Monday, September 16, 2013

Makin' Stuff

Makin' crafts. Makin' dinner. Makin' the house look like Fall.

You name it, I've been up to my ears in it. 

And because I've gotten lots of inquiring minds through instagram & facebook, I figured I'd go ahead & compile a blog post chocked full of the details.

Come along.

Peg Dolls:

I'm in the process of making this little family of peg dolls for Lulla as a Christmas gift {as you can see, Dad still needs pants & the girls need some detailing on their dresses}. Jett received a super-cute set of super-hero peg dolls from a friend for his birthday & Lulla immediately fell in love with them & tried claiming them as her own. I knew she needed a girly set of her own to play with.  I first checked etsy, but when I found the set I loved were sixty five bucks, I nearly croaked. So instead, I bought an unfinished set from HERE & decided to give it a go, myself.  It's a tedious project. But as long as I keep my perfectionism in check, reiterating to myself that this is a project where perfectionism is NOT an option, I've done alright & actually enjoyed spending the time on them. If you are wanting to make a set for yourselves, I have two pieces of advice: 1) Use teeny, tiny paint brushes. 2) Only paint one layer at a time {for example: paint the hair on all pieces & let dry before you start on the clothing. This way the paints do not smear into one another. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a holler. I'd be glad to help in any way I can!

Fall Decorating:

I used a lot of what I already had to decorate the house this year, but because we are in a new home this Fall, the things I had took on new life-- love it when that happens! I like to have a mix of pretty things that I enjoy {twinkle lights & leaves!}, yet also some fun decor that the kids really love, too.  I purchase new items & old pieces & whip up crafts on my own & look forward to the process of weaving it all together to make it work for my own taste.

{Excuse the empty frames--I still need to order photos for them}.

You can find info about the Jett & Lulla Halloween frames & the BOO wreath HERE.

Chicken Taquitos:

I posted the above instagram photo a while back & had many requests for the recipe. This has become a favorite weeknight meal here at our house, as they are really quick & simple to make-- & oh, so yummy! Also, I think they would make a perfect appetizer for a Sunday afternoon football game.

The recipe comes from this cookbook.

This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I got it for my birthday & I use it often. It's great for picky eaters {a.k.a my family--& probably any family with little ones}.  Many of her recipes can be found online, but I have found that some cannot--like this particular taquitos recipe. So here ya go:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 c. shredded cooked chicken breast
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
10 10-inch flour tortillas
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 & spray large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion & bell pepper & cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, cumin, & pepper & cook, stirring, until hot, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

3.  Add 1/4 c. of the chicken filling to the center of each tortilla & top with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Roll tightly & place seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-10 minutes, until the tortillas are crispy.

Fall/Winter Curtains:

I made curtains for my kitchen a few months ago, but as Summer was saying farewell, I found myself wanting something a little thicker, heavier & cozier than what those curtains were offering. So....I sewed up some new ruffly ones for the Fall & Winter months. I love the bit of femininity they bring to my kitchen & I love even more that they were made from a painters drop cloth I already had stashed in my craft room. Score!

Homemade {FALL} play-dough:

I found THIS recipe on Pinterest the other day & with the cool weather that dropped in, I figured it was a great day to give it a try.

The kids loved it & it only took about ten minutes to make. Ten minutes of prep + hours of fun & imagination = my kind of craft! Oh, & the fact that it makes your house smell like pumpkin pie? Added bonus.

Fall Porch:

I love a pretty porch. I love a festive porch. If you've got a ghost or skeleton or pumpkins or corn stalks on your front steps, chances are I'm going to love it. A decorated entryway gets me every time. I still have a few final touches I want to add to mine this year, but it's on it's way!

The urns are from Target. I used them for my petunias in the spring, but after seeing them put to use in this way, I believe they were made for pumpkins! :)

The stool is from Goodwill--Jared spraypainted it black for me.

The "B" on the front door I made myself. I purchased all of the supplies from Hobby Lobby--a wooden letter, spool of twine & burlap/lace flower. I'll be honest, I hated this project. I got burned by the hot glue gun fifty gazillion times & wanted to give up at least twenty.  I will never be making another twine letter for as long as I live. This one had better hold up.

The pumpkins are the fake, carve-able ones from Hobby Lobby & Michaels. I think next year I will drill holes & string lights through them for a warm holiday glow. We'll see...

I think it's pretty clear to see... I like makin' stuff.

And it's a good thing...'cause my Makin' Stuff List keeps growing...
*Halloween costumes
*Pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
*Festive Fall outfits
*A craft I've been meaning to get to for two years now

Stay tuned for a Makin' Stuff Continued post :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Itty Bitty Soccer

School last week.

Sports this week.

Who does this kid think he is, growing up on me? 

I mean, seriously.

Yo, Messi. You might want to move over. 'Cause there's a new soccer star in town.

Nah, I'm only kidding. We're not those parents--the ones grooming our three year old to be the next Pele or Cristiano Ronaldo {If you don't know who these guys are, just send your husband a text asking him who some of the big names in soccer are. Not that I did that or anything.}. We don't step out onto the field & size up the other three year old competition. Our kid isn't playing in a league & we aren't scoping out any club teams. If you're that parent & that tickles your fancy--rock on. Maybe it'll be us one day, if Jett discovers a deep down burning passion for the sport of soccer. But for the time being, we wanted his first taste of soccer to be nothing but fun

Which is why, the itty bitty soccer camp we signed Jett up for is a really great start for us. Four quick, thirty minute evening sessions of lighthearted soccer fun where Jett gets to try his fast, little feet at soccer.

He's taking in some basic fundamentals, like kicking with the inside of his foot & stopping the ball before he passes it. He's learning to listen to a coach & how to stand still in a line

Oh, & he's learning how to play a mean game of Red Light, Green Light.

We'll see where this soccer story of Jett's goes from here. For now, we are all enjoying the fun of it--Jett enjoying kicking up grass & Momma & Daddy enjoying our view from the sidelines.

 Who knows. Maybe Messi will be moving over for our soccer star, after all. ;)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day Of Preschool {Nailed It!}

Well, we did it.

The first day of preschool...nailed it!

I was a ball of nerves. I had been since the week before when we'd gone to preschool open house & I'd left there feeling extremely overwhelmed.

I don't know, something about being congregated together in a classroom, seeing my boy's name tag dangling overhead on a laminated, smiley faced apple, chit chatting with parents who were all in the same boat as us--it stamped a big, fat THIS IS HAPPENING on the whole thing.

After open house, we found ourselves parked in a spot at Sonic, where Jett could fulfill his grape slush fix & Momma could be talked down from the ledge.

Jared: You okay?
Me: Nope, I'm thinking about jumping ship.
Jared: What do you mean?
Me: I mean...I'm thinking about yanking him from preschool, keeping him home another year...keeping him home forever.
Jared: can't do that. We've come too far to do that now. Look how excited he is for school. We've talked it up all summer. He's met his teacher. He's met his classmates. It's too late for that now. He is ready.
Me: Oh, it's not too late. I can turn this ship around. Yep, I sure can. I'll just tell him, "Do you want me to leave you there at that school where you'll be away from Mommy allllll day? Where you don't know anybody? I can't be there with you. You'll be there without Mommy & Daddy." You watch. I can change his mind about school, make him hate it.
Jared: HOLLY B*****!!!{Jared always uses my last name for emphasis when I'm in trouble with him}

At this point we were cracking up. Because we both knew full well that this is what I do. When the nerves are jitterin', when the tears are brewing, I resort to comedic relief. I use humor & joking & silliness in the place of melting down into a crying puddle of a mess. Of course I never had a single intention of turning my child into a preschool drop-out, but somehow joking that I just made me feel better...& gave us a good laugh.

It's hard to let your babies go...even just a little. I know I'm not the only momma who's experienced this struggle warring deep inside. How tight a grip do I hold on with? When is it it the right time to loosen the reigns?  That urge of wanting to keep my children small & young & protected & shielded in a soft, squishy bubble for the rest of their lives, it burns inside of me & sometimes, seems like a grand idea.

But it's not. I know that.

So yesterday, we watched as our first born spread open his tiny wings. He took the first of many flights he will take in this lifetime of his.

He started preschool.

Jared was right. He is ready. And "ready" for our family may look a whole lot different than "ready" looks for another family. I've had a few friends ask me if they're doing something wrong, because they aren't doing pre-school at the age of three or even at all.  My answer to them--Heavens, no. We had no intentions of placing Jett in preschool at three. I figured anything he needs to be taught, I would be able teach him at home. The plan was to wait until he turned four, send him to preschool for a year & then off to Kindergarten he would go. But after listening & taking note of a few cues Jett was giving us, we decided to at least throw the idea of preschool around. If we found a right fit, great. If not, we'd continue looking until next year. No biggie. I decided to really trust myself on this one. Jared I & talked a lot about Jett's needs, what we could give him & what we couldn't. As a parent, it is so easy to look around at what everyone else is doing & measure what I should be doing, what my children should be doing based on that standard. I continually have to remind myself that this is our child, that this is our family & that it's okay if our story looks like our very own & not identical to somebody else's.  It's okay if it doesn't go the way we had originally planned. It's okay if we put Jett in preschool at the age of three or four or not at all, if that's what we feel is best for him & for the harmony of our family of four. I tried to be as open as possible in determining this decision for Jett & his adventures in preschool.

Well it just so turns out...we didn't find a right fit. We found a perfect fit. 

Miss Marilyn's preschool. It had me at hello. I knew it had Jett's name all over it the moment I heard the energetic, passionate voice of Miss Marilyn on the other end of that phone call the very first day I called. A preschool full of adventure & hands on learning & field trips & parties & the oh, how list goes on & on & on. Instead of the pit in my stomach I had always felt when thinking about sending my little boy into the world for the first time, I was actually feeling excitement. And most importantly, Jett was too. 

So off he went. He proudly hurled that little striped backpack over his shoulders & he marched into preschool without {much} hesitation. Jared & I helped him get settled in & after a few minutes knelt down beside him, told him we loved him & that it was time for us to go, but that we'd be back right after show & tell to pick him up.  He quietly leaned into me & said, "But I don't want you to leave." I explained to him {like I had been explaining for the past week} that school is a place for kids & that mommies & daddies cannot stay but that he was in for a really fun day & to just have fun. He replied with a simple "Okay." And that was it!

Okay, so maybe there was a brief & very minor mommy meltdown once I got into the car, but other than that, the first day of preschool...

Nailed it!