Monday, October 31, 2011

Muffin Monday Madness - Double Apple Spice!!!

Monday morning and I’m out of baked snacks. Wake up at 6am and analyze fridge ingredients – 1 apple, small amount of apple sauce – that’s it! Apple Spice Muffins it is! Or make that Double Apple Spice Muffins. Yeah!
Next, create personalized recipe. I start by finding a generic base on allrecipes.com. Theirs calls for butter, I’ve found oil makes a more moist muffin. Exchange. Theirs does not call for diced apple, I want MORE apple! Theirs calls for allspice, I prefer ginger and cloves. Exchange. Theirs does not call for a topping, I feel a little oatmeal would be awesome. Since I’ve remade half the recipe, I’ll just call this one my own creation.
DOUBLE APPLE SPICE MUFFINS
Muffin Mix
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup white wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 apple diced very small (I used Gala, they are so juicy right now)
I mix dry ingredients by hand in my kitchen aid mixer. I have the wet ingredients sitting by in premeasured bowls and dump everything into dry ingredients (eggs, oil, applesauce), blend in mixer only until all dry ingredients have been absorbed. Don’t over mix.
Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons Land O Lakes butter
  • ¼ cup oatmeal
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
Mix topping in food processor, put one spoonful on top of each muffin
Grease muffin container, it should make 12 muffins. Always use an ice cream scoop to measure muffins into tin pan. This is critical because it ensures each muffin is equal is size and will bake evenly. Wonderful tip I picked up from professional cupcake makers.
Bake at 350 for 22 minutes.
Tip – it’s best to dice an apple as small as possible because I’ve found the muffin mix will not always bake as evenly around a chunk of apple so you end up with an over baked muffin to compensate.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Relevant - Chronicle of People Met

If I write about you, I will be more likely to remember you and your blog.  So the following is written as I go through your business cards, which I’ve saved in the order I received them.
Upon seating of a puddle hopper going from Newark, NJ to Harrisburg I heard to Relevant ladies greet each other. Ah ha, 2 on my plane! I’ll introduce myself upon landing.
Meet Krissie Camealy! I introduced myself in the airport as I was wondering where to get the bus. She immediately welcomed me, noticed I was pregnant with a big “oh my gosh how far along are you?” and offered me a ride in the car she was renting! How welcoming is that? She had also offered a ride to Mary Deluth who I chatted with while she was waiting for her bags which never came in so we left her behind to sort out the situation.
Krissie is a really fun girl, she took me straight to the hotel where we checked in and then to Chili’s for lunch where we past a big group just finishing their lunch, we were slightly late at 2pm.  We enjoyed hamburgers while talking about our two very similar stubborn 3 year old daughters.  It’s so enjoyable to talk with someone who has experienced similar issues.
At the end of our meal, we were discussing our churches, mine being Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.  As soon as I said it, two ladies popped over to say hi, one from Boca (Nicole Morgan) and one from Boyton Beach (M.J. Putnik)!  Two bloggers from my area!!!  How exciting.
Back to the hotel to check into my room and meet my first roommate Natalie.  We immediately leave for the newbie’s meet and greet while she registers.  Here’s my first moment of panic – a room full of women all talking at once and I don’t recognize anyone!  I quickly chase after Natalie but she’s gone!  Back to the big scary lobby to find someone, anyone I recognize.  Ah there is some girls I said hi to at the airport.  They welcome me and tell me about their DIY business.  Meet Amy Bayliss and Lisa Boyd, their service has annual fee of $24.95 and you get unlimited tech support for your blogging needs. How cool is that? And they are incredibly sweet to talk with so you can only imagine they must be a joy to work with.
Next card – “A Delightful Home” by Stacy Karen.  I’m sorry I don’t remember meeting you!  But I’ve just checked out your blog and love the Green Resource link up.  Think I’ll try this when I get home!!
At dinner my roommates (Jules, Katrina &  and I met a lovely lady who share’s my first name, Rachel Wojnarowski.  She’s a mom to 7 kids!!!  Astonishing!  She was so casual with her tiny 7mo that I could tell she was an experienced mom but never did I suspect that many kids.
I have Amy Frye’s card but I don’t remember meeting her!
After dinner and keynote speaker we are moved into a lounge for cupcakes and coffee.  One of my roommates breaks off to meet up with another friend and I’m suddenly stranded again.  I stand near the door, considering an opportunity to bolt when Susan from our dinner table reaches out to speak with me.  Oh Susan, thanks for saving me from myself.  We move to the center of the room and as we talk another lady hangs near, looking for an open group.  We welcome Angela into our group and I find she’s from my mom’s home town area of Altoona, PA.  Our group gets just a little bigger as Trina Holden joins and I learn she’s the lovely girl who left an incredibly sweet comment on my previous post.
So that was day 1!  What an exciting day, can’t wait to see what else Relevant has to offer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maternity Wardrobe

It’s a really good thing I put this together in Excel last week when I had the frame mind to plan out my fall maternity wardrobe.  I’m packing for Relevant and just spent 10 minutes staring at my closet, forgetting what I wanted to pack until I remembered my handy chart.  Yeah for charts!

Working Mommy Wednesday

Welcome to another episode of Working Mommy Wednesday! Today's prompts are:

  1. Does being a mom cause your co-workers to think of you as the “office mom”?
  2. Children’s books can be, boring – have you found any that are fun to read over and over?
Children's Books
In a world full of children's stories on TV, internet and books a parent can get really tired of the same stories over and over - like Curious George. Regardless, I love reading to my kids and due to having a teacher for a mom, I seem to have accumulated over 50 kids books! The variety definitely keeps things interesting but even so they can get tiresome to read night after night.

Then I discovered the coolest books ever written for kids - and I'm not talking about Dr. Seuss because he's really cool but his books are kinda long for a bedtime story.

In a trip to London earlier this year I wandered into an independent book store and stumbled across two books that have become the stars of our collection! They are:



The books are written in 4 line rhymes per page and they are hysterical! They cover the antics of aliens and dinosaurs who have become obsessed over stealing human's underpants. The artwork is really funny and entertaining along with very rich colors.

I've checked the author's website (http://www.clairefreedman.co.uk/) and noticed she has two more books so I definitely know what Charlotte is getting for Christmas!

I think books like this would be great birthday gifts because the kids I know already have too many toys and you never know what to get because you don't want to copy what they already have! So I plan to give these books as gifts for any 3-5 year old I come across needing a birthday present.

Now it's your turn! Tell me what books are the stars of your collection. I love collecting books and am looking forward to your ideas.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Working Mother - desperate to find balance

So much to do before leaving for Relevant conference on Thursday morning. I come home Monday night to 2 kids anxious to see me. Elbows to my pregnant tummy, feet to my chin, tumbling over my lap, over each other, back and forth in an attempt to gain sole access to my lap. Sam wins igniting a stand off with sister glaring furiously at me, spouting her anger at being left out, I try to make room for her but it’s all or nothing. She get’s a time out for her anger and a talk to by dad. She returns apologetic as I move Sam into my left side and ask her to sit on my right. Defiant, she wants the left side. Exhaustion sets in. Husband calls for me to cut the avocado for dinner and I gladly leave the ruckus behind.

The boy trails, clinging to me for dear life. I say, you must be hungry and put him in his chair. He howls for me as I leave. We finally eat dinner as a family and get the kids in bed before 8.

The next morning I determine is my last chance to make muffins before leaving for the conference. I plow through my new recipe of pumpkin apple muffins without joy, they must be done, I need to take them with me so I have a snack for the trip. No time tonight or tomorrow. The mix is too thick, I haven’t used enough pumpkin, I try to compensate and end up taking too long, running late, shower, get ready for work. Husband tries to help by packing lunch but suddenly runs out to move the van for painters who have shown up on time at 8 to paint our condo.

I realize muffins must be done because timer is off. Just as I pull them out a little boy runs near. Panic, did he almost touch the open oven? How long did the muffins over bake? Still have to pack lunch. The little boy clings to me as I fret. Husband returns to help me finish packing stuff for work. I wave a dismal goodbye, caught up in another world.

During lunch I read Ann’s “Velveteen Mother” and I finally get beyond the cobwebs of work and list of things to do before weekend trip. I finally realize my kids really need me and sometimes when I’m home, I am far away in my head. It’s so hard to turn off this working mind. Sad that I have counseled others to the importance of taking captive every thought but I’m the first to fail at this when challenged.

End of the day comes way to fast, I haven’t printed the files my husband needs for his court case on Friday, I haven’t gone back to Office Depot to pick up my business cards and work looms bigger than when I started the day.

I finally leave work at 7pm, such a long day. I left this morning at 8:30am. I drive directly into a beautiful sunset with the most amazing one point perspective. Lovely image from the greatest artist of all, our heavenly father. Deep breath, leave work behind and go to join my children, husband and mother-in-law at the restaurant where I will surrender my phone and enjoy their company.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Thankful

I missed church yesterday to focus on my family, it’s a rare thing but we wanted to plan a morning with the kids at a pumpkin patch and to plan it after church/nap times means going out after 4pm.  So I don’t have any great thoughts inspired from a morning church service.  Maybe they will come to me during my weekly Bible studies.  For now, I do have a growing list of thankful items:
  • 200 – Safety while driving in the rain, last week we had rain for 5 days straight.  Many accidents on the road, I’m so thankful for safety.
  • 201 – Protected wildlife sanctuaries.  I’ve been driving past at patch of wild land for 6 years and suddenly noticed a team was ripping down the trees!  We never realize how much peace nature brings until it’s removed and bare stumps, brown ground are left behind.
  • 202 – Parents who kept the marriage promise “till death do we part”.  I get such inspiration from parents who stayed true to each other.
  • 203 – Mother In Law’s who come to visit and pay for groceries!!
  • 204 – Unexpected gift cards from Target Pharmacy
  • 205 – Unexpected cards from youth pastor’s wife telling me she’s thinking of me and praying for my unborn baby.  These cards make me feel so special.

Budget - with time

This past weekend I enjoyed a visit from my mother-in-law who paid for our groceries so I do not have to sweat over our budget this week for food.  Instead I put my effort into getting a few more bulk items at Costco and spent my weekend prepping food for the upcoming week.  I see this as budgeting time.  If I can budget my time correctly on the weekend to prep foods, then our evening meals will go faster and be on the table ON TIME.
I started with a meal plan that would allow me to consolidate a few steps.  Of course this meal plan didn’t come without consequences, there was an extremely quite period during which the children disappeared to their room and proceeded to empty the entire contents of their dirty laundry and toy bin onto the floor.
There is such joy in making a mess at that age!
Anyway, I also had to plan for the 3 days of being away at Relevant and so menu items are carefully planned to be prepped as much as possible so husband and mother-in-law have less to do.
Menu:
  • Saturday – Chicken Quesadillas w/avocado slices refried beans & rice
  • Sunday – Paprika Jambalaya with Rice
  • Monday – Hamburgers and Healthy Chips
  • Tuesday – Taco Chicken, Rice & Tortilla Chips
  • Wednesday – Chili and Cornbread
  • Thursday – BLT’s w/hot pepper cheese for adults with tomato soup
  • Friday – Spaghetti (sauce already made & frozen)
  • Saturday – Beef Enchillada’s red sauce (pre-make & freeze before leaving for trip)
Prep Time on Weekend:
  • Both Mexican dishes require a seasoned chicken, so I cooked the chicken for both dishes at one time in a taco packet.
  • There are two dishes with ground meat.  I bought a bulk 5.5lbs of ground meat at Costco and browned 4lbs on Sunday, froze in 1lb bags and husband made remaining 1.5lbs into hamburgers.
  • Chopped extra green pepper & onion for chili while chopping both for Jambalaya
I also made a pie because MIL was so kind to buy our groceries and that included my first sugar pumpkin of the season so it seemed only just to leave a pie behind while she watches the kids during my 3 day get-away.
So that’s it!  A budget of time in the weekend will hopefully make our week go smoother and I feel better that I’ve helped prep for meals during my get-away!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

Hot, humid, crowded, had to use Porto-potty with Charlotte - floor was wet, no soap, traumatized.   But, I got some cute photos!



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Working Mommy Wednesday

Welcome to another Working Mommy Wednesday. I've finally updated the button to match back to my website, you can access it from my side bar. This week's prompt is:

Share a blog or website that you’ve found meaningful and rewarding to visit (if it's Pinterest please share why this has become such a raging fad).

I love finding new blogs that inspire and enrich my life and I'd like to share the following with you:

WORKING MOTHER
I use this blog to find ideas for prompts on WMW. I'm considering joining the community as a working mommy blogger, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share with all of you and perhaps you'd be interested in joining as well. In fact, one of our WMW members, Be Positive Mom, is already on there! How cool is that!!!

STILL THE SEA
This website is in it's infancy but plans to offer Christian Yoga DVD's very soon. You can already purchase yoga equipment beautifully printed with Bible verses. In addition, the creator writes a very inspiring blog, most recently about her 10 day visit to Nepal to help trafficked children return to their birth parents. I really can't say enough about her wonderful writing style except to go check it out.

PINTEREST
What is it??? It's a website that lets you pin images to a virtual board. How often do you browse internet shops thinking, I like that dress or I wish I had that coat some day. Now you can pin it to a fashion board and build a collection of things you want. I did this recently, to update my fall wardrobe. It was fun for a few days and now I don't know if I have a reason to go back. I keep seeing people on Twitter obsessing over the site. So if you have any insight as to how to better use it, please enlighten me.

Finally, thanks for joining me on Twitter. It's fun to find our little community growing in social media. Once again I've made a hashtag called WMWpals. Hope to see your blog posts on Twitter again this week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random Tuesday



Facebook - has anyone noticed that Facebook has suddenly included "likes" as part of your feed? I'm not just talking about groups/companies you like but "likes" of your friends posts. Friends you don't even know. It gets really odd when an acquaintance you know from 15 years ago likes a post for a total stranger to you who just got a brand new red canoe and can't wait to try it out. Why are "likes" appearing in my feed? It should just be updates from people I'm actually friends with!

Speaking of Facebook frustration, I came across this great image on Dave Lowe's cartoon site (just in time for Halloween):

In other news, Charlotte has discovered Netflix on my iPhone and she's figured out how to access her favorite cartoons, Shawn the Sheep and Invader Zim. This means demands for my phone will be relentless. For the record, I've never shown her how to use Netflix!

Have a great Tuesday!

Thankful

Last Sunday I found myself a little rattled by the pastor’s call for “Full Throttle Faith”.  After careful consideration I found ways I could serve those in my community of online friends and neighbors.  I did both and had wonderful experiences.  I spent time outside with my neighbors building relationships and I spent time with a fellow blogger helping her with the design of her blog. The week went by so fast and the weekend even faster.
Upon reflection I realized I had missed one thing.  My local church community.  I attend Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and they host a weekly women’s service on Thursday’s.  I used to attend regularly until the lunch group grew small and it became challenging to get up from work at 11:50 and drive the 5 minutes to church, pack a lunch in the morning that was low maintenance (not needing a microwave) and then there was pre-natal yoga on the same night – so hard to fit two events in one day with full time work!  I’m finally up to 14 weeks and ready to get back into my favorite class with a teacher I’ve adored through two pregnancies.  This past Thursday I arrived 20 minutes early to the beautiful studio of dark calming colors and the wonderful post yoga chai only to find my teacher had stopped teaching in August!  Devastation!!  I called and learned she had switched to day classes in Hollywood, FL.  A plan slowly formed, I get flex hours at work, what if I go on Tuesday’s afternoons?  Then I’ll still have the evenings with my children AND I could still do the Thursday ladies meeting.  So this week I’m committed to attending this service.
1000 Gifts:
  • 190 – a little girl who asks for prayer before bed.
  • 191 – grubby fingers at the breakfast table.
  • 192 – a little boy who keeps running over to snags bites of my pumpkin muffin while I’m trying to write this post.
  • 193 – artistic collaboration with a new friend.
  • 194 – surprise hugs from a husband.
  • 195 – books to read to my children  before bed.
  • 196 – rainy days in Florida that last all day long.
  • 197 – little girls hands on my face as I cuddle with her before she sleeps.
  • 198 – a pastor’s message of HOPE.
  • 199 – a husband willing to spend 45 minutes rocking children to sleep even after spending the entire day with them, every single day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Budget - $35 for Groceries

Once again we bought a few too many “extra’s” during the week so we are down to $35 for groceries for the week.  Confession time – I took myself out for Tijuana Flats (favorite Mexican food) for lunch one day :(
So here is how I plan to buy our groceries for one week on $35.00
  • Fortunately we buy in bulk from Costco so we have bulk chicken in the freezer
  • Saturday I made a 3 meals of spaghetti sauce
  • I have tons of staple items in the pantry so I only need to buy the things we use daily like milk, juice and produce.
Oh yeah, and I realized we are out of toilet paper!  Opps.  Fortunately someone at work gave me a Princess costume for Charlotte so I’ve decided to return her Fairy’s costume to pay for the toilet tissue.  I’m determined to not go over budget ya’ll!  Besides, she already tried on the wings, realized they did not make her fly and said she hated them and didn’t want to be a fairy anymore.  How’s that for drama!
In summary, I bought 3 things at Costco (not counting the toilet paper which was an even exchange for the costume):
  • Milk $3.45 x 2
  • Eggs $4.29 for 3 dozen
  • Banana’s $1.39 for 3 pounds
  • Total $13.66
Then at Publix I bought the following:
  • Sweet Potatoes 2
  • Grapes l.29lbs
  • Polish Kielbasa 1lb
  • Ground Chuck 1lb
  • Tortillas
  • Orange Juice
  • Apple Juice
  • Black Beans
  • Total $17.89
Which means I spent $31.55!  Awesome, I’m under budget!!!  Now to go for an entire week without eating out – anywhere!
Disclosure, it took over 2 hours to plan a menu on such a small budget.  It was hard but will be totally worthwhile in the end!

Menu - on $35

Here’s our menu for the week:
  • Saturday dinner – grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover chicken noodle soup
  • Sunday lunch – Burritos with black beans, orange peppers, fresh salsa and cheddar cheese
  • Sunday dinner – Homemade Spaghetti sauce with noodles and salad
  • Monday dinner – Crispy Chicken w/chili spiced sweet potato wedges & green beans
  • Tuesday dinner – Beef Taco’s
  • Wednesday dinner – Chicken with Green Chili & hot pepper cheese sandwiches with mango slices
  • Thursday dinner – Chicken Quesadillas w/avocado slices refried beans & rice
  • Friday dinner – Easy Italian Sausage-Veggie soup
For lunches I eat left-overs from the night before.
For breakfast we eat Pumpkin muffins (made last week), Sweet Potato Pie (made this weekend), Cereal, Cinnamon toast and/or fruit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Working Mommy Wednesday

Welcome to another week of Working Mommy Wednesday. This week's prompt is:

How do you carve out personal time for yourself?

Since getting back from Asia, I've found myself waking up at 5am with tons of energy. I've cleaned the house, made muffins, showered, paid bills and updated my blog all before the kids are up. It's great! I love this new routine but in the last few days I've found myself slipping back into my old pattern of staying up later, doing the same work when I'm tired, less productive and waking up at 6:30. It makes a big difference. I think I need to switch to those morning hours of "me time". I love being so productive in the mornings!

I think some of the lure of staying up late is the occasional TV show, friends are more interactive on Twitter and Facebook at night and that's fun. But I think I can still have this and cut myself off by 9pm. So that's my goal, bedtime by 9, up by 5am!

Looking forward to reading about how you carve out time for yourself! Linky appears to be working again so feel free to leave your blog link below. Have a great Wednesday!

ps. If anyone would like to connect on Twitter, I'm thinking of making our hashtag #WMWpals. If you would like to join, please leave your Twitter name in the comments.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thankful

Sunday, I left for church with only my 14mo son.  Charlotte had refused to finish her breakfast even after sitting at the dinner table for one hour.  Husband had made the decision to keep her home.  There were tears but I think the heavier heart was mine.  I love the joy in her eyes when she goes to Sunday school.  Our church has enough volunteers to segregate the kids into their age groups, Sam’s in 12mo – 18mo, Charlotte in 3yr olds.  I love hearing her bubbly stories about eating cookies and drinking water when we pick her up at the end of service.  To leave half my family at home was incredibly sad.
During service I had a thought.  I wonder how many times God is sad to withhold blessings due to our disobedience?  It has to hurt.  He wants us to be obedient but sometimes, even us Christians, are just stuck in a rut.   Our church promotes Serving on a Weekly basis!  This includes serving in church services, church events, surrounding community, holiday food donations, donating said food to local families and short term mission trips.  Every week the excuses roll around in my head and I wonder, is this disobedience?
The sermon this week was “Full Throttle Faith” and the pastor asked, if someone comes into your home, what evidence will he/she find of your faith?
I’ve been told that this time of my life is for staying home with my young kids rather than serving in the church.  I really don’t have much spare time that can be spent at events.  But what about those extra hours I have in the evening after the kids are in bed?  I’ve already canceled cable.  Maybe I can encourage my blogger friends rather than just leaving random comments on their blogs.  Actually look for those who NEED encouragement.  What about the little neighbor girls who are always hanging around near my porch.  Get to know them, eventually invite them to church, teach them how to bake cookies.  Who can I help today with my artistic talent?  The opportunities to serve are endless and constantly surrounding me.  I just need to have a willing heart.
This week I’m thankful for the following:
  • 183 – Vehicles with low mileage
  • 184 – Having one vehicle paid off!
  • 185 – Finding lots of new tomatoes on the vine, after I thought the plant was finished producing.
  • 186 – My son’s shrieks of laughter as his daddy plays peek a boo
  • 187 – My daughter’s brilliant imagination, she thinks fairy wings will make her fly, she only needs to find ones that are not broken.
  • 188 – more Relevant roomies then I ever dreamed possible!
  • 189 – long talks with my mom

Random Tuesday



Charlotte asked to wear the fairy wings from her Halloween costume. I broke the seal and put her arms through the loops, beautiful teal wings. She wore them for awhile and suddenly came to me in tears. “They don’t work mom!”, she wailed. “I can’t fly”.

- Oh the imagination of a 3 year old, to think flying is still possible, if you only have the right wings!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Budget - sometimes means returning things

I have a $400 grocery budget that I’m determined to stick to.  Sometimes it means crunching numbers for a hour on Saturday morning, realizing that by the 7th we’ve already spent $176.00  How can that be?  Oh, we ate out twice, this past week I spontaneously got frozen yogurt and I spent way too much at whole foods to support my picky pregnant diet.
So what does that mean?  Should I spend $24 on groceries this week?  No, time to look around for things I bought at Target last weekend that we don’t need.
Black tutu skirt for Charlotte – tags still intact, she already has one in purple.  She will not miss it.
Transformer costume for Sam – he won’t miss it, I found a track outfit in his closet that he rarely wears.  He can be an Olympic star!
Spooky Mr. Potato Head – was to be part of my Halloween toy collection (yes toy designers obsess over other toys!), I don’t need it.
Savings = $35
Add that to $24 and I can do it!  Just need to make sure there are NO spontaneous purchases in this upcoming week!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Night Fun - Tortilla Soup


5:30 time to start dinner: cook corn
5:40 turn off corn, get distracted with kids, let corn cool
6:00 cut corn off the cob

Simmer garlic in chili powder and olive oil
Add two cans of diced tomatoes
Stop, serve corn to hungry girl who wants to snack on corns
When she's done, add to soup


Go outside with kids to play while soup cooks.

Gang of kids descend on us creating mass mayhem while all gather around our porch, snag sidewalk chalk and make over our dog Chopper.

I add two bricks to our garden border, likely digging them into the ground too deep. More neighbors come home, Charlotte's favorite little friend Layla comes over to play. I'm never getting the kids back in the house now!

6:45 I realize I forgot key ingredient for soup. Black beans! Briefly try to get shoes on Charlotte. One shoe on and she runs for the bathroom. I don't catch her on the exit and she runs outside with one red sandal.

Layla's mom comes over and we chat aimlessly while our kids run pell mell around the yard. Frantic energy.

Back into my home they go, into the bedroom to play tea party. Layla's mom says she will come back later for her after I say it's fine to play. I order take out. Sam's too tired for a store run. I'm becoming a tired mental case.

7:00 Layla's sister comes back for her while I'm feeding Sam.

7:15 I'm putting Sam to bed because he's just that tired! His standard bedtime is 8. First put UP movie in DVD so Charlotte has distraction while I put Sam to sleep.

7:45 my food arrives.

Charlotte demands access to Pumpkin trick or treat bucket with bat headbands. Pulls both down and wears headband (I got this in Hong Kong, 2006). Smile Charlotte!


TGIF

Beauty - gifts from my daughter

Charlotte loves to bring me flowers and nuts from her morning walk with dad.  Today’s offerings:

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Baby Talk

Husband "Charlotte, mommy has a new baby in her tummy. Do you remember when she had a big tummy before? Sam was in mommy's tummy."

Charlotte "NOOOOOOO!!!!", in total disbelief.

I couldn't help it and completely dissolved into giggles thus likely ruining any credibility husband had going.

Mom's are for encouragement

Even at the age of 35, I still love getting a call from my mom asking if I’m eating okay.  She remembers over the weekend when I said food was getting hard to eat, I had no appetite.  She told me she’s been praying for me all week along with members of her church and wanted to know if things had gotten better.  They had!  I’ve put an app on my iPhone that calculates my calories per day and it’s been helping with the extra push needed to reach 1800 calories per day.  Last night I even baked chocolate chip cookies just to get the extra 500 C’s. This morning I baked chocolate chip banana muffins.
Sleep has gotten better.  The last two nights I’ve gone to bed before 10 and up by 5am.  It’s been nice to get up early, do a quick clean up of the house, dining table and kitchen.  Bills with no interruptions (I’m so caught up!), blogging without excuse – it’s been wonderful!
Mom also timed her call just right to remind me I needed a snack at 4:30!  My mom is awesome.  I hope I’m as cool as her to my daughter in 30+ years!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Working Mommy Wednesday

Welcome to another week of Working Mommy Wednesday. This week our prompt is:

The last quarter of the year is full of amazing holiday’s. What is your favorite? Halloween, Thanksgiving, Talk Like a Pirate Day or Christmas?

I really love this time of year! Photos from up north with all the lovely fall leaves changing colors (don't get them in South Florida so have to enjoy in photos), pumpkin patches, dressing kids up for Halloween, great food on Thanksgiving and Christmas presents! It's a giddy three months of fun and preparation!

My absolute favorite starts in October. I am a massive fan of everything pumpkin and last year I went a bit crazy and made at least 15 pounds of pumpkin puree for the deep freezer (to-do guide here). I still have 2 left! I probably will not go quite so crazy this year, one maybe two pumpkins.

I love taking the kids to Pumpkin patches and taking wonderful contrasting photos with brightly colored clothing and pumpkins. My favorite photos were of Charlotte in 2009 in this gorgeous dress from Gymboree.
Some people go nuts for a Christmas or Easter dress, I dig bright dresses for pumpkin patches!

I look forward to reading everyone's stories today. Link up below might not work since I just paid for the subscription and it seems to be taking time to connect. If you don't see the link up then please leave a comment and I'll come by your blog today for a visit.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Random Tuesday



Well the jet lag does not seem to be going away. Last night I crashed hard at 8pm and woke up at 3am. I've decided to not fight it and just got online to work from 3am - 7am. I figure I'll go into the office from 9:00 - 12:30 and call it a day. Hopefully catch a nap from 2-4pm when the kids nap and then maybe stay up till 9pm? I've given up hope of getting back on schedule, I'm just trying to take it one day at a time and keep myself healthy for 3rd pregnancy! How's that for a random schedule!!

Does anyone have photos of autumn? I'm in Florida and in serious need of some pretty fall pictures. If you are posting any pls let me know and I'll come by your blog for a visit.

Anyone ready for Halloween? for the first time since becoming a parent, I have costumes for both kids by October 1st! Usually I wait until the last minute and realize there is nothing left in their size and have to improvise. Maybe improvising is cheaper but I have a busy month so it's done. Charlotte is a fairy and Sam is a Transfomer Bumblebee. What preparations have you made for Halloween?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Thankful

Some days it’s hard to find moments to be thankful for as we get out of bed.  I find myself contrasting my life to others.  For example, sometimes when I read Ann’s blog, and see all the beautiful photos of grated cheese and foods then I wander into my kitchen at 6am and see a wilted pile of sweet potato peelings in the sink, with bits of banana that a sick boy could not bare to eat yesterday.  I giggle, thinking what an awful picture that would make on this blog and how to find beauty in this mess.
I wander into the pantry, looking for my recipe book on banana bread and it takes some time to dig it out because there is so much food piled in the way.  Boxes and boxes of elbow noodles, sugars and grains.  I marvel at the stockpile of food in my pantry.  I’m never hungry. So what if we didn’t have time to clean the sink before bed?  We have more food then a house of 4 needs and certainly more than a majority of hungry families in this world.
As I scrape the sinks clean and move forward with making banana bread, I’m reminded of my mom, who grew up in a big family of 10 that struggled to make ends meet.  Her mom taught her how to bake and cook and she did the same for our family of 5 growing up on my father’s meager salary.  I know how to bake from at least 2 generations back!  What a joyful and useful skill!  I’m so thankful for the hardworking women in my family who have taught me to bake and not rely on expensive pre-packaged foods.
  • 176 – I’m thankful for the ability to bake homemade banana bread.
  • 177 – For a husband that continues to care for the kids while I recover from jet lag.  Sunday was a long day where we stayed home from church so I could rest.
  • 178 – For two generations of God-loving women who baked and cooked for their families.
  • 179 – For a daughter who is just as curious as I was as a child in helping mom stir the bowl.
  • 180 – For a tiny 14mo son who loves to help with chores, his latest is filling the laundry basket.  Such a joy to watch him.
  • 181 – Words cannot describe my delight in coming home to America.
  • 182 – A view from the jet plane, looking down at clouds, so fluffy and light.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Definately NOT Supermom

Since coming home from Asia on Wednesday night I’ve struggled with sleep and it’s been challenging to be a mom to my kids.
My sleeping patterns are crazy.
  • Wednesday night I arrived at 9pm and only slept from 11-4am
  • Thursday night I slept off and on from 11 – 6am hit with big gaps throughout the night
  • Friday night I slept 10am – 4am with gaps
  • Saturday night I slept 10:30 – 5am with NO gaps, probably my best night yet!
Husband back to work on Friday meaning I’m home alone with two small children while trying to recover.  It’s been challenging.  Yesterday, I convinced 14mo (Sam) to sleep at 10am and I managed to sleep for 30 minutes before 3yr old (Charlotte) came to announce she had to “go potty”.  Sam slept on till 11am but hope for me was gone.
The post-morning nap through lunch was filled with two movies, Monsters and Aliens which I let run twice because I was too tired to get up and change it!  Charlotte watched it both times!  At one point I wondered why the creators could not have been more creative in using more scream options at the point of introducing the aliens.  The TV kept emitting the same shrill scream, over and over.
During the marathon movie run, both kids spent 30 minutes in their room emptying every single toy onto the floor.  I let them play uninterrupted because it gave me a break to sit and not move for awhile!  Zombie mom, well at least it’s October!
In the afternoon I put Sam down at 2pm and then spent the next two hours in bed.  I think the first hour was uninterrupted while Charlotte watched Ant Bully but she grew bored and came to pester me for the next hour with books and taking down my entire collection of jewelry, demands for banana bread, etc!  I literally kept my eyes closed through most of the chatter, besides opening banana bread and begging her to go back and watch the movie.  Somehow 4:20 hit and Sam had still not woken up.  Feeling guilty for ignoring my daughter all day, I desperately needed to get out of bed so I asked her to go wake Sam – which she LOVES to do.  That will force me to get out of bed.  A text from my husband came through saying he was coming home.  Feeling more pain from exhaustion then I ever remember feeling, I dragged the kids outside to play in the sun where I knew it would force me to wake up.  There I sat for 45 minutes waiting for husband to come home and provide some relief.
Our evening together was lovely.  I managed to prepare snacks for the kids while husband listened to their stories.  As Charlotte excitedly proclaimed the days events I realized my feelings of abandoning her were not completely accurate, she had quite enjoyed herself!  Sometimes we mom’s are harder on ourselves then what is necessary.
We went out to eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Tijuana Flats, followed by an hour at Target searching for the perfect costume for Sam.  It was a fun evening, made better with husband’s guiding support.  To be honest, I hadn’t left the house all day for fear I wouldn’t have the strength and energy to make it.
In summary, this trip to Asia was harder on my body than I anticipated it would be.  Eleven trips in eleven years, you’d think I might have a clue on the impact but never before have I done it while pregnant and coming home to two small children.  Not sure I’d recommend this to anyone in similar circumstances.  I plan to spend the next week easing back into work SLOWLY, after all, it is work that got me into this condition in the first place!