topic, until a few weeks after our little, rapidly growing bundle joined us.  At first, it was fine.  I made a tiny pile in his closet of outgrown items, and ever so often, I placed them in the holding area.  The holding area, also known as the over the garage room, because it was over the.....garage, was an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kinda place. 

Throughout the course of my son's first, I'd say 6 months of life, I just kept piling on that bed.  Now, I had a situation developing.  A ditch the clothes on the bed real fast, turn around and slam that door closed kind of situation.  I finally faced the music.  How was I going to store these mini-treasures. It was easy to come up with the next step.  It had to be sorted! Yes, I decided to sort the pile during nap one day.  I set out a number of paper grocery bags, labeled'em up, and got to sorting. Easy enough.  Now, what to do with these sorted bags?  Easy!  I decided to fill vacuum seal bags, one for each size, and tuck them under the guest bed.  I got to work and sealed them up tight, slid them under the bed, and turned around to see an equally high pile waiting, as the one I had just processed! Well, not really, but it was growing again.  Okay, wait, I thought I was done.  Check it off the list, right?  Nope.  These little guys just. keep. growing!  

Soon, I ran out of space under the first guest bed, so I started stuffing these bags under the second guest bed.  I now have filled all of the space under all of the beds.  I've shoved these bags in closets.  I have resorted to filling wardrobe boxes with vacuum bags full of clothes and lining our garage with them. And, talk about a chore that falls by the wayside!  I let myself get so behind, that the pile now climbs my son's closet wall until it topples over and I decide to "process" it.  I know I am not alone in this.  Can I get an Amen?  

Look familiar, fellow pilers?

While, it is something that is ever evolving here, I give those mom's that have it down to a science, a huge high-five!  Way to go!  Thanks for taking the time, mom, to do it for me.  It is special to see photos of my sister and I wearing the same dress. Thanks to my mother-in-law for doing this, too.  My son has been able to wear the same sweaters his father and uncles wore.  And, thanks to my sister and sister-in-law.  My son is wearing sweet treasures that they packed away as their sons grew. You, too, Jodie!  It's an act of love that goes often ignored, but it shouldn't.

What is your "process" for this daunting task?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekend Review

Good Morning!!  It's a rainy one here in Florida.  I, of course, LOVE it!  As much as I enjoy the warm sun, I equally can indulge in a good ole dark, cloudy and rain-filled day at home.  This rain also reinforces why I spent my weekend the way that I did. If you soak up the sunshine when it's the sunniest, you can cozy up and stay close to home, totally guilt-free, when it's hidden by dreamy rain clouds.  I know it's not popular to love rain this much, but I have always loved it.  I can remember wishing I lived on the foggy moor, described to me in middle school, as we read the book, "The Hound of the Baskervilles".  Who does that?!?

Alright, let's see how I did.

  1.  We will visit a bi-weekly fresh farmers market tomorrow.  I've been meaning to go since we moved here....in NOVEMBER.
This was so fun!  What a nice way to spend a morning, and a great motivator to get up, get out there and live!  On the way, we did a slow pass of our neighborhood pond.  I do this each time I leave the neighborhood, in hopes of eyeing an alligator.  I never see one.  Saturday, we did!  Holy smokes, that little guy was RIGHT THERE! *Wildlife moment #1*  We freaked out, thought he was kinda cute and headed to the Farmer's Market.  

What beautiful colors there were to see.  Freshly picked fruits, veggies and flowers.  We saw honey bees, and olive oils and fabrics of every shade.  One of the most fun moments was a visit with some chickens and their chicks.  My son loved them! *Wildlife moment #2*  
This boy of mine, tried his darnedest to free the little guys.   

On the way home, we drove past our alligator viewing spot and wrapped around to check in on the cows at the end of our street. If you can zoom in, check out the white cow beneath the tree on the right.  You know, the one flaring his nostils and snorting angrily at my family.  My husband informed me that he wasn't all that interested in the visit. *Wildlife moment #3* And, don't worry, there was a fence between them.
Note to self:  Visit cows very quietly.  Or, from your car.

  2.  Decorate the house for Easter

This did not happen, though I started.  I accomplished this:

Can you tell I was doing this in haste?  If you have OCD like me, you already know what bothers me about my towel placement!
I know.  I outdid myself.  With temps in the upper 80's, the neighborhood pool was calling for us on Saturday afternoon.  So, we listened without regret. 

  3.  Bake bread, waffles, and various other baked goods for           freezing

Nope.  I bought the rice and tapioca flours for the bread. That's a start.  I made waffles for breakfast Saturday, but they ate all of them! So, yeah... Not a problem.  I just added it to my weeks to-do list.

  4.  Get started on an Easter sewing project for my nieces

I did get started!  Look, I pulled the pattern and the fabric for one of them.  I then, quickly got distracted by an idea, and started sewing something else.  Haha!  I will share that with you at a later date. 

   5.  Visit our new church, and take my son to Sunday School for     the first time.  

We visited and attended service, but our son stayed with us this first week.  It was wonderful.  I'm so excited for Palm Sunday, and for our son's first little school experience to begin.  We were able to tour his little Sunday school classroom and meet his teachers.  They were wonderful and reassuring for momma!

       6.   Go to the beach on Sunday!

Do you ever feel like you're forcing a plan, and you follow through, but it's slightly an "off" experience?  Did we go to the beach?  Yes.  Did it feel forced?  Yes.  The tide was strangely high, the water was surprisingly choppy and rough and the sky clouded up the second we laid our towel down.  It was an hour of fun for our son, and that's what counts.  It did, though, remind me that if something isn't coming together, maybe just skip it.

How was your weekend?