Monday, January 31, 2011

Banana Splits, Patio Sprucing and LEMI-SHINE

I hope you all had a great weekend, we sure did, and enjoyed some fantastic FL winter weather. We made a lot of progress on the patio, and had some fun in the process.

Elle hosted her own cooking show "Ell-ia Child" in the playroom, as you can see she's quite serious when it comes to matters in the kitchen:

Khera was sent home with a great preschool report card, so as a reward she requested a banana-split party:

I couldn't tell if they liked their ice cream...

I don't think B noticed how hilarious this scene was until I showed him the photos afterward, maybe he was just tired, it was the first bout of silence we had heard ALL DAY.

The next day we received a Disney Theme Park DVD, to get us excited about our upcoming trip to Disney...yes after almost 7 years of living in FL, we are finally going to make the pilgrimage to the happiest place on Earth...

They really got into it in the beginning but here's how they looked by the end:

Saturday Brandon and I switched roles, and I think we were both pleased with the outcome--I stained the deck while he watched the kids.

I'm not sure who had a better time, ME (staining, listening to Pandora, enjoying uninterrupted mindlessness) or B (making lunches, playing outside, going for bike rides, tending to the kids, etc.)

I didn't feel like I was getting a lot done until now, referring back to the to-do list:

Patio Spruce-up
-Recover rocker seat
-Sew new cushion covers
-Add seating
-Pressure wash deck
-Stain deck
-Spray paint existing wicker seat

Sunday, the girls and I took a super fun trip to Home Depot to pick out some flowers for the planters. They even "helped" me plant when we got home.

And was thrilled when the girls bought into my excitement and picked the white and purple variety.  Reminds me so much of winters in Charlotte...I just wish they had more colors available down in the tropics.

Elle of course picked out PURPLE cabbage.

We rescued the grassy plant from the previous planting...

And put them all together.

After a lot of seam ripping, I decided against putting piping on the cushions, mostly because I was lazy, and partly because this material was SO THICK that I'm not sure my machine would have been able to handle it. Here's a little sneak peek at the cushions:

While we were getting productive, Tommy was busy testing a theory of his own: Negative Productivity.

He spent most of his time throwing items into the pool (including his shoes) and begging us to retrieve them while trying to himself.

The girls played in the water too.

One more thing and I'm going to take off...

I have had a problem for quite some time now, a really embarassing one. So bad, that when I have company, I PRAY that they do not ask for something to drink. What's my problem? Dirty dishes resulting from A HORRIBLE DISHWASHER, or so I thought. So bad, I would scrub my glasses with straight vinager and they were STILL cloudy. Can I tell you about an AMAZING discovery we've made???


Seriously, this picture speaks for itself:

Excuse me, I've got to run. If you need to reach me, I'll be in my kitchen loading and unloading all of my dishes until they are as sparkling clean as those on the right!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Patio Progress and Home Office Cornice Fabric

Hey there! Sorry we've been gone so long, we all got a terrible chest cold that kept us up most nights last week, but thankfully we're on the mend and have gotten back to business!

We've started work on the patio.

My parents let me borrow their pressure washer this weekend and we were able to get the deck, playhouse and pavers cleaned up. It's amazing what you can do with a pressure washer that:
(a) works
(b) is very powerful and
(c) you don't have 3 children hanging on your legs

It's going to rain tomorrow, so barring any kid-tastrophes, I should get some sewing done.  The fabric I'm using for the cushions has been lining my closets since last summer, so I'll be thankful to put it to use and get some storage back.  Here's the list for the patio:

Patio Spruce-up
-Recover rocker seat
-Sew new cushion covers
-Spray paint existing wicker seat
-Add seating
-Pressure wash deck
-Stain deck

With a little luck (and a lot of dreading in the meantime) I'm going to start sewing the loveseat cushion covers and maybe some pillows too.  I think the thing I'm most dreading is making the piping. 

Brandon's we're shooting for this weekend to stain and seal the deck, it will probably take 2-3 coats. 

So while I'm sewing for the patio, I'm planning Brandon's home office/man cave...and I need your help.  We're going for a red/brown/gray (think Ohio State Buckeyes) theme--I'm just thankful their scheme is not offensive like the Cincinnati Bengals!

For the window and french doors I have long white drapery panels with tab-tops (I hate tab-tops, but they're free so I'm embracing them). I want to make cornices to hide the tabs.  Just plain, box-like ones, much like the photos below:
Wakefield Residence modern family room

Bedroom modern bedroom

But with the very solid white drapery panels, I want to use a pattern for the cornice, and I need your help choosing which one.

Robert Allen's Bella Porte with brown or white piping:

A Red and White Plaid with brown piping (is this too country?):

Braemore geometric with brown piping:

Brown Chevron with brown piping:

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tom-zilla, A new low and Daddy's Chili {recipe}

Hey folks!  We've got a lot to catch up on, so hold onto your hats!!!

What have we been up to you ask?  Well, we took all of our Christmas decorations down last weekend.  We packed them up, put them away in storage, but somehow, more decorations keep coming out of the woodwork.  Does that ever happen to you?  They're crawling out from under the couch, the sheets in the kids' beds, kitchen cabinets, sock drawers, you name it.  I even had a straggler box out the entire week last week and finally put it away, but wouldn't you know those stragglers keep on rolling out of nowhere???

Maybe I've been watching too much Toy Story, but I've started seeing life through the eyes of my children's toys, namely T's Thomas trains.  I feel sorry for those poor little innocent trains, I think I can see the fear in their eyes when they see Tommy waddling over to the train bin, like Godzilla, only in our case he's Tom-zilla...

Then mommy fixes, and it's all better:

James the engine is hauling away from evil Tom-zilla...

Only to meet him again at the Maron bridge.

Will Tom-zilla save James from a tragic train crash?

Tom tries for the instant replay.

The trains aren't the only toys I've been feeling pity for, one night last week I hit a new low and gave into Rapunzel's pleas...

She let down her golden hair and the girls turned it into a rat's nest.

So I spent an episode of Cougartown combing out all the tangles and gave her a new 'do. I think she was thankful for that, and I was thankful that it only took a half hour.

The weather has been great, so we've been trying to get outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Khera even cleaned my windows with some water and a paint brush ;-)

The weather cooled off to a frigid 48 degrees (it's amazing what 6 years of FL will do to a northerner), so Daddy and the girls whipped up a batch of chili.

If you were going to make chili, what would you wear? Here's what Elle pulled together, of course you'd wear heels, right?

And fairy ribbon bracelets!

Khera putting some elbow grease into her stirring:

I love this one, Elle giving the chili the final stir (please ignore the dirty laundry pile in the background):

We got the toppings ready:

Et voila!

Meals I don't have to cook taste SO GOOOOOOD! 

Daddy's Spicy Chili {recipe}
1  pound  ground round
1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1  (10-ounce) can condensed beef broth
2  garlic cloves, pressed
3  tablespoons  tomato paste
1  tablespoon  chili powder
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
1  (15-ounce) can light kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1  (15-ounce) can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Toppings: chipotle hot sauce, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream

Cook beef in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally into large chunks, 10 minutes or until no longer pink. (Do not stir beef into crumbles.) Drain and return beef to Dutch oven.
Stir both cans of diced tomatoes and next 7 ingredients into browned beef; reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Stir in beans, and simmer 15 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Notes:  We usually double the recipe and freeze half.  Sometimes when doubling we mix turkey and beef, and others we go all turkey.  We are garlic LOVERS, so we always double the garlic.  I try to shred the cheese myself, because it tastes better freshly shredded and is more economical; but in this instance all I wanted to do was the dishes so I opted for pre-shredded.

Enjoy!  Until next time!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Resolutions and "Baah-ball!"

In years past, I've heard people make some lofty resolutions:
-Go totally green
-Lose 10 lbs
-Give up Carbs
-Go to the gym 3-5x per week

I think I've tried (and failed) most of the above:
-I've switched to cloth diapers for almost a year and then threw in the towel, Kudos to all moms who do or have done this (especially Mom and GJ!!)
-Go to the gym, I haven't been to a gym for 5 years!  I want one of those gyms where they watch your kids while you work out, I'd be there EVERY DAY, listening to my walkman ipod in the locker room.
-I just love potatoes and bread too much to ever give them up for more than 40 days.

This year, I'm setting much more attainable resolutions...
-Doing a better job wiping my kids' faces after meals

-Get the kids to school on time (which really means me rolling out of bed earlier and eliminating morning distractions like reading email, the paper, and blogs)

-Start "incentive programs" for Brandon the kids


All too often I find myself dreaming of what it's going to be like when the kids are in high school, college, when they get married, what B and I will do for retirement--but all of that doesn't matter. 

Things can change 

All of that time wasted "dreaming" could be spent DOING something fun NOW.  Instead of focusing all my energies on crossing things off of my lists, I'm going to make more block towers, race more cars, have more tea parties, make more messes and live for today.  My lists may take longer to complete, but we'll have a lot more fun along the way!

What are some of your resolutions?

Brandon's already got a jump start on his resolution.  He spent last Saturday raking leaves for almost 5 hours, halfway through he stopped and took a break to shoot hoops with T. 
Here are some of my favorite shots.

Can you hear him saying "HOOP!"?

Look Mom, eating dirt is FUN!

Leave a comment and let us know what your resolutions are, we'd love to hear from you.
Happy New Year!