Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jersey Girl

I have lived in Virginia for close to twenty years, and don't often admit it, but I am a Jersey Girl.  Was born in Redbank, near the Jersey Shore and in high school we moved up North to Morris County.  Here in Northern Virginia my family survived Sandy with no damage.  We lost power for all of 5 minutes, if that.   Like you, we have been watching the storm coverage on the news and following friends' postings on Facebook.  My heart is breaking for NJ.  We have family and friends still without power.  We have friends who have lost their homes.  Boardwalks I went to as a child are gone.  Lost at sea.  The coast line of the Jersey Shore has been forever changed.  My thoughts and prayers are with New Jersey.  As always, Bruce says it best....

Tonight i'm gonna take that ride
Across the river to the jersey side
Take my baby to the carnival
And i'll take her on all the rides

`cause down the shore everything's all right
You and your baby on a saturday night
You know all my dreams come true
When i'm walking down the street with you

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it.....

Remember that old REM song.  Seems like lately, things are feeling kind of like that.  But, unlike the song many people are not fine.

For my friends, family members and readers in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  I pray for your safety.  I do hope that you will stay put and not take any unnecessary risks.  I also hope that you have water and supplies needed to ride out the storm.   Here in Northern Virginia we are preparing for the worse scenarios but hoping for the best.  

Last week was a crazy week for me between kids, work and house and I didn't get as many posts in as I would have liked!  I have lots to share on how we celebrated my 6 year old's birthday last week (great party tips!).  I also have some new cook once, eat twice recipe creations.  I'm kind of hoping the power stays on and I can get all of these thoughts out of my head!  If you do have power and need to do some shopping, Old Navy has very adorable dresses on sale for $19!  I bought two yesterday!  Here is a 30% off code too: ONTRICK.  Happy shopping!

I would also like to take a minute and ask everyone to say a prayer for the Krim family.  Marina Krim is a fellow blogger and Mom.  They are living their own personal hell right now and their lives are forever changed.  Heaven received two angels last week and may Leo (age 3) and Lucia (age 6) Krim rest in peace.

Stay safe.  Stay dry.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Birthday Wishes

Our first Mommy & Me photo together!

My daughter came into the world six years ago today.  She was born at 1:51pm on October 23, 2006. Our lives were forever changed.  It has been such a privilege to be this little girl's mother.  She is beautiful, she is strong, she is confident. (she is also smart, considerate and talented, but I don't want to brag!).  I wish for her today, that not only she has a wonderful day today (which I know she will), but I wish that all of things she is now, continue as she grows older.  I wish for her to become stronger and more confident and take all of these wonderful attributes into her teenage years and adulthood. 

This morning I was thinking back, reminiscing on her birth and my pregnancy. My pregnancy with her was a difficult one.  I was on bed rest, I had to go on a regular basis to the perinatal unit at the hospital. I had a few scares that sent me to the hospital too - one time they could not locate the baby's heartbeat, another time I had unexplained bleeding.  I was very fortunate to have had a wonderful group of family, friends and neighbors who helped out with my son (who was a toddler) and offered constant support for our family.   My daughter arrived at 38 weeks and she was perfect!  She still is!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guess How Much I Love You

Yesterday morning one of the twins asked me the best question.  I still get a little teary eyed thinking of it.  We were cuddling in the big bed and my 3 1/2 year old son asked: "Mama, why do you love us so much?"  He then went on to list all of the names of his siblings and said, "you really love us all so, so, much."  Not only was this sweet and adorable and melted my heart, but it validates everything that I believe in as a mom, everything I do each day.  My children are loved, they feel loved and they know that they are loved.

What are some things that you do to show your children that you love them?  Do you leave notes or pictures in their lunch boxes? Does the room fairy come to visit while they are at school? (This is a great fairy that I need capture - she cleans my kids rooms "sometimes" while they are at school!)

Happy Monday - hope you have a great day and a great week.  Please be sure to check out the Multiples Monday posts at Capri+Three!

multiples monday with capri +3

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walk away....

-Making Dinner
-Helping with homework
-Fixing snack for five kids
-Having phone call with vendor for upcoming work conference
-Packing lunch boxes for tomorrow
-Asking kids to keep it down
-Playing Referee
-Helping find lost toy
-Thinking through action items for upcoming work conference
-Thinking about getting glass of water, finding Tylenol and using bathroom
-Cleaning Up Kitchen

About 30 minutes ago I found myself trying to do all of these things AT ONCE.  Yes, at the same time. I got everything done except finding lost toy (it is a laser gun that is better off staying lost!), getting the kitchen finished, taking the Tylenol and using the bathroom.   I plan to do those next.....but I wanted to walk away and put things into perspective. Walking away helps me to re-focus and re-group.  Getting my ideas, thoughts and anxieties down on my blog helps me to do that, too.

Have I set a new record in multi tasking?  Am I taking multi tasking too far that I am now ineffective?  Most likely yes.  (Overall, not a bad ratio of accomplished vs. unaccomplished).  But, my head is killing me and I need to pee! I didn't get to finish the kitchen and I hate leaving dirty dishes in the sink and "stuff" all over the counters. It gives me great anxiety.  My kids will tell you yes, I am ineffective (maybe not using that exact words - they might say stink) - I couldn't find the lost toy and didn't put enough sauce in tonight's baked ziti.  At least my vendor will tell you no - she couldn't see what I was doing while on the phone.  She got the info she needed for the meeting and she is a mom, so she "gets it" as far as the noise in the background.  My kids teacher will most likely tell you no too - hopefully they will never show up on my doorstep - healthy lunch is packed for tomorrow and my daughter's homework is done neatly & correctly! 

How do you multi task?  Do you feel like you have too much on your plate?  Do you multi task or do you prioritize?   How do you escape and take a breather?  Does taking a breather work?  Do you walk away, do you go to your "happy place" in your head?

I need to go find that Tylenol!  Have a great night!  And, I just remembered I forgot to set the the kids will have dry and burnt ziti.  Just like my mom used to make!  (sorry mom!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crock Pot Creations

We recently purchased a new crock pot.  It is very nice!  Five Gallon and silver and black.  Looks so nice on my counter that I leave it out.  Also, we use it pretty much everyday!  I love the simplicity of one pot cooking.  I love how your house smells great (well hopefully it will!) when you come inside.  I love easy clean up!  (Be sure to always spray your crock pot with a nonstick cooking spray.  That makes clean up a breeze!  I know that they do make crock pot liners, we have had them before, but I would always forget to stick one in!)  I also love that it frees up my time after school with the kids.  I make a simple side dish to go with whatever is in the crock pot (salad or steamed vegetables) and dinner is done.  

When my husband first brought a crock pot home, it was before we had kids.  It was a gift or prize (I don't remember) he had won at work.  It was a small, (3 gallon) white crock pot and I remember thinking that is really ugly and I'm never going to use it. I'm sure I also made faces at it! Well, fast forward when we had our first son.  I dusted it off and found myself using it occasionally.  Fast forward again to when we had our twins and the crock pot was used at least once a week in our house.  We out grew out tiny little starter crock pot.  It was great and served us well, but when cooking for a family of six, I needed something bigger.  So, the new crock pot has arrived and has been used pretty much everyday.  My husband has been very adventurous.  Researching new recipes that the kids would like.  Last night he made some sort of Asian Chicken with orange sauce and while I wasn't crazy about it, the kids loved it.  I tend to stick to tried and true recipes.  Things I know that the kids will like.  My all time favorite thing to make in the crock pot is vegetable soup.  I also love making traditional "Yankee" Pot Roast complete with all the veggies.  Lately, I have been taking recipes that I would normally make in the oven, and converting to crock pot.  Last week I cooked a whole chicken the crock pot.  This was okay, I think I over cooked it.  (The meat was falling off the bones.) Today I am cooking a pork tenderloin.  

Do you have a crock pot?  What do you use it for?  What is your ultimate go to crock pot recipe?  Please share in the comments section.  Thanks for stopping by & have a great day!

Easy Vegetable Soup:

4 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable Juice (like V8)
1/2 cup water
1 c Chopped Celery
1 c Chopped Carrots
1/2 c Chopped Onions (I leave mine big so the kids can pick them out)
2 small Zucchini's chopped
Any leftover vegetables in your fridge! (great way to use vegetables - throw them in!  I have used green beans, spinach, cabbage, corn)
1 Bag of Frozen Mixed Vegetables - if you have no left over Vegetables
Pepper to taste
Vegetable Seasoning to taste

Cook on high in crock pot for 1 hour, turn to low and cook all day!  My kids have been know to have "thirds" of this.  I do not cook with salt, but you can throw some in too. This recipe is loosely based on the Weight Watchers Vegetable Soup Recipe and it is so easy you cannot mess it up!  I will have a cup of this for lunch or even a small cup as a snack.  My kids will have it for lunch or dinner with grilled cheese.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Broken Record

"You sound like a broken record".  I said this to my oldest daughter the other day.  This prompted much confusion and many questions from my two older children.  After this was said, my oldest immediately wanted to know exactly which sporting record his sister had broken.  My daughter was confused and asked what a record was.  I explained the version I was talking about, with a story - here goes:  

When I was a little girl.  This was something that your Grandmother would say to me.  (My daughter added in, Grandma isn't here.  My response, let me finish!).   This was something that Grandma would say to me when I would keep asking her the same thing over and over and over again.  When I was little we didn't have music on CD's (my son asked, did you have a radio? My response, let me finish!).  We would listen to music on records.  These were bigger than CD's and had lines in them.  We would put them on a record player and there would be a needle that would read the music and play it through the speakers.  Sometimes the needed would get stuck and play the same thing over and over and over again. (my son then said, wow that would be annoying!  My response, yes it would!).  I continued, when you ask the same thing over and over and over again, my answer will always be the same and you don't need to ask more than once.  If I tell you just give me a minute, that means that I heard you, I am doing something right now and you are next in line.

Now, my example was probably not the best nor most accurate description of a turntable and/or record.  But, for my 5 year old and 7 year old this seemed to have done the trick.  Here is hoping to no more "broken records" in our household (unless they are swimming related of course!).

How do you deal with your children when they keep asking you the same thing over and over and over again?  Do your answers change? Or do you hold firm?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Fall Issue of Multiplicity Magazine is Here!

Please be sure to check out the Fall issue of Multiplicity Magazine!

This issue has some really great articles on facing and bracing for the Holidays!  It also has an adorable photo shoot of Halloween Costumes!

Please be sure to check out the article on page 24 by yours truly!

thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Making a Mess....Part 2

Last week I wrote a post on my house envy and how it seems like every time I turn around there is something that needs to be cleaned up.  The kids' rooms are always a mess and there are toys everywhere. I saw a sign posted on Facebook yesterday, I don't remember the exact wording, but it said something to likes of:  "My house is not messy, my children are creating memories".   That is so, so true! 

As I'm sitting typing this in the room that serves as our office/library/playroom, I see the following:

-A doll discarded in the corner
-Yesterday's cereal on the table (it is in a small bag -dry -no milk, that would be gross, even for us!)
-Construction Paper on the floor
-A very messy shelf with dolls, piles of books and stickers

You are probably thinking this doesn't look so may be right, but you can't really see all the things shoved behind the basket!
Same here - that pink elephant can hide a lot of stuff behind it!!

My children see:

-Their baby taking a nap
-A snack for later
-Material for their boat (they are using a large cardboard box to create a ship!)
-A fun shelf they can reach that has books and arts & crafts supplies

On my dining room table, I see:

-A dirty table cloth from when I had my family over LAST month for dinner
-Halloween outfits that have been sitting there for several weeks and need to go upstairs
-Over a thousand Lego's that need to be put away

My children see:

-A Lego world that they created.  Complete with helicopters, secret doors, furniture and monsters.  They have all been working on this together everyday this week after school.  They have included friends on this project too.  Each day they add more details and adventures to their world.

At least the Legos are hiding all the stains!

I am going to attemp to check my OCD for the next four or five years and enjoy listening to my children playing together, laughing together and most importantly, making memories together.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It Takes A Village.....

In the mid-nineties, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote a book with that title.  The book detailed her concerns with today's children of the world, and what they needed to succeed.  She detailed on how it takes a Village to raise a child, and indeed it does!

I am so Blessed to have my Village.  My Village is made up of a variety of people.  Some live literally in my village within walking distance from my home, others are thousands of miles away, and some of my villagers, I have never actually met in person - but have a very strong on line support group with (us mom's of multiples stick together!).  I also consider all my children's teachers to be in my Village as they play a huge role in their lives.

I know that if I did not have my Village, I would not be capable of being a good mom.  With four kids, we often follow the "divide and conquer" mentality when it comes to activities and homework.  Some days I have four kids going in four different directions and rely on my Villagers for assistance!  My Villagers provide everything from lending an ear, to assistance with child care, to margaritas on a Friday night.

I am also Blessed to have been raised by a wonderful Village.  My mom was a single mom, working hard to support and raise four kids on her own, and worked full time.  We had wonderful friends and neighbors who helped us and I have so many great memories of spending time with these individuals.

Who is in your Village?  How do they help you?

To my Villagers, past and present, I thank you!