Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Little Look Into Why We're Wiped and Happy as Heck

Good morning, babies! It is 8:15. Thank you for letting Mom sleep in!

David and James wake up and I listen for a moment to James giggling at David's mock screaming (a new phase he is in... not my favorite phase.).

"Daddy? Daddddeeeeeee?!?!?"

I quickly bolt into the kitchen and start James' bottle. Did you think I get up before my kids? Haha! You're funny! While it heats up, I pour David's milk and scoop some dry cereal into a bowl. I turn the TV to Sprout and put David's morning snack on our "little table" in the living room. This tides David over while I feed James.

I also make a 4 cup pot of coffee (unless I pre-made and set the timer on a 8 cup pot for Pete and I the night before. Which I didn't. Bad wife.) and pre-pour my creamer into my pre-set cup. Mornings are all about multi-tasking and I have the first hour of waking down to a multi-tasked science.

When I head into the boys' room. I see David freaking because he can hear the garbage truck down the street. Yep. Day two of three (yes, three) garbage days. I pick up David first and change his diaper and head to the window to see the garbage truck drive by. This will be the first of 4 drive-bys this morning...

At this point, James is getting a little antsy to get out of his crib, too. I scoop him up with smooches and head into the living room for his morning bottle. I have learned it is not worth hearing upset diaper change crying. I just give him his bottle first thing.

Maybe not to the outsider, but to me, the mornings are so LOUD in my house. I think there are just so many things going on at once with two kids that it might just seem loud. I stand up and sit down about 100 times before everyone is dressed. I never feel guilty about the "Mom is having her coffee, David." moment because I deserve it by the time I get to drink it!

Another garbage truck drives by and distracts my little man. Ahhh, 3 sips of coffee and my sanity returns.

Once James has his bottle and diaper change, I baby proof the house by closing the doors upstairs, setting up the baby gate, and doing a quick floor check for crumbs/papers/specs - anything James can put in his mouth. Which is everything. My favorite part of the mornings are looking over and trying to figure out if James has something rolling around in his mouth or he is just toying with me. I am so ready to be over the what-is-this-I-don't-know-I-guess-I'll-just-eat-it phase. Yesterday, James had his 9-month check-up where he had his finger pricked. A half hour later, I was fishing the darn band-aid out of his mouth. Bad Mom moment.

My real favorite part of the morning is making breakfast! On the menu today? "Chocolate" toast (Nutella) and scrambled eggs with bacon (bits). James ate baby oatmeal and apples.

I try to pick up as I cook but it is hard. I have to keep one eye on James and the other eye half on David and half on egg cooking. Thankfully, I know my 2 year old and can usually predict evil scheming in advance. Today, he was in a great mood. Thanks to...

another garbage truck driving by...

After breakfast, I pick up a bit and we play. James really enjoyed putting the coins into the Learning Piggy Bank and David took down a photo album and asked who everyone was - about a million times! I change the boys' clothes. James gets to wear a blue and red button down one-piece and David his sleeveless tee and Gap shorts.

And the last of the garbage trucks make their stop. When James was still nursing I had to teach David to get the footstool by himself, from his room, and prop it under his window to peek at the garbage trucks. David still loves to make a fuss to get the footstool!

At this point, we have been up two hours and James is starting to fuss a little. I change his diaper and set him down for his morning nap. Almost every morning, David and I go outside and play together while James naps. I love this time with David. It is the one part of the day where we get each other all to ourselves (don't worry, James gets this time with Mom, too.) It reminds me of old times. You would think I would still feel the high demand of motherhood but it is really relaxing when there is only one of two kids awake! Today, we played Let's Go Fishing on the deck. I treated myself to more coffee and we listened to iHeart Radio on my phone.

After a bit, I take David inside and he is allowed to sit in the "Mama chair" and watch garbage videos while I take a shower. He drinks some milk and has an orange, too.

This is what I consider "our morning". It is a few hours of chaos mixed with a lot of love, patience, playing, and learning. I love my kids and am so blessed to have this time with them! I am sure I will look back on these days as some of the best days of my life. I try my hardest to appreciate these moments when my kids turn to me for everything they need. Someday, sooner than I think, they will be more independent and I will wish for the days when we were at home together.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crock-pot Chicken Tacos

I saw this recipe for Crock-pot Chicken Tacos online yesterday morning on Pinterest. As I scrolled through the ingredients, I realized I had almost everything already in my pantry. With a little editing, this was the easiest crock-pot dinner (or any dinner) I have ever made. And healthy. And delicious. Did I mention it was easy??

Crock-pot Chicken Tacos
2 lb FROZEN chicken
1 can chicken stock
1/2 cup taco seasoning* (or 1-2 packets)
1/4 cup ranch seasoning* (or 1-2 packets)
Chopped onion
Chopped pepper

*I buy these seasonings (in addition to Lawry's and brown gravy mix) in bulk from Sam's Club. They are so great to have on hand.

I placed the ingredients in the crockpot in the following order: chicken, stock, seasonings, veggies. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. I turned the chicken a few times in that time span but I was home to do so. Check temp of chicken to read 160 degrees or higher. Remove chicken from crock-pot and shred. Return to crock pot for 45 minutes to soak up all the juices and seasonings.

To make tacos I placed warm chicken in soft shell tortilla with:
Black beans
Sour cream
Crunch tortilla Strips

Whatever you have in your cupboard or fridge would be a go with these chicken tacos! Maybe you have salsa, refried beans and rice. Just like any taco night, I look for any veggies or sides I think I could throw in.

What did you make for dinner last night?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cute Solutions for Left-Over Glass Baby Food Jars

If you are like me, your Mom made you a container hoarder. Or maybe, this commercial struck home the first time you watched it?

While, I haven't completely inherited the tupper-hoarder gene, I do have to save my glass baby food jars. Why? I don't know! They are cute! They must be able to be used for something?

I had myself quite a stash until I realized they were the perfect size for bacon grease, but that solution is no fun at all. I recently started searching for ideas for James' 1st birthday on October 30th. It will either be a blessing or a curse to be born so close to Halloween. This year, being his first party, I am sure I will decide to make the most of it.

I am not quite organizing any party planning ideas, yet, but I did see a neat recipe for pumpkin pie served out of baby food jars on Hostess with the Mostess:

Photo Credit //  Kristen Vincent

Wouldn't they make such a great substitute or addition to the traditional birthday cake?

As I was finishing up the dishes this evening, I managed to knock over my pyramid of baby food jars stacked neatly under my kitchen sink. There must be more! More that we can do?

Here is a convenient little list of ways you can reuse your baby food jars! How green & crafty of you!

Photo Credit // Casa Sugar

Photo Credit // The not-so-harried Housewife

Photo Credit // Martha Stewart

Photo Credit // Craftaholic Anonymous

Photo Credit // Cupcakes and Cashmere

Photo Credit // Finding my Aloha

Photo Credit // Nothing but Country

Photo Credit // Life:Styled

...and really - this is just the beginning! Please comment if you have any more ideas to share!
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