Flooding, Urgent Care, and sharks…oh my!

So our much needed vacation was…well…a trip to remember. My husband thought traveling on a plane with two young kids would be a nightmare so he decided a 14 hour drive to the beach was a good idea! What do you think? Are you laughing already? Our trip felt more like a comedy of errors. You name it, we had it.

It was a record 13″ rainfall our first night at the beach. The waves were crashing under our house. I felt like we were going to be washed away into the ocean. I have never begged God to make it stop so many times…he had other things to do apparently because it led to coastal flooding and this Momma needing a Valium! We were flooded into our house for the first few days. No big deal right, family bonding time. In a way it was kind of nice. Things didn’t look up just yet.

The third day we could finally get out, hooray! Except it was still cold, rainy, and windy. No beach time. That’s good because Urgent Care would be our next field trip. You may not know that Lil, my seven month old has asthma. Many calls back and forth to her pediatrician. Two prescriptions, breathing treatments, and an Urgent Care visit may get us to the fourth or fifth day of our trip.

I won’t drag this out. In a nutshell…28 total hours of driving, two of ten days of good weather, coastal flooding, Urgent Care, and sharks oh my.

It was so relaxing (sarcasm)!

Alas, we did have those little cherished moments that surprise you when everything else seems to be going wrong. The awe, wonder, and excitement of a child experiencing things for the first time.

These are some of our more cherished moments.

Our first day of no rain that we could enjoy the beach. After this, Bigs went into a warm tub of water to get rid of his blue lips because it was so cold and windy.

Bigs was amazed by the bubbles.

Admiring the cool crabs.

Catching and eating cool crab! Yum!

Little did we know Bigs hat was foreshadowing. We really were swimming with the sharks in ankle deep water!

Husband caught said shark. He may not look very big but those teeth look plenty sharp to me!

The classic sibling photo at the beach. Lil had enough at this point. She was no longer amused!

My sweet babies!

Sun, Sand, and Water…Not exactly

This is our first vacation as a family of four. We have desperately needed time away to decompress and reconnect. We chose the closest beach we could reach in a day’s drive. Our brilliant plan was to drive through the night so the children could sleep peacefully in their carseats. Ha, when you have kids nothing is ever that simple.

We made it out of town right at the kid’s bedtime. For the two of us to do anything on time is a miracle. Going good so far, just as planned…not quite. We made it about fifteen minutes down the road before pulling off the highway to feed Lil. Only ten minutes of crying and both kids are asleep.

We made it out of town right at the kid’s bedtime. For the two of us to do anything on time is a miracle. Going good so far, just as planned…not quite. We made it about fifteen minutes down the road before pulling off the highway to feed Lil. Only ten minutes of crying and both kids are asleep.

Around 6 a.m. the babies started to stir and show their disapproval. Our McDonalds pit stop for food and diaper changes turned into a two hour camp out. We were off to a great start! Between broken changing tables, 4 diaper changes, pumping in the car, two very tired parents, and all while crammed in to the front seat. The highlight for me was probably the two different guys hanging out in the McD’s parking lot while I’m trying to pump. Trust me gentleman you do not want to see these udders attached to a pump. It is not a pretty sight…I’m not sure nipples were meant to stretch that far. Also, if I have to hear my husband sing “Express Yourself” one more time while I’m pumping there will be a throw down!

Just when we thought the trip couldn’t get any awful/funnier we stopped for lunch. We realize Lil has had a twenty wipe blowout diaper. My husband encouraged me to place the diaper under the car so it would not stink up the vehicle until we were finished with lunch. If anyone saw me do this, I swear we threw the diaper in the trash later.

Between Bigs crying, throwing his food, and Lil pulling honey mustard into my lap, great times were had by all! Sorry Ruby Tuesday staff for the disaster we left in our wake. Now on to Walmart for food and supplies. Ten minutes into our shopping excursion, the fire alarm goes off. This isn’t any normal fire alarm. It is the loudest screeching we’ve ever heard! We had to cover the kids ears. Well isn’t this just perfect. I mean the trip has already been so relaxing let’s throw a fire alarm in. You’d think the staff knew how to shut it off…and you thought wrong. So while waiting for the security company to shut the fire alarm off the four of us had to hang out on the front stoop of Walmart. Really, how hard can it be.

Finally, we get to the office where we pick up our house key! Still raining by the way. The owners explain to us about coastal flooding. Sure, why not, throw in some thunderstorms and coastal flooding.

It had rained all day and they anticipated the thunderstorm through the night would cause some flooding issues. Ok, well let’s just say in a nutshell that I have never been more terrified of a thunderstorm in my life. Not just any thunderstorm…the heavens opened up and let us know they were extremely pissed off. I thought we were going to float away into the ocean.


We may not be able to get out for awhile with the record 13 inches of rain in 24 hours.

So, this is the start to our relaxing beach getaway. Come on man!

Wallpaper Backed Bookcase

I have always wanted to apply wallpaper to the back of a bookcase. To be honest, I’ve always been afraid to do it. Not anymore! While my husband was gone for two weeks, I enlisted my handy out of town father to help me finish up some projects. We did a mini redo on this wall in my formal living room. First, I painted the wall behind the fireplace Sandpiper by Martha Stewart. Second, we installed these new sconces that I love from Restoration Hardware Baby. Finally, we tackled the wallpaper project.

I originally bought this wallpaper for Bigs’ nursery.  When I received the map wallpaper from Pottery Barn I realized it was a lot bigger than anticipated. I thought it was going to be one more thing that sat around.

Lightbulb! Our front living room has never been finished since we moved in over four years ago. Our whole house has been a renovation project. So, since I love maps and traveling, I thought why not put the wallpaper up in the back of the bookcases.

So, are you ready? I would highly suggest having help. You could use the extra pair of hands and the moral support so you don’t chicken out! Why not drink some liquid courage while you are at it.

Supplies:

  1. Tupperware bin – large enough to hold enough water to submerge your wallpaper to moisten the glue.
  2. Another container to hold water – this is to wipe down any extra glue that you have.
  3. Wallpaper brush – to smooth out wallpaper once attached so you don’t get any bubbles. I looked everywhere  for one and located it at Sherwin Williams.
  4. Plastic putty knife (wallpaper smoother) – use to hold edges tightly while cutting excess paper with utility knife.
  5. Small retractable utility knife – use this to cut excess wallpaper.
  6. Scissors – to cut wallpaper down closer to size if needed.
  7. Measuring tape – measure, measure, and re measure!
  8. Sponge or towel – dampen this to wipe down excess glue (I didn’t have a sponge so I used a towel)

Note: I didn’t use any sizing as per map wallpaper instructions. Every wallpaper has different application instructions, follow yours.

We had a total of six map panels. After measuring, we knew each bookcase would take two and a half panels. We would lose one whole panel of the map. The problem for me was whether to lose the panel on the left or right. After much deliberation, I preferred to keep the right panel because we have actually travelled to some of those islands and that was more important to me than the design in the bottom left hand corner.

Instructions:

  1. Measure, measure, and measure again.
  2. Roll panel loosely, pattern size in and submerge in water 30-45 seconds.
  3. Upon removing wet wallpaper, make sure all glue has gotten moist. We then opened panel back up and folded top and bottom in to middle, glue side in. This just helps you get the wallpaper to position.
  4. We started with the bottom of the panel and worked up on the bookcase.
  5. Smooth out any bubbles with wallpaper brush. Work the brush in all directions. Tap wallpaper into corners and top with brush.
  6. Use putty knife to hold wallpaper tightly in place on edges and cut excess with utility knife.
  7. Use a damp sponge or towel to lightly remove glue from wallpaper front. Be careful not to shift your paper.

I would liked to have had pictures of every step but with a defiant toddler taking a nap we were under the gun to get it finished!

Repeat process for each panel, making sure they all stay aligned!

I did it! I’m so proud that this is a project I wanted to do and went for it. I love this wall makeover!

For further design inspiration this is what the living room looked like when we bought our house over four years ago. Before moving in we installed hardwoods and painted the walls a khaki color. After moving in, I then painted the oak bookcases and fireplace Westhighland White. Now, I finally switched out the sconces and added the map wallpaper. Amazing that it’s the same room! I hope you’ve enjoyed and I hope I’ve given you some inspiration! If there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, go for it!

Living Room Before we moved in and worked our magic: YUCK!

ABC’s of Blogging

This was a lot of fun. I’ve been seeing this going around and I’m glad I participated. Elaine and Jennifer are hosting this month. So here it goes.

A. Attached or Single?Attached. We’ve been married for almost seven years. We met on a blind date and it was love at first sight.

B. Best Friend? I would like to think my husband. I also have a childhood best friend that I feel probably knows me more than anyone.  That’s an important person to have.

C. Cake or pie? Cake, if I make it. I love baking. I used to have a cupcake business (before babies).

D. Day of choice? My days all blur together anymore so I don’t really have one. Lol, I usually never know what day it is.

E. Essential Item? Lipgloss, I feel instantly better when I have it on. Although, I would say for me it would also be my contacts because I am blind as a bat.

F. Favorite Color? To wear, probably pink or yellow. When I was little I hated pink. I wouldn’t let my Mum put me in it because it was to girly. I love it now. I also like wearing yellow because it’s a happy color.

G. Gummy bears or worm? Yeah, not really a fan of either. If you twisted my arm to eat one, I’d eat whichever was sour.

H. Hometown? Not where I am now.:)

I. Favorite Indulgence? A long soak in a hot bath with scented epsom salt and a glass of red wine while listening to Mumford and Sons. I don’t get enough of those moments.

J. January or July? Hands down July, January is to cold.

K. Kid? A boy and a girl that are 13 months apart. My oldest is 2 months from two.  Oh boy, that’s scary!

L. Life isn’t complete without? My babies and husband. I couldn’t live without the joy of traveling to far off places either.

M. Marriage date? *

N. Number of brothers/sisters? *

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, Honeycrisp are my favorite but they’re hard to find.

P. Phobias? Hmmm, elevators freak me out. Not big on caves or being in water that I can’t see the bottom.

Q. Quotes? “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Thoreau

R. Reasons to smile? My children, my husband, travel, and being healthy.

S. Season of choice? I love when everything comes alive in the Spring. I also love when leaves turn and they are falling to the ground in Fall. I love the crunch beneath my feet.

T. Tag 5 People. Dana, Jodi, Steffany, Stephanie, Keryn

U. Unknown fact about me? I got whooping cough right after our honeymoon. I was in bed or on the couch for three months. It was the worst experience.

V. Vegetable? My new favorite vegetable is parsnips. I make a killer parsnip puree.

W. Worst habit? Being hard on myself!

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound is probably better for you. All the ultrasounds I’ve had were for good things.

Y. Your favorite food? Give it to me European style with a platter of assorted meats, cheeses, tomatoes, and fresh baked bread…and a bottle of wine. I’m in heaven.

Z. Zodiac sign? Gemini

If you want to participate just copy the questions onto your blog and go for it. Make sure you link up with Elaine or Jennifer.

Shredded Beef Tacos

These shredded beef tacos are mouthwatering good! My husband drank the drippings and my 21 month old cleaned his plate. This is a great recipe to throw in the crockpot and not worry about it. Spend some time with your kids and assemble tacos when ready.

Ingredients:

  • Chuck Roast
  • 2 bottles of Angry Orchard Beer
  • Medium Yellow Onion chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced in fourths
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Pepper
  • Olive Oil for searing
  • Crockpot and dutch oven

Instructions:

  1. Cut enough slits in roast for your garlic slices. Then push sliced garlic into slits.
  2. Liberally season both sides of roast with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil at medium – high heat in heavy bottom pan or dutch oven. I put enough olive oil into pan so that it covers the bottom.
  4. Sear roast on all sides and then remove to crockpot. Pour one bottle of Angry Orchard beer into the crockpot with roast.
  5. Pour the other bottle of Angry Orchard beer into pan. Scrape all the brown goodness off the bottom of your pan.
  6. Add chopped onions, cumin, brown sugar, and chili powder.
  7. Stir and let cook down for about 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.
  8. Remove from heat and add to crockpot.
  9. If pushed for time set crockpot on high for 6 hours, which is what I did. If you have the time I’d go low and slow.
  10. When finished, remove roast to a bowl and shred it with a fork. Add the juice. We do this so you can assemble tacos at your table.

We also use La Tiara Authentic Mexican taco shells. They are thin taco shells so assemble one at a time (with meat on top) so they don’t get soggy. We really prefer the flavor of those taco shells but you can use any. Use a fork to pull meat out of bowl as well to keep tacos from getting soggy.

We added sour cream, shredded colby jack cheese, cilantro, and home-ade guacamole to complete our tacos. We usually add salsa but didn’t do that with these. The flavor is just to good on their own!

Liberally salt with kosher salt and ground pepper. Put slits in meat for the garlic.

Get a good sear on all sides of meat.

Add Angry Orchard beer to pot after you’ve removed the meat to crockpot. Scrape the brown off the bottom.

Cook down the beer, onions, and spices until thickened. Doesn’t it look delicious?

The roast is sufficiently drunk now. Time to shred the meat.

YUMMY!!!

Sibling Love

Two babies so close together can be difficult. Fortunately, I don’t know any different. There are days when I wonder if I can drag myself through. Every inch of my body and brain is just tired and beat up. We all have those days as mothers, where you feel like you have been thoroughly put through the ringer in every way.

On this day, Bigs was extremely grumpy. He was being very jealous of Lil and making sure I knew about it by screaming, throwing things, and generally just trying my patience.

Really?!? Is it going to be like this all day. This is one of those days where I could have run down the street crying.

Then… something amazing happened…

A moment between the kids I hadn’t seen before. Bigs walked over to his sister and sat beside her to watch Thomas. What happened next brought tears to my eyes. It’s like they had this moment of him telling her he’d always protect her and she knew it to be true. In this moment, my heart felt overwhelmed with love for my little babies. Seeing the interaction and tenderness between the two of them is just incomparable. It’s nothing we taught them, just the natural compassion in there sweet little hearts.

My big brother!

Thank you! Thank you for allowing me to have these blessings in my life every day! Moments like this make all the hard stuff disappear.

Mojito Madness

It was a beautiful weekend and all I could think was summer is almost here. Nothing screams summer to me more than a Mojito. Since I’ve been pregnant the last two summers, I’ve had to drink them minus the rum. You’d be surprised that it tastes almost as good alcohol free. So for all you pregnant ladies here is your refreshing drink to replace the same old glass of water in the summertime. If you’re not pregnant, bring on the rum!

Try it.

Mojito Ingredients:

  • 1/2 – 1 lime  (depends how much you like lime. I went with 1)
  • 2 tsp – 4 tsp. sugar  (depends on your sweetness level)
  • Club Soda  (I prefer Schweppes)
  • 8 Large mint leaves
  • 2 oz Rum  (omit the rum if you want alcohol free, trust me, it’s still good)
  • Ice
    Also need:
  • Cocktail shaker  (bottom only)
  • Muddler

Directions:

  1. Halve and quarter your lime and place in your glass.
  2. Remove your mint leaves from stem and place in glass.
  3. Add your sugar.
  4. Muddle these three ingredients together.
  5. Add your ice to fill the glass.
  6. You can add your rum at this point if you choose.
  7. Fill your glass with club soda.
  8. I pour my mojito from my glass to bottom of shaker and back a few times until blended together well. (Don’t shake in shaker)
  9. I slice a lime and add to glass just to make it look pretty.

Yummy and Enjoy!

Oh Just Cuss Up!

I’m possessed! Someone with a much fouler vocabulary has taken over my mouth. I didn’t grow up in a cussing household, quite to the contrary actually. Even as I got older I very rarely let out a cuss word. I never felt it was necessary to get my point across, until…

I became a mother! More precisely a mother of two under two! I can’t tell you the times in a day I find myself muttering a cuss word under my breath. The cuss words are never uttered at my children or in earshot. Let me tell you, every other inanimate object has heard from me. I’ve really told the air where to go on numerous occasions.

No, my cussing is usually aimed at the many toys I stub my toe on or trip over on a regular basis. Or the many different pieces of food my son throws on the floor and I inevitably step on. Or the numerous times I’m traipsing up and down the stairs to get my daughter to fall asleep. It could also be the constant loading and unloading of the dishwasher, with always a stack still waiting. Its even the pile of dirty laundry taunting me or the clean laundry awaiting its final destination. Trust me, it’s going nowhere fast.

Even a few infamous cuss words have escaped my lips recently out of ear shot of my husband, out of frustration over said husband. I just don’t think men have a clue of what we go through mentally or physically! I am totally convinced they would not survive a day alone with the children. Commence cussing when I’m up since 6:00 and husband sleeps in until 8:30! This is usually preceded by a night that I was up with one or both children while he lay snoring. @#*!

In utter frustration and exhaustion I’ve even shot off the F word a few times to his face recently. Shock and awe! This was never a word I uttered before becoming a haggard and exhausted mother. My good friends know me for my line of “Are you kidding me” with hands gesturing wildly through the air! Even my tagline has taken a turn for the worse and is hanging out in the sewer with the insertion of the F word. This is usually blurted out upon being awoke by one of the children only a few hours after I have fallen asleep. Just give me a … break!

At this point, I wonder if I should start a cuss jar and then use that money to treat myself to a little me time. At the rate I’m going I could afford a trip to Tahiti! Who am I kidding, there would be no one to watch the kids.

Ok, well let me just go cuss into my glass of wine while pinning decorative ideas for a cuss jar!

 

Alright, I just couldn’t wait. Bought supplies and poured a glass of wine!

Supplies: Chalkboard paint, Blue Painter’s Tape, Glass Canister

Tape off a square with painter’s tape. I also taped on paper towels to cover the rest of canister from overspray. Spray smooth even coat.

Let paint dry 20 minutes. Grab your chalk and woot woot you have a college fund cuss jar. I hope I gave you a laugh, have fun!

Bourbon Mint Marinated Pork Tenderloin

What a great weekend we had for grilling out. This mint bourbon marinade is one of the best recipes my husband has put together. We frequently use this on pork tenderloin and salmon. It was hard to get a recipe down because my husband never measures out his ingredients. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

1 or 2 Pork Tenderloins

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 or 1 1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (Jack Daniels or Woodford Reserve)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 4 chopped garlic gloves

NOTE: We grilled ours on the Big Green Egg with indirect heat at 400 degrees.

For the oven:

  1. In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients. Blend for 1 minute or until mint and garlic are blended well.
  2. Pour marinade over pork in a shallow baking dish. Move the pork tenderloin around to make sure it all gets covered.
  3. Let marinate for at least a half an hour.
  4. Heat Big Green Egg to 400 degrees or get your grill going.
  5. Grill for approximately 20 minutes. I prefer to grill pork tenderloin until internal temperature is 145 degrees. This allows for the pork tenderloin to still be slightly pink and stay moist. Adjust your grill time accordingly. Let the pork tenderloin rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  6. While the pork tenderloin is grilling, bring marinade up to a boil in a pan. Reduce heat and simmer. This can then be drizzled over finished pork.

Can’t go wrong with bourbon!

We served our pork tenderloin with carrots and parsnips that we sautéed in a pan with olive oil.

Free Family Fun

Free family fun, does that still exist? We found some at a local County Fair this past weekend and we had an awesome time! Bigs is really into animals right now so when our friend told us the fair had a petting zoo we thought we’d give it a try. To be honest, our expectations were not very high. We imagined the petting zoo to be a little pen with some chickens, cows, and goats.

To our surprise, there were hundreds and hundreds of animals! I don’t know who had more fun, Bigs or me. Now, just be grateful this post doesn’t have smell-a-vision. Wooeee, the smell was awful but the experience was one of a kind!

The first treat for Bigs was seeing a big tractor in person.

Now, for me a must have at a County Fair is a funnel cake. It’s just not a County Fair without one. I mean how can you pass up fried dough with powdered sugar. I sure can’t! It’s a good thing the funnel cake was good because the rest of the food was awful.

Now, one of the highlights for me was the rabbits. This is strange because I’ve never had an affinity for them. In fact, lately I’ve been cussing out the rabbits getting into my vegetable garden. There were probably a hundred different kinds of rabbits. It was so amazing to see all of them. My husband strolled off with the kids and left me because I couldn’t tear myself away from them.

We didn’t know that they were also selling animals at the fair. Now, it’s a good thing this little guy was already sold because both my husband and I wanted to bring him home with us. Two kids under two, three dogs, sure let’s throw in a rabbit.

These are some of the other amazing looking rabbits. Again, who knew!

Once they finally pulled me away from the rabbits. It was on to the hundred different kinds of chicken and roosters. This was also exciting for us because we’ve recently considered getting a few hens in a backyard run for eggs. Again, I don’t have my hands full or anything. Husband had to leave me again because Lil was not excited about the Roosters. Every time they crowed she started to cry. They were pretty noisy.

So, the rabbits were my highlight. Bigs favorite animal was probably the cows! Who knew cows liked to lick like dogs. Bigs and I both got some tongue action from the cows. Not like that, get your mind out of the gutter.

There were hundreds of different kinds of cows but this pretty girl was my favorite. She had such a pretty face and was so sweet.

Bigs next favorite animal was the goats. It was such a fun moment to capture. It’s an amazing thing to see the world through your kid’s eyes. He was so excited that he could feed the goats.

I’m not really a pig person. I’ll eat them though, haha! I was glad when my husband took Bigs into see the baby pigs instead of me. This ended rather quickly once he started to pull the little piggy’s tails!

After hours of exhausting fun. We walked through the rides on the way out. Bigs was fascinated by the movement and lights. Lil by this point had her fill and just wanted to sleep.

I can’t express how much fun we had! To find free family fun these days is a rarity.

Thanks for joining in our weekend fun.

Have you come across any free family fun? Please share, I love comments.