Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Wreath....my first.

The sun is shinning, the temperature is rising and I feel the need decorate with some color. With spring here and Easter just around the corner, I really wanted a wreath for my front door. However, when I started to look at one to buy or make many of them were very 'Eastery', which were very cute, but I wanted something that would last a little longer.

I headed over to my trusty and amazingly awesome Hobby Lobby (do you have one? I feel for you if you don't) for my supplies. Of course, they had everything I needed and for 50% off! Bonus!

Okay, so this is the very first wreath I have ever made. It's very basic, maybe even a bit boring for the way more creative out there! But, I think I like that about it because I can change it, for example, add to it, whenever I feel the need!


1. Pick a size wreath
2. Pick your greens
3. Pick some ribbon you love

4. Take your floral cutter and cut off each branch.

5. Stuff your branches in your wreath however your heart desires.

6. Hang your ribbon on the wreath...bow, no bow, no ribbon and just on a hook...however! I wanted my ribbon this specific way, but then I couldn't figure out how to attach it to my front door. So, I got out my trusty glue gun and glued the ribbon to the top of the door. It's unseen and it will peel off when I don't want it there anymore. Easy, right!?

Here's what I spent
Wreath- $2.00
Floral cutter- maybe $8.00

About $7.00 for the wreath or $15.00 if you add the cutter...not bad! Plus, I will be able to use all of these things again and again.

I already think I want to add something to it. Maybe mod podged letter "M"to hang in the center?!?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our Sunday.

After being gone from our own home for 3 weekends straight, it felt so great to be here this weekend (even if it is in Michigan). We filled the last three days with lots of family fun time and projects around our house! We were almost done with a couple of neatos I can't wait to share, but then this morning we decided to put those on hold and drive to Grand Rapids to visit Meijer Gardens.

Insert History Lesson
For all you non-Michiganians (still don't know if that is what we are called), Meijer Grocery is the big-box grocery store located absolutely everywhere in this state! It's basically just like Super Wal-@#$% (I won't type it...I can't!) and there are like 5 of them within 5 minutes of my house. Okay, so founder of Meijer, Fred Meijer, from what I understand helped to fund these amazing gardens and sculpture park, hence it is called Meijer Gardens.

Anyway, it was awesome! Even though it is still a bit chilly here, there was plenty for us to see and do. Specifically, the butterflies are blooming exhibit...it was amazing! The boys loved it, we loved it and for someone learning to use their camera..it was perfect! Mixed within the gardens, flowers, plants, birds, butterflies, and sculptures, was a children's garden/play area.  This provided Jack and Owen space to run, breathe fresh air and soak in the natural world around them! As their parents, watching them do this, was probably equally as fun!

Note to self....must go there again!

Awwwww....big and little in their matching sweaters! 
But seriously, is O-man giving me the 'cheese face'....already!

Another note to self: The first thing Jack said to me this morning was this:
Jack: Momma, where is Owen?
Me: Owen is still sleeping. Why do you ask?
Jack: Because I miss him.
Me: That's nice to hear Jack. (as I am thinking, I knew it!)

There were thousands of different types of butterflies flying all over a huge atrium.

Some fun with my camera:

Wouldn't it awesome to have an orange tree in your backyard?
Especially, because my boys eat cuties two at a time!

I have no clue what this is, I forgot to check, but I just love the texture and color.

Jackers was dying to touch a butterfly and bring one home as a pet!

There was a ginormous sandbox, aka, a boy's heaven!
Jack bolted for the digger, of course!

And both boys thought this was a telescope, but nope, it was a huge spotlight.

To help spotlight this giant horse.

This horse was sculpted with every detail. Jack found the horse's anatomy before I even noticed it and asked, "Momma, what is that up there?" Of course, I was all serious and factual, but then when he went to play with the spotlight, Pat and I giggled to ourselves and of course, took some pictures.

Warning: Some x-rated silliness.

Nerds....yes, I know we are!

Okay, moving on.....

A couple more of the boys checking out and sniffing the beautiful flowers as we left.

Jack appropriately smelling the tulips and Owen appropriately trying to rip them out of the pot! Okay, so time to go!

After running around the gardens for two straight hours, Owen was amazingly still happy as can be, but I think that was because of his crackers. I seriously wonder how many crackers we actually throw away from inside/under his car seat. But, they make him happy and content so I don't really care.

Jack on the other hand, was worn out!

Nice. Sign of a busy, good time!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Until You!

I came across this momma blogger who also happens to have two boys. She created a picture of her son just like this, which I was drawn to and connected with immediately.

I started thinking and playing around with a few of my current favorite pictures of Jack.

He is experiencing one of the many simple joys in life...blowing the seeds off a cattail and watching them sail in the wind. Remember those days?

I got em'!!

Owen's curls! 
How I L-O-V-E them so!

With a quick-footed toddler (yes, he is officially a toddler) they are sure hard to catch.
But, I got em'.  And in their 'just after nap-time, sweaty and curly-q' prime.

I sure do hope they stay around awhile or forever..forever would be really nice!

And what's Owen doing you ask?

He is watching Jack dance on the table outside, he is doing his "I'm so happy it's spring" jig! 
Me too, Jackers!! Me too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring has sprung!

And we are lovin' it around here!
Swings, kites, dirt, bubbles, bikes, driveway chalk and lots of walks are filling our days!
How about you? What's filling your day?

*I am still working on our trip pictures, it truly takes so darn long to upload pictures to to blogger!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The BEST granola I have ever had in my whole life!!

Do you eat breakfast? Do any moms eat breakfast?

I am lucky if I am able to! I need to enjoy a cup or two of coffee before I can even think about eating something. Gotta start the morning off right, you know, with caffeine. Sometimes it is 1:00 pm and I am getting the dizzies before I realize that I have not eaten anything yet. Not very healthy! Once my boys awake for the day, it's pretty much go-go-go! But, a momma has got to take care of herself! You agree?!

Here is a healthy and easy to 'grab on the go' solution...granola!

And this is the BEST granola ever!
Seriously, I am not exaggerating, it's the best.

My sister-in-law Tami introduced me to this granola recipe, which is originally from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I have had it many times with her and my mother-in-law, who makes it as well. I think I ate it every morning while we were in Florida. With that in mind, I decided I had to make it for myself and my mom because I knew she'd love it too. Jackers and I had a little alone time the other night and so we took a trip to Trader Joe's for the all the ingredients. I so miss that store! They had everything we needed and for such reasonable prices. Perfection.

A couple of things:
1. You can pretty much add any ingredient (nut or dried fruit) that you like.
2. It makes a lot and it's filling. It could last you for probably up to 2 weeks.
3. There are so many ways you can eat this. On yogurt, with milk, by the handful, etc.
4. I made my granola with my changes in blue. Figs are not for me, ick!

Homemade Granola

4 cups rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened coconut (sweetened coconut)
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cup small dried apricots
1 cup dried cherries (added)
1 cup dried cranberries (added)
1 cup black mission figs
1 cup roasted cashews, or pecans or walnuts (2 cups pecans)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Toss oats, nuts and coconut in a big bowl.
-Whisk oil and honey together in a small bowl.
-Pour over oats mixture and stir until all is covered.
-Put on baking sheet(s) and bake until golden brown for about 30 minutes, turning with spatula at about 15 minutes.
-Take out of oven, let cool on pan, turning a little with spatula.
-Put back in big bowl and add dried fruit.
-Store granola in an air tight container.

Enjoy this yummy, sweet and crunchy goodness!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Who is this soapy, mohawked cutie-patootie hiding behind a cup?

My sweet O-Man.
I know I always call him "sweet".  That's cause he is...simple as that!
He has his own babbling language. We think he knows exactly what he's saying.
We just don't yet! But, that's okay.
Listening to this babbling is as sweet as candy...it's music to my ears.
I think even more so, because I know it will soon come to an end.

I am just so absolutely in L-O-V-E with him!

Even when he cries his (glass-breaking) high shrill scream cry...still L-O-V-E him! 
He can be doing this cry in his crib, but as soon as he sees us, he stops, gets a huge smile on his face and says, "Hi"!

I also L-O-V-E that he loves to cuddle his Momma.
And only his Momma!
Because I also know, that this too will soon come to an end!

Jack Flashback!
What? I cannot believe this.
Looking at these pictures of Jack make me weepy, actually all these
"Jack Flashbacks" make me weepy. 
I can have a hard day or week (yes, sometimes a whole week) with my 
Jackers (you know they call them the Trying 3's) and as I sit here looking at these pictres while watching him sleep, that L-O-V-E comes flooding back into my veins. 
Not that it ever left, I think it just hides in there sometimes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Recipe: numero uno

Okay, so I don't think I have ever posted a recipe on my blog. Let me think....nope, I haven't. Being that we are on a little vacation (still!) and I am not in my own abode, my creative side (sick of hearing about this yet!) has had to take a slight vacation as well! In my attempt to maintain, I thought I would share a recipe.

My mom and I made this recipe the other night and it was LOVED by all of us! Pat had four, yes four helpings (hey, we are on vacation!) and my boys ate it up as well. What is it? It is a good ole' yummy casserole...so Wisconsin! This is super easy, super yummy and this one recipe actually made two meals for our family. Our slight modifications are in red.

Townhouse Cracker Chicken
3-4 Chicken Breast cooked in seasoned broth and cooled (or you can just bake the chicken @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes) and chopped into bite size pieces.
2 rolls Townhouse crackers
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 sticks of butter (1 stick)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup, sauteed onion
2 cups of broccoli 

1. Mix crushed crackers, poppy seeds and butter. Put 1/2 of this mix into a 9 x 13 pan. 

2. In a bowl, mix chicken, soups, sour cream and onions. Pour over cracker mixture.

3. Top with the rest of crumb mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-60 (40-45) minutes until bubbly and brown.

We ate this with mashed sweet potatoes, which we all thought was a perfect pairing! Well, the adults did. Jack however, has an absolute dislike of anything mashed, so he conveniently left those on this plate.  

Magic Kingdom 2010
After eating Mickey Mouse ice cream bars.
I think they enjoyed them!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pure Bliss.

We took a late night, oversold and jam-packed flight for 2.5 hours with a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old. Thank goodness we were together this time!

We made it on the plane after the stressful check-in process, eating dinner, changing both boys into their jammies, waiting to board the plane and trying to keep our boys safe in the sea of people.

Jack did awesome as he is currently in complete awe of airplanes, he was super excited to see his MiMi & PaPa and thrilled at the thought of meeting Mickey Mouse. Plus, he got to watch his new dinosaur movie. Totally old school.

Owen, well, he and airplanes or any confined space for that matter, do not mesh very well!! He was beyond exhausted and had passed over into the berserk stage of exhaustion. After bouncing up and down the aisle (all Pat...I don't have the gift of patience when it comes to the baby bounce), lots of shushing, and head rubs, Owen finally collapsed into my chest falling fast asleep!

Jack fell asleep shortly after.

Pure Bliss!

See that giraffe laying on Owen, it is his lovey or as we call it, his "Binky Boo". We lost him somewhere in Florida. We need to find a replacement Binky Boo and fast!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We're Baaaack!

And we had such a great time visiting the mouse.
Mickey Mouse that is!
Now lots of pictures to download and sleep to catch up on!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My quest.

Creative quest, that is. In my quest, I keep going to these three areas. Photography, cooking and home decorating-DIY style (including this whole new world of thrifting and crafty projects). Now I must say, when I used to think of crafts, I immediately would think women with animal embroidered sweatshirts selling felt angel pins. Well, what I have learned is, it is not this way at all! Crafting and thrifting is so very fun and very cool.

Anyway, the amount of information I have found on the internet about these subjects is just amazing and seriously endless! There are so many blogs dedicated to this stuff and each blog leads to another one and another one....sometimes it gets just a wee bit addicting. Bloggers show off their latest photo or recipe or DIY project with complete tutorials (a link to one) on how to achieve the same. I love it! 

1. Photography: This is an area where I am just having fun at the moment, sometimes frustrating fun (is that possible?). I am not too sure on how to use my camera (yet, that is!) and I have no clue how to use Photoshop (thank you, picasa and iphoto and picnik). So, I am just playing around, lots of playing around and having a great time taking pictures of my boys and capturing precious memories.


2. Cooking
Oh Risotto,  I have had you in my pantry for so many months. I have wanted to make you, but I was waiting for just the right recipe that sounded ever so yummy! Plus, I might have been just a little nervous to make you, I had heard you need a lot of stirring and stirring and stirring. Well, then just recently, Pioneer Woman posted her Red Pepper Rissoto recipe. Perfect!

The Red Pepper Rissoto was awesome. Pat and I both loved it. I changed mine a little due to what I had in my pantry, for example, a jar roasted red peppers and chedder cheese. I will definitely be making it again, and I will be looking for other yummy risotto recipes. For any newbies, it does take a lot of stirring and more stirring. Keyword: naptime.

3. Home decorating-DIY:
    Finally I can see spring on the horizon...alas bring on the spring baubles!

At Ballard Designs one of these so cute topiaries cost $49.00 each! What?!?!

But, then I found this topiary tutorial...perfect!

Ta-da....here are my topiaries!

Not bad for one of my first DIY crafty projects...I must say so myself!
Plus, they are super cute and fabulous for a fraction of the price! 

Others I can't wait to try:
- a version of this Ballard's inspired wall art
- Spice up my counter chairs just like THIS 
-Make this entryway sign and THIS is so cute too
-Now THIS is such a cute gift or for the outside of each of my boys' doors

Phew....I've got work to do!