Friday, December 2, 2016

What Internet?

Just like that it is December and haven't linked up with Kelly in weeks. Remedying that now.

1) One nice thing about life being  almost too stressful for me to handle is that I unintentionally unplug from all Internet things in a desperate attempt to just survive life. Don't go picturing me sipping cocoa whilst reading classics surrounded my loving offspring, don't picture anything very peaceful or quiet for that matter. It's accidental and I miss ye old blog, and Instagram, and adult interaction. Ok you get it.

2) Following my last post I fell down the rabbit hole of scouring Craigs list for couches and hot glue gunning all the things I could find that could be hot glue gunned. We found couches AND a dining set that actually fits our entire family plus guests and I spent last Saturday evening helping Mike move furniture, which my embarrassingly weak muscles are just now recovering from. I had the brilliant idea to make and glue gun little curtains (and bed spreads, pillows and table cloths. Yikes) to the girls doll house...

Then I took it one step further and staged a family photo of their wooden doll family, framed it and glue gunned it to the doll house living room wall. I have serious problems.

3) We've had some weird virus going through our house which only causes a fever and nothing else, but the fevers are scary high and Lucy's has already resulted in one ER visit. Of course by the time we got there the previously administered Tylenol had finally kicked in and they sent her home with the advice "keep up with the Tylenol!" Money well spent right there.

4) Joe had the high fever last week just in time for thanksgiving, but that didn't stop us from celebrating, or more accurately it didn't stop me from taking my glue gun to as many random table decorations as was possible and drinking mulled wine all day.

5) In keeping with my bad liturgical living I erected our Christmas tree the very day after thanksgiving and let the kids watch Christmas movies the entire weekend.

You see those pine cone decorations? I found a tree downtown with loads of pine cones under it and went to town filling bags like a crazy lady, then spray painted them gold and then (wait for it...) glue gunned them together and glue gunned a bow on them. I'm the Gayle Waters-Waters of the glue gun.

6) Fred turned 5 months some time after I last posted and I've staged several photo shoots in an attempt to get a good one for an 8x10 to frame and hang. Which do you vote for?

 I say #2

7) I'm off to attempt a lunch time hot cocoa party to boost the morale of the troops, wish me luck. Happy Advent!

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Finer Things Club and So Much Fall {Quick Takes!}

Linking up my my girl, Kelly!

1: I'm going back almost 2 weeks with this one-- All Saint's Day!!

The girls changed their minds approximately 50 times about which saints they were going to be, but in the end they went with Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Saint Lucy. I went ahead and just sewed some fabric eye balls this year because this is the 3rd year in a row someone has decided on being Saint Lucy and I figure at this point we should just have them for the costume box (hashtag things only Catholic moms do). Poor Joe couldn't join us for the party at the local parish because it started at 1:30- aka smack dab in the middle of nap time- and if you know me you know I will never- never- forfeit that time for anything. Ever. Lucy for us the college Mike is working at now gave the faculty All Saints Day off (hashtag things only Catholic colleges do) so Joe napped his heart out and then had a fun filled afternoon complete with riding the tractor on dad's lap.

So fun was had by all.

3: Mike and I got back on the Great British Baking show train and just finished the latest season which explains why I've completely stopped losing any baby weight. Seriously, you cannot watch the show without eating during it, and it turns me into a crazy baking fiend. We finished the season last week and within one week I made the following:


A Roulade, A Dutch Apple Pie, and Donuts

I have a problem and I need help.

4: Speaking of problems...

We have a bit of a leaf problem in our back yard. That pile took me more than an hour of raking with the baby strapped on, and they juuuust keeeeeep falling.

5: Fall in this town is absolutely gorgeous. We ventured out twice in the last week to this beautiful lookout up one of "mountains" and it was pretty ugly, I mean stunning.

6: We had our first tea party in our new house, I'm a really big fan of tea parties.

The girls wouldn't let Joe come unless he wore his special jacket, thus marks his official induction into the Finer Things Club.

7: I'll leave you with that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

8 Great Gifts for Saint Nick's Day {+ a giveaway!}

I am always a wee bit embarrassed to admit this in Catholic circles, but I get super excited when all the Christmas stuff gets busted out immediately after Halloween. I got all squeely and excited with the girls last week that we were only about 1 month away from putting up our tree (!!!!). I know it's absurd but I've always been a little bit Buddy-Elfish in terms of my love for all things Christmas and it always takes a looooot of effort to enter into the spirit of Advent, with all of its waiting.

Said no one, ever.

We also cheat a little here because we do our gifting to each other on Saint Nicholas day, because we will always travel to be with our extended families for Christmas. So this is my big prep time for gifting, and while I am always very open to taking any and all recommendations in the liturgical area around this time of year, I figured I'd bang out a little list of some good, simple, liturgically appropriate Saint Nicholas gift ideas. This is NOT a sponsored post.

1: My Little Catechism. This would be a really great Saint Nicholas gift for a child and would be a wonderful aid in early catechetical formation. It works in a question-answer format, which I always love for kids, and the illustrations are so sweet. I'm super excited to use it for sacramental prep for Bernadette next year too.

2: A Missal for Toddlers. I LOVE this little book. I have never seen a missal for toddlers that actually brings in concrete parts of the Mass for teaching, without being overwhelming. Joseph legitimately loves it and asks to read it daily, and since it makes sure to highlight the importance of good behavior in Mass I am hoping it will start to go to his head very soon.At Mass this week he held it while he sang "holy, holy" and while it was not even close to the right part of Mass for him to be singing, it was pretty much the cutest.

3: The Christmas Star. I really like Maite Roche's illustrations, and this book is perfect for very little ones who can't sit for too long (I'm looking at you Joe) or if you've got a squirmy nursing baby who doesn't permit long stints of reading (ahem, Fred).

4: My First Prayers for Christmas. Joe got this book for his first Christmas and it's still a favorite around here.  The little prayers are really beautiful and while I think that this one and A Christmas Star would probably be better Christmas gifts than Saint Nicholas, God will probably still love you of you gifted them early. Probably.

5: Lucia: Saint of Light. I first saw this book on Elizabeth's blog and since she is pretty much the read aloud queen, all I needed was her OK to go for it as one of little Lucy's 4th birthday gifts, and we really love it. It would also be so perfect for a Saint Nicholas day gift since the feast of Saint Lucy comes soon after that. It is a wonderful mix of a retelling of the life of Saint Lucy and the origins of all the traditions surrounding her feast.

6: Roses in the Snow. I happened upon this on Amazon and it's another beautifully written and illustrated saint story and since there's a lot of snow in it it feels pretty seasonally apt.

7: Advent at Ephesus. I love Christmas music with all my heart. As a kid, a middle schooler, a high schooler and a college student I was always listening primarily to Christmas music as soon as the first signs of fall were showing themselves until at least New Years. However, this is probably the thing that effects how I approach the season the most and so with the exception of Charlie Brown's Christmas soundtrack, I stick with Advent at Ephesus almost exclusively and it is THE best Advent must-have I've found. The advent hymns are sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles and they are absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.

8: A Gospel Advent Calendar. This is definitely the neatest little Advent calendar I've seen yet. Each day has a Gospel reading to go with it, and the little companion booklet has little meditations for the day as well. My favorite part is that it doesn't end with Christmas, but include the Epiphany, the feast of the Holy Family, and the Presentation. If you'd like to score one of these for free, enter the giveaway below, and happy Advent preparation time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 27, 2016

totes, plants and homeschooling miracles {early 7 for the win!}

Linking up with Kelly a tad early for a change.

1) One of the saddest parts about moving away from South Bend has been missing one of my very closest besties, Katrina. You probably know her from her stellar work in her Hatch Prints shop, (but if my some crazzzzzy chance you don't, go forth!), but I had the JOY of being good friends with her IRL, hence the sadness at not being within a 5 minute drive anymore. Anyways, she sent me this tote and I am in love:

It's new to her shop so if you're looking for a gift or just an awesome tote for yourself you should TOTES get at it. (winky eyed emojis all over)

2) Last weekend I got to go to a talk by a couple of ladies in the community here (one was my wonderful next door neighbor!) all about decorating and now I am kind of obsessed with finding small affordable ways to make this home prettier. It's a great house, but it's a little bit straight out of the late 90s, early 2000s. Since we bought for size and locale we kind of have no budget for decor whatsoever, but a little thrifting and spray painting here and there never hurt anyone.
I found this planter at a little local thrift store and see succulents were $1.30 a piece at the store (!!!) and I luuuuv them.

3) I am about to fall down the rabbit hole of spray painting as many of our some what horrible polished brass light fixtures as I can with 1 bottle of primer and 2 of paint. Mike is THRILLED at my new found enthusiasm (smell that? It's so much sarcasm).

4) I worked my behind off to try to get a cute picture of Fred for our Christmas card/birth announcement/moving announcement and in the end I got a bunch that I loved...

But I'm not using any for the card.
I would call it a waste of time except that I got this one of Fred and Joe out of it and I crack up every time I look at it.

5) My sister the Christmas Card Maker Extraordinaire did put together a super lovely little thing for us and lest you think I am actually on the ball for getting it done early (is this even early? we usually don't even do a Christmas card): this is a birth announcement. Fred was born in June. So no, I'm not. I love the card though:

I definitely recommend my sister's etsy shop cards or invites for all occasions, she's kind of a boss at it.

6) Bernadette is really taking off with reading and I have to say that teaching a kid to read feels just as good the second time around as it did the first.

No wait, it feels better because this time there was a pregnancy, a move and more kids around so it's basically a miracle.

7) I'm sure that was more than you bargained for, so... done!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chocolate *Pumpkin* Chip Cookies {+my all time fav chocolate chip cookie recipe!}

I am not and will never claim to be a food blogger. I am the lamest when it comes to creativity with meals and I generally just cook what I know the kids will eat. However, I definitely do have a soft spot for baking a good batch of cookies and ever since I found THE recipe I don't even have to look at it anymore when I make them, it's good and memorized.

I know everybody has their recipe that they love, but I have to say that this soft batch chocolate chip cookie recipe from Averie Cooks is literally a never fail recipe. I have never ever baked them and had them not come out chewy and delicious-- even when I've accidentally over baked them!!

So while the recipe I am sharing right now is adapted by me, it is based on Averie Cooks chocolate chip cookie recipe and I HIGHLY recommend you hop over and bake hers and then go ahead and memorize her recipe because you'll never need another. Also just plan on always have a pack of cream cheese in the fridge for baking.

Ok back to the recipe at hand ....

Also I know absolutely nothing about food photography, but I had a very rare quiet morning today and I just so happen to have a mini pumpkin and some brown fabric around so I went ahead and did a little photo shoot.

I had been seeing packages of pumpkin spice chips at the end of the baking aisles on my weekly grocery outings since I am the biggest sucker ever for all things pumpkin in the fall I finally gave in and threw them in  my cart this week. I typically go for a pumpkin chocolate chip cookies but these seemed like a nice inverse of that sentiment.

I used Averie's chocolate chip cookie recipe as a starting point and then tweaked some parts and come out with these.

Chocolate Pumpkin Chip Cookies
Preheat your oven to 350
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with non stick cooking spray
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I also made one batch using regular white sugar and they were great)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4-1/3 cup cocoa powder (depending on how chocolaty you want them)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
1 cup pumpkin spice chips

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350, cool and enjoy.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finally Four

A few months after Lucy turned 3 she started protesting naps, hard core. At some point I began using the explanation "when you turn 4, you don't have to nap anymore!", which placated her for the tiniest bit of time before she started explaining to me that she "already turned 4!!" I am positive that there were a few months in this year where she was convinced she had turned 4 already. It didn't help that I gave in on the nap front somewhere toward the end of Fred's pregnancy because I just needed to nap and not be fighting the nap battle so blessed screen time took the place of slumber for Lucy well before her 4th birthday.

For the entire week leading up to her birthday she woke up every morning looking for birthday balloons and presents and asking most confusedly "is today I'm turning 4?" Those were her exact words. I have never experienced such a huge build up to a child's birthday like I did for this one, and then when the day actually came, about every 2 hours she would ask "is it STILL my birthday?!?" At one point she got so excited and said something like "this is the longest birthday ever!!" Time in the mind of a 3-year-old is something else.

Her big gift was a Betta fish, I had her open his food first and then we had to go look for him and she was super surprised and so excited. She named him Juan Diego and HE IS AWESOME.

We decided to make the trek to the National Zoo because back when we did the Chicago Zoo Lucy was in heaven and asked for months afterward if we could go back, so I thought that this would make her similarly happy.

It was actually a total disaster. The kids were awful (I'm looking at you, Joe), but really they were all terrible and the traffic was a bear and I felt really bad for spending so much of her birthday in the car.

You live and you learn and we learned that our kids don't deserve fun things.

Kidding. A little.

But the rest of the day was nice, the weather was beautiful and I put together this little birthday cake+cupcake cones display for Lucy and she was absolutely thrilled.

She requested frozen Jen nuggets and French fries (I might have planted the idea there because I am the picture of selflessness and good nutrition) and a viewing of Jack Frost (the claymation version, not the horror movie or that weird Michael Keaton one) because we like to keep our kids on their seasonal toes.

 All in all it was a really fun day and I would say it met all of her highly anticipated expectations.

Friday, October 14, 2016

hair station, first pets and unibrows {QTs!}

Time for some very speedy takes with Kelly this Friday, because I have approximately 13.5 minutes or less before all witching hour hell breaks loose.

1) Yesterday I attempted to take the kids on a nature hike in the woods behind our backyard.

I am not joking at all when I say that it lasted about 1 minute and 45 seconds from the time we walked into the woods-- which were incidentally extremely cluttered with our neighbors trash and mowed grass-- to the time we headed back to the yard. I was willing to venture past the trash and grass but then I stepped into some ridiculous bush that covered my legs with weird brown things and I am not at all into nature enough to be ok with that so we turned around and settled for a walk on the street to find rocks.

2) I went for my free Hair Station cut today and I still have hair on my head so that's good! Seriously though, I was definitely the youngest person there by about 20 or 30 years and while the woman was cutting my hair she started sharing with me about how "she never went to beauty school" but rather she "trained under her aunt" (why she thought her aunt would instill any confidence in me I am still trying to figure out). I just needed a trim so I figured worst case scenario I would just do some clean up when I got home, and while there are a few giant chunks substantially shorter on my right side than the left, I am just leaving them and counting it as a lesson in humility.

Real Lesson: unless you need a shampoo and perm, maybe go somewhere other than Hair Station.
What's that you say? You want Hair Station after picks? Oh, ok.

I know, it's not that bad, but if you were in front of me you would see the disparity in length between the 2 sides.

3) Here's another closer picture of it with a Fred strapped on during a really lovely outing today to get all of Lucy's birthday things because she is finally turning 4 tomorrow!

I say finally because she has literally been saying that "she already turned 4" for at least 6 months now. I feel like a legit parent now because I actually bought our first Hahn family pet for Lucy for this birthday because she wanted a fish and of all the pets in the world that is probably the only one Mike and I are both semi-ok with. It's a betta and it's bright purple and I kind of already love it. We are venturing out to the National Zoo in D.C. in honor of her 4th year of life and I am more than a little excited because I love animals as long as they're contained in zoos.

4) I carved a pumpkin with the kids last weekend and accidentally gave it a pretty decent unibrow:

Mike was really proud of his name for it the "Joe-Flacco-Lantern", and I was pretty proud that my growth in NFL love made it so that I actually thought that was hilarious.

5) I am making these for Lucy tomorrow

Image source same as recipe source.
And I am also probably more excited than she is about it.

6) Can some other fellow homeschooling moms who also have 2-year-old boys underfoot PLEASE tell me what to do with Joe while I attempt school with the girls? I have turned to Little Einsteins in desperation and the number of hours he has logged since we've begun school is a little, nay A LOT, embarrassing and I hate just having him sit in front of the TV, but if he writes on one more surface with crayon I might just lose it. Help!

7) Joseph has discovered a new love of taking pictures with me on my ipad. I think he just likes to look at himself, little narcissist that he is.

Fred be like "somebody shoot me, please"