Time To Make The Donuts!

Last night, as Stew and I sat on the couch watching TV, I did my usual Pinterest perusing and came across a luscious doughnut recipe. Something came over me, and I just had to have them! I got up right then and there and made the dough. I let it rise overnight and finished the process this morning. Needless to say, they were scrumptious. Soft, fluffy, and warm with a little crunch on the outside. I filled a few with the cream and topped the others with chocolate glaze and sprinkles. The chocolate ones were a huge hit!

I’ll admit I’ve never made doughnuts before, because the idea of frying things seems daunting and makes me nervous! The kids helped, and it was actually quite fun! It looked like a bomb went off in our kitchen, but it was well worth it. Have a great weekend!

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The Children’s Museum

I’m happy to report that our days have gotten much better since my last post! It seems that kids push you to the brink and then totally redeem themselves with snuggles and sweetness! I enjoy the back end of that scenario much more than the front ;o)

It’s been raining for a few days, and we’ve been passing our time with puddle jumping, cookie baking, fort building, and movie watching. But this morning, I decided to take the kids downtown for a morning at The Children’s Museum. We have one of the best I’ve seen! Each room is set up for a different activity. There’s a grocery store, a pirate ship, a stage with puppets and costumes, a water room, a building section with real tools, and an art room. Of course, we did them all!

The last time we went, Stew was with me. So he was on Gracie and I was on Turner (or vice versa). I had a talk with Turner before we got there that since they were just with me, he couldn’t run off into another room without me. He did a GREAT job of staying with me and waiting patiently as Gracie dilly dallied from room to room. They loved it and had so much fun! Turner wanted to stay longer and paint, and my way of getting him out of there without a fight was to promise we’d eat chocolate chip cookies and paint when we got home. So that’s exactly what we did!

Not a bad way to spend the morning!

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Permission Granted

This photo sums up my life lately…

As I look at that face, I laugh. But the truth is, I’m spent! It’s a combination of being completely exhausted and dealing with my children who are in an impossible stage of life. Gracie is entering the oh-so-frustrating phase of toddlerhood. You know… the refusing to listen, throwing food on the floor, hitting Turner, etc. She’s probably had more time-outs by 20 months than Turner’s had in a lifetime. And to add fuel to the fire, whatever Turner does makes Gracie cry or scream and I end up reprimanding him because he’s the older one and “should know better”. But on the other hand, he’s so tender-hearted and innocent and it makes me feel so guilty. They are so stinkin’ cute but so irritating all at the same time! What a phenomenon.

I’ve had little to no time to myself, and when that happens my priorities are majorly out of wack. No wonder I’ve had an overwhelming sensation to re-organize and deep clean my entire house the past week! You know what makes a girl feel better when her world is spiraling around her? Steam cleaning the carpets! So that’s what I did. On top of that, Stew and I emptied every single basket of toys in the whole house and threw out broken pieces and things the kids haven’t played with in years and de-cluttered my life. What an amazing feeling. 

After internalizing my feelings for the past week, Stew and I laid in bed after putting the kids down the other night and I talked about everything going through my mind. He said all the right things, and I immediately felt better. I felt comforted by the fact that I have a supporting husband who will be strong when I am weak, patient when I’m not, and pick up the pieces when I can’t.

I’ve given myself permission to not be perfect. I can’t do it all! I will make time for myself to sit in the quiet and process, because when that piece is missing, nothing else seems to make sense. Today will be a day to soak up time with my wacky bunch and not sweat the small stuff! Wherever we are in life, we need to give ourselves permission to accept what is here and now and to not add unnecessary guilt to our already hard job of raising little humans! Happy Memorial Day, Friends!

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Happy Mother’s Day

It’s hard to believe I’ve only been a mom for 4 years! I barely remember a time that I wasn’t a mom! I feel everything more deeply, I cry more often, and I have more moments in the day where I need a deep breath! But I love it! There’s nothing more challenging and rewarding!

Being a mom to Turner has been amazing! But adding Gracie to the mix has made my heart even bigger and softer! I love seeing them interact with each other. Watching Turner love and teach Gracie so patiently is beautiful. He has a heart of gold. Their personalities are so different, and they certainly have their moments of insane bickering, but at the core they are just so sweet!

Mother’s Day is one of those bittersweet holidays! I have friends who have lost mothers and children. And I’m sure this holiday brings up feelings of sadness! But I love what today represents, because it’s a celebration of ALL mothers, no matter how long or how short. Mothers impact our lives in a huge way. What a great and awesome responsibility we have! I’m thankful that God blessed me with these two angels. I feel honored to raise them!

 

 

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Easter

I LOVE Easter! Not because of the candy or the bunny, but because of what the holiday celebrates, our risen Savior! I’m one of the worship leaders at our church, so we always have Jesus on our lips in this house! But especially at Easter. Turner is obsessed with talking about Jesus and “the cross where Jesus died” which is so cute and disturbing all at the same time. How does one talk to a four year old about God coming to earth as a man, being brutally beaten, and being hung on the cross to suffer an excruciating death, and then defeating death by rising from the grave?? The answer is I don’t know. But I talk to him as if he gets it. And maybe he does?

The weekend was spent celebrating Jesus, spending time together, and of course hunting for eggs! This is the first year Turner was psyched about hunting for Easter eggs. We had a neighborhood hunt on Saturday which was at the park across from our house. They let the little kids hunt first and then unleashed the bigger kids. I thought that was a great idea so the little guys at least had a chance!

While Turner hunted for every last egg, Gracie found a spot to sit and collect rocks in her super cool basket.

Sunday, after church, we headed to my mom’s for an amazing dinner with the family and yet another Easter egg hunt!

There’s nothing better than celebrating Jesus with our babies! They’re at an age where the holidays are so much more meaningful. I love every second of it! I am feeling beyond blessed! Happy Easter. He is risen!

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A Healthier “Easter Basket” & Toddler Snacks

I recently saw a blog post by Danielle Walker on building a healthier Easter basket. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am plagued by the thought of feeding sugar and candy to my kids! Not that it never happens, but when it’s within my control, I try to have healthier (and just as delicious) options for Turner and Gracie to avoid the temptation and help them build healthy habits! Enter the Easter basket…

I just can’t get down with loading a basket full of candy and handing it over to my kids! I just can’t! So, after reading Danielle’s post, I decided to take a trip with the kids so they could pick out some of their favorite snacks from the bulk aisle of Whole Foods. They were actually SUPER excited about this! This is what they picked out: pistachios, dried mango, banana chips, cacao energy bites, and some frozen berries. (I know you’re probably thinking, well your kids are freaks. My kids would never pick out pistachios. But the idea is, get them to pick what they want within the boundaries that you’ve created. And remember, you can always say NO!) So these are the goodies they’ll snack on Easter morning! We had to test it out of course…

While we’re at it, I wanted to share a recent lunch and breakfast idea. Basically, anything that is arranged in a pretty pattern will have my kids gobbling it down! So our lunches recently have been Peanut butter, honey, and Coconut Butter (this is the bomb. Warm it and spread it on bread, or drop a huge spoonful in your smoothies) with a side of fruit, cheese, and pistachios. They tear it up!

Another idea, now that it’s getting warmer, is the smoothie bowl! You can make it however you want. Here’s the deal though, it’s thicker than a smoothie, so that means more work on your blender. I use a high speed blender (like THIS) so it doesn’t explode. Another option is the food processor which works great. OR if you don’t have either of these, just add some more liquid to thin it out a bit. It’s still delicious! So in this bowl I had about (I don’t measure) 2 cups organic frozen berries, 1/2 ripe avocado, 1 cup frozen banana, heaping Tbsp Coconut Butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of strawberry cashew milk (use whichever liquid you like), 1/2 cup raw walnuts, 1 Tbsp Acai Powder. Start on low speed and build up to high using the tamper (if you have a Vitamix) to blend completely. Pour into bowls and top with goodies like Cacao Nibs, coconut, and fresh or frozen berries. SO GOOD!

 

Happy snacking!

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Strawberry Picking

We have been picking strawberries for almost a decade now! Stew and I used to go every year back when we were dating! That was so long ago, I can hardly remember it. Who are these two kids?!

Now, I can’t even go to the bathroom without my personal space being invaded, let alone have a proper date with my husband! Anyway, I digress…

Boone Hall Farms has a HUGE field of red juicy strawberries. We probably eat more than we pick!

Our neighbor, Madison, came with us. She is one of our favorites! She loves to play with the kids. I mean, who would blame her?? They’re pretty cool.

Gracie and Stew wandered up and down the aisles eating strawberries, while I competitively searched for the biggest, juiciest strawberries out there! Watch out people!

We will be eating all things strawberry! If I come up with any good recipes, I’ll be sure to share them! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! Spring is in the air!! Sun’s out…crack’s out?

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Sweet Summertime

So it might not be summer yet, but we went from freezing temps to 80 degrees and sunny in a matter of days! It’s the weather we’ve been waiting for. The pollen has died down and we can enjoy being outside! The windows are open and we are soaking up the sun as much as possible (before it gets too hot)!

The kids couldn’t be more excited. Turner always has a habit of stripping down to his undies first thing in the morning, and Gracie, trying to copy all things Bubba does, follows suit. It’s going to be a summer of chunky thigh heaven!

Turner is in school three days a week, so that’s usually my time with just Gracie. I love it because I feel like I had nothing but time with Turner, and Gracie is such a second child. The other day, I set up a tent in the driveway and the two of us hung out outside eating lunch and playing. It was glorious!

And of course as soon as Turner gets home, he wants to be outside too! We did some gardening the other day which was so fun. He loves to help and Gracie just does everything he does so it’s easy to keep tabs on them both.

They are both at such fun ages! I love our days together and am psyched for all of the warm weather fun to be had!

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The Dreaded Nap Transition…

We have been blessed with babies that have been great sleepers and nappers. We started sleep training at an early age with both of our kids (Turner’s sleep training post HERE and Gracie’s HERE) which is never easy but has helped us tremendously and was well worth the effort! As a mom working from home, I needed my kids to be on a schedule so I could plan my “office hours”.

Now that Turner is 4 he’s transitioned to “quiet time”. That happened sort of on its own. He would still go to his room for his nap and I’d hear him jumping around and not actually napping, which told me his body didn’t necessarily need a nap. But this momma still needed time alone! So I had the conversation with him that he didn’t have to nap, but he had to play quietly in his room. If he didn’t he would get a spanking. I made very clear rules for this so called “quiet time”. And no I’m not crafty and didn’t make any fancy box o’ fun because ain’t nobody got time for that. I told him that this was Mommy’s quiet time and he needed to respect that (which surprisingly worked??). He would choose a few toys to play with, but he had to stay in his room until I came to get him. Occasionally he will pass out on his floor but I don’t love that because then he doesn’t fall asleep until 9 at night. Instead, I’d rather him stay awake during the day (in his separate space) so he falls asleep when we put him to bed around 7:30. By the way, he’s a total first born. He’s eager to please and doesn’t like getting in trouble. I expect a completely different outcome with Gracie!

Which brings me to Miss Thang’s naps! She has been taking two naps for a while. I tried to transition her to the one afternoon nap, but she was so exhausted that I had to cave and keep her at two. Recently I’d put her in her crib for her morning nap and she wouldn’t fall asleep. She was chatting away with all of her stuffed animal friends. That happened several days in a row. So here’s how I handled that! I knew she was still sleepy, but I wanted to work towards one nap for her. Usually, we go to the gym first thing in the morning before dropping Turner off at school at 9. She would doze off in the car for a few minutes at one point or another during that commute. That would buy me enough time to get her to the afternoon without completely falling apart. So I would pick Turner up at 1 and get them home and down for naps around 1:30. The fear, of course, is that she falls asleep on the WAY to pick up Turner which would completely throw a wrench into my perfect plan. That actually happens a lot. So, in that case, I put them down for their naps around 2. On days that we don’t go anywhere in the morning, I put her and Turner in their rooms around 12:30 for his quiet time and her nap. Now, mind you, we’re still in the transition phase from two naps to one nap for her. Eventually we will get to where she naps at the same time each afternoon. But it’s like exercise, you have to warm up and stretch first!

So here’s a typical school day for us now that we’ve transitioned to the one nap:

Schedule at 4 years old and 1.5 years old:

6:30 am — wake up/drink milk/coffee in our bed

7:00 am — breakfast (I have school lunch prepped the night before. More on that later)

7:40 am — out the door for the gym

9 am — Drop Turner off at school (Gracie cat naps in the car on the way)

9:15 am-12:45 pm– Run Errands if needed/Mommy works/Mommy and Gracie play time/eat lunch

1:00 pm– Pick Turner up from school

1:30 pm-4:00 pm — nap/quiet time/Mommy works

4:00 pm — Turner and Gracie play/prep dinner/Mommy works some more

5:30 — Daddy’s home!!! Eat dinner and drink wine

6:30 — play time before bed (sometimes a bath. I’m not gonna lie. We don’t bathe our kids nightly anymore. Judge if you will)

7:30 — Kids to bed!

I love a good schedule. It fills my need to control things. Of course, it’s not perfect and there are hiccups all the time! But for the most part, our days have a nice flow to them!

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And We’re Back!

Life has been super busy lately. I’ve been working a ton with little time for social media and blogging. It’s been a refreshing break actually! We are very much in our routine of school, snuggles, and anxiously awaiting the warmer weather!

After Valentine’s Day, we made the spontaneous decision to drive to NJ to visit our family! It was a slow time at work and, after our last trip proved to be a success, we vowed to do it more often than every two years!

My OCD and excessive planning help these things go smoothly! We split the 12 hour drive into two days on either side of the trip. It’s the best way to do it! Right when we start getting stir crazy, it’s time to stop at our hotel! We only hit a few trafficy spots, and may or may not have peed in a cup, BUT all in all the drive went smoothly!

It was a great week with my dad, cousins, and Stew’s parents. My dad is seriously one of my favorite people ever. We don’t get to see him nearly enough! And whenever we’re together it’s such a blast we never want it to end! Turner felt right at home and started losing articles of clothes by the minute, despite the fact that it was 19 degrees outside.

We went to my aunt and uncle’s house two nights for dinner. It’s one of our favorite things to do. I have two cousins and they’re both married with a total of 7 kids between the two of them. Add Turner and Gracie to the mix and it’s a downright nutty and hilarious extravaganza. It’s loud and the food is amazing always!

Not to mention Gracie and her sister from another mister! They are nearly identical!! And their outfits always match. We don’t even plan it :o)

It’s nice to get back to real life, but it makes me wish we didn’t live 12 hours away! Every time we get home, we love getting unpacked and settled, but we immediately start talking about the next time we’ll make the long journey!

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