Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. We had such a social life this weekend, it was unbelievable! Four nights in a row of dinner with friends (Fri-Mon), plus I had dinner out with a girlfriend on Thursday. I am energized by social interaction, so it was really nice to have a bigger dose than normal. It was a great time, we are so blessed to have all these people in our lives!!!

2. Paige refuses to talk when prompted, except to say Daddy. She has said plenty of words, when she feels like it... but if I hold up a duck (which she has said a dozen times) and say, "Paige, duck. Can you say duck?" she will SCREAM and shake her head no at me. Do we think she *might* be the stubborn one??? Eeek!

3. The other day for lunch I made this:
And it was fabulous! So, I have to share how simple and easy it is!!!
Mix together the following:
1 can Cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tuna packed in OLIVE OIL, undrained
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
I jazzed mine up with some shredded basil leaves, capers, and cherry tomatoes. One day I ate half of it on whole grain crackers and the second day I ate the rest on a bed of baby spinach leaves. VERY quick lunch, yummy, and healthy!

4. Lauren is going to have a "Fancy Nancy" birthday party - and she is so excited! We have been going through the books talking about what she can wear, what guests can wear, how we will decorate... and I am shocked at how into it she is! I am planning out a special invitation in Photoshop, so I will make sure and post it here after they have been sent out.

5. We have put an offer on the house we are renting, and are waiting (sort-of patiently) to hear back from the bank. In the meantime, we have eight more houses to see on Friday morning. Looking at houses used to be so fun to me... now, I have no desire to see what I can find WRONG with the next house. Seriously, there are very few things to ooh and ahhh over, and lots of things to wrinkle up your nose and think, "Now how much will it cost to fix THAT?!?"

6. We went to the Outdoor Expo at Ben Avery Shooting Range on Saturday morning. Justin was in heaven looking at all the hunting options and gear. The AZ herpetological society was there, and Lauren got to go into the strangest petting zoo I have ever seen. There was a tortoise, a python, a monitor, some kind of smaller snake, and an ALLIGATOR. The 'gator's mouth was taped shut and kids were just touching it freely. Lauren was not afraid of any of the animals, and practically went swimming in the monitor's plastic pool. And me, awesome mom that I am... without my camera. So, you will have to just imagine Lauren petting an alligator. That should be easy enough. Right?

7. I am very disappointed in myself, but I have fully given over to dressing the girls in leggings. Almost.Every.Day. I am not going to pretend that I think they are "adorable", but they are SO functional! Soft and easy for the girls to play in, they are MUCH more convienent than pants! Still, every time I look at them dressed in their leggings I have to snicker and think about when I was 12 years old! The only benefit to it getting warmer here is that dresses are even easier playwear than leggings, so I can then move on!

8. Does anyone have good suggestions on how to teach preschoolers to clean up after themselves? Our playroom is constantly a disaster, and while I know Paige has a while to learn still - Lauren knows that messes have to be cleaned up, but she doesn't self-motivate! I have to be in there with her, talking her through what she can be cleaning up while I am helping. This tactic works, but I wonder at what age I can say, "Go put your toys away before dinner."

9. Lauren is a flower girl in four days! She is sufficiently pumped up about it -- so, here is hoping that she's able to follow through and not choose to sit down during the ceremony or stick her tounge out at anyone. Regardless of how it turns out, I promise to have plenty of pictures to share!

10. I read an article about the popularity of blogging the other day and read something interesting. This study showed that people are motivated to write their journal in public by a sense of community. We tell our story and feel accepted when people comment on it. The commenting part is the critical part. They said that people who do not recieve regular comments on their blogs give it up in less than a year. They do not feel loved or like part of the online community. I thought that was SO interesting!!! With that in mind, I will be commenting more often... because I love all the blogs I follow and want you to know I appreciate you being open with me about yourselves!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tea Parties

We have been having another tea-party phase.  Lauren has been playing tea party whenever possible, and I love it!  I know it is a game that will lose its luster over time again, so I play along as much as possible!

I found a little $2 tea set at Target that works great for bath time:

We had Camryn for the afternoon today, so I decided to give them a tea-party lunch.  Lauren was ecstatic!!!

They had flower shaped peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, pink lemonade, baby carrots, grapes, and cheese crackers.  I have not seen Lauren eat so much food so quickly in ages, she just thought this was the best thing!

Camryn, thought it was hilarious that I put sprinkles on the middle of the sandwiches to make the center of the flower!  She did not eat that part of her sandwich, though - so clearly it was not really funny.

 I could not get over how grown-up they seemed - having this funny little conversation about what was on Playhouse Disney today and why they like grapes sometimes but not always.  Just like little ladies!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

I love Tuesdays!!!

1. We reformatted our computer last weekend. By "we", I mean Justin. I don't really have the knack for that kind of stuff. ANYway, due to the reformat I have spent most of my 'puter time trying to get things back to the way they were before. NOT my idea of fun. It seems like every time we reformat we forget to save something that would have been nice to keep. This time, it was all my actions in Photoshop. Realizing that was a sad moment...

2. The girls are doing great! Paige is cutting her second eye-tooth plus the two bottom ones, but she is still happy as a clam... or "Happy" the Clam, as it were. ;o) Kids are very adept at picking up on stressful situations, even if they don't know what is going on - but we are trying to keep Lauren "in-the-know" about the house situation and our potential move and she still seems to be doing very well with it. She is very quick to tell us that she does not like the houses we have seen.

3. Speaking of houses, we are exhausted of even looking at them any more. It is so frustrating that there aren't any GOOD options in our price range. They call it a buyer's market, in that you can get good deals - but from what I can tell, that only applies to buyers with a budget of $300,000 or more!

4. So, we plan to get an offer in on our rental this week. They recently lowered the price, so we are going to lowball that and hope that we end up somewhere in the middle. If it doesn't work out, at least it will probably give us an extension on our eventual move-out date.

5. I have not taken any pictures in the last week. ZERO. Not sure what happened there, but I am hoping to get back on the wagon very soon! Maybe I will take the girls out to the park for a shoot tonight while Daddy is at softball.

6. I bought the suppies to refinish my little wooden table. There they sit, in the Lowe's bag. Unopened. I am such a procrastinator!!!

7. I am trying to do a challenge that they started over at Money Saving Mom where you only eat out of your pantry for the week. No grocery shopping! I will probably have to buy milk and eggs, since we don't stock up on those sort of things - but I am really going to try to just use up as much as I can from what we already have. They are focusing more on the pantry, I am focusing more on the fridge - mine has too much stuff in there! It needs to find a meal to be a part of. So, I made an inventory list and am searching Food Network and Cooking Light for recipes to use this stuff up! I will let you all know if I discover anything Yum-O in the process.

8. Lauren is a flower girl in a wedding in two weeks. She is pretty young to be doing this, so we have been trying to explain to her what being a flower girl is and what her "job" will be. She told me today, "I don't want to drop flowers for her to WALK on, Mommy. Then the flowers won't be pretty any more!" I am very nervous for how this day will pan out. LOL!

9. I love my friend, Carrie! She did TonT and called her life "boring" - I don't think it sounds boring at all, she just cracks me up!

10. While getting dressed yesterday I had to try on several shirts to find one that didn't look like a baggy mess. I have lost a little weight - but this was the first time I thought that maybe my shirts were too big to start with! I think I was trying to cover up bulges in weird places, but really I think it just made me look bigger. How did I not notice this before?!? Someone needs to call me out on these things. ;o)

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our week

We have been held up in the house most of this week because I have had a nasty cold. This one really wiped me out and stole my voice for a few days. But, I am finally starting to feel a tad better and hoping to have plenty of things to do this weekend to cure my cabin fever!

Since I have nothing too interesting to report, here are a few random shots from our week:

On St. Patty's Day, Justin had a double-header softball game. So, I decided to make a super easy dinner of mac and cheese to please my kiddos and my sick self. Halfway through cooking, Lauren comes in and says, "Mommy! Can we have an all green dinner, too?!?" Being the oh-so-fun mom that I am, I blurted out, "Oh sure! It'll be ready in just a bit!" So, after adding a few drops of food coloring, we had green macaroni. It was the strangest thing I had eaten in a long time. Somehow the food coloring canceled out all other flavor and it literally tasted like nothing to me. It was very easy to keep my pasta portion small! The girls simply loved it, though!

This is their new favorite activity, and I have to say I am thrilled!

And, I just have to post a genuine smile from Lauren! As soon as my camera comes out she shifts into fake smiles and no eye contact. But, I happened to catch her unawares as she laughed at her hilarious baby sister. This is really my big girl most of the time, even though my snapshots tell a different story!

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Wow - looks like my posts are few and far between TonT! Well, at least there will be something keeping this blog alive.

1. Happy St. Patrick's Day! We started our morning with this:
We opted for green pancakes this year instead of eggs since getting Lauren to eat eggs is worse than a root canal. The both seemed to love them, and as a bonus we were able to eat them with Daddy before he headed off to work! That makes any day extra special!!!

2. House update - the house we put a bid in on came back with almost $20K more, and we are not going to be doing that! So, now we are back to square one with house shopping. Actually, we are considering putting an offer in on our rental if we don't find something else wonderful really quickly!

3. Speaking of house shopping, these short-sales and foreclosures are hilarious! Seriously, we have seen some very strange things in these empty homes! But, I have to say that this was the weirdest moment so far - we opened a linen closet in the hallway to find this:

This house was having some tile laid and other work done, and my brother-in-law Shawn said, "Maybe THIS is why it has taken them so long to get it done!" Power tools and a liquor CLOSET -- the only things in this vacant home! Hysterical!!! I actually really liked the floor-plan of this home, but it needs quite a bit of work done still and we don't know that we are up for that!

4. Anyone know a good way to calculate postage without a scale? I have some disks to mail but really dread hauling my children into the Post Office!

5. I love my crockpot! I think it is the easiest way to make dinner, but honestly I haven't loved the food that comes out of it. Until last night. I usually make chili in a pot on the stove, but yesterday I made it in the crockpot and now I am convinced that crockpots were created to make chili! It was way more flavorful and thick! Awesome.

6. We are thinking about having a yard sale on Saturday - but I have a cold, so I am questioning how realistic this idea is! Part of me would rather try to sell the big items on craigslist and take the small items to Goodwill instead!

7. I am addicted to Hell's Kitchen - not even sure why. The show is maddening, all the contestants are horrible, and he is just a nightmare in a chef's jacket! But I love watching them every Thursday! It is a guilty pleasure. I think I am mostly happy that he is screaming and swearing at them and not at me! ;o)

8. Lately I have had an itch to decorate. I get this way every few years, where I want to re-do a room or something. Only problem - RENTAL. Big decorating no-no. Maybe I should work on a project instead! Our neighbors gave the girls this cute little wooden table and chairs that I have wanted to refinish... only I have never refinished anything before. That should be an adventure...

9. My "Keep-Your-Mouth-Shut" moment of the week: While going through the coupons yesterday I found an insert from Band-Aid promoting their newest kind of bandage. There was a coupon and a sample Band-Aid glued into the insert. Above the sample it said, "Try it NOW!" I laughed out loud saying, "Right! I will go cut myself right now so I can try this out!" (Yes, I talk to myself) And not even an hour later, guess what happened? Sliced my finger on a knife! Good thing I had my sample Band-Aid right there on the counter. And I have to say, it is a very nice bandage! LOL!

10. OK - I am out of ideas! So, here is a picture of my favorite part of fun holidays:

wearing silly things on our head! Have a great day everyone!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Enjoying the weather

Yesterday we met Justin's parents halfway for a picnic and sand rail ride to celebrate Nel's birthday on Tuesday. The weather was perfect and it was nice to just spend a little time in the spring sunshine. Too soon we will be roasting in it!

Crazy-face Lauren strikes again!

She was having the best time with the giant bubble wand Grandma brought!

Paige was thrilled to have freedom to play in the dirt and rocks!

For not having any nap (other than 15 minutes of the rail ride), she was a champ and didn't even melt down!

Papa took a little time to teach her about the joy of throwing rocks in the water.

She thought that was pretty great! Lauren had a blast in the water as well:

We were fortunate to find a great spot with this little creek flowing through it. I am always amazed how kids don't care if the water is freezing, they just get right in there anyway!

It was a really nice day - and the pictures make me smile, especially since this morning I am coughing and have no voice at all. Thoughts of this day outside will have to get me through a week where I am likely to be cooped up in the house trying to get well!

Friday, March 13, 2009

From the mouth of babes...

I had to laugh - this morning, Lauren was eating her M&M pancakes and I had made the M&M's into a happy face. She stopped and stared at it for a moment, looked at me and asked, "Mommy, is this a boy face or a girl face?" I said I wasn't sure and asked her what she thought it was.

"I think it is a boy face because the mouth is small. Girls have BIIIIIG mouths."

Oh, how right you are, baby girl. :oD

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

This is me officially jumping on the TonT bandwagon! *jump*

I love TonT and follow many blogs where the writers do them... so here we go, ten random things going on with us:

1. We put in an offer on a house today. It is a short sale, so we don't expect to hear back from the bank for a while. In the meantime, we are still looking. There is nothing like trying to go look at houses with two kids in tow. I am finding I have little patience for it. ;oP

2. Paige is giving really good hugs right now. Big, long hugs where she squeezes you as much as she can. It makes my day, every.time.

3. She blows pretty good kisses too:

4. I am really bummed that my produce co-op is shutting down due to economic issues. I won't get my surprise bag of fruit and veggies anymore!

5. In order to try and appease my inner bargain shopper with something else, I have been checking out Azure instead. They seem to have really great deals on natural foods... just not my beloved produce.

6. Our rental was supposed to foreclose yesterday, but by the grace of God the auction date has been pushed back again - even though there were no new offers on the house. The new date is April 13th, happy birthday to me.

7. Lauren is getting TOO grown up! She is logical and organized, and is really into pretending to be a grown-up. Something about this picture gives me a peek into what she will look like in ten years or so:
8. I have been working on starting up my own photography business. It is a giant step for me, so I am taking it slow. I have done a few sample photo sessions though, and I find a really enjoy them and am actually energized afterward! Between that and looking for a house, keeping up this house, and being a mom of two - suddenly my days seem super-short!

9. My girls are totally and completely in love with their Daddy. Paige calls for him throughout the day, Lauren asks where he is the moment she gets up and chooses her clothing based on what Daddy will like. Today she was playing with Valentines Day stickers and set one off to the side, saying, "That one is for Daddy. It has a bow and arrow." (It was cupid.) They are smitten, and I can't say I blame them!

10. I have a new addiction, Cooking Light. I subscribed to the magazine and have yet to make anything from it that I didn't like! We won't talk about whether Lauren liked them or not...

YAY! I did it! It wasn't too hard. Now I have to start keeping a running list of TonT ideas for next week!