Archives for June 2012

Random Stuff…

So I have some things I wanted to blog about, but none of them alone is really all that much so I decided to put it all together into one post! I think that I’m over my blog burn out and I”m actually enjoying writing and social media again.

I think maybe I was overwhelmed with last days of preschool and the renovation and keeping the kids busy and putting too much pressure on myself to do it all. It’s nice to blog when I want, even if that is only a couple of days a week. So during the last couple of months, we’ve been busy. And are still busy, but things don’t seem to be as chaotic (for now).

Horrible picture, I know. Note to self: bust out the real camera next time.

I mentioned that we are having some things done to the house. Things like getting windows and doors put in walls that didn’t have them. Said windows and doors need big holes to go in, and constructing those holes left so much dust in the house that we actually had to hire a cleaning crew to come in and clean it all up. Yep, it was that crazy. But the kinda-sorta-but-nowhere near finished product already looks fantastic!

The work that still has to be done is overwhelming – shutters and paint and baseboard and hopefully all will be done soon. And we are having a patio cover put on the back of the house. It’s not ready yet, but it looks awesome and I will share those pictures soon!

The kids have been swimming nearly everyday at my sister’s house. As soon as the warm weather hit, Lila became a water baby and it’s almost impossible to keep her out of it. Ethan, too.

But Mia took a little longer to warm up – it wasn’t until we went to Palm Springs at the beginning of this month that she realized her floaties weren’t so scary and that she loved swimming like her siblings. For Jason and I, this is good news. We both love the water and would’ve been bummed if the kids didn’t too! Next up? Swim lessons.

Mission Potty Training is complete! Lila pretty much trained herself. Several months ago, she woke up and told me she didn’t wear diapers anymore, and she didn’t. Mia took more work (translation: bribery and begging). But as of this month, both girls are entirely out of diapers except at night, though most mornings they wake up with dry diapers. This might sound weird, but it’s actually bittersweet that all signs of babies are almost extinct from our house. The only thing we are still trying to get rid of are sippy cups and the stroller.

I am bummed that Real Housewives of Orange County is over for the season. It’s my guilty pleasure and I look forward to it every week. I only watch RHOC and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, so I have months to wait before I get a Housewives fix again. Are you a fan of the Housewives? There are some people who only watch one set of Housewives and some that watch all. I guess I’m just a West Coast Lover.

Anyways, in the RHOC finale episode, Tamra won a diamond valued at $4,000 at Heather’s name changing party. Now Tamra doesn’t need another diamond because she just got engaged, so she has decided to give it away! Yanina Co., a local jeweler, is even donating a setting. Wines by Wives (I’ve actually written about them before over at Have Wine, Will Drink) are collecting love stories via www.WinesbyWives.com/diamond and choosing the top 5 stories. Fans will then be able to vote on their favorite story and that lucky couple will have an engagement ring! So if you know anybody looking for a diamond, make sure to let them know! (And nope, nobody paid me to tell you this!)

I’ve got lots of good recipes on the way, too. We do lots of get-togethers in the summer, so I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes that can feed the masses. I’ve got one coming up called an Icebox Banana Split Cake that is SO easy to make and the adults will love it as much as the kids, promise!

And on that note, if you are a fan of cheese, head over and check out my recipe for Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Apples. The sandwich is good, but even better, I have a giveaway going to get you coupons for free Sargento cheese!

I’m sure the next couple of weeks will make me scarce from the online world – next week is 4th of July and the following week I’ve decided to take the kids camping with my family. Jason won’t be going because of his insanely crazy work schedule, but I’m going with my parents and am very excited to introduce the kids to it.

Since I was a kid, well actually since my mom was a kid, her family has been making an annual camping trip to Kings Canyon in the Sequoia National Park. I recently wrote about my concerns/fears/anxieties and how I hope the kids are ready for a long vacation, I certainly am! Little to no phone service means I’ll be away from social media (cold turkey) for an entire week. I wonder if I’ll survive?

I’m Not Crafty, But I Made The Cutest 4th of July Wreath EVER!

If you know me, you know I’m not crafty. At all. But I saw this super cute DIY wreath in a magazine and thought: I could make that! And so I did! It was easy and inexpensive to do and you can make it too!

The great thing about this wreath is that I can take the stars off of it and reuse it again at Valentine’s Day! I can’t wait to make another one for Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Head on over to ChiquitaMoms.com for the directions on how to put this wreath together!

Mommy Moment – Galit Style

Welcome to another Mommy Moment! If you’re not sure what it is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be. I am excited to have one of my favorite bloggers/writers here today, Galit from These Little Waves.

Galit is a mom of three, wife, co-founder of a monthly linkup, Memories Captured, and an AMAZING writer. She is involved in all kinds of writing blogs and if you haven’t read her work, you are really missing out!

So go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

———

“Here, mama?” He asks, pointing to the burgundy chair. Its wooden arms and legs are sturdy, strong, well worn. Many children have sat here.

“Yes.” I nod, distracted by my own thoughts and worries and mission.

I turn from him with a blind faith that he will, indeed, sit where he should for as long as I need. One slice of a moment is all it will take. Tiny, important.

Walking up to the counter, I press my palms against my jeans. Even as an adult, a school counter seems so very big, and makes me feel so very small.

The receptionist smiles my way and flips her strawberry hair over one shoulder. Her smile is warm, her eyes are searching.

Parents don’t usually come to school in the middle of the day without notice or reason or, at the very least, an appointment.

I know this, and yet I’m here.

“Hi.” I greet her. My smile is wary and my hello is strained, tinny even.

I know this too, and yet I go on.

“Can I see Kayli for just one minute?” I ask, crossing my fingers against my thigh, silently whispering, “Please don’t ask me why.” And to her credit, she doesn’t.

Smoothing a smile onto her lips with the ease and grace of someone who has heard stranger things from behind that big, tall counter, she calls down to my girl’s classroom.

I stand and wait, noting the quiet hum of the office. Another phone call is made, children deliver blue-inked notes,  a harsh fluorescent light washes over us all.

I murmur my thanks, then turn from the smallness of this space, towards the vastness of the hallway.

My flip flops smack against harsh carpet, each step announcing my arrival.

Sunlight beams through paneled doors landing in slants against the wall, revealing oil pastels in the brightest of colors, and against the floor, revealing my waiting stance.

A single heartbeat later, Kayli’s flip flopped stride comes my way. Her steps are ever-sure, her expression matches the school secretary’s.

“Hi mom?” She asks.

I take in my girl. Her spaghetti strap lays loosely against one shoulder, her pink tinted lip gloss was recently applied.

When I dropped her off that morning, we barely said good bye, having just matched wills and stubbornness and harshness.

I wince into that moment. Were we running late? Was her backpack unpacked? Her homework undone? Her voice too edged? I have no idea what happened, but I do know that I handled whatever it was badly, and that I owe her an apology.

I lean down so we’re eye to eye, chocolate brown meeting light hazel, “I’m so sorry about this morning, Kay.” I whisper.

Without pause, she whispers back, “Thanks Mommy, me too.” She melts into me with her arms and her face and even her tippy toes.

I squeeze her tight, breath her in, then let her go, grateful for tiny, important slices.

She smiles between pink tinged lips, then turns on her own heel, her flip flops marking her own path down that big hallway. I watch her go, my heartstring repaired.

My feet still firmly planted, I glance towards Brody, ready to gather him from that burgundy chair and head home.

That’s when I catch a glimpse of that strawberry hair once more, framing warm eyes, and a smile that mirrors the feeling. The secretary nods my way with her chin and her smile and even her eyes, mother to mother.

She’s seen so many stories unfold from behind that desk, and I’m so very grateful to her for letting me rewrite a slice of mine.

-———-

I should have mentioned you would need tissues! See what I mean about Galit’s writing? I felt like a voyeur watching that moment unfold. Learning to say that I am sorry and admit when I’m wrong to my kids has been a challenge…one that I work on everyday. Galit handled this the way I’m striving to.

We all take on so much as moms – it’s a tough gig! There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to These Little Waves and say hello to Galit. If you are a Twitter addict, you can find her there, and on Facebook and Pinterest too! And if you are a new follower, make sure to tell her that I sent you!

I Need A Do Over! I Guess Habits Really Don’t Form In Just 21 Days

Have you ever heard this little bit of trivia: If you do something every day for 21 days it becomes a habit? I always thought to myself that it must be true. That if I just exercised for 21 days I’d become an exercise freak who would love working out and would never have to worry about what her body looked like again. Well I’m here to tell you that this bit ‘o trivia is not true.

What I can tell you is that it only takes a day or two not or not working out to stop working out. A couple of weeks ago (on Tuesday June 5th to be exact) I did my Brazil Butt Lift workout even though I didn’t want to. I knew that my sister and I were taking the kids to Palm Springs for a couple of days of R&R and that I wouldn’t force myself have time to do the workout the next day. And then on Thursday I was “tired” from traveling with the kids and so I skipped that day, too. Friday I had another excuse, and on and on.

Now, two weeks later, and I still haven’t done a single workout. If you aren’t a regular reader, than you might not know over the course of a month or so, I started doing the Brazil Butt Lift workouts (yeah, the informercial got me!) and lost almost 10 pounds and lost over 9 inches of fat. All that hard work is going back down the drain…or more realistically, back into my butt and belly.

So today, I am going to do a Do Over. Starting from scratch. Back on the wagon.

Back to my 6-day-a-week workouts and eating right. Summer is here and I swore I’d get myself into a bikini. Problem is that I want to look like this:

Source: beachbody.com

And not like this again:

If I had the chance to Do Over my decision not to work out for a few days (which turned into 2 weeks), I would’ve forced myself to do it. I know I’m never going to be one of those women who love and look forward to their workouts. It will always be something I will have to push myself to do…and that’s okay…I just need to remember that it’s work to wear a bikini and look good doing it. And I owe it to myself to try!

What would your Do Over moment be?

I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

Frigidaire wants you to know that the Frigidaire Gallery™Dishwasher gets dishes fully cleaned the first time, so there are no dish do-overs. Nearly half of adults admit to re-washing and/or re-drying dishes after the dishwasher cycle has been completed. To prevent dishwasher do-overs, Frigidaire® is stepping in with its new Gallery® Dishwasher featuring the OrbitCleanTM Wash Arm, ensuring dishes are cleaned right the first time.

Grilled Cheese, Bacon and Apple Sandwiches

Remember last month when I shared with you the best grilled cheese sandwich ever recipe? Well, I thought it was time to share another: my recipe for Grilled Cheese Bacon and Apple on Raisin Bread. I know, I know…it sounds crazy, right? But trust me on this one, it is YUMMY!

This recipe is based on a couple of recipes combined. One recipe was one I learned in Home Economics class when I was in 7th grade. The other comes from a recipe on Sargento’s website called White Cheddar, Granny Smith Apples and Smoked Bacon. Now the great thing about recipes is that you can tweak them and take bits and pieces from different ones to make them your own. And that’s what I’ve done here.

Sargento’s recipe creates a panini. They are yummy, but I don’t have a panini maker so I make it the old fashioned way – I flip the sandwich halfway through. Instead of using ciabatta bread, I use raisin and/or cinnamon swirl bread. No Granny Smith apples? No problem! Any apples will do, but the sweet and tart flavor of a Granny Smith sends this recipe over the top. And since I’m watching my calories, instead of using Sargento Deli Style Sliced Vermont Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, I use Sargento’s Ultra Thin Sliced Mild Cheddar Cheese.

So don’t be afraid to take this recipe and switch it up to make it your own!

Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Apple

This recipe is for a simple grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and apples served on cinnamon bread.It might sound like a strange combo, but it is delicious!

From Sargento’s website. Because the picture of my sandwich didn’t look nearly as yummy!

Good Eats: Grilled Cheese, Bacon and Apple Sandwiches
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • (Per Sandwich)
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 small Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
  • Cracked pepper
  • 2 slices raisin bread or cinnamon swirl bread
  • 2 slices Sargento's Ultra Thin Sliced Mild Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon until crisp on low heat; drain on paper towels. Put apples into hot pan with 1/2 tablespoon bacon drippings and sauté for 30 seconds; sprinkle with pepper.
  2. Spread apples evenly on top of a slice of bread. Place 2 slices cheese and two strips bacon on top of apples. Close sandwich with remaining bread slices.
  3. Grill the sandwich about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 2 minutes, cut each sandwich in half and serve with fresh fruit.
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http://mommyofamonster.com/grilled-cheese-bacon-and-apple-sandwiches/

 

Doesn’t it sound yummy? This makes a great lunchtime sandwich or even a great dinner sandwich! And you can make it your own…change up the meat, use different varieties of cheese, or use your favorite bread. The possibilities are endless!

Looking for more of the best grilled cheese sandwiches around? Try my recipe for the Best Grilled Cheese EVER and check out my Grilled Cheese board on Pinterest.