4/52

*a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014*

After last week's debacle, I was feeling sorry for myself.  Or actually, I was feeling like I was pretty sorry that I didn't try harder to find time to photograph the kids.  The Universe must have put in a call for me because Monday afternoon, the weather was warm and beautiful.  Warm if you consider it's been crazy cold here lately and beginning on Tuesday the temps were scheduled to plummet once again.


Rowan is always running.  Inevitably this means that Rowan is always falling as well.  Fun fact: That super awesome sweater was thrifted at a local business called the Aberdeen Trading Post for $2.49.  Why the price was so specific is beyond me.  Taxes and fees, I suppose.  It's a thrift shop that consigns items in booths like at a flea market.  We walked around in there for about an hour and I'm still not sure I saw all there was to see.


Kaia just got this super cute new short 'do.  It fits her personality so well!  Neil, on the other hand, is in need of a good haircut.  His hair grows so fast!

Is it Friday already?!

*view of Russellville, KY town square through a dirty windshield*
I had fully intended to blog something this week.  Instead, not only were my kids out of school on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, but they were also out Tuesday through Thursday.  We can pretty much kiss any plans for Spring Break goodbye.

I have been trying to spread my time.  I didn't read as much as I wanted too last year.  I didn't knit as much as I wanted too last year.  I completely stopped journaling, which is a problem.  I spent too much time online, not enough time offline.

So far this year, I've read a whole book!  Look at me go!  I'm currently working on a second.  I bought an inexpensive journal and new pens.  I've made it this far....

*that's a leg, people*
...on my first knitting project.  They are baby bell bottoms.  This is leg one.  I've cast on the second leg today.  Since I'm still fairly new to knitting, I'm a bit worried about putting the two side together then joining in the round for the upper portion.  But I'll never know if I don't try so if you don't hear from me for a while, I've gotten myself snagged in a ball of yarn.

3/52

*a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014*

I'm cheating.  I have no excuses.  No reasons.  Other than I just let the week run away with me and neglected to take any photos.  I had hoped to have a photo of my son with my husband and I at his 8th grade recognition night for basketball, but I haven't gotten a copy of the photos yet.  I didn't think ahead and designate someone to take photos with my own camera.  Duh.


So here is a picture of Rowan with her dinosaurs.  From probably sometime in November.  It's a total fail on my part.  Wrong year.  Wrong month.  Oy vey.

I'll try harder next week.  I swear.

Letting the Light In

I woke up before my alarm sounded yesterday morning.  Barely slept the night before anyway.  I was too excited.

My bestest friend in the whole wide world (since we were 11) was having a baby!!  Baby day!!

I got the older kids dressed, fed, and put on the bus for school then I woke up the youngest and got her dressed, fed, and out the door to Grandma's house.  Somewhere in all that I dressed myself and grabbed a hot coffee to go!

Induction is never fun.  Even mine wasn't ideal.  As controlled as the process should be, it's still unpredictable.  And stressful.  Especially for a mother who has experienced a significant loss.  One who is unconvinced of anything until she sees the proof for herself.


I took a bunch of photos.  Clocks, charts, IV drips.  I could tell the whole tale.  All the little details.  All the things you see when you just sit back and SEE.  But it is not my tale to tell.  I was merely a bystander.  Trying to take it all in and reassure the worried, laboring mom that she and baby are all good.

And they ARE fine.  More than fine.  Baby girl has ten fingers, ten toes, tall like her father, with her mother's cute little nose.  And mom?  Wow.  She did everything right.  Asked the important questions, survived major contractions like the champ that she is.

I couldn't be more proud of the chance that she took.  Letting the light in.

Chicken Salad Sammies


The original recipe that I had every intention of using included grapes, celery, and both dry and liquid ranch dressing.  Mine does not.  See here's what happened...

I forgot the grapes.  I don't like celery.  And...  I thought we had ranch dressing in the fridge because that's a staple that should always be in your fridge, right?  Plus a couple of weeks ago, I'd used a half an envelope of dry ranch dressing mix in another recipe.  As I was getting all the ingredients ready, I realized that we, in fact, did not have any ranch dressing.  No liquid in the fridge.  No half a dry mix packet.

D'oh.

So what do you do when you don't have half of the ingredients?  Just make up your own recipe.  I will tell you that I didn't measure many of these ingredients.  The measurements that I'm showing are guesstimates.  As will most recipes, it's just a guideline.

Ingredients:

1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast
1 tablespoon of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1 teaspoon of dry dill weed
1/2 cup of mayonnaise (or salad dressing if that's what you prefer!)
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
Sandwich rolls

What I did:

Drain chicken, place in bowl. Using a fork, break up the larger pieces of chicken to make mixing easier.  Add all ingredients and mix!  Put some of the mixture on a roll.  Done!

I bought some yummy Kaiser rolls in the bakery at Wal-Mart.  I knew we weren't going to eat them for a couple of days so I placed them in the freezer.  Taking them out that morning to thaw.  I also warmed them for a few seconds in the microwave before putting the chicken salad on them.  They were really yummy, but I'd still like to try the original recipe as well!

Recipe adapted from Mom's Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

From Germany & Indonesia

I haven't been as active as I'd like to be with my Post Crossing account.  I hope to get back into sending post cards more actively in the coming year.  If you haven't heard about Post Crossing yet, check it out.  It's a great way to send and receive cards from around the world!  Direct swaps are optional as well.  Basically it works like this... You ask for an address, send a card, and when that card is registered, your address is given to someone else!  Then you get a card and register it!  I've received some very beautiful post cards!

Here are the cards I've gotten so far this month.


Sent:  18 DEC 2013
Received:  2 JAN 2014
Travel time:  15 days

This card is from Bremen, Germany.  The author asked me if my children knew the story of the Bremen Town Musicians.  They did not and neither did I.  It is a story by the Brothers Grimm.  A statue was erected in Bremen in 1953 of the four musicians.  The donkey's hooves are shiny because touching them is said to make wishes come true.


Sent:  5 DEC 2013
Received:  6 JAN 2014
Travel time:  32 days

This card came from Bandung, Indonesia.  My first card from there!  From a mother of two, who likes to cross stitch in her spare time.  This is a photo of her work.  More talented than I am!  I started a cross stitch about 6-7 years ago and still haven't finished it!

2/52

Second week into this project.  I know there aren't exactly any rules to this.  Just photos of your children once a week for a year.  As I tried to catch them in a candid moment, I realized they aren't as photogenic as they used to be.  I'm still going to include them on occasion.  If I'm able to find a moment when I can capture them.  This will most likely take place when the weather turns warm again and days are spent outside enjoying nature.  Right now, most time at home is spent snuggled up with a blanket in their room.

Now with all that being said.... 


Obviously he didn't want his picture taken.


She does wake up occasionally.  She really loves those crazy neon colors that I was really hoping wouldn't make a come back, but did anyway.  Glad it's her room.


Ketchup face!  More ketchup is eaten than french fries are eaten.  It's considered a vegetable, right? 

I clearly need to find more time for photos.  Better locations and probably more willing subjects.  Bring on the warmer weather please!

Another week of the 52 Project.

Throwing It Back

April 6th, 2010 | Lost River
This morning while I was pouring hot water into a bowl of maple & brown sugar oatmeal for my oldest child, sirens rang out in our rural piece of the world.  Immediately, we all glanced at the windows and watched as two sheriff's department cars and an ambulance went sailing by our house.

We live in an area where we rarely (think two or three times A YEAR) see emergency personnel.  Less than a minute later, as I'm standing outside in my granny-esque pajamas, my daughter's fuzzy boots, and a throw cover, I heard the fire trucks.  I listened until I heard the siren stop and realized that they hadn't gone far.  It turned out that they had gone only a half mile from my home.  A house fire.  A young man perished.

Before I even knew for certain, I felt it.  I stopped, said a prayer.  I'd already put my older kids on the bus. I thought of them.  I think of them every day obviously, but then something happens.  Something that puts all of life in perspective.

I look at old photos of the kids and I wonder where the time has gone.  I am never as thankful or grateful as I should be.  Every one should take an extra moment daily to hug and show love to those around them.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

The crazy cold weather is no secret to most of the nation.  We are experiencing colder weather than we have had in 20 years here in Kentucky.  I didn't take all this frigid cold into consideration when I made up the meal plan for this week.  Instead I just focused on what nights we would be out late for ball games.  That meant that Monday and Tuesday would be slow cooker nights.

Kind of ironic that on a day when the high temperature was only forecast to be 4F (with a wind chill of -20F), that I had planned to cook HAWAIIAN BBQ CHICKEN.

All day I'm looking out the frosty windows.  And smelling some Hawaiian cooking BBQ chicken in my kitchen.  

It smelled DELICIOUS! 


From original site(found through Pinterest, of course!)--
Ingredients:
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
a bottle of Hawaiian style BBQ sauce
a can of pineapple chunks
rice

Make:  Place the chicken in crock, then cover with sauce and pineapples.  Cook on low 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken in the crock and serve over rice.

What I did:  I already had some drumsticks in the freezer so I used them to save a little money.  The original recipe site uses BBQ sauce purchased from Target (Archer Farms Hawaiian style BBQ sauce).  For me, going to Target requires driving 35 miles out of my way so I checked at the place I was at (Wal-Mart).  No Hawaiian style sauce.  Dilemma.  I chose honey BBQ sauce and added in the 100% juice from the pineapple chunks!  I also opted to cook mine in a 9 x 13 baking dish simply because the added warmth from the oven was welcome in this cold!

I'm not usually a fan of sweet entrees.  I like my meat savory.  But this chicken?  It's so yummy!  We served ours with whole grain rotini.  Mainly because my husband turns his nose up at any kind of rice other than saffron.  I think it would be great no matter what it's served with!

1/52

Here's the dealio...  I am seriously the world's worst at keeping up with challenges or goals.  (See my numerous attempts at trying the FatMumSlim Photo A Day project.  Or not... because I never finish.)  This has not stopped me from trying and trying again.  In the spirit of my intentions for the new year, I'm giving it another go.

My friend, Cam, has encouraged me to participate in the 52 Project from Practising Simplicity.  A whole week to try to find time for three photos.  One photo of each of my children.  Once a week, for a year.  Like the little engine that could... I think I can, I think I can.  I will have to admit that photos of my two oldest may become a bit redundant after a while.  At 14 and 12, they really are stuck to their electronics and haven't the time for me much anymore.  I can already foresee that capturing photos of them will prove to be difficult.


Note the phone in one hand, laptop in the other.  He's a multi-tasker.


This one...  parties all night, sleeps all day.  Skype, what a wonderful invention.  Talking on the phone (a phone with a cord!!!) is soooo 20 years ago.


*sigh*  What can I say about this one?  I think I'm probably lucky to have caught her with clothes on.  We are still in the midst of potty training.  For us, it's easier to just be naked on the bottom.  NOTE: I mean she is naked on the bottom... not the rest of us!

Ok, so these are my photos for last week, taken this week, because I'm already a week behind.  Starting off with a bang!

Super Simple Pot Roast

Generally, pot roast is pretty simple to begin with, but I found this recipe that has only five ingredients and tastes amazing!


Ingredients:

-Any size beef roast sized to fit your crock pot (or in my case, I used my Clay Cooker)
-1/2 cup of warm water
and...

a package of brown gravy mix, ranch dressing mix, and Italian dressing mix.  I grabbed the zesty Italian, but regular will be fine.

Place the roast in the crock pot.  


In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients then rub them on the roast.  Add 1/2 cup of warm water.


Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove from crock, let it rest, then EAT IT!

So good.  So simple.  I found that adding a bit of the juice from cooking made it even better.  The next day I threw some in a tortilla with banana peppers and Monterey Jack cheese.  Mmm... mmm...  Just writing this post, I'm getting hungry.  Might need to make a run to the grocery!

My January Julep Maven Box

The January 2014 Julep box is the third box I've received from Julep.  My first box was the starter box.  My style profile is Boho Glam, but this month I really liked the colors of the Classic with a Twist profile.  I actually considered skipping this month since we are still recuperating from the Christmas holiday spending spree, but once I saw Mona, I knew I would go ahead with it.


Contents of my box:

Mona - storm cloud grey creme
Abigail - light peony pink silk
Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops
... and I honestly have no idea what those other things are!


I am the world's worst at doing pretty manicures!  I need to pay a visit to a beauty supply store and invest in do dads to clean the polish mistakes.  I am sure there is an official name for them, but do dad works for me.  The grey is a very dark grey, but I like it's neutralness. (Yes, I made up a word there.)  I've never used a silk finish polish before.  It is also a neutral color though it says in the description that it's a peony pink.  It's so light!

Best part of this box?  Those Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops.  Amazing.  The bottle is 1 fl. oz. and that doesn't seem like much, but I only used one drop on each finger.  They should last quite some time.  They are well worth it.  Cut the drying time at least in half.  This is great for a busy mom of a toddler.

So far I've been pretty impressed with the Julep polish.  I look forward to next month's box.

Intentions

It's 2014!!

I woke up this morning and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted.  That weight being the year 2013.  

My friend, Cam, always chooses a word for the new year.  I was reading her post and nodding along.  We are so much the same and yet so different.  It works.  When I got to the end, one word stood out to me.

Intentions.

It spoke.  Intentions is so much better than resolutions or goals.  For me, those words are heavy.  They feel like a burden.  If I don't make the goal, I feel let down in myself.  I feel angry and unaccomplished.

Intentions.  Now that's something I can work with.  No expectations.  Just a relaxed, laid back view on the Universe.

I feel the new year opening up in front of me.  Like the skin on my new tattoo that has mostly sloughed off, the old year is moving behind me and I'm moving forward.

First mission?  Buy a new journal.  I didn't journal last year.  I think that's a problem.  I've got to get things out of my head at the end of the day.  Last year, everything just stayed in there and stewed.  Not the good kind of stew either.  Maybe I should say it festered.  Kept me up at night and generally just sucked balls.

I'm going to try new things.  Do different.

So here's to new intentions!