Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nutella Peppermint Cookies

I love Nutella. It is a bit of chocolate heaven. When I found these Chocolate Nutella Cookies from Two Peas, they quickly became a family favorite. JM loves them too and asks for them all the time. A few years ago for Christmas, I made a slight adapation and they turned out sooo good. I'm not typically one to alter recipies, (I'm a rule follower) but I'm glad I did with these!

Nutella Peppermint Cookies

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/3 cup Nutella
1/3 cup milk
Crushed candy canes or Peppermint Kisses


1. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract and beat until extracts disappear. Add the Nutella and mix until batter is smooth.

2. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. You can make the dough a few days in advance, just wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Take a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Gently press down on the dough ball. Press into crushed candy canes (or put candy kiss in the middle if using) and place on lined baking sheets. Continue making dough balls until the cookie sheets are filled-leave two inches in between cookies.

4. Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes or until soft, but starting to set. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen.

The bigger the chunks of candy cane, the more prominent they will be after they bake. I actually prefer smaller pieces, but it's kind of hard to get them small without crushing them. Candy cane dust doesn't work as well.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Not About Pants

I'm pretty sure I have lost any blogging audience I may have had, meaning the only people left reading this will be family and possibly a few neighbors. Which also means I will most likely offend everyone reading this, but I have to speak up.

A movement was organized called "Wear Pants to Church on Sunday" for Dec. 16. The organizers are mostly feminist Mormon women who would like to see greater gender equality in the church. (This is a great article specifically outlining some things that could be more equal.) This started out as a small, non-intrusive way for women to express their desires through civil disobedience. They specifically chose wearing pants because they thought it would be non-threatening. They weren't trying to make a political statement, alienate people or do anything that would distract from the spirit of church. But over the last week, this small step meant to encourage thought, kindness and equality has exploded into a big ugly mess. Church members are offended and horrified that women would choose to wear pants to church, despite there being no official church policy on the matter. There have been mean words, accusations and even threats. Yes, threats against those planning to wear pants.

I watched the whole thing unravel for a few days considering what I wanted to do. I wanted to stand with these women but I was scared. Scared of the judgment of others. Scared that my fellow church members would look down on me. Scared that I could be putting my education in jeopardy as I'm attending a church-sponsored school. And that's when it clicked for me. The very fact that I am scared to stand up and share my thoughts is why I should. The fact that I fear the judgment of others is misguided. I should only be concerned with what God thinks of me, and I think God supports equality in all forms; men and women, black and white, bond and free, Christian or Muslim. He loves us all.

I took a deep breath, summoned my courage and took a stand. I posted on my facebook wall that I planned to wear pants on Sunday. I wrote "I will be wearing pants to church on Sunday. I'm not doing it to be disrespectful, rude, or to show off my apostate ways. I'm doing it for solidarity for the many, many people (men and women alike) who feel sad, wronged, or judged for not fitting into the "Mormon Mold". I've felt that way at times and know how difficult it can be. There are lots of ways to be a Mormon, and they don't all include dresses on Sunday. It's ok if you disagree with me, I still love you. And that's the whole point- we can be different and still be ok. We are all children of God, and I don't think he cares one bit what I wear to church."

It seems that many people don't understand that this isn't about pants at all. Not really. Yes, pants are the way we are choosing to show our support, but it goes beyond trousers. It's much deeper than "Sunday best". It's about people like me, who fear retaliation at church for voicing an opinion contrary to culture. It's about supporting those who feel left out, sad, hurt, or wronged by people or polices at church. It's about calling on that Christ-like virtue of mourning with those who mourn, to say "You are not alone."

Some have asked, "Who are these people?" These people are your neighbors, your family, your friends. They are working moms, single parents, those with an inactive spouse or child. They are the infertile, the depressed, the intellectuals, the homosexuals, the feminists. They are the many, many people who don't follow the culturally prescribed life plan (marry young, kids every 2 years, be a SAHM) and feel judgment for it. In short, they are the silent majority and I am one of them. We are people who believe in Christ and want to worship Him, but struggle to attend church because of the dated culture we find. During this week, participants in the movement have been called unfaithful, unworthy, irreverent, apostate, satanic and worse. We only wish to open a constructive dialogue about things that pain us, to try to find a positive solution, but many have literally been to told to leave.  Leave the church because we are voicing a dissenting thought.

Is not Christ's church open to all? I don't recall the scriptural footnote that excludes those groups mentioned above. The second great commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself. For me, wearing pants is a symbolic way to show my love. To reach out to those who are too afraid to wear pants, but desperately need support. I'm not doing it to set myself apart for those in dresses, but to reach out to those who might be uncomfortable in their symbolic skirt.

If you have never felt the pain I describe, I am genuinely happy for you. I'm glad you find such peace and acceptance at church. I'm glad you feel you can be authentic to yourself without condemnation. But please don't assume that everyone has your life experience. Please don't disbelieve when someone tells you their feelings and experiences are different. Perhaps you have never heard someone speak of discomfort about the church. This doesn't mean it isn't very real. I have never seen France, but others tell me that it is real, they have visited and walked on its soil. And so I trust and believe in their experience.

So really, it's not about pants. It's about reaching out, strengthening, lifting, and comforting those who are afraid to speak out on their own.

Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Carve a Pumpkin

We managed to buy pumpkins this year AND actually carve them. That's pretty impressive since the last few years, they have been left whole on the porch for months post-Halloween. This year I was intent on actually carving them. The girls weren't so sure about cleaning out the insides. Neither of them like being messy, so it was a pretty gooey job for them. But they were troopers and got in and dirty.

I helped carved Blanche's pumpkin. I used a kitchen knife and it didn't quite turn out as well as I'd hoped. I'm far from a pro at pumpkin carving. BG was smart to ask Daddy to help with her's. He went high-tech and broke out the power tools. This is pumpkin carving: Daddy style.
BG picked out the design (a skull) all by herself. She was pretty excited about it and it turned out much better than the spider I attempted for Blanche. It's ok, I figure they only have to last two more days. After Halloween they're hitting the trash anyway.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One Oh

Yesterday was my 10th wedding anniversary. It's kind of a big deal. As such, we went ALL out. We both went to work ('cuz we like having money to pay our mortgage). After picking up the girls, we met up at home. We had a gourmet meal of bean and cheese burritos, did homework and sent the girls to bed. We watched TV together while I did homework. Then, THEN... we went to bed. I know, I know, super romantic and a little over the top. But for double digits, it's worth it.

Yes, really. That's what we did on the 10 year anniversary of our blessed union. Graduate school has ruined our fabulous 10th year anniversary trip to Hawaii. It will have to happen for our 12th anniversary.

I decided that I should dig out my wedding pictures to post for the big one oh. After rummaging around my office through boxes of photos, I realized a few things.
1- Wow, 10 years is a LONG time. We used to look so much younger.
2- (And more notably) I don't have ANY of my wedding pictures. I assume (and hope) that my mom still has them. The only ones I have in my house are the few on the wall and my wedding album, but nothing digital. (Hey mom- do you have my wedding photos? Can I have those?)

So here you have it. A photo of a photo from my wedding. The photo is framed behind glass, hence the glare and odd reflections. Weren't we young back then?

Happy Anniversary Honey! I'm looking forward to the next ten years.

*Update: I pulled out our weddings album and was looking through it. I left BG looking at it while I was off doing something else. When I came back she called me over and said "I don't understand something and I want you to explain it to me." When I was sitting by her, she flipped to the back of our wedding album to a shot of JM taking off my garter - with his teeth.

"Ummmm, what is Daddy doing?" she asked.

I had to laugh. It is kind of a funny tradition for a groom to take a piece of clothing off his bride and throw it to all the single guys in the room. Weird. I showed her the pictures of me throwing the bouquet and told her about wedding traditions.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

School, school, air, school

After the previous sickly sweet post you can assume one of two things have happened to me.
1- I crashed and burned after flying so high.
2- I was translated into an even better and more blissful state.

Before I reveal the answer, here is a picture of that happy, blissfully unaware time.
This was taken on the day of school orientation. This is my good friend who is in the program with me. After our orientation, we spent the afternoon together walking around campus buying books, finding the lab and getting ice cream from the famous campus creamery. It was a good day.

Where I am today? Well, it's much closer to #1 of the options above.

Not that things are bad per say, just really really busy. I'm stressed and overwhelmed with all I have going on. I'm questioning why I signed up for this and if I'm capable of making it through in one piece. I do like what I'm learning but it's stretching me. And sometimes stretching hurts. Sometimes I'm not sure if the stretching is going to snap me. I'm writing papers in a way I just don't understand. I'm researching for people when I'm not sure I know what I'm doing. I'm working in groups where there is tension and personality conflicts. And all of that is mentally exhausting.

Not to mention I have a husband and two kids at home on top of school. Oh yeah, and a boss who expects me to show up and be productive at work. Others in my program (who are mostly young and single) have told me they are amazed I am doing all this with kids. Frankly, so am I. And even then, I'm not so sure I'm doing it all that well. I'm worried about my kids. I thought this wouldn't affect them much, but BG is having some issues at school now. I'm questioning if she is sensing and reacting to my stress.

JM is being a incredible help, but I can see that he is also feeling the pressure. He smiles and reminds me that this is what grad school is like. That it's about more than classes and grades. It's about teaching you to learn in a whole new way, force you to interact with those not of your choosing, to stress you out and make you prioritize because you can't possibly do it all. Some days I think I'm just barely holding on.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How Did I Get Here?

You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
--Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

Do you ever have one of those moments when you stop, look around at your life and just become struck by it all? I've been feeling that way the last few days. I am feeling so incredibly blessed and lucky to have the life I have. I have one amazing husband. Not only is he good-looking, but he is an incredible husband and father. He works hard for our family, plays with the girls and really works hard to be a good dad. As a husband, I couldn't ask for anything more. He is supportive and encouraging of me in all my various roles. He's my cheerleader and my rock. He is kind and respectful. We absolutely have our differences, but we are able to respectfully discuss them and work them out. Sometimes we agree to disagree, sometimes we compromise, but rarely do we yell. I know he always has my back, whether I am present or not.

I have two sweet, smart, beautiful girls who are so much fun. They play well together and have a curiosity for life and learning. I love getting to know them better and help guide them as they become their own people. They are generous with their affection even thought I sometimes get eye rolls when I tell them I love them.

This week I started graduate school. I'm sure the newness and novelty will wear off, but I am thrilled to be sitting in a classroom again. I love the intellectual stimulation of the conversation. I get fired up talking about topic that I feel passionate about with others who have similar interests. As I've looked over the syllabuses, I am so excited by all the cool stuff I get to learn. I will get to publish papers! My name. In professional journals! I have made a conscience decision to jump all in during graduate school. I am going to be the epitomee of all things student and suck every last experience I can from graduate school. This thought is thrilling and I almost hate the I only have classes 2 days a week.

JM and I both have good jobs. We are in a place with a very bright future. I know we have worked hard in the past to get where we are, but it seems that our reward has been exponential to the sacrifices we've made. JM and I have had many conversations on how we want to give back. We have been given so much, we feel it is our responsibility to do what we can to pass along our blessings. I have a stupid perma-grin on my face lately and I'm going to enjoy it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Four Eyes Are Better Than Two

I have terrible vision. JM has terrible vision. We knew it was only a matter of time before our girls would need glasses. When I took BG to her pediatrician for her annual exam they did a basic eye exam and she was concerned with her vision. Her Doc suggested we take her to an eye doctor for a full exam.

This week we finally made her appointment and she was so excited. She thought the whole thing was pretty cool. Turns out, she does need glasses. She is also very excited about wearing glasses. Trying on different pairs was lots of fun for both girls. These are the ones she finally settled on. They should arrive just in time for school to start.

Blanche thought the glasses were awesome - these were her favorites. She looked like such a little diva.
Such cute girls in their new specs! I'm a little worried about a 6 year old being responsible for some (very) expensive glasses. Anyone have experience here? Suggestions for helping her keep them on her face or a safe place and unbroken? I did spend more on the nicer lenses in hopes they will wear better. And I bought the 1-year warrenty, because we're talking about a 6 year old here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pink Sponge Rollers

Speaking of hair, Blanche's hair is finally long enough for her own right of hair passage. The pink sponge curlers! She was so excited to get curlers put in her hair. It was a little tough getting her to hold still long enough to put them in, but we managed.

She was so excited to pose for the picture, she couldn't even hold still long enough to take it. This is a common theme among pictures of Blanche, blurry body parts because she is always on the move.

 Showing off her curlers.

Funny story about the curlers. I put them in her hair after bath and put her to bed. A few minutes later, I heard her crying hysterically, like she had been beaten. I go in her room to see what was wrong and she tells me between sobs "My (sob) curler (sob) fell (sob) out". She held up one sponge roller like her world was ending. I calmly put it back in and she went right to sleep. The tragedy of a ruined hair style is not lost on her at 2.5.

In the morning, this is how her hair looked, all "co-ley". She loved it.

Monday, August 6, 2012


We have been growing out BG's hair for some time now. It used to be that she wanted Rapunzel hair (what 6 year old doesn't?). Then I told her how some people get really sick and all their hair falls out when they take medicine to make them better. And how you can cut off your hair and send it to the sick people, who can use it to make wigs.

She really liked that idea. After researching different organizations, we decided to go with Pantene Beautiful Lengths. (Side note: Locks of Love makes wigs for kids with alopecia, not cancer.) The Pantene program uses it's donation for cancer patients and we like that better. Plus, their required donation was shorter, only 8 inches. So sweet BG grew and grew and grew out her hair. When I she couldn't stand it any more, we took her to a friend to get it cut. I may have selfishly wanted to make sure it was long enough to donate plus have enough left over for a cute non-pixie style. 

Here is her hair before the cut.

And after!!

I LOVE the way it turned out. As the summer has worn on, I love it more and more. It's long enough that she still can do pig-tails, flowers, and headbands, but short enough that tangles are not nearly as big an issue. She has combed her own hair almost every morning since cutting it. She loves wearing it down too. I may just keep it short from now on. It has eliminated so many morning hair fights (not all, but many).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Fun Update

At the beginning of the summer, we sat down a wrote a list of 40 fun things to do over the summer. I thought I would give an update on how we're doing. Mostly, the things I found most interested have already been completed. The ones I'm not so into, have yet to be done. You may also notice a trend that the messy projects have yet to be done. 
  1. Family Picnic
  2. Play in the Park
  3. Go to the Library
  4. Go Swimming
  5. Take Swim Lessons
  6. Blow bubbles
  7. Go the to Zoo
  8. Play with sidewalk chalk
  9. Make cookies
  10. Make ice cream
  11. Play with friends
  12. Go Camping
  13. Go to Yellowstone
  14. Run through the Sprinklers
  15. Home Depot Kids Workshop (free on the first Saturday of the month)
  16. Watch a movie
  17. Build a blanket fort
  18. Go to the Dinosaur Museum
  19. Glow sticks in the Bathtub
  20. Painting
  21. Run a Race
  22. Watch Fireworks
  23. Play Playdoh
  24. Balloon Tennis
  25. Shave with Daddy (With saving cream and Popsicle sticks)
  26. Balloon Characters
  27. Write Letters
  28. Act out a story
  29. Go to Cabella's to see the fish and animals
  30. Weeding
  31. Potato Stamps
  32. Make Pizza
  33. Eat Popsicles
  34. Hike Lake Mountain
  35. Roast Marshmallows
  36. Star Gazing
  37. Buy a botanical book to learn about native plants
  38. Target Shooting
  39. Plant flowers
  40. Watch a baseball game

We are making good progress! We also mapped out the remaining weekends of the summer with the things that need to be accomplished on a Saturday (like the Zoo). It's cool to see all the fun things we've done. I think we are going to extent our completiong date into September. Origionally I wanted to be done by the time school starts, but that may not happen. School is right around the corner!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hookie Day: An Annual Tradition

Hookie Day first began in 2010, by accident. It was a July morning. JM and I were both tired of the monotony of getting up every day, and going to work every day. We both agreed to call in sick. Then we had the even better idea of taking the girls to day care AND calling in sick.

We spent that glorious day together. We shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary sale (love it!), went to a leisurely lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and just spent the day together. It was a great day of re-charging our relationship.

Fast forward one year: July, 2011. Similar situation, neither of us want to go to work. We both decide to call in sick. Then we recalled how great that one day was last year and we happily dropped the girls off at day care to spend the day together. This day had a de ja vu effect to it because we shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and ate at The Cheesecake Factory. We also got massages and decided this kind of day should happen more often.

June 2012: Now that we have the basic premise down for what Hookie Day looks like, (and our lives seem to be more crazy) we booked Hookie Day a month in advance. Not as spontaneous, but effective at making sure it happened. JM requested the day off work and I re-arranged my schedule to make it work. This year we mutually decided that neither of us needs clothes so we would fore-go the shopping this year. We had planned on hiking in the morning, but JM has been sick for the last week and wasn't feeling up to it. Instead we went out to breakfast then drove around looking at and dreaming about huge houses we can't afford.

We went back to the house to clean up and take a short nap. Then we set off for a leisurely lunch. While I don't want to go into the details here, this lunch was/will be life changing. Not because of the food, but the conversation. We discussed our life, our goals, and what is most important to us. I may have cried, embarrassing myself in front of our waiter.

After lunch we headed to the spa for a couples massage. It was relaxing and a great way to end Hookie Day. What I love about Hookie Day is that it's a special day just for us. We do plenty of family activities, but often fail to take the time to nurture our marriage. This is a full day to just do what we love together. We take it slow and dream big. It always reminds us of our dating life when we would dream about our future together. It's fun to see how far we've come as well as dream about what the future will hold.

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Friday Fragments

(Somehow my scheduled post, didn't automatically post, so you get Friday Fragments on Monday.)
It's been a while since I did one of these and we've had lots of things going on in the last few weeks. In fragment form, here's an update:

We went the my niece's baby blessing last week. At the family party after, BG had to go potty. I went with her since she didn't know where it was. She asked me to go into the bathroom stall with her to untie her dress (she was wearing a halter dress). I told her she didn't have to untie and pull down her dress, she could pull up her dress to go potty. She looked at me with amazement and said "Mom! You are so creative!!" Made my day.

BG has also been praying lately for a baby brother. I figure either way life turns out, it will be a good lesson. Either 1) God answers prayers or 2) We don't always get what we want/ask for.

There have been lots of fires where I live this summer. Many have left people evacuated from their homes. A few homes have been destroyed. It makes me nervous for the long, hot summer we still have ahead of us. I'm very grateful for the firefighters who are working non-stop. It also makes mad at the stupid people who are still target shooting in hot, dry climates and those using fireworks irresponsibly. Most of the fires have been human started.

We went camping at Yellowstone a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun and we survived! It's a beautiful park with incredible views and wild life.

I'm running a 5K this weekend. I'm excited for it, but also a little nervous. Mostly, I'm ready for it to be over so I don't have to run anymore. It also makes me think I need to sign up for another one to keep up the motivation.

Blanche burned her arm pretty bad on Father's Day. She bumped into the hot grill while running around. She is a tough kid because she hardly cried. After the initial tears, she only cried one other time about it- when the nurse tried to take off the bandage and it stuck to a blistered area of skin. Other than that, she's been all smiles about it. It's taken a few weeks, but it now looks like a sunburn vs. charred flesh. Poor kid!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

All I Want for Christmas

Just for humor's sake I've been mentally compiling a list of things that are difficult to eat when you are missing your two front teeth. We know about all of these from first hand experience around our house lately.
  • Corn on the cob
  • Snow cones
  • Ribs
  • Drumsticks (the ice cream variety, but I imagine the meat variety would count too)
  • Apples
  • Pizza

One of her top teeth has finally made a appearance so I'm sure it won't be too much longer before she can enjoy all these foods again. In the meantime, I do love that toothless grin!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Morning Grind

It's been a while since I participated in a writing prompt from Mama Kat and with this last week's topics I just could resist. (Yes, I'm a week behind. Sorry of my life.)
1.) Is your child a morning person? Share a story, picture or list of reasons that supports your opinion.

After some of the mornings we've had at our house, I couldn't resist. BG is NOT a morning person. Must take after me. If it was socially acceptable, I would probably cry and scream and throw tantrums every morning too. But alas, there is no one at my house who would care. Here is a little insight into mornings at our house.

Tuesday after Memorial Day: Back to school and work. I layed in bed longer than I should have and it was 7:30 before I went into BG's room to wake her up. She was still asleep so I gently patted her and told her to get up. After my shower, when JM was leaving, he went in her room again to tell her it was time to get up. 5 min later I go in again, put her clothes ON her bed and tell her to get up and dressed. Another 5 min and she is at least sitting up and buttoning her shirt.

At this point I get Blanche up, dressed, do her hair and put shoes on. I also finish my hair and makeup. BG has finished buttoning her shirt and is staring lazily out the window. "Finish getting dressed Sweetie" I kindly request. I'm answered by a shrill noise, her burrowing her head in her pillow and a barely understandable "Don't LOOK at ME!!!!" through shrieks. I take Blanche downstairs, get her breakfast, pack lunches, start the crock pot.

Upstairs BG is finally dressed but no socks or shoes. I ask if she needs help and she burst into tears and shrieks at me for talking to her. I tell her that I am leaving in 5 minutes and if she isn't downstairs I will leave her. This only escalates her sobs. I go downstairs (which really gets her going).

A few minutes later she comes downstairs with socks and shoes on, still crying uncontrollably. We go back upstairs together to do her hair. She hasn't put on shorts under her skirt so I ask her to do that - more sobbing about how hard it is with her shoes already on. I help her get her shorts over her shoes and ask her to pull it up. I go downstairs, start the car and get Blanche strapped in. BG finally makes it downstairs, shorts on, red-faced and sniffling. She gets in the car with her bag of cereal and we head off to school, 20 min late.

Admittedly, this was a particularly rough morning, but it's not too far off from our typical routine. Unless of course you count  this week where BG has finally figured it out. She has been up and dressed before I even go into her room. She does her own hair and brush her teeth without being asked. All in time for school to end on Friday and the whole summer to slide backwards.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lipstick Kisses

My daughter loves lip stick. She knows right where I keep it in my purse and will bee-line to it when I'm not looking. She also knows that I hang my purse on the inside of the closet door. It's never a good sign when she has locked herself in the closet, or when she gets too quiet, or if there is sunscreen within reach. All these things lead to messes that mom has to clean up.

Clearly this has happened on more than one occasion, with different tubes of lipstick. I love how proud of herself she is in the bottom picture- what a little turkey. I'm kind of hoping to get a nice collage going of her in different shades of lipstick that I can use against her when she's a teenager.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bathroom Remodel

When we bought our home nearly four years ago, I told JM, the first thing I wanted to do was paint the upstairs bathroom. It had one red wall which I hated. I'm not opposed to a red wall, but the color of red was just off. He was fine with the idea of painting the bathroom but wanted to get some organization to the garage first. I agreed to that.

Four years later, we still haven't painted the bathroom and it grew on me. Not that I ever liked it, but I tolerated it. Plus when the door was open (which it is most of the time) it covers about half of the wall. I sort-of tried to make it into a patriotic theme. I hung the shower curtain that I've had since college (that was a LONG time ago) along with a few other accessories and left it alone. We already had navy towels so it was tolerable.

The towel rod had fallen down a few months ago and we hadn't gotten around to putting it back up. Besides, it had been poorly installed and there was a quarter size hole in the wall. I didn't want to rehang it since the kids tend to hang on it or pull on the towels.

I finally had enough. I decided one day (really all on my own, didn't have input or permission from JM) to do something about the bathroom. I loaded up the girls and hit Target then Home Depot for supplies. I nearly forgot to take before pictures, but managed to snap a few while I was prepping for paint.

I liked how it turned out, but after a few weeks of watching it, I REALLY like it. I love the grey. It's a great neutral and not too dark with all the white accents.

I painted two and a half walls a medium grey. The other wall and a half, I painted white. I also had to re-paint the ceiling white because after I painted trim white, the ceiling looked like a hideous sun-bleached off white.
Instead of putting the towel rod back up I did board and batton on the lower half of the wall and installed three hooks for towels. This also helps with the little hands hanging towels. They couldn't reach the rod, meaning lots of towels on the floor. Now, they can reach!

I'm really kind of proud of this corner. Silly as it may be, it took that extra effort that means I really cared how it turned out.This is the corner where the two mirrors meet and it was a pain to get the grey wall grey and the white all white.
I bought new hooks or the shower curtain. These were on sale for $5, so I couldn't go wrong. Speaking of new shower curtain, I improvised with this one. It is actually a flat bed sheet. I did take a short-cut here. I really should have taken the time to make button holes for the hooks, but I didn't. Mostly because I don't know how to make button holes and didn't want to wait until I learned. So I just cut slits with my rotary cutter in the fabric.
I also had to hem it since it was too long. The nice  thing about hemming it was that I could make it longer than a normal curtain and hang it really high. The width was perfect so I didn't do anything there.
A closer look at the board and batton. Love the hooks!
Here are the side by sides. I'm really love the way it turned out!


I really like that because the grey is neutral, it won't be a problem for re-sell value. I was trying to avoid anything too theme-y. What do you think?

TDC Before and After
Supporting Habitat for Humanity

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cancer Sucks

For my day job, I work in the Oncology department at a local hospital. I am the Health Educator over several hospitals. I plan patient programs and focus on community outreach. I help plan screening and prevention programs. I also manage a patient education library and help patients find information on their cancer, side effects, etc. All this connection with cancer patients, yet I've never had anyone really close to me with cancer. Until recently.

One of my friends and neighbors was recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Watching her go through surgery and treatment has changed my perspective on cancer. I wanted to do something for her while she is going through Chemotherapy. Since I have access to such great information and am aware of some of the common side effects of Chemotherapy, I decided to put together a Chemo Survival Kit of her. I thought I'd post what I included in the Kit in case it's helpful for anyone else out there.

Chemo Survival Kit

I bought a simple bag to put it all in. It's a re-uable shopping bag. I made a basic sign for the front.

The contents include lots of things to help ease the symptoms associated with chemotherapy. Each one included a little note to explain what it is and why it's included. Inside the kit is:
  •  A funny book that has nothing to do with Chemo. It's actually this book. Hilarious book about parenting.
  • A pretty scarf for when she looses her hair.
  • Plastic utensils to help with the metallic taste patients often get.
  • Educational materials because it's my job and I couldn't not include it.
  • Hard candy to help with mouth sores.
  • A small pillow (because hospital pillows suck)

  • Ginger tea to help with nausea.
  • Chapstick for chapped lips
  • A trashy magazine to keep up on celebrities and help pass the time.
  • Love Notes: This is one of my favorite parts. I asked friends and neighbors to write notes of encouragement and tied them together with a pretty ribbon. I was hopeful that it would help lift her spirits and feel loved during treatment

My friend really liked it and told me it was helpful. I enjoyed making it and felt like it was something I could do to be helpful during a time when there's not a lot someone else can do to take the burden.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

40 Fun Things

This summer has been dubbed the "Summer of Fun". By me. Mostly because when this summer is over I will be working and going to graduate school while trying to balance family life. I don't think we'll be doing a whole lot of extra fun things while I'm in school. Tonight we sat down and made a family list of fun things to do over the summer. I plan on hanging our list on the fridge and crossing things off as we go. In no particular order, here is our list of 40 Fun Things.
  1. Family Picnic
  2. Play in the Park
  3. Go to the Library
  4. Go Swimming
  5. Take Swim Lessons
  6. Blow bubbles
  7. Go the to Zoo
  8. Play with sidewalk chalk
  9. Make cookies
  10. Make ice cream (I got an ice cream maker for Mothers Day!! :) )
  11. Play with friends
  12. Go Camping
  13. Go to Yellowstone (already planned)
  14. Run through the Sprinklers
  15. Home Depot Kids Workshop (free on the first Saturday of the month)
  16. Watch a movie
  17. Build a blanket fort
  18. Go to the Dinosaur Museum
  19. Glow sticks in the Bathtub
  20. Painting
  21. Run a Race
  22. Watch Fireworks
  23. Play Playdoh
  24. Balloon Tennis (with paper plate rackets)
  25. Shave with Daddy (With saving cream and Popsicle sticks)
  26. Balloon Characters (Draw faces on balloons)
  27. Write Letters
  28. Act out a story
  29. Go to Cabella's to see the fish and animals
  30. Weeding
  31. Potato Stamps
  32. Make Pizza
  33. Eat Popsicles
  34. Hike Lake Mountain
  35. Roast Marshmallows
  36. Star Gazing
  37. Buy a botanical book to learn about native plants
  38. Target Shooting (I'm not thrilled about this one, but BG and JM are excited. It may get vetoed.)
  39. Plant flowers
  40. Watch a baseball game

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Love Story

Once upon a time, there was a boy.


This boy worked very hard with a job and going to school. One of the few things he loved in life was his motorcycle. One day, this boy met a girl.

The boy and the girl fell in love and decided to get married. The boy didn't have much money to pay for a ring and the girl was unflinchingly ridged on what kind of ring she wanted. Since he was a good, hardworking, in-love boy, he decided to sell his beloved motorcycle to buy his girlfriend the ring she wanted. (Pause to allow for "Awwww"s.)

They got married and the years rolled by. All those years, he missed his motorcycle, but continued being the good, hardworking boy to support his growing family, their needs and fun family vacations.

One day the boy decided he needed to be reunited with his first love, the road. Luckily, the girl understood and agreed to let him purchase a motorcycle. It was shiny and fast (yet reasonably priced).

And the boy and his motorcycle lived happily ever after.

The End