Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From the Mouths of Babes - Babysitters and Chopsticks

My kids (all kids) say the funniest things.  I often wish I always had a notebook open on the kitchen counter to jot down the funny things my kids say so I can remember them.  Here are a couple of doozies from yesterday:

1)  Any mom who lets their kids watch Sprout or Nickelodeon (who, me?  Let me kids watch TV?  NEVER!!! - and I accept your Oscar nomination for best supporting sarcasm role...) knows that every commercial break it seems as if is advertised.  They are cute little commercials with cute little kids talking about the great babysitters and caregivers their parents can find on the website.  (As a side note, I used three years ago when we still lived in St. Paul and found one of the best babysitters ever!  It's a great site.)

Let me explain that it has been a pretty hectic time in our house.  My husband is in trial (let me stress in trial and not on trial, thank God) and I have been a little extremely tired/cranky/on edge by the end of the night because I have had the kids all to myself 24/7 the past few weeks and, as much as I love 'em, I need a break.

So, after one of the commercials aired last night, my First Grader comes into the kitchen and says, "Mom, can you PLEASE look up  I REALLY want a babysitter!!!"  

Talk about putting your woe-is-me-bad-mommy-mood in check.

2)  Since my husband hasn't been home for dinner in a few weeks, our evening meal is all too kid-friendly.  Fish sticks, crackers and hummus, spaghetti.  Last night my First Grader wanted leftover cold, plain spaghetti noodles for a snack.  No sauce.  No cheese.  Okay, whatever.  At this point I didn't care as long she wasn't complaining.  (At least she ate an apple with it.)  In any event, she wanted her "kids chopsticks" to eat the noodles with.  (They are cute plastic chopsticks connected with an animal cutout at the top to hold them together.)  So I gave them to her.  And then my youngest, who was eating cashews and raisins, wanted chopsticks too.  And then my darling cashew-loving four-year-old boy came into the kitchen and shouted loudly, over and over...

"Mom, I need chopsticks for my nuts!  I need chopsticks for my nuts!"  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Day of School

Both older kids had great first days of school last week.  Alison started First Grade and loves her teacher, her classes and new (and old) friends.  She is doing fantastic and I'm so proud of her!

The requisite in-front-of-the-house-with-sign first day of school picture: (and no, that's not a school uniform -  just a super cute outfit she found at Sears)...

A very rare picture of all five of us that morning (with two of us still in least it wasn't me):

 And a giant cookie for a special surprise after-school snack:

Christopher began his second year of preschool two days later.  He is now going four afternoons a week which is working out really well for us so far.  He hasn't napped for over a year now so he might as well be in school during his little sister's afternoon nap time.  Christopher is attending "kindergarten connection" preschool for 4 and 5-year-olds the year before kindergarten.  It is also located at Alison's school (and where Chris will be going to kindergarten) so it is a great situation all-around.  He really loves it!

(ignore my reflection in the door - I'm obviously not an expert photographer - and focus on that adorable and excited little boy!)

I'm so proud of my kiddos and we're all looking forward to a great year!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer 2013 Recap

Warning: this is an incredibly long post filled with many pictures of incredibly cute children.  Readers beware.

Apparently I took an unplanned vacation from blogging this summer.  School started last week.  My little girl Alison is a first grader and my son Christopher is now going to preschool FOUR afternoons a week this year.  Kate, my littlest, will be turning TWO YEARS OLD in a couple of weeks.  Goodness time truly does fly by.

We had a fun, lazy, and fairly uneventful summer.  I had planned on many picnics at the park and trips to the pool, but in hindsight we really didn't do too much.  Lots of trips to the park (at least once a day, sometimes two).  Lots of playtime in the front yard and garage (with only a few playtimes in our beautiful backyard because the mosquitos were incredibly bad this year).

Not too many trips to the pool because, as it turns out according to my two oldest kids, the pool isn't that much fun without their dad.  Go figure.  But I bought a little cheapo pool at Target that was an absolute hit each three times they used it...before it popped a hole and leaked.

We had a fun trip to Valleyfair, our local amusement park.  My four-year-old year son is OBSESSED with rides.  We had a very fun day and even little one-year-old Kate hung in there for nearly five hours.  No pictures from that day, but we made some great memories.

The kids and I also spent a great day at the Minnesota Zoo.  Sea otters, bears and monkeys...oh my!

The kids and I made a few trips to visit my parents at their farm where the kids had lots of fun riding four-wheeler with two of their older cousins and trying to herd the farm cats.

The kids and I also made it to the Mall of America to ride some rides (again, Christopher's favorite activity) and also so Christopher could meet his current obsession - the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It was my first time bringing the three kids to the MOA for rides by myself and it worked out great.  They were all so good and we had a blast!  (My oldest Alison is absent from the character pictures because she has a HUGE fear of "dress up people.")

And we wrapped things up with a beautiful late-afternoon trip to the beach (which was supposed to be a season's-end trip to the pool but it closed two minutes after we got there because some kid had diarrhea in the pool.  Don't get me started on that rant - but I'll sum it up with: I get it, accidents happen.  But Moms, I beg you...PLEASE put reliable swim diapers on your kids at the pool and PLEASE don't bring them if you know they have sick tummies.  It's no fun for anyone.  The pool was closed for over 24 hours because of that kid's mess.  'Nuff said.)  Anyway, here are pictures of our glorious late-afternoon-turned-to-sunset-thank-goodness-it-was-diarrhea-free trip to the beach:

Really, a great summer.

And the kids grew up so much over the summer.

And now...

My drawers filled with new school supplies have been emptied.  (First day of school pics coming soon!) New school clothes are washed and ready to be worn when we receive some cooler fall weather.  

I have my typical mommy list of things I'd like to do.  We need to start eating better - way too much pizza, Jimmy John's and Taco Bell this summer (like I said, it was a LAZY summer for everyone, even mom in the kitchen.)

I need to clean out some closets and pantry drawers.

And I want to start exercising again.  But let's not get too crazy.  Maybe I'll stick to a pantry drawer for now.

Good-bye Summer...Hello Fall.  Hello new beginnings.  Excited kiddos.  And praise to God for a wonderful, fun, lazy summer.

This post is linked to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Good-bye Kindergarten, Hello Summer and First Grade!

Where did the last nine months go???  

My oldest daughter Alison finished up kindergarten last Wednesday.  She is now a First Grader.  Gulp.  That's big time stuff.  I totally remember First Grade.  I remember where my desk was in my homeroom.  I remember when the kid next to me left his crayons sitting on top the heat vent and they melted everywhere.  I remember that the water fountain was right outside my homeroom door.

Alison will remember this stuff too and that just boggles my mind.  She's a big kid now.  She learned so much this past year.  All-day kindergarten was a fantastic experience for her.  She entered kindergarten a shy little girl who wrote the letter "s" backwards and left knowing how to count to 200, writing her entire name correctly and whizzing through math problems like nobody's business.  God bless you, Teachers!  You do a great job!

And look how much she's grown up!
September 6, 2012:

June 5, 2013:

Alison is an awesome kid.  I love her so much.  Great job Ali-Pants!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A $75 bird's nest

Seriously, why didn't I take a picture of this?

I got a bike this spring.  And a new helmet.  (A $75 helmet, I might add.  You'll see why this is important in a bit.)  I went on a couple of bike rides with my family a few weeks ago.  (and it was a few weeks ago because it has pretty much been raining non-stop here since.)  It was the first time I rode a bike since college.  (I'd like to say that was six years ago, but in all honesty it was 17 years.)

So it had been a few weeks since I took my new beloved light blue bike out for a spin.  It looked cute, though, sitting up on its hoist in the garage with my cute new red helmet hanging from the handlebar.

And then one day I noticed a lot of bird poop in our garage.

And a day or two later I found a robin flying around our garage.  I quickly shooed her out.

And then the following day, I noticed a couple of little stringy things hanging from my bike helmet.  What?

Upon closer inspection, I saw it.  A bunch of straw in my helmet.

My husband came home from work and lowered my bike down from its hoist and, sure enough, there it was.

(This is where the picture would come in handy.)

The most perfect little bird's nest with two beautiful little robin eggs in it.  Inside of my helmet.  My $75 helmet.  Which was now covered in bird poop in addition to a cute little nest.

We (and by "we", I mean my husband) climbed a tall ladder and hung the helmet from a sheltered tree on the side of our house where we thought maybe the mama bird would return to our nest.  I wish I could say this story has a fun happy ending and the mama returned to her nest, but she didn't.  So out went the bird's nest.  Along with my poop-covered helmet.  (Sorry, but no amount of Lysol and bleach would have me put a formerly poop-covered bird's nest home back on my head.)  And for two days, we received the Crazy Neighbor award in our neighborhood for being the family with a bike helmet hanging from their tree.

My awesome husband spent an entire afternoon cleaning everything in our garage that had been "hit" by the mama bird.  And power-washing the garage floor.  And scrubbing down my bike which, needless to say, is back up on its hoist sans helmet.

Another reason not to exercise anytime soon.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Only in Minnesota

So I haven't been posting for a while because, believe it or not, life is busy with a 6-year-old, 4-year-old and one-year-old.  Who knew?!

This will be brief.  I told this to my mom on the phone yesterday and she said that if I ever get back to blogging, that I should post this.  So here it is.

Only in Minnesota can I watch snowflakes pile up in my backyard while scratching a mosquito bite on my leg.

An explanation for those that live somewhere (i.e. a normal weather state) other than the great state of Minnesota:

It was 81 glorious degrees this past weekend.  I got mosquito bites while outside with my family, watching my oldest child (that's my 38-year-old husband) race a new remote-control speedboat across my neighbor's pond.

And then two days later, it was 31 degrees and snowflakes were flying.


My kids wore flip-flops on Sunday and snow boots on Tuesday.

Only in Minnesota.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Down for the count...again.

Remember a couple of weeks ago how we all had the flu in our house?  It felt like it lasted forever.  Well, after just a few short hours of everyone feeling better at the same time, my husband got a stomach bug and my oldest daughter came down with another cold.  Followed by her getting pink eye.  Followed by me getting a cold.  Which turned into a sinus infection that I still have.  Followed by my one-year-old now having a bad cold, ear infection and pink eye.

Boy, do we need Spring to arrive.  I need to open some windows and get some fresh air.  My house is a Petri dish.  (Thanks Kindergarten!)

Just when I tell myself that it is the middle of March and Spring is almost here, I look out the window this morning and see another inch of snow (on top of the 11 inches we got last week, which was on top of the 8 we already had on the ground).  And the weather forecast says to expect two more rounds of snow throughout the weekend.

Looks like I'll be waiting a bit longer to air out this Petri dish...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Menu Plan - week of 3/4/13

A day late but I'm finally getting around to posting our menu plan for the week.  Some carryover from last week's plan, since I forgot to get the chicken out the deep freezer to thaw in time to make last week.   Instead, we had Chinese takeout one night and homemade pizza the next.  So, there is more chicken yumminess on this week's menu (assuming I get the thing out of the freezer...)

Monday:  we had "make your own sandwich night" using homemade bread (I recently got a new KitchenAid mixer and made the dough w/ first foray into making bread without a bread machine!)

Tuesday:  Crack Pasta (new recipe!), lettuce salad

Wednesday:  Sticky Chicken, Sweet Potato Tator Tots (new recipe!), garlic toast (using leftover homemade bread)

Thursday:  Creamy Chicken and Rice, fruit salad

Friday:  Clean out the fridge night!

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for menu planning links and ideas - and I'm also thinking of joining her 31-day organizing challenge.  My mudroom/laundry room is in need of major help!!  Stay tuned to see if I get ready to take the plunge...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gratituesday: My Backyard

What a pretty sight it was the other evening.  Sitting in my living room and watching the sunset in our backyard.  Really too snowy and cold to go outside and enjoy the backyard, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

Our backyard is one of the big reasons we bought our house nearly two years ago.  It is nice and flat, very shady in the summer (almost too much so that I can't grow a garden in our backyard but there isn't a single spot that gets enough sunlight...), has a play spot for the kids, and backs right up to woods - instead of staring into another's neighbor's house or an alley like at our old house.  We absolutely love it and are very blessed to have this big, beautiful backyard.

Why am I so obsessed with our backyard?  Because - compare it to our postage-stamp-sized backyard in St. Paul:

It was a great little house and we were blessed to have the house for over ten years, but still...not a whole lot of "breathing room" there.  (too bad my sweet little daughter was bending over this picture so you can't see her cherub-like 3-year-old face in this picture).

Deer and turkeys meandering through our yard.  Sunsets.  And room to breathe and run.

This post is linked to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Plan: Week of 2/26/13

We were all still fairly under weather the last week and I didn't get my menu plan posted, but I did actually follow it almost to a "t" all week, which nearly never happens.  We enjoyed homemade backed mac and cheese and pumpkin chocolate chip waffles with lots of leftovers.  This week's menu is simple and easy:

Ranch Chicken Strips, homemade baked french fries, carrot sticks with ranch

hubby working late so I promised I'd take the kids to Applebees :-)

Oven Roasted Sticky Chicken (except making just one bird, not TWO like the recipe calls for...), sweet potato fries, roasted mixed vegetables

Creamy Chicken and Rice (using leftover chicken - this is one of my absolute favorite recipes and my mouth is watering already thinking about it!), fruit salad

Grilled Mexican Chicken Wraps (new recipe - using leftover chicken), chips and salsa, carrots and ranch

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday ideas!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeling better...and feeling old.

Feeling Better
We are all (finally) feeling better in our household after all of us were bitten by the nasty flu bug.  My little one did end up getting it but not nearly as bad as the rest of us, thank God.  I have a lingering annoying cough but otherwise all is well.  You know you  have a house full of sickies when this is what remains at your sink after you do dishes:

An array of medicine dosage cups and an empty orange juice pitcher.  That pretty much sums up our last two weeks.

Feeling Old

I am 38 years old.  There, I said it.

But prior to having my third child 16 months ago, I used to think that if the lighting was right and if someone looked at me after having a nice strong martini, I could definitely pass for a woman in her late 20s.  But all that has changed.  In a short year and a half, my wrinkles have become deeper, the bags under my eyes have gotten darker and bigger, new gray hairs are taking over my bangs, and just this morning I noticed a nice purplish vein making its way up my calf.

Yesterday I was walking through the mall with my kiddos and noticed a cute tank top in the window of the Buckle.  It was lavender with dark purple flowers and lace trim.  So cute.  And then I realized I was going to be FORTY YEARS OLD in less than two years and that I would look absolutely ridiculous wearing that tank top.  First, it was meant for teenagers that don't have a "I've had three kids" tummy pooch.  Second, I think the sales girl would assume I was shopping for my daughter or niece if I stepped foot into that store.

And here is the icing on the cake-
My daughter came home from kindergarten yesterday afternoon and showed me her work for the day.  Since Monday was President's Day, they had did a little workbook page on a president.  Isn't it cute?

And then she asked me: "Mom, was he the president when you were born?"

Case closed.

Monday, February 11, 2013


The flu bug has hit our house.  Big time.

First my kindergartner daughter.  Then me, my husband and 4-year-old son all got it at the same time.

Thankfully, so far, my 16-month-old has been spared.  I'm praying that this holds true and she escapes this terrible crud.

None of us have been this ill in quite a while.  Fever.  Chills.  Aches.  Coughing.  Oh my goodness, the coughing.  That is what has hit us the hardest.  I'm pretty sure my neighbors can hear us hacking away.

And yes, we all had the flu shot.

My daughter is feeling much better and is back to school now.  The rest of us are slowly recuperating.  I haven't been hit this hard in a while.

Why are there no sick days for SAHMs?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins/Bread

I've made this recipe before for Strawberries & Cream Bread.  It.  Is.  Fantastic.  I've always wanted to try it with blueberries but never got around to it.

So the other day I had some blueberries left from Costco that had a gotten a little too soft to serve by themselves.  I decided to make this bread with blueberries.  But then I looked at the list of ingredients and thought I would try to make it more healthy by cutting the sugar and butter and switching the flour.  And then I realized I didn't have enough time to bake the bread for breakfast before everyone ran out the door so I turned it into muffins instead of bread (and saved 40 minutes of baking time.)

The results of this experiment were fantastic.  Yummy!

Blueberries & Cream Muffins - adapted from this recipe


1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
heaping 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 T. butter, softened
4 T. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. Turbinado raw sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries (or 1 1/ 4 cups fresh & chopped strawberries)

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, beat butter until creamy.
Add the applesauce and sugars and beat until well mixed.
Beat in the eggs.
Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, just until moistened.
Fold in the blueberries.
Pour into greased muffin pan bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  (If making this into bread, pour into greased 8x4 loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Menu Plan: Week of 2/4/13

We did a pretty good job of sticking to the menu plan last week.  I wasn't feeling the greatest so there was one night when dear hubby picked up Chinese takeout on his way home instead of having me cook supper.  Otherwise, we did pretty well.

Here is what is planned for us this week:

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins (recipe to come soon)
cereal and fruit
Eggs and toast

sandwiches, chips, fruit
Spaghettios (my son's FAVORITE and I allow it once a week), carrot sticks
Fish sticks, cottage cheese, orange slices
Homemade chicken nuggets (my plan is to make a huge batch of these to keep in the freezer), veggie chips, apple slices

Mexican Black Bean Quinoa (new recipe) for mom and dad; Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (new recipe) for the kids; carrot sticks and ranch  (I don't normally make something separate for the kids but my hubby has been on a quinoa kick lately and my kids won't touch it, so hence the mac and cheese.)

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas (from the freezer), chips and salsa, grapes

Homemade Tomato Soup (new recipe), ham and swiss melts, apple slices

Homemade Pizza, romaine salad with ranch, grapes


This post is linked to I'm An Organizing Junkie - tons of organizing and menu planning resources!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Randomness - My "Baby" is 16 months old today!

No more babies in this house.  We have a sweet and smart kindergartner, a rowdy and cute preschooler, and a very busy and active toddler.  My sweet little Kate is 16 months old today.  Running, talking, laughing, teasing.  She is so awesome.

Nearly every day, when her sister gets dressed to head out to the bus for kindergarten or when her brother is getting ready for preschool, Kate grabs her little Elmo backpack (a hand-me-down from big brother as he has since grown into a larger "big boy" Avengers backpack) and brings it to me or big sister to put it on her.  She then walks around the house with it on as is if she is going to school, too.

(Notice the lack of both socks.  She views socks as the enemy.  I'm surprised she had even one on in this picture.  Truly, socks are her number one foe.  Mittens come in a close second.)

Slow down, little girl.

Mama's not ready for you to go to school yet.

You are sweet, sassy, and somedays you are full of you-know-what...but that is what makes you YOU.

So take off the backpack, grab a sippy cup and a baby doll, and settle down for at least two more years at home with mama.

I love you, Katie-Bug.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So, you know it's cold outside when...

you are digging through the deep chest freezer in your garage and it actually feels warmer inside the freezer than outside.

I'm just sayin'.

(Update:  one day later, the actual temp outside is -13 degrees.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gratituesday: A Great Babysitter

Oh my, how life can change once you find a great babysitter.  Before we moved to the suburbs, we had no one close by to watch the kids so we could sneak out for a nice date night or so I could run some errands without the kids.  I didn't trust anybody.  I saw too many insane, sad stories on the news of crazy babysitters leaving the kids home alone, dealing drugs out the kids' house, etc.  No WAY was I going to EVER leave a "stranger" to watch my kids.

But once we moved to the suburbs, I met my friend's neighbor who babysat for my friend's two kids.  She was a high schooler, had her own car, and seemed really nice.  I decided I needed some sanity in my life.  I needed to take a leap of faith and trust that not every babysitter was going to leave a bag of meth on my coffee table while she hooked up with her boyfriend in the baby's nursery.

Fast forward a year and a half - our babysitter is now a senior in high school and is at our house at least twice a month, if not sometimes 1-2 times per week depending on what is going on.  She is so very dependable, reliable and responsible.  I completely trust her and she does a great job managing a 5-year-old who wants to play board games and Barbies, a 4-year-old who wants to play video games and have a Ninja sword fight, and a 1-year-old who wants to climb up on top of the fireplace and leap down head first.

I am now able to sneak out to Target by myself (which doesn't sound all that exciting, but when you can do so while leisurely sipping a Starbucks and NOT have to go up and down the toy aisles while holding a toddler's head so she doesn't suck on the sides of the cart...well, that's a big darn deal.).  My husband and I go on a date about once a month now, which is something we NEVER were able to do in St. Paul.

We are blessed to have a great babysitter who makes our lives a bit easier and a bit more fun for the kiddos.  Now...let's pray that she goes to a college very close by!

This post is linked to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Menu Plan - Week of 1/28/13

Back to menu planning!  I'm making sure I take some time out for myself from now on to sit down, sip a hot cup of coffee (we recently got a Keurig and loooooove it!), and make the menu plan for the week.     I haven't been doing this lately and it adds unnecessary stress, unnecessary takeout, unnecessary snacking, and unnecessary weight (yes, I'm still trying to work off those 5 additional holiday pounds!).

I bought tons of beautiful fruit at Costco this week.  We are blessed with a fridge overflowing with clementines, grapes, blackberries, strawberries, apples and blueberries.  Needless to say, there will be plenty of fresh fruit served with each meal!  I'm also looking forward to some warm wintertime comfort foods.  So, here's my plan for the week - and I'm excited to try a few new recipes for supper.

Overnight Cranberry Oatmeal in the slow cooker
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes (leftovers from Sunday's big breakfast)
cereal and toast with blueberries
Pumpkin Waffles (a new family favorite - recipe to come soon!)

Lunches (for me, the 4-year-old and 1-year-old):
Tomato soup, grilled cheese, apple slices
Homemade chicken nuggets, cottage cheese, veggie chips
Spaghettios, veggie chips, clementines
Romaine salad, cottage cheese, carrots with ranch
Ham sandwiches, veggie chips, apple slices

One Pot Spaghetti (new recipe), garlic cheese bread, romaine salad, fresh fruit salad
Broccoli Cheese Potato Soup (new recipe), herb muffins (new recipe), fresh fruit
Slow Cooker Chili, (from the freezer), cheddar corn spoon bread (new recipe), fruit

Extras and baking:
Blueberry Cream Bread (going to use up some of the Costco blueberries that got a bit soft)
Peanut Butter Granola

Please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorite Finds 1/25/13

I'm linking up to Finding Joy in my Kitchen this week for Friday Favorite Finds.  Things have been busy and I haven't been menu planning like normal, which has created some unnecessary chaos around the dinner hour each night.  I'm looking forward to things slowing down a bit so I can plan our meals, snacks and treats a bit more.

Here are some yummy things I've found on the web and plan on making soon:

One Pot Spaghetti by Stacy Makes Cents - how yummy and EASY is this??

Slow Cooker Chocolate Mud Cake from Spoonful  - my daughter and I will be mixing this up tonight when she gets home from school and it should be ready in time for tonight's dessert!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers.  These are a little out of my comfort zone (rarely do I make anything bread-related that doesn't come out of a bread machine!) but these look delicious and I am going to try to make them early next week for a surprise breakfast.  

All of the above photos are courtesy of the original recipe source.

Check out Finding Joy in My Kitchen for more great (and healthy!) recipes!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trying hard to love winter.

This picture shows a great day.  We took this picture in our backyard after we received over a foot of snow one day in early December.  It was my youngest daughter Kate's first time playing out in the snow.  All bundled up and unable to move!  The big kids pulled her around on the little toddler sled we bought for her (complete with a seatbelt!) and she lasted about 15 minutes.  Alison and Christopher lasted much longer, sledding down a little slope in our backyard for about an hour with Daddy and then making a Ninja Princess Snowman.  (In case you're wondering, it was holding a stick "sword" while wearing a tiara.  This is the compromise reached between a 5-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy).  It was a fun, beautiful, fantastic winter day - topped off with hot cocoa and marshmallows.

Fast forward nearly two months later.  Here in Minnesota we are enduring days where the temperature never even reaches zero.  (I laughed this morning while watching the Today show and the reporter was in Times Square in New York City holding a thermometer showing how "freezing cold" it was in NYC...a whopping 16 degrees.  Amateurs.)  Our hands and lips are chapped beyond recognition.  My children are slippery from so much lotion and chapstick.  It is too cold to play outside.  We are getting tired of outings to Target, Costco, Perkins and the library.  We just want to ride our bikes, swing, and breathe some fresh air.

But that is all at least three months away.  This is the "hard" time of a Minnesota winter.  Christmas has past.  The joy and delight of the first big beautiful snowfall is gone.  And now you are left with cold, hard, dirty snow and much-too-cold temperatures.  But through all of this, I look at this picture.  The fun and joy of Minnesota's winter beauty.  Snow angels.  Cocoa.  I'm trying really hard to remember this!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tomorrow I am going to exercise. Really.

I'll put it right out there:

1.  I have gained five pounds since Christmas.
2.  I am completely lethargic.  I have zero energy.  I find it hard to keep my eyes open past 6 pm.
3.  My back hurts.  I feel old.
4.  My underarms have developed that old-lady flabby thing.
5.  From the side, I look like I have a cute little baby bump thing going on.  Without the "baby" part.
6.  In the past two days, I have totally cleaned out every remaining chocolate item from my kids' leftover Halloween stash.  With the exception of the Tootsie Rolls, because those are just hard and icky by now.  I have eaten more Peanut M&Ms and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups in the last two days than I have in the last two years.
7.  My kids are having a blast catching me eating ice cream out the carton while standing in front of the open freezer.  Because this means that they get to grab a spoon too and help me out.

So, tomorrow I am actually going out.  I seriously have not worked out since 1996.  No joke.  I am not kidding.  We have a family membership to the health club near our house.  I have gone there to take my kids to the pool and get my hair done at the salon.  I have never ventured "upstairs" where the actual exercise equipment is.

The people there scare me.  They are all very tan (even in January in Minnesota) and seem to own spandex and sports bras in every color.  The woman look beautiful even when they sweat and wear their diamonds and make-up to work out.  I am amazed how they don't break a beautifully manicured nail while lifting weights.  Everyone shows off their perfectly toned abs and arms, all while smiling and looking cute.

Tomorrow, I am going to put on my sweatpants and t-shirt and tie my too-short hair back into a half-hazard ponytail.  I will not wear make-up but I will likely brush my teeth.  I will try to walk on a treadmill while staring at my bitten-down non-manicured nails.

And I will do my best to ignore everyone else around me.

Because I'm sick and tired of being so tired.  I need more energy.  I need to feel better.

Oh yeah, and I need that flabby old-lady arm thing to go away, too.