Saturday, January 26, 2013

Unplugged


A hiatus.
A blogging break.


 I need to focus on some things like home projects,  possible work projects, my kids, my husband, more date nights, personal goals, rehabbing some of my thrift store junk treasures that are collecting dust. And I really need to work on making the first couple years of my blog into a family book which has been my plan ever since I started this blog way, way back in 2008.

And...Oh...my... goodness... YES, I'm taking a much needed mommy-cation soon! woot-woot!! (shouting that from the top of my roof :) I totally need to re-charge, a vacation, I need to re-boot to keep up with this busy world John and I have created for ourselves. We re-boot our computers so it only makes sense we re-boot ourselves from time to time :)

I'm sure I'll have fun pics, news to share and lot's of updates when I return to our bubble space. I've learned such cool ideas, along with fun and valuable information following blogs and social networking. I've made some amazing friends, connections and re-connections here in the blogging world and will continue to do so when I get back!!

Have a fabulous day!  
friends, family and blogging buddies :) xoxo


here are the most recent pics from my camera......

These pictures actually sort of freak me out!! We look like crazy loon toons! like who are those people??!! Amazing what a set of eyes can change.

keep those eyes ball on son.



Adrian the character.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A House of Kings





We made crowns fit for a king.


I love the over exaggerated smiles just for me with when I've got a camera in my hand.



My precious little Kings.


Just not into making crowns this day.


Preston says "hey look mom, I'm on TV" :) 


They take their crafting very serious.

Chicken Stock - Good for the soul and FLU!


Flu prevention? Um Yes Please!


Homemade Chicken Stock - turned into tea or soup, now may not sound like the most scrumptious thing to sip on, but I've been reading that the health benefits are well worth it.

The news has been blowing up about this crazy flu outbreak so to help the fam ward off germs, flu bugs and to help prevent it, I pinned a homemade chicken stock tea recipe and looked up some other suggestions online and combined them and came up with this...

Health Benefits
Chicken Broth has antiviral properties, good for our gut and digestion. The stock which is made with bones and meat contains gelatin and collagen (all good for us) and has is a great source of protein and vitamins as well. Mason is even sipping on some in his bottle.

First - Make the Chicken Stock (much more nutritious than store bought)

(although very gross, if I can do it... anyone can! just 2 min. of disgust and it's over)

Get a whole chicken (or pieces parts/leftovers/bones with a little meat on em) use the neck, wings, all the pieces it comes with, it's all got nutritional value when cooked in the broth.

Add to a large stainless steal pot:
1 gal filtered water
2 tbsp of vinegar
Chicken
- Let the chicken boil for 20 min. then reduce to low and in about an hour skim off all the gunky stuff that floats to the top.





Then still cooking on low add the following:
3 carrots cut in half lengthwise
3 celery stalks cut lengthwise
1 onion cut in pieces
3 cloves of garlic cut in half
2 bay leaves




Let simmer for 8-16 hours, the longer the better.
20 minutes before removing add a fresh bunch of parsely.




Take everything out (you can save the chicken for another dish- maybe chicken enchiladas or chicken noodle soup) throw away all the veggies as their nutrients has been all sucked out. 

Bam! There's your chicken stock. Sift it, save it and freeze your stock/broth for future uses.


---------------------


Now to make your tea or soup that's helpful for flu prevention. 

Take a couple cups of stock, simmer in a pot on the stove and add the following:

2 c. or 3 c. homemade chicken stock
1 tsp ground turmeric
pinch of cinnamon
3 black peppercorns
dash of sea salt to taste
1 inch of ginger chopped

(add the garlic after done simmering)
3 cloves of garlic

Let simmer for 6-8 minutes then add the garlic for 2 minutes. Strain and sip on your tea.


Cheers! 
Here's to not get the flu!! :)



Finger Foods: Toddlers with slippery fingers


Tip for moms with Tiny Tots :)

Coating your slippery finger foods first.

Banana slices, Avocado slices, Pears, Mangos.... really anything that's slippery. 

Although Mason can pick all these up, sometimes it takes forever. So I bought a box of Rice Crispy's and mashed them in a baggie, then I throw in the tiny chunks of food and it coats them lightly. 
It's magical.... he can grab them so much easier and it adds some extra texture for him to get used to. 




You can use all sorts of stuff as breading-- Chex, Cherrios, Corn Flakes, anything crunchable.


he loves it! 
and score for mom!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Getting in Character


My latest collection of the little characters that run around our pad.
Dressing up is definitely #1 thing to do in our house!




some pics are cute and some a tad creepy. 
(let's hope Preston doesn't grow a real mustache and decide to be a burglar someday!)


and sometimes we get into moms stuff.


The tiny po-po and the biz man.



here's the stache gone bad. 
this is what happens when they get ahold of my eye pencil or in Preston's case some permanent markers. and sometimes the little boys are Adrian's blank canvas :)




a little Run-DMC... Yo
it's tricky, tricky



um ya, Adrian's growing like a weed and that Mario outfit is getting pretty tight, he won't be able to breath soon.


and the mini stache.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hulk Smash Smoothie


It stresses me out when the kids aren't eating as many veggies as they should be. It's up to me to be creative and work these sometimes less desirable veggies, like spinach, kale, zucchini etc... into their little bellies. 


Currently, and most likely to change next month, the boys are eating raw broccoli (with some bribing) and lot's of carrots and celery with peanut butter. But that's pretty much it on the veggie front. That is without a knock down drag out fight to force them to eat something they hate. Which I then hate and it makes me, along with everyone else cranky, so so not worth it! I remember sitting at the dinner table until 11 at night as a child because I wouldn't eat black bean soup once, it just didn't seem right-- come on now!! times are a-ch-ch-ch- changin!! I just can't see doing that with these guys.


Smoothies to the rescue!

Here's the current favorite of the house, it's the HULK SMASH Smoothie. (very appropriate since I'm a boy mom and it's green)

In our small (Bullet type) smoothie maker/blender I added 
1/2 cup of ice
1 cup of strawberry yogurt
a hand full of spinach
1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
a banana and a couple strawberries

(and to add some extra vitamins I used the juicer first and made some pear/apple/kale/zuccini juice and added a half cup of this to the smoothie) Mom's have to be sneaky and outsmart these little people-- a lot! Women are bread to be MacGyver's, it's our survival for having kids :)



They chugged it and I did the HaPpY MoM dance! 
Mission accomplished. It's a good day!!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Pinned It - Tried It - Loved It


Love Chick-fil-a? 
Do the kids love it? (I've never met one that didn't!)


It's probably our children's favorite "fast-food" place. I somehow feel that when I take them there, it's not really fast food or at least it's the top tier of fast food. IMO it's better than the processed soy burgers  at McD's (even tho I crave them at times!) and we still go there every onceinabluemoon. McD's... It's the American thing to do... right?!? :) I grew up on that stuff in high school and college, like many of us I'm sure. They do have amazing teeny-tiny 25 cent cones for the kids. 

Okay, so onto the PIN.
Here's a wonderful recipe for Chick-fil-a Chicken Nuggets. It's super easy and tastes so much like the real deal. Dipped in some honey, honey mustard or BBQ-- Yummo! Mostly, I love that it's easy to make and the kids are totally into it! 




Start with the Marinade:
Take a couple eggs, a dash of milk, mix in a bowl. 
Cut up some chicken breast into cubes and place in the egg mixture, put it in the fridge while you prepare the dry seasoning. (try to let it set in there for at least 20 min)

Dry Seasoning/Breading/Flour is all this stuff mixed together:
-this worked for 2 large chicken breasts, but if making more, then double this batch.
1 1/2 c. flour
3 tbsp of powdered sugar
dash of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp of chili powder

Get Ready
Take a med/large pan and pour about an inch of oil in (canola - or we mixed vegetable and peanut since I was lazy)
Let it get warm on the stove.... then after coating the soaked chicken in the breading/flour mix, start tossing them in- gently of course (it takes while, we did ours slow so we didn't burn them) wait 10 min. or so (keep checking them) then flip em. 

We cooked them so slow that I was able to put the dishes away and reload the dishwasher while these babies were cooking away. EVERYTHING in our world revolves around multitasking :) 



And since the last time we were at Chick-fil-a and the kids decided to up to the top of the jungle gym and NOT COME DOWN... Me, climbing up in a dress was not good! So we are taking a chick-fil-a time-out for the boys (indoor, anyway). Oh Boy, Boys :)






Enjoy! 








  
Hey Now!! ;)



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mason


Our New Year's Day baby turned One Year Old this year!!

And wow has that year flown by! It seems like yesterday we were rushing to the hospital at 5 a.m. because you surprised us 3 weeks early, on New Year's Day! Our "lucky" baby :) Our fourth little prince is a year old.

Mason, 
Your such a sweet little baby. I feel lucky to be your mom and I am so grateful I get to stay home and watch every moment of you (and your brother's) growing up!! There's nothing more important in the world. I will never take that for granted. I can't imagine our family dynamics without you in it little guy. 


say huh? what cake?


trying to drink his b-day hat.


first time having chocolate, I'm certain he was impressed!



Adrian, overzealous? much? goofy guy.


Since he started walking just shy of 9 months old, he's now running (with his little bull leggedness) and  also throwing little/big tantrums when he hears the word "no". His feelings get hurt very easily, he's a sensitive little man. Now with 3 older brother's I'm sure that won't last long.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happiness...


In a New Kitchen Sink!?!?

WHY YES!!

Thanks to our Christmas gift resources that we put together, we spent an entire night shopping at Lowe's and bought new lighting for the house (not yet installed) AND a New Kitchen Sink! 

See what we were working with here....

(yuck, old, way too small, did I mention really old and the inside looked way worse)

So that's precisely why this sink was such a big deal and made us extremely gitty. It's amazing what 2-3 extra inches "in a sink" can do. In the previous sink I could fit about 5 dishes in it, and it looked full. Now I can fit a days worth of dishes without it looking like the sink/island is totally trashed. AND I can wash large dishes in the sink without ending up with a kiddy pool on our counter. Often it's the smallest of things that bring the biggest smiles!



We're proud that we were able to install this ourselves. Saving money is always a priority. We are not the most "handy" or "do it yourself" when it comes to the bigger home jobs. We are trying to change that. And so far-- so good!


Getting the sink out was the hardest part. On youtube it took them 20 seconds, and it took us about 30 minutes. That sucker was in there good!


It was a family affair. Start'em young I say and create some little worker/helper bees :)


We played with plumbers putty while sealing in the hardware. We shaved it off around the inner ring.


So what in the hell did DIY'ers do before Youtube?? We are so lucky to have all this info at the touch of our fingertips! ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you can find it all-- and then some on Youtube! Obviously we used that a lot for this project.


Last came the plumbing part. A little like Humpty Dumpty-- putting it all back together again. The pipes and plumbing had to be readjusting since there was a larger sink in there now. That took John about 3 trips to Ace and 3 hours later to get the perfect pipes to fit. In the end it all worked out and John and I did not kill each other. It's actually been fun working on projects together - cough, cough, no I'm serious tho, it has. The teamwork... the camaraderie and in the end.... the job well done part is pretty fantastic to share :)


The final product! So fresh and so clean, clean! I think it actually makes our counter tops look a little better. Of course that will be another project in the "future... distant future" list of TO DO's. But for now everything is beginning to match the black and stainless theme going on. 


Happiness (this week) is a new kitchen sink! :)