Friday, November 21, 2014

Where are they now? My kids...


Do you ever see those cute little monthly updates that other moms do with their children? 

10 months, 1 hour, 54 minutes
Fun fact: Crawling everywhere!
Favorite food:  Bananas
Favorite activity: Reading books

I am in awe that people can be that put together! When L was a baby I tried to take a picture on his monthly birthday. Just any old picture not even with a cute sign or shirt—just on that day.  I failed about month 2 and his 5 month and 6 month pictures are about 3 days apart. With B I didn’t even try. #2ndchildproblems Sorry kids! You will not know how you grew in perfect one month increments.  Who am I kidding, your photo books probably won’t even be in the right order.

However, I have been thinking of some pretty creative (and true) statements I could say about these little men that will probably horrify them at their graduation; which, lets be honest, is basically the whole reason you take photos (or is that just me?).


8(ish) months old
Fun Fact: Loves to be growled at. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself saying, “L, go roar at your brother so he stops crying”.
Favorite food: Monkey
Favorite activity: Gnawing


Gnawing on his monkey--he's in heaven!
22(ish) months old
Fun Fact: Loves deodorant. We find him hiding all over the house putting it on his hair and once I caught him biting it—don’t worry I'm still using the stick with the bite marks.
Favorite food: Deodorant (see above)
Favorite activity: Stuffing toilet paper down my legs while I’m trying to pee.


There may be another update like this in a month, maybe six, maybe never. So L may never know when Deodorant stops being his favorite food.... I just hope we aren't serving it at his graduation party.

Next week: let's organize something!

Thanksgiving is coming! A cooking success from a chronic kitchen underperformer


Disclaimer: As Mr. M can attest, I am NO gourmet cook.
Exhibit A: Last week I threw a package of brats, fettuccine noodles, and vodka sauce (*not made with real vodka-False advertising!) in the crock pot and called it 'supper'. I also forced Mr. M to bring it to work for lunch several times in the following week. The containers did come home empty--how they got that way, I have chosen not to ask.

Exhibit B: I recently went to a freezer meal party with a friend. I got a strange look when I explained that instead of pre-cooking the chicken in the freezer meals, I just throw it on top and crock pot it until it (eventually) cooks. I'm going to guess my invite to the next party may get lost in the mail.

While writing this, I'm starting to realize I have a problem and my biggest enabler comes in the form of a crock pot. It's true what people say about getting hooked, once you get a taste of it...... **********************************************************************************

Now that you are SUPER PUMPED to try any recipe that I whip up:

This week, my mom brought me a gift, brussels sprouts on the stalk.


Who knew that's how they grew?!?!? (I'm ashamed to say I live in Iowa and sometimes don't know where vegetables come from.) P.S. is it brussel sprouts or brussels sprouts? Don't ask me, I didn't even know they grew on a stalk!

This beautiful stalk of sprouts inspired me to try to crank up the old oven (it still worked-phew) and try out a new recipe. But in true 'me' fashion, rather than actually find a recipe, I decided to wing it.

First I cut the brussels sprouts off the stalk and halved them onto a cookie sheet.


Cover that with a layer of balsamic, EVOO (I just wrote the acronym that way because it makes me sound so chefy), salt and pepper. In case you are wondering, layer IS the official measurement.

After baking in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, here is the finished product.

They actually turned out pretty tasty and I know someone else who agreed.


But let's be honest....he was just happy I didn't make it in the crock pot.
Next week: Back to the kiddos!

Friday, November 14, 2014

New threads for this old mom....


Those of you who know me know that I am not the most fashion forward person. I kept barrel roll bangs about 5 years longer than was reasonable and fought skinny jeans until this year. I normally depend on J for my fashion advice (our mantra for me is '______ For Dummies' i.e. 'Jewelry for Dummies' or 'Makeup for Dummies').  
Now that J has a job and a life outside of my closet, I decided to give her a break and recently signed up for Stitch Fix. My philosophy is to look for things I would either never pick out for myself or never be able to find for myself.

The system is pretty great--you fill out a style profile with sizes and preferences (yes they have a 'as cheap as possible' option and yes I did select it for everything). They send you a box with 5 items--can be all clothes, can have accessories, whatever you are looking for! You try things on and send back what you don't want to keep. There is a $20 styling fee, but the great thing is--if you keep anything, that fee goes towards your purchase. They also take requests and suggestions. For my most recent box (shown below) I asked for some fall pieces, but I have a friend that asked for dresses for an outdoor wedding and they sent a dress just for that.

They also send you a style card that helps show you how to wear the pieces they send you ('Styling For Dummies'-right up my alley!). So essentially your own personal shopper!

I am several months in and have had varying success but have always found at least one piece that I love. Considering I keep asking them to push me out of my comfort zone, I find this pretty impressive.

My most recent fix included these 5 items.


And here they are on! I always snapchat the pictures to my sisters for their opinion #codependency issues  (Ignore the kid shenanigans going on in the background).


I'll let you guess which pieces I ended up keeping. I'm not saying that to be mysterious, I'm actually saying it because its only day 2 and I don't even know yet!

If you decide to give it a try--refer me by following the link below (is this me shamelessly working on referral credits--just refer up to the 'as cheap as possible' comment above and I think you can figure out the answer):

Next week: Brussels!! No, not another trip post--brussel sprouts (I know what you are thinking--Oh good, that's way more exciting)


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Europe 2014 (part 9)

Day 13: Venice

Where to start? Love, love-love-love, love Venice! This was my second time and just as fantastic as the first. Maybe even better since I knew what to look for!

The view from our boat coming into the Harbor was truly magical. We were able to see the entire city.


We arrived and boarded the water bus (when the roads are made of water, the bus is a boat!)


We took in some of the sites...


J had some major navigational difficulties this day. Normally she is the go-to navigator, however on water her internal compass must get a little wonky. Last time I was in Venice I was with J and the same thing happened. She reminded me REPEATEDLY that getting lost in Venice was literally what we wrote down on our itinerary so we should be enjoying ourselves. Note to self: NEVER put ‘get lost in ___’ on an itinerary again, I simply am not made for it.


ON this visit, we ended up passing the same cafĂ© three times and walking in exactly the wrong direction. However, we were all forbidden to point this out (don’t you love family dynamics? J ) and had to follow her anyway. This happened again on the way back to the boat at 10pm and we somehow ended up next to Venice’s prison. To be fair—this was not an attraction we had visited yet.


  We then walked several miles in the rain (uphill the whole way, with no shoes, in a snowstorm) back to our ship. A and I passed the time singing Girl Scout songs our mom taught us when we were kids.  I know what you are thinking—yes there are people who sing camp songs after the age of 10—and those people weren’t even in the Girls Scouts. 

Never fear, these Girls Scouts (and their fellow ear plugging travel companions) still had an extraordinary time and Venice was the perfect place to end our trip.



Next week:  Back to real life!