April 16, 2014

Easter edition!

To go along with our ham, we'll be serving these dishes (which we also served last year and were major hits around this house) this Sunday!

Nothing to change on any of these recipes! I cooked and served as instructed last year and plan to do the same this Sunday. Enjoy!

Outdoor Toy Must-Haves - 2014 Edition

April 15, 2014

If the weather is nice, there's a 99% chance that you will find us playing outside every afternoon after naptime. My kids have a rather explosive amount of energy, so it makes us all happy to get a little sun and go for a walk around the neighborhood and play with our toys. HUT has even made a little friend who recently moved in and is only about a year older than him.

Not much unlike what I expect with twins, when you have two children that are only two years apart, the need quickly arises for "two of everything." Ellie quickly passed up the baby toys months ago in lieu for her brother's toys, but when you are outside and only one scooter exists? It's the meltdown that never ends.

So here's what we're working with on our driveway these days for our daily play...

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

1) & 3) When HUT started to use his scooter with his new neighbor buddy, Ellie immediately tried to jump on it. When I saw the scooter that grows with them, allowing her to start in a sitting position, I knew we'd have to have one.

2) The wheel barrow set is key because it has two water containing devices, as well as two digging devices. Right there alone saves us from meltdown mode. (I've linked at Amazon above, but check your local Costco - that's where we bought ours for a better price.)

4) The Smart Trike. This thing has been a life saver through two kids now (here's a flashback to a baby HUT riding in it). Especially now that HUT wants to be on a scooter flying down the sidewalk. This thing keeps Ellie happy (and feeling like she's flying right along with him). I'm sure we will eventually take it apart to make it the tricycle, but for now it's a great toddler containing device for Ellie.

5) We only have one mower, and it's the cheapest one that I could find. The thing has been tossed, left out in all types of weather and is flimsy as all get out, but it's endured over a year with us so I don't see the need to invest in something fancy.

All of this is aside from our plastic kiddie pool, mini slide and water table. Those have been staples since HUT was a wee one. Also, bubbles and sidewalk chalk. You can never go wrong there.

What are your favorite outside toys for the summer? With school nearing it's end, we are on the lookout for any and all fun things to do outdoors.

That Time I Dyed My Hair

April 14, 2014

This funny thing started happening right after I gave birth to Ellie. When life really got interesting with two kids in the house. I started to go grey.

It went from one here and there, to so many of them popping up at the same time that I could no longer keep it in control. I decided to get my hair dyed the next time I went in for a trim... and then they reappeared just a couple of weeks later.

I do not have $150+ to spend every 4-6 weeks on a cut AND color, so I decided the other day to take things into my own hands. I bought a Clairol Nice N' Easy kit, drank a fair amount of wine and went to town on these grey hairs after the kids were in bed.

Word to the wise, please be smarter than I was and do not use your nice, brand new, white towels upon completion of the shampoo phase. Because there will still be shit in your hair. Other than that? Piece of cake. I think. I believe some practice in the root section of my hair will be needed but, all in all, for the $8 price tag? Not too shabby.

I am pretty satisfied at the outcome. I was lucky enough to choose the right color right off the bat (Clairol Nice N' Easy 4 - Natural Dark Brown), so that helped the screw up factor.  I'll definitely be doing this more often - but next time I might try just the root touch-up kit that they have, since the rest of my hair seems to be holding up (fingers crossed) just fine for the time being.

Texas Rite of Passage: Bluebonnet Photos

April 11, 2014

We had a crazy fun morning at our mommy group, followed by another Easter egg hunt and rounded out with a little trip next to the church for a mini-photo session in the bluebonnets. By the time the bluebonnet part came around, I was totally convinced that my children would not participate. My friend's determination to get a pic of her little girl in the flowers won out, though, and motivated me to take a chance at grabbing a shot with my own kiddos.

I'm glad I did.

When you live in Texas, there is a small window of time during the Spring where the bluebonnets blossom and they are gorgeous. You can find many families on the side of the highway sneaking shots of their families in the flowers (I, personally, do not recommend the side of the highway for obvious safety reasons), so I was happy that my friend found a safe place for us to grab a few photos of the kids this year. It's a rite of passage around these parts - my mom still loves the picture she took of me as a baby in the 'bonnets.

In true form on this blog, I'm going to show you my favorite pic - after we take a look at some of the outtakes. I like to keep things real around here...

Let's start with a few of the outtakes first, shall we?

We even attempted to get a picture of all three kids together - a glimpse into my photo taking future, should we ever decide to expand our family (and, clearly, impossible to get three to look the same way at once)...

And, finally, what I think is the best one of the bunch of my kiddos...

Because, if they aren't looking at the camera, they are both, at least, looking at the same object.

You've Been Tagged

April 10, 2014

Twice in the past week I have been "tagged" on Facebook.

Each and every time I receive that "you've been tagged" email, I stop breathing.

I'm not completely embarrassed of my past, but there are a bazillion better choices that I could have made at one time or another. And, do not ask me why, but I have become a pro at locking up memories and throwing away the key. Until that dreaded "you've been tagged" email appears in my inbox.

Sure, I can choose not to tag myself, but the photo itself is still in existence. On the Internet. Instead of staying tucked away in a photo album in the back of someone's closet or, better yet, burned.

I'm a much better person today than I was during the ages of 15-25 (hell, probably even 30), that's for sure. I know that we all, or at least most of us, made decisions that we regret. All of my decisions led me to where I am today, so I can't be too hard on my past for that.

But, yet, I am.

I think because I've hit this age where I have kids and see things so much differently now. And I desperately want to go back to that girl, that young woman, that I was and tell her a few things.

I want to tell her that she deserves to be treated better by boys (and men). That she is pretty darn smart and to not let anyone make her feel any less. To drink a little less and study a little more. To value and cherish her true friendships instead of letting them fall by the wayside, or make ill decisions that cause her to lose some friends along the way.

To respect herself. Always.

Because I didn't. And, so, that's why I think that I shudder each and every time a picture from my past appears. Sure, there were plenty of fun and awesome memories, but there were the bad ones that seem to haunt me even more. The images just bring all of it back and fill me with a shit ton of emotions that I'd rather not think about.

I hope that one day I can let all of that go. To be content with the person that I was and the person that I have become after all is said and done.

And I hope that I can learn from my own past and do my damnedest to instill in my own daughter just how important she is and always will be.