Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Glimpse

Here's a little glimpse into a recent Sunday afternoon at our house:

There was LOTS of relaxing (thank God!)...

Plenty of play time...

Lots of sweet sister moments...

Silly moments and for some reason, LOTS of hats...

And even more play.

Bliss! Monday, I may never want to see you again if all Sundays are as nice as this one.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Here are a few shots from Hadley's first day of Preschool. Enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

An ode to tacos

I've had an unnatural love affair with tacos my entire life. Always have, always will. But, it wasn't until just recently that I stumbled upon the perfect combination of ingredients for make-at-home, perfect taco-night tacos. Here's the combo:

Ground beef, natch. Cook it up and add your favorite taco seasoning blend. We usually make our own, but I was lazy last night and used a pouch. Our tacos didn't suffer a bit.

Lots and lots of this!! This is extra-sharp cheddar, but I love pepper jack on these tacos, too.

Shredded green leaf lettuce and chopped cilantro. Don't skip the cilantro here. It's a key ingredient!

Okay, I have a little secret to share. This is canned salsa. I know, you're thing G-ROSS, Keri. But, I promise, it is absolutely, 200% A-MAZING! I'm not a jarred salsa fan, but this stuff doesn't taste like jarred salsa at all. It tastes like homemade or restaurant-style with big, fresh chunks. The key is that this has no preservatives. The ingredients are simply tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, and salt- the same ingredients I use when I make salsa! Please try this salsa for me! You won't regret it and it really makes the tacos.

We're getting there. All seasoned up and ready to play.

Now, this is important. For really delicious tacos, you need fresh corn tortillas. We're going to fry them up, baby. Okay, I don't fry tortillas. Popping oil scares me. Sean fries the tortillas in our house. Here's how he does it:

You need a couple of inches of oil in a skillet. Get the oil nice and hot. Sean said he fries the tortillas on medium-high heat.

Use tongs to "shape" the tortillas as you fry them for a few minutes on each side. He said "fry them until they are done." Helpful, huh? Look for a lightly browned shell with some bubbles. Mmmmmhhhh.

Once the tortillas are fried, it's time to stuff the tacos. This is the good part!

Oh yeah, now we're talking. As soon as I took this picture, I gobbled up more tacos than I care to admit.

On the side: corn and black bean salad with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Yummy.

And last, but not least, little helpers to help you gobble up the tacos are a must. Hadley LOVES tacos- almost as much as me.

Brynn hasn't tried tacos yet, but I'm betting she will love them, too. Try these tacos-- I promise you won't regret it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts from the kitchen floor

I cannot tell you how much time I spend on any given day cleaning up food and assorted gunk that has managed to fall under Hadley's chair while she was eating. All of that cleaning gives me plenty of time to think. I thought I'd let you guys in on some of the thoughts running through my head during tonight's cleaning adventure:

* This won't take that long. Crap, this is going to take forever. How did Hadley manage to get black beans in the tiniest grooves of her high chair????
* Man, those tacos were good.
* What is that?
* Clearly, Hadley is the messiest human alive. Would it be wrong to make her eat in the bathtub from now on?
* If this post-partum hair loss keeps up, I'm going to be rocking a serious comb-over soon.
* I should update my blog. Did Hadley do anything crazy/ funny/ weird today??? Duh.
* I should really find out if my subscription to Better Homes and Gardens expired this month. I deserve at least one magazine that isn't devoted to baby gas, child discipline, or toddler finger foods.
* Ick, what did I just step on?
* I can no longer eat leftover tacos for lunch tomorrow.
* Oooooh, I wonder if we have the ingredients for brownies. Ugh. I'll just eat chocolate chips and veg on the couch after Hadley goes to bed.
* I still need to download pictures and put laundry in the dryer and iron clothes and organize those pictures. And look for freelance work. Mmmm, chocolate chips.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School Daze

So, Hadley's first day of preschool on Monday was pretty successful. She didn't cry when we left, didn't pitch a single fit or have a single tantrum all day, and didn't cry once until-- wait for it-- nap time. That dreaded thing. I knew Hadley would have an issue with sleeping on a mat on the floor in her play clothes in a strange place with other kids all around her. Every bit of that is so completely different than her normal nap at home that I'm not one bit surprised that she resisted. My kid-- she's like me in that she resists change. That may not be the best personality trait, but she got it honestly.

According to her teachers, when they suggested that Hadley take a nap after lunch, she vehemently told them, "Noooooooo." She wasn't shy about expressing her displeasure when they tried again a few minutes later. Apparently she meant it when she told them she wasn't going to sleep there. Given that Hadley refused to nap, her first day ended a little early. I picked her up a little after noon and once we had settled in at home, I asked Hadley how her day went. She nodded vigorously when I asked her if she wanted to go back to school and then said just as vigorously, "NO NAP!!!!" My kid is, umm, stubborn.

I've decided not to worry too much about the nap thing. I'd really rather Hadley enjoy the social and educational aspects of school than stress about where she will sleep. If need be, I will pick her up before nap time until she adjusts to the idea of sleeping on the floor at school. If that ever happens. I'm not holding my breath.

Other than the napping fiasco, Hadley did great. She played with the other kids, participated in music class by singing and dancing, and talked all day to everyone. Last night before bed, Sean asked Hadley if school was fun and she immediately said, "Yeah!!!" That's all I can ask for.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I just left my heart in a classroom up the street

Update: I just drove by Hadley's school on my way to Target and *may* have slowed down, okay stopped in the parking lot, to watch her play on the playground (I know, I know). She was having a blast trying to tote a giant bucket of sand around. That's my girl.

The pink, blue, and green flowered backpack with "Hadley" monogrammed sweetly across the front was ready to go. It was packed full of diapers, a change of clothes, a blanket, and Hadley's favorite stuffed mouse. Her little lunchbox laid waiting on the kitchen counter, stuffed with cheese, crackers, and apple slices. Everything down to her socks was labeled. Hadley was enjoying her breakfast of greek yogurt and fruit. I pushed my bangs out of my eyes as I ate my toast and sipped coffee, silently wondering what in the world I would do all day while she was gone.

Then, the pace picked up and there was no more time for contemplation. There were breakfast dishes to wash, a baby to nurse, and a toddler to dress. As we got everyone ready to head out, Hadley tugged on my leg and pointed to her first-day outfit, declaring herself, "Cute!" And oh was she. She didn't even protest when I slid a little white bow into her hair. That was a first. Then, we all traipsed outside to load up the car and take a few pictures of our newly minted pre-schooler. Hadley obliged us by dragging her pretty backpack around, and we made fools of ourselves trying to get her to look at the camera. Despite her insistence on playing with rocks and leaves instead, the pictures turned out fairly well. Before we knew it, it was time to go.

In a whirlwind, we had the kids strapped into the car and had driven the two minutes to the school. We unloaded, unpacked Hadley in her classroom, and looked on as she dove right into the scene. She was so busy climbing the indoor slide and rocking on rocky horses that she didn't even realize we were preparing to leave. Kisses and quick goodbyes later and we were on our way out. My heart was heavy but luckily, little H didn't seem to care that we were leaving. Her whole world was changing and she was loving every minute of it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An acquisition

I recently purchased these little personalized charms, which I wear on a necklace, on Etsy, and the necklace has fast become my absolute favorite possession:

I don't wear a lot of jewelry and when I do, I like simple, understated necklaces and earrings. I don't go for bracelets or rings-- too complicated. This necklace is so perfect. I love its simplicity and the fact that it represents my two bambinos, H and B. And it goes with everything. I've worn it with dresses, capris, shorts, and yoga pants. I did get some funny looks with the yoga pants.

I can't take any credit whatsoever for this find, though. I happened upon Emily's blog recently and found this post about her favorite necklace. I'm so glad I stumbled upon that post. I'm just way too impatient to find anything this cool on Etsy by myself. Have you guys found any amazing scores on Etsy lately? I'm always looking for fun jewelry, personalized gifts, and trinkets.

In other news, my first baby starts preschool on Monday. We've been filling out forms, buying supplies, and labeling everything she owns. All to distract me from the fact that come Monday, Hadley will be gone for two days a week. And then tomorrow, she'll go to preschool for three days a week. And a few weeks later, she'll start kindergarden and then first grade. And next month, she'll go away to college, graduate, and move in with some guy who plays guitar for a heavy metal band (it all comes full circle, right?). Seriously, I'm not being melodramatic at all.

I'm being strong. I know Hadley is going to love her school. It's awesome, the kids are adorable and sweet, the teachers are amazing, and they do art projects, listen to music, and play outside. Hadley is going to have so much fun, in fact, that she won't want to come home. I'm just afraid I'll be glued to the little viewing window outside her classroom for the first few weeks. Look for me on the evening news: stalker caught at local preschool. Good times.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everyday Lovelies

Last week, Jules of Pancakes and Frenchfries marveled at the everyday beauty in her life, from flip flops on the floor to a pool bag in the kitchen. Her post and pictures made me want to slow down and document some of the lovelies in my own everyday life. Here are a few un-styled pictures of my house in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. I was amazed at how pretty some of the toys and clutter actually looked. Maybe instead of picking up toys, from now on I'll just leave them as nouveau art.

Our kitchen table, arranged and "styled" by Hadley.

Hadley enjoying her new "craft table."

Hadley's toy car, abandoned after chasing our dog, Bella, around the house. In the background, one of Brynn's brightly-colored blankets was left on the foyer bench.

Our garage door, adorned with its new window shade and a pair of my discarded flip flops.

One of Brynn's bibs, drying on the counter after her meal.

And most lovely of all, my little sweeties, sharing some love.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cover Me Softly

At about 11:00 last Saturday night, Sean and I broke out some paint, a roller and brush, and a few tarps and got busy covering up the biggest eyesore in our house: our fireplace. Let me show the atrocity before I go any further:

And, in context:

Hadley dancing in front of the fireplace on Christmas morning '09.

Now, let me preface the remainder of this post by saying that I love, love, love painted brick. I don't think that painting brick is a sacrilege. In fact, I tend to like brick better when it's painted, whether it's interior or exterior brick. I just think it gives the house a sweet, bungalow/ cottage-y feel.

And, neither Sean nor I has ever liked our fireplace brick. It's too red-orange and doesn't work with the hardwood floors, the furnishings, or the roller shades on the window to the right. In fact, the fireplace seemed to give the whole room an orange-y cast that grated on my nerves. Orange just does that to me.

So, painted it we did. We used a primer + latex paint that is the same color as our trim, called "Vanilla Bean." The color is a light off-white that works beautifully with our wall color, a light cafe au lait. Here are a few in-progress shots (don't mind Sean's backside):

This project was super simple. The night before we painted, we spent about an hour prepping the fireplace by vacumming the brick, washing it with soap and water, and rinsing it. Then, we let the brick dry overnight. The night that we painted, we gave the brick one final once-over with the vacuum to pick up any remaining dust. We used one high-nap roller and one angled paint brush to apply the paint. The roller put lots of paint on the brick at once, which was good since the brick "soaked" up a ton. Then, we used the paint brush to paint in the mortar and cracks. In total, it took us two coats of paint and about 3 hours to complete the painting. I can't believe we waited so long to tackle this. It was done in the amount of time it would normally take us to watch a movie.

And, without further ado, the afters:

[Don't worry-- Sean finished trimming the inside of the fireplace after I took this picture!]

We love the outcome. The room feels so much lighter, brighter, and airier with just two coats of paint over that yucky brick. And, the creamy "Vanilla Bean" works wonders with our furnishings and against the floors and roller blinds. It's like we have a whole new room-- and we only spent about $35 to get there.

Not only did our quickie paint job up the style of the room, but it also created a new work/ play surface for Hadley. With a few coats of paint on the brick, the hearth is now like a nice, laquered table that Hadley uses to color in her coloring books, to play with blocks, and to make sticker art. You can't beat a quick, easy, and cost-effective re-do that packs major style and also adds function to a space. I'm in love.

More diy projects to come. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Squealy Dan

Shenanigans abound around here. Our once sweet and quiet little Minny (a.k.a. Brynn)-- and yes, we are calling Brynn by Hadley's nickname for her quite often-- has become quite the little diva of late. She's quickly learning that being sweet, docile, and quiet gets her much less attention than when she yells, screams, and squeals. So squealing, and sometimes outright yelling, it is.

A few nights ago, Sean started Hadley's bedtime routine-- books, bubbi (that would be Hadley's name for her toothbrush), and sillyness-- while I finished feeding Brynn. Once Brynn had finished eating, i.e., fallen asleep, I popped her in her swing and headed to Hadley's room to help move things along. I wasn't in Hadley's room for more than 10 seconds before we all heard Brynn SCREAM at the top of her lungs. I ran back to the living room with Hadley hot on my heels, saying, "Minny, oh no, Minny, Minny, Minny...." She was so concerned. So concerned, in fact, that as soon as we got to the living room, Hadley immediately got distracted by a pile of blocks. And Brynn? She smiled up at me sweetly and cooed as I picked her up. She was perfectly content as long as she was included in our bedtime routine. The little faker just didn't want to be left out.

It's definitely getting interesting around here, folks.

Ahhhh, that's much better!

I finally re-designed my blog! I never liked that generic blogger template I've had up for, oh, forever, but I just never got around to finding another template that I actually liked. Until today, that is. And, I managed to download it, unzip it, and install it all by myself. If you knew me and my lack of technological ability, you would understand just how enormous that is!!

Do you guys like???? I hope so because as picky as I am, it is unlikely that I'll find anything to replace this template anytime soon. Unless I somehow figure out how to design my own templates and write html. Sean's laughing out loud somewhere RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, I have some fun kiddo stories to share with you-- one of which I'm working on now in a separate post. Things have been a little crazy lately. Sean and I decided we didn't have enough to do, so last weekend, we painted the trim work in the dining room and our brick fireplace in the living room (it looks so much better!).

As if that wasn't enough, I am also working on a freelance project and pet sitting for one of our neighbors this week. Can I just say that the addition of a second dog in our household (even if only for a few hours a day) is like adding three more children and a twister to the mix??? I'm not kidding. This dog is a sweetie, but keeping track of one more living thing is just beyond my mental and physical capabilities right now. I'm constantly counting dogs and people to make sure I have everyone accounted for. This weekend can't come soon enough.

Crazy kiddo stories to come! Stay tuned for shenanigans.

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