Category Archives: Uncategorized

Daddy Shenanigans

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The dad in this house is the instigator of fun and is the brains behind most of the crazy shenanigans in these parts.

For instance, yesterday we were at a birthday party. In the 6 hours we were there he instigated numerous water balloon attacks and encouraged a large group of swimming kids to try drowning him by roaring loudly in their faces and flexing then he repeatedly threw them into the deep end and/or dunked them to their delight. He also assembled all the kids to help attach balloons to a beer can with their signatures inside to see if it would fly and enthusiastically escalated a little goody-bag fun into a free-for-all war between both kids and adults using sticky hands and mini water guns.

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Here’s our guy in all his glory releasing the balloons and beer can.

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It was fun watching it fly away. Never mind that a wind vortex cut the flight short.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This sticky hand fight lasted a solid 20 minutes.

This sticky hand fight lasted a solid 20 minutes. That’s my little nugget in the middle protecting herself from a sticky slap. Smart girl!

 

I’m so glad he’s on my team in this parenting game and in general!  I Hope you’re all having fun with your favorite dads this weekend and/or remembering some of the fun shenanigans that they were involved in if they’re no longer around.

Cheers,

Colleen

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Transitions

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If you’re a parent of school-age kids you most likely understand what this post’s topic revolves around without reading anything but the title.

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Last day of Kindergarten

Transitions. Certainly everyone goes through all sorts of them but what my world is focused on right now, like thousands of others,  is the transition from school days to Summer days.

I have been fretting for weeks the coming of this day, when the structure of our daily school routines cease and I’m thrust back into the spotlight to structure the 14 or so waking hours I have with my kiddos. I think I was stressing so much because I’m now 20 weeks pregnant (half way, guys) and my patience and energy levels have suffered a bit. So in preparation of the coming apocalypse Summer vacay I wrote out a daily routine involving reading time, quiet time, play time, etc that I thought would be beneficial for both mom and kids. I scanned the park district’s Summer schedule for fun activities to possibly enroll my older two in and registered for another session of gymnastics, this time for all three of my energetic offspring. I wrote a list of some of the fun activities offered in our city that we have yet to take advantage of and I thought out a plan for how best to utilize my allotted 2 hours per day of childcare at the gym we go to.

(If you think all this forethought is a little excessive then you’re probably not a mom. I’m fairly certain most mothers (and some fathers too) have been stressing for weeks about these same issues. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to feel better about all the mental energy I have used up mulling over this transition period.)

Always a monster-face photo

Monster-face photo is mandatory with this crowd

I count today as our first official day of Summer vacation since both kids are now off. However, I won’t get a healthy dose of what that really means for me and my three minions until Monday because I was gifted a mommy-freedom day today by a few of my stellar relatives who took my hoard to an amusement park, all. day. long.

It was glorious. I’m sure the kids enjoyed themselves too.

Anyways, now that the time has come where I am once again the sole ringleader of my small circus all the live long day, I must admit that I’m not feeling as spastic as before. Maybe it’s all the planning I did prior to getting to this point or the fact that I’m typing this post after the most relaxing, kid-free, husband-free day I have had in…well…who really knows! It’s probably a very good conglomeration of the two meshed with a new zen-like attitude I’ve adopted towards myself and my immediate future.

I suppose that’s another transition of late. I’ve decided (once again) to try and chill out and be more present. To enjoy my kids as fully as I can at this very moment and allow them to be kids whether that means arguing with one another without my interference, crawling in my lap for a snuggle or a story or staying up late as their ice cream sugar highs wear off. I’m trying to try to distance myself from unnecessary distractions

Cookies for soccer BBQ/pool party. We were the green Disco Ninjas and the blue Bombers.

Cookies for our soccer BBQ/pool party. We were the green Disco Ninjas and the blue Bombers.

(Have you noticed a decrease in my blogging frequency?). To take the time to rest when my body tells me it’s time (growing a baby is hard work!) and to allow myself to regularly indulge in me-time to read or whatever suits my fancy, even if the kids are around and despite the fact that I am the sole benefactor of those actions. To let my frustrations pass before reacting when my plans don’t come to fruition be them about landscaping or bed times or whatever. All this spawned from reading a pregnancy magazine given to me at my last appointment that emphasized the importance of nurturing yourself throughout your pregnancy.

I suppose it’s just the advice I needed to read after throwing one hell of an end-of-the-season soccer pool party, if I do say so myself, and feeling exhausted, bogged down with laundry and household maintenance and a bit frazzled in general

Blue Bombers with Coach Cullen. See what I mean about monster faces?

Blue Bombers with Coach Cullen. See what I mean about monster faces?

(though still very content!) With Summer vacation upon us I hope to continue fostering this feeling of contentedness and happiness by balancing a loosely planned schedule with the freedom to be spontaneous and do whatever it is we feel we want to do. I plan on reminding myself frequently that it’s not the number of activities we check off our Summer bucket list that’s important but rather the experience of doing them together, with all the arguments, tears, laughs, scrapped knees, inevitable boredom, excitement and soiled undies that come with it. It’s not like this is a new epiphany or anything, I’ve had these thoughts before, but as I get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life I feel it’s important to refocus on what’s truly important and reinforce it for myself by spelling it all out for you.

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Last game of the season. I already miss all those goons and their fun parents!

I wonder how far into the Summer I’ll make it with this zen-like attitude before acknowledging to you all I have gone into pure survival mode and started counting down the days until school starts again. It’ll happen. Probably somewhere between the time that construction on our guest master bedroom begins and we attempt potty training.

Thanks for reading my babblings!

(Um, I’m certain I just saw a huge silver fish scuttle under my couch from the corner of my eye. EWWWW!!!)

^^^ See, more babblings. This is what happens when I have too much free time.

 

Coughing Continues, Mommy Turns to Zombie

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Well… ya know how yesterday I was boasting about the chopped onion remedy for coughs? Well, now that we’re going on day two and the littlest lady of the house was up ALL NIGHT LONG coughing in my face I’ve decided that 1) they indeed have a cold and it’s not some seasonal allergy and 2) all that really helps cure a cough is time. My son is already much better and slept peacefully through the night but his cough sounds bad when he does cough so we decided he’d stay home from school again. tired

As for my daughter, she rolled around, coughing in my face while we tried sleeping tummy-to-tummy, side-by-side, her feet to my face, her feet to her dad’s face, her head on my tummy etc… We did this bed dance from 1:30am until about 5:45am when her older sister came in and confessed she had peed her bed. I audibly sighed and whimpered and sent her into the shower as I closed my eyes again and hoped the mattress cover would do its job until I could motivate myself to crawl out of bed. Then about 15 minutes later my son came in and admitted he too had peed his bed. GAH! My husband sent him into the shower to join his sister and soon the wee-one who kept me awake all night and her dad joined the other two for some humid shower time. It’s a darn good thing we have two shower heads, a large shower and a huge hot water heater! I eventually joined in, but not before stealing a quick snooze alone, and sat like a zombie on the built in bench as our new coughaholic climbed onto my lap.

Anyways, what I was meaning to tell you this morning aside from the story of my hellish night is that I’m starting to think all these cough remedies and different ways to soothe kids’ coughs are in fact just ways to keep parents busy thus making us feel helpful as our children suffer through coughing fits and their bodies heal themselves.  As far as the bowl of chopped onions on my nightstand is concerned, I’m pretty certain it had no positive effect on my daughter’s incessant coughs last night and just made me a little queasy (or was that my dog’s farts as he lay right next to my bed…) Yesterday I bought Vicks Vaporub Cough Suppressant Ointment and slathered her little chest and the bottoms of her feet (because I’ve read that helps) at 2:30am to no avail. The honey and lemon flavored cough drops don’t seem to help much nor does sucking on a Lifesaver. By now my kids are refusing to take a spoon full of honey and will only take one or two sips of warm honey and lemon water. They know what I’m up to and want no part in my shenanigans to help soothe their throats but neither are they complaining of their throats actually hurting so maybe I should take a cue from them and ignore their coughs and carry on…

Have you noticed my positivity toward home remedies and such is suffering today? That’s the lack of sleep. I’ll hop back on the happy mommy train again once I can get a nap but if today goes like yesterday no one will nap and we’ll drag through the day with the help of sugar and caffeine. There will be days like these in every household and right now it’s our turn. I think that means it’s time to break out the Playdoh, Kinetic Sand, baking soda and vinegar and/or any other messy activity that can hold the kids’ attention while I pretend to participate 🙂

If you actually made it to the end of this cough-saga, pity-party post…Thanks! You’re a trooper. We’ll move on from here together and I promise a better post in the near future! Maybe involving some of my new favorite household items I’ve been meaning to tell you about…

Happy Thursday!

 

Farmers Market Tuesday

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It’s May which means the local farmers markets are opening for the season andFarmers Market 2014 I couldn’t be happier. The town of Woodstock has one of the best markets around and is open every Tuesday and Saturday from 8am until 1-pm. The market’s appeal has mostly to do with its charming location and numerous vendors but the fact that it’s my home town doesn’t hurt. Booths are set up around the Historic Woodstock Square and in the middle sits a gazebo where, once it warms up a bit, local musicians play for the crowd as children dance and run around. There is a wide range of vendors providing a variety of plants, veggies, fruits, meats, sweets, jewelry, jump ropes, wood crafts, clothing and my favorite… kettle corn! I am shoveling the sweet and salty goodness down my gullet as I type and may or may not be getting a little queasy. I feel like I’m force-feeding myself like a duck whose liver is being fattened for foie gras. I’ve tried to slow down but I can’t. I think I have a problem. I think I’m okay with that.

Anyways, today, despite the chilly temp we hit up the farmers market and bought 10 pounds of delicious, frozen blueberries, apple cider doughnuts and kettle corn. Then we picnicked in the trunk of our car before starting in on the kettle corn.  Maybe some day I’ll go to the farmers market and buy things like veggies and meats but right now we have a freezer full of pheasant and various pork products that need cooking and a garden growing all sorts of vegetables so it’s the delectable items I’m seeking out. But aren’t I always?

**Sorry body, you’ll just have to deal with the sugar intake. I’m not ready to curtail my cravings. I hope the exercise helps you. Love, me.**

In addition to the farmers market, the Woodstock Square is chalk-full of quaint shops to dip in and out of which is easier if you don’t have two mini-terrorists in tow. We kept to the market today but on nicer days we extend our outing and I dare to venture into a shop or two before my patience disappears or something gets broken and I jet home for nap/quiet time.

It’s really one of my favorite ways to spend the morning and the kids enjoy it as well, especially when the balloon man is there to create whatever whacky thing they can dream up.

So, which farmers markets are you giddy about and what do you love to get from them? I’d love to know!

Cheers,

Your Kettle-Corn Crazed Friend

 

Benefits of Having a 6 Year Old Girl

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If you have a young girl or even know a young girl then chances are you’ve been gifted at least one, but probably many, works of art throughout the years. My 6 year old just had her birthday which means she has, what seems to me, like a zillion artsy-fartsy projects-in-a-box waiting for her eager, little self to tackle. They have been sprawled out all over my table for about 2 weeks now and I finally just banished them to her art chest so we can eat at the table once more.

I have a love-hate relationship with her crafts. On the one hand I love them because they help aid her creativity and keep her busy but on the other hand I resent them because usually her anal side flairs and she gets in a tizzy if things aren’t exactly how she’d like them to turn out. There have been many torn up pieces of paper and what-have-you due to minor mess-ups but then again there have been some pretty amazing pieces as well. Remember this work of art?

As of now, I’m feeling the love for her crafts since I was gifted this gem-covered butterfly sticker for my iPad cover. It’s hard to misplace the sucker now with all that bling! As you can see from the picture, I was enjoying a little quiet time this afternoon with my glamorous iPad, butterfly sugar cookies and tea. It was delightful, just like my daughter.

I hope your gifts from the small love-bugs in your life are as great as mine! If not, let me know and I’m sure I know where to get an extra!

Cheers,
Colleen

Quinoa Burger

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In a post earlier this month called Fun Happenings in Our Kitchen I mentioned that I had stumbled across a great quinoa recipe and it was imperative that you try it. Some of you did and I was happy to hear you liked it. Tonight’s dinner I took that little pattie to a new level and I must say I am very pleased with the results as was my husband.

Introducing, for the first time… The Quinoa Burger!

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That’s one whopping big quinoa pattie atop a toasted, pretzel bun with provolone cheese, spring greens, a juicy tomato and a Mayo-Sriracha sauce (thanks for the inspiration, cousin Emily!) It was a very satisfying dinner indeed although I think adding some potato chips under the bun for an little crunch could catapult this burger into greatness.

So there you have it, a meatless burger for those of you who are into that sort of thing.

For those of you who think the term “meatless burger” is an abomination I insist you set aside your judgment until you try it. For real! Just do it.

If you give it a go I’d love to know your thoughts or how you altered it to make it awesome.

Happy cooking!

Colleen

 

 

Made It!

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So about two and a half weeks ago I was sitting on my butt twiddling my fingers, a little bored. Sure there was housework to be done but I figured that could wait as I sat on the couch with my little ones, or rather as I sat and my little ones crawled/wrestled/jumped all over me. It’s a novelty having mom just sit on the couch and chill. I really need to do it more often. Any who, what I was really doing was conserving my energy for the upcoming slam that included baking 9 dozen sugar cookies for my oldest friend’s wedding, 3 dozen sugar cookies for my daughter’s 6th birthday party, 1 very specific birthday cake, 3 dozen birthday party cupcakes along with a small cake for blowing out the candles/spitting all over, and 4 dozen sugar cookies for a 100th birthday celebration. I did that in 9 days. Never mind the fact that my twin and her hubby came into town for the wedding, stayed up until 2:30am both nights and boogied our butts. Basically it left me worn out but now that I’m on the other side of it all I can breath easy and smile because, well, it’s over for one and for two, everything went over very well. She here’s a photo recap of the craziness…

Below are the sugar cookies for the wedding. There were 3 dozen of each, all tied up in little treat bags and I really wish I had taken a photo of all the bags sprawled out on my table. It was a sight! I’ve included a pic of the beautiful bride, Jessica, and my oldest buddy, Mike. Last comes my favorite picture of two of my munchkins spoiling their dinner while agreeing mom’s cookies take the cake.

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Despite the bad lighting I love this next photo as well. It includes all my nearest and dearest people in the world. From left to right: My brother-in-law, Chace; twin sister, Kelly; mom, Anke; husband and kiddos; myself; and my “little” brother, Brenden. They are my happy place.

My favorite people in the world. My BIL, sister, mom, husband and kiddos and my brother.

My favorite people in the world. My BIL, sister, mom, husband and kiddos and my brother.

Thrown into the week of baking and crazy fun was my daughter’s 6th birthday on Wednesday followed by her glow party at Pump It Up on Friday. She wanted a Supergirl theme with the standard colors, nothing girly but was specific that her birthday cake be a pink angel food cake with chocolate frosting and including the Supergirl logo on it. This is what I came up with:

She was happy with the result after I explained that the Supergirl logo had her initial in it instead of the 'S'.

She was happy with the result after I explained that the Supergirl logo had an “L” for her name instead of the “S” for Supergirl.

There were 29 kids at the party... It was wild!

There were 29 kids at the party… It was wild!

A quick cake needed to be whipped up so Super Girl could blow her germs all over it

A quick cake needed to be whipped up so Super Girl could blow her germs all over it

This shot, although dark and blurry, cracks me  up.

This shot, although dark and blurry, cracks me up and shows exactly why I didn’t want her blowing out candles on the cupcakes!

3 dozen Super Lilly cookies were handed out as favors.

3 dozen Super Lilly cookies were handed out as favors.

And of course a few tropical/St. Patrick's inspired cookies needed to be made for my sister and her husband's first anniversary this past Sunday.

And of course a few tropical/St. Pat’s inspired cookies needed to be made for my sister and her husband’s first anniversary which they are celebrating back where the magic happened; The Dominican Republic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took Sunday off from baking and partying to recover a little and to clean the pigsty that my house had become. Monday I went back to the kitchen, grabbed the flour, sugar and such and got down to business. This time I was baking for a very special occasion. My Grammy’s best friend, Libby, who passed away in December would have turned 100 years old this past Wednesday and there was a big celebration at her senior apartment building in her honor. Libby was a lover of butterflies so it was a no brainer what type of cookie to bake:

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Spending the morning with some lovely blue hairs and my littlest lady who was running amok to everyone’s delight was a great way to end my marathon of baking and partying. I have quickly switched gears and am busy enjoying Spring with my minions and mutts and all the mud that goes with it!

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It’s nice to be back writing again and to have the flour and sugar wiped from my countertops!

Happy Spring, y’all!

Colleen