Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April - Month of JOY.

Isn't Elise adorable? She is so happy. She radiates joy. It's contagious. 

This month I am focusing on finding daily JOY.

Since having this little darling seven months ago, I'm been spending my time getting the absolute necessities done. Laundry gets done, meals are made, homework finished: because these are mandatory duties. Church responsibilities get taken care of since I've made the commitment to keep on top of them. And I've spent my downtime focusing on having little moments of happiness. A bath here, some crafting there. Glossy magazines, chocolate and Diet Coke for a quick pick me up. These are all great and totally necessary for my sanity. But there is a serious lack of habits that bring joy into my life. Probably because I've been in survival mode for almost a year. But I need NEED to add these things back in on a regular basis. Even if they take a bit of effort. I'm ready to get back to an intentional life. 

So, as an Easter month goal, I am going to do each of the following "Joyful routines" daily. 
If I can do something for a month, I can make it part of my regular life.

1. Exercise. - Either a trip to the gym, a long walk with the baby or a dance party with the kids. Something to get my heart rate and endorphins up.
2. Spend a quiet moment in dedicated prayer. - When I am not falling asleep. 
3. Spend special private time with each individual older kids. Away from the baby.
4. Spend a few minutes reading or listening to something spiritual. 
5. Eat healthy foods. Write down what I eat to keep track.
6. LIGHTS OFF BY 10:45pm. 

These things seem simple, but after only getting the basic things in life done for the last year, I've fallen out of practice. Being rested....brings me joy. Spending quality time with my kids....brings me joy. Having time to speak to my Heavenly Father brings me joy. I am happy. But I could be more than that. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

What I'm doing this Sunday night.

A little something for my baby's first Easter. 

If you can trace, you can do embroidery. 

It's addictive. As you can see from Elise's bedroom wall.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Insta-Friday #55 - Spring is here!

Our family is very happy Spring is here. It's been a long winter.

This baby loves to taste the fresh air. 

And so so happy when it's sunny and hanging with Daddy!

Family breakfast. 

(No make-up + so tired = sunglasses.)

"And I was like, sleep through the night? I don't think so mommy."

I needed a little Spring update. Trying out honey blond. I like it. 

Can't hide those bags under my eyes though. 

Shane's watching the baby. That's a pink permanent marker he's given her. 

The day Elise dressed as a sparkly mime for church. 

She rocked it. 

Just as cute dressed in a diaper and rock star hair.

(So proud she knocked the hoop down.)


Something magical happened. My ENTIRE house was clean for an entire day. Every room. Every toilet. Every closet. Frames are dusted. Laundry is done. I even cleaned the garage. Shane was out of town this week, and I got it into my head that just once in my life I would like to be actually DONE. As a mom, that is an unheard of concept. But after working serious late nights, and occupying my kids with TV, I achieved it. I'm pretty sure I was never that tired in my entire life. BUT I WAS DONE. Then I had to go make the kids lunch.

The day Collin found out the chicken soup with rice was from scratch, and not from a can. 

Tell me why I try again?

life rearranged 

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ultimate Leprechaun Trap

It's Leprechaun Trap time! 

I don't know when this became a thing. But I can assume that soon our kids will have to make Santa Marie replicas on Columbus Day and paper mache W2 forms for Tax Day.

But, let's focus on this project.  I really needed to actually. Last year I forgot about this and Collin ended up taking a birthday hat I had propped up with a stick. It was sad.

Now, all those crafty Leprechaun traps with sequins and colorful paper and pipe cleaners are fine. But they all have the fatal flaw. Preparation. I prefer not to have to actually plan my child's project ahead of time. No. I like to wing it the day before it's due. That's when the fear gets you. And fear can lead to birthday hat traps. Or pure genius.

Hence we have this.....

It was pretty easy, fun, and free. 

Get a nice glass jar. This one originally contained overpriced lemonade from Whole Foods.
Break up a branch, make a ladder using a glue gun.
Head outside for a nature hunt with the kids. Sticks, feathers, shells, leaves. Fake flowers from the tacky neighbors lawn.

Kids instruct while mom wields the glue gun.

A little sign with burned edges stuck on a stick. Stuck in some moss.
The kids were close to tears that I had fire in the house. Over the sink. 

Put in a few gold(ish) beads that were hanging around the junk drawer.

Naughty Leprechaun sees gold, scales the ladder. No colorful paper to say "Hey! This is a preschool project!" Jumps in the jar to retrieve the gold.

Guess who can't get out of the jar.

This Leprechaun doesn't stand a change. 

And mommy redeemed herself! 

Happy St. Patricks Day! (Wearing green should be the only thing we do.)
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

6 months and ADORABLE

What do you do when you're stuck in the house with a sick 4 year old ALL WEEK?
You let said 4 year old watch a movie and have a little photo shoot with happy baby of course!

Check out how similar my two darling daughters were at this age.
I'm a lucky mommy.
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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mardi Gras Dinner!

Ah, I miss the South. And I really miss Southern cooking. I remember the first time some friends made Shane and I crawfish etouffee. I thought I'd died and gone to culinary heaven.

This weekend I thought I would try my hand at a little Louisiana cooking in honor of Mardi Gras. Looks impressive, but was really easy. And seriously delicious.

Golden jambalaya stuffed peppers, haricot verts sauteed in caramelized onions, fluted cornbread and spring greens with red wine vinaigrette. 

I tried to use the colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green and gold. Notice the purple in the salad :) Golden stuffed peppers are a cinch if you use the Barefoot Contessa Saute dinners - Jambalaya. (This isn't a sponsored post. They are just really good. You can find them in the freezer section. Two packs filled 6 peppers.) I blanched the peppers in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then filled them with the prepared jambalaya. It takes about 10 minutes to saute the jambalaya straight of of the pouch.

I placed the filled peppers in a dutch oven with about an inch of water at the bottom. I used some of the blanching water. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the peppers are soft, but still holding their form. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Ooo, and maybe scallions.

Haricot verts (or very thin french green beans) are steamed until just tender. Then saute in a large pan of already caramelized onions and olive oil, lots of salt and pepper. I use garlic salt to avoid burning fresh garlic.

Cornbread for this meal should be barely sweet. Not the cake like stuff we get out West. I use this easy recipe and its always good. Fluted pan optional :)

For the salad I make a basic red wine vinaigrette with dijon mustard. It gives it a nice gold color that fits the theme.

I'm already planning a holiday version with red peppers! YUM!!!

Happy Mardi Gras :)
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy Baptism day Liddy Jane

Eight year olds can be baptized into the Mormon church. Lydia has been getting prepared for a while. 

It was a wonderful day.

We are so proud of you sweetheart.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

InstaFriday #54 Life After Baby.... I'm back!

I had a wonderful realization this week.

I feel like a normal human being again.

Not a shuffling, exhausted cluster of existence, but a real live normal person.

It feels really good.

Elise is 6 months old. Now, for some of you, 6 months may seem like a pretty long time to get back to normal. But for me, that's pretty fast. Especially with my total crap c-section and recovery.

I went to the gym today and nothing hurt. Nothing.

I still look like I just had a baby, but I don't feel like it.

Most of this change is due to the fact that Elise has started sleeping. My day and my mood are 96% based on her sleep patterns:

1. Little sleep at night + 30 minute naps =  STAY THE CRAP AWAY FROM ME.

2. Little sleep at night + one long nap = I'm tired, but happy I can get a couple things done and relax for minute.

3. Good sleep at night + 30 minutes naps = I'm ok, but frustrated that I'm rested but can't get anything done with a needy tired baby.

4. Good sleep at night + one long nap = I'm so very happy and will be baking goodies for after school snacks and the house will be clean and I will go to the gym and put on make up and play with my kids and read grown up books at night and chat happily with my husband and maybe even be in the mood to make out.

That last option is one that I would pay very good money to have every day. I seem to have a pretty even spread between all 4 of them. But it's still a major improvement. For the first 5 months, Ellie only had one sleep pattern, and that was option number 1. I pretty much cried every. single. day.

If you can't tell, today is a number #4 day, and thus I am blogging during a long nap for Elise and rest time for Collin.

Things are better. I'm not just surviving, but starting to move forward.

I'm clearing out closets and have taken huge amounts of clutter to Goodwill.
I've lost 10 pound since Christmas and plan to keep at it. I actually signed up for a race this summer.
Baby is out of my bed and sleeps in her crib. Which means Shane has moved back into my bedroom. I mean our bedroom.

Mostly, I love that I am finally rested enough that I can truly enjoy this little bundle of darling.

Thumbs for night. Fingers for day.

"Oh! Hello there!"

6 months old!

Real men wear babies. And make sandwiches. 

We love you baby Elise.

Follow me on instagram @natssentiments

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life rearranged

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cupcakes Wars Birthday!

Lydia's birthday party was so fun! We decided to do a cupcakes war theme since she likes that show so much. 

I made a few dozen cupcakes, little bags of frosting, and TONS of candy for decorations.

Elise thought the party was pretty exciting.

I mean, there were cupcakes hanging from the ceiling! And balloons! And so many things to swat at and try to put in her mouth!

We got the biggest pizza possible. 
Collin was excited about that.

Little goodie bags full of girly things. Collin got a boy version.
My parents were the judges. They were very creative with their awards so every girl won something. 

I sent the girls home pretty sugared up. 

I bet their moms loved me.

I made each girl a little cupcake charm bracelet as a prize. 
Cupcake stickers on birthday hats to be extra fancy. Cupcakes is a pretty great theme for a party. There is a lot of cupcake stuff out there. We may be seeing a cupcake themed party for Elise's 1st birthday. Waste not want not and all that.

I love living in Boise so my parents can be part of these fun celebrations.

I'd say this girl had a good birthday.

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