This weekend we did some coloring:
Grilled most of our meals:
This weekend we did some coloring:
Grilled most of our meals:
While I love trying new recipes, I also love enjoying the simplicity of summer meals.
Fresh, scrubbed, and poked sweet potatoes roasted at 350 degrees for an hour and a half
Lemon blueberry bars, prepped early in the day and chilled:
The bars are sweet, but not overpowering and the blueberries add this really interesting twist. All very simple, all very delicious!
Sometimes the most perfect picture comes from a very unexpected place. When I was moving a side box out to vacuum (that is normally in front of those cords, no we do not let our kids play with those, thanks), J scrambled underneath the desk to grab one of his most coveted favorites: a can of tennis balls. I randomly had my camera sitting on the bed because I had been taking pictures of window cleaning (HA!) and snapped this picture before I moved him out away from the cords.
This picture is so classically J; the piercing blue eyes, wisps of blonde hair, and that pout lipped little stare, with his arms gripping tightly to his treasure. Perfection. This is one of my favorites of the week.
Continuing on…here are some of my favorite reads and finds from the week. Happy Friday!
One of my grad school friends and fellow bloggers did a great post review about the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom that Needs to Breathe.
On reheating frozen bread. In case you couldn’t resist those two huge artisan french loaves from Costco. Just saying.
Speaking of grad school, when I was there one of my professors gave me a book about writing, and it started my love of books about writing. This one is on my list.
Sesame noodles. Or as A calls it, spaghetti without the red sauce.
A cute pair of espadrilles.
My worst road trip snack idea is always a chocolate bar. I always end up getting one some place and I always end up getting it on myself. Here are a few more…
Bunnies snuggling on a hotel bed. No, I’m serious.
Jute bins for storing random toys, blankets, etc.
Some tips to know for cooking with cheese.
Quirky fish coasters, which I really think would go well in our house, and if J threw them I’m pretty sure no one would get injured.
In the words of Sheldon Cooper, you’re sitting in my spot.
And…what game night is like at our house according to the Jordans. I found it to be amazingly accurate. HA!
When I was in graduate school, I cleaned my apartment a lot. I am pretty sure that I left it about 500 times cleaner than when I moved in. One day I got especially motivated (and by motivated I mean I was procrastinating on writing a paper) and decided to clean my windows. I vacuumed, scrubbed, and wiped them down until they were super shiny (as shiny as you can get for old apartment windows). Then I decided to go out back and clean the outside of the windows. My apartment backed up to a heavily wooded area (and right down the street from a noisy frat house; yeah for me!), and so when I was rinsing down the windows I found a very (VERY) large spider had been hanging out right above my head as I had been leaning out the window cleaning earlier. Needless to say when he (or she, I’m not sure, I didn’t ask) dropped down I ran screaming around the building, and didn’t bother to clean my windows again.
Now that I’m all grown up and such, I spring clean our windows once a year, in order to avoid the build up of lovely spiders searching for a habitat. I have been doing this for awhile, but on a whim decided to share my “ahem” crazy cleaning habits for windows.
You really don’t need a lot to clean a window well. I use a vacuum, up and up cleaning wipes, windex, and paper towels. Make sure your cleaning wipes and windex can be used together (I don’t want to hear that you are passed out on the floor from combining bleach and ammonia…because I am sure you would call, right?) Continuing on…
Here are my steps:
Step 1: Vacuum
I vacuum the exterior of the window, any blinds, and if you have machine washable curtains throw them in to wash. Then you want to open up your window and vacuum out as much of that dirt I showed before as you can. Don’t forget to vacuum the underside of the window. Then you want to remove the storm screen (if you have those):
And vacuum the screen and use a wipe along the edges (shown here). I have also gotten really ambitious some years and will put all the screens on the driveway at the same time, then I hose them off, clean them with cleaner, hose them off again and let them sit in the sun until they are dry.
So once you remove the screen, I then spray the bottom tray of the window with windex and shut it to let it soak for a few minutes will I clean the screen. Set the screen aside (you won’t put it back in the window until you are all done!) then continue on.
2. Wipe the frame and all plastic parts of the window with several up and up wipes. This helps remove the dust from the window that will be left after you vacuum.
3. Windex spray the window (while it’s closed) then wipe it down.
4. Then if you have fold in windows, I open the window and clean those:
This is what I’m talking about.
5. Then set that back in place and focus on cleaning the window tray. I use quite a bit of windex for this part and I usually use some cups of water to flush out the rest of the dirt. Then I shut the window and go outside to clean the exterior.
6. Clean the exterior window. So you can hose it down first (make sure your window is closed!), which helps get off the exterior dirt. Then you just clean as you usually would, making sure to get the edges and sides of the window are wiped down as well.
7. Then go back inside and check your work. Once I am satisfied there is no dirt or streaks, I put the storm screen back in place and lock the window back up. Put the curtains back up and tada, you’re done!
1. Make sure you clean the windows at times when the sun is not right on the window, it will be hot and nearly impossible to do it without being blinded by the sun if you try to clean a window that the sun is shining right on.
2. I usually do a room every few days over the course of two-three weeks. I try to get it done before it gets to hot, but I NEVER do it right when there is a bunch of pollen in the air. That’s just asking for an allergy attack in our house, HA!
Disclaimer: All tips and steps are my own for my vinyl, double hung, windows. You need to check the type of window you have before you use any particular cleaning products on them…and I am not endorsed by Target, or Windex, or paper towel stealing babies.
So our summer reading is chugging along. Since J has dropped his nighttime bottle we are now reading several books for him and A as part of their bedtime routine. Although J is always more interested in A’s reading choice. A also really likes to read the same books over and over, which has made our list a bit shorter. So here is our list of current nighttime reads (I included links for the books that you can’t find as easily in store, or don’t have a noted author):
A’s favorite bedtime books over the past two weeks:
1. The Perfect Square by Michael Hall
2. My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
3. Demolition by Sally Sutton
4. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
5. Lego Star Wars: The Phantom Menace by Hannah Dolan (A’s top pick right now)
6. Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean
7. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
8. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
9. Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
10. Bedtime for Little Bears! By David Bedford
11. The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis (This is one of A’s all time library favorites)
13. Skippyjon Jones: Lost in Spice by Judy Schachner
J’s favorite bedtime books over the past two weeks:
1. Llama Llama Zippty Zoom by Anna Dewdney
2. The Pigeon has Feelings Too! by Mo Willems
6. Llama Llama Nighty Night by Anna Dewdney
7. Welcome Spring by Jill Ackerman
And in case your wondering I finished Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced and really enjoyed it! I am trying to get through another library pick called The Cookbook Collector, but am kind of muddled in it. I’d give it an “eh”, but I am going to renew it and finish it this week because I don’t want to give up on the book. My Mom and I picked up a stack of books at Costco the other week that I am eager to get started on once I finish The Cookbook Collector.
A successfully completed his second year of swim lessons this past week. Here are some of the highlights:
I was absolutely amazed at how much he has grown and matured from last year to this year. Last year he would hardly get his hair wet in the pool. This year he would blow bubbles in the water, go under and sit on the bottom of the pool, was attempting to swim across the pool on his own, and jumped in!
I really love his swim teacher. She is very patient and with five boys in his class, I am positive it took a lot of patience with those boys. A is really enjoying swimming now and it has made me want to sign him up for more lessons so he can continue to grow in his abilities.
The other thing I really loved about swim lessons was the screened in sun room that his teacher has. I forgot last year that J was only four months old and spent the whole time napping in the carrier. Not so much this year:The porch area is surrounded with windows so I could watch A and J could snack and play during the lessons….and try to yell at his brother out the window. Silly boy!
I got inspired by this post from A Beautiful Mess in which they painted lines on constructed outdoor throw pillows. I decided to do a little project with A for an open space that we had on one of our living room walls. Here is how it turned out:
I was really pleased with overall result. I had left over cotton fabric that matched two covered canvases I have on the other side of our television:
I covered a large bulletin board I had in our garage with the fabric, folded it like a present and stapled the edges to the wood part of the board. I also had to remove the hanging pieces and re-nail them so the board would hang vertically, which was the most involved part of the project. I have to say I did a happy dance when I realized I had not only measured and re-nailed them correctly, but hung the canvas and it was level! Woot. That was not so much the case with the canvases on the other side, that I need to fix eventually.
Once I got that done, then I let A pick out (with my help) five acrylic paint colors to use (he picked purple, a light blue, a dark blue, gold, and black), which actually matched really well with our color scheme in the living room.
We then used a sponge paint brush and I showed him how to dip the paint and then place it in different spots around the canvas. I am sure you can tell which part was my handiwork and which was his, and I really liked the end result that it has some organization and some chaos to the whole design, but it all ties together.
I am eventually going to add a side table and lamp to help complete this corner, but for right now we just have a toy basket there because of J. I have a really hard time picking out “art” for a room, so I love being able to come up with projects that I can do that work out so they don’t look like craft-art, but are our own work.
Here is a list of the supplies if you want to try it yourself!
Sponge paint brush
5 Acrylic Paints (You can also use fabric paints)
Large Bulletin Board
Cotton fabric (or you could do canvas, or a thick cotton-linen blend) large enough to cover bulletin board
Patience, if you are working with a four and a half year old. Ha! Happy Saturday!
This is a really simple recipe that A and I whipped up this morning because he “wanted something CRAZY” for breakfast. So I made these smoothies that he ate along with some fruity pebble cereal. Crazy, indeed.
So here are your basic ingredients:
And you also need a blender. The most important thing to making this is to put the jelly or jam in first and blend it for a good 30 seconds to a minute because it will break down the jelly/jam so you won’t have chunks of it in the smoothie.
Then you just put in the rest of the ingredients and blend it up!
And while your at it you might want to get some for the kid yelling from the highchair:
And at our house we serve smoothies in Star Wars cups with neon green straws. How we roll, that is.
Smoothies. J approved. One toothy smile up!
One of my favorite things to do with the boys during the summer is take them to the local plant nursery and let them wander around. A is really interested in plants right now, and so he asks many, many questions when we go (what type of plant is it? can you eat it? how much sun does it need? What would happen if a laser jumped out of the sky, hit the plant and it exploded into a million fruit snacks? You know. Typical stuff.). We never leave without buying a little something and this time was no exception. A picked out a yellow orange plant that required full sun because in his words “I like plants that like the sun”. So that’s, that.
I was actually looking for lemon grass because I had seen something on pinterest saying it repelled mosquitoes and figured it would be easier to find than the elusive citronella plant (it may not be elusive where you are, but then you may live someplace where mosquitoes aren’t chomping at the bit outside your back door. Lucky you!). The nursery worker told me they were completely sold out because in his words “somebody pinned something to that pinterest board about it being a mosquito repellant and our whole stock was gone in about two days”. That, people, is the reach of pinterest. They did, however, have citronella plants. So I picked up one of those. I honestly almost bought the whole lot of citronella plants because I felt bad for them. Just sitting there, like the person who used to be popular, but then a new girl came to school, and so they aren’t popular anymore and they have to sit by themselves at the lunch table. You know what I’m talking about.
ANYWAY. In the words of the nursery worker “I’m going to tell you straight…if you are trying to fend off mosquitoes naturally you are much better off to get the citronella plant than lemon grass. I don’t even know where they came up with lemon grass being a mosquito repellant.” True story.
So did you go out and buy lemon grass this year?? I would love to know! Anyway, here is a dose of green:
Who needs parsley or cilantro?? I have enough to feed the neighborhood!
Our new/old container (from my parent’s house). A and I also transplanted our spinach and re-potted it with richer soil in an effort to save it. You can see it in the back. It’s saying “help me, this lady isn’t a qualified gardener!” Hahaha.
has decided that he wants to be a big boy much sooner than his Momma is ready for it. In the span of a week, J has decided he no longer needs a bedtime bottle, he no longer needs a morning nap, and he does not want to be carried, anywhere, ever.
It has never really been my thing to “baby” the boys, but it is amazing to me how much faster J has let go of baby things than A did. His pacifier, being rocked at night, all of those things are almost a non-existent memory with J. He so completely wants to be right in the middle of what his brother is doing, that he is so eager to leave all those little aspects of babyhood behind.
However with all those aspects of being a baby he has left behind, he still plops himself down in my lap when we are reading a book, and waves us bye as he goes to bed. My absolute favorite thing he does right now, is to come up to me and pat my face with his hand and he says “Mama, muah”, and then he gives me a kiss on the cheek. Heart melting! As long as he doesn’t let that go for a long time I think I will make it.