Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Three Thanksgivings, Three Years of Thanksgivings, and Friendships

I'm pretty sure the pilgrims only did one Thanksgiving for a reason- stomachs are NOT designed to handle three Thanksgivings!

However, this year my family will be putting it to the test... more specifically, my husband and I will be putting it to the test (so far Thanksgiving dinner is a fail on my son who only ate waffles....). 

Being in the Navy has made planning Thanksgiving dinner fairly tricky.  Our first Thanksgiving here we did potluck with friends.  It was unclear if the band would get leave, if they were doing a parade, if there were other gigs.  So everyone stuck around.  It was a nice dinner, though a bit awkward since I didn't really know anyone who was there.  We had only been in Great Lakes for 8 months and I was still trying to make friends.  My husband accepted a dinner invitation before realizing there were other options.  But that was fine.  We ate good food, I made an awesome peppermint cake =) 

Last year we did another Thanksgiving potluck.  The band was certain to do the Thanksgiving day parade in Chicago, so everyone was here.  This time was with closer friends.  I made two pies and bread. YUM! Challah is kick-ass bread! 

This year, however.... my parents were in town last week.  So we did an early Thanksgiving dinner.  It was Thanksgiving as I remember.  All my favorites, cooked by my mom (all I did was pie... do you sense a theme with my contributions??).  It was awesome! But in tradition of my mom's cooking, there was WAY too much leftover.  Just as I finish recovering from turkey and stuffing overdose, I am about to do it ALL. OVER. AGAIN. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Again, the band is doing a parade.  We are doing a small dinner with our close friends.  I'm making turkey (just the breast... I don't think I could handle the whole thing!), stuffing, pie, cookies (my kids don't like pie...WTF?!), and either bread or rolls, I haven't decided yet.  It will be a nice, quiet dinner. Hopefully a lot of the leftovers will be brought home by our friends. Because...

We also accepted an invitation to a potluck on Friday. Lots of people, so I am told!  New friends for me, new friends for the kids.  It will be fun, chaotic, and what Thanksgiving is about.  To me, it is not just family that makes Thanksgiving.  It is all of our relationships.  Close friends, acquaintances, in laws, new friends. Everyone is what this holiday is about.  I am very thankful for many things (if I ever update my 30 days of thankful you will know... oops...) but near the top of my list is my relationships.  Even ones that have long since past have helped shaped me into who I am today. 

So, tomorrow night, as I lay back in my turkey induced coma, I will think about my friends.  I will think about my best friend from birth, Emily, whom I played with for 12 years, went to elementary and middle school with.  We may not talk to each other every week, or even every year, but she helped shaped my childhood and adolescent self.  I think about crushes in high school, the friendships of my best friend circle whom I still hold dear to my heart and think about constantly.  I think about the friends I partied with, the ones I was a bit too wild with.  I am thankful I did that in high school so I could focus more in college.  I am thankful for my college boyfriend.  He not only put up with a lot of my crap I was going through, but he is still a good friend.  I think about finding Dave again after not seeing him for years. I think about all my new friends here, who have made my first move with the Navy a positive and rewarding experience.

So thank you, friends.  Very very much from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thankful: Day 3

Day 3: I am grateful for my cats. Sometimes just a rub against my leg, a mew, or a cuddle can make all the difference in my mood.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thankful

I will be joining Holly over at Sunny Side Up in an Upside Down World this month for 30 Days of Thankful challenge. 

I am excited about this one... partially because it is only 30 days, and we've all seen how I tried to do a 365 day challenge. Yeah, not so much.  But also because I think Thanksgiving seems to get lost in all the commotion between Halloween and Christmas holidays.  This will get me to really remember what it means to be thankful.  Each day I will post something I am grateful for.  Please join me in this wonderful opportunity!

Day 1: I am grateful for my husband's job.  Not every musician out there is so lucky!

Day 2:  I am grateful that my daughter woke up today and said "I promise not to do anything to annoy my brother today."  Even if she doesn't follow through completely, it was nice of her to say that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Confessionals: On My Affair


That's right... I confess I am having an affair.......

I am cheating on my BLOG!

with this....

 and this....
 and this...

That's right.  I haven't been blogging lately (er... for awhile...) because I am starting an Etsy / Facebook knitting business.  I'm having such a blast knitting for friends that I decided to start selling  my knitting projects.  I have a lot of custom orders already, so I'm spending all my spare time (and not so spare time... sorry house, you are also neglected during my affair) knitting! It's gotten to the point that I am so into knitting I can barely sleep at night because I'm thinking about knitting.

Slightly pathetic... but it makes me happy!

Do you have any confessions today?  Be sure to link up with Mamarazzi

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Pie

It's been two weeks since we went apple picking and I STILL have a fruit drawer full of apples... Nothing using up a ton of apples in such a delicious way as apple pie!

This is my FAVORITE apple pie recipe.  Not just because it is super yummy, but because it only requires one pie crust, and it is far easier to make a crumb top than a second pie crust (I am just NOT skilled at putting on a top to a pie!)

The pie dough is a basic pastry dough recipe that I grew up baking with my mom.  The filling is a tweaked recipe from Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Basic Pastry Dough: Makes one pie crust
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 stick (4oz) cold butter cut into small chunks
1 tsp salt (less if you use salted butter)
(You can add 1 tsp of sugar if you prefer)
about 1/4 cup cold water

Add flour, butter, and salt to a food processor (I use a mini one because 1. it is all I  have, and 2. it fits the dough perfectly).  process until mixture has a coarse consistency.  Slowly pour a little bit of water at a time through the lid of the processor while running it, do so until dough begins to form a ball.  Turn out onto wax paper and shape into a flat disc.  Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze for later use.  Let stand to room temperature when ready to use.

Cinnamon Apple Pie Filling and Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 TBSP cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces

up to 10 Apples, about 6 cups when cut (depending on the size, you can use more or less.  I always prefer to use more than needed...those extra sugary/seasoned apples are great to snack on while the pie bakes!)
1 TBSP lemon juice
 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 TBSP flour (recipe originally called for cornstarch, but I've always used flour in pies)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Roll the dough into a 12 inch disk. Transfer to a round 9inch pie dish.  Trim the edges and pinch together to create a high rim.

In the (mini) food processor, combine pie topping ingredients.  Pulse until mixture is crumbly. Do not overpulse, or put ingredients into a bowl and use a pastry blender.  Refridgerate until ready to use.

For the filling: Peel the skin off all the apples, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Put into a large bowl toss to coat with lemon juice.  Add the rest of the pie filling ingredients and mix well.  Fill the pie dough with the apples, then cover pie with crumb topping.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat over to 375F.  Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 50-60 minutes. Cool completely to set.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mommy and Me Monday

Helping my daughter climb up the slide.  This ended with mommy being pulled down the slide!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Want to participate? Make sure you link up!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

400th Post!

Since January 23, 2008, I have written 400 blog posts!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Yeah yeah... I would have hit 400 ages ago had I been a more consistent blogger.  But hopefully I have some regular followers by now who are forgiving of my laziness?  Maybe??

If you regularly read my blog, I'd love to hear from you.  Seriously, I have no idea who reads this.  I promise I won't stalk you or bug you with questions or bounce ideas off of you.  I just want to see if I am getting lost out there in blog world.  (but if you do have suggestions or critiques, I'd LOVE to hear them!!)  Obviously don't tell me something like I need crazy graphics or to change html because, in reality, there is only so much a partially computer-illiterate broke person can do!

Anyway, back to the number 400.  It's amazing how my life has changed over those 400 posts.  I added another kid to the family.  My husband got his masters degree, joined the Navy, we moved to Great Lakes, daughter started preschool, sister moved to Houston, mom had major back surgery, etc etc etc.  It's been a rough but wonderful few years.

Yet, over all that time, I still feel like I haven't quite found my blog niche.  (Here's where your suggestions can really come in handy!!)  Should I take the navy band wife approach?  I really don't have much to say on that respect.  Most of the recipes I make aren't my own, so that's kind of lame.  I'm a half-assed crafter (ie, I don't finish half the projects I start!).  So, yeah, you can see why I am still feeling a bit lost out here.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I love Target.  I found these dinosaur wall stickers in the dollar bins a few weeks ago and HAD to buy them.  Now that my son is into trains AND dinosaurs, it only seemed fitting to have a dinosaur themed wall in his room. 

Friday Confessionals: On Turning 30


Hosted by Mamarazzi

Link up and confess your
secrets from the week.

 In 4 more days I turn 30. Here are some confessions I have about this upcoming birthday...

I confess... that I have been telling EVERYONE that I'm not bothered at all about turning 30 because I am already married and have children... But I AM bothered!

I confess... that I am a bit nervous that I am almost 30 and have NO idea what to do with my life.

I confess... that I am a bit nervous my husband isn't getting me anything.  We always say no gifts, but really, isn't that woman's talk for "you'd better be surprising me!"

I confess... that I totally want to break my diet and go out for Chinese Buffet.  Of ALL the places I could pick to eat at that night, that's where I pick.  Bring it on!

Got any confessions for today?  Make sure you link up!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Extra-Curricular Activities with Preschoolers

In the past 4.5 years that I have been a mom, I have yet to sign either of my children up for a class (excluding preschool and summer camp).  No baby gym, no baby music, no mommy and toddler swim, no dance.  Nothing. We've had museum memberships, zoo memberships, that sort of stuff, but I really hadn't seen the point to carting around two small children back and forth between activities that they probably really didn't care whether they were signed up for or not.

Until now...

The community center down the street from us offers three programs in the fall for ages 4-5.  Soccer.  Dance.  Tae Kwon Do.  Apparently I waiting too long to sign my daughter up for soccer, so I gathered up information about the two remaining classes.  Dance was one day a week and $35/month.  Tae Kwon Do was 2 days a week and $30/month.  WELL. I am the sort of person who wants to get the most for her money, and my daughter really didn't care which I signed up for, so I picked Tae Kwon Do. Thankfully you pay per month, so if she doesn't like one class, the next month we can sign up for the other!

Last week was her first week and, although she didn't quite grasp the concept of how to punch, she did really well. She followed directions about as well as you can expect from a 4 year old, and she really did try.  This week she will have her cute white uniform like the other kids, so I will make sure to have my camera ready!

I hope she sticks with it for awhile. She looks too cute!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

6th Wedding Anniversary!

This day EXACTLY I married my husband.

6 years ago today was a Monday.  He took off school and I took off work and we headed down to the local judge's office.  The building was next to the bowling alley I went to as a teen.  It was next to the movie theater where I had my first job (aside from babysitting).  The building also used to be a little ice cream shop where my camp (then high school) friend Rifka used to work.

Stepping into this building, holding my soon to be husband's hand was nothing but WEIRD!  We signed in, handed the clerk our paperwork, and waited for our turn to enter the judge's chambers (really, just a small room with some chairs!).  While we waited a large man with a loud voice barged into the waiting room and announced "I WANT TO SUE SOMEBODY!" We were called back to the judge's chambers before we could hear who was being sued and why. 

It is amazing that one small, hidden space, among many other small businesses, can hold so much energy, memories, and emotions.  Every time I go back home and am driving around the city I grew up in, I always find myself driving by that building at least once.  I wonder if that person actually sued another person.  I wonder if the Polaroid the judge snapped is still hanging on the wall of other eloped couples.  I wonder how many of those couples made it to 6 years like I have. 

One question I NEVER ask myself is "did I make the right decision".  I have no doubt in my mind that walking into that building was the best decision I have ever made.  I am looking at my husband right now, sitting in silence while the children are sleeping (hopefully), and I don't have negative thought about that man running through my mind.  I'm not saying he's perfect, I am not delusional (much...) but I know that we are a prefect fit!

I hope the next year is just as amazing as this past one!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am usually pretty behind on most iPhone App crazes.  I only recently (the past month) downloaded and started playing around with the Instagram app. It is a fun way to tweak your photos and make them look fun, old school, unique without knowing anything about photography.  This is the app for someone like me who can only handle the camera on her phone or a point and shoot camera.  If you like taking photos but don't have an "eye" for it, this is a fun app to get.

My kids having a picnic with a friend before instagram:
 My kids having a picnic with a friend after instagram:
Sunset during my run before instagram:
Sunset during my run after instagram:

View of the Pittsburgh skyline from my car before instagram:
View of the Pittsburgh skyline from my car after instagram:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Autumn Is Upon Us!

Pants, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, fleece jackets... all these items have been taken out of closets and put into our dressers.  Temperatures have dropped, apples are being picked off trees, pumpkins are in the grocery stores.  Kids are back in school.  Hints of yellow, orange, and red are appearing on leaves. 

It is becoming autumn, my favorite season of the year.  I love the feeling of the crisp, cool air.  I love wearing sweatshirts.  I love hearing little feet crunch fallen leaves with every joyful step. I love taking my kids to the local apple orchard and watching their faces as they glow with the delight of doing something so simple as picking an apple off of a tree.  I absolutely LOVE fresh apple pie!  I love hearing the kids talk about Halloween and what they want to be, changing their minds every week because they are too excited to pick just one costume.  I love that my daughter ONLY wanted to get Halloween books and cds from the library because she is so excited about a holiday that is over a month away.

What is your favorite season?  Does it bring you as much joy as Autumn brings me? 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Smiles Shouldn't Be This Difficult!

After many months of wanting to grow her hair "like Rapunzel"... My daughter decided the tears nearly every morning from tangled hair wasn't worth being like a princess.  She declared "I want my hair to be shorter and styled".

I really wanted to get some nice before and after photos since she was getting about 4 inches cut off, but for some reason getting a 4 year old to smile on cue isn't as easy as you would think!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Independent Play

Please don't judge me on this outfit... She picked it out herself. And who am I to stump creativity?

Until about a year ago, my daughter was a very independent player.  She would sit in the living room or her bedroom and entertain herself so nicely that if I even attempted to play with her, she would get mad at me.

At some point over the last year, she has forgotten how to play independently.  She is more whiny, demanding, and insists she does not know how to play with her toys unless either my husband or I am with her.  I'm not sure if it is a personality trait or age...but after chatting with other moms of 4.5 year olds, it sounds like this is an age-thing.  And it is really darn annoying!! Don't get me wrong, I love playing with my children, but I hate the complaining that comes out of my daughters mouth when I say I can't play with her because I have to do something else. 

In an attempt to get her to play without me, we went to the store last night and let her pick out an area rug for her bedroom.  Her brother has one of those rugs with the roads and buildings on it for his trains and cars, so we thought maybe her ponies and polly pockets would like to play on a rug too?? (Hey, pirates like flowers and butterflies too, right?). 

It has only been about 14 hours and already she has played twice up in her room quite nicely.  I hope this works  because this momma needs to clean her house!! (Or blog.....)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Confessionals


I confess...
That it is still August and I have a whole pile of Christmas toys already bought for my children.

I confess....
That I already have their birthday parties planned.
And they are born January/February.

I confess...
Most of the toys I am selling at a yard sale tomorrow are still age appropriate but I am selling them to make room for Christmas and birthdays.

I confess....
I think about this sort of stuff to avoid the fact that if I thought to much about myself or my life as of right now I would be sad and get more depressed.

Go participate with Mamarazzi and share your confessions!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blog Redesigned

I am currently attending my first ever Bloggy Bootcamp. I am learning so much I might not sleep tonight because I will be on my computer all night. This blog WILL be updated by tomorrow, even if it mean my head explodes with frustration and I get no sleep.

I hope I can navigate well enough to make the changes I am envisioning. Please continue to read, if you are new to my blog, please be patient and return to my blog. As always, I appreciate all feedback, positive or negative!!!

Seriously though, why hasn't anyone told me what I am now learning? My blog is a mess and I was oblivious!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day Out With Thomas... Take 3!!

Today we got to see Thomas the Tank Engine up close and personal... for the THIRD time! 

My husband was promptly fired from picture taking...Seriously, why take a picture with Thomas if you can't SEE Thomas??

Some may ask why we've gone three times... it is not like each time was terribly different and it was fairly expensive.  Despite the fact that me and my husband find it a little boring and we already know that the actual riding on Thomas is lame, this is an activity that is truly just for the kids and they can't remember the previous visits, especially our train obsessed little boy!!

Waiting in line to board the coaches... Ben said we were on Annie

So, because I love my children and spoil them rotten, I was able to convince my husband to purchase tickets for Day Out With Thomas.  When we went 3 summers ago, we got the tickets to ride on Thomas.  My daughter was 2.5 and loved it!  Last year, she wasn't as into trains and our son was only 1.5 so we paid to enter the railway museum but not actually ride on Thomas.  We got away with it probably because our son wasn't vocal enough to say "Hey mom, why are you depriving me of this awesome experience?"  This is probably our last summer in Illinois, and our last summer seeing Thomas up close.  So hey...what's another $80 to feed into my son's obsession? 

You know what?  That money was TOTALLY worth it!! He was awestruck!! Seriously, the kid barely made a peep the entire time! He didn't talk full sentences until we got back to the car!

Ok... Maybe my husband wasn't fired after all!  

Thursday, July 28, 2011


As in true Kate fashion, I have started yet another project that I cannot finish.  I contribute my pathetic attempt at a 365 photo project to the fact that my camera broke.   This is probably 20% of the cause.  The rest is all on me.

I plan on trying again in 2012.  I'm not totally giving up I suppose. I just give up on this particular attempt.

I must have DOZENS of projects started in my house that I plan on finishing... one day.  The majority are craft projects.  Some have not been started, but many have.  Most of them are cross-stitches.  I am STILL working on the one I started for my son last year. Maybe by the time he is school age I will finish it?!

have grand ideas for so many things that never get done.  So maybe in 2012 I will make it all the way through summer? and by 2014 I can finish a full year of photos?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Broken No More! What To Do With Crayon Pieces

I have issues with crayons.  The moment a new box is opened, my son is ripping the paper off and snapping the crayons.  Crayola came out with twist crayons that are awesome, but they didn't solve the problem of what to do with all the broken pieces we've accumulated in the past. 

So, thanks to google, I was able to come up with this solution to our crayon problem and not spend another penny!

1. heat oven to 250F.
2. Get an old baking tin that you don't mind dedicating to your broken crayons or other crafts. Spray with cooking spray and fill each area with crayon bits.  You can either sort by color like I did, or combine all the colors for super wacky crayons.
3. Bake until crayons are melted.
4. Place the pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 
5. Pop out the crayons and enjoy!

Of course my son still figured out how to break them, but at least I can always remelt the pieces into new crayons! 

Other tips: you can melt the crayons in the microwave or another container and pour the melted crayon into candy molds for cool shapes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

365 Project... How to continue from here?

I have not posted a 365 Project post since May 14th.  I'm not sure how to continue from here.  I have been taking photos, I have quite a few.  I just can't remember what day I took them! 

Dear readers, please help me make a decision.  Do I: 1.) spend hours upon hours attempting to figure out which picture goes to which day, or 2.) just post nearly 2 months worth of pictures with captions, and not really label which day they go to?

Cast your votes... NOW!

Monday, July 11, 2011

We Bought WHAT?!

When I was little, I NEVER went to yard sales.  Either my mom wasn't interested, or they just didn't occur where we lived.  I suspect it was the latter reason since I don't remember neighbors ever putting their old junk outside on the lawns!  Because of that, I never understood yard sales.  What was the point? Why not just donate or throw away what you don't use anymore?

When I started having kids, and realized how overpriced pretty much everything in stores is, I discovered Craigslist.  I thought that was the bees knees!  I can buy stuff I want SUPER discounted and still in good condition. How cool!!

Not too long after she was born, I was told about freecycle. HOLY SMOKES the stuff some people just GIVE AWAY!  And it was so easy to give away our old junk.  People will pretty much take anything, plus it made me feel better not throwing away stuff that we didn't need that was still good... I even gave away my unused wedding dress to a charity! (That's a story for another post!). 

Then we moved to the military housing.  What I have experienced makes Freecycle and Craiglist look a little pathetic.  Because families are constantly moving, they are always trying to get rid of stuff that they either can't or won't move with.  Sometimes we drive down the street on trash morning and people have put out perfectly good scooters, kids desks,bikes, this past week we got a sand/water table. Once the temperatures get above 60, you can guarantee at least three or four yard sales in our neighborhood every Friday/Saturday.  As like most yard sales, some stuff really ought to just be donated, or prices are too high, but I am lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it... I say lucky, bank account says unlucky) to find at least one item we could use... Notice I didn't say NEED.  Ha ha!

Well... now going back to the title of this post... this is the item we purchased this past weekend. I swear, I normally only spend between $1 and $5 per weekend at yard sales, but this item was WAY TOO COOL to pass up!  I checked out the yard sale, bought a container of stamps for $2 because my son really wanted them (and we do actually love doing stamps), and I saw the bounce house.  No way would my Hubby EVER agree to this, so when I got home I hesitated to tell him.  Much to my surprise, he asked me to take him back to the yard sale to show him.  He bargained with the seller, and we got it for half the original retail price!

Now we just need to move somewhere like Hawaii where we could use the bounce house all year long!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I am still taking photos every day, but I am FAR behind on getting them up on the blog since I can only use my phone camera.  Our real camera broke.  To be more specific, we lost the battery charger.  Even if we COULD find the charger, we still could  not use the camera because a certain toddler spilled juice on the camera so the shutter no longer opens. 

But we are still around, still busy, still snapping photos when we remember, and occasionally videos.  But my whole existence seems to be stalled right now.  Aside from day to day functionality, everything else is ignored. The kids are a handful due to chilly temps and lots of drizzle and massive amounts of pent up energy.  I don't have much help since my husband is working nearly every day and not regular business hours.  So I do what needs to be done to keep them happy and fed, but that's about it.  After that I can't seem to muster the energy to focus on me or our house.  Minimal cleaning is done... enough to keep us clothed, ants away, and visitors not disgusted. 

I don't intend this to be a venting post... I'm not really sure what my intentions are at the moment.  Kids are entertaining themselves and I have found myself having a few free moments to let my mind ramble on, and my fingers seem to be following suit!  That seems to be happening a lot lately, the mind wandering, keeping me up at night thinking about all I wanted to accomplish but didn't, thinking about all I am ignoring, lists of things I want to do but just don't have the energy to do.  I've been here several times before... sometimes harmless, others...well, lets just say interventions were in order (don't worry, nothing like that now!!).  But that fear of "oh gosh...I don't want to go down this road again" are creeping back into my mind as it goes around in circles.  So long as I can keep the day to day going smoothly, things will get back on track, or so I hope!

But right now, with that "single married mom" feeling going on, it is a little difficult to get myself grounded and put my foot down and yell "this is ENOUGH! Go do what you need to do already!!"  So stalled is a good word for me and my life right at this moment.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Snippet From Memorial Day Parade

Chicago Memorial Day Parade ... Go to time stamp 3:49 to see Navy Band Great Lakes... Good closeups of my husband (the tuba player with a blue mouthpiece!).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Dumb Things We Do

Sometimes as a parent you come up with a really great idea to entertain your children that turns out to be the dumbest idea ever. Here are some of my more recent ones...

1.  Stamps... stamps are fun. I have fond memories of using stamps.  Of course most of those memories are from when I was 8.  Not TWO and FOUR years old.  Thankfully I was intelligent enough to spread the 2 dozen stamps and ink pads on the tile kitchen floor so the mess was easy to clean up.

2.  Six Flags on a 95+ degree day... Yeah, not so much. I thought if we went in the morning then we would be ok.  I felt as though I was dying after 45 minutes! Goodness knows how the kids were feeling in the heat, but weren't telling us because they didn't want to leave.

3.  Bouncy Balls... Yeah, God help my children if they break anything with this dang bouncy balls!  The Jacks that came with them weren't the best idea either.  The four year old is sad because the two year old keeps stepping on them and breaking them.  Thankfully the jacks were free from the treasure box at the dentist.

4.  Water guns... These are a current favorite at our house right now.  Two year old hates being sprayed with water, but of course is spraying his sister which means she WILL retaliate.  Oh well.. at least we bought 8 more yesterday so when friends come over there is no more fighting (over the guns, there will always be fighting over something!)

5.  Rocking chairs... I bought two at a yard sale and they are SO super cute.  They are wooden and just the right size for my kiddos.  Unfortunately the four year old has taken to extreme rocking chair activities. I swear it as if her butt will explode if it touches the chair.  She sits every way BUT the correct way.  I can't recall how many times I have threatened to give these chairs away.  She is a goober and knows that I won't go through with that threat.

Those are just a few examples of my dumb mommy brain as of late. I'm sure there are about 100 more examples of things I have done that I thought would be really great but turned out to be stupid ideas that I soon regretted.  Do you have any examples? Hopefully fewer than mine! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forget Spring, Hello Summer!

Apparently Chicagoland has forgotten a very important piece of information that most of us learn in preschool... the seasons go Fall - Winter - SPRING - Summer... How on earth have we gone from temperatures in the 40s/low 50s to 90?!  I actually like the mid to high 60s, thank you very much!

Thankfully my kids don't seem to care about the missing season.  They are quite content to dive into summer and all summertime activities.  I am pretty sure my daughter will be living in bathing suits the next few months except when clothing is not optional! Tonight, after dinner, Jordan declared it "water play day at our house!" and we filled up the kiddie pool and water table.  The sandbox got opened, bubbles were played with, and daddy got the fire going for (MINT!!) s'mores.  It is definitely summertime!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where Oh Where Has Spring Gone?

I know it rains in spring.  I accept that fact.  But today is May 26th and it is raining for the third day in a row, and the temperature is not supposed to get higher than 49F.  That is just WRONG. Memorial Day weekends are supposed to have people in shorts, grilling, and playing outside.  And here I am hiding the kids and myself inside as if we will turn into icicles if we step out of the house!

Not that I had grand plans for the weekend.  Holidays in this household are a bit jaded... they mean my husband will be working long hours every day.  No holiday weekend for us (if we are lucky we will get a few hours with him!).  So it is not like it matters if we are housebound, but I would at least like the OPTION of taking my kids outside without hearing whining about getting wet.

I am sure I will find things for the kids to do this weekend; childrens museum, husband's concert, crafts... but I would prefer to choose those things because we WANT to, not because those are the ONLY activities we can do.  I would like parks, Six Flags, walks, etc to be an option!  So, please Mother Nature, return spring to Chicagoland... all of us mothers would REALLY appreciate it, especially yours truly!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What He's Been Waiting For!

Since the new year started, my husband has been counting down the days until Six Flags opened.  Seriously, counting EACH DAY.  So, when the park opened and he had to WORK every day it was open, he was pretty upset.  Yesterday we could FINALLY go!!!

I measured the kids before we left.  Jordan is 41 inches, which means that she can still ride all the rides she went on last year, but is 1 inch too short for a few new rides.  Ben measured in at 35.75 inches.  With shoes, he is 36 inches, JUST tall enough to go on some bigger, real people rides (not those lame little kid rides... I mean, fun little kid rides....). 

I do believe that my 2 year old is now a roller coaster JUNKIE!  He LOVED all the new rides we went on.  And although I was scared to death that my baby was too little for such fast or spinning rides, he did have fun.  There were only two rides I will NOT let him go on again until he is a little bigger.  I swore I saw him nearly pass out!  Of course, being the new junkie that he is, as soon as his head stopped rolling and he could stand, he said "AGAIN! AGAIN!!"  But the roller coasters.... those were the biggest hit with him.  Thankfully we went on a weekday, at the beginning of the season, with chance of rain, so there weren't a lot of people there and we could re-ride without getting back in line a few times per ride.  If the park hadn't closed at 6pm we probably would have stayed longer!

I think this year's Six Flags experience for us will be an awesome one.  We can go on rides as a family, instead of one of the adults being left behind with Ben while the other takes Jordan on the big rides.  It's crazy.  Time is going way too fast.  My children are growing into these amazing, fun, thrill seekers!!

Thankfully we can still find horsies on carousels fun so that mommy's tummy can recuperate!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dear Movie Producers/Directors/To Whom It May Concern

The past two nights my husband and I watched Avatar.  Yes, TWO nights.  We got about halfway through it Monday night, and decided we had to go to bed.  It was 9:30pm.  We resumed last night and again, finished around 9:30 and headed up to bed.

Maybe we are lightweights... but maybe, just maybe, that movie was too dang long!  Don't get me wrong, I liked it.  But I probably would have liked it more had I been able to watch it in a theater. 

Why couldn't I watch it in a theater, you might be asking me.  Well, since my husband and I are the only two people on this planet who can put our son to bed, that means we cannot leave our house any earlier than 7:30pm. Which also means we are shooting for an 8:30 movie.  If we go to an 8:30 movie that is THREE hours long, we won't be leaving the movie theater until 11:45 (giving 15 minutes for previews).  Then drive home, then feed cats, clean up, go to bed.  That means, probably going to bed past 12:30am.  Our kids wake up at 6.  By my calculations, that is not a lot of sleep. 

Hollywood needs to have a time limit for movies.  2 hours tops, in my opinion (maybe 2.5 for exceptional movies).  As much as I dislike the 7th Harry Potter book being put into two movies, at least then less is lost from the books but I don't have to be in the theater ALL freakin night!  I am willing to pay the price of waiting a year to see the two movies. 

Although seeing Lord Of The Rings in theater was AWESOME, I didn't have kids then.  So it wasn't such a big deal.  Now that I am a mom, sadly I can only watch those long movies at home, which totally looses the cool effect.  Avatar was kinda lame on my tv and no movie theater popcorn and candy!

So please do me, and many moms out there a favor, movie makers... and make your movies shorter!


Rant over now!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

365 Project - Day 136

Kids playing (extreme) ring around the rosie. At least they are playing together! There was lots of falling down and crashing into each other.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

365 Project - Days 112-135

Day 112:
She had better not pee on that CLEAN laundry!

Day 113:
Lots of blue train track

Day 114:
Thomas Live

Day 115:
Camera fail... Ben had spilled juice on it without us realizing, and so the shutter wasn't opening properly.

Day 116:

Day 117:
The watering hole

Day 118:

Day 119:
Anyone want to buy this??

Day 120:

Day 121:
Touch a truck event. Jordan said "i'm going to turn off the brake!"

Day 122:

Day 123:

Day 124:
Still needs some practice...

Day 125:

Day 126:
Cinco Di Mayo - Made Mexican Lasagna

Day 127:
Preschool Mother's Day presentation

Day 128:
My Mother's Day present from my mommy... Cake Ball Maker! YUM!

Happy Mother's Day! Shame Ben was too busy looking at Penguins (and sorry this one was on the other Mother's Day post... didn't take many photos that day)

Day 130:

Day 131:

Day 132:

Day 133:
Got a membership to the Kohl's Children's Museum again

Day 134:
Watching the thunderstorm

Day 135:
Playing Thomas on the Wii with daddy