Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dear Paisley

Dear Paisley,
Today, you and I had a very special morning together. It's rarely just the two of us because you wake up after Judah and go to bed at the same time as him. When Judah was your age, he was about to become a big brother....to you!

This morning, Judah and Daddy had some errands to run so, you and I had a girls morning at home. When I have one on one time with you, I enjoy every minute of it. You are such a sweet girl and I see you developing into such an interesting little person. It seems like lately we've turned the page onto a new chapter that shows new ways that you like to play. You've recently become interested in playing with your babies. I love seeing you wrap them up in blankets, sing them songs and pretend to tuck them in. When I see your nurturing side, it makes this Momma's heart happy.
I can relate to you, Paisley Rae. You and I are a lot alike. We are both emotional, silly, we love to dance and we love our babies. We also love shoes and jewelry. When I wear earrings and necklaces, you point to them and say "Want some! My turn!". You're still a little too young sweet girl but, someday I'll share with you.........I promise.
One of my favorite sounds is you and your big brother laughing. You think he's the funniest thing ever and when he makes you laugh, your eyes twinkle. 
As I did a few things around the house this morning, you played contently at my side. I've really seen your attention span grow lately and you have a new love for blocks and of course, you still love books. At 20 months old, you amaze me with how smart you are. You can count to 10 and sing the ABC's! You are determined and you insist on doing things yourself. 
I love having you by my side, being my buddy. I love that even though you are feisty, independent and determined, you still want me to carry you around sometimes. I love that when you hug me, you squeeze my neck as hard as you possibly can. 
Thanks for the fun morning, sweet girl. You and your brother truly are my "sunshines". Not only do I love you but, I also really like you. 
Mommy

Friday, June 29, 2012

Feature Friday: Ice Cream Cake by Emily @ 52 Mantels


Hi! I'm Emily from 52 Mantels, a blog about all things home including weekly mantel makeovers, easy DIY projects, seasonal crafts and simple recipes! I'm blessed to be the stay-at-home mother to one adorable little girl and the lucky wife to an ever-supportive hubby (who puts up with my endless projects!). 

When Angela invited me over to talk about Summer, I knew it was the perfect chance to take on a Summery Recipe challenge I've wanted to do for awhile: a layered ice cream cake! There's nothing better than deliciously-cold ice cream on a hot Summer day. Oh wait, yes there is...ice cream AND cake! Let me just say, this cake wasn't nearly as hard as I'd imagined it would be. And, believe me, I'm not one who typically bakes elaborate things!

Okay, so this isn't really a recipe, think of it more as a tutorial. 

Supplies: 

•a yellow cake mix (baked in two 9-inch round cake pans, according to package)
•one- 1.5 pint tub of ice cream (I chose cookies and cream)
•one bag of mini chocolate chips
•one batch of buttercream icing (I used this recipe by Joy of Baking)


The first thing I did was bake my box cake in two 9-inch pans. As those were cooling, I lined a 9 inch cake pan with plastic wrap (for easy removal!) and filled it with softened ice cream. The entire 1.5 pint tub fit into my pan (much to my husband's disappointment!). I then stuck the ice cream pan into the freezer to set overnight.

In the morning, I arranged my layers on a cake plate: cake layer 1, ice cream layer, cake layer 2.

Tip: Turn the top layer upside down to get a perfectly flat-topped cake!

When my cake was stacked, I stuck it back into the freezer while I made my buttercream icing. When I was ready to ice the cake, I took it out of the freezer and used a wide spatula to fill in the gaps between layers and then covered the entire cake in buttercream. It didn't have to be perfect or pretty, because after that, I covered the cake in mini chocolate chips (yum!).

Tip: do this on a large sheet of parchment paper to catch the stray chips! After the cake was iced and chocolate chipped, I stuck it back into the freezer while I got my piping tip ready. 

To pipe my icing, I placed a piping tip into the corner of a large ziplock back, trimmed the bag's tip and filled the bag with my remaining buttercream. I then piped little icing puffs all the way around my cake's base and then three rows on top of the cake. I don't know all the technical terms and I'm definitely not a pro, but I'm found the trick is to get the icing thick enough to stay in place when you pipe it. No runny buttercream here! Add more confectioners sugar if the icing doesn't stay in peaks when piped. 


Store the cake in the freezer until you're ready to serve (obviously, right?!) :).

This was SO good and really, not that hard. Go ahead and give it a try. If I can do it, you can do it!

Thanks for inviting me over, Angela! I love the beautiful online place you've created here!

Photobucket

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Best and the Worst

Tonight I'm taking a few minutes to share the best and the worst of our day. Really, it was a very good day. A day that should have been documented in many photos, and not just these few words.

A Few of the Best:
 •This morning the kids and I joined my sister and her kids for a nice long walk on a new trail. This trail was a new adventure for us; a place that we'd never been before and it was awesome. Sunshine, (mostly) happy kids, fresh air and exercise. There's no other way that I would've wanted to spend my morning and I still smile when I think about it.

•The last couple of nights I've been doing a new thing with the kids right before I tuck them into their beds. What we're doing is taking a few minutes to tell each other something that we like about the other person or something that the other person has done that makes us happy. Judah (3 1/2), is totally old enough to get this and  is really enjoy it. When I asked him to tell Paisley what she does that makes him happy, he smiled and said "When she plays outside with me!". I love it because we're building each other up at the end of the day and it also gives me insight to see what I can do to create those happy moments that are remembered.

A Few of the Worst:
Judah's had a bit of a potty training regression lately and it's rough. He did awesome for so many months and lately he's started getting up in the morning and then silently taking off his jammies and then peeing on his floor. It's a rough way to start the day and it's been challenging for me to know how to handle this. I've tried dealing with it from all different angles but, nothing seems to be working and I feel bad. I've started to feel like maybe somehow it's my fault, like maybe something in his life is causing him stress and this is his way of acting out. Regardless, it's challenging and although I know it's just a phase, it's hard on me.

•The last thing that was hard about this day was the long bedtime tonight. Judah's at this age now where he's transitioning out of napping. He still kind of needs his nap and if he doesn't rest, he's like crazy hyper all evening. But, on the flip side, if he does nap, then he has the worst time falling asleep at night. So really, we can't win. In the big picture, it's not that big of a deal, it's just the phase that we're in right now.

One thing that I've been learning in my mothering journey is that every time I think I have it figured out, I really don't. I've been so blessed with awesome, healthy kids but, before I was a mom, I thought I knew a lot about mothering. I thought I had it figured out. Now, I love my kids more than I could have ever imagined loving anyone and I also pick up the phone and cry to my sister on a regular basis. Little phases like purposefully peeing on the floor wear me down but, then the sweet words at bedtime make me close my eyes and thank God for this beautiful life.
I hope you've had a good day as well! Please come back tomorrow because Emily from 52 Mantels will be here sharing her icecream cake recipe with us. I've seen the pictures and it looks amazing!
Angela 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday



Our June has been one of the wettest on record. 
Today was a nice change, as it actually warmed up a bit and we were able to feel like summer might actually be here. Will it stick around? Probably not for long but, we sure do appreciate these beautiful days while we have them! 
Angela

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Rosie & A Cake Recipe for Dogs

One of my favorite things about my boy is his absolute LOVE of Birthday's. He's just like his Momma, in that he loves a good party and he loves having his house full of friends. Even though his Birthday is literally like 6 months away, he talks about it multiple times everyday. He also invites our friends and family to his Birthday party like every time we see them. I think it's totally sweet that he gets so excited about Birthdays, especially because he gets excited when it's someone else's Birthday, not just his.
{scroll down for recipe}
A few weeks ago, he asked me how old our dog Rosie is and when her Birthday is. When I told him that her Birthday was coming up, he insisted that we'd throw her a party, invite our family to celebrate with us and have decorations.

Well, today was Rosie's Birthday and although we ended up not having our family come to her party, our little family of four had a sweet little party for her. This afternoon, I whipped out some quick decorations and baked a cake that both the kids and Rosie could eat. After all, she is part of our family and seeing the kids so excited to celebrate her was totally precious.



I love his face in this picture. We were singing "Happy Birthday" to Rosie and you can just see the love.
Today Judah told me exactly how it was going to go. "First, Daddy will hold Rosie while we sing and then, since she doesn't know how to blow out candles, I will blow them out for her!" He's a man with a plan...typical first born, I guess!
Rosie liked her cake and the kids thought it was just alright. Well to be honest, Paisley tasted her piece and then fiercely threw it on the floor. Judah ate all of his and said that it was good, although I've seen him way more excited about cake in the past. 
So, Happy Birthday Rosie! For the record, this is the first and last time that you'll ever be eating at our table. 

Peanut Butter and Carrot Cake:
Suitable for your dog and your kids (I'm sorry but, how white trash did I just sound...yikes.).
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey (optional)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat or white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 6 cup ring mold.
Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Angela

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Thoughts and a Blogging Re-Evaluation

This morning I woke up with a big fire in my belly to clean, clean and then clean some more. We've been busy lately and I feel like our house is starting to get away from me so, I wanted to tackle a bunch of stuff and get back to the feeling of "being on top of things". It's funny though, every time I think I'm going to accomplish like 1,000 things in a day, I somehow forget that I have little helpers. These little helpers are sweet and they have good intentions but, if you've ever been around two kids 3 and under, you know that they don't actually make the job go faster.
I'm sure you've seen this.....It's so true, isn't it?
At one point, I was vacuuming and Judah started motioning for me to look into the dining room. I looked and there was Paisley, sitting ON TOP of the dining room table. Seriously?! She's 20 months. Judah is 3 1/2 years old and he's NEVER done that. I'm not saying that he hasn't done many other things but, he's always stayed clear of the top of the table. Lately, there are a lot of situations that are similar to the table top incident. I find myself saying a nice long drawn out "Duuuuude!" a lot. It keeps me from saying something worse and it helps me keep a sense of humor in the situation.

So, I set her in time out and she thinks it's fun. When her minute is over, I tell her she can get up but, she wants to just keep on sitting there. Seeing her continue to sit there makes me almost feel bad, even though I told her that her timeout was over. Ridiculous, I know.

I got about 1/3 of what I wanted to do accomplished and then we headed out to go on a walk. We walked down to a friends house and delivered her cookies, flowers and peas from our garden for her Birthday. I love our community and I love all the amazing MOPS moms that are in my life. I never stop feeling the blessing of friendship and support. It's all around, I can feel it and I want to spread that feeling of community.

On our way back, I started jogging with the stroller. We recently got a new double jogging stroller and I just love it. I'm great at walking long distances but, when it comes to jogging, I feel like my heart's going to pop out of my throat at any moment. So, I had Judah cheer for me and it totally helped. His "Go Mommy! Faster! Faster! You can do it Mommy!" totally inspired me to keep on running. I hope to jog with them more often.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paisley, happy to be playing outside! 
Lately, I've been re-evaluating blogging and how, what and why I blog. I've been thinking about how I write, what I write about and why I write it. First and foremost, I write because I love writing. I doubt that there will ever be a time in my life where I don't do some sort of writing. To me, writing is a beautiful way to preserve memories, document feelings and put your heart down onto paper. 

However, when you write and anyone can read it, things can get a bit more tricky. So, in order to not get too personal, I often share different projects that I'm working on, or things that I've been making. But lately, when I've been re-evaluating blogging, I feel my heart telling me that there's so much more to me than just a Mamma who writes about her projects. To be honest, my favorite blogs are written by inspiring women who write about their life. They share their heart and they share beauty but, not only in their projects. They share the beauty in their lives. 

On the flip side, there are thousands of craft and cooking blogs but, very few really stand out, unless the writer is sharing who she is or unless she's amazingly talented. And don't even get me started about the hundreds of link parties. I don't want to sound snarky but, I'm so tired of getting comments from people asking me to join their link party. Sure, I link up but, only to a few parties, hosted by bloggers that I actually really like. But, please don't get me wrong, I do love a great cooking site or an amazing DIY blog! 

This little blog of mine is simply that: A blog of mine. I want to share my heart here and share my life. I hope to inspire other women and show that I'm not perfect, and neither is my family. I've got a BIG God in my life and He gives me strength. Sure, I'll still write about projects that we're doing but, I'm NOT another craft blogger or site where you can find an amazing recipe, posted on a weekly basis. I'm just me, a girl who likes to write and wants to stay true to herself. I will continue to write about whatever I feel like or whatever is inspiring me at the moment. 
There are no rules and there are no limitations, except for the ones that we set for ourselves.
Angela 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Flea Market Experience | Indeed, it was an adventure

Today I experienced my first flea market as a vendor. I've never really planned on selling the things that I make but, while I was at a flea market last month, I was like "Hey! I think I could do that!" 
So, I gave it a shot. 
 I had my own little booth and my sister was there with me for company and moral support. 

 The conversation was great, the coffee we drank was hot, my toes were frozen and like a typical Pacific Northwest day, it rained cats and dogs. And when I say that it rained, I mean....it really rained. 
About 2 hours before the market was scheduled to end, everyone's booths literally started blowing over and rain was soaking everything. Oh yes, we had a tent that we were under but, the tent didn't even stand a chance to the storm that came through. So, everyone grabbed their soggy merchandise, smiled at each other through soaked clothes and smeared mascara and headed back home.
This is me, soaked to the bone, getting ready to call it a day.
So yes, my first Flea Market was an adventure. 
Would I do it again? Sure.
Later I'll look back on this day and think of it as a good memory. 
While packing up our tent, all of the water that had collected on the top of the tent dumped onto my head. 
Like, literally a bucket worth. 
My sister laughed so hard I thought she was going to fall over.
I laughed also.
It was a fun day.
Angela 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Spontaneous Ice Cream Date

The other day, I took the kids on a surprise ice cream date after their nap time. Isn't this what summer's all about? Surprising your kids with ice cream, at 4:30pm on a weekday? Some of my most precious times with my babies are when it's just the three of us, out having fun together. 
This is slowing down, playing and focusing on what's important.
Angela

6 Simple Ways to Stay Sane this Summer-From Katie at The Terpblog

Hello! I'm Katie from The Terpblog!
Angela invited me over today, and I'm excited to be here!

This is our little fam - 
my hubby Matt and me along with our three kiddos, Dylan (7 1/2), Ella (5 1/2), and Mady (2 1/2).
I love to blog about intentional living, organizing, crafting, exercise, eating well, and family life.

Dylan just finished up 1st grade and Ella completed Pre-K. The kids have been out of school for about two weeks now and we're starting to hit our summertime stride.
Now on to the topic at hand: how to maintain some summer sanity. 
I've been at this mom thing for over seven years now and although there's still a lot I don't know, I have figured out a thing or two (I think. I hope.)

I LOVE being at home with my kids and I love the relaxed, unscheduled feel of summer, but, let's be honest, summer can make me feel a little crazy sometimes. Especially now that I have two school-aged kids, summer can hit me like a ton of bricks if I don't bring my A Game.

Looking for ways to stay sane this summer? 
Here are a few ideas to try. They might not all be for you (i.e. if you have a child who isn't sleeping through the night, DO NOT attempt #2), but I hope you find something here you can apply to your life.

#1 Evening Order
Spend a few minutes each evening (after the kids are in bed) getting ready for the next day. Pick out the kids' clothes, unload the dishwasher, set the cooler out by the door, load the wagon and beach chairs into the van. Your morning the next day will be less stressful, and you'll be less likely to forget something while hurriedly gathering sunscreen, picnic lunches, three pairs of (semi)matching shoes, oh, and the kids. Don't forget the kids.

#2 AM Alone-Time
I'm currently working through a challenge called HelloMornings. The idea is to rise before your family each morning in order to accomplish some of those tasks that usually get pushed to the outer edges of your day: quiet time, exercise, and planning your day. I know this isn't a reality for everyone, but even waking up 20 minutes earlier each day will do you a lot of good. Work through your devotions, drink a cup of tea, and savor the quiet (because we all know it won't be this quiet again until bedtime!)

#3 A Clean Kitchen is A Happy Kitchen
I learned this lesson while working through 31 Days to Clean last spring. Don't ever leave the house in the morning or move on to your day without picking up the kitchen. Close up the cereal boxes, load the dishwasher, clear and wipe the counters down. There is nothing like returning from a play date at the park with a couple of sweaty, dirty, tired little ones and opening the door to a clean, sparkling kitchen. I guarantee you'll be hooked.

#4 First Things First
If you're anything like me, it's easy to get overwhelmed juggling it all: laundry, cleaning, mealtime, parenting, outside-the-home work, not to mention your roles as wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Sometimes I look around me and see ten different things that seem to be crying out for my attention (is it just me or is the dishwasher ALWAYS asking to be emptied?) If I remind myself, first things first, I'm better able to focus and realize I'm only one person who can do only one thing at a time. And breath.

#5 Unplug
Here's an observation for you: the days I feel the most crazy tend to be the days I can't seem to step away from the computer or my phone. I've learned to recognize this and when it happens I put the computer on sleep mode and set my phone upstairs in my bedroom, away from the action. Once the distractions are out of my line of vision, I'm able to turn my attention towards the things (and people! like the little ones that live here!) that most need me at that moment. If you have good reason to be on-line during the day (I'm a part-time work-at-home mama), set up some "office hours" and then stick with them.

#6 Me Time
I'm guessing a lot of your summer plans revolve around your kiddos: swim lessons, play dates, beach days, water fights, endless amounts of Pinterest crafts. Yay, mama for planning some intentional summer fun for your little ones! But don't forget about YOU. Schedule in some time (I would argue EACH day) to something you love, even if it's only for a few minutes. Read a magazine, catch up on a show, go for a run, chat with a friend, hide upstairs in your bedroom and play Words With Friends (not that I would know anything about that). You're a good mom, I'm sure of it! Invest in yourself!
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
That's it! By following some simple "rules" you'll better be able to relax and stay sane for the duration of the summer. It might take a few tries to get these tips and habits to stick, but keep at it. A happy, sane, less-stressed mom is much better equipped to deal with a house full of kids and a calendar full of fun. 

Enjoy your summer! September will be here before we know it!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isn't Katie wonderful? I love all of her tips for staying sane this summer. Don't we all want to have a great time with our kids, without feeling like we're loosing our minds? I think all of her suggestions were spot on! Make sure you go take a peek around her blog. When I discovered her, I immediately thought she was awesome.
Angela 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Lot of Photos and a Few Words

Tuesday evening we celebrated my Mom's Birthday over at my sister's house. My sister makes the most amazing ice cream cakes from scratch. I keep on telling her that she needs to go into business!
This morning we went for a great walk outside. After we came back in, the kids played dress up and of course, I couldn't help but take a few pictures.
I seriously love this one. Even though she has a little bruise next to her mouth, she is perfect. Don't let these pictures fool you though, I feel like my hands are FULL these days. The phase of tantrums is definitely here and she is LOUD. Honestly, I feel sorry for my neighbors and I want to keep my windows shut most of the time. My precious girl is sweet, strong willed, loving and she lives life loudly. She's busy, determined and fearless. My mom and I are super close so, I hope that Paisley and I will always have a close relationship and that even when she's grown, we'll be great friends. 

Judah loves to dress up also and we need to get more dress up clothes for him. I'd really like to have an entire drawer dedicated to dress up clothes. He likes to be a Doctor, a train conductor, a builder and he loves to pretend that he's going to work. I really need to work on that dress up drawer......
I feel like there's been a bit of a grumpy feeling over our house this week so, I'm planning on taking the kids for a surprise ice cream cone this afternoon. You know that saying, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy?" Well unfortunately, I think it's true. I've been in a bit of a funk this week and I can see that how I'm going affects them. Blah....and the mommy guilt sets in. 

But, enough about that. I'm getting caught up on posting photos so, here are our recent photos from Project 365{+1}.
Tomorrow morning, Katie from The Terpblog will be here posting her "6 Simple Ways to Stay Sane this Summer". Be sure to check back because her tips are totally doable! She reminded me of a few things that I can do to make our summer super fun, without feeling like I'm going to loose my mind! 
Angela 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Homemade Finger Paint

Yesterday I wrote about our homemade finger paint adventure. Making this finger paint was actually way easier than I expected it to be. I've got to be honest and say that while we were making it, I was thinking about how messy this paint was going to be and how my kitchen was going to be a wreck....I know, I've got issues. Anyway-we cooked our paint long enough for it to be really thick and since the paint was almost like a gel, it was super easy to clean up...like, easier than play dough.

Homemade Finger Paint
3 T Sugar
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
2 Cups Cold Water
Food Coloring

Mix sugar and cornstartch together in a sauce pan. Add cold water and combine with a whisk. Cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens to a thin pudding consistency. The mixture will thicken very quickly so, stop the cooking process a little before it’s the consistency you’d like. Once removed from heat, cool and then separate into bowls and color as you wish!

After our paint was done, we started out like normal folks, painting paper. But then, I brought out the cookie sheets and the fun really began.
Have fun!
Angela 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If You were at My House Right Now

If you were at my house right now........... you'd probably be able to tell that I'm tired from staying up way too late watching the Bachelorette and talking birth stories with my Monday night gals. However, if I'm going to stay up until 1am, talking about birth is one of my all time favorite subjects  and on a totally different note, I'm super glad that Emily sent Ryan home.

If you were at my house right now.......you would most likely smell garlic. Sunday afternoon, I pulled a few of the first garlic that I've grown and then yesterday, I made a delicious and stinky dinner to celebrate my Dad.
If you were at my house right now.......you'd find a lot of sand in my car. Honestly, it drives me nuts but, going to the beach and playing is SO worth it. Who wants a super clean car and a boring life? Not me and definitely, not my kids!

If you were at my house right now.......you'd see that we made some homemade finger paint this morning and then we painted paper and cookie sheets with it. Making this finger paint was super easy and fun. I'll post the recipe in the next few days.

If you were at my house right now......you'd see that Paisley asks multiple times a day to sit on the potty chair. She hasn't actually done anything in it yet but, I love that she's interested. She's super young so, I'm just going to follow her lead and not make it a big deal. 

If you were at my house right now.....I'd tell you how happy I am that my sister was here to do the kid's bedtime with me last night. Her sweet husband let her stay, after we had the dinner for my Dad and she was so much help, since my husband was working. I love this picture of her reading stories with my boy. How precious are they???? P.S. In just a couple of months, they'll welcome their 3rd boy and I'm so excited to snuggle that baby!
And lastly, if you were at my house right now....you might see that I have puffy eyes from reading "Bloom" the other night. Have you read that book? Oh.My.Goodness. I stink'n cried my eyes out through the first chapter. They weren't sad tears but, more like thankful tears. That book makes me want to hug my babies tighter, slow down and enjoy them more. 
Angela 

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