Thursday, October 31, 2013

chicago here i come

Tomorrow morning I leave for Chicago! I'm super excited however I try not to think about the actual trip too much as I get pretty anxious. I don't like flying to another state and being so far from Chris and the kids. Flying makes me a tad uneasy as it is, so that combined with leaving my family is harder than I would have thought. I'm glad the ticket was bought a few months ago as I could see myself coming up with excuses not to go. :)

But with that said, once I'm there, I know I'll have a blast. I'm going with my friend of 20 years (I can't believe it's been that long!), Jen, and we both couldn't be more excited to hang out with each other and attend the wedding of our friend. :) We are staying an extra day so we can hang out in downtown Chicago. :)

Chris and the kids will be heading north to his parents for the weekend. The kids are beyond excited...which makes leaving them a little easier. :)

Here are some random getting ready to travel pics:

*We had some bananas which would have gone bad by the time we returned. So this morning Kendall and I made one of my favorite kid snacks. I mix peanut butter, mashed bananas, and oats to the consistency of cookie dough. I add a few chocolate chips and bake them. These are sooo great to freeze and pop in Cam's snack bag for school.

*Since I can't do straight coffee, I'm packing several individual creamers in anticipation of both coffee served on the airplane and our hotel room. :) I never found a copy of my Hunger Games book, but I did snag several magazines from the library. I'm also stocked to the brim with Dr. Laura podcasts. :)

Okay...I need to finish packing and getting ready for our night of Halloween fun (we are just trick or treating)... Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

iced coffee

This past month I've found myself a little too lenient with money spent on coffee drinks. Starbucks hasn't entered the picture, however spending $1.50-$2.00 on an iced coffee (McDonald's) or hot French Vanilla (gas station) happened more than it should. A couple times a week of those adds up and I'm mad at myself for caving as much as I have.

Anyway, I remembered Pioneer Woman had a super easy recipe for iced coffee. I just made my first batch and it was very easy (although a bit messy...which I just need to perfect) and really yummy!! I need to play with the ratio a bit, but otherwise I'm excited to have a practically free answer to my cravings. :)

On an unrelated note, I've bragged a lot about how great our library is. I've realized that it's the kids' portion that is so awesome. The overall selection of books? Not so much. Today was the second time that I've walked in with a list of books I want only to find they have either none of them or one (and it's usually checked out). I really need a good book for my trip to Chicago this weekend. :( Does anyone have the second Hunger Games book they want to loan me?? 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

weekend snipits

Saturday we went to a pumpkin carving event at a local park:

That afternoon I made the yummiest bars I've made in a loooong time: Cookie Dough Brownies. Holy cow.

That evening we had a couple of friends from Chris' bootcamp class over for dinner. I made chicken enchiladas. For dessert I made a trifle. Each time I make one I'm reminded at how EASY they are for how beautiful they look. This one had chocolate cake, vanilla pudding, and cool whip:

Today after church we headed to Costco for a few groceries and some new panties for Kendall. She was quite excited and wanted to hold them the whole time there and the ride home. :)

Since we were near Ontario Mills, we let the kids roam the Lego store for a while. I love this pic I caught of Cam:

Afterward we went to The Bass Pro Shop to look for a birthday present. They also had a free craft:

Friday, October 25, 2013

pretzel rolls

I consider myself a good dessert baker, a relatively good cook, but NOT good with yeast breads. They usually are flat and lifeless. I decided to give it another go when I saw this recipe for pretzel rolls.  Awhile back we had a sample of pretzel rolls at Costco and I about died. They are the yummiest little things in the world.

These were VERY labor intensive, but I actually was quite successful (despite them not looking anything like the blog picture!). Chris said they were the best bread roll I've ever made!! They were chewy, dense like pretzels, and had a wonderful yeast taste. So if you are willing to put in the time and like soft pretzels, these are awesome. :)

My version:

The past couple nights we've had a, "World Series Party". We all eat dinner in the living room while watching the game. Chris explains things to the kids about the game and it's actually kind of cute to see Cam be somewhat interested. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

oak glen

*Chris' parents spent Friday night with us on their way back from a big road trip. The next morning they treated us to breakfast. This has become somewhat of a tradition on the last morning we spend with them. :)

*On Sunday our friends Jeremy and Ana came out for a visit. We headed up to Oak Glen (along with everyone else and their mother) for a picnic and hike. The weather was beautiful. 

Can you get any cuter then all of them holding hands???

We let the kids play back at our house for a while before they needed to head home. Our times are always filled with great conversation, laughs (the husbands have the same sense of humor which makes for a good time), but are always too short. :)

*I got a one month subscription to Dr. Laura so I could load up my iPod for when I clean the bootcamp class. It is good to be back!! I never thought I would look forward to cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming so much!! :)

*The other day when I was talking to the kids about playing with the neighbors, I went on this loooong speal about how they are never to go into anyone's home unless they come and ask. As I ended what I thought was a very clear and good explanation, Cam showed me he clearly understood with his response: "Mom, when I open my mouth really wide, I can feel my tonsils." Ahhh....nice. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

neighborhood kids

*Yesterday we tried a third Costco in attempts to find Kendall's Christmas dress she needs for her ballet performance coming up. No such luck. I'm afraid she'll be the only one without a matching dress (seems they don't carry above a 4T in this particular one).

At least it wasn't a wasted trip as I had to get a few things:

Why TWO boxes of Skinny Cows? They were on sale and are pretty much a staple in our house similar to cheese or eggs (despite the fact that I'm the only one who eats them). :) Since they would be bought at some point, I figured why not save $5 and get two.

*The kids and I decorated for Chris' birthday dinner on Tuesday. I cannot tell you how excited they were for the decorating, to hide and surprise him when he got home, and to give him his new shirt. It was really sweet.

*I've always wanted to toast pumpkin seeds after carving our pumpkin. We did it this year and while it was a fun process, we were NOT impressed by the taste. :)

*When Cam was young, I never had playdates. They were overwhelming for him making it stressful and discouraging for me.  One of his IEP goals used to be, "will play for 5 minutes with another child". This seemed SOO unattainable! I was thinking back on this the past few days when he (as well as Kendall) has invited the neighborhood kids over to play. Just yesterday he played with another little boy for a solid hour (complete with back and forth conversation the entire time...which is HUGE!). Love it. Love, love, love it. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013


Recently Chris and I had a funny text exchange. Backstory: Chris is still working really hard on eating more healthy and losing weight. He still attends bootcamp regularly (it is unreal the kinds of exercises they do...I think I would throw up if I tried) and, most of the time, eats pretty much what I prepare for him.

It has been a slow process (sometimes slower to the point of being super frustrating for him), but compared to several years ago, he has lost quite a bit of weight. Take a look at this picture...

And then this one. Yes, it's a little funny that I chose one where he is holding the mother of all hamburgers, but I think you can really see the change in his face and chest in how much he has lost. :)

Anyway, to our texts (he was at church):

Chris: I would give my pinkie for a breakfast burrito right now.
Me: I'm sorry! :( U have 2 snacks.
Chris: Eating almonds now
Me: I think there is a granola bar in the front pocket of your backpack
Chris: Does it have bacon, hash browns, cheese and eggs?
Me: Focus on 2morrow (his birthday)...peanut butter pasta & bread, bread, bread, bread. washed down with german chocolate cheesecake.
Me: Oh...and remind me again who got a comment on how different they looked this past weekend? & who just gained a pair of jeans in their closet cuz some older ones now fit better??


Saturday, October 12, 2013

day in pictures

On Saturday mornings I go to clean Chris' bootcamp workout room early before the kids wake up. I've started treating myself to a french vanilla at an Arco on the way home. It's a fun treat to look forward to :)

When I returned Chris then went to the actual bootcamp class while I took the kids to Walmart. Kendall loves playing "hideout" in the toilet paper shelves.

Later we headed to Palm Springs. Lunch and groceries at Costco came first.

Next was bike riding at the park. It was such a perfect warm day. :)

When we returned the kids played outside and watched a couple Netflix shows (man is that an awesome service) while I finished Chris' requested birthday cake for tomorrow when we celebrate with my parents. :)

Friday, October 11, 2013


*I've always professed my love for Costco. Christmas time is even more fun since the kids get to browse the toy section. I came across this hilarious article entitled 20 Survival Tips to Get You Through Costco Alive. If you are as big of a fan as we are, you'll find it quite funny.

*Popcorn has become our #1 snack around here (well, the kids and I anyway). Kendall likes to sit on the counter and watch it pop on the stove. I just add a little salt (or a lot in my bowl) and we all gobble it up.

*We've been loving a weekly library series for kids. Every Tuesday afternoon we go to listen to stories and then do crafts. Cam is over the moon about next week. The topic is worms and they get to take a live worm home in a bowl they'll decorate. If anyone wants to join us, let me know!

*Cameron and I were going through old pictures yesterday. This was from junior year in college. I can't believe this was almost 14 years ago. Man. The fun part of this picture is that Jen (blue shirt) and I will be flying out to Chicago in a few weeks for Chalet's (red shirt) wedding! Woohoo!!!

*Been loving pumpkin lately. It makes an almost daily appearance in my lunchtime concoctions. My favorite so far is mixed veggies, pumpkin, sauteed onions, chick peas, and feta.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

things i love and don't love


*Pumpkin patch outings with my moms' group.

*Kendall being much more social lately.

*French Vanilla

*Cam's funny comments: "Mom, sometimes I don't like your ideas. However as time goes on, they get better."

*November 2: the day Hallmark "Countdown to Christmas" movies begin.

*Got about 5 pounds of grapes yesterday at the fruit stand for $1.49. They may be on their way out, but I'm still getting a truckload of good ones for way cheaper than the grocery store.


*Cam plugged the toilet yesterday and our plunger had broken and had yet to be replaced.

*I spent hours several months ago researching cheaper health insurance plans and was elated to find one. I really don't care if it is a result of Obama or not, but our insurance will go up $300 PER MONTH in January and I'm incredibly frustrated. No, make that angry.

*I wish Cam liked straight cheese. It's hard to come up with good protein rich snacks without ever using cheese.

*When Kendall does something naughty to Cam, she thinks all she has to do is apologize and she's done. No matter how many times I explain it to her, she cannot grasp that time out comes right along with the apology.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

a few random pictures

*Yesterday we went to a birthday party and then met Chris' brother and one of his girls at a Burger King for play time. They played for nearly two hours and the kids were sweaty and very tired on the drive home...

*The first ballet class of each month is "free dress". Kendall chose to go as Tiana last week. 

*My mom is currently in Texas and so my dad treated us to lunch at McDonald's after church today. Can I just say how thankful I am for the toys in happy meals? They REALLY do the trick allowing adult conversation take place without too many interruptions. :)

*Yesterday we realized some sort of fuse had blown in our laptop cord and it was actually smoking a bit. We headed out to the Mac store after church (with no luck) but also felt like a trip to the Lego store was necessary since it was just down the road. :) We gave the kids each $5 and Cam put a few of his allowance dollars in as well to purchase a small new set.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

kick in the gut

The other night Cam was getting ready for bed and, getting emotional, says, "Mom, do you remember when you were younger and you used to be nice? Can you be like that again?" Ouch. Let me say that again....ouch.

I had been rather firm with him prior to that for various small things I now cannot even recall. On one hand, I needed to remember that Cam is EXTREMELY sensitive to tones of voice and facial expressions of frustration. A jump in just an octave of my normal voice when I'm correcting him sends him into, "I'm sorry mom! Mom, I'm so sorry!" The same tone with any other kid (including Kendall) is sometimes not even enough to cause them to obey. :)

However on the other hand, I need to parent Cameron the best I can FOR HIM. So I sat back and realized that I needed to tone down my tone of voice. When he is an adult, I want him to think back on his mommy as happy, cheerful, and GENTLE in the way I mommy him. I want him to feel safe in this house, not tense, not unhappy. Just loved.

So while it broke my heart to hear him say that, I'm so glad he did (and I told him so). It's good to have a mommy check now and then. :)