Thursday, May 31, 2012

Little Artist

While I was cooking dinner last night, I gave Andrew some crayons and a picture to color to occupy him. (Jaxson had the iPod Touch and was watching Sponge Bob movies.) For awhile, they were both perfectly content. Then, as dinner was ALMOST finished, I heard something scraping against the wall. I asked Jaxson, "Are you coloring on the wall?!?!"..... "Yes!" was the immediate answer. I ran around the corner and found......


Poor Andrew was still where I left him, as happy as can be, completely oblivious to his brother's antics. As usual.

Thank god, the markers were washable.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

I absolutely adore my slow cooker. What else is easier than dumping in some ingredients, turning it on, and then a few hours later.... dinner is done! This recipe seriously couldn't be easier. And it's SO GOOD!  I found the recipe on Pinterest, and the original source can be found here.

I modified my recipe slightly, but the original recipe calls for:

  • 24 oz jar salsa
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1.25 oz package of taco seasoning
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped (optional)
  • 6 chicken breasts

I only had an 18 oz jar of salsa, so I mixed that with a can of crushed tomatoes and added an extra half packet (that I already had opened) of taco seasoning. Stir this together with the lime juice, cilantro and jalapenos. I omitted the cilantro, since my husband doesn't like it. I also did not add the jalapeno so the kids would be able to eat it as well.

Once mixed, I layered the salsa mixture and the chicken into the slow cooker.

I covered and cooked the chicken on low for about 5 1/2 hours. The last hour I uncovered and turned on high. The salsa mixture was a little watery so I wanted some of the liquid to cook out. It turned out great. The chicken was so tender it literally fell apart as I was removing it from the slow cooker.

As a side dish, I prepared some rice with taco seasoning. I chopped and sauteed some green, yellow and red bell peppers to add in.

I served mine with some sliced avocado and sour cream. It was delicious!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Picasso's in Training

I was at Target the other day looking for craft ideas for the boys. I found some washable finger paint from Crayola and decided to give it a try.

I was a little nervous, I wasn't sure just how "washable" it would actually be. I removed the boys clothing just in case and laid down a towel.

Jaxson was very careful not to get it anywhere other than on the paper.

Andrew on the other hand, was more interested in painting his belly.

I was pleasantly surprised at how neat Jaxson was with the paint. I figured he would want to paint the walls and furniture.

Once they were finished we headed into the bathroom to wash hands. Or in Andrew's case, his whole body. But the paint came off so easily! The boys loved it, and I love that it wiped right off of Andrew's highchair, and his arms, and his belly and his legs.... you get the idea. It was such a hit, that Jaxson wanted to paint again first thing this morning.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Never Ending...

Is it just me, or does one remodeling/redecorating project turn into at least 7? We have done so much work to our home over the past 2 years or so, and I thought we were in the homestretch. I suppose we are, in the sense that several of the big projects are completed, but now my attention is being drawn to all of the little projects that I never even thought about before. I think I am going to have to go room by room and make a list of projects that still need completed. In the meantime, here are the major projects that we have managed to cross off our list, along with a few that still remain:

  • Convert Sun Room into new Master Bedroom
  • Convert Old Master into Devin's room
  • Replace Hardwood Floors through out house
  • Remove existing Hardwood floors in bedrooms and replace with carpet
  • Replace Roof
  • Paint each bedroom
  • Remove weird partition above kitchen cabinets and open up the wall above  the cabinets
  • Paint Kitchen Cabinets
  • Install Wainscoting around Kitchen Island
  • Install crown molding through out house

I could keep going, but maybe I should just list it room by room in separate posts. I wish I had known I would be starting a blog, I would have taken before and after pictures. But I do have some "during" pictures of the bedrooms that I can share.

Old Master now Devin's room.

 This wall was added, to close off the room from the new hallway extension. We added the closet to this wall as well.

Jaxson checking out the new carpet.

Andrew's room, painted yellow. Not much was done to this room, just a new wall color, painted the trim white, installed a new ceiling fan, door and closet doors.

After the carpet installation. I promise the room isn't bright yellow, I took these pictures with my camera phone, so they aren't the best quality. Again, Jaxson had to check out the new carpet.

Playing on the carpet while Mommy and Daddy put the new furniture together.

Andrew's crib bedding

Jaxson's room, painted bright green.

I love the color of his room, it's so vibrant without being blindingly bright.

 It took me FOREVER to find dinosaur bedding that would still fit a crib mattress. We have since converted his crib into a toddler bed, but still use the same mattress. I literally found ONE dinosaur crib set, but didn't like the colors. It was dark brown, dark red and yellow. Very dull. I bought it, hoping it would be better in person and it wasn't. Luckily I never opened it and was able to return it once I found this set. 

Since this is rather long, I will show the picture of our master bedroom in a separate post.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friday was my stepson's field day so all of us piled into the car for the 3 hour trip to cheer him on. As luck would have it, I had to take Jaxson to the doctor that morning. (His feet have been peeling and he says they hurt.) We got some ointment, came home to get Daddy and Andrew and took off. Traffic was horrible, should have known since it's Bike Week here. We ended up getting to Devin's school about an hour after field day ended. Awesome.

I felt bad dragging Jaxson and Andrew on a 6 hour trip for nothing, so we stopped at Chuck E Cheese on the way home. Just FYI, it takes FOREVER for 4 kids to spend 100 tokens. (Yes, I included Manny in that count.) Poor Andrew (who refuses to sleep anywhere except his own bed) was beyond exhausted.  He and I ended up sitting in the car, watching The Wiggles, and waiting on the other boys to finish up and pick their prizes.

This car was by far, Andrew's favorite ride seat. He loved it, as long as I didn't insert a token and make it move. Even though he was STARVING, he refused to leave this, even for food. For him, that's a big deal. He's an eater.

He tolerated the movement when Devin and Jaxson joined him. But just once.

At least the other two thoroughly enjoyed themselves:

Another tip: Join Chuck E Cheese's email club to receive coupons. I did this in the parking lot before we went inside and ended up saving $10 off of our package PLUS 20 free tokens. They also send coupons around your child's birthday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I don't think there are many things that are worse than having a sick child. Poor Andrew has croup, at least according to the doctor, although I'm not 100% convinced. His cough is only slightly barking, he's more just stuffy, congested, snotty... that sort of fun stuff. Whatever it is, he's miserable, and when he's miserable he wants nothing but held 24/7. Which normally I don't mind, but when he's waking up once an hour all during the night, wanting me to hold him so he can sleep, then I sort of have a problem with it. Add in to the mix Jaxson who has been having bad dreams at night, waking up scared and crying, and it means I am getting very little sleep at all. Last night going from room to room, consoling them both I seriously was a zombie. And I'm even more of a zombie today. Tuesday's are my bathroom cleaning days, and they seriously need cleaned, but my eye lids are getting heavier and heavier and I'm going to have a hard time getting up out of this chair. Let's just hope Andrew's steroid kicks in soon and get rid of whatever this sickness is. Let's also hope no one else in the house catches it. Fingers crossed!

At least he's not too sick to torment the dog.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Giveaway via 4 Men 1 Lady Blog

Head on over to 4 Men 1 Lady and enter for your chance to win an AMPLIFI Hose Powering System.

Click on the above picture or here to take you to the giveaway page. There are several ways you can earn an entry so make sure to do them all! Also, be sure to check out the rest of 4 Men 1 Lady, it's an amazing blog!

Bikini Time

The second worst thing about living at the beach (the first being tourist traffic) is that "bikini season" lasts about 6 months out of the year. For the past 3 years I was either pregnant, or very post -pregnant during the summers. However, this summer I don't have any excuses..... unless you can count an 18 month old as a "newborn". So I went in the closet and dug out my all time FAVORITE workout DVDs EVER!!!

The trainer is Jeanette Jenkins, aka "The Hollywood Trainer" and this is her complete system that I brought, probably back in 2005. It includes 7 videos: cardio, pilates, cross training, yoga, kickboxing, butt and thighs, and an ab blast. THEY ARE AMAZING! Each one of them provides a great workout, perfect for any fitness level. My personal favorite is the kickboxing one, which of course I couldn't find so I had to order another one. While I was at it I also bought:


I can't wait until they arrive. I'm so excited to try out these two new ones and add them in to the mix of my older ones. I figured I would try the bikini boot camp, since, well the whole point of this is to look good in a bikini. I also really enjoy core workouts and LOVE stretches so the second one seemed like a no brainer as well.

I seriously cannot say enough good things about the DVDs that I currently own and I'm sure the new ones will be just as fun and effective. They are perfect for beginners, but if you are looking to add something new to your workout routine I highly suggest trying one of the Hollywood Trainer videos, I don't think you will be disappointed. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

In The News: Baby Monitors Allowing Video Access To Your Kids

I was laying in bed last night reading the news on the mobile app of my iPhone and came across a story by a local station that made me sit straight up in bed. It was about the dangers of using video baby monitors. Apparently, the monitors can pick up the feed of another monitor in close proximity, essentially allowing other people to see your child in your home! The original news story can be found here .

One woman reported how she saw two arms reaching into (what she thought was) her child's crib and panicked, ran into the room, thinking that someone was abducting her baby. Turns out she had picked up another household's feed and was seeing THEM picking up THEIR child. Can you imagine the terror she must have experienced??!! I can't imagine thinking that you are watching, on your baby video monitor, someone trying to abduct your child.

Like the news reporter asks, what can happen in this falls into the wrong hands? Is this just now an easier way for "baby-snatchers" to stake out your home??? Hospitals now warn of placing lawn ornaments in your yard, announcing the arrival of your precious little one. Will they now have to warn against having video monitors too??

I personally never used a video monitor, although at times it would have been extremely useful. However I just can't imagine someone else being able to see my sleeping child, or the confusion/panic of seeing a different child, in a different room, in a different house. Wondering how far the signal could carry, they tested the range of the monitors and they were able to pick up the feed inside a house at a range of 352 feet!!

There is good news though. Some brands of monitors are labelled as "video encrypted". This means no one can pick up your video feed (whether on purpose or by accident) without having a set code that they would have to enter. Also, since video monitors are a fairly new thing, this security should only get better, right? Let's hope so!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Balls and a Wedding

Last Tuesday I took Chubby to what I thought was just his regular 18 month checkup. I figured he would get the last of this shots and that was it. Wrong. While the doctor was performing his exam he couldn't find either of the poor kids testicles. I sort of chuckled about it, didn't think it was a big deal. Apparently, it's a very big deal. The doctor said he thought he could feel one but wasn't positive and that we would need to take him to a specialist to have it checked out. Um, ok. So off to the Medical University of South Carolina we went, a 2 1/2 hour trip, one way. The condition is called cryptorchidism or basically undescended testicles. We were facing the possibility of him having both, one or NONE. Oh my goodness. If he had at least one and they/it were still in the abdomen (where they form) then he would have to have at least one surgery, possibly two in order to place them. The possibility of him having neither was terrifying, he would have to have testosterone shots and could face serious medical issues.

We made the trip, saw the pediatric urologist and luckily everything was fine! (Insert big sigh of relief here.) Of course Chubs screamed the entire time, he's terrified of strangers. But the specialists were able to find BOTH testicles (after some awful poking and pushing) and no follow up is needed as of now. WHOO HOO!

On a less stressful note, my husband's sister got married over the weekend! Yay! It was super simple and cute, loved it! The kids had a blast. With the exception of taking pictures...

This was the best picture we could get, the little ones quickly tired of standing still and saying "cheese"!

This was the limo ride on the way to the wedding.

And this is what the professional family pictures will look like. Chubs (the 18 month old) at least wasn't pulling Devin's hair in this one. And poor Monkey was so tired and hungry, he just couldn't take it anymore.

It's been a long couple of weeks for us. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything will go back to normal, at least for a little while. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fun in the Sun

It's so HOT outside, I think summer is officially here. At least here in the south. We had a hectic weekend and the boys have been so off schedule. I decided to get a blow up pool from Walmart and let the sun zap some energy out of them. They still went down for a nap later than usual but maybe if I let them go for a "swim" later this afternoon too, it will help. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Recipe Review: Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites

The original recipe is by Rachael Ray and it can be found here. I love her 30 minute meal recipes. They are super simple, quick and delicious. I try to make a new and different recipe at least once a week. My husband would be perfectly content having the same meals over and over again. (He's super picky and sticks with what he likes.) I, on the other hand, need variety. I love food and I love trying out new recipes. I needed something quick and easy that I could make before we headed out food shopping this evening. I also needed something that our 2 small children could eat too, with a simple modification.

After chopping my chicken into bite sized pieces I tossed them with a few teaspoons of hot sauce, according to the recipe. Then, still following the recipe, dredged them in the dry pancake mix, then dipped them in the batter made of pancake mix, water and hot sauce. I typically don't measure things, I simply mixed the 2 1/2 cups of pancake mix with enough water to make a slightly thicker pancake batter, then added hot sauce to taste. I added the coated chicken in batches to canola oil over medium low heat and cooked until dark golden brown. (For the kiddos I simply made some extra batter on the side without the hot sauce.) These weren't spicy for me or the hubs at all, so after cooking and letting them cool I tossed them in some additional hot sauce. Much better.

What I love most about cooking is being able to tweak things to your personal preferences. This recipe is a perfect example. I will definitely make these again, probably when having guests over for a birthday party, super bowl party, holiday, etc. It would be easy to make a large batch and keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Giveaway: Delightful Order Blog

One of the blogs that I follow is Delightful Order. It's a wonderful blog by DaNita, full of organizing and decorating ideas. She also has an Etsy Shop and is giving away one of her shop items on her blog. It's this amazing customized message center.

You can pick from several colors (I think the yellow is too cute!) and she will customize it for your family.

Head on over to her blog and put your name in the hat to win this adorable message center. There are several ways to enter so make sure you complete them all. Also, be sure to leave her a comment for each separate way that you enter! GOOD LUCK! (But not too much luck, because I would love to hang one of these little guys in my kitchen.)