Seasonal decorating.

Seasonal decorating.

I adore fall. I love the crisp weather, the crinkling leaves, the colors, the light, the lead-up to the holidays…you name it. What I don’t love are the crazy price tags on seasonal decorations!

So this year we took matters into our own hands and are making some of our own. We started with some dried hydrangeas from the garden. We purchased a $6 wreath and some crafting supplies and for under $20 we have a great wreath. Sure beats the pre-made ones that were $60 and up! For future seasons we could easily change up the bow or add some different colors for a completely different look.

Next on the list is spray-painting a few old flower pots to go on the front porch. We are sticking with mums and not much else this year. Our neighbors sent us some amazing looking squash which will add to the decor until they’re eaten.

We also scattered a few inexpensive decorations around the house with some more dried flowers. If you’re careful to choose ones that aren’t completely obvious in their seasonality, you can probably rotate them around the house throughout the year.

Now, if only I had some crazy embroidery skills I’d have some awesome throw pillows…

Washing Dishes: What’s your method?

I’m the first to admit that washing dishes is not my forte. Thankfully, my husband takes over that job most of the time. I grew up using a dishcloth for the task, he favors a sponge or a bristle brush. If I’m being honest, I’d have to say that I get a bit grossed out by the sponge most of the time. So I’m turning the question to the world at large…

What tool do you favor when washing dishes?

I’ve actually done some research on the cleanliness of each. A brush (provided it dries fairly quickly) ranks as the most clean but the least versatile, while sponge is the least clean (mostly for the grody bits that get trapped in it). A dishcloth is somewhere in between and seems about equal to the sponge for versatility.

I’d assume that a few simple practices are also recommended:

1. Rinsing the tool after use to dislodge any leftover food particles.
2. Regular cleaning/replacement regimen (dishwasher for the sponge, washer for the cloth, etc.).
3. Exposure to high heat for killing of bacteria (sun, microwave (use with caution), dishwasher or washing machine).

Have any other helpful hints?

Sunday dinner mashup

Sunday dinner mashup

Last week we were out of town longer than expected so we’ve been playing meal catchup all of this week. After a few meals out at friends and celebrating our anniversary, we had a hodgepodge of food left in the fridge by weeks end. The funny thing was, there was no coherent plan for any of it! So tonight I set out to create a meal (and leftovers for lunch tomorrow).

We ended up with chicken sautéed with a little olive oil after being coated in a medley of spices,

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jasmine rice with red onion, zucchini and garlic (cooked in the same pan as the chicken so it picked up some yummy flavor)

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and cauliflower with a little red wine vinegar, mustard and a titch of mayo.
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Sound random?? It totally was but it sure was delicious!

This week’a goal is to prep ahead as much as possible so we can all sit down to eat together as a family. We really love establishing that routine as a family norm and Lena definitely responds well to it. She’s much more likely to eat what she’s given without argument and/or coaxing. It’s difficult when I sometimes don’t walk in the door until after 5:30 but we’re working on it!

Think positive even when the going gets rough!

Think positive even when the going gets rough!

It’s crazy how quickly these little babes grow and with them, our expectations. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to see the bigger picture. Sleepless nights, tantrums, incessant questions, disregard for rules, is there a moment that isn’t challenging? Think positive? No way!

I often hear people bemoaning the struggles of this or that stage and wishing of speedy delivery to the next and we are certainly guilty if this too! I don’t believe these complaints represent our overall parental well-being or happiness and we all need to share our frustrations. Yet, I can’t help but feel that it’s too easy to focus on the negative aspects of our current struggle and forget all the amazing and wonderful things that happen each day. Our brains are hard wired to focus on the negatives and the positives are all too easily glossed over and forgotten.

My mission these days is to actively remember all the great things that happen each day. We have technology at our fingertips, so use it! I have a terrible memory so I need all the help I can get. Snap a picture, capture a quick video, jot down a note, save a piece of artwork or some token from a shared activity…the list goes on. I’m making it a point to do this and the process helps me focus on the good stuff! It doesn’t have to be anything monumental or earth shattering, just something that makes you smile. Let’s try a little harder to be grateful for the amazing family we are building (despite it’s many flaws)!

Things I’ve learned from my FitBit

Things I’ve learned from my FitBit

In no particular order…

1. It’s hard to hit 10,000 steps unless I go for a LONG walk!
2. Sitting at a desk during work more than halves the number of steps for that day (no matter how much I try to get up).
3. I’m a much more sedentary person than I thought…or want to be.
4. The sleep tracker works way better than a baby log (no input needed!).
5. Toddlers and crawlers keep you on your toes.
6. I’m addicted to the party on my arm when I hit goal (FitBit users, you know what I mean).
7. I need to start running up and down the stairs at nap times (too bad I have creaky old floors).

…I’m sure I’ll think of more!

Dear Highway Rest Area

Dear Highway Rest Area

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Let me begin with sincere thanks for facilitating the briefest of layovers on long road trips. Your convenient location provides a much needed respite from the cramped confines of our car. Providing a refueling station for humans and automobiles alike is a service that is often overlooked but much appreciated by yours truly.

I am loathe to find fault, yet I feel obliged to bring one complaint to your attention. I can’t help but notice that the sustenance offered to your patrons is sadly lacking in nutritional value. I will take most of the blame as, in providing food and snacks of maximum nutritional benefit for my children, I failed to provide the same for myself and my spouse. In lacking such forethought, I gained the unique opportunity to trod your gleaming halls and share road weary greetings with my fellow travelers.

So, having little choice, I sampled your wares and could weep as I feel my body absorb each salt and grease laden bite. I flatter myself in speaking for my fellow travelers in begging you to please reconsider your meager offerings. I will be forever grateful if you’d deign to provide options with a hint of greenery, the snap of fresh vegetables or even the enticing aroma of ripe fruit.

In closing, I leave you with one final thought. “Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.” – Walt Kelly

Your humble guest,
~ Mom…in the works

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