August 31, 2012

Summer Homework

I'm not a fan. This has a been huge topic in my Facebook circles this week because everyone is scrambling to get it done. The amount of summer homework seems to vary widely. One friend of mine spent three hours the other night working through a math packet with her kids (1st and 5th grades.)  THREE HOURS and they still aren't done. That is insane. It's summer break. The kids need a break.

My older son has a mandatory reading assignment and has to complete a 3-page report about the book. This is great if your kid enjoys reading but my kid does not. It's an absolute chore to him.  And while I understand the value of reading, I do, forcing "extra reading" is not fun.  And honestly, *I* need the summer to recharge before I have to become the enforcer yet again for another 9 months.

I'm curious as to whether everyone turns in this summer assignment.

His will be turned in ...

but I will confess that I let him use a book he read this past Spring.

Parenting fail? Eh, not in my book.  It's summer break.

August 30, 2012

Laundry Room Decor

I love my laundry room but it's also a Mud Room, since it leads from the garage to the kitchen. That's where my pantry is too.  If I had built the house, I would have put the pantry where it is, but have it open into the kitchen instead. That would make more sense.

On one side of my (old needs replacing soon) washer is a tall cabinet and on the other side is my gigantic dryer. I only had a small amount of wall space that needed something and this is what I came up with:

I'm debating whether or not to spray paint the baskets a distressed white.  I think I will live with it for awhile and see.  All the appliances and cabinets in this room are white + all trim and doors.  I worry white baskets would be too much white.  The larger lower basket will hold the mesh zip laundry bags I use for delicates.  Not sure if I'll put anything in the higher basket yet. Maybe something I'm trying to hide from the kids?!

August 28, 2012

Weekend in Review

I'm not sure what came over me this past weekend but I was a woman on a mission.  It was a very productive weekend, even while dealing with a sick dog. I won't go into the details because it's just gross but I hope whatever is ailing his intestines ends soon.

School starts next week and that means football games starts soon so that means my free time is quickly evaporating as well. Maybe that's what gave me a burst of energy!

I re-painted the laundry room, did some baking, took the kids to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days, cleaned out my dining room and organized all the new school supplies, helped my son complete his summer reading report (I'll talk more about that soon), went grocery shopping, watched Big Miracle, and finally tackled the absolute mess that was our basement. That alone took almost 4 hours. Yes, it was that bad.

I also told my boys if that happens again, the next time I'm going down there with big black trash bags and that will be the end of toys in our house.  I'm not joking. 

Next on my list is to call an exterminator. There are too many creepy crawlies in my basement. Eww!

I celebrated my productive weekend with a trip to Michael's last night while the boys (and the husband) were at football practice.  I was on the hunt for some baskets and wall decor for the laundry room. It was nice to shop alone for once!

August 23, 2012

Doggie Treats

We picked up our puppy about 8 weeks ago and while he's still very much a puppy (even though he doesn't look like one), life with Gunner is getting easier.  I'm ready to say he's housebroken. And now I'm praying I didn't just jinx myself ...

He seems to be enjoying the dog food we've chosen to feed him. We are using Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Puppy and mixing in a small scoop of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free wet puppy food.  We've tried a few of their dog treat varieties as well and he's a huge fan of "jerky" style treats but they are very expensive.  He did not like the Blue Health Bars in the bacon/cheese flavor.

When shopping for dog treats, I decided that if I couldn't pronounce the ingredients then I wasn't buying the treats.  Good in theory but not so good on the wallet. Plus, we tried a few varieties and Gunner didn't seem to like them.

Pinterest to the rescue. More Pinimenting!

I had all but one ingredient in my pantry. How often does THAT happen??

Gunner LOVES them!  Thank you "Come On, Ilene" for the recipe!

Original recipe link:

August 22, 2012

Football & Moms Don't Always Mix

I'm not saying women do everything better but do you ever wonder, in certain situations, what if a woman had been involved?

I felt that way this weekend at a local Football Jamboree.  A Football Jamboree is when many local teams converge at a large field and play a series of scrimmages. No score is kept.  Typically each teams runs 10 offensive plays and 10 defensive plays and then you switch fields and play a different team. It's good for experience, to see how your team might play during a game. It's also good for tanning. 

Since I'm lucky and have 2 boys playing on 2 different weighted teams, I had the joy of attending the jamboree on Saturday AND Sunday from 10am to 2pm - yes, that's 8 hours of football.

Like I said, I got to work on my tan.

I realize football is a MAN'S sport, but these were 6-7-8 year old boys. They need to eat.  And when they had breakfast around 8am and it's now 1pm and they've been playing football for 3 hours, they are probably hungry and tired.  Why in the world was there not a time slot for a collective break and a snack?!?  After the 3rd game, I was standing with my son on the sideline giving him bites of bagel through his helmet.  He didn't want to stop playing at that point, but he was s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g and looking at me like I-NEED-FOOD-NOW!  Who could blame him?!  Thankfully, after the 4th game, our coach called it quits even though they wanted us to play a 5th game.

So after that experience on Saturday, I knew what to expect when we went back on Sunday for my older son.  It was a rough day. Many of the teams we played against were not weighted and many times my son was lined up against a kid that was easily 40lbs heavier than him ... so many parents had some issues with that since we choose to play in a weighted league for a reason!  SIX games and almost 4 hours later, again, no breaks, we were finally done.

I'm not trying to wimp-out my boys, I'm really not (they play football, afterall) but when kids are pushed that hard, that's when injuries happen.  I'm kind of proud (and lucky) that in 10 years of being a parent, I've only been to the ER once.

There were enough teams at the Jamboree that each team should have been able to rotate out for one session, take a rest, and get a quick snack to re-energize.  I don't think that's too much to ask.

August 21, 2012

Pin-imenting ~ Breakfast Cookies

Or Pin Experimenting ... Did I just coin a new word? Probably not and I'm too lazy to google and find out.  Somehow, someway, between ALL the football this past weekend, I found some time to try a few recipes I found on Pinterest.  That site is such a time-suck!

I decided to make the Breaskfast Cookies. Now, I attempted to be blog-proper and correctly link to the original source, but this is what happens:


We've blocked this link because it may go to spam or other inappropriate content.

So hey, I tried ... to be clear, I did not "create" this recipe and I was a little skeptical that they would actually bake, but they did!  Here's what 3 mashed bananas, 1/3 cup apple sauce, 2 cups oats, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon looks like all mixed up:

I dropped generous, heaping tablespoon portions of the dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.  I'm all about quick clean up, ya know.

And look at that. 18 minutes later I had breakfast cookies.  They kind of look like a very moist granola bar in blob form. They were very soft, flavorful, and filling.  The only thing they could possibly use is some sugar, but I realize that was the whole point of this recipe - no added sugar!

I am the only one in my house who will eat these, so I individually wrapped them and put them in the freezer in a gallon-sized freezer bag. I figure I can grab one on my way to work and it should be defrosted by the time I arrive.

Breakfast Cookies

3 ripe mashed bananas
1/3 cup apple sauce - I used a single serving size cup
2 cups oats
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes - in my oven, they were done in 18 minutes.

This Pin-iment gets a thumbs up!

August 17, 2012

Lunch Break Friday #2

I hate Kmart. I really do.  I'm not sure what it is about that place but I'd much rather deal with Walmart then step foot into a Kmart.

But Target, I could live at Target.  In fact, it might be cheaper to do that because then could just make my mortgage payment directly to them.  These days, I don't get out of that store for under $150 which is why I limit my trips there to once or twice a month.

Back to Kmart ... not a fan, but near my place of employment in the city, it's my only option. I went in there looking for some festive paper plates for our upcoming Labor Day BBQ and of course did not find any but I did find these:

Aren't they cute?  You can use them separately or button them together to make a runner.

Guess how much they were ... c'mon, guess!

Original retail price was $12.99 ... I paid $1.37 on clearance.

SCORE!  Thank you, Kmart!

August 15, 2012

Winding Down

Summer is almost over. I blame football.  It's making our days and nights fly by and leaving me with zero time to do anything.  Here's what my days look like right now:

6:30 am ~ drag myself out of bed
7:45 am ~ leave for work
8:30ish am - 4:30pm ~ work
5:30pm ~ arrive home, maybe eat "dinner"
5:45pm ~ leave for football practice
6 - about 8:30pm ~ football-football-football
8:45pm ~ boys shower while I throw their stinky stuff in the washer
9pm ~ feed boys dinner, again
10pm ~ boys = bed
10:30/11pm ~ me = bed

The amount of food my children are eating at 9pm at night is staggering.  I'm hoping this means they will both put on a few pounds but they likely won't since they burn it right off. If only I had a metabolism of an adolescent boy!

My almost 8 year old put away 2 mini cheeseburgers, a banana, a pack of peanut butter crackers, a bowl of sliced cucumbers with ranch dip, and washed it all down with chocolate milk. And then told me he was still hungry! Craaazy!

Tonight there's a scrimmage, Thursday is another scrimmage and both Saturday and Sunday will be spent at Football Jamborees.  I cringe at the thought of mixing homework into the equation. It makes me want to hide under the covers and scream no-No-NO like a two year old.

But it works out. It always does. We find a way to get it all done.

A nice bottle of wine helps too.

August 8, 2012

Puppy Update

It's hard to believe he's still a puppy when he looks like this:

especially when he looked like this just 7 weeks ago:

I'm not sure there is anything else to say but DAH-AMN.  He's almost 40 lbs and closing in on my youngest son's weight very, very quickly.  The number one thing people say when they see him is "Look at his paws - they are HUGE!" 

He's going to be a big boy (his daddy was too!)  That's okay. He's very sweet. We love him. He loves going to football practice and he comes home and collapses too. House training is going well. I'm not quite ready to say he's completely house-broken but he's close.  This is good because I'm growing tired of hurdling gates.

As far as my cats, we've made some progress there too.  Instead of mortal enemies, I think we've moved up a notch to just enemies ; )

August 7, 2012

Football Wreath

I had this idea in my head for awhile.  It happened one day about six months ago while I was shopping and came across this fabulous, soft yarn. To me, it had a grass-like texture to it and I saw the idea in my head. Since I can't knit, sew, or crochet, there isn't much left to do with yarn! 

And since my life is currently all football all the time, it's very apropos.

I started with a white foam wreath and wrapped it with the yarn. And wrapped and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped.  The yarn was very thin so I would wrap it a few times and then slide it all together so that none of the white foam was showing underneath.

At this point, you can see I was about half way done.  In total, it took me about an hour to wrap the wreath and I did it while watching TV. Multi-tasking makes me happy. I secured the yarn with a simple double knot to make sure it wouldn't unravel.

I apologize for the semi-crappy pictures. I really need to stop using my cell phone to take photos but it's so much easier then using my Sony, finding the camera cord, hoping the computer is working, hoping the internet is working, upload the pictures, etc ... need I say more?

I should probably tell you that my boys thought I was bit weird for doing this. I reminded them that I'm a girl and my interests are different from theirs and I like to do girly things.  And then right after that, my oldest son attempted to use it as a ring toss toy, using his arm as the base - - but he missed and dropped the wreath on the wood floor. Of course it cracked in half, right where the wreath was glued together. Of course!  Was. not. happy. 

Duct tape to the rescue! You would never know it broke. See?

Now, I don't think the scrapbook embellishments I used on the wreath would stand the test of time exposed to the weather or even the high heat of the sun on a front door (which happens to my front door) so this wreath will be hanging on our basement door - which opens into our family room. So it will serve as a seasonal decoration where we can see and enjoy it!

August 3, 2012

Over Chikin?

If I see one more Facebook post blasting Chick-Fil-A, I'm going to completely lose my mind.

I see a privately-owned company, founded by a Southern Baptist, that has NEVER been open on Sundays, standing firm on their beliefs.  Why is this wrong or a surprise? How Dan Cathy choses to spend the company's profits is his decision. 

I hope no one ever tells me how to spend my money and tells me where I *should* donate my money.

If their donations bother you that much, eat somewhere else.  It's really quite simple.  And I hope that all the outraged people investigate the donations & practices of every place they buy food or products from with as much vigor, instead of just reading the cliff notes.

August 1, 2012

Lost & Hoping to Find

Ever have anything disappear into thin air?  My son's shoulder pads for football have done just that.  They were in a tote marked "football stuff" (very creative, I know) and we pulled that tote out at the end of June to get the cleats out for the early July workouts and to see if they still fit.  The pads were in the tote at the time.

But then the tote sat in the garage with the pads sitting on top of it and one night, my husband "organized" the garage.  The tote still has all the stuff in it MINUS the shoulder pads. So where the hell did they go?

We have turned the house and garage upside down. We even talked with a neighbor whose kids are always at my house, asking if they accidentally took them home ... nope!

As I see it, there are two explanations:

1.  My husband put them in some super secret spot for some super strange reason.  This would not be an out of the ordinary thing for him to do. One day I'll write about when he "helps" around the house.

2.  Someone took them out of our garage.  If they don't turn up, there is no other explanation.

Maybe if we go buy new pads the old ones will suddenly appear?  Isn't that usually how it works?!