Monday, January 28, 2013

Valentine's Wreath

 I figured it was time to take down my evergreen Christmas wreath. It happened when I was driving home from picking up one of the littles, and was laughing to myself at the people who still had Christmas decorations up. In my head, I KNEW they must be trashy, ya know?

Fast forward to pulling into my own driveway and realizing, "OH CRAP! I've still got Christmas decorations up! Look at the wreath on my door!" You know what that makes me, right?

Really frantic to fix this problem.

Luckily, it didn't take too long to fix. I ran to the Dollar Store and picked up a wicker wreath frame (the one I picked up was 9 inches) and then the stash of fabric scraps I already had. It's easy-peasy lemon-squeezy to make. Just cut the strips about 1.5 to 2 inches wide, and 12 inches long. I used some satin, but most of mine were cotton, and those were SUPER easy, because you can just make a notch, then tear them (you can't tear the satin). Gives them a cute, frayed look.

Tie those beasts all around the wicker base, scoot them close together real tight like I did in this picture and viola! Valentine's Wreath and no more trashy folks living at my house.

I think it turned out cute and the whole thing took me less than an hour. Whatcha think?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year, y'all

I'm not doing resolutions this year. Not happening. We all know what happened last year when I did resolutions. It's just not something we should rehash this year, right?

Instead, I've made a couple of goals. Goals are much easier to keep. My biggest goal is regarding my health, which is fine now, but could take a turn at any time because I'm overweight. Not morbidly obese, but on my way to it. So, this year, I've decided I'm going to train for 5Ks in January and run one a month for the whole year. So, 11 5K races. I won't promise to come in first or anything like that, because we all know that's not happening. But I figure if I can train and run in 11 5Ks, I may just lose 20 pounds. Which is what I'm shooting for. Let's start with 20 pounds, see how that goes and work our way down from there, mm-kay?

Other goals are tied into two main things - being a better wife and mom and building a stronger family. We're pretty darn strong as it is - can and have survived almost three years of unemployment, bickering, kids, living in the world's smallest house ... But anything can get better.

This year, we're planning on cleaning out our attic and turning it into a third bedroom/playroom for Coco. He and Mae have been sharing a room and at almost 6, he's ready for his own space. When it's mentioned, the topic of his own room always causes excitement. Right now, the hubster and I share 750 square feet with two young 'uns and two cats that like to fight. Constantly. The kids and the cats. The attic is walk-up, so converting it will give us an additional 150ish square feet. Pretty awesome and should only cost us about $1,000.

Along with the converted room, we're also planning a trip to Disney just for us. The hubster and I went for our honeymoon and it was awesome. Then a few years ago, we took the kiddos with his mom and stepdad. This year, we're going to do it just us and the kids. We've never actually taken a vacation just us - someone has always been there to kind of help with the kids. Shocking, I know. We're pretty darn lucky like that.

I'm not doing a garden this year. It never lasts until the end of the season, mostly because I forget to water it, feed it, pick it, etc. Pretty much the things you're supposed to do for a garden. Instead, I think we'll do this. Pretty cute, right? The kids will get a kick out of it, and we can always go smaller than she did. Who knows? Maybe fairies will come.

Lastly - and I know this one will thrill the hubster - I think I shall craft more. I miss it.

So, what are your goals this year?

Friday, December 14, 2012

What do you do when the kids aren't home?

Yeah, so it's not a great picture, but you get the point. The kids are headed to their Maw-maw and Granddad's house this weekend (it's over the river and through the woods) and I am afraid to send Norton over there for fear that Sunday night will roll around and we'll realize we left him and someone will have to make the hour trip over to get him.

So, instead Norton made these awesome felt stockings/sleeping bags for each of the Twins. The Twins will be making the trip to the other side of the river and even wrote this note for the kids:

Take us to Maw-maw and Granddad's house when you go,
That way we can make sure that Santa's "in the know."

When you've been good, there's fun to be had,
But Santa will not bring gifts if you are bad.

We're not going to move or do funny things,
We'll just tell Santa when you've been DINGA-LINGS!

Love, The Twins

I think it's pretty darn cute, and the kids will be thrilled when the wake up. They can touch the Twins, since they don't do reporting most of the time and they won't be moving around and doing mischief over there. They'll get a kick out of being able to cuddle them at night, I suspect.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Naughty Norton

The kids have an elf. You know, those creepy little elves that are supposed to hang out in a different spot in your house every day, checking up on the kids before reporting back to Santa each night. Our elf, Norton, is something else though. He isn't satisfied with playing hide and seek throughout the house. He has to create havoc.

Norton started out tame enough. Hanging from a sign, playing around on the mantel, etc. It didn't take long before he got into mischief though. He tried to climb down from the mantle using a slinky and got all stuck and stuff.

After that, it was game on. Norton (who I keep calling Barney because that was the name of last year's elf that's no longer with us, something for another post) has been "ON" almost ever since. Sure, he has nights where he's pretty tame, but a vast majority of the time, he's quite devious. Take, for instance, the night he decided to hang underwear on the mantle instead of stockings. He left a trail of underwear across the house and even The Twins (two other little elves that visit for some fun) got in on the action. As you can see, they're either laughing or covering their noses from the stink of the kids' underwear.
That was pretty funny, I'll admit it.

And some of the things he does are pretty awesome, like when he wrapped the kids' door or when he made snowflake ballerinas and hung them from the living room ceiling fan.

We really love Norton around here (mostly, because I'm sure Daddy could do without some of his little messes, but he tolerates them because the kids get a kick out of him). Most of all, the kids like that every night, he carries their behaviors (both good and bad) back to Santa at the North Pole. Then he comes back home and creates some little bit of mischievousness for them to find. I love it, because it gets them out of bed in the morning without much cajoling at ALL on my part. Pretty awesome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Whatever happened to Barney?

Last year, Santa sent Barney to keep an eye on the kids. He did more to make a mess than keep an eye on the kids. But he was an awesome elf.

So, when Norton came this year, the kids were curious. Norton had come last year to try to teach Barney how to be a better elf after the incident with the flour on my counter, but ended up learning a trick or two from Barney. They wanted to know, "What happened to Barney?"

Barney wasn't an "authentic" Elf on the Shelf, simply one I had gotten in some vintage ornaments I got from my mom's house, I think. Along with those, I had gotten other elves, including Norton, who actually LOOKS more authentically Elf on the Shelf. And I picked up the Elf on the Shelf book from Goodwill for $1, so I didn't have to spend all that money on the Elf kit.

You see, what actually happened was on Christmas morning last year, I realized that I had forgotten to put Barney away. He was SUPPOSED to ride back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve. Momma forgot! He was still in his spot from the day before when we were getting ready to get the kids up for morning festivities (aka trash the living room) so I grabbed him and threw him upstairs into the attic. I went up later and put him on a shelf. This year, when I went to get him on Thanksgiving night, I realized I had put him on a shelf right next to a window and the sun had faded our dear Barney!

So Dearly Departed Barney has been relegated to an inner branch of the tree, to keep an eye from afar. The kids don't know he's there, simply that Santa decided he created so much mischief last year, he sent Norton this year. Who is doing a pretty darn good job of creating mischief all on his own.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Well... it's been awhile

New Year's Resolutions - HA, I laugh in the face of New Year's Resolutions. Apparently, I made some resolution to blog regularly. We ALL see how that turned out. I haven't posted since February.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I've THOUGHT about blogging. I've had great ideas for blogging some things. But then I'd psyche myself out and think, "Oh, it's been too long." Then I'd see other people blogging about stuff a month or more older and think, "Oh, maybe not." But by then, I didn't have time, and welllllll... you get the point. Excuses, excuses. Much like that resolution to lose weight. Something always came up (usually my weight!).

Just to get you updated, a TON has happened since I last blogged (besides German Chocolate Brownies which happened a lot).

In March, I got an ACTUAL, real, career-type job. I got back into the career world! Part time, but it works out PERFECTLY for me, since I have Coco and Mabel (who both also celebrated birthdays since I last posted so they're now five and four respectively). I now work at Cooperative Christian Ministry in their Development Department. I handle our donor management and public relations. We do some pretty awesome stuff there including emergency and transitional housing for homeless individuals and families, run NUMEROUS food pantries and mobile food pantries, and offer financial assistance to folks to help them get back on their feet through rent/mortgage, utilities and even medicine.
Over the summer, we went to the beach. That was a lot of fun. My mom and a couple of nieces went with us and we got some great pictures and wonderful memories. Plus I got to wear a really cool bathing suit that I was comfortable in, something that doesn't happen too often.

Then, the biggie. COCO STARTED KINDERGARTEN! Seriously. KINDERGARTEN. I cannot say enough how amazingly scary and sad this was. But so exciting at the same time. So weird. How can something be scary and exciting and sad at the same time?! But it was. My baby boy started school! Real school, not preschool. I cried, of course, and took the whole day off. It didn't take long for me to get used to it though, because within the first month, I had already forgotten to pick him up from school and slept late, making him tardy. Alas, I started setting an alarm on my phone to pick him up and making sure I get up the FIRST time my clock goes off in the morning.

When did my baby get so big?

Then there was Halloween:
Batman and Cinderella!
And Thanksgiving:
My whole beautiful family

And now, Christmas:
Even though this was the day before Thanksgiving!
Like I said, it's been a busy year! Thankfully, I will have more time to blog because I'm giving up my job at Target this year. My last day is TONIGHT! I'm excited to spend more time with the kids, do things on the weekend with my little family and yes, even blog more. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

German chocolate... brownies

Yes, you read that right. I made German chocolate brownies tonight. Much like the German chocolate cake (my absolute favorite birthday cake), these rich brownies are coated with a coconut "frosting" making them nice and rich. I didn't step-by-step photograph what I was doing, but they are super easy to make and this was the end result:

Looks tasty doesn't it? Trust me, it is. Now you want the recipe, don't you? Well, I won't make you wait.

German Chocolate Brownies
For brownie:
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

For frosting:
2 c. coconut flakes
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 c.) butter
1/4 c. evaporated milk

In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla and blend well. Remove from heat and add cocoa, flour, salt and baking soda. Again, blend well until there are no flour-y lumps. Grease a 9-by-13 inch glass pan well and pour batter into the pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick insterted comes out with a few yummy crumbs (they'll be fluffy and perfect, trust me).

While the brownies are baking, mix your frosting ingredients well in a small mixing bowl. Remove brownies from oven and "frost" (it's not going to spread that well, use small spoonfuls and try to smoothe them out best you can) the brownies. Turn oven to "broil" and sit frosted brownies about 4 inches below the coil for about 3 minutes. You don't want to burn the frosting, so keep an eye on it!

Let them cool, cut them and you're done.

NOTE: Coco likes his brownies without the frosting, so I actually frosted half of the brownies and left the other half unfrosted. Not a good idea, because the broiler kind of burned the top of the unfrosted side. If you do this, you'd do better separating the brownie batter into two separate pans. I'll do that next time.

Calories: About a million
Makes: Around 12-16, depending on how big you cut them (as you can see, I got about 12 out of my pan of brownies).