Friday, July 18, 2014

The Mommy Truth Diaries: You Know you are a Mommy When...

You know you are a Mommy When.......

1. You can have an entire conversation with someone about poop and it doesn't phase you.

2. You search for a pen in your purse and all you can find are crayons.

3. There are certain commercials out there that make you cry every time.

4. Going to the grocery store alone feels like a spa retreat (even if you hate going to the grocery store).

5. You randomly start singing the songs from Frozen numerous times a day.

6. Your desk is covered with pictures, artwork, and mother's day gifts, and there is no room for anything else.

7. Getting puked on doesn't make you puke.

8. You have gotten up in the middle of the night just to make sure someone is breathing.

9. Sleeping until 8 am sounds about as possible as climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen.

10. You are smiling and laughing more than you ever have in your adult life.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

4th of July Feather Wreath

Happy July 1st everyone! Can you believe that 2014 is halfway over already? I can't. The first half of this year has just flown by. We are now on a count down to the 4th of July!  Just a few more days to go to celebrate the USA with family, friends, food, and fireworks. I also have to give a shout out to my mom since her birthday is on the 4th. Happy Birthday in a couple days mom!
Crooked picture not a crooked house. My tripod broke.

I love decorating for holidays, but I usually don't have the time to do any huge projects so for the 4th I am doing a couple small DIY projects to help get our house in the spirit. Today I am sharing my 4th of July wreath. I am telling you this is the easiest project to put together. I actually did it last night after work while I was making dinner. Hello multi-tasking.

If you don't have a lot of time, but still want to put a cute wreath on your front door, or on your wall, or in your bathroom, or in a closet (I don't judge) this is the project for you. Hope you enjoy the tutorial and Happy 4th of July!

4th of July Feather Wreath
Missing the Twine, Spray Paint and Glue Gun.
Ashlyn really wanted her picture taken.

1 White Feather Boa
1 Red Feather Boa
1 Blue Feather Boa
1 18inch Wire Wreath Frame
4 inch wood Letters of U, S, and A
Twine or Jute
Spray Paint (I used Metallic Copper)
Hot Glue Gun

1. Spray paint your wooden letters. I found that I only needed to paint the front of the letters. I used Metallic Copper because that is what I had on hand, but I think I would use silver if I do this again.
The letters are sitting on my piece of cardboard I keep around for spray painting.
That is why it is blue.
2. While the letters dry take one of your boas and tie the end to one of the middle wires. Once tied start wrapping it around the wreath form. Once you reach the end of your boa tie that to one of the middle wires. Adjust it to take up 1/3 of your wreath frame. Do the same with your other two boas until your wreath frame is wrapped in feathers.

3. Once your letters are dry you need to hot glue the twine to the back. Make sure you lay your letters with the unpainted side up and backwards. See the picture below. Then just hot glue the twine to the back of the letters.
Make sure your letters are laying backwards before hot gluing your twine.

4. Tie the twine to the middle wire on one side of your wreath form. Pull the twine straight and tie it to a middle wire on the other side of your wreath form. I found that it looked better when the twine was pulled tighter. Cut any excess twine off and adjust the feathers to cover any of your ties.

5. Hang it on your door, wall, in the shower (no guarantee it will last in there), or wherever your little heart desires. I hung mine on our front door using a Command hook. The wreath is super light so the Command hook should hold it just fine.

Hope you try this if you have need a quick 4th of July decoration. Have a great and safe holiday everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Mommy Truth Diaries: 10 truths that I have learned so far

Just because it's pretty.
Becoming a mom has been the best thing in my life, but it has also been the hardest. When you are a new mom you get all sorts of advice from everyone and anyone. Some is appreciated, some not so much, but you get accustomed to getting advice. I have gotten my share of advice, but as I sit here and ponder all of the advice that has been shared with me throughout the 3 1/2 years of being a mom I realized there is just some advice that I never received. So I am starting a series called "The Mommy Truth Diaries". I will be sharing with you truths that I have learned that no one told me about when I became a mom. Hope you are ready for these.

1. Phrases will come out of your mouth that you never ever thought you would have to say to anyone. "We don't lick people." "Don't stick your toothbrush up your nose." "Don't eat that Cheerio that has been stuck in your car seat for the last 6 months."

2. Belly laughs are the very best thing in the world. EVER! Yep, as hard as it is to say they are even better than chocolate.

3. Never take a toddler into a toy store and expect to come out unscathed. Just don't do it. You will end up in one of two situations A. You end up buying a toy after you have said no 20,000 times just to stop (or prevent) the tantrum or B. You will end up sticking to your guns and not buying a toy but that results in your child screaming, going limp, and having to be carried out of the store as everyone is staring at you with "that look" on their faces. We have experienced the latter and let me tell you that is no fun.

4. Mommy cannot sing Han's part on the Frozen soundtrack because "mommy you are not a boy." Yep I get denied the duet until she decides that she doesn't want to sing by herself.

5. As you are walking to your car in the Target parking lot she will yell at the top of her lungs "Watch where you are going you crazy driver"at the lady who has her windows down and has stopped to let you cross in front of her. Yep, that happened.

6. The best hugs are the random ones. She will stop what she is doing just to come and give me a hug. She did this at swimming lessons the other day. I don't think the teacher liked it, but it made me smile and made it look like I had peed myself.

7. They will try to get away with saying swear words even when they know better. Ashlyn has stumped us by coming up to us randomly and saying "We don't say son of a bitch (or whatever naughty word is on her mind). Nope that is a naughty word and we don't say that." We are at a loss right now as to how to get her to quit doing this. Can't really punish her because she is stating a fact that you shouldn't say it, but on the other hand she is saying it. Yep, they will out wit you sometimes.

8. You will miss changing diapers when you are out on a walk half way around the lake with no bathroom in sight and your potty trained 3 1/2 year old tells you they are going to pee their pants. Lets just say our first pee in the weeds did not go so well.

9. Distractions on the way to the bathroom will almost always lead to potty accidents. I am talking anything. The teddy bear she left in the hallway that all of a sudden needs to go in her room and have a tea party with Sophia the First. The box of band aids that was laying on the bathroom counter that right this second needs to be dumped out on the bathroom floor and sorted by size before she can sit on the potty. The piece of fuzz that has been sitting in the hallway all week but is now all of a sudden so bothersome that she has to throw it away before going to the bathroom. Yep as Ashlyn says "Accidents happen mommy."

10. You will realize how funny the English language can be sometimes. "Ashlyn get ready we need to go run some errands." "We are going to Erin's?" "No, we have to go to a couple of stores." "And then we are going to Erin's?" "Nope we are just going to some stores" P.S. She doesn't know anyone named Erin.

Now I know there are lots of moms out there with a lot more experience than I have, so I for sure do not have all of the answers. Honestly I am just glad I have kept her alive for a whole 3 1/2 years, but I just wanted to share some of the things that have happened to us that we never received advice about in the beginning.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Signs that summer is 8 days away

Happy Friday! I hope the week has treated all of you very well. Can you believe that the first day of summer is only 8 days away? Here are some reminders that summer is approaching with a quickness. *Warning, this is very picture heavy.*

The weather around here has been fantastic this week so we were able to get outside a lot. We went for some walks and just enjoyed the nice weather. We are very lucky to live in a city where there are a number of state rec areas with lakes. We actually live in an area where there are 3 of these within a 10 minute drive from our house. These are our favorite places to take walks.

I decided to bring my camera along on our walks and snapped some pictures. These pictures reflect the beauty of nature that can be found in the city if you just know where to look.
This is a picture that Ashlyn took, had to add it.
This spring we also built some garden boxes and planted our very first garden. This week the garden has just taken off. Here are some shots of what has shown up in our garden just this last week. I can't wait until I can start getting veggies from our garden.
Zucchini Blossom
More Zucchini
Tomatoes are growing.
These will be Tomatoes soon!
And one cute little Bell Pepper

We also spent the spring planting flowers. Some of them were already flowering when we planted them, but recently we had some open their flowers. Don't ask me what kind of flowers these are, but I think they are beautiful. 
Marigold. We planted these around the garden to keep the rabbits out.
I love that you can actually see the pollen on the flower.

I hope you all enjoyed my little taste of summer. We are going to continue to enjoy the nice weather here this weekend. Mark has a 57 mile bike ride of Saturday and I am going to attempt to make curtains for Ashlyn's room. If they turn out I will be sure to share them with you soon. Have a great weekend and I hope the weather is great for you.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

When Good Paint Color Intentions Go Bad, and then Good Again

Happy Sunday Everyone! It has been a busy couple of weeks around here, but we are making progress. Mark is still hard at work on Our 2014 OutDoor Project. On top of that I decided to paint the kitchen and one wall in our living room. We are also getting ready for a garage sale in a couple of weeks. We have been visiting with family and friends, doing family bike rides, going on walks, and I made my first pie ever from scratch! Ashlyn was a big helper when it came to making the pie. She loves to help in the kitchen, so this is Ashlyn's first pie also. Sorry to tease, but this post isn't about pie.
Our first pie from scratch! Now I have to figure out how to make it healthier.
Today I want to share some wisdom with you that I have learn recently. I am sure all seasoned DIYers (yeah, that is probably not a word, but I am going with it) have already learned this lesson, but we are not seasoned at all. We are newbie DIYers and are learning lessons all of the time. This has to do with paint colors and learning from your mistakes.
Before Color
Before, getting ready to paint. This mess drove us crazy for days.
Another before

We are new at painting and choosing paint colors. We received advise from my parents to go with Sherwin Williams Paint. Their paint is fantastic and we loved painting Ashlyn's room with it, so we went ahead and decided that we would use that for the rest of the house as well. That narrowed it down to the paint colors that they carried. I knew I wanted to do green in the kitchen, since we will be painting our kitchen cabinets white and carry that color over to one wall in our living room.

I went and picked a green color that I liked and then made my biggest mistake. I went ahead and just bought 2 gallons of the paint. I was off and running to complete a big painting project. I say big because I knew I was doing this by myself and in the kitchen there are all sorts of different angles. I removed everything from the walls and on top of the cupboards. I moved all of the furniture away from the walls and started taping away. I know I am new, but I am a huge advocate of taping. My paint brush skills are definitely lacking and the tape makes this very forgiving.

After taping I primed. Once I finished priming I was very optimistic, it was starting to look a lot better. I then opened the can of paint and started stirring. At that point I was questioning my decision and I felt worse when Ashlyn came over and asked me why I was going to paint yellow. UH-OH! I still stayed optimistic and put it on the wall anyway. I then started to get an even bigger knot in my stomach when I looked at Mark's face. I told him to just wait until it drys, but at that point I kinda knew it would be terrible, but I just kept painting on. Big Mistake! Huge! (anyone get that Pretty Woman reference?)
BLEH color. It actually looked a lot worse in person.
Again it looked a lot worse in person.

I finished the kitchen and moved onto the wall connecting our living room and dining room. After 3 hours of painting I was finally done with one coat. I looked back at the wall where I had started and wanted to vomit. It reminded me of what I would find in Ashlyn's diapers when I was breastfeeding her. That yellowish green color, sorry that was probably too much info. I was defeated at that moment. I knew I had made a really bad decision.
Yellowish Green, not the look I was going for.

I felt like I had wasted a lot of time and money. I then decided that it was too late now and decided that we just needed to move on. Mark asked me to cover it up as soon as possible, so that is what I did. The next day I covered it back up with primer until we could find a better color. 

This is where I smartened up a bit. I went and looked for different color options. When we decided on a few colors I went and bought samples. I put them up on the wall and then we made our decision from there. I know this is not a new concept, but let me tell you samples are amazing! We knew right away that one of the colors would not work, so that narrowed our decision. If I would have bought those colors in gallons I cannot tell you how much money I would have spent. The samples saved us time and money.
Samples on the wall are amazing!
Once we chose our new colors I primed back over the samples I put on the wall and away I went. I love my new colors. They are exactly what I was looking for. We still have a lot of painting to do, my living room is 4 different colors right now, but I need a little painting break. We will very soon be covering up the two other colors in the living room with gray, but that will come in time. 
 More of what I was looking for. It will look even better when we paint the cabinets white.
A sage green in the kitchen.
Grey on the wall that connects our living and dining rooms.
I have learned a valuable lessons in this process. I learned that in large doses I do not like a yellowish green color, I do still like it in small doses like on a picture frame. I learned that if you don't like the color right away quit painting and let it dry before making your decision. Seriously don't keep painting the whole room plus some if you don't like it. I learned that samples really help the color decision making process. I learned that my house will be a disaster area, we are talking Hoarder house, until I am done painting. Finally I learned that this wasn't as big of a mistake as I thought because it taught me a lot of good lessons.

It is all better now. Oh, and pie really does help the learning process.
Hopefully I will be bringing you a pie recipe very soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tempeh, Spinach, and Tomato Sandwich

The warm weather is here! Along with it has come lots of work and until our 2014 OutDoor Project is done we will continue to be busy. It doesn't help that I also decided to start painting our kitchen/dining/living room. Yep, apparently we feel like we need to have 5 projects going on at once for it to feel normal around here.
Working Hard

Mark has been hard at work on the deck and it is going very well. With him being busy doing that after work I had to come up with some quick dinners that I could make when I got home from the office. Mark usually makes dinner those nights. 

To me an easy dinner means sandwiches. Something that I can whip together in 15 minutes flat. The sandwich that I loved having for dinner when I was little was a BLT. I mean really who doesn't love bacon? We do eat bacon occasionally once every 6 months because the nitrate free bacon is really expensive. Also, bacon really does not fall into the healthy food category, but the occasional is OK category.
Ashlyn likes her deconstructed.

This is my way of being able to eat bacon more than every 6 months. This really is one of our families favorite recipes. Ashlyn loves it, downright asks for it all the time and gets a big smile on her face when she finds out this is what is for dinner. This really is my kind of dinner; fast, simple, and something my entire family eats without a battle.

Tempeh, Spinach, and Tomato Sandwich
-this makes enough tempeh for 4-5 sandwiches

8 oz Tempeh
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 c reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
1 Tbs Worcestershire
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
Baby Spinach
Tomatoes sliced
Bread, toasted
Mayo (optional)

-Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat to medium.
-Slice your Tempeh into 1/4 inch strips.
-Once the oil is hot place your tempeh strips into the pan. Watch out the oil may splatter. Cook until golden brown on one side then flip.
-While the tempeh is cooking whisk together the tamari, Worcestershire, and liquid smoke.
-Once the tempeh is golden brown on both sides add your tamari mixture to the pan. The mixture should boil up right away.
-After about a minute flip the tempeh over so it gets covered in the mixture.
-Once the mixture is absorbed remove the pan from the heat.
-Assemble your sandwich by placing mayo on the toasted bread and topping with the tempeh, tomato, and spinach. Top with the other piece of toasted bread with mayo.