Love Overflowing

Tutu, can you?

I have many projects either in progress or on a to-do list. This particular project has been in progress for a few weeks now. It wasn’t particularly hard, I just needed to sit down and work on it. Finding a block of time, or dedicating I should say, was am issue.
Emily wanted to watch The Princess and the Frog this afternoon. After I got a few things done I decided that I needed to knock this off of my plate. It’s definitely not professional and I used no tutorial. Emily loves it though. And it’s finished. Finally. What more can you ask for?

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Had to share

This past weekend we got to spend time with family. (More on that coming later.) My Aunt Deb takes amazing photos. I keep telling her that I am driving to Arkansas so she can take pictures of my kids. I am going to have to follow through on that because she took some amazing pictures of my kids. I just have to share!

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Super Summer Fun!

Emily and I made her a list of all of fun stuff she wanted to do this summer. It should be helpful on those days when we are struggling to find something to do. She came up with most of it on her own but I did help with some ideas.

Hanging on our laundry room door as a daily reminder

 

  • Swim with Aunt Kristina
  • Go to the Muny  (We have tickets for The Little Mermaid in July)
  • Go to the Botanical Gardens
  • Miniature Golf
  • Bowling
  • Make cupcakes from scratch
  •  Stay overnight with Chloe
  • Go to a parade
  • Go up in the Arch
  • Grants Farm
  • Catch fireflies
  • Make homemade pizza
  • Make a sidewalk chalk masterpiece
  • See a movie in a theater
  • Have a tea party
  • Decorate/play with washing machine box
  • Make play doh
  • Paint rocks
  • Learn to tie shoes
  • Have a picnic
  • VBS
  • Go to a different state
  • Take pictures in a photo booth
  • Feed ducks
  • Water balloon war
  • Read books under a tree
  • Go on a ‘daddy date’
  • Ted Drewes
  • Play restaurant
  • Pick peaches
  • Finish library reading program
  • Learn to ride without training wheels
  • Museum of Transportation
  • Zoo
  • Make worms and dirt dessert

Should be fun seeing how many we can mark off the list this summer! We have already been to one parade so….One down!

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So not a runner…..

Weight loss. Working out. Watching what you eat. It’s a never-ending battle. My friend and I were discussing this the other night. Why is it so hard to lose weight and be healthy? Because it’s easier to eat crap and sit on your butt. Watching television is much more fun than running on a treadmill, right? That cake sure looks good. And that ice cream? Give me two scoops please. I can eat like that. If I wanted to weigh 300 pounds. But I don’t. I want to be around for my children. I want to be able to play with them and not feel like I am gasping for breath. It’s a process. I have lost 20 pounds since Zachary was born. 17 months ago. I look at that and cringe. Only 20 pounds. But then I think. Wow! 20 pounds. I am in a smaller size and I am fitter and have more energy. I have about 20-30 pounds more that I want to lose. It is definitely a slow battle. Ups and downs. Stepping off the train. I want to be on that train. I want to hit that goal and feel great about myself. I know I can do it.

The main thing I need to change is my outlook of food. I need to learn that food is fuel. Food is not friendship, hugs or love. It’s not where I should turn when I am mad, sad or happy. I do love food so it’s hard. If it were easy, we’d all be skinny right? I know that my weight will be something that I struggle with for the rest of my life. I don’t want to hate food and worry about every little thing I put in my mouth. Right now, I NEED to count calories. Later down the line, after I have really gotten a handle on what I should be eating, I would like to move toward my friend, Amy’s, way of eating. Eat what you want, when you are hungry, until you are full. Amy writes a wonderful blog that I follow and it really helps me stay motivated. Check out her FitMommas blog.

I have started going to the gym again. I still have a little guilt about my kids being in there instead of having fun with me. My issue that I need to get over. They are having fun and they NEED the time away from me. That’s what I tell myself anyway as I am running on the treadmill. Running. Yes, I said it. I used to think that 4.2 was FAST. Oh my goodness, I was winded and out of breath. I could seriously only do 25 minutes on the treadmill before I would be exhausted or bored. I was eventually able to increase my stamina. The boredom I dealt with every time. I needed something to motivate me. Something to keep me on the treadmill. A couple of my friends were talking about the Couch to 5k program (C25K). After doing some research, I realized that was what I needed. I needed someone telling me to keep running. To keep going. To increase my stamina and endurance. The idea is to transform you from couch potato to runner, getting you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months.

I didn’t start on the couch though. I had been working out on a non-regular basis. I needed something to get me more regularly in the gym. I downloaded an app for my phone that did just that. I am currently in week 6. I can’t say that I LOVE running but I can say that I am actually starting to enjoy it more. The program only has me running for a total of 18 minutes right now. 25 minutes on the treadmill just isn’t enough for me so I have been continuing to run/walk after the program ends. To date, my longest run has been 4.62 miles in under an hour. I will be finished with the program in about 3 weeks. You know what? I am proud of myself. I have been running and going to the gym. While the scale doesn’t necessarily reflect my workouts, I have been going and keeping at it. Now I just need to get my eating under control and not let things go to hell on the weekends.

I don’t plan on running a marathon. I don’t plan on regularly running 5ks. As of right now, I want to do at least one. To show that I can do it. To prove to myself that I have taken an important step in my health. I need to work on stamina, weight training and flexibility still. One thing at a time. I am going to start looking into a race in the fall. I have several friends who have told me that they would run with me and support me during the one thing that I said I would never do: run for fun. I always said “I don’t run unless I am being chased.” Never say never.

Granted, I have only run on a treadmill at this point. I will give the great outdoors a try in the future. It’s just finding the time. And running with a jogging stroller doesn’t seem a lot of fun to me right now……

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Strawberries- take deux

I love, love fresh fruit. Emily loves picking fresh fruit. We decided that one trip to the strawberry farm was not enough this year so the two kids and I headed out to Lakeview Farms. Yes, you read that right. Myself, a 4 1/2 year old and a 17 month old. To the strawberry farm. Just the three of us. I am proud to say that no one got left there and we all had a good time. Well, for the most part. Zachary was just “eh”.

It was a hot day. 86 by the time we got there at 8:20am. Luckily there was a cool breeze so we didn’t immediately croak. We managed to pick about 5 pounds in a short period of time. Which was pretty amazing, considering Emily and I had to keep chasing Zachary down and he was constantly sitting on the strawberry plants. After we got our haul of strawberries, we decided that we needed some raspberries as well. Those were a little more difficult to pick if you can imagine. Zachary was on his last leg at that point. I was picking raspberries while holding him. He finally decided that it looked fun right as we were done. Little stinker!

He got a second wind, as did Emily and she begged to dig for gold while we were there. The kids can dig in soil, sand, limestone, mulch and something else that I can’t remember. In each source there are treasures buried- different types of rock and crystals. Every year we go to the farm, Emily asks to dig. This was the first year that I let her. I am not sure why, probably because of the heat. I also thought Zachary would love it. I mean- digging in the dirt. What more could a boy want? Apparently, air conditioning. He wanted nothing to do with the shovel or the dirt. Digging was totally out of the question. Unfortunately for Emily, we had to cut our dig session short because he decided that screaming was a much more fun activity. That kid does not take the heat very well. Emily was a very good sport though and was very happy with her haul. Even happier when I let her pick two rocks that she got to keep.

It was definitely a fun day!

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Handmade

I have had so many projects up in the air recently.  Bad habit of starting too many things at once; I really need to learn to start one and finish before I start another. I did manage to get a couple of projects completed last week. The first one was a dress for my niece Chloe. I have been telling her that I would make one for her since Christmas. Six months later, she has a dress. I used Emily as the model but I think I should have made it a little smaller in the top, as I am going to have to make some adjustments when they come to visit next week. I guess it’s not too bad since I didn’t have any measurements.

My other project was decoupage. I haven’t done much decoupage before and thought I would give it a try. My two aunts have milestones birthdays this summer so I thought it would be nice to give them something handmade, from the heart. I took two margarita glasses, tissue paper and Mod Podge. Voila! I am not super happy with the way one turned out. I was experimenting with Triple Thick and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. There’s definitely more room for improvement but I think they turned out cute. My aunts liked them anyway.

 

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When no one is watching

The kids went outside to play today while I was cleaning up lunch. This is what I saw:

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They do love each other! It’s sweet moments like these that make my heart swell with love. She is feeding him jello by the way.

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Last Day

Today was Emily’s last day of her first year of preschool. It was truly a bittersweet day for her. She was so excited to be going to school, as she loves her classmates and teachers, but she was also very sad that it was her last day. She actually thought it was last week and started crying while she was talking to my sister-in-law’s boyfriend about it. She’s a very sensitive girl. Can’t imagine where she gets it from.

She was bouncing off the walls this morning before we left. I have never seen her jet out of the car so quick when the teachers came to get her. Zachary and I went off and did our thing while she spent her last day at school until the fall. I didn’t really give it another thought. Until I came to pick her up. I can’t believe it. I wasn’t expecting it. I got all choked up and teary when I saw the teachers taking the kids to their cars. They hugged each and every one of them. I almost lost it when I saw Emily hug her two teachers. I cannot, for the life of me, explain the overwhelming emotions. I guess it has something to do with the fact that this was Emily’s first year in preschool. She really enjoyed it and thrived. She loved her friends and her teachers and was truly sad to leave for the summer.

I hope she continues to love school throughout her many years. Next year is another adventure- pre-k! She misses the cut-off for kindergarten by several months.

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Another Yummy!

Another recipe. I love cookbooks and I love trying new recipes. This recipe was actually found via an internet search. I had a bunch of asparagus in the crisper that needed to be used. Stephen found a beautiful bunch at the greenhouse/produce stand and couldn’t pass it up. I was more than willing to deviate from the menu and come up with something different. I could have just steamed it but seemed boring to me. Clickity clack (more like touch, touch) and up popped a recipe that I knew was a winner!

Asparagus and Chicken Pasta recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta
8 asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 4-ounce skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup white wine
½ cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water according to package directions, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring. Add asparagus and basil and cook until softened, 3 minutes.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and wine; bring to a boil over high heat, reduce, and simmer until liquid is almost gone and chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add reserved pasta and cheese to skillet; toss to coat and serve immediately.

 

Easy and delicious!

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Drool worthy

Have you ever made a meal that was so easy but yet so yummy? So delicious that thinking about it makes your mouth water, wishing for another serving? That was my dinner last night. Wondering what I made? Two very simple dishes. Both prepped the day before so there was really nothing I had to do. Without further ado, the recipes! Let me know if you try them and what you think!

 

Merry Marinated Veggies
   ~ Hungry Girl

Ingredients:

1 large cucumber; thinly sliced

1 medium-sized red pepper; thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 medium-sized zucchini; halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. olive oil

4 packets SPLENDA (or 2 1/2 tbsp. SPLENDA Granular)

1 cup water

salt and pepper; to taste
Directions:

In a plastic container with a lid, combine all vegetables.  In a separate container, combine and mix vinegar, oil, Splenda and water.  Pour marinade over veggies, cover, and place in fridge for 24 hours.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  HG Tip:  This is even yummier after 2 days!  Makes five generous 1-cup servings.

NOTE: I also added some yellow and green peppers because I had them on hand. I also was out of Splenda so I substituted a tablespoon of sugar. Increased the calories a bit but really wasn’t a deal breaker in my opinion.

 

Slow Cooked Puerto Rican Pork (Pernil)
 ~
The Well-Fed Newlyweds

Ingredients:
4 lbs. pork shoulder (also called pork butt)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. white vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Place the pork in the insert of a slow cooker.

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the remaining ingredients.

Take the liquid mixture and pour it over the pork.  Use your hands to rub the mixture into the pork, coating it well on all sides.

Place the lid on the slow cooker insert and refrigerate overnight.

Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until the pork is tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred or pull into larger pieces.

Serves 6 to 8.

NOTE: I didn’t have any garlic. I didn’t realize I was out until it was too late so I just substituted garlic powder. I am sure the flavor wasn’t as intended but it was still “oh, my, goodness” good.

 

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