Monday, February 27, 2012
Lauren of Daisy Cottage is currently awaiting the arrival of her second baby girl, Caroline, and has closed her shop for a few weeks. You can follow her blog to keep up with her new designs, though, and she will be back to creating sweet gifts as soon as her sweet gift is here. Best of luck Lauren!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Have I ever mentioned my lack of willpower for both baking and eating sugar? Cupcake Wars is a highlight of my television week, if that begins to tell you. So, with Nathan home and the kids asleep and rain falling by the bucket outside my kitchen window... I made these:
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
We just booked a beach trip for the last week of April and that was the beginning of a realization for me. My KIDS are not BABIES, and I’ll be darned if this year I use the excuse of being a mom for not looking HAWT in a BIKINI.
There, I have committed.
We have unseasonably warm February-March weather in Columbia, so it’s the perfect opportunity for me to get my lazy rear out of the house and get moving. I really yearn to be healthy (and hot, let’s be honest), so I have the mindset this year that I’m going to make it happen. Nathan, although a bean stalk by nature, knows that his health is probably not that of a spring chicken anymore and has vowed to “get fit” with me. We started the couch to 5k program and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far (which I am NOT a runner… I loathe it for the most part), and we’ve gone so far as to research local 5k races around town over the next few months. I need goals or it’s easy to get lax.
Here’s the one I’m most excited about-
It’s part of the downtown Crawfish Festival on Cinco de Mayo… what isn’t to love about that?
And this is going to be me, fit and fabulous in just two short months-
Bwahahahahahahahahaha. IF ONLY.
Anyway, I’m tired of not following through with my proclamations of fitness. We all do it, but I’m notoriously bad. I’m blessed with pretty good genes and a pretty good metabolism, so I can actually get away with “eating like a trash can” (that’s for you, Jenee) and not totally blowing up like my 9-month-pregnant-size-self. However, I have too much insulation at this point and I’m not happy about it. Ten pounds need to come off, STAT.
I’m starting my Visalus shakes again, and I’m going to try and stick with two shakes a day for at least one month. After that, if my results are where I want them to be, I’ll go back to the one shake a day for breakfast and lunch. I just need a jump start!! In the past, when I’ve gotten serious about losing a few pounds, the best motivator in the world is success. If I see loose clothes or muscle definition peeking through, it causes me to push on and push further… I’ll be damned if I’m going to eat that piece of cake or drink that soda! Look at what’s happening here!!
Hold me to it, web friends. I’m determined that I will not hide behind cute bathing suit cover-ups or insist that all photos be from chest-up. I WILL post a photo of me frolicking in the sand all bikini-clad this time, and I want you to call me out if I don’t. Deal?… Because I need accountability. :)
Monday, February 20, 2012
More than that, though, I don’t get mad at Tyler for eating it. He loves to put regular play dough in his mouth and up his nose, and I loathe nasty things like that. So this is our happy medium! He can shove this stuff anywhere he pleases and it’s A-OK with me.
They get a real kick out of the fact I don’t care about the mess, and Connor gets a kick out of trying to sneak a bite here and there. Look at him canvasing the scene around Caroline, then wham! In for the kill…
To make PB play dough, mix 1 C peanut butter, 1 C dry milk, and 1/4 cup honey. This makes a pretty big batch, so you can store it in an airtight container and use it like regular play dough. You kids will love it, I promise!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Tyler and Caroline are finally old enough where I’m not scared of taking them places alone. Last year, it was all I could do to keep up with them, as 1+ year olds like to run wild for the most part (at least mine did). At two, though, they are fun and manageable. We can go anywhere and they mind me pretty well.
With that said, I came across a Groupon for Edventure, Columbia’s children’s museum. They have really cool exhibits and are constantly changing things around, so it’s hard for toddlers to get bored. We’ve been twice in the past month and I can honestly it say was a super smart purchase. They ADORE this place.
What’s not to love about a toddler-sized grocery store?
Serious shoppers coming through…
Tyler’s favorite thing: the real fire truck you can drive!
Caroline still hasn’t decided if she likes Bessie the cow or not, but she gives her a whirl each time…
Another favorite exhibit is one of “other lands” -
(Shall we discuss how much fun my husband has as well?)
There’s also a pretty sweet music room that reminds me of the movie Big. Not exactly FAO Swartz, but fun nonetheless.
As much as I harp on loving the upstate, I’ve gotta give it to Columbia for being awesome in the activities department. Nathan keeps saying that I’m going to be sad to leave next year… we shall see.
Speaking of years, I’m 31 today. WHOA.
Thirty seemed kind of exciting, but this one not so much. What is exciting, however, is that instead of treating myself to lunch at Sam’s Club (last year) I’m having brunch with friends then heading to the lake for a weekend of fun. Dinner with my mom tonight, lunch with my dad tomorrow, dinner with Greenville girlfriends tomorrow night, and last but not least, a MASSAGE!! The latter was a gift from Nathan, whose really gone out of his way to make me feel special this year. He knew that the big 3-0 was kind of a let-down (he was working, I had lunch at Sam’s, womp womp womp), so the past few days he’s showered me with thoughtfulness... New purse, four massages with my favorite therapist, cards, flowers, candy. Icing on the cake is having the most precious children in the world singing “Happy Birthday Mommy! HAPPY TO YOU MOMMY!” on repeat. I am one lucky old lady. ;)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
(I gave them several options for “red-wear” this morning… these are their choices. :)
So far, we’ve spent our day reveling in strawberry fudge, gummy bears, Valentine’s Chex Mix, and leftover pizza. I’ve been smelling my roses (and tulips) and thinking about how lucky I am to have such sweethearts in my life. Since Nathan is working (and had to leave before the crack of dawn), I left his presents on the kitchen counter in hopes that they would start his day off in the right direction. It was almost like Christmas morning for me to walk down and see what was left in place of my gifts, and definitely the same goes for the kids. Caroline and Tyler’s handprint Valentines had been replaced with Mickey & Minnie balloons and candy, and they couldn’t have been more excited. We are spoiled… all of us!
*Valentine’s Chex Mix and Strawberry Fudge recipes found on Pinterest, naturally. :)
Monday, February 13, 2012
For the super bowl, we got together for a fun-filled night of food and football like every other American. Everyone brought a little something to share with the group, and I contributed pasta salad and these…
RED VELVET COOKIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Yum.
We all agree that I’m no food blogger, and to be honest, this recipe is so Sandra Lee that many people wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. That, however, is exactly why I felt the need to pass it along to you all. Busy moms need Sandra Lee sometimes, am I right?
Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
1 box Red Velvet cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup white chocolate morsels
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Mix all ingredients together, minus the chocolate chips, with an electric mixer. When dough forms, fold in chocolate chips and roll into walnut-size balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack. DEVOUR.
These cookies were a hit at the party, and I was almost embarrassed to admit how easy they were! I love baking from scratch when I have time, but I found out the night before that I needed to bring a few things and came up with these on the fly. There are a few cake mix recipes for cookies on the internet, so I by no means came up with this on my own. You could sub different mixes and make all kinds of different cookies, but these just screamed both Valentine’s and Super Bowl to me… given the red in both teams, ya know. Nathan really isn’t a fan of red velvet anything, but even he couldn’t turn down the soft, chewy goodness of these babies. If you’re in need of a quick dessert fix or something more than your standard cookie, give these a try! You won’t be sorry!
Friday, February 10, 2012
I still have a lot to learn about my camera.
For starters, I need to read the book I got for Christmas, but sometimes it just takes trial and error to figure things out. These were the shots I took at the zoo last week a few days after getting my new lens, and while there’s a gracious plenty of room for improvement, I don’t think I did half bad.
It’s not a regular day without a little brother/sister fun.
We had a great time watching the penguin feeding. As many times as we’ve been to the zoo, we always seem to miss their lunch. Tyler and Caroline loved seeing the fish everywhere and watching the penguins chase after them.
Not only did we get lucky in the penguin department, but all the animals were out to play. I couldn’t believe our luck, especially on my “photography 101 self-teaching day.”
Both of these guys look like they’re glaring right at me, huh?
I’m almost certain my gorilla friend was deliberately trying to escape me. After visiting a few other animals, I found him on the backside of his exhibit, lurking by the cement wall… Glaring, yet again. :)
The bears put on a GREAT show. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, nor had the other ten people who started whipping out video cameras and iPhones around me. These guys played, wrestled, and chased it other all over the place.
Although Caroline and Tyler were having a great time seeing all the fun animals and their shows, wouldn’t you know the most exciting thing to them were birds? BIRDS.
Too bad the ostrich was too tired to eat his pine needles, because Tyler figured he might as well taste them. Such a boy.
Remember my favorite llama? Let me refresh your memory.
We wrapped up with some lazy monkeys and a wild baby baboon. Caroline loved that little baboon so much that she cried for him all the way to the car. Poor thing.
All in all, I was ecstatic with my outdoor classroom. My subjects couldn’t have been more cooperative. :)