Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cookie Time To Help

A long time ago, before Nestle Toll House cookie dough came in a slice and bake tube, my mom used to make homemade cookies. I still have strong memories of watching her do the hard part of putting the dough on the pan-carefully and precisely. While I don't make cookies much, I still want that to be an memory my kids have. Today, I invited them into the kitchen with me instead blowing through the recipe myself. We all know how the story goes-they don't do it quite right, they're so cute and excited, and we all feel warm and fuzzy all over. 

We made John's favorite cookies, Quaker Oats vanishing oatmeal cookies. Instead of 1 cup of raisins, we use a whole bag of chocolate chips. Life is short-choose chocolate. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Phone Drop Update

Hello! Here is an update of my life via pictures from my phone-mainly cute things that my children are doing. The picture above is a picture of iced coffee and some flowers I cut from a field. I was treating myself because I got a new job with my favorite boss of all time doing something that is very close to a dream come true. More to come on that...

Burl and Fern are the sweetest of playmates.

I adore their rowdy tricks and funny antics. Pull the cushions off the sofa, pile the pillows, make a mess...these two get very creative during the days.

She walked in with this outfit and told me she has to go to the beach and to work.
Toddler talk paired with toddler style is edible.

While we frequently get twin yolks from my dad's chickens, one of those babes produced the biggest egg I've ever seen. Bless her heart.

First nails done in color. I never paint my nails, but I felt this huge bong and draw to have both our nails painted pink. Fern's girliness is rubbing off on me.

About 92% of the time, Burl is in warrior mode.

Our newest 4-week old friend had his first pool visit. Fern was so excited to have him join us. She was extra attentive when he was awake and moving.

I made tostadas for the first time and an avocado/kidney bean salad. The kids raved about this meal. Burl asked if we could have it again the next night.

Obviously, there's not much excitement going on here.
I'm just raising babies, making food, and enjoying the slow pace.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

This Week's Menu

Every night we have dessert after dinner. Most times it is fruit, and sometimes we have cheese slices or bread with butter. Very rarely do we actually have a sugar dessert, but it does feel special on those nights! On really great nights, we go outside to eat our dessert. However, this time of year we seem to be food for the mosquitoes. They enjoy us more than we enjoy our dessert outside, but we still make attempts every so often because it feels special in a small way. Here's what we're eating for dinner this week:

Shrimp bowl, salad
Fish tacos, green beans
Chicken tortilla soup
Dinner out

Thursday, August 21, 2014

High School Mixed CDs

Dear all high school students, past/present/future, there is no other music as good as the music you discover(ed) in high school. Due to the time of year and the back to school everything, I'm feeling nostalgic for my music. Instead of listening for my songs to come on the radio and dashing to the tape player to hit PLAY and RECORD, I simply browsed my iTunes Library. I wanted a quick mixed CD, but ended up with too much to fit on just one. I divided into guys and girls: 

Dreams by The Cranberries
Linger by The Cranberries
Cowboy Take Me Away by Dixie Chicks
Wide Open Spaces by Dixie Chicks
I'm the Only One by Melissa Etheridge
Come To My Window by Melissa Etheridge
Wonder by Natalie Merchant
Jealousy by Natalie Merchant
Sweet Surrender by Sarah McLachlan
Adia by Sarah McLachlan
My Favorite Mistake by Sheryl Crow
If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow
Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
These Are The Days by 10,000 Maniacs

She Talks To Angels by The Black Crowes
No Rain by Blind Melon
Run-Around Blues Traveler
Round Here by Counting Crows
A Long December by Counting Crows
Hanginaround by Counting Crows
Mr. Jones by Counting Crows
Satellite by Dave Matthews Band
Hey Jealousy by Gin Blossoms
Wild Night by John Mellencamp
Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam
Jeremy by Pearl Jam
Black by Pearly Jam
Better Man by Pearl Jam
Daughter by Pearl Jam
Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root

If I had to pick one song as my high school anthem it would be These Are The Days by 10,000 Maniacs. It takes me back to senior year when I played it 49209885 times in a row; worked on end of the year projects (mainly, journal pages for English class); and felt like the world was mine. Class of '99!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Being Around Our House

We've been spending more time at home lately. There's no particular reason, but we're all finding the slow pace to be refreshing. Our days are filled with white space to slowly fill as we want and visitors coming and going. We have extremely slow mornings of coffee, juice cups, stoop time, TV, and that beautiful magic we call kids playing. This unscheduled time feels slow and calm but also full and lively-and I believe those things can happen at once. Last week, in particular, we had several friends, family, and babies come by. Out of 26 people, half of those were invited and scheduled visits and the other half were just drop-ins. A few of those people came by more than once. Let me be the first to say it--I love it.

This pace feels like an adventure. Instead of exploring waterfalls and woods, our adventure is exploring 
vacancy and availability.  For this season, it's treating our little family well.

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Week's Menu

We've been enjoying more salads lately, so the kids are getting accustomed to eating them more frequently. I've noticed a trend that the more I offer salad or eat them myself, the more they are willing to try them and enjoy them. Hopefully salads become normal, daily food options and not something that we bring out every so often and stare at. So, here is what we're eating this week:

5-bean chili, salad
Loaded baked potato, blue cheese lettuce wedge
Sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, squash, beet/goat cheese salad, bread
BLTs, grilled corn on the cob

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Save The Drawing Spot

I tend to celebrate a few of the cliche frustrations of being a mother, because they make me feel like I am REALLY a mom. Throwing up when pregnant (experienced) and child cutting their own hair (not yet experienced) seem so exciting to me, because I'm actually experiencing them first hand. When Burl was younger, he had a spot in the dining room where he would sneak away and draw on the walls. Magical. While I don't allow drawing on the walls, I still cherished the spot. (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me several times, and START PAYING BETTER ATTENTION, MAMA!) The spot grew and so did my awareness, and eventually he didn't draw there anymore. 

When I painted my blue dining room white, I wanted to save the spot. I didn't save the whole spot, just an 8x10 section that I taped off. It's special to me. I nailed a frame around it. Somewhere between respecting our house and taking care of our things and children actually live here and we value their messes, is me and my little framed artwork. I like to decorate and make things pretty, but I love whimsy and sweet character that my kids have created. 

I remember feeling a little bit excited when I saw the spot for the first time. It was a little "ohmygosh, this actually does happen. I'm a mom!" I'm just not ready to let that spot go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sibling Stoop Talk

They're ready to walk Burl to school. I need to do a couple more things before we leave, so I send them to sit on the front stoop. That stoop is small, but in terms of porches-it's all we have so we make it work. I head to the door and I catch them talking. They ask questions back and forth, and Burl takes the lead on explaining important life things to Fern, "That's not a horse, it's just a mailbox." I stay quiet and reach for my phone to record some of it to show John later. 

The conversations that they have when they're with each other is one of my absolute favorite things about siblings. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

This Week's Menu

John and I are swinging on the healthy side these weeks. What that means for us, which is different for all of us, is that we are pushing ourselves to eat more salads and stop snacking at night. We're laying off sweets. We feel so much better. I'm still struggling to find a healthy place with food, so I welcome advice and words of wisdom. For this week, here's what we're eating:

Black beans & rice with all the fun toppings
Bean & bacon soup, salad
Fettuccine bolognese, salad, bread (making this for a crowd coming for dinner)
Pinto beans, sweet potato, sauteed squash, steamed broccoli
Tostadas, kidney bean/avocado salad

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

{Right Now, In Our Home}

Right now, in our home I am...
...bringing hydrangeas inside and spreading them around the house. the rest of them away this week to a friend's wedding.
...laughing at my attempts at family pictures.
...pretending my purple monkey grass things are lavender I collected when horseback riding in the countryside, as if.
...taping bubble bottles to anything to prevent spills. the credit for that tip to Instagram.
...finding forts and campsites all over the house in the smallest of places.
...making fruit and spinach smoothies daily.
...freezing the leftovers for ice cream snacks.
...reading fiction for the first time in too long.
...enjoying the break from the seriousness that nonfiction brings.
...looking forward to more of Summer and big and little adventures.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Renaissance Park Picnic

Today the kids and I enjoyed a picnic at a new park in Chattanooga.
Since I'm still learning where all its paths lead, it's new to me. 

Our picnic was a normal, fairly typical picnic. We went back and forth from eating and playing. There were gripes about "there are no toys here" that turned into digging in the dirt, climbing trees, and playing with bugs. We explored a few little places that seemed insignificant to me, but played a large role in the children's adventures. We were having such a good time, that I did what I always do-I pushed the kids past their nap times. They were excited about each little extra thing I mentioned, but things fell apart when I announced those three daunting words: On the way home we stopped to see John and the kids were so happy to tell him that "we had fun. went on an adventure." Indeed.