Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Plans vs. What I Really Did Today

Let's start off with my plans for today:

  • Have a healthy breakfast & get girls up and ready
  • Take Gabrielle to school
  • Go to Y for fitness orientation & workout
  • Quick stop by pet store {to fulfill promise to Samantha since she likes to look at the fish and other animals}
  • Home; shower; lunch
  • Clean bathroom & steam mop kitchen floor
  • Maybe get some paperwork, budget, etc. accomplished
  • Get dance stuff ready & make "picnic" dinner
  • Pick up G from school
  • Dance class for girls 
  • Home; bedtime {for girls}
  • Read
Now here is my day as it actually happened:

  • Woke up & put workout clothes on
  • No breakfast for me - unless you count the two large cups of coffee {played my turn on Words with Friends game vs. my mom}
  • Took Gabrielle to school
  • Home - because Samantha did not wake up in time to eat breakfast before taking G to school
  • Sat at computer, read a few emails, wrote a blog post, read a few other blogs {and checked facebook a few times}
  • Decided I was not going to the Y today
  • Showered & dressed in comfortable clothes
  • Quick, early lunch
  • Library with Samantha - spent twice as long as intended but found some great books for the girls
  • Quick Not so quick trip to the pet store {the girl does not get tired of looking at fish, especially the "baby Nemo's", snakes and rats!!}
  • Trip to Home Goods to get some inspiration for our master bedroom redecorating project {found a lot more than just inspiration - think I'll be making another trip on Saturday!!}
  • Rushed home to throw together sandwiches, goldfish and chips
  • Quickly changed Samantha into dance clothes
  • Rushed to school to pick up G
  • Dance
  • Exhausted, rushed home
  • Finally got girls in bed
  • Watching American Idol while I type and finally
  • BED!!
To say the least, the day did not go quite as planned. While I did not get much on my to-do list checked off, Samantha and I had some good chill out, hanging out time and other than the crazy rush this afternoon and again tonight, it was a pretty good day. Everything that did not get done today of course rolls over to the weekend to-do list and maybe a few items will even get done.

Making Life Too Hard

Q: Are you waiting for a Genius to tell you that you already have everything you need? Are you making it too hard? What are you waiting for?

That is the question posed at the end of a blog post I read the other day during my lunch break at work. Reading the article brought on what Oprah would call an "A-ha" moment. 

Self-doubt and negative thoughts have me convinced I am not capable of doing a lot of things I dream of doing. Comparing myself and my skills and talents to others has also done a number on my confidence.

I am tired of missing out on dream opportunities. And I no longer want to rely on the world's reassurance and confidence boost to motivate me to "go for it."

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life.” 2 Peter 1:3

It is time I convince myself God has already given me all I need. It is time I stop making everything too hard. It is time I stop taking the easy route in life because taking the easy way probably will not bring the true happiness and joy God's way will.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Homemade Pancake Mix

We love pancakes. Especially the girls. They are forever wanting pancakes for breakfast. We love having pancakes for dinner around here too. I don't mind terribly using a pre-made mix when in a pinch but I definitely prefer homemade pancakes. But let's face it sometimes I am just too tired or in too much of a hurry, like in the mornings getting ready for school and work, to measure out everything and make pancakes from scratch. So when I stumbled upon this recipe, I got a little excited.

When planning out our menu for the week I wanted pancakes one night for dinner. On days I go into the office none of us get home before 5:00. The evenings always feel rushed. I need quick dinners to make and preferably dinners with easy cleanup as well. Breakfast for dinner always is a good option to meet that criteria.

This week I wanted lemon blueberry pancakes. So I went to my latest go-to website for new recipes - Pinterest of course. One of my search results was for lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes. Sounded even better! I went to the recipe source and that is when I stumbled upon the homemade pancake mix. The creator of this lemon ricotta blueberry pancake makes a batch of her own buttermilk pancake mix.

So last night I mixed up my dry ingredients for the mix.

And today I added the wet ingredients and the "flavor" ingredients.

The pancakes were a hit. A BIG hit!! As in between the 4 of us we ate I believe 21 pancakes!! We have ZERO leftover.

I still have enough of the mix for probably 3 more batches of pancakes. I may have to double up on the mix next time around.

And to top it off - did you know today is National Blueberry Pancake Day??? I had no idea - honestly. I just stumbled upon that little fact earlier today and had to laugh at the coincidence.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Not the Sunday I Had in Mind

Well the good news is N.C. State beat UNC last night!!! Go pack!!! Of course, in usual Pack fashion, they made the end of the game a nail-biter. I was in bed, pulling the covers up over my eyes most of the time. I just couldn't watch - yet I had to see the game!!

Today is the first Sunday in what feels like quite a while that we have been home and not had anywhere to do - after getting home from church in the morning of course. Last weekend the girls and I were at my mom's and we had a very relaxing Sunday afternoon and evening then. I think that is why I was really looking forward to this afternoon. I had dreams of lounging on the bed under my afghan, reading, maybe watching a movie, in a warm quiet house.

There are times when my girls amaze me. Times they can play quietly and nicely with each other. No fighting. No crying. No whining. Even times when maybe they are not wanting to play together but each do their own thing, staying out of the other's way. It's absolute bliss during those times.

Today has not been one of those amazing times. Sadly it has been a constant fight, argument, hurt feelings, tears. Definitely not nice or quiet. Our Sunday school lesson this morning was The Golden Rule. The girls are in different classes but with very similar lessons. They can both tell you all about the Golden Rule. What it is. What it means. Give you examples of practicing the Golden Rule. But apparently this afternoon they decided not to practice the Golden Rule - at all. 

So my dreams of a relaxing afternoon of reading and resting up before the hectic week begins unfortunately is not coming to fruition.

Now to change the subject, Ed's dad - most often referred to as Granddad around here - made the girls a couple of beautiful Christmas presents this year. He made Gabrielle a canopy bed for her American Girl doll(s) and a stroller for Samantha's babies. He is one very talented man. We have been the very fortunate recipients of many great pieces.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Summary of our Saturday

Even though the girls did sleep a little late this morning I'm exhausted and it is only 8:00 pm. I guess I may be tired due to the random and pointless conversation I had on facebook with my older brother around midnight last night about my square bowls. We were going back and forth and before I knew it my mom was chiming in and then my sister. It was ridiculous. But fun in a strange kind of way. So even though the girls did let me sleep in this morning I'm still tired and ready to go to bed! Apparently my girls are not feeling the same way because as I'm typing I here them chatting away. Sigh. When will bedtime be an easy and simple process??

The ice was definitely still around this morning so we bundled up after breakfast and let the girls crunch around. Poor Samantha slipped twice! Thankfully they were just little slips and she laughed them off.

Everything from the cars to the driveway to the grass to the porch railings was blanketed with about a 1/4" sheet of ice. Ed broke off pieces on the car for the girls to then throw and shatter onto the driveway. And they were each fascinated with all the icicles.

We didn't spend too much time outside. It was freezing still. We came in, warmed up with some blankets and hot chocolate and laid around most of the day. For our afternoon snack we made some Valentine whoopie pies.

They were good!!! You can tell by the look on Gabrielle's face as she is eating hers.

I should be getting some work done or some cleaning done or something more productive but I'm beat. Not to mention the Wolfpack are playing right now and it is a BIG game. Going to cozy up in bed for the rest of the game and maybe get a little reading done before falling asleep.

Go Pack!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

NC Winter Weather

Here in NC you just never know what you're going to get when it comes to the weather. I kind of feel bad for all meteorologists working in North Carolina - they have the impossible job of predicting completely unpredictable weather. Just a couple of weeks ago we took the girls to the park to ride their bikes. In short sleeves!! In mid-January!! Today, schools let out 3-4 hours early due to "inclement weather." As I type this it is a below freezing 28 degrees. The ground, driveway, cars, trees, roads - everything - is covered in ice. And did I mention in just 4-5 days we'll be back in the upper 60's, almost 70?

Once I got the girls home, knowing we don't have to leave again until tomorrow, we got settled in with some hot chocolate and marshmallows. It has been a very relaxed, laid back kind of day. Love those days!

We had a simple dinner but definitely a delicious and perfect meal for a day like today - chili and cornbread - a definite comfort food in my book. After getting the girls washed up and in their pj's, they snuggled on the couch for "The Lorax" movie before bed. 

Gabrielle has mentioned on occasion wanting to learn how to sew. While at Target last night I found some Valentine sewing kits so I decided to get one for Gabrielle to try out. I expected to help her quite a bit. The kit was really simple though. The holes were already made and the needle was actually plastic with a rounded tip. 

More sewing kits are in our future.

I wonder what outside will look like tomorrow!?! Hopefully there will still be a little ice and slush sticking around on the grass areas. I don't want the roads messed up for anyone having to travel early in the day but I did promise the girls they could go out tomorrow and stomp around in the ice. 

As I was uploading pictures from my phone and camera tonight I stumbled upon these old photos from my old phone. What better way to end this post than with some old pics? Especially when the pics are pics of my little cute patooties. These round little baby faces get me every time!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Two Thousand Thirteen

It has been a cold, rainy beginning of this new year. But it has also been a nice, quiet first day of this new year.

Last night we had a mini-celebration. I last minute threw together a few little ideas in hopes of making our New Year celebration a little more memorable for the girls. We always have a nice dinner - something different that we don't have often. For the girls, that means pigs in a blanket. I'm sure considering pigs in a blanket a "nice dinner" is humorous to some but for my girls it is something for special occasions! Also for a special New Year's treat, sparkling grape juice in little plastic champagne cups. This year Ed and I had steaks, stuffed mushrooms and baked sweet potatoes.

But the creme de la creme of our New Year's Eve dinner was definitely the dessert this year. I love baking and for the most part always do my baking from scratch with the exception of two types of desserts. I have yet to make my own pie crust for my pies and had never - until now - made a cake from scratch. I do not bake cakes often at all, usually just birthdays but even the last couple of years I have had a friend bake the girls' birthday cakes (because her cakes are just so incredibly cute and so incredibly delicious!!) After filling up on cookies over our Christmas break I found myself in a cake kind of mood and no cake mixes in the pantry. I figured now is as good a time as any to try a cake from scratch. I went with this recipe for a fluffy white cake with whipped vanilla bean frosting. The vanilla beans I bought months ago have been sitting in my spice cabinet begging to be used.

For my first from scratch cake, I could not be happier. Everyone found it delicious and we've all had seconds as our afternoon snack today.

Other than food I wanted to do a few little things to make the night special. We always do an early countdown with the girls. I'm just not brave enough to let them stay up late yet so 8:00 is when our new year begins. During my lunch break yesterday I picked up a few sparkly tiaras and some party horns for us all to wear. Even Ed was a good sport about wearing the green tiara the girls insisted was for him. Ed and I filled up a trash bag with balloons for our "balloon drop" once the clock struck 8:00. The girls loved the balloons and blowing their horns.

The other new thing for us this year was our "wish balloon." We wrote each of our wishes for 2013 on a slip of paper and tied the paper to a helium balloon. After our countdown we released our wish balloon to go wherever wish balloons are supposed to go.

Our wishes were: 
  • not cry anymore (Samantha)
  • be super duper good at bedtime (Gabrielle)
  • we all be more patient with and kind to one another (me)
  • we all stay safe and healthy (Ed)
The girls loved our New Year celebration. Gabrielle even said "this is the best New Year's we've ever had" all because of a couple of small little ideas. But I'm glad it made them happy which was exactly what I wanted. Nothing over the top but just a simple, fun but memorable New Year's Eve together.

This was also the first year in years and years that I did not stay up until midnight. More times than not I'm up alone because Ed usually falls asleep early even the years he makes an attempt to stay up with me. But this year I was asleep before 11:00. And that's okay with me!!

I read this poem, this New Year's wish I suppose you could call it, the other day in one of the devotions I receive in my email and really loved it.

to make your memories brighter...
to make your heart at rest...
to make your celebration wonderful and really blessed.
Happy New Year
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Romans 15:13

I wish you all love, peace and joy this new year!!