Set your goals high but not your expectations. ~Dove

Friday, April 30, 2010

Flowers from Hawaii

My husband and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon (back in 2006).  We spent our time on Maui and Kauai for 9 days.  It was a trip of a life time and I would go back again if I had the chance.

I took so many photos on our trip, some stand out more than others.  Even though it was summer when we were there, I'm in a spring-y flower-y mood, so I thought I'd share some of Hawaii's beautiful flowers. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I have the couch to myself

The kid is in bed.

My husband is out.

The house is to myself.

Enough said!

Testimony by Anita Shreve

The story is told by the voice of each character.  Every chapter captures the story how it's viewed by each individual.  Sometimes this worked and other times it didn't.  There were some characters that didn't play a huge role in the story.  Then there were times when the story didn't flow as easily as I thought it should have.  I felt like it was bouncing around in flash backs or flash forwards.  Maybe that's how the author meant it to be, but this book is not like her other books. 

I've read most of her books, and I enjoy how Anita captures emotions and hooks you into the characters.  Unfortunately this book didn't do that for me like she had in her other books.

Anita Shreve bases her stories around the New England setting with a fictional story line.  Testimony takes place in Vermont at a boarding school.  The incident is incredibly sad and I can only imagine if the story were true, what would a mother do? 

If you've never read a book by Anita Shreve, I wouldn't recommend starting with this one as I don't think the style of this book best portraits her writing.  However, this story is so heartbreaking, I would only recommend it those those who can handle very unhappy endings.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waste Less Wednesday - Leftovers

Happy Wednesday!

This week seems to be dragging.  Or maybe it's slow because I'm not feeling well.  My little silly putty seems to bring home all sorts of goodies (aka: germs) from daycare.  Within five days I end up with whatever he had.  My mind has been in a fog and when I get home from work I can barely think about what to make for dinner.  You'd think I could find something in my fridge to munch on, if anything as a snack.  But I can't.

I rarely eat leftovers.  My intentions are good in that I do save leftovers, but they end up sitting in my fridge way too long.  If I don't eat the leftovers the next day, I won't eat them.  My mother tells me I'm just like my father because he doesn't eat leftovers either.

I know I should probably prepare meals in advance to help with the dinner routines during the week.  But my subconscious makes me think they are leftovers.  Sometimes I prep veggies in advance to help cut back on dinner times.  Sometimes I get in a funk that I can't get out.  This happens to be one of my funky times.

Needless to say, it's Wednesday which is trash day in my neighborhood.  The good ol' trash guy will be picking up my leftovers.  OH but now that I think about it, there may be a few dishes in my fridge that I forgot to clean out.  Yup, that's how it goes in my home.  It isn't until I see mold on something that I remember to toss something out.

On the flip side, I don't keep J's food more than two days.  He's inherited my inability to eat leftovers.  He will eat something twice but after that he turns his nose at the meal.  I guess I can't blame him, even though I try to encourage him to make an attempt.  I won't feel so guilty tossing good food.  I encourage him because I hope that maybe, someday, he will have the capability of stomaching leftovers. 

I do have a schedule in my Homemaker Notebook to toss any old food out from the fridge.  I even have it scheduled to wipe down the shelves in the fridge.  Maybe someday my habits will change.  My intentions are there.  For now, I suppose I should try and make smaller dinners so there won't be much left over.  One can only hope.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My not so hearty herb garden

I started my herb garden the first weekend of April.  I used potting soil and the special biodegradable pots specifically used for seeds.  I planted cinnamon, basil, oregano, and parsley.  I was excited to get them going and hoped to have something sprouting by the end of the month.

Well the month is almost over and I'm not seeing much progress.  I do water them almost every day and when it's nice out I make sure to set the pots outside so they can soak in the full sun.  I just don't know if there is something else I should be doing with these seeds.  Am I watering them too much?  Or should they be watered morning and night?  Sometimes I wonder if the seeds have floated to the top of the soil because this soil has a hard time absorbing the water. 

The other day I did see a small speckled of green sprout making it's way through the soil.  I was excited!  But that was a week ago.  I haven't seen anything else come up. 

If you look close enough, there is a small green sprout in the middle of this picture

What the heck is going on?  Or do I just need more patience?

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm not a weeble, and I do fall down

Warning:  This post is strictly to whine and moan about the pain I'm in.

Ouch!  (I'm being polite)

I was trying to be careful.  I was trying to be quiet. 

I left my coffee in my 17 month old sons room and it wasn't until he fell asleep for an unusual morning nap that I realized I needed to sneak back into his room. 

My husband told me to make a fresh cup.  I could get it later.

But it was my Southern Pecan coffee.  And it was still warm.

I needed to get it.

I waited a good LONG five minutes until I knew J was asleep.  Then I made my move. 

The plan was simple:
  1. Get in. 
  2. Grab the coffee.  
  3. Get out.
Simple right?  Well, that part was.  What I didn't take into consideration was the stairs leading back to the living room.  They creek and I was still trying to be quiet.  Tip toeing down the stairs.  In slippers.  I've done this before, plenty of times.  So I never gave it a thought of doing it wrong.  But I did.  I tip toed right off one of the stairs and tumbled down the last 5 steps.  My coffee mug, still warm, stayed in my hand.  But the coffee went with the flow and splashed all over the wall and stairs. 

My husband was in the computer room and immediately heard the tumble.  He thought it was our son taking a leap of faith.  Nope.  Instead it was just me.  And all he could say was:  I thought we discussed this and you'd make another cup?  All I could do was laugh at the moment because I felt ridiculous, and then cry because I felt ridiculous, and I was in pain.  I think I bounced three times, my butt to my waist, to my neck.  They all hit the stairs. 

I DID manage to save some of my coffee though, AND it was still warm.

My husband helped me clean the wall while I mopped up the stairs.  I needed to change my clothes (I guess it was time to get dressed anyways).  It wasn't until late last night that I realized how much coffee had spilled on me.  Our bedroom smelled like pecans.  I could have had a candle burning, it was that strong.

I should have known better.  Today I'm regretting the decision I made yesterday.  I think I would need to take a handful of aspirin to make my body stop aching.  Or maybe a steamy bath in a claw foot tub.  Oh I wish I had one of those right about now...

Friday, April 23, 2010

The board book - book nook

17 Months
He tries to be JUST LIKE Dada and leans on a pillow

My 17 month old son loves to read... or just look at the pages in his books.  LOVES it.  I find him many times with a book on his lap while sitting on the couch or even on the kitchen floor while I'm unpacking from being out all day.  If I don't find him there, he's usually asking me to read him a story.  He even asks me to read him a book while we're eating dinner.  He has his favorites and we'll read those (maybe) twenty times a day for a few weeks, then he'll discover a different book on his book shelf and we'll be reading that book twenty times a day.  But I don't mind.  I really want him to enjoy reading.

3 Months and drooling on his book

10 Months reading Daddy Hugs

12 Months with the Belly Button Book

I didn't really enjoy reading when I was in school.  Partly because I was being told what I needed to read for class.  So it never seemed fun and I was rarely interested in the book.  It also made it hard for me to comprehend what I was reading. 

I do remember the books I grew up with prior to school, and I remember liking them.  In fact, my parents kept those books and recently they gave those books back so our son can enjoy the stories I had as a child.

In the beginning, when J was so young that reading anything meant nothing to him, we let him chew on the board books. He didn't even have interest in knowing what was on the pages. Eventually, somewhere down the road, he had enough interest in learning what was on the pages and learned really quickly all kinds of animals and characters.  Recently, he's shown a stronger interest in hearing the story. Some stories are sing-song and very interactive, others are more of the I Spy kind of books. Then there are some that are great picture stories and he can interpret those any time of day. Of course, these are all board books. I'm actually afraid to start giving him the paper books. Those are tucked upstairs in his closet.

A few of the books that I could probably recite from memory are:

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Let's Dance Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton
Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton
Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz
I Am A Bunny by Richard Scarry
What Shape is a Grape by Christy Webster (He loves pointing out all the Sesame Street Characters)
Elmo Loves Red: A Book About Colors (soft book) by Unknown
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino (He recently discovered this on his shelf and loves the story and enjoys telling us what animals they are)

Sesame Street First Board Book Library is great for his little hands.  The books come in a carrying case that he loves to load up and spill out.  It has a magnetic clasp which he struggles with, so he'll constantly ask us to open it for him.  When we take long road trips, we'll give him one of the books and it entertains him for a while.

I've seen these sort of libraries with Mickey Mouse or Cars, but Sesame Street is my personal favorite... maybe because it's my generation (although I'm still struggling with Elmo and Zoe).

Spring is still blooming here

I thought my tullips vanished.  Last year at this time they bloomed with the daffodills.  This year, well... they just bloomed this week.  I honestly thought they dug themselves out and walked away.  HA! 

My mailbox with some spring flowers. 
J is also standing next to my car waiting for me to follow him to the back yard. 
Every night when we go home, he wants to play on his slide.

When we moved into our home on November 13th 2007, we didn't realize we inherited a yard full of sprouting flowers throughout the spring and summer.  It's very pretty but I'm horrified to admit I don't have the best green thumb in the neighborhood.

There used to be a bush behind these flowers.

I have no idea what these purple flowers are called.  Do you?  They run the length of the front of my house, near the edging our a small-flat rock wall.  We recently took out a couple of bushes so I think a lot of the bulbs were shifted around.  It will be interesting to see what survived come July.

J loves flowers and always does nice.  My only concern is these purple flowers attract giant, fluffy bumble bees.  Not the kind that are out to attack you, because you can sit with them and they're only interested in the flowers.  J however may think the bumble bee is something cute and I can already see him trying to pick one up.  Oh the day that happens will not be pretty.

Not a bumble bee... but a piece of the purple flower.

No poo - Week 6

It's been six weeks since I started the no poo method.  I have been using the baking soda rinse and apple cider vinegar rinse every 3 days.  Things have been going well and my hair texture feels healthy and strong. 

This week I noticed I didn't need to use the rinse on the 3rd day.  My hair looks clean and feels soft.  It does feel weird not applying any product to my hair but I've enjoyed cutting my time in the shower.  Instead of using the rinse I massage my scalp in the shower as if I was washing my hair.  Giving my scalp a massage has been rinsing my hair from any excess oils.  Again, my hair is not looking oily.  What I do feel is a slight heaviness around the roots, as if I applied a mousse or gel for added volume or texture.  But when I look in the mirror my hair looks clean.

I took these pictures after going 3 days without using the rinse.  It looks a little scruffy because I had just come in from being outside with J.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Playdate with Hubby

This past Saturday my husband and I took advantage of a gift card (thanks to his boss) and we went out to dinner with some friends.  We scheduled dinner for 7:30 and tried to see a movie before hand.  Unfortunately the movie we wanted to see was sold out so my husband and I decided to do some shopping.  It has been a while since the two of us could saunter through the stores together and not feel rushed or restricted with a kid in the stroller.  J was spending the night with Nana so I'm sure he was equally happy. 

If you have a weakness for a good martini, Radici is the place to be.  I don't drink that often, but when in Rome, I did what the Romans were doing.  I ordered the Venetician with appetizers: Kettle One Vodka, Lemoncello, squeezed fresh lime with a splash of cranberry juice.  YUM.  And a glass of Melbac with dinner.  Dinner: Chicken Saltimbocca=Layered with proscuitto, fontina & sage.  Paired with grilled polenta & house vegetable.  Double YUM!  I honestly licked my plate clean!

(I'm drooling thinking about how delicious that night was and felt it was necessary to document my meal from that night here.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Witch Hazel - my toner

I think I've tried at least a half dozen toners in my life.  What exactly do these toners do? 

It wasn't until I read about witch hazel that I decided to try it as a toner.

I'm hooked!

My blemishes are gone, the redness has diminished, and my skin is left feeling nourished!  Who knew?!

Witch Hazel is basically a shrub grow in North America.  The benefits are incredible and if you don't have some in your medicine cabinet or linen closet, I suggest you go to the drug store and pick up a bottle!  They are fairly cheap, if you buy the store brand.  Just make sure the ingredients are clear, witch hazel.  There may be some alcohol in it but that's fine. 

Did you spend too much time in the sun?  Get a bruise that won't go away?  Cut your finger?  Have some bad blemishes?  The list can go on and on.  Witch Hazel can be your answer!  I honestly cannot wait to test it's uses.  For now, I use my Witch Hazel as a toner, and sometimes when my son gets a boo-boo on his finger I'll apply the witch hazel.  After a couple of days his finger has healed and no more scab!

Aubrey Organics - Skin Care

Recently I've noticed my skin become Combination Dry and the moisturizer I was using was making my skin even more dry.  I was frustrated because at the time I didn't realize it was my moisturizer, so I was applying WAY more than I needed.  It was drying my skin even more!

A friend recommended Aubrey Organics to me.  I knew nothing about their products so I immediately looked at their website.  As I navigated (very easily) through their products I found exactly what I needed.  That same day I was out at the store to pick up my new moisturizer.

This moisturizer has a tint and I thought it was going to make my complexion a LOT darker than it was.  But it didn't.  Instead it creates this glow on my skin.  A little goes a long way too!

I also combine a serum with the moisturizer.  I apply the serum before the moisturizer.  It comes in a roller so it's easy to apply.  I do use my fingers to smooth the serum into my skin for about a minute before I apply the moisturizer.
It's been over a week since using Aubrey Organics and I have no complaints.  My skin is even feeling softer and I enjoy the scent of the products too.

Origins - Clean Energy

I recently purchased Origins face wash, Clean Energy.  After reading many of the reviews online I was eager to try this product on my skin. 

I absolutely love it!

You apply this oil on your dry face.  Massage all over and then add some warm water to your face.  Massage some more, you will see the oil lather.  Once you have covered your face, use a wet cloth to remove the cleanser until your skin is clean from the oil.  My skin is left feeling hydrated and refreshed! 

This is my first experience with Origins and if my skin feels this good by the time my bottle of Clean Energy is empty, I will be committed to stocking up on this product.

Waste Less Wednesday - with a Triscuit

Happy Wednesday!

I first heard about this idea from Ellen DeGeneres a few weeks ago.  I have been busy trying to grow my own herbs from seeds but have had no luck. 

Triscuit has established a way for you to grow basil or dill by planting their cracker.  You can find the seeds in specially marked boxes of Triscuit.  I haven't been on the search for my Triscuit box but I'm curious to see how many have tried this project.

Their Home Farming site will even help you determine what gardening is appropriate for your home environment.  Their chart has actually given me some hope and patience for my small herb garden. 

If I come across the Triscuit box that has their packet of herbs included, I will make sure to give this method a chance in our home too.

Homemade Finger Paint

My 17 month old son has loved coloring since he was 12 months.  We introduced crayons to him very early and it's been something we do together as a family quite frequently.  He calls it: cah-cah because he can't quite say cah-lah.  We live in New England and the R's are removed from most words so I doubt he'll be pronouncing those for a while. 

We cah-cah a lot.  Almost too much.  I think he enjoys holding the crayons and inspecting them more than he does seeing the color on the paper.  But there are days when he surprises me and he is starting to understand the actual activity of coloring.

Since his perception of coloring has evolved over the past few weeks, I thought I'd give finger painting a try.  J still likes to put anything and everything into his mouth so I opted to make my own finger paint.  At least if he swallows a finger full of finger paint, it's only full of corn starch.  I'm not very crafty but the recipe seemed easy.

Boil 3 cups of water
Add 1 cup of corn starch
Stir food coloring as desired

So that's what I did, boil and mix.  But my mixing became clumpy.  Did I mix too quickly?

So I thought, maybe if I add food coloring it would get better?

No matter how much I stirred, smashed, mixed, crushed those little corn starch crumbs, they wouldn't break up into the smooth texture I was expecting.

But did this matter to the expert?  Unfortunately I haven't tested the waters with J yet, but hope to later this week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Local Working Mums meet-up

It was $2 taco night at Agave, a new Mexican restaurant in town.  I was excited but nervous to meet new friends, I always feel a lump in the pit of my belly when I'm driving to these meet-ups, but the second I sat down with the group I knew the night would go well.

There were eight of us, five went to the previous meet-up but we didn't have the chance to mingle because there were sixteen at the table and it was hard to meet everyone.  So last night was more intimate and the restaurant wasn't crowded.  In fact, we were the only table sitting upstairs at the bar. 

Drinks were ordered and the chatter was light.  There were the usual rounds of introductions and a chance to let everyone know some information about ourselves.  The group was small enough that we went around the table to talk.  It was interesting to see how other mothers viewed their job.  Was it just a job or was it a career?  How did they balance daycare and work, or did they have a nanny?  Did they work from home or go to the office part time? 

Our connection was simple.  We were all Mums that were employed.  Our children may be of different ages, but we all faced the same dilemmas every day.  Morning routines, dinner, bath time, bed time, and how to make it work so everyone is happy.  Even more importantly, struggling to keep our jobs during this difficult recession.  It was nice to be able to share our concerns with each other because we quickly realized we all thought we were in this boat alone.  It's refreshing actually because nobody really tells you what life will be like once you become a parent.  Or tell you how to juggle a career and motherhood.  Multitasking is underrated, in my opinion.

My son is 17 months old and I thought I would have it together by now.  But what I thought I would have control over, that memory of what I thought my life should look like, just isn't the reality.  The memory I had was one that I envisioned prior to becoming a parent, and how it would be once I became a parent.  My vision has changed, a lot.  For the better.  But now I need to re prioritize my life.

Sometimes I forget the things I wanted to accomplish for myself.  I had this expectation of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be at a certain point in my life.  I've learned that things happen for a reason.  Actually, I've always known this, but it's the unexpected things that leave you hanging.  It makes me sit back and say: really? 

Last night was refreshing, encouraging, and yet I felt envious of these other Mums.  I think about these other individuals today while I'm tucked inside my cubicle and feel confident we'll be able to soothe our daily concerns just by knowing we have a support system in each other.

Monday, April 19, 2010

We went to the farm and this is what we saw

Jenness Farm opens their farm to the public a few times a year.   This past weekend was one of their open houses and despite the rainy weather we made our way to the farm to visit the animals and stock up on some goat milk soap.  I've used the farms goatmeal soap and I was excited to see their other scents.

The farm itself is quite small.  Perfect for those little people who want an intimate experience visiting with the farm animals.  We first visited the animals that were outside.  There were goats, baby goats, pigs, colts, and turkeys. 

Our first stop was with the baby goats, there were three of them and they were so excited to have some company.  They pranced out from their outdoor goat house and trekked through the wet grass and met us at the fence.  They were eager to say hi and hopefully find some snacks.  We didn't have the food but we said hi and gave them a few pats on their heads.  Their fur coats were so silky soft and their little mouths lapped our fingers with delight.

There were three pigs in the pen playing in the mud.  Stinky mud.  We kept our hands away from the fence as their was a sign mentioning the pigs may bite.  This was fine because I had no interest petting the muddy pigs.  One of them did come over to us a stick his brown wet snout through the fence and gave us a sniff-snort-sniff, then walked away.  I guess he had no interest in us either. 

The goats were plentiful, inside and outside.  One of the goats is an Arapawa goat (there are approximately 300 left in the world).  They were playing, romping, tumbling, and standing on hind legs to see all the visitors.  There was quite a crowd and we all managed to fit into the barn to say hi to the goats and turkeys.  Some of the turkeys were caged to the ceiling.  Others were free to roam the barn and walk outside.  I was amazed at how well J was with this large (quite frightful) creatures.  I was a little intimidated when they were gobble and prance around the barn stalls.  Considering they could have taken my son down to the ground, I was a little hesitant at how close he got to them.  But we were reassured by the owner that they were very friendly, but very loud.  And loud they were.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Upside down" can be confusing

My 16 month old son is learning what upside down means.  We have this Winnie the Pooh and friends stacking set and when we stack the figures upside down, J is fascinated and becomes giggly because he recognizes something is different.  He tries to immitate Pooh Bear by tipping his head to the side, trying to create the upside down affect.  Generally it only lands him flat on the floor.

I'm fascinated that he is grasping this concept, being upside down, and how other things can be upside down.  What does that mean to a 16 month old?  Right now, it appears to capture his attention and become a huge part of his world.  I love how something so small to us can seem so big to my son.

Trying to look at them upside down.

"uh oh" they fell over

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rainy day indoor fun with my toddler

We're expecting a few days of rainy weather in NH and I can only imagine what our weekend will be like.  Our son absolutely loves playing outside.  I may need to invest in some galoshes for J.  He has been known to stand by the front door and sob because he wants to go outside.

J loves frogs and I think these boots would be perfect for him.  I suppose it will be my project at some point this weekend.

I've been doing some other research on what fun activities I can do with J during the next couple of days.

I plan on making homemade finger paint.  I recently bought an extra container of corn starch, apparently I thought we needed more for baking.  Except I rarely bake and only needed baking soda and flour.  That's another story though. 

So I have a lot of corn starch at home and did a quick Google search and low and behold there were a ton of things you can do with corn starch.  One of them is making homemade finger paint!  The recipe also suggests using glycerin to make the paint shiny, but I don't think I'm going to have time to search for glycerin as I don't even know what it looks like or what department in the drug store I'd find it in.  Maybe if I have some time I'll go out in search of it because I think it would be fun to have shiny finger paint.

Decorate our own toddler pouch.
My toddler loves to put toys in anything that will hold them.  Our cupboards, closets, backpacks, pockets, trash can... anywhere.  I think J would like to decorate his own little pouch with crayons. 

Camp indoors!
If I feel very ambitious I'll drag out our small 4-man tent and set it up in the living room.  We recently bought J a junior sleeping bag and this could be a perfect time to play pretend camping.  Drag some pillows from the couch and a few of his favorite stuff animals and toy, I may even allow a snack inside the tent.  :)

March in a Parade
We don't have much pretend play clothes for J, but he loves wearing our shoes and hats.  I think letting him spend some time in our closets could make for a fun activity.  Once he's found the perfect outfit we'll march throughout the house like we're in a parade.

These are just some of my ideas and I may end up doing something else.  But I feel like I need a game plan for something to do when J starts acting up.

Closet Cleansing

I spent over an hour in my linen closet last night and could not believe the sort of stuff I have collected over the years.  A lot of what I have has been collecting even before we moved into our house in 2007.  I was horrified at the reality of digging in, but once I started, it was clear I couldn't turn back.

Yes, this is from one person (me).  My husband has his own bathroom upstairs.

I emptied the whole closet out and realized I didn't have much room to work in the bathroom.

So I started utilizing the hallway where I could categorize the things I was going to toss (anything that had an expiration date) and things I plan on donating or save for a yard sale (items I never used or barely used). 

I bought some extra storage baskets from the local craft store (all baskets 50% off!).  I was shocked at some of the items we have double of: dayquil, deorderant, travel tooth brush holders, travel size toiletry bags, and baby powder.  How did I manage to collect so much stuff?  Oh and the basket on the floor will be for more toilet paper, I didn't realize we were almost out. 

When I was getting ready for work this morning it felt nice to be able to work with my new linen closet.  I've organized the baskets based on skin care, body lotions, make up (I usually just wear blush but have some for the occasional special night out) & brushes, and the two large baskets are storage for things I don't use every day.  The items on the door are most items you may find in a medicine cabinet.  Since my bathroom mirror is just a mirror, this storage area on the door needed some reorganization.

I'm starting to get the spring cleaning bug.  I'm actually looking forward to cleaning out my personal closet and fourteen drawer bureau!


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