Thursday, February 22, 2018

A rough few days

It has been a rough few days in our house since I feel like I am getting sick again.  We also have a lot going on right now trying to downsize so tackling a big project was probably not the way to go.  Yet that is exactly what I did. 

Kid clothes nightmare

That big project is going through ALL of the old kid's clothes.  Yes, we have an excessive amount.  At least 90% of this needs to go.  The rest I will hang onto for family and friends when they have kids.  If they don’t mind gently used or like new kid clothes I will happily ship them out so I can see my future Niece or Nephew wearing my kid's clothes.  That said it is not a little task by any means and being sick was not helping anything.  I don’t think I had too many emotional attachments to items as I just wanted to get it done.  I worked on this most of the morning while Bear was at school.  

When he came home we went into our normal routine of bath and snack time before playing a game or two on the floor.  We barely made it through snack time when the problems started to pop up.  Eves temperature went up a bit and she got super cranky.  I feel around in her mouth and sure enough, a new molar is coming in.  Which also explains the horrible diaper rash and picky eating.

I also take the time to go through Bears backpack and clean it out.  Inside I found the money for his class pictures that he had taken earlier that morning.  After messaging the teacher I found out the money needed to be in her hands before the end of the day or Bear would not get a class picture.  Getting back to the school which is all of a 1/2 mile from the house so I could easily get it there in time.  The problem was it was pouring outside and the kids and I were in pajamas.  On top of that, I looked at Eve to find this...

snoring away

I now had a sleeping child I need to wake up and get dressed to drive the short distance to the school.  Five minutes into scrambling around I say screw it and get myself dressed and toss shoes and coats and head to the car.  I had Bear hang back so he does get soaked waiting to get in the car.  With both buckled in, I realized I forgot the slip and had to run back inside for it. Ugh!

at least he was happy
Once at the school, I unbuckle both kids and we book it to front door since the rain picked up.  Bear was in the only jacket I could find that sort of fit him.  It was way too small but whatever.  We waited about 10 minutes in the lobby for someone to help me.  Thankfully the receptionist said she would get it where it needed to go on time.  Hallelujah! We all ran back to the car and I made Bear crawl under Eve’s seat while I buckled her in so he wasn’t standing in the rain.
Once we were back at home I needed to snap a picture of just how funny my kids were dressed.  I’m so glad they are too little to care!

I changed back into comfy clothes when we got home which really puts me on par with how the kids were dressed.  One giant mess of a day for sure.  Could you not tell by the look of it.

 I felt like the whole day I was putting out fire after fire.  Cranky kids, cranky mama, hyper pups, and a to-do list as long as my arm is not a good combo.  I thought some snuggles and a calm relaxing movie (Cinderella) would do us all good.  Bear protested the movie so he got the iPad while we watched. 

We went simple with dinner and made fish stick and whatever sides they both wanted.  Goldfish crackers and an apple were picked and frankly, I was too exhausted to care.  Hubby and I had leftover Shepherd's pie which was delicious!

Fish Stick, goldfish, and apple slices
Then my amazing husband decided to surprise me with macaroons and Starbucks!  Seriously you all, he knew I needed a pick me up and delivered without ever asking.  It was exactly the pick me up I needed!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Princess Elise Find

While scrolling through the yard sale pages post Christmas I found this magnetic dress up set.  They remind me of a modern day paper doll sets I had as a child.  The seller was asking too much at the time, but after it sat for about a month she came down in price enough for me to pick it up.  The seller told me it was all there so I picked it up later that day for all of $2.  It's a bit too old of a toy for her right now but something she can easily grow into.  

In the meantime, Bear likes to help me clean the toys up and make sure they all still work properly before passing them on to his little sister.  I wipe them down with Clorox wipes while Bear wipes them off with a paper towel. 

I take that time to take a closer look and see if there is anything wrong I can fix.  There was pen on the base and on one of the dress pieces.  Nothing major but pen (or marker, crayons, etc) on a toy is a pet peeve of mine.  One you have to get over if you buy used toys.  Magic eraser gets most of it up but this isn't too bad at all.  The part of the dress I didn't want to touch because I didn't want the paint or paper really to come up.  There were a few other nicks and scraps on them that I expect with a well-used toy. 

Bear matched up all the dresses and parts as they were on the back of the holder.  I do this to check to see that nothing is missing.  I spot checked at the door but once cash is handed over that the all she wrote.  I would not take something like this back.  It's not worth the time to do so.  If there were say a few outfits I would toss the wooden divided box and add these pieces to the other set we have.  No need to keep what looks like the full set if it isn't.  

Thankfully it was all there and then some.  The seller said she tossed in some extras, but at the time I had too much going on to remember that until he couldn't match up this outfit.  So the extra was an extra outfit.  To my knowledge all these sets are interchangeable so I will never turn down getting more than I expected.

All in all a great fine.  Bear had a fun time matching them up and putting them on the doll.  When I pulled out the old set to see if these worked on that doll (they did) Bear insisted we play with both of them for a while.  If Eve gets even half the use out of this magnetic dress-up doll as Bear has already, I will consider it a win!  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekend Recap

This weekend was another working weekend.  When we all got sick the house started to get cluttered with stuff.  We used the dining room table as a dumping ground for everything.  This needed to be cleaned as it was driving me bonkers.  The mounds of laundry were begging to be folded and the floor needed to be cleaned.  The added rush to get it all done was because we have a sitter coming to the house to watch the kids next weekend.  I did not want her to show up to our house with it looking like a disaster.  While it was clean it was cluttered.  Something I hate!

Last week I broke my phone.  While arguing with a kid to poop on the potty I dropped it all of a foot onto the bathroom tile and the screen shattered.  In the phones defense, this was probably drop number three hundred.  I think it would have survived had the screen not had the tiniest crack in the corner from a drop a two months ago, also onto tile though in the kitchen.  The screen protector was completely fine.  Without it, on there I would not have been able to even use the phone for a past week. Since the phones were almost four years old we went ahead and upgraded them to the fancy new iPhone 8 plus.  I picked up rose gold and hubby went with space gray.  My new pelican case comes in tomorrow and so this baby is staying on my nightstand until its protected.  

Our nephews birthday is coming up so once his list came out it gave me some time to hunt around for the perfect gifts.  Since we are not near them I do try to at least send an awesome gift.  His list this year was pretty sparse and so I picked up one small item off of it, the plush nunchucks, and used it as a jumping off point.  I knew he liked ninja turtles and these sets looked pretty cool to me so I just went with it.  Mega Construx is not a brand I know.  These look similar to Lego sets but with a ninja turtles theme.  I assumed he liked Mikey since he asked for the nunchucks.  Once I navigated through what felt like 20 different versions of this, I found the age-appropriate one that would work for my nephew.  I picked up two more sets and tried not to repeat the characters.  I do wish I could have found one with a bad guy but there is always Christmas.

Source, Source, Source, Source
If for some reason he doesn't like them, we included a gift receipt.  They can return them and find something else he might like better.  If he really liked them I have no doubt it will appear on his Christmas list as well. 

Crockpot meals for busy days are always my go-to meals.  They can be prepped early and left cooking while you work.  Minimal effort is usually required to finish them or up.  If you are lucky that is just plating.  We tried out a crockpot jambalaya which while it was not traditional it was delicious.

Both kids even had some without a fight.  In our house that put this recipe at the top of my go-to meals.  We held off on the spice a bit so as not to intimidate the kids and just added extra spices to our own plates.

One of the big things on my to-do list has been to post those bulky items that we are trying to sell.  When we moved in we knew we wanted to take the washer and dryer off the pedestals and put a countertop up because of the space (or lack thereof) in our laundry room.  That meant these needed to be sold.  I posted them online with a pretty standard ad but we were missing a spacer on one of the pedestals.  I posted on the ad that one could be picked up for about $10.  After posting we decided to purchase the part ourselves.  Which meant I needed to alter the ads.  Not an easy task.  An hour into altering them I finally finish when Hubby mentions the pictures were still up.  It was easier to delete them all the posts than to fix them again. While I was doing that a person messaged me about them.  Fingers crossed they will be picked up this week without much hassle.  

Not a bad weekend at all.  More cleaning this week and hopefully date night next weekend!  It can not get here soon enough.

Friday, February 16, 2018

“This is not for Valentine’s Day”

Hubby and I do not celebrate Valentines Day.  We tend to get things for each other as throughout the year or as we need them.  Recently I have seen a few things that were on my wishlist go on sale.  The first was a yeti mug like Hubby but in a nice color.  He found it a few days before Valentines Day and surprised me with it.  It was a nice surprise.

A few days after, two more boxes arrived at the house.  We have been gaming more after the kids go to bed so he picked me up some new gear.  The controller I had wanted for a while was discontinued.  He saw it new on Amazon for a cheap price and scooped it up.  I had been looking at Turtle Beaches for a bit.  I liked the look of them but people had complained about the quality of the sound.  A family member had bought similar ones to what I was looking at and had to return them because of that.  Hubby had Astros so he picked me up a set of them.  I love both the controller and the headset.  I highly recommend Astros.  They are comfortable while working amazingly well.  So much better than what came with the Xbox.  

Hubby is so good at finding the best gifts.  I really am spoiled by him.  It may not be a Valentines Day gift that women find so romantic but to me, a gift just because is even better.  I'll take one of those anytime!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines Day at Pre-k

Happy Valentines Day to everyone!  This is a holiday that we don't really celebrate.  I will not down it as anything that reminds us to love one another can't be all that bad, right? For me personally, I'd rather focus on the meaning behind the holiday for a moment.  Back in the Roman empire, it was thought that unmarried soldier would fight harder, not worrying about what was at home and so they prohibited marriage for them.  Valentine didn't agree and would marry soldier in secret.  When Valentine got caught he was tossed in prison and in later killed for his actions.  Or this is at least the story I have been told growing up.  Seeing as I married a soldier, I would say we have already celebrated in the best possible way ever just by being married.  That said we don't do anything special on Valentines Day.

The public school, on the other hand, goes all out.  They have parties and everyone exchanges valentines.  They also expect that everyone, even the pre-k classes will participate.  So now I have homework.  Let's be honest here.  My 4yo could care less if he has a decorated box or a valentine for every kid.  But the work needed to be done I would be damned if I was going to do it all myself despite just wanting to get it over with. 

The first thing Bear needed was a decorated box for his valentines.  I took an empty tissue box and turned it inside out.  I used spray glue to attach some construction paper that Bear picked out.  Make sure you cover the very ends of the tabs.  I needed to add pieces late to cover them.  

Next, I asked him what color he wanted his name to be in.  He picked purple so I traced and cut out his name.  We went over the letters in his name before I glued them on.  The perfectionist in me wishes I had arched or staggered the letters in his name as the "w" was covered way too much for my liking.  Doing the letters in different colors would have also worked.  Oh well.  I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities over the next couple of years to correct this.  

I had Bear pick out more construction paper for the hearts.  He used a heart craft punch that I had to make the hearts.  We reviewed colors and even counted the hearts.  A perfect tot school activity to help him work on several areas at once.  I helped him apply the glue and Bear added the hearts to the box.  When he finished I let it dry then made it back into a box. 

Since this dang box took us so long to make I vowed that if it returned from school in decent shape I would toss it in a closet to use next year.  I am happy to say that while it is looking a bit beat up I may be able to use this again next year.  I will cut the hole a bit bigger and we can patch it up with more hearts or whatever he wants next year.  
It survived!
The valentines were all on me.  I get to school early for pick up and worked on writing these out while we waited.  There was a sticker on the inside and a pencil attached thanks to Hubby.  Twenty valentines later there was a bag for him to take to school in the morning.  

The School Party...Bear is in the AM class and the party was during the PM class.  Meaning Bear would need to be picked up from school then brought back if he wanted to attend the party.  They do this because they can save money by only having to request supplies for one party vs. two or so I am told.  Hubby was able to work from home for the day so I would take him back and help out in the class.  To my knowledge, we were the only ones to return for the party and I was one of two parents that showed up.  Well of the parents that didn't already work in the building.  A few teachers were popping in and out to spend a few minutes with their kids before returning to their own parties in their classrooms. 

The pre-k teacher made different stations for the kids to rotate through.  Bear was super excited to have me there with him.  He wanted me to sit down next him at all times.  At the first station, the kids used a wooden skewer to poke marshmallows and strawberries before eating them.  The kid next to Bear made his into a dumbbell and started doing reps with it.  The others quickly followed along.  It was pretty funny to watch.  Bear took this time to eat six marshmallows but was nice enough to get his classmate a few extra as well.  

At the second station, the kids threaded different beads onto a lanyard to make a necklace.  Bear only wanted the heart shaped beads on his side of the necklace.  Halfway through the activity, you could tell the sugar we kicking in for the group as all the kids started to get restless while threading the beads.  One kid started to crawl under the table and another was just playing with the beads.  I let the teacher who was at the table deal with the kid under the table while I tried to redirect the other kid playing with the beads.  Bear shockingly stayed pretty focused during what felt like chaos as long as he had a few heart shaped beads in front of him.

The final station was a game like musical chairs.  The perfect activity to burn off some pent-up energy the kids had.  There were large hearts with numbers place in a circle on the carpet.  Each kid started by standing on a number and moved clockwise while music played.  When the music stopped they stood on the closets number.  The teacher would randomly pull out a number from a basket.  If a kid was standing on the number heart great if, not a child close to the number called would move to that number.  That child then got to move to the snack table.  Yes, more food!  They kept going until all the kids got picked.  Bear was the last kid pick.  He was always too busy trying to read his own number that he never moved to the numbers being called out.  In the end, the teacher handed him a number and asked him to go find it.  He quickly did that before enjoying his snack.   

After cleaning up from his snack I had Bear stand in front of the selfie station for a quick picture before moving on to the next activity.  My how the times have changed even since I stopped teaching!  I didn't want to take too much time to get a picture so I snapped a few and moved on like I normally do.  Whatever I got was good enough.  

The last activity was supposed to be a movie but they couldn't get it to work so someone read Olivia's Valentines Day or whatever its called.  The kids happily sat and listened to the story.  I was the only parent sitting on the floor next to my kid but that's where Bear wanted me so that's where I was.  All the other parents were sitting in chairs behind me and that's OK too.  Having taught in those early grades getting down on the floor with the kids is just second nature to me.  

Near the end of the story, they were pulling kids out for the bus line so Bear and I snuck out with them.  I wanted to get out of the very crowded parking lot before all the buses!  The teacher thanked me for bringing him back and helping out.  She mentioned that they don't get a lot of parent participation at that grade level so I was glad that I could help out.  I might not always be able to so I want to be there when I can. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Another Busy Weekend

Since everyone is feeling much better and the medicine is finished up we used this weekend to do more work.  For me, this meant working in the kitchen.  We had food that needed to be cooked and a fridge that needed to be wiped down.  On Friday I made a German dish that we had over Spetzel.  I really enjoyed it but I am not sure the spetzel added much to it.  

The guys also came to fix the sink.  The sprayer on our fancy new faucet wouldn't move because of the bar and so they needed to move it.  I'm not a professional sink installer but the physics of this just don't seem to add up to me.  There is one screw in the back hold it up and the bar in the front is simply resting on the wood.  If you touch it, it moves.  The two brackets pushing against the curved part of the sink bottom could simply pop out when pressure is applied to it from above, for example, the sink dropping again.  The granite people had all of 20 minutes to fix the sink and it looks like a 20-minute quick fix.  Not something that looks like it will last the life of the sink.  That said the saga of the sink fix continues. 

On Saturday we got back to work.  Hubby was working in the attic.  We didn't have much flooring up there and we knew we needed more.  The holiday stuff took over most of the existing flooring so Hubby worked on adding to it.  We had most of the materials on hand already from other projects.  The area he was working on is to the left when you walk up our ladder.  His plan was to add about 50sq ft to for flooring. 

Hubby needed to create the subflooring structure to lay the plywood on.  This obviously took some time as he needed to stand in awkward positions so he did not fall through the ceiling.  Something I was concerned about as I had done that growing up.  Thankfully he managed just fine.    

It looks fantastic!  My plan is to keep the other area for holiday decor and use this space for items we want out of the way but easily accessible.  We have several space saver bags that I will dump into the beat up old bins up here to get them out of our room for the time being.  I also want store some stuff that doesn't need to be in the garage right now like our camping stuff.  Since this area will get insanely hot in the Texas summers, I cant throw anything up there that will be affected by the heat. 

While Hubby was up doing the attic I was cooking dinner.  We had Zucchini and sausage stuffed shells.  The hardest part of this recipe is prepping the zucchini days in advance.  After shredding the zucchini I place in a strainer over a bowl and lightly salt.  I leave it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning I rinse it and lightly salt again before returning it to the fridge.  About 12hours later I rinse it and squeezed out as much water as I can before it goes back into the fridge for the last time.  I gave it one last squeeze so any remaining water came out before tossing it into my filling.  If you skip this step you end up with a soupy mess.   
2 eggs, beaten
one container ricotta
1 bag italian cheese blend
prepped shredded zucchini
1lb cooked ground sausage
2 spoonful of sauce (grandma's secret trick)

Place the filled shells in a sauced baking dish.  Top with sauce and lightly cover with tinfoil.  Bake at 350 for about an hour or until cooked (at least 160 internal temp).  You can remove the cover sprinkle some shredded cheese and bake until brown but we tend to skip that step.

As that was baking I worked on dessert.  I tried a new cheesecake recipe.  I needed to play around with the quantities based on what I had on hand but it was delicious.  Nothing like I expected for a no bake recipe.  I will say this is obviously not the NY style cheesecake I grew up on.  I think modifying it as more of a dip may work better.  That expectation of what it should be will change.  I need play around with this one a bit more before I share the recipe.

Since dessert was so easy to make it gave me plenty of time to clean out and wipe down the fridge.  I love to do this when the fridge is mostly empty so I don't have to move too many things to get at the shelves.  Reaching the very back of our four-door fridge did require a step stool which says something because at 5' 5" I'm not really a short female.  However, the fridge is now completely clean inside and out.  Well until Bear gets his fingerprints all over the stainless steel.  Oh, the wonderful joys of keeping stainless steel clean with kids around.  

On Sunday we kept at it.  Or really Hubby kept at it.  He made beer on our back porch.  This a labor of love for him.  The science behind it, the precise instructions, and the hands-on nature of it is all right up his alley.  He enjoys making things from scratch and I do too.  This, however, is not really my thing.  I will help him out by stirring the pot or fetching items for him, but my help is limited.  My contributions are really all so I can enjoy the outcome... Cheap and delicious beer.  He really does make a great amber ale.  

Despite the cold, we all hung out outside.  I am sure we looked rather strange all bundled up outside with the monster pot boiling away.  Even the neighbor poked his head over the fence to find out what we were making.  It turns out that our neighbor was working on his own outdoor cooking project.  He was smoking some meat in the backyard.  The smells of our beer and his smoker all blended together in one heaven scent.  

In about six weeks we will get to enjoy a new type of beer.  These two are a Honey Amber Ale.  I will gladly enjoy the fruits of his labor.  Until then my bedroom (where this is located) will smell like beer for a little bit.  I think I need to work on the bonus room to get that cleaned up.  Then these can move up there and not stink up my bedroom.  Honestly, the smell is not that bad it is just not something I want to smell for the next two weeks.  The bonus room is also a better place to keep them as the airlocks are the perfect height of the dog's tails.  You can imagine when they get excited the damage that could do.

Another productive weekend.  It feels like we are getting there.  That this house is feeling more like a home.  It is slow going but I am happy with it.  We are clearing out the clutter and finding a place for things.  More importantly, I feel like we are able to do some of the things that we enjoy like making beer or cooking without feeling like we there is something more pressing that needs to be cleaned or organized.  The major things are done.  We can relax a bit more and find that work/play balance we all crave.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

The sink broke!

While filling a pot last week with water my sink dropped down.  This, of course, has nothing to do with changing out the faucet.  I had seen the caulk separating but didn't think much of it.  I figured at the first warranty fix I would have them recaulk and that would be it.  In the meantime, I just tried to keep water from hitting that part so it wouldn't go under the sink.  However that all changed when the sink dropped down.  Thankfully as you can see below, it didn't drop all that far though it was just enough to make the pipes below it start to leak.  

I took a look underneath and this bar on the side more than likely belongs in the middle of the sink.  Now I am clearly not an expert but seeing as there is only one bar like this under there, I would think that it would belong in the center. 

The two pads in middle further support that theory.   I could be wrong in that thought but I'll take that risk.  I guess we will see what happens when they come out to fix it.  I have called umpteen numbers to get this fixed.  It turns out that the granite people are the ones that need to fix the sink since it is under-mounted.  Then the plumbers can come to fix the pipes that are leakings.  What a headache this all is.  I know new homes aren't perfect but this problem is just plain annoying!

UPDATE:  I didn't have internet for the beginning of the month so I was not able to post this when it happened.  So rather than make another update here.  The granite people came out and "fixed" the sink.  They re-glued around the sink which will help hold it in place.  They then added this bar will keep the sink from dropping down in the center like it did.  

The other thing it will do is keep the sprayer from moving in our fancy new faucet.  Awesome!  They now need to come back out and fix it again.  This is going through warranty again which will take forever!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Replacing the Faucet

Yet another trip to Home Depot which means a lighter wallet but new things for the house.  The faucet was something we knew we wanted to change before we even moved in.  We liked the big arching faucets but the particular one was up for debate. 

At the store, we tried out most of the samples.  The brushed nickel looked the best to us so we focused on those.  After playing around with a few, we learned that we liked the magnetic feature to the sprayer that some of them had.  The magnet helps re-seat the sprayer correctly.  This narrowed it down, leaving only three faucets.  We knocked out one because of the location of the handle on the back of the faucet.  It seemed like an odd placement for us.  Now down to two, Hubby had no preference.  I picked this one because I liked the look of the dish pump better. 

When we got it home we realized it had the "shield spray technology."  It's a jet sprayer in the center and created this cone of water to keep the splatter contained.  It wasn't something that we were looking for but it was nice to have the extra feature. 

Right when we got home Hubby wanted to install the new faucet.  I wanted to clean out the sink and make the area look nice for photos but real life is what it is.  He wanted it in and had the time to do it so in it went.

I'm glad he is fine doing all these handyman things around the house because I'm not a huge fan of doing them myself.  I'm always afraid I will mess it up.  I'm also way too cheap to hire someone to do something I am capable of doing. 

This is the old faucet.  There is nothing wrong with it, it just isn't what we wanted long term.  It is the builder basic and we knew when we purchased this place some of those nice to have's weren't included like the fancy faucet.  It's great to now be able to go out and pick up things like this at our own pace.  It didn't increase or mortgage and we get to pick them out.  Something we couldn't do when bought the house.  Everything we set before they ever broke ground.  To add these touches makes it feel more like OUR home.
Real life messy sink and all!

Hubby removed the old faucet and we found that the granite was wet underneath.  Apparently, us or the kids splash water onto the counter when washing our hands or doing the dishes.  We let the granite dry before installing.  The actual installation was incredibly easy.  I did need to lend a hand to make sure the base stayed straight while it was tightened in place.

The sprayer was separate from the faucet, meaning there were two holes in the granite instead of just one.  We thought about getting a piece to fill it in from, but it would never really match perfectly.  I thought that might stand out way too much so we went with a soap dispenser.  While I am not a huge fan of these it is the best option since the sink is located on our island.  The soap dispenser was a great alternative since we needed something to fill that space.  This fancy new one can even be filled from the top meaning I don't have to fumble around under the sink to refill it.  

The end result turned out exactly how we wanted.  I did the dishes and cleaned off the counter like its supposed to be.  I LOVE a clean kitchen!  After using this I will say that it has taken some getting used to.  The handle to turn on the water is right and left movement while cold and hot is forward and back.  It took a couple of uses to get a hang of it but it still messes up guests.  It was just something to get used too.  

Another easy home improvement that makes this place feel more like home to us.  It visually is pretty when you see it in the kitchen as well as super functional. I am very happy with our pick!

A rough few days

It has been a rough few days in our house since I feel like I am getting sick again.  We also have a lot going on right now trying to downsi...