Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not Much Is New But I'll Post Anyway

Once upon a Tuesday one michevious toddler kept climbing on top of the chest that lives in the playroom. (Until Friday when we are getting a piano!!) I repeatedly told him to get down from the chest and typically he complied until he didn't. This time he didn't he looked at me and said "Mom, shake it off." Then proceeded to sing "Shake it Off" while dancing on top of the chest.

It was cute. But frustrating. Story of my life these days with him. He's keeping me on my toes that's for sure.

One little girl over here is 8 weeks old already. Where on Earth has the time gone already?! I can't stand it.


When we were still in our brand new just home phase a friend brought us dinner. It was Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas. And they were SO GOOD. We made them ourselves last week for dinner and I prepped the chicken this morning for us to have them again today! 

HERE is the recipe. My hacks are to mix the marinade in a bowl with a lid and just keep the chicken in that instead of transferring to a Ziploc. Also who has heavy cream in the house all the time? I just use a little splash of milk--less calories, still delicious and I always have some on hand. 

I am the stereotypical Minnesotan born who thinks not really spicy things are in fact really spicy but even with the tablespoon of chili powder it isn't overwhelming and we buy the mild green enchilada sauce. If you really like spicy stuff I imagine the recipe lends itself well to being kicked up a notch but I don't know about it. 

That's the story in our neck of the woods! 



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gingerbread: Like a Fiddler on the Roof!

Families create all sorts of traditions around Advent and Christmas. And sometimez people get caught up in "Do All the Things!" I get it. I want that idyllic childhood feeling of Christmas for my kids too. But we have resolved ourselves that there's only so much we can do AND that our oldest is only on his third Christmas. Which means there is plenty of room for evolution in the traditions over the next few years.

But there are two things we have done every year that we intend to continue every year. The first being Disney on Ice, which we went to at the beginning of the month. We love Disney and while a trip to the parks might not be feasible annually, especially with littles, a trip to the ice arena for Disney magic is. They have a tendency to come around the same time every year and so it has become a tradition for us that kicks off winter and Christmas for us.

The second thing we do is gingerbread house day! For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I wanted my family to build an annual gingerbread house. I honestly have no idea why, it is not something we did growing up but it seemed like something we should do. We like to bake. We like to decorate. We like details. Why not make gingerbread houses?

The first year I thought we should get a kit and keep it simple. Husband was not content with that idea and just dove into the deep end of crazy. We made our own gingerbread and royal icing from scratch. Somehow using things we had around the house primarily (though we did go buy some candy) we wound up with a house we were pretty proud of. It was modeled after our house, which was still very new to us at that time.

2012

Last year we invited Kathryn to come over and do gingerbread houses with us. We had learned some lessons from the past year and went into the night with a little bit more of a decorating plan. We stuck with our same gingerbread and royal icing frosting and once again we were happy with the results.

2013

This year my entire plan was to get away from the red/white/green theme we had the previous years. That was not a great basis for a plan and we were definitely slow to start with the whole process. A lot of time was spent on Pinterest and Google Image search trying to figure out what ideas spoke to us. As it happens, red and white houses speak to me.

But I was determined. I picked a Cape Cod style house so Husband got off and running with the making of the gingerbread templates, dough and baking. I was still unsure as to how we would decorate. But we also decided that this year C was old enough to have his own house. 

This was not without drama. He took a bite out of one of his roof pieces and was not a happy camper with the build the house and wait for the icing to dry prior to decorating. (Noted and we will pre-build his house next year.) But all in all he was happy and we were happy and the house turned out pretty cute. He was the most excited that his house had a door. I hope he stays this easy to please. 

C's House 2014
 As for us, after bedtime we got to work. We once again had Kathryn join us for our gingerbread night and we once again had a good time full of conversation and lots of laughter. Once again we stayed up WAY TOO LATE but we think our house was worth it:

2014

The night time view:


Every year is a learning experience and this one was no different. I am thrilled I stuck to my plan of using color, albeit it more subtle than I originally thought. This year I was definitely the designer and Husband was the contractor. One needy little girl prevented me from doing much until the Christmas lights and the wreath but that's okay. I was present and it was my idea. I also made the middle of the process Walgreens run to get the gum for the siding. 

We love our tradition and hope it continues for many years to come.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Two Steps Forward One Step Back

For weeks I have been unhappy with the state of C's clothes storage. In the battle to have a house that I am not embarrassed by I have focused on the downstairs primarily. I have tidied the bedrooms but really they haven't been my priority.

But his clothes were bothering me. Things have been haphazardly put away for weeks. And it's been a long time since I've sorted through and taken out the things he has outgrown. So last night while putting laundry away I just did it.

The things that didn't fit were removed. And the shirts were grouped up correctly. (Short sleeved/long sleeved/sweatshirts and sweaters/dress) Socks, pants, pajamas everything was perfect. I was soaring on the feeling of accomplishment.

I felt so good I moved on to M's room. I sorted out the newborn things, it's crazy that she has been here long enough to outgrow things. She still is so little. But changing daily. It was good to do an inventory however and get her dresser reorganized. It's always a crap shoot how you set up a dresser and a closet, now seven weeks in I know better how to arrange things to it's easier to utilize.

After her room I moved on to ours! I cleaned up and put away some piles. The top of the dresser is kind of our dumping grounds for "this doesn't look right but I am not going to hang it back up right this second" items. Then I organized our sock drawer hamper . Once again I got rid of gross ones and worn ones.

I went to sleep happy. And woke up to a toddler who had emptied all his clothes onto his floor. Back at square one with that room I guess. Ah well. Toddlers. Husband, bless his heart, refolded them but all that I had sorted out got mixed back in. But there we go.

Doing the laundry? No problem. Folding? Got that covered. Put away? Well at least it ends up in the right room. It's a vicious circle my friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Movie, 3 Books, Some Netflix and Television

Last night we were scheduled to have book club. I really needed a night out of the house so I was looking forward to it. But it got rescheduled to next week. I took the already assumed night away to finally go see Mockingjay. This weekend's plans didn't quite work out due to the photo shoot Saturday and just a general tiredness on Sunday.

Going last night was a great idea because Tuesday is bargain night anyway. PLUS I am signed up for the concession coupons and most of the time I want to see a movie the coupon is ridiculous. ($2 off a bottled beverage. Who buys $4+ bottles of water at the movies?) But this week's was good. Free small popcorn with a drink purchase. So my ticket and treat was only $1 more than a normal ticket cost! Sweet!

The movie was really good. Fairly true to the book certainly. Do you like to go to the movies by yourself? Some think it's weird but I really like it. It's so relaxing. I really needed that because yesterday was one of those days as a parent that was rough. Nothing bad exactly happened but M was really needy and I couldn't do anything but hold her all day. It took an hour to fold a basket of laundry.

That's not bad in the grand scheme of things but frustrating because I actually am at the point where I want to accomplish things again instead of just sleep and I just can't. No matter the best laid plan I am just unable to get done everything I want to in a day. We're just not back at the stage of life yet. And that's just going to have to be okay with me. I'm working on letting it be okay at least.

It has been a while since I have told you what I've read. The answer isn't much but here are some:

Sandinton by Jane Austen and Another Lady. (One of the unfinished manuscripts finished by "Another Lady")


Verdict: Sloppy Austen and since she only wrote until chapter 11 we'll never really know how she intended to end it. However not a bad book once you get all the many characters straight.

These Is My Words by Nancy Turner


Verdict: I admit that this is the first book I ever didn't finish and still went. But I blame the less than 2 week old baby at the time of book club. What I did read I thought was well written but sad. The group seemed to enjoy it even through the sad subject matter. I am planning to finish.


The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen


Verdict: Saying that Klassen's writing is comparable to Jane Austen on the cover is insulting to Austen. Not a terrible book but certainly a predictable one. With some truly eye rolling/cringe worthy lines and foreshadowing.

Since we've done books and the one movie I've seen since March (of new releases anyway) I may as well let you know what's been on my Netflix queue lately. I am not one of those fancy Netflix is paying me to tell you what I'm watching people but just in case you're interested.

Scandal: Loved it. Drama. Love. Politics. Cleaning up messes. That Shonda Rimes knows she's good. 3 seasons available but season 1 has only 7 episodes and season 3 is only 18 episodes because Kerry Washington was pregnant.

House of Cards: Slow to start but I got hooked by episode 6. Which is actually a long time for me to give a show. Usually if I don't care by episode 3 I am done but my brother really recommended it. Dark show. Between this show and Scandal I am further convinced I would HATE politics. 2 seasons, 13 episodes each. Netflix original show so episodes vary in length between 45-60 minutes.

Cutthroat Kitchen: A good brainless cooking show with a twist. I love it. Husband thinks it's mean. A great middle of the night show to watch however. Collection of 24 episodes.

Last Man Standing: A comedy about conservative dad of 3 daughters. Tim Allen's show. A very funny show but maybe it's because the character reminds me of my dad. Either way I am totally bummed I finished this show. 3 seasons available. (Between season 1 and 2 one of the daughters changes and the grandson magically ages 3 years.)

On the air still I am down to just The Good Wife and The Amazing Race. I had to give up on The Big Bang Theory and Grey's Anatomy because they're on at the same time and that same time is before bedtime. (So is The Amazing Race but that's something you can watch without having to be totally engaged.)

Sick of my thoughts on media? Me too.

Monday, December 8, 2014

So How Was Your Weekend?


Once upon a time last week I saw this picture on the interwebs. 


It's on many blogs and web searches so I have NO idea who actually took it. If it was you and you want me to take it down I will. Well I liked it. And we still hadn't taken our Christmas card picture. So we lovingly borrowed their set up idea. Here it is in all it's glory. 


Not quite as many lights (ours weren't icicle lights so they made more straight lines) and you can see the strings with nothing else in the picture. But not bad for our dining room turned into a photo studio. What you can't see is the light kit and the wooden chairs holding up the sticks with the Christmas balls hanging on them. I am ruining the magic. 



This is a spectacular outtake from the photo shoot. You see, C decided he had no interest in holding his sister so when I would place her in between his legs he would lean back or lay down. Jokes on us! As it happens however both kids took pretty good pictures on their own. Well, C's is great. M is 6 weeks old so it's kind of hard to make her do much of anything but we did catch one or two smiles. 

In the end we have a Christmas card I really like. You'll have to wait for that though! 

Have a good Monday everyone. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Some Quick Quick Takes

It's Friday!! Time for some quick takes. Who is shocked that Kelly is taking over? *crickets* No one right? Because I saw that coming ages ago. Nevertheless hooray for Kelly and the new home of quick takes.

1. Last night it was our third annual Disney On Ice experience. This year was different because for some reason they blocked off our typical seats. I know that sitting in the same seats for just two years does not a tradition make really, but I was quite disappointed that we couldn't sit in the same spot. I figured we'd just move over there but they had curtains up. Oh well. Our new seats weren't all that different.

It was more exciting than years past because C can really talk and enjoy. He did most certainly enjoy. My phone has been acting up so we didn't get good pictures. Only on Husband's old school flip phone that is 5 years old!! Super great quality.


2. I will say that if next year's show is only ho hum then we'll make it a 4 year tradition only. It was SO good the first year, music from a lot of different Disney shows with cool costumes and lots of skaters. Last year it was like short condensed versions of Disney movies. But there were a lot of characters. This year Mickey introduced CarsLittle MermaidTinkerbell and Toy Story 3. It was okay but I am hoping for a different kind of show next year. 


3. St. Nicholas comes tonight! I am pretty darn excited!! He is bringing some books and pajamas. I didn't even get the chocolate coins like I had planned but since he doesn't know he's supposed to have chocolate coins who cares?!

4. I am trying to be super mom today! No not really. But am on my second load of laundry and I have high ambitions of taking the garbage out and putting some dishes away! Maybe I will really have a party and vacuum. Oh so exciting stuff over here!

5. I may finally go see Mockingjay tomorrow. I was pregnant with C when Hunger Games came out and Husband and I went to the midnight release. When Catching Fire came out I went with a friend of mine but to the 8:00 on Thursday showing. (That was a much wiser choice than a midnight start time.) It kind of bugs me I still haven't seen Mockingjay but tomorrow may be the day. Or maybe Sunday afternoon.

6. I am waiting on a few more packages to arrive and then the wrapping will begin. I suck at wrapping. (Not just saying that either.) So wrapping is Husband's contribution to the Christmas present giving process.

7. I have a crying baby who says that it's time for me to wrap this up. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thoughts

One time my baby turned six weeks yesterday. So that means I had my 6 week postpartum appointment today. It was fine. 

If by fine you mean waiting 40 minutes before being called back while your car seat hating baby glares at you. For the record, she only hates the car seat if she's not in a moving car. So going home for Christmas should be fine. And after 1.2 seconds of glaring she switched to all out baby screaming and promptly was rescued from the torture device that was holding her captive. 

But whatevs. Otherwise I am healthy. I wasn't expecting any differently though. Apparently the doctors missing the birth is not something that ever happens at my practice because 3 different people were like "Oh we heard about you." 

In completely unrelated news I am spectacularly failing at Advent this year. Our Jesse tree is set up but not one single decoration has been placed on it. And my Advent candles should arrive sometime today. Because while I planned ahead and figured out all the Christmas presents and such, the Advent preparations just apparently slipped my mind. 

I still need to figure out Christmas cards too but I have every hope that they will be in the mail by this time next week. Which is still plenty of time I think. We haven't even received one yet. 

So instead of blathering on about nothing I am going to go do something productive. Like read my book club book. Or nap. Either way.