Olives & Capers

I hung up the phone with my mom and looked up to see my husband staring at me with an incredulous look on his face.

At first I was nervous that perhaps I said something about him, forgetting he was in the room. Maybe I said an undesirable word in front of my daughter, who was sitting on the couch in hearing range.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I just listened to you have a conversation with your mom for 10 minutes about capers and olives.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

He shook his head and turned around.

Okay people- I DID talk to my mom about capers and olives. Or, more specifically, I was lamenting to her about the fact I didn’t have olives for the recipe I had planned for that night and while talking to her I was walking around the kitchen and the pantry saying, “I could have SWORN I bought a massive jar of olives. Or maybe I’m thinking about the massive jar of capers. No, I SWEAR I have olives somewhere.”

The conversation did, I’ll give him this, go on for quite some time, with my mom quipping in, “well, could you just use capers instead of olives?” This then  started a conversation about olive/caper substitutions and how that might work.

It was decided it would not. In case you were wondering. And we had quesadillas instead, also in case you were wondering.

Yes, I talk to my mom often. These conversations are often not about much, but the fact I have someone that I CAN call and talk to about olives and capers, or how to cook an artichoke, or where I can find good bath towels, or how to season a cast iron skillet, that is what matters. My husband should be THANKING me that I don’t engage him in these conversations so he can go back to reviewing the latest pass rushing yards of his favorite QB, or the short list for the HOF, or the stats for the Heisman Trophy finalists, or the potential picks for his team in the NFL draft.

That’s right hubby. You’re WELCOME.

As for the olives and capers- turns out it was a huge ass jar of capers I had, so I went out and bought 2 slightly smaller jars of olives and now I’m all set and will make my recipe on Saturday. In case you were wondering, mom.

Have a great crazy day!

Getting My Act Together

I don’t make New Years Resolutions anymore. I don’t kid myself that the “resolutions” I make In January will be in play come mid-year or even February. I’ve got enough issues trying to remember to change the wash over to the dryer and then get the clothes out of the dryer in that time frame, much less take on some goal to “better” myself.

Instead, I’m going to work on getting my collective shit together.

That’s right- my household is rather well maintained (thanks to my mess-fearing hubby) but I am rather all over the place. I have projects, ideas, plans….all in some state of limbo. They were started, but set aside to start another project. Or to sit on the couch and watch Ellen and funny dog videos.

I’ve been in a slump. My garden was never prepped for winter, my post blogs are stuck in the “drafts” section and throwing my kids outside is about as creative as I’m getting with them these days.

I’m not in a motivated state of mind right now. My attention has been so work oriented- which is great, because new things are coming down the pike for me which is hugely exciting, but also slightly terrifying- that by the time I get home my attention span can’t handle much more than a funny internet GIF.

So for the next few weeks I’m going to get back on board with my blog, but in the form of shorter posts, perhaps even just a picture, of the chaos in my life.

I’ll leave you with this. Who has ever walked into a room to find something like this- a scene where you just stop and try to figure out what in the world is going on in those little heads. Have anything similar to share? Post them in the comments!

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Have a great crazy day!

The Size of 4

They say good things come in small packages. Thing is, my package didn’t start out small.

No, when she was born she surprised us all by weighing in at 8lbs 11oz, beating her sister by over a pound.

Since then, her personality has outpaced her physical growth and, as Willie Shakes said; “Though she be but small, she is fierce!”

No part of her personality is small. Her ire is fierce, her joy is fierce, her squeezies (aka hugs) are fierce, her competitiveness is fierce, her sense of humor is fierce, her love is fierce.

I know many talk about the “spirited 2nd child”, and while she certainly is spirited, I don’t want to say that her grand personality is the product of being born 2nd. She defies conformity on a daily basis, so I don’t want to group her into that typical definition.

For her, every day is lived in extremes. There is no pause button, no reset. Once she’s started down an emotional path there is no changing it. Whether it be red-faced anger or unabashed joy, you get what she’s giving. There is no in between.

She is my rainbow baby. My special girl who was oh so wanted and every day I thank those that need to be thanked for bringing her to me. With her namesake’s spunk and feisty-ness and her cousin’s mischievous ways, she shook up life as we knew it and has been leading our new charge forward ever since.

Sarah Jane, my squishy, you are going to make 4 an adventure. I’m looking forward to it!

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Her personality pretty much summed up in this photo

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Her namesake, Sally Jo, would approve of SJ’s ways.

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SJ also wears her heart and compassion on her sleeve. She loves her family.

Her fashion sense is one of a kind. She loves wearing “sock pants” aka tights/stockings.

She’s grabbed hold of the hearts of those around her. Just a few here: her “life coach”, “crisis manager” and “grammy”.

She enjoys the small, delicious things in life.

She can also clean up nice and put on a pretty face….

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When it suits her.

My baby girl to my big girl. There is lots to love in my big, little package.

Happy 4th Birthday, Sarah Jane!

Caution: Dangerous Things

Kids, it would seem, are on the brink of imminent danger ALL OF THE TIME. They fall down. They run into things. They fall off of things. They fall off something and then run into something on the way to tell you they fell off something.

They always need a band-aid for something that does not require a band-aid.

Kids take risks. As parents, our job is to keep those little risk takers as safe as possible and prevent them from physically harming themselves….too much.

Here is the thing though: you need to do this while still allowing them to take those risks that could result in some sort of physical hurting that requires a band-aid.

For our kids to grow up understanding how to take APPROPRIATE risks, we need to allow them to take the risk in the first place. They need to learn their boundaries, what they can and cannot do. On their own. Otherwise we are going to have kids that, given the first taste of freedom, are going to do something incredibly stupid because we were not there to tell them THAT IS GOING TO REALLY HURT YOU AND POSSIBLY SOMEONE ELSE. This happens because they have no idea of their limitations because they’ve never tested them before. And when you are older, your “risk taking” is going to be much more significant; a risk that will land you in jail and/or the hospital or…let’s not think about it.

I was thinking about this over the weekend as we were engaged in all sorts of Halloween fun. Some of these fun things included very sharp carving implements and things with warning labels saying “Toxic and harmful if swallowed”. There were also 0 incidents of calling poison control or 911 for a missing digit.

This is what I did. I showed them how to use the razor sharp tool/deadly poisonous paint appropriately, doled out some very detailed rules such as “be careful”, “don’t poke anyone in the eye”, and “don’t spray this in your face”, then stood back and watched as they very appropriately and very carefully used these items. On their own. Without me next to them.

Kids, when given the opportunity and responsibility, will amaze you. And it shouldn’t even be that amazing, because contrary to popular belief, kids don’t want to hurt themselves. But they DO want to try out that cool thing you’ve told them they can’t touch. So when you give them the chance, they are careful not to blow it. Did they get non-washable spray paint on their clothes? Yes. Did they carve the pumpkin within an inch of it’s ability to stay standing and showing any semblance of at one point being a pumpkin? Yes. Did they have a great time and show mommy that they can be big girls and use dangerous things with a little bit of modeling and trust? Yes.

However, they both ended up running into things and needing band-aids for injuries that in no way needed a band-aid.

Come on, some things never change.

 

halloween1

Using Very Sharp Tools

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Just Pretending To Be Dead and Being Eaten By Spiders

 

 

Have a great crazy day and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Obligatory Posts

It’s that time of year. End of summer. Beginning of school.

WAIT A MINUTE! It’s OCTOBER!

Jeez, I started this post, then got busy folding up my daughters shirts that she had spread out all over the floor to use as blankets to “put her babies to bed” and the next thing I know, end of summer DONE, beginning of school, DONE.

And I never posted my summer or beginning of school pics.

What kind of parent am I?!?

I am the kind of parent that realizes September is the suckiest time of year for parents. My close friend and I had this discussion just recently- September SUCKS.

Back to school supplies, back to school clothes, back to school night, back to school permission forms, getting kids back into school schedules, getting up at back to school times, and getting into back to school arguments with kids about….everything.

September is not for the faint of heart when it comes to parenting. It is beyond busy. There are 100 different forms to fill out all asking for the same exact information. You need to get physical’s completed (oops) and permission for medication forms signed.

You have to sign up for PTA and Parent Teacher Conferences, and Back to School Night, and volunteer for room parent and book fair and ice cream social.

You have to decide if you should sign up your kid for language or drama or art or STEM after school extension activities.

And still go to work. And still get some sleep.

Doing all of that while having full on battles with your kids resisting the back to school everything.

So I am late to the party, y’all. Now it’s October and I am in the middle of pumpkin patching and ordering Halloween costumes. Here’s a question for you- if you didn’t post it on Facebook/instagram/snapchat did it really HAPPEN?

My kids are still funny, they still drive me crazy, SJ still likes to say “bagina” at inopportune times. I’ve got a treasure trove of stories to tell, and I promise they are coming. But right now, let’s just catch up, shall we? I’m going to flash back to the end of summer, consider this my TBT of posts.

First up, cousins are the best. Summer vacation included an OBX stay, which is always fantastic. Cousins are like mini-parents. My kids probably listened to them more then they did to me and their dad. You’re probably looking at the lone guy cousin and thinking he got a raw deal on this vacation- don’t feel bad. He was most awesome with my girls and what made it the best is that he GENUINELY enjoyed playing with them. He didn’t get annoyed, he didn’t shoo them away. All around great” big scary monster” (per SJ) cousin to have around. He also got 2 jet ski trips out of it, so a sufficient dose of fast and furious type activity thrown in there. And the older girls, they just doted on the younger cousins. Lots of love goin’ on there.

Obligatory beach scenes.

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Oh, this one.

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And this one.

A busy kid equals a sleepy kid.

For all of you that are experiencing the back to school chaos that is all-consuming, I feel ya. How do you deal in times of chaos? Might I suggest:

margarita

Have a great crazy day!

How To Have A Happy Birthday

You know the best way to have a birthday party for your kid? Let them be a kid.

My girl just turned 7 and she had a FANTASTIC birthday. It wasn’t at a giant venue with bounce houses, trampolines, magician’s, a petting zoo, or any other organized type of event. Those are fun, and we’ve been to many.

But it’s not her thing.

I asked her what she wanted- if she wanted to go to a place with a bounce house or trampolines, or a petting zoo.

She wanted to have her friends come to her house and have different craft activities. AND a pinata….can’t forget the pinata!

So that’s what we did, and the kids had SUCH. A. BLAST. that I actually had to call the parents and tell them to come pick their kids up an hour LATER it that was okay. My husband said, “do you think they’ll be able to change with such short notice?” Through my hysterical laughter I could hear my phone start immediately buzzing with incoming texts, all saying, “FINE BY ME!”

I am all about simple, because most of the time my life feels anything but. So here are my tips for throwing a super fun, low key, simple birthday party where the kids will have a blast and you will keep your sanity

  1. Limit the numbers. You don’t need to invite your child’s entire class in order for her to have a great time. Our rule of thumb is she can invite the same number of friends as her age. This year, it was 7. But she ended up just asking that her 4 best friends be there. And they had a GREAT. TIME. A small group ensures everyone gets to hang out.
decked out

Colorful hair chalk (washes right out!), leis from the dollar store and they were decked out.

2.  Don’t over schedule. Kids are great at entertaining themselves. When the girls arrived, they head off to my daughters room where they were fully engaged in some game that involved many items to be strewn all over the floor. But they were laughing and no one came out saying they were bored. My daughter is a big arts and crafts girls and all she wanted was “a couple of craft activities set up, like in centers.” What, is she a teacher?? So I had 2 planned activities and they had such a great time and got so into them that i had to call the parents and have them come an hour later because they hadn’t finished their project. Believe me, not a single parent bawlked at having to delay picking up their child. One parent, when they arrived; “Oh my god that was the best text I ever got! I took a nap!”

tie dye

A tie dye party was my daughters idea. Make sure you warn parents not to send them in their party best! It’s MESSY!

3. Keep it simple. Kids are easy to please. Usually when things get too complicated its because we are trying to make ourselves feel good about everything we’ve planned. But for realz, they don’t care. As long as there is cake, they are good. We tie dyed some shirts, decorated some hats, had a pinata and boom, party success.

hats

Hats, fabric markers, BOOM. Simple activity.

5. You can’t go wrong with a pinata. Seriously- kids go crazy over candy and cheap plastic toys. It’s like they have won the lottery. These days they have those pinata’s that you just pull a string and the right one will open it up and the candy will spill out. I thought that idea was great, and last year we had one, but this year I went with the old school hit it with a stick while you are blindfolded method. And I kid you not, when I brought out the stick and told them what they were going to do, a few started saying, “uh-uh, that is NOT safe!” Like they’ve never had broom sword fights in their living room and busted up a lamp.

pinata

Give a kid a big stick and they are bound to bust something…..

4. Smile, and have a drink. ENJOY YOURSELF! This is your celebration, too. Sit back and look at how wonderful your kid is and then cheers to you, for doing such a kick ass job.

hair did

The smile on her face let me know the party was a success!

Do you have any tips for surviving planning your kids birthday? Would love to hear them!

 

Have a great crazy day!

Summer Days

Ahhhh. Summer. Relaxing days at the pool. Evenings spent on the patio with a cool fruity adult beverage. Husband grilling up dinner. This is summer living.

Everyone has their “summer activity list”. You know the ones, they pop up at the beginning of each summer, listing all the fun things to do in summer with your kids.

I have found, though, that these lists are not really reflective of my summer. Even my own list that I created is not an accurate picture of what goes on in my family during the summer. I thought I would update portions of my list to show what the summer for a family of young kids truly looks like.  This is a more realistic list of how those “fun” summer activities get checked off my list.

  1. Spend the day by the pool. I will take my book, fully understanding it will remain in my bag because I will be too busy adjusting goggles and “watching this” to read more than a sentence. Also, no matter how many times we reapply sunscreen, some random bright red spot where we clearly missed will pop up.
  2. Have a picnic in the park. I will have grand plans of chicken salad sandwiches, and a fresh fruit salad . In the morning, I will realize I have run out of mayo for the sandwiches and will need to make a “quick” trip out to the store. When I get home, I actually read the entire recipe and realize I skipped over the whole “boil chicken” part. Once the boiling of chicken is complete it is now noon and the kids are whining for their lunch. I give them fruit snacks and leftover pizza and have them eat in the backyard. Picnic, CHECK!
  3. Go for a hike. Before going for the hike, make sure to study which trail is for “beginners” so that the 3yo can complete it without being on someone’s shoulders for 3/4 of the hike. Even with intense studying of map, I will end up taking a wrong turn, resulting in the last 3/4 of the hike being for “experts” and the 3yo will be on our shoulders. Oh, and I will forget the bug spray or the sunscreen, or both, leading to miserable scratching of massive bug bites or sunburn that will keep the kids up all night. We will stay indoors the rest of the summer watching “Dora the Explorer.”
  4. Go to an amusement park. Spend the day filling my children with sugar, taking them on rides that will make them throw up, and spend a lot of money on carnival games resulting in a buttload of very cheap stuffed animals.
  5. Visit cultural exhibits on a rainy day. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Once you realize you are never finding a parking space remotely near a museum, you head home, make a huge vat of Sangria and part the kids in front of the TV.
  6. Make homemade lemonade. Watch as your kids make puckered faces and spit it out. Buy a case of extremely sweet lemonade that doesn’t seem to have any traces of actual lemons in it. Sit back and experience your kids bouncing off the walls after drinking this “less than 10% real fruit juice”.
  7. Pitch a tent in the backyard for a camp out. Spend 4 hours setting up the tent for 10 minutes of kids being in it before claiming it is “too scary”, “too dark”, “too outsides-y” and they come back inside.
  8. Have a water balloon fight. Spend hours tying together balloons because in true parenting fail you forgot that even though velcro shoes are a nice alternative, there are other reasons to teach your children how to tie something in a knot. Then listen to your kids as they cry because the other one threw something at them and got them all wet.
  9. Go to the liquor store. Your summer budget of going to the liquor store only one time a week is blown out the window. Spend evenings sending recipes of tasty drink recipes to your Pinterest page and learn 10 ways to make a pitcher of sangria.
  10. Hire a babysitter. Because you are ALL DONE with summer.

Have a great crazy day!