Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dr. Seuss Birthday Par-tay

It's about to get all Seussical up in here. Yes, the Seuss is on the loose. I went a little crazy for my baby's 1st birthday. It was so much fun, and as you all know, he didn't really care one bit. Although for a few minutes he was amused by the paper balls I hung from the ceiling. But it made for a joyous celebration of the first year of a precious life and helped get some cute photos, too.

I focused on getting items I could use again. It was lucky that all the July 4th stuff was out at the stores, because that fit right in with the red, white and blue Seuss theme. So, I'll be breaking these things back out each summer, year after year, and it's sure to make me smile. Here's a peek of our fun day!

Nothin's cheaper than using items you already have for fun decor!

Color photos and Dr. Seuss quotes were added to the table with some flowers from the yard. Don't you love these Big Daddy hydrangeas? Gorg. Also, the tray came from Michael's Craft Store 50% off! The table cloth on the island came from Target.

The menu was BBQ sliders, chicken salad sandwiches, chips, green eggs and ham (preztel sticks with a white candy melt and green m&m), biggle balls (trix cereal), "one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish" (rainbow goldfish crackers), m&ms (well, those left over from the green m&m picking) and moose juice (equal parts of blue fruit punch and lemonade mixed) and other beverages.

Of course, we had cake and ice cream for dessert. I just used two boxes of classic white cake mix (Shhhh! Don't tell anybody.) I made four layers: one white, two blue and one red. I was going to layer the red and blue together and then use the white one for the smash cake. But the red turned out very pink, so I chunked that one and just layered the blue and white together. I then had time to go pick up a small cake at Walmart for the smash cake. If I didn't get to the store in time, I would've just used a slice of cake, I guess. No biggie. (I'm not a first-time parent anymore...can you tell?) And I found some fun mini-pinwheels at Michael's Craft Store for the topper. 

 I made a super easy photo display with some leftover ribbon over a door and some Dr. Seuss quotes. (I didn't fact check the quotes to confirm their authenticity. They could've been as legit as the Abe Lincoln quote about the internet.)

I also made the red, white and blue ribbon garlands. The longer one will be making reappearances each July. The other one got icing smeared all over it, so it didn't make it to the re-use pile.

Most importantly, my little guy had fun! He just enjoyed the company and fun presents! Gosh, I love him to death.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thoughts on Motherhood

There have been a few surprises that have come with motherhood. I expected to be tired for the first year or so, and I knew I was most likely going to experience a love I had never known. I did not know the extreme to which other emotions would creep into my life.  Here are a few feelings I did not expect.

1) Total and utter embarrassment: Yes, that was my child with the ear-piercing squeal in Chick-fil-a that made everyone look our way just in time to witness the launch of a bowl of dry Cheerios into the air scattering everywhere...including into a lady's nice, hot bowl of chicken noodle soup two tables over. Sorry about that. Where's a hole I can crawl into?

2) Fear: I'm scared at least 33% of the day. I never knew how scary the world could be until I introduced a child, my heart walking around outside of my body, into it.

I'm scared about immediate that knife I was using earlier too close to the edge of the counter where my child can reach it? I better go back in the kitchen to check instead of going to the bathroom which I've needed to do for the past hour and a half but keep getting sidetracked so I haven't been able to go yet. I hold my breath as he learns to ride a bike. I can't look if he feels "brave" and wants to try the rock wall on the playground by himself. I'll support whatever constructive activity he chooses, but Lord help me if it's a high contact sport or if he develops a love of speed and wants to get into racing of any kind.

I'm scared about the future...what if my decision to keep my child in part-time, private pre-k rather than a full-time public pre-k hinders his progress when he starts school next year? What if the money I'm saving for college isn't enough? What if my child doesn't have skills he needs to avoid being kidnapped or escape a fire...or what if I introduce those subjects into his little life too early and give him an unhealthy fear of the world? What if? Those "what ifs" get me every time.

There's a nagging fear no matter what I do or don't do. I fear that no matter what I do, something out of my control will cause my child harm. Which brings me to another topic...

3) Loss of Control: And I'm not talking loss of control over bodily functions that comes with having a child. (What? Too far? Sorry.) I'm talking about loss of control over life. Of course, I guide and direct this impressionable human being, and he's my responsibility. But he has a mind of his own. Sometimes it's hard to let him make his own choices. And I cannot, no matter how hard I try, make him do the right thing. See item #1 above.

4) Exhaustion: Like I mentioned earlier, I knew being tired would come with motherhood. What I didn't know was that I would never feel rested again. At first, it's that the baby's days and nights are mixed up. Then he's teething and will cry in the middle of the night until comforted. Then comes the joy of being independent of the crib, so he can come into your room any time of the night for a little pow-wow. And then we make it through baby world and toddlerhood, so maybe I can get a little sleep. Ahhh, it's daylight but the house is quiet so I can go back to, why can't I go back to sleep? Great. My body has adjusted and now I CAN'T sleep-in under these warm, cozy blankets that should lull me back to dreamland. Nope. I'm in motherhood now. Maybe I'll sleep when my kids are in college...but I have a feeling I'll be up at dawn worrying about whatever trouble they may be getting into. So forgive me if I seem a little forgetful or I haven't washed my hair today. I'm tired.

5) Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Of course I knew I'd be caring for a helpless little baby and I'd be making choices for him. And I figured there would be big decisions to agonize over. But what I didn't know was how overwhelming and constant daily decisions would be: oatmeal or whole-wheat toast for breakfast? Should I put the baby in the swing or the jumper while I fold laundry (knowing full well he's going to scream the whole time regardless of where I put him)? Long pants or shorts today? Is he pulling at his ear...maybe I should take him to the doctor? And then the tables turn and he starts making his own choices. Oh boy. See number 3 above.

6) Pride: I've experienced pride a few times in my life. When I made all A's in school. When I earned a spot on the flag corp in college and then won an award for my hard work that season. When I got that coveted job offer. But my, oh my, I'd never experienced the gut-busting, button-popping pride of seeing my child succeed. And it's not like he's done anything amazing. (He's only 4.) But I've never been so proud as when I've seen him help another child on the playground when others turn away or used his manners when he didn't know I was looking or when he knew the answer to a question in school after we'd studied at home.

And I know I'm not alone. A fellow mom mentioned how she had to hold back an "ugly cry" as she watched her elementary-age son do well in a school-wide spelling bee. Before having kids I'd have been like, what? But now, I get it. I soooooo get it. Lord help me if my child ever wins a Nobel Prize or gets elected as President. I'm likely to explode.

Emotions are really amplified as a mother, so I should mention the JOY of being a mother. There's nothing like it! I'm so grateful to be a mommy, and I'd be remiss not to mention how I handle the good and the bad that comes with the title of Mom. A peace that passes all understanding only comes from Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I need that peace many times throughout the day when experiencing embarrassment, loss of control and especially the fear I feel for my child. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, generosity comes from the Lord. I need Him more than ever! Thank you Lord for the blessing of motherhood and for giving me the tools to be a success! Can you relate? What are some motherhood surprises you've experienced?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Word of the Year: Edit

Happy New Year! We're off to a weird start. At 4:00 a.m. on Jan. 1, as my handsome hubby was upstairs consoling our 6 month old who had started crying, I heard a strange sound from our basement. Turns out our furnace went kaput. Great. 2012 was a year of two expensive hospitalizations (me having a baby and my oldest boy with leg issues over the Thanksgiving holiday), we also bought a new air conditioner. Then, right after Christmas expenses, we will start off the new year by fixing a furnace. Now, I'm not complaining too loudly as I am grateful we are able to pay for everything from our savings we have added to since getting married 8 years ago. And I know things could be worse...much worse. It is just stressful that our savings that have taken years to squirrel away can be forked out so quickly. It's kind of a "what will happen next" paranoia nagging at me.

It is funny (funny/strange...not funny/ha ha) that we had just clicked the "Pay" button online to pay off our car in total on Dec. 31. We were so excited to have no car payments for the first time in our marriage! And then, 12 hours later, we have another major expense come up. Ugh. We bundled up for the day and night on Jan. 1 since it was a holiday and didn't want to pay any extra for an emergency/holiday call. So, I'm sitting here during naptime on Jan 2., bundled up waiting on the heater guy who is coming over this afternoon to diagnose the problem. I'm crossing my fingers for a fast and cheap fix!

All this leads up to my word of the year: Edit. I had actually already chosen this word a few days before this furnace fiasco. (I keep picturing the Dad from "A Christmas Story" cursing away in the basement as smoke billows from the vents while he tinkers with the finicky furnace.) But it just fits in so nicely with our desire to save for these kind of unexpected emergency expenses.

Last year, my resolution was to not have any dirty dishes left out when going to bed. As you may know, I really loathe doing the dishes after cooking. I feel like the day should be over, and I should be able to put my feet up for a moment of quiet after the boys are in bed instead of scrubbing pots and pans at the sink. And I did pretty well with that resolution. I can count on my two hands how many times I skipped doing dishes which is pretty good considering there are 365 days in a year. And it was nice to not face a sink full of crap first thing in the morning, so I'll keep that good habit up.

But this year, I feel more like focusing on a word to encompass many aspects in my life. The word "Edit" came to mind because I want to only hold on to things that add value. I want to weed out distractions that take away from the important things like family and faith:

Less social media, TV, reading, movies, bubble baths (oh, how I hate to say it!), etc.
More playtime, crafting, walks, dates, and just listening to my boys thoughts and questions.

I also can apply this word to physical things:

Less shopping, clothes, food, home decor, etc.
More saving, cleanliness, resourcefulness, space, room to breathe.

I feel convicted on waste and clutter in my life. This is where the saving for emergencies comes in. If I really ask myself if purchases will add value to my life rather than just adding to the clutter, I can spend a lot less. And if I edit out some of my and my children's overflowing closets, will that lead to a more manageable laundry situation? I can't wait to find other ways to edit out the negative and choose to hold onto the positive this year.

Do you have a word of the year? Or have any ideas on ways to edit out the bad and focus on the good this coming year?

Monday, August 13, 2012

What's on the Menu Monday? Cheeseburger Zucchini Pie

This is something new to add to your menu if you're looking for a light summer meal or if you need a way to use some overabundant bounty from your garden. I love zucchini in savory dishes like the Calabacitos recipe I shared last year seen here. And this is another take on the savory squash. This dish reminds me of an easy quiche, even though there are only 2 eggs in it. Try it served with a side salad or fresh tomatoes straight from the garden.

Cheeseburger Zucchini Pie
3/4 lb. ground beef 
1 small onion chopped (or less to taste)
1 medium zucchini, shredded
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice, italian blend is great but anything on hand will work)
1/2 cup heart-healthy biscuit mix (such as Bisquick)
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Heat oven to 400. Spray pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Brown ground beef. Drain, then stir in onion and zucchini over medium-high heat for 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Season well with salt and pepper. Spread beef mixture in pie plate. Sprinkle cheese on top. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the biscuit mix, milk and eggs until smooth. Pour over beef mixture. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into 6 wedges to serve. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Big Boy's Zoom Room

I promised you a peek at my big boy's room that was updated from the (slightly girly, eek!) nursery he started out in. Well, here it is. He loves it, as do I!

I'll be adding a post on the pallet art soon! See the version in the nursery here.

Zoom Pallet Art - Custom made
Traffic Canvas - Target
Bed - Antique (my mom's growing up!)
Blue quilt - Target
Red Car Pillow - Target
Quilted Pillow Sham - Pottery Barn Kids
Solid Pillows - Walmart

Linking up to: Jennifer Rizzo Inspired Living