Sunday, February 27, 2011

are you there katie? it's me your blank wall.

When I hear the pounding of raindrops on my tile roof, I get my craft on. I am by no means a crafty girl, but there is something about the rain that brings out the need to create.

We've had a series of projects looming over our overwhelmed heads. The major house projects are done now that the wood floors are in, the bathrooms are remodeled, and the hardscape in the yard is finally complete.

Although it is the "easy projects" that are now before us, we've reached a point of indifference. With expending so much energy on the huge projects, the little ones just simply get pushed aside.

However, after the DIY chalkboard hung by itself for a couple of months, I started feeling the itch to finish the empty wall on our staircase.



I ordered a canvas print from Costco of our family photo from Christmas. Oddly, I didn't even use it for our Christmas card since Jack and Charlie are not looking at the camera. Funny thing though, that's what I love about it now. Family pics with littles are not supposed to be perfect.

Hint: When doing canvas, go with Costco. Their prices are super cheap compared to some of the other popular print companies.

Yay! This chica digs a bargain.

The funky bird was hanging by the dining table, but I was on a Martha roll and did another project to replace it. More on that to come. It coordinated perfectly with the green, turquoise, black, and white so up it went.

The white wood "S" was a piece of cake. I bought the letter and a simple black frame on sale at MIchael's. I whipped out some spray paint and painted the cardboard that is used to support the picture of the frame.

I used wood glue to adhere the "S" to the cardboard backing.

And although I spent numerous hours perseverating over the background color, whether or not I should find a cool flea market or thrift store frame with more detail, and if I should paint the "S" or not, I'm satisfied with the outcome. The bottom line is that although antique frames look cool in other people's homes, I am a simple girl who likes clean lines. It may not be as funky as I envisioned originally, but I will not be tempted to change it as quickly either.

The pic of my 3 guys was a Christmas present from my talented brother-in-law. He is a professional photographer. He rocks.

It wasn't an intentional photo shoot, but that's why I love it all the more. Jack and Charlie are fresh out of the shower. If it was a scheduled shot, they would have been in clean, matching clothes, and I'd never have proof of Jack-Jack sucking on his paci at 2 which was in his mouth more often than not. Yeah, I guess I'm that mom. I certainly wasn't with kid #1, but by kid #3, I've learned to pick my battles. Now that the kid gave his pacis to the paci fairy, I'm glad that I get to look at this precious shot and remember Jack in a real, true moment.

Lastly, I have to give props to my husband. Without his 6'2" height, I would have been drilling into the wall while teetering on a ladder against all common sense because when I want something done, it has to be right then and there. He knows that about me and I appreciate him not wanting me to end up in a body cast. He's good like that.

P.S. I'm linking up to Heather's Life Made Lovely Monday over here. Stop by and get inspired.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Kevin suggested that he and Jack (3) have some guy time at Guitar Center.

I was a bit suspicious.

That man wants a banjo.


Off they went, but with me shouting on the way out, "remember this girl wants granite counters!!!"

And when they came home, they didn't waltz in empty handed.

No spankin' new banjo in sight, though.

Just this cool guy and his new electric guitar so he can play, "rock and roll."

Should I be worried?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

i heart san diego

While others in different states are hunkering down in their homes to stay out of the freezing cold, we spent our weekend riding bikes around Mission Bay.

It's winter and I was wearing shorts. Yes, we are lucky and yes, we appreciate it.

We also appreciate days when we can slow down and spend time with our extended family. It doesn't happen as much as we'd like it to. Life is too busy and we need to try harder on that one because really, when it really come down to it, those are the moments that matter in life, right?

And just like any other outing with littles, there were high points and low points. High points: no whining and blue skies. Low points: crashes resulting in boo boos and a too tired Jack unable to ride his scooter on the way back to the car (thanks Uncle B for rescuing him).

(hmmm....where's Daddy and Jack?)

(Thank goodness for Uncle B)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

love languages, foo

Have you heard of the book that teaches love languages?

Couples are supposed to identify their love languages so their significant others can fulfill their needs.

Or something like that.

Truthfully, I have not read it. Although, I've heard it is worthwhile.

I don't need to.

No, Kevin and I don't have a perfect relationship. We just use our own love language.

And for no other reason than the fact that I'm just a total dork, we talk and text gangsta.

Yeah, you got it right, Yo. You no foo. Let me break down our latest text correspondence after Kevin sent me a text clarifying plans for last weekend.

Kevin: Sat. poker night here? (I was gone)

Me: Fo sure yo. If you help clean the house.

Kevin: Dang foo! Playin' it like a playa!

Me: I don't mess around, homie.

Isn't it romantic?

write some words challenge

My father-in-law sent me an email saying he was having trouble leaving a comment on my blog. I'm no tech master, but I was pretty sure I could solve the problem for him.

Well, I gravely miscalculated my minimal abilities and could not help the man out.

Loser. (Imagine big L finger signal on my forhead circa 1990's).

He had a back up plan and printed it out and handed it to me in person.

It was related to this recipe.

Here's what he wrote:

You may not have the great experience of a seasoned cook, but you give your family much more. You show them patience, love, and guidance. Someday when L, C, and J are older, they will look back on these early years and know without a doubt that they have the best mom in the world.
I know this because Kevin, Phillip, and Russell have the best mom in the world too.

I've read this over and over again a dozen times. It made my day.

His words made me think about how I can do the same for someone else. As I drove to Target, I asked myself, "how can I spread the love?"

So I'm going to write a note to two special mamas who could use a boost. I mean really, don't we all? Without providing details, both are climbing mountains to help their sweet sons right now. Although I have many loved family and friends, these friends need a little, "You rock, Lady!" note.

Do the same. Who can you write to? Today. Don't put it off. It's that meaningful and important. It doesn't have to be on fancy schmancy stationary, although that is great too. Send an email, put a card on a doorstep, or inbox your someone on FaceBook. Whatever it takes, just go for it. It doesn't have to be long; just from the heart.

Check back and let me know if you do it. I hope you do! That someone will be forever grateful.

Spread the love.

Much love,

P.S. Check out this site for free, no account necessary ecards:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

let them eat cake

My mother-in-law made one simple request for her birthday. She asked for her favorite carrot cake to be made. My father-in-law (professional chef) has a recipe that she particularly loves.

I instantly volunteered, but experienced immediate fear and doubt upon my offer for a few reasons:

1. I never tasted carrot cake in my entire life. I'm a picky gal and it just didn't ever sound appealing so I always declined the offer. It's one of those things that I always said I didn't like without trying. Yeah, littles aren't the only ones who play that card.

2. I've never baked a carrot cake before.

3. I know it's not so Martha, but I usually make a cake from a box (gasp!)

4. Multiple people would be eating this cake.

5. Her celebration fell on a Tuesday, which meant that I'd be baking something from a new recipe with the kiddos at home. This is not usually a biggie, but it is with fears 1, 2, 3, and 4 listed above.

However, I've known Jane for 16 years now and I love her to pieces. I wanted the Birthday Girl to have her cake. While Luke was at school I solicited help from Charlie and Jack...

I suggest you give it go:

-preheat over to 350 degrees
-shred 3 lg carrots

-Add the following in a large bowl:

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all together and add the shredded carrots so the carrots are coated with the dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl mix:

1 1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 lg eggs
6 oz. plain yogurt
6 oz. cooking oil

Once mixed, add to carrot mixture.

A "golden" touch to impress...

I added about 1/2 c. This is optional.

You can make this using two square pans, two round pans, or a bundt cake pan. If you use the two pan option, you'd layer the frosting and stack them.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees then reduce to 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

While it was baking, I whipped up the frosting:

8 oz cream cheese
2 oz butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powder sugar

Dang! That's a lot of sugar.

Minus realizing I was out of baking soda, C and J pelting me with Nerf gun darts, and cooking it 100 degrees higher than the directions stated, all went well.

As for the extra crispy exterior of the cake? It was nothing that a little homemade cream cheese frosting couldn't fix. And for self proclaimed non-carrot cake eating girl, I have to say that it was super delicious.

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Much love,

P.S. I'm linking up to Life Made Lovely Monday. It is a great blog to visit!

Monday, February 14, 2011

a little of this and a little of that on heart day

Good morning my Valentines...

And then they were off for a sugar fest day at school. I don't miss teaching on these days. From the moment the kids walked into the classroom, they were buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the party.

Luke still likes me to come to his class parties. I L-O-V-E that. I wonder when that will stop. Is it possible to hope that it never does?

The littles brothers who are 3 and 4 even behaved themselves in the 2nd grade classroom for an hour. I was impressed and grateful. Sorry, those two are 17 months apart and when one gets going, the other just gets going faster. Just keeping it real.

Tonight I tried a great recipe. My college roomie, Andrea, knows her stuff in the kitchen. On our 1st night in our apartment, I made white rice and canned chili. I sat. I stared. I wished to be back home where my dad cooked real meals. I soon upgraded to my standard meal: pasta with marinara sauce (from a jar) and green peas (from the frozen section of the grocery store). Meanwhile, Andrea would make amazing meals that would make any professional chef impressed.

Fast forward to now. I only make recipes that have 5 or less ingredients. I am self admittedly intimidated and clumsy in the kitchen. It also doesn't help that around 5:00 in the evening, my kids start to really go crazy and my husband isn't usually home to help while I cook. Keeping it simple is a sanity saver in this house.

Andrea is a true friend. Evidence: She sent me this recipe for salmon with pesto. It is easy and doesn't have a lot of ingredients. Girlfriend has my back. I saw mayo and was about to back out because mayo and I have weird issues, but I put our differences aside and went for it. Kevin and Luke loved it. Charlie and Jack wouldn't try it, but they never try fish, so I wasn't surprised.

Check it:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Mix 2 tablespoons of prepared pesto and 1 1/2 tablespoons of lite mayo in a small bowl.

Charlie was my helper tonight. While I have 2 kids that eat almost anything, Charlie is an extremely picky eater. This was his opinion of the pesto/mayo mixture...

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Wash salmon, pat it dry, and season it with salt and pepper.

Place it on a baking sheet and brush with pesto mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes.

I served it with veggies...

and brown rice. And well, it is V-day so we needed some good wine, too.

Super delicious! Trust me. If I can do it, anyone can.

Try it! Let me know what you think.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Much love,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

twas the night before valentine's

Twas the night before Valentine's, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, except for Mama Mouse.

The Valentine's were written and sealed with great care,

In hopes that lots of love and joy would soon fill the air...

I love, love, love celebrating holidays. Heck, if others were on board, I'd be up for throwing an annual Flag Day shindig.

However, I have to confess that I'm not huge on Valentine's. In fact, your hubbies will be so envious, but I actually tell Kevin to NOT get me anything for the sappy, heart-filled day. That's card, no flowers, and no chocolates.

I've been stuffing myself with more than enough Thin Mints over the last few days so even an extra excuse to indulge with delicious chocolates is unappealing.

And let me reassure any of you doubters, this is not a "don't get me anything, but I'll secretly give you the silent treatment for days if you don't get me anything" kind of deal.

Instead, I want to celebrate it with the kids. So tonight we prepped Valentine's for classmates...

I must admit that I love the cheesy store bought Valentine's. My kids love making their own personal selection and I reminisce about getting a small paper with Judy Jetson that said, "Valentine, You're out of this World!" Maybe it was an early sign of my OCD tendancies, but I'd immediately go home and make 3 piles after the party: the girl Valentine's, the boy Valentine's, and the candy stash.

It is those fond memorines that propel me to sit with my boys while they write, fold, and seal with a red heart sticker. We chat about the different kids in their class as we write their names and it actually creates a good launch pad for conversation. Luke and I had an interesting chat about a particular boy in his class who was a real behavior challenge in the beginning of the year. I asked Luke if he ever plays with him. Luke responded, "No, because he plays bad games." This led us to discuss good vs. bad choices and showing kindness towards a classmate even though he doesn't have to be friends with him or her.

It was a good reminder for me too.

Once the boys went to bed, I set up our table with balloons and boxes filled a sweet card written with encouraging words and a few of their favorite things.

Luke: A pop-out book on Jungle Animals. He is particulary curious about parrots lately. He's a skittle guy.

Charlie: Dinosaur stickers and skittles.

Jack: Jungle animal stickers and M&M's.

And no, they will not be eating the entire bag of sugar high goodness in one sitting.

Finally, I made sure everything is set for our "lovely" breakfast: Pink smoothies with pink straws, heart pancakes, bacon (on a weekday!), and strawberries. I'll let you know if they reject the pink straws.

Teacher gifts, juice boxes, and pink Gogurts-check, check, check...

I can't wait! I'm also experimenting with an easy recipe for dinner. My college roomie who knows my kitchen limitations sent it to me. I'll keep you posted.

So I guess I've found a way to L-O-V-E Valentine's Day after all.

Much love,

P.S. I'm linking up this post to Life Made Lovely over at Blessed Little Nest.

P.S.S. Did I mention I purchased all the V-Day goods at the $ Tree and spent a total of $14 dollars? Hey Yeah!

P.S.S.S. Sorry for the lazy iphone pics. I was too beat after a day of riding bikes around S.D. Bay, grocery shopping, and V-Day prepping. You know how it goes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

feisty doesn't fall far from the tree

Rumor has it that I was on the feisty side growing up. I cannot confirm or deny this.

However, I can tell you that on one particular Care Bear birthday party, my frustrated mom had to pull me aside for being bossy. In my defense, I exclaimed, "I've been waiting all year to boss all my friends around!"


My poor mom.

Now, are there times when my feistiness has been useful? Sure. Am I regretful by my less than stellar uses of it? You bet. Like Cher sings, "If I could turn back time"....

But I can't.

Instead, payback has come in the form of our middle son, Charlie.

99% of the time he's as sweet as sugar, but when he's on fire, you better move out of his path. He's got spunk.

It is not beyond this little guy to threaten, "Mommy, you won't be my friend anymore" or "Mom, that's so inappropriate!" when I put him in time out. His latest is that I won't be invited to his birthday party. He doesn't even turn 5 until this summer.

And sometimes, words don't say enough. My friend Bonnie always loved this picture of me at my parent's house. She said it summed me up perfectly...

Doesn't it say it all? All the other girls had labor intensive, perfectly braided pigtails and I look like a complete mess since I insisted on doing my own hair all by myself.

And here's my guy...

Watch out people. I tell you, it is in the genes.