Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu Monday

It's FREEZING here in the Pacific Northwest. The one upside to the cold is it actually makes me want to cook yummy warm meals.

Monday -- Taco Pasta Toss or Terrific Taco Meat Toss (we'll eat a combination between these two)

Tuesday -- leftovers

Wednesday -- White Cheddar Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Thursday -- leftovers

Friday -- Crock pot Chili

Saturday -- leftovers

Sunday -- Pancakes

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Packing Up {New Carpet}

One of the many reasons I wanted to own a home was that I don't enjoy packing, moving and unpacking. I'm currently in the process of packing.....'cause we are getting new carpet.

I'm super excited about the leap into new carpet, yet terrified and annoyed all at the same time. We inherited roughly 12 year old carpet when we moved into the house and knew that getting it replaced was part of what we were buying into. We weren't too worried with two kids and two dogs, we figured they'd wear it out more and then we'd replace it. The plan was hopefully to make it until the dogs had passed and the kids were older and maybe less messy.

Three years into living in this house, making the carpet now 15 years old, I just couldn't take it any more. Carpet cleaning is such a quick and temporary fix that would set up back a couple hundred dollars for may be two weeks of "nicer" looking carpet.

It just was time. The leap is hurting the pocket book and it is stressing me out the logistics of packing things up and moving stuff into the garage and still living in the house. Yet the thought of beautiful soft and clean carpet does help a bit, until then I realize I'll have two dogs and two kids living on my expensive brand new carpet. ACK! Then the stress returns again.

The new carpet countdown begins. We are just about two weeks away from the big two day install. We are breaking the kiddos in with new carpet rules before the old stuff leaves the house. I took the vacuum in for a tune-up (more pre-carpet prep). The kids both had funny things to say to the vacuum lady:

Adalyn volunteers on her own: "No shoes on new carpet."

Shane then needs to have his own carpet comment: "I can't drink my milk on the new carpet."

The vacuum lady laughed, patted me on the arm and said "You must have the best Mom!"

We have the guest room all broken down and the carpet pulled up. Kenny and Shane found awesome "pebble" linoleum under the carpet.

The downstairs hallway and guest room as the carpet process moves along. I really don't like things out of place and the current half boxed up house just feels weird and off for me. 

Besides the upside of new carpet, we are taking this opportunity to purge, clean and regroup. We also are rethinking furniture placement and trying new ways to put everything back after the carpet arrives. I find that entertaining, so I continue to tell myself the positive and fun side to this packing up gig. In a few weeks life will be back to "normal".

Friday, September 27, 2013

Upcoming Close To My Heart Workshops

I've got a new line up of Close To My Heart workshops happening at my house. Check out what is happening the next couple of months. 

**Tuesday, October 1st at 7pm (two cards and a note pad...not shown in the above picture) $6 -- I have 3 spots available. Contact me to reserve your spot. 

**Thursday, October 24th at 7pm, we'll be making Cards for Soldiers. $5 makes 5 cards that will get sent off to soldiers so they can send cards to their friends and families.

**Thursday, November 14th at 7pm, we'll be making Christmas cards. 
6 cards for $15
I have two open spots for this workshop.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Conversations With Shane

Shane has weekly "Coping Cat" appointments at the University of Washington. It's an anxiety program for kids 6/7 years of age and up.

As Shane and I were driving back home today from Coping Cats we had this conversation in the car. It all started because he had earned a reward from Miss. Charlotte and he had picked a stuff mini Husky football toy.

Me: That is a Husky toy because we were at the University of Washington and the Husky is their mascot.  Papa went to college there. You can go to college there if you wanted.

Shane: I don't want to go to college there. I want to go to your college. Where is your college?

Me: I went to Western in Bellingham, which is about 2 hours from here, close to the Canadian border.

Shane: That is to far away. I don't want to go there.

Me: Well, the University of Washington is pretty much the closest college to where we live. (There are a few others, but for the sake of conversing with a 6 year old I left those out).

Shane: There is too much traffic there. (We get stuck in rush hour traffic coming home from Coping Cats.)

Me: When you go to college you can live on campus in a dorm.

Shane: What is a dorm?

Me: It's like a little apartment there at school, so you don't have to drive every day to our house.

Shane: (He says this with tears already in his eyes) I DON'T LIKE APARTMENTS!!!! I don't want to go to college! I don't want to live there!

Me: Calm down, buddy. You don't have to college until you are 18. How many years is that?

Shane: (Silence)

Me: It's 12 years away. A long time away. You don't have to worry about college now at all.

Shane: I'll be able to drive before I go to college.

Me: Yep, that is right. Buddy, if you want to live at our house when you go to college, that is totally okay with me.

Shane: (He says with relief.) Yeah! I want to live with you when I go to college.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Menu Monday + Stressed Out

Last week greeted me with a feeling of being overwhelmed and that feeling carried into the weekend. We have some things coming up in the next couple months that have my mind spinning in circles. When my head gets like this I pretty much just shut down and get nothing done. I need to make a list. That solution seems to get me back up and running. Here's to a productive week ahead and some yummy fall food.

Monday -- Tastefully Simple Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Gluten Free Beer Bread (I was so excited when TS came out this month with there GF line of products!!)

Tuesday -- leftovers

Wednesday -- Taco Soup

Thursday -- leftovers

Friday -- Baked Chicken and Rice (I'm taking a friend who recently broke her ankle a meal. This was our favorite meal brought to us when we had Adalyn. This chicken rocks!)

Saturday -- I never got my dinner out last weekend, so I'm making up for it this weekend.

Sunday -- Pancakes (seems to be a Sunday night tradition these days)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Close To My Heart Blog Hop

I'm joining up with a few fellow Close To My Heart Consultants to show off the 
National Stamping Campaign stamp set that you can only get in September.

I was feeling creative the other day, but nothing was working of for me. 
I jumped over to my Pinterest boards and landed on this card
This was exactly what I wanted to make. 
Simple, beautiful and elegant all at the same time.

Here is my version of the card using the National Stamping stamp set.

Then I got kinda hooked and wanted to make more and more cards like this...

and another

Then I finished off with the August Stamp of the Month stamp set called Chocolate. 
I ran out of time, but the best part about these cards are they are quick to make and fun. 
Making cards doesn't have to be fancy or difficult or time consuming. 
Now I have 4 fabulous handmade cards to give out to friends and family. 

Now hop on over to Michele, at Evergreen Memories and see what she came up with using the National Stamp of the month stamp sets.

Get yours today...visit my website for more details.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Menu Monday + Changing Seasons

It seems like the fall weather has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. I have major mix emotions around this time of year. My favorite seasons are summer and fall. Right now I'm mourning summer, sunshine and the freedom of our schedules. Then there is this the other part of me that is super excited for sweaters, baking, holidays and all the fun things fall brings with it. The downside of fall arriving is that winter and spring follow. Neither times of the year I really enjoy and I just kinda tolerate since I don't have much of a choice in the matter. 

I know...not a "real" problem. But hey, that is what I'm feeling right now. Torn between two seasons and I really love both of them. If only the seasons could go something like this: summer, fall, summer, fall....ah, what happiness that would bring me.

This week I'm feeling the need for some new recipes that are warm and hearty. Off to my pinterest boards I went to see what I can wrangle up for ideas.

Monday -- Our 'frig is full of leftovers, so leftovers it is for dinner (salmon, chicken, tacos)

Tuesday -- Penne Bake (the past 3 weeks I've planned on having something like this but it hasn't happened)

Wednesday -- leftovers

Thursday -- Lasagna Soup

Friday -- leftovers

Saturday -- Feeling the major need to dine out...maybe we will this weekend

Sunday -- We'll see what is left in the 'frig come the end of the week.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Incredbile Years {Routines}

I'm going to skip ahead a few "lessons", but a big part of The Incredible Years program is routines. This past week we started a new set of routines with the new school year starting, I thought I'd share how we are taking on the mornings.

One of the concepts to The Incredible Years is giving as few commands as possible. Why? Well when you give a command the kiddo must follow it and if they don't they go to time out. So, if you don't want to be spending your whole day giving time outs, then you watch how you phrase things and do what you can to avoid a command. It turns out there are quite a few ways of getting around those darn commands and you know what...the ways around work better then shouting or giving a command.

Shane and Adalyn know the morning routine, but it was taking me telling me (aka commanding them) through each step of the way. Often resulting in battles and dragging feet.

That is where these guys come into play. They aren't beautiful by any means. I used old cookie sheets I had in the play/craft cabinet. You can get cookie sheets at the $1 store! Making this little routine project pretty cheap. I printed pictures and lamented them (to preserve them a bit, but you don't have to). Then I stuck on magnets. I've even seen magnets at the $1 store, too.

Each morning I had the kiddos theirs and they get started. They can do their routine in any order they want (besides breakfast needs to be eaten before teeth brushing). When they do one of them they move it to the bottom of the sheet.

This has been working wonders for Shane!! Additional motivation is that when they are done they get a TV. If they take to long getting ready then there isn't time for TV. If they get things done very timely they may even have time for two TV's. (We have always allowed the kids to watch two TVs in the morning as a general TB guideline).

I'd say the battles with Shane during the mornings have reduced drastically. Adalyn is kinda a whole other story, but she would much rather watch TV with Shane then get stuck in her room because she didn't get ready. Generally in the end she does what she has to do.

Setting up a routine (for any part of the day) helps lessen commands, in turn decreasing battles, fights, yelling and time outs.

Pretty simple, but oh so effective!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pool Party

This past weekend we were able to attend a swanky pool party through some of Kenny's clients and work partners. They had been working on this specific job over the past couple years. I'd heard about it and was excited to see the finished product in person. It was also super nice because it was just 5 minutes from our house.

The day started out cold and cloudy, but literally 20 minutes before the party was to start the sky parted and the sun came out making the rest of the afternoon beautiful and warm.

I can't really do this place justice with words and I certainly can't do it with my camera phone pictures either. Imagine though in front of this house two years ago was just grass all the way down to the lake front. This couple bought this property with visions of turning it back to a natural lake front state. I think they accomplished their goal beautifully. 

Walking around the property and eying things from all the gorgeous different vantage points. 

The kids didn't care about much of anything then swimming in the pool, 
which was over the top beautiful. 
Nestled into the wall like it was made that way naturally. 

Adalyn checking out the little kiddie pool corner.  

Infinity granite edge. 
When you looked into the water it looked so calm and smooth. 
The appearance of it against the black granite was amazing. 

Enjoying some of the yummy snacks by the lakes edge. 
They had Marination, a mobile food truck serving dinner and it was SO So good. 
The building to the right in the picture was the guest house. 
I could live there for a few months pretty nicely. 

The kids had a blast swimming and crashed out for the night the minute we got home. I enjoyed the views and being out in the sun, oh and the bartender and food wasn't so bad either. I think Kenny enjoyed seeing the results of the completed project. Livin' on the swanky end of life sometimes is pretty darn fun.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Menu Monday

This is our first full week on our new school schedule. We'll be getting in the the swing of new places to be at new times.

Monday -- BBQ salmon on a green salad

Tuesday -- Mac and Cheese

Wednesday -- leftovers

Thursday through Sunday -- Kenny's parents will be here for a visit. We'll be sporting these items most likely for dinner over the next few nights since we have variety of likes and food allergies, these options allow every one to make or have what they want:

--baked potato bar
--taco bar

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Camping {Whidbey Island}

Our 2nd round of camping this summer was a lot more successful and fun then the first. Hurray for that. Our 1st trip this summer to Deception Pass had me thinking I may just never camp again.

We started the trip at one of my top 5 favorite beaches, Double Bluff Beach.

 Found a cool beach fort.

This beach has every thing: logs, rocks, sandy hills, tide pools 
and it's protected by the wind keeping it cozy and warm.

She loves sand!

We found this awesome swing. 
Shane thought it was the best thing ever and would have stayed there all day long to swing.

Adalyn wasn't quite as impressed.

I gave it a try and thought it was a lot of fun until....

...Kenny pushed the swing making it go to high for my liking. 
(Picture courtesy of Shane)

A while back we called Shane a mountain goat because he has gotten so good at climbing. 
He wanted to take on these cool sand hills and did awesome.

I think he kinda like this beach, too.

The way this day was planned out Miss. Adalyn wasn't going to get her scheduled nap and well, that pretty much NEVER happens. Right on the dot at 11am (while walking on the beach) she started saying how she wanted to take a nap. We settled her into the car and she got a "hit" off bunny and some snuggles from her blanket and managed the rest of the day.

Hanging out at our camp site at South Whidbey State Park
Yay!! A fire! Nothing like camping with a camp fire. 
It really truly made the trip so much better.

Hanging out around the campfire. 
The kids were so much better behaved this trip. 
I say it was the peace and calm the fire gave us.

Enjoying some hot chocolate.

Taking a break with nasty gross bunny.

The fire marshal.

Papa's salmon for dinner...mmm...blessings from that awesome campfire!

Cuddling by...yes...the campfire. 
You really have no idea how happy I was to have that fire.

My bike riding crazies. 
We got Adalyn a balance bike at the beginning of the summer .
It looked like for awhile she wasn't ever going to ride it. 
This was the first trip she really got on it and just went for it. 
She did awesome and I love seeing her riding it.

Our site had this cool private hole forest area. 
The kids didn't play in it much, but Kenny and I thought it was pretty awesome.

Before this trip I wasn't sure how I was feeling about one night versus two night camping trips. Right now I'm leaning towards one night. It felt so good waking up Sunday morning knowing I didn't have another 24 hours to entertain my two little ones and could head home in a few hours. Until these guys get a bit older and can take care of themselves better, this Mama is only spending one night out in the wild with them.

The beach at South Whidbey State Park was really nice and private, but the hike down to it was long and of course the walk back up was even harder.

This was a great camping trip to end the summer with.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

A few weeks ago Kenny and I were gifted a weekend

Thanks to Mema who came over to watch monsters 1 & 2. Papa even surprised everyone and joined in the fun for a bit as well. The kids had a blast being at the house with only Mema and Papa. Kenny and I had a blast being alone with out the kiddos.

We had just recently applied and received our passports in the mail, so we thought it only made sense to brake them in by crossing the border into Canada. It had been years and years since we had been up to visit that mighty fine land. White Rock (just barely across the border), has always held a special place in my heart. I hung out there a handful of times in college (heck, who wouldn't when the drinking age is 19 and it's not all that far from your campus). I had also taken Kenny there a long time ago, but we didn't get to see much because it was pouring down rain.

We had our fingers crossed the weather would treat us a bit differently this time around and it did just that.

It wasn't hot there by any means, but it didn't rain and that was all that really mattered. It was comfortable during the day and not to chilly at night. We spent a lot of time walking the beautiful sandy beach, exploring the cute down town area and even walked to the end of this mighty long pier.

We stayed up on the hill behind me in this picture at the Yellow Doors. Kenny found this sweet place and deal on VRBO. We had the bottom portion of a house all to ourselves. Two bedrooms, living room, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, patio and a shared hot tub. It was the perfect place to escape.

The big white rock that White Rock is name after is behind us in this picture, plus a little glimpse at the beach.

There was a lot of train action right through White Rock. I kinda love watching a train go by.

The beach and pier. The tide would go out so far in the mornings, leave all kinds of fun areas to explore. The kids would have loved it. Next time, maybe we'll take them with us.

We spent a lot of time eating out at awesome restaurants with great views and food. There were so many great choices, but we ate at Washington Avenue Grill (great covered patio area and a fun funky vibe), Uli's Restaurant (tons of GF items and I had an amazing bread salad with lots of fresh seafood on it),and The Hemingway (great prices, yummy breakfast items all day long and the best nightlife!).

We've had a handful of times away with out kiddos. For some reason this one really rings loudly in my memory for totally relaxing and then the wham of coming home. How quick you go from doing what you want, when you want, and how you want, to I need this, get me this, help me now.

I do love our little ones and I do love our weekends away....looking forward to the next one already!