Friday, December 28, 2012

The Watch Situation

If you are reading this, I took "The Watch Situation" post out of draft form. It is funny how a small, seemingly insignificant moment in my day could rock my world like a asteroid blasting into my living room. I think the small chain of events that occurred resulting in this: "The Watch Situation" post, have actually been a product of a looming change in my brain for quite a few months.

Now, do I dare remind myself:

Photo Credit // Treks in the Wild
There. I said it. I mean, I read it. I mean I shared it.

There. It is the most important thing I could remind myself of this week:

"Collect moments, not things."

Gah, but it stinks doesn't it? Things are beautiful. Things are satisfying. Things fulfill me. Things make me pretty. Things make me:

A better mom.
A better person.
A better cook.
A better wife.
In better shape.
More responsible.


Things don't make me any of these. I make myself.

So, what does a watch have to do with any of this?

I wanted a stupid, expensive watch for Christmas. When I received said watch from my husband, I nearly trembled opening the box I was so excited to get it. I watched my kids opening their Christmas gifts. The joy on their faces and little squeals from playing with their new toys. I exuded the same, "oooo-ing" and "ahhhh-ing" behavior over my pretty, fancy watch, which I am sure I saw on some blogger via Pinterest or some other shopping site I was drooling over during nap time. A watch which was a fantasy.

I was so excited about my watch, I brought it over to my parents on Christmas and made sure everyone saw it. When I got home, I took out the watch again, wore it proudly, and made plans to get it sized the very next day at the mall.

The watch and I had a blissful, consuming relationship for a solid 12 hours on Christmas. If you looked for me, you would find me staring into the mirror, holding up my watch to my face. How could two things, the watch and I, fit so perfectly together?

After the kids went to bed Christmas night, my husband pulls out the dining room chair and starts his very favorite activity of the week: bill paying. Oh, yes. My husband paid bills on Christmas. Not only did he pay bills on Christmas, he wrote out our 2013 budget plan that night as well.

The watch and I broke up.

Everything beautiful, precious and special about the watch, was only a memory.

You would think hearing "2013 budget" coming from my husband would just make me feel a little guilty about getting a ridiculous watch a mere 12 hours earlier. However, this small moment made me realize I had been prancing around over an item. An expensive, piece of metal. I had let myself receive some THING to somehow fulfill something inside me.

I let a watch make me feel happy, better, beautiful, satisfied, and fulfilled.

Suddenly, I felt really, really stupid. I looked at the watch and it made me ugly.

Sometimes, I get so hurried over the consumption of everyday things: I need. I want. I get. I gawk over THINGS thinking I need them to be happy. In reality, I already have everything I need. I have my husband, my kids, my family, food on the table and my home.

Everything else, is just a stupid watch: a distraction.

So, where do I go from here? Do I return the watch? Do I neglect myself the gift from my husband? Will I always look at the watch and think I succumbed to the happiness of a THING? Aren't I allowed little joys in my life that come from things?

What a list of questions to answer for myself. Questions once answered, I know, will help make me a better person in the end. A person who doesn't have to have things to feel something.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

I'm sorry, did I just say "Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins"? Oh, yes I did.

After some usual late night Pinterest last night, I left the recipe to these delicious muffins open on my phone. I wanted to be sure to remember to make them for the boys and I first thing in the morning!

I found the recipe via Sweet Pea's Kitchen. With holiday traveling, I didn't grocery shop before the we left and our fridge was looking a little barren. I thought I would look up a recipe or two for a new breakfast for the boys considering we are out of our usual. 
The boys started their morning with dry cereal and milk while I put together the muffins. After the muffins were made, David enjoyed dipping them in the butter and then cinnamon sugar.
These muffins taste nearly identical to the mini doughnuts you get at the fair! Next time, I will make them in a mini muffin pans to enhance the comparison to mini muffins.
Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oil (or melted butter)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
For the Coating:
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
In small bowl whisk together oil, sugar, egg and milk.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups.

Bake until muffin tops are a pale golden and springy to the touch, 22 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time.
While the muffins are baking, combine sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Place melted butter in a small bowl.

Once baked, shake muffins out immediately and while hot, dip in melted butter, then roll in sugar and cinnamon.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a Happy Holidays!
Still need a holiday template like this one to print and hand out at your Christmas celebrations?
Find them here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Efficiency, Re-Organizing, Prioritizing, and Maybe Burning the House Down

My life.
Sometimes, those Some-E-Cards really sum up your life, don't they?

Last night, with my feet cozy in Pete's lap, I had a mini-meltdown concerning the New Year and all the projects I hope to accomplish in 2013 (eeks, and all the projects I didn't accomplish in 2012). My complaints about the house came out in one large spew of word vomit, nothing directly related to Pete, but my concern was laid out in a very "I'm #$#)@#! serious about getting this house live able" tone.

For starters? Our house is plenty big enough to accommodate two little boys, Mom and Dad. Why do I feel like I am living in a shoe box? We are wasting so much space with furniture and storage items we never use. Goals for solving these issues?

Clean out office/storage/downstairs bedroom which will eventually be the boys' bedroom.
Remove wet bar in downstairs basement which will eventually double our downstairs living area.
Appropriately organize storage in downstairs laundry room.
Deal with the heaps of Top Drawer Vintage. <---More about that soon!
Install more pantry space in dining room.
Remove overhead hanging cabinets.
Sell or donate remaining unused furniture in garage.

Our house was built in 1967. There is so much glorious wood paneling, gold hardware, and outdated, dirty wall paper. Our house needs some major modern updating. I cannot look at it for another month. I might just burn the house down. While I am thankful the downstairs wall paper is white, we have put off removing it because it is not the worst eye sore in the house. However, day time comes and I have the down stairs shades open, I can see every dirty seam. It drives me crazy.

Removing the upstairs wall paper in 2009.
Goals for solving updating issues?

Update all cabinet hardware in kitchen.
Update appliances (this might take a few years budget-wise but at least we know we want change).
Removing wall paper in basement.
Removing most (I do like some of the paneling) wood paneling in basement and downstairs bedroom.
New closet doors.
Update door hardware in house.
Replace carpet in downstairs bedroom.

Wood paneling in downstairs hallway.

If you bought a house in the last 7 years, you are probably in the same boat as us and stuck it in. The value in our home has gone down so severely, even if we were serious about selling, we would never make it financially. Knowing it will be years before we could ever move, I am going to try to find peace this upcoming year by taking care of my home in the best way I can. There are many odds and ends projects that would make me happier about living in my house, like:

Replacing all window treatments.
Making downstairs bedroom a boys room.
Getting a new, larger kitchen table and creating a pleasant dining place.
Replacing love seat and getting a new ottoman in basement.
Getting a new duvet cover for the master bedroom.
Creating a better laundry system.
Updating faucets in bathrooms.

Of course, all of these said projects need to be completed in some sort of said budget. Did you hear my "wah-wah" from where you are reading? Shopping on a budget really is part of the fun for me. You can often find me in the aisles of stores with my coupon book, gift cards, and phone calculator out. I am one on the cheap shopper, let me tell you!

Hopefully, I can link back to this post and start crossing some of my 2013 projects off the list. I should be enjoying the last few days of the year in a non-project bliss. For come January, it is either the house or me. Only one is coming out alive...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Guest Post on Live the Fancy Life: From Braces Face to Mom Jeans

Hey all!

Check out my guest post: From Braces face to Mom Jeans on Live the Fancy Life today! Jessica, the blog writer, and party planner extraordinaire, asked about my experience with braces. We had a great time compiling the post this last week.

Be sure to check out my 8th grade yearbook photo... yikes!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Then and Now: Painting with my Kids

I am a very blessed person to have had an amazing childhood. It was nothing extravagant, as in, we didn't ever go to Disney World and we didn't get happy meals from McDonald's. My siblings and I didn't need much besides each other and our back yard. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. I know the biggest reason I decided to be a stay-at-home mom is because she was such a great one.
Painting at the kitchen table as a kid.
I want to give my kids the same experience I had. I want them to grow up knowing they will always have each other. Not that kids don't get that without stay-at-home moms, but I only know what I know, and I do things the same way my own mom has. So far, our life is exactly how I hoped it would be.
Yes, I wish my husband was home more, but so did my mom. There are hand fulls of things I would change about our life, but overall, we are happy and we are together.
There are plenty of days when I know I could be doing more, doing better as a mom. We have so much time together, I should be utilizing as much as I can of it for learning. Some days, I just get lazy. It is easier to do what we always do. Sometimes I think, is more work to be creative.
Well, it really isn't more work to be creative.

In my case, it just meant grabbing paints instead of our usual color crayon box yesterday. This 45 minute, washable craft, left me in pure bliss. I just sat with my coffee, watching David paint and discover all the new sensations and creativity that comes with it. James is still too little for paints, but he still participated with crayons!

Afterwards, the kids took baths and we had lunch together. Then it was nap time. It was a fun, easily transitioned morning and I need to remember how easy it is to do something different for a change. While it was just paints, the small adjustment  made our ordinary day, extrordinary. Think of all the possibilities out there to help our kids learn by tweaking ordinary crafts here and there! There are so many things to do and so little time to do them.
Did you do something fun with your kids yesterday?
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