Friday, March 27, 2015

7 Quick Takes: sleep saboteurs, netflix, and special days

Joining Kelly for quick takes because it's Friday and I have a killer sleep hangover, perfect for blogging!

1) Have you ever wondered if your children convene for secret meetings where they hatch plots against your sleep? I have always wondered this and after last night I am pretty sure of it. I'm fairly certain that Lucy is the meeting leader and I picture her at the head of their little school table smoking a cigar and planning out the strategic wake times so that they will overlap as perfectly as possible so as to never actually let me sleep longer than 5 minutes.

2) I imagine that confusing graphs and flow charts exist mapping out the various times that each will wake and for what amount of time, only they wouldn't actually make any sense.

All I know is that Lucy seems to be the ring leader and the one most willing to be awake for the longest amount of time and causing entirely too much commotion to let anyone with ears sleep (disrobing entirely, screaming for cheese, opening the curtains, and the like for a solid 2 hours). And Joseph did an impeccable job of waking up to nurse at each end of her wake time, timing it just so that he started screaming the minute that I actually started to fall back asleep. Even though the older 2 weren't actually awake in the middle of the night, they made sure to do their part by getting up extra early and needing things from me so that all told I clocked a whopping 4 hours of highly interrupted sleep and honestly, I'm not even mad, just impressed as their strategy.


You better BELIEVE that I am hitting the Netflix streaming hard today and completely throwing in the "homeschool" towel- hence the blogplaining. The Fox and the Hound came in real handy at 6 a.m. and requests have already been made for this favorite and with the amount of screaming I currently hear coming from the bowels of the house I am thinking of saying YES.

4) My secret streaming of the Office has died down significantly because I got through the best of it and I am thinking of moving on to some Gilmore Girls. A glut of Friends has been consumed by me and Mike, and we gave Parenthood a go but decided it wasn't for us. What are you watching?

5) Joseph Pio had his big feast day last Thursday, followed quickly by Naomi's birthday on Monday and then another feast day on Wednesday, meaning that I am avoiding our scale at all costs until enough damage control can be done. So much for Lenten penance!

Handmade by Meg K // Chocolate Graham Cracker Eclair cake I would eat you a thousand more times // You like how my balloon + gift set up is the same every single year, don't you? I knew it.

6) You may have noticed that it is giveaway month here on zee blog, and if you are not into giveaways I am sorry and maybe just come back in April. The Bloggers Who Craft giveaway ends tomorrow and I am so excited see who wins and also maybe a little bit jealous of that person. The giveaway train will be running on this giveaway for another week and there is yet another coming up soon that I am also super excited about, so stay tuned!

7) I feel like I owe it to the weather to simultaneously praise it but mostly complain about it for this last take because this morning it was snowing (wtf- that's the complaining part) but just last week we were picnicing in 70 degree weather, oh sweet sweet sunshine, please come back.

I really just wanted to put this picture here because Joseph's hat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's in Your Easter Basket? {with a giveaway!}

This may come as a shock to you but... wait for it... we don't give up sweets for Lent in the Hahn home. I'll give you a second to process that and catch your breath or clean up any liquids inadvertently expelled from the shock.

I know, it's cray. And maybe it's a lazy thing or maybe it's that I don't like doing what everybody else is doing (I'll do a whole 30 in 5 years when it's not cool anymore), but in the case of the kids it is mostly that I just don't think they are at an age where they would get much out of the "sacrifice", plus we really need sweets as incentives for good behavior during the day. Good parents R Us.

And while this does not make our Easter any less glorious and beautiful and exciting, it does mean that the girls baskets are not brimming with processed sugar the way they would be if they had just gone without for 40 days. It also means that I need to really step it up in the creativity department in basket-planning and I am not going to lie, I am a little stumped.

So far I have little packets of Annie's bunny crackers and fabric to make them some cute homemade skirts, but other than that I am really in need of some ideas- that's the part where I need YOU. Help!

And since I am taking advantage of the ever abundant wisdom of the best readers ever, I am also here to give you a couple of great ideas for your baskets this Easter with a bonus giveaway at the end!

Here you go:

Lindsay's beautiful hand made blocks.

Lindsay is a good friend of mine whose husband used to do PhD work at Notre Dame with Mike and Lindsay recently started an etsy shop where she fashions the most adorable blocks with images of Saints and they are just wonderful.

This is the set that she sent over for us to try out, and she very appropriately sent all of our favorite saints, for whom our children are named.

But if you are really looking for a great addition to your Easter basket I would highly recommend her deluxe Easter blocks. I am serious, click over and LOOK AT THESE- the most perfect Easter gift ever.

Aren't they the cutest? Get at it!

And next but not least:

Have you ever thought to yourself that you don't to a great job of explaining correlations between the Old and New Testaments to your little kids? Me neither, but when my mother-in-law gifted me this book and I read it to the girls I realized that I had, indeed, been doing a terrible job.

The End of the Fiery Sword is hands down one of the (if not THE) best Catholic childrens' book I own and I use it frequently as a part of our Catechetical lessons here at home.

Maura McKeegan is the author and I felt kind of star-struck when I realized that she wrote the book because I have seen her from a distance at Mass in Steubenville, which I realize does not mean that I know her, but still.

She does a really wonderful job of clearly, and in a way that even my 4-year-old can understand, showing how the New Testament is hidden in the Old and how the Old is revealed in the New Testament in and through Christ. No small task if you ask me.

If we didn't already have a copy I would be snatching one or two up for the girls baskets this Easter, but we do so instead I am giving 2 readers the opportunity to snatch one up for free here. Enter in the rafflecopter below and even if you don't win, head over and get your copy because it is a great book and SO worth every cent.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bloggers Who Craft Spring Fever GIANT Giveaway

Say what you will about mom blogging, but I am going to go ahead and say that it has been an absolutely huge blessing to me since I took the plunge roughly 3.5 years ago. I have made countless friends both online and in real life through the blog and it has been a great place for solidarity and encouragement.

In honor of the goodness that is mom blogging, in honor of the amazing fellow bloggers and especially the fabulous readers and in honor of crafting for others, I give you:

I am really, really excited about this because gifts! and handmade things! and you might get them all! That's right, one very lucky lady (or gent who would not need to buy a gift for his lady for at least another year) will win some great handmade goods and while the collage gives you the deats, here they are some extra tidbits and close-ups:

1) Katrina of Cedars and Tiny Flowers has an etsy shop called Hatch Prints in the works and her prints are gorgeous! This beautiful watercolor is one that she shared with all the ladies at the recent blogging conference and everyone was, as they should be, super impressed.

She hand paints her quotes and then digitizes them and prints them on super classy paper and they are really beautiful, I can't wait for her shop to open!

2) Cassie of Kent Heartstrings is a friend of mine from college and I never knew back then of her penchant for fun and awesome crafts. Her blog is full of so many fun DIY ideas and guess what?! Her etsy shop it now open! Head over there and look at her adorable creations. She is graciously giving away one of her bright and fun bead necklaces and a spring weave that will brighten your home and life.

3) Nell of Whole Parenting Family is the queen of quality organic handmade wonderfulness. She recently started selling handmade lady leggings in her shop and they are on my birthday wish list, they are beautiful. She is so sweet and giving away one of her contour cloths and one of her bandit bibs, which are incidentally the cutest bibs ever (exact fabric TBD)

4) Jenna from Call Her Happy makes embroidered necklaces that are some of the most unique and pretty handmaid items on Etsy, in my opinion. I bought one for my sister last year and she immediately fell in love- they are just perfect. They are the perfect size and so intricate and detailed. Jenna is generously giving this beautiful flower necklace to the lucky winner.

5) I do not have an online shop, but I love me some sanity sewing time and I love you readers. I am a little obsessed with the fact that Spring has officially begun today, warm weather is right around the corner and I am all about Spingy scarves right now, so I made some for you!

I don't get to reply to every comment and I know I won't get to meet every wonderful lady who reads this blog in person, so this is my little thank you and I am only sorry that I can't make a "Thank You Scarf" for each and every one of you.

So that's that! This is the mammoth mother of all Spring Time Giveaways and you should absolutely get on it and tell all of your friends and mothers and sisters and daughters and you get it.

Happy spring and happy Rafflecoptering!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 15, 2015

SAHM gone wild

Maybe it's the sun and tropical 40 and 50 degree weather we're having, or maybe it's that Mike never travels so when he does this get weird, but this weekend was a real test as to whether I can really hold my own as the mama bear without the aid of her ever loving male counterpart.

Day one went a little something like, a little something like this:

Mike departed Friday evening and naturally all the kids' little "mom is doing this ALL ALONE" radars started beeping loudly around 2 in the form of Joseph and his never satiated need to nurse, but that's ok because he's a baby and I want him to stay one forever.

However there was no excuse at all for Lucy and Bernadette both getting up and excreting various bodily fluids and keeping me up for a solid 2 hours only to be exiled to the couch to sleep the rest of the night while Lucy took over my room.

Either way, they knew, but I was not about to let that ruin the next day.

Behold my wild motherly escapades, which I never would have done on a normal weekend, but which were made possible due to the huge burst of adrenaline at the thought that I HAD to conquer this weekend just to prove that I could.

First, a morning trip out to breakfast at a local quaint dive:

After which I actually got compliments about how well be have my kids were. (CUE SILENT SCREAM). I was amazed.

Mike had the idea recently when I went out for the day to make a daily list to follow so that if the girls start to demand lots of other stuff you can just hearken back to the list, which was hallowed in their minds once it's on the chalk board. And it worked!

They cleaned- because it was on the list. They colored- because it was on the list. They watched a movie that was perhaps a little above their age level (think overly graphic historical cartoonage of a man being tared and feathered, they were only a little scared)- because it was on the list. We did not get to the zoo thanks to Joseph's weird napping, and because it was on the list, it took some serious bribery of other activities to talk them down, they have no respect for the question mark.

I offered a consolation prize of the dollar store after I made them trek through the fabric store to grab some fabric to try my hand at one of these, and all was well.

Then they watched another movie, which is likely the explanation as to why the day went so well -- thank you brain numbing screen time!-- and I made these cookies which are absolutely the very BEST EVER chocolate chip cookies in the entire world.

I retract the other recipe that I posted last year entirely, these win EVERY SINGLE TIME. I would not use so many capital letters if I wasn't very serious about this. Then I decided that I would do the unthinkable and catch up on laundry, bake cinnamon rolls (no at all unthinkable), and sew after the girls went down, which was more productivity than I need in my life so I think I will just take the next week off.

So the first day was too good, and now it's Sunday and I am done thanks to more of Lucy's shenanigans for several hours last night and now she is in her crib protesting naps with cries that "it's just NOT fair!!" and I am mourning the fact that I didn't make a preemptive purchase of some liquor yesterday because now it's Sunday and I can't.

Come back soon, dear husband. Come back soon.

Friday, March 13, 2015

if the apron fits

Last week I found a year old grocery list in the pocket of an old purse that had my weekly list of meals written on it and do want to know a secret? It was the exact same list of meals that I made the week before and the week before that and the week before that and on and on and you get it.

There is a great dearth of creativity in my culinary attempts, which is why when the folks of Blue Apron offered to sponsor a post (this post!!) for this very boring chef I gladly jumped on the opportunity.

What is Blue Apron? Glad you asked.

Blue Apron is a meal service which allows you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes a home by delivering all the farm-fresh ingredients you need to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions. 

With no trips to the grocery. 

Sorry I was a little excited about that one.
Are you in love yet? Maybe this will help:

Blue apron offers a 2-Person Plan and a Family Plan and while the family plan says it feeds a family of four, we had leftovers after feeding me, Mike and the 3 girls for both of the meals I cooked. The price per person is $8.74, which is a great deal for such amazing, fresh food.

And I mean fresh.

The help that they offered in the creativity department is heretofore unmatched for me, especially with the meal that I made on Friday, and while I'm sure they had no idea that we go meatless on Fridays, they were oh so helpful and sent not only a no-meat meal that is something other than mac n' cheese (my Friday dinner go-to) BUT sent something that was absolutely delicious: the tomato baked Cod with bulgur, lemon and almond Tabbouleh pictured above (please don't tell anyone that I had no idea what "Tabbouleh" even was before last Friday. Wait, I just did. Crap)

I would never in a million years have thought to put golden raisins in my tomato sauce but you better bet that I will be doing it every single time I make it from now until I die. Scouts honor. 

Everything is delivered in a refrigerated box so the ingredients stay nice and fresh and they would have stayed cold for hours more with all the ice packs they put in there.

They offer an amazing selection of recipes, each ranging from 500-700 calories, which my post-partum pooch greatly thanks them for. AND there is no commitment in signing up. 

The first 25 readers will get two meals off their first Blue Apron order free!

 So CLICK HERE and get on it, your palette with thank you and anyone else you're feeding!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

let's talk scarves and spring {a giveaway!}

Spring spring spring. Glorious, beautiful spring. Glorious, beautiful, confusing spring.

This time of year is the best for a number of reasons-- the temperatures are out of the depressing sub-zero range and everyone's instagram feeds are chalk full of pictures of their cute kids running around outside in the SUN-- THE SUN!

But one thing you notice in every picture is that the kids and moms are still clad in coats and hats because, while spring is indeed around the corner, it is still intermingled with days that are mostly in the 40s and most mornings around these parts start out in the 30s, no matter how warm it is going to get. So what's a SAHM to do when getting herself all dressed and ready to go to the park for the first time in 5 months?

Enter cute, spring time scarves and sweet Lauren's shop of adorable and super affordable selection of warm but springy neck gear.

Here are my top 3 picks:

mint + elephants // orange with white birds // polka dots

I also love all the paisley and boho prints she has too and all the scarves are made of super soft fabric and are nice and big, so they will actually do the double duty of warmth and accessorizing.

And guess what? Lauren has graciously offered to give away one scarf of your choosing to a lucky reader so do up the rafflecopter and best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

they're killing me

Once upon a time I was a 25-year-old mother to 2 babies 19 months old and 3 weeks old. The shock of all that had just happened-- birthing yet another human via a major abdominal surgery and the fact that in real life your mom and mother-in-law aren't live-in nannies-- had just hit me.

After I had Naomi I had thought to myself (and maybe yelled once at Mike) that there was NO WAY! we could have more kids- this was just too hard! But then when Naomi was a geriatric 9-month-old I became pregnant and cried and worried and rejoiced and another baby came.

But now it was serious. 2 babies who needed me allllllll the time, one a newborn who could not be counted on to sleep through the night or nap at a scheduled time and by the end of most days I was crying and telling Mike over and over again that we would have to wait a LONG time before we did this again. I needed a break. I needed hours, or even one hour, to myself.

Me time- where was it? I needed it bad. Finally when Bernadette was an older baby I got my nap time back, they both had a bed time and I could breath again. I still wanted a little more of a break between babies so I could bask in some of the rare but needed attention to myself, to keep off the baby weight a little longer, but mostly to gain some much needed virtue before subjecting another person to my short temper and self centered tendencies.

I remember confiding in my spiritual director that I could not imagine having any more kids until I became a better person. I am not sure if he said this or not, but I remember thinking to myself that maybe bearing and rearing children was the very thing that would help me to be a better person. Now 2 more kids later I think I am beginning to see that this is entirely true for me.

Since Joseph's birth I've said the words "you're killing me!" at least a thousand times to the kids during the day. Nap times no longer exist and 1 o'clock rolls around and I have been taking care of a baby and a toddlers and homeschooling the older ones and I feel like I am done, but Joseph needs to be held and rocked because he's fussy and sick- "you're killing me", I tell him as I kiss him.

Lucy is a 2-year-old who is difficult to understand but turns to high pitched screaming if she doesn't get the thing she was requesting that I didn't give her because I couldn't hear what she was saying- the screaming starts, my heart rate sky rockets, and I declare to her that she is "killing me!". Naomi and Bernadette get in another screaming hitting fight over which one gets into the car first, I settle it, get in the driver's seat and bury my exhausted face in my hands and whisper "Lord, they are killing me".

And they are. They are killing me. They are killing the old Ana who could not imagine not having 2-3 hours in the day to whatever she wanted to do, the Ana who was SURE she could never handle a baby with colic, the Ana who needed at least 8 hours of sleep every night. They're killing the Ana loving Ana and even though it is harder than I ever thought it would be, I couldn't be happier about it.

 It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20) 

I can only pray that a tiny bit of what Saint Paul was talking about is happening to me through this vocation, through these beautiful, redeeming crosses called children, which I attempt to happily and lovingly take up daily.