Monday, April 30, 2012

Home Alone for the Weekend

So, Tom took off early Saturday morning for a last hurrah fishing trip with his dad, brother-in-law and brother. I say last hurrah because Joey's wife is pregnant with triplets. I think they're seeing the writing on the wall. I wrote a post about being alone while the boys went to Canada last year so I thought I would follow up with one from this weekend too.

Honestly, I was dreading the weekend. For some reason, the kids are just wearing me out these days. The girls don't get a along as well as they once did and Jack is just into everything! They don't entertain themselves as much as they used to and they're a true handful when we leave the house. Not to mention, last time I was home alone with them, I had strep throat and the beginnings of this nasty cold. (This all sounds awful as I reread this. I really do love my kids, honest. They're just in a bit of a phase.)

Honestly though, none of my dreads came to fruition and the kids were truly wonderful. They allowed me to get a ton of stuff done and got along with each other pretty well with only one or two exceptions.

Saturday morning, after Tom left, Tessa and Josie crawled into my bed and some time later, Tessa went out to watch TV. Josie joined her and then I got up around 9:30! Jack was up soon after. Tom made coffee before he left, which I swear, started the whole weekend off on the right foot. I made the kids blueberry muffins and cleaned up the kitchen, threw in a few loads of laundry and then really cleaned the kitchen including sweeping and mopping. I emptied two boxes that had been in the kitchen with odds and ends from the toy room clean out last weekend.

I moved into the guest room and started unpacking the boxes with extra sheets and towels - 5 in total. I stripped the bed (company next weekend!) and organized the room so that someone can stay there. Still working on laundry, I moved to the master bath. I worked a little bit there, but this is the one area I didn't get finished. It really is just a holding ground and hidden away so it doesn't bother me as much. (But, it probably will bother Tom so I need to take care of it soon!) :)

After lunch for the kids, I put Jack down for a nap and went into the basement. I set the girls up with a movie, popcorn and Dr. Pepper so I could try out my long run. After strict instructions "not to bother mommy," I was interrupted after about 10 minutes with a forlorn, then grumpy, Josie who desperately needed lemonade. I was struggling big time anyway due to this stupid cough/cold so I eventually gave in and quit at 5.5 miles. I was attempting 10. Fail.

I took a quick shower and then Jack was up. I decided to take the kids to Hamilton Town Center to get out of the house. Plus, I had a gift card to Red Robin and Tom isn't a huge fan. We hit up DSW and Old Navy before dinner. I scored two great pairs of shoes - one which is an exact (exact!) copy of my favorite shoes ever that just broke a heel on Thursday. I think the kids had fun and I wore them out! Bedtime for them right when we got back. I managed to finish up Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption a whopping two days before our Book Club meets. (Great book, by the way!)

By some wonderful force of the universe, Josie and Tessa slept in until 8:30 or so this morning and didn't bother me until they heard Jack around 9:15. They got him out of bed and I slept until 9:30 again! I think this may have been my key to a great weekend. I finally was caught up on sleep and so were the kids and didn't feel like I needed to steal a nap every day.

This morning, I made the kids cinnamon crescent rolls, cleaned up the kitchen and did more laundry. I decided to try something to freshen up your towels that I had seen on Pinterest. I washed them with hot water and a cup of vinegar and then washed them again with hot water and 1/2 cup of baking soda. It is supposed to make them smell fresh and clean. I didn't notice a difference. But, they needed washed anyway because they had been in boxes for 9 months!  I made the bed in the guest room and picked up a little. Meanwhile, the kids played and played upstairs. All three of them - perfectly. Then we took off to CVS and Walmart. Normally, Walmart on a Sunday after church is not a great decision, but today wasn't so bad. And, the kids were seriously angels. I think they knew...

The afternoon was spent folding and sorting laundry while Jack napped. The girls (willingly!) went upstairs with me and picked up their rooms while I put away their clothes. OK fine. I bribed them but it worked! I unpacked more boxes upstairs of bathroom stuff and hung the kids' shower curtain. Finally, we headed outside to let them enjoy their bribe - Flavor Ices. They played for about an hour outside then in for dinner. I switched over even more laundry and picked up the kitchen once again. (I'm sensing a theme here.) I made a batch of whole wheat waffles, after unpacking yet another box to find the waffle maker, and then put the kids to bed.

I had all the best intentions of starting another project tonight - master bath organizing, crocheting, new book, a needle point thing I'm thinking of trying. But, no dice. I'm worn out! All told, I did 10 loads of laundry and unpacked about 10 boxes from the basement and finished 1 book. Not too shabby!

All in all, it was a great weekend at home alone with the kiddos. But, I'm sure ready for Tom to be home tomorrow! I don't know how single parents do it and keep up with everything. My friend, also with three kids, said something about how we're like a shark - we just have to keep swimming. And, honestly, the more I kept busy, the more the kids were busy. There was less TV than usual and more pretending, coloring and playing. I guess they just don't want mom to take a break, which made for a productive weekend.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Waffles That Would Make My Mama Proud

I'm not sure what possessed me to think about homemade waffles today, but I was determined to make some. It didn't happen until after the kids were in bed but they made for a yummy dinner for me. Plus, I have some frozen for quick breakfasts.

I found a whole wheat waffle recipe on Pinterest linked to 100 Days of Real Foods blog. I picked up whole wheat white flour today while at Walmart. I changed things around a little (noted in the recipe). They are the most delicious waffles I've made at home. Unfortunately, I didn't have real maple syrup on hand so I had to use the fake stuff, but they were fantastic none the less.


  • 2 large eggs - I actually did a big substitute here - see my notes...
  • 1 ¾ cups milk 
  • ¼ cup oil (I used coconut oil) - see my notes...
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon - used way more than this! 
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Warmed 100% pure maple syrup for serving - again, fake syrup here
  • Fresh fruit for serving


Preheat your waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon, and baking soda until well combined.  Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together just until the large lumps disappear.
When the waffle iron is hot, dab it with a little butter and then ladle some batter onto the center of the iron. Follow the instructions that came with your waffle maker to know how long it should be cooked (mine takes about 3 – 4 minutes each). Keep waffles warm until you finish cooking all of them. Top with pure maple syrup and fruit. Enjoy!

Eggs - I didn't use eggs. I found Bob's Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal at Odd Lots a few weeks back and was dying to try it. At the bottom of the bag, in small print, it says that this stuff can be used as a "great" egg substitute. I figured, why not, give it a try. Two tablespoons of the stuff mixed with six tablespoons of warm water - it really did work! Plus, I think with the extra cinnamon, this helped give the waffles a nutty flavor. More fiber and fewer calories than eggs and a whopping 2400mg of Omega 3's. 
Coconut Oil - Over vacation, I had read an article about coconut oil and how wonderful it is. Now, I can't remember a single reason why - you can go Google it - but I bought some today anyway. It comes in solid form and can easily go between solid and liquid. I think the melting point is 77 degrees. Anyway, I just scooped some of the Crisco-like substance into a bowl and zapped it for 30 seconds or so and it became liquid. I did warm the milk in the microwave too so that the oil didn't go back to chunks. 
Seriously folks, they were good. I really didn't think they would be but they were rich and nutty flavored. Next time, I may use vanilla soy milk instead of regular milk. Or, maybe almond milk because I think it would help with the nutty flavor. Either way, they're a home run in my book and so much better for you than the Eggo variety. I hope I can get the kids to agree!
Here's the breakdown of the stats with Eggo Homestyle stats in italics (one square of my homemade waffles would be about even with the two Eggo waffles in their serving size - I have a behemoth waffle maker). 
Calories - 185/190
Fat - 9/7
Fiber - 3.5/1
Protein - 5.2/4
Sodium - 193/430 (!!!!!)
Potassium - 187/0
Ingredient Count - 9/21

Friday, April 27, 2012

Race Thoughts

Here were are - exactly one week away from heading downtown to pick up our race packets for the Indy Mini. I spent a little time this morning reviewing my running posts from last year.

Here is my Pre-Race Post and my Post-Race Post from last year. It's been helpful for me to re-read these, especially the Pre-Race Post. I had forgotten how bad my knee felt last year. It seemed like an obstacle that would be hard to overcome and I did it anyway which is good for me to read this year.

My time last year was 2:02:43 and I was convinced this year was my year to break the 2 hour mark. I had the plan and I was all set. Then, I sprained my ankle on vacation which put me out from running and really much of any other type of high impact cardio for most of March. I was bummed, but still managed to start getting longer runs in by the end of March. I was doing great, though was having a hard time fitting in much more than a run or three a week, mainly due to moving, but got up to 9 miles two weeks ago and really felt pretty darned good! Then, Sunday came along and bam - strep throat. Somehow I managed to also pick up bronchitis too. And, it's sticking around way too long - like it's still here two weeks later. I've managed to get in a run this week and felt OK. I'm going to run again today and then go for 10 miles tomorrow. I'm also expecting new shoes today. I tried to get them last week so I would have a little more time in them before the race, but they were the wrong size. I'm very excited because they felt awesome just a tad too small.

Mom and dad are coming again this time and dad's goal this year is to run it faster. They were around the 2:30 mark last year. I don't think my dad particularly enjoys running (I must get it honest), but enjoys the goal setting and accomplishing. It's a lot of fun to have this tradition with them and hard to believe we've been doing this for three years!

So, while I may not break the 2 hour mark, I'll feel good for finishing this year. There's always next year. :) And, there's always the round of fall half-marathons. Plus, we have Andrea's 5K event two weeks after this race so I'll be in good shape for that one. The good news about my longer runs is that I've not been sore at all afterward. I'm pretty worn out, but not achy like I've always been in the past. I'll take all the good news I can get right now. I need to spend the next week hydrating, visualizing, eating right and getting rid of this crap in my lungs in order to give myself the best chance. Either way, it's always an experience and a fun day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We're Building A House! - Construction Update - 4/25/12

This will likely be my second-to-last update. The landscapers are outside right now finishing up the grade, planting the plants and getting ready for sod and seed. So, I'll likely put one more out there once that's finished.

We left off with a lot of the interior finishes happening. That's where we'll pick back up again.

Outside, the cedar trusses were stained first, then the paint began. Martha Stewart Seal (Dark) & Flagstone (light) are the two colors we used. Along with Tailor's Chalk for the trim color. The driveway also went in which we were very happy about since we had unseasonably great weather.

The decking was finished up too. We thought we were going to do these solar caps but one stopped working within a week so those are out. We'll find something else!

Granite! I love this stuff. It hides crumbs and spill and really lightens up the space.

Here's a full view of the kitchen.

We debated long and hard about which tile to use as the backsplash. We even did a Facebook poll. The dark won out in the poll and is what we ultimately chose.

The master shower turned out super cool!

Carpet went in at some point. We let the kids pick their colors. I swear the walls in this room are painted gray. They just look purple because of the crazy bright carpet!

Cabinet Pulls went on...

Here are some shots of the main areas right before we moved in.

Master Bathroom

Kitchen (still needs the final clean and a piece of crown moulding above the stove.) The dark paint color is Martha Stewart Zinc.

Family Room into the Hearth Room. This is a lighter gray - Martha Stewart Bedford Gray.

Family Room from the Dining Area

Exterior Shot

Finally, here's a sneak peak at the landscaping they've been doing in the back yard. More of this to come!

Seaside Florida - Photo Overload!!!

We spent Spring Break in the cutest little town in Florida - Seaside. We rode our bikes everywhere and our car no where for a whole week. The weather was fantastic and we only had one downpour and managed to find a beachside bar in which to weather the storm. The kids loved their first trip to the ocean and we loved the relaxing atmosphere. I would go back in a heartbeat!

We drove down and back. The trip down was pretty rough as it took us over 15 hours - mainly due to Spring Break traffic. On the way home, it was a much more tolerable 13. We went part way on Friday night and then finished up on Saturday morning. Here's a shot of the girls as we crossed the state line into Florida. (All in all, the kids were great travelers - mom and dad, not so much.) :)

Then, one of Jack and the mess he made out of yogurt covered pretzels!

This is the front porch of the house we thought was ours. Thankfully, it was locked because we were at the wrong house.

This is the view of the Watercolor hotel from the boardwalk leading to the beach. We stayed in the resort, but not at the hotel.

Jack's taking off for his first trip to the ocean!

He only wanted pop. This was not uncommon throughout the whole trip.

Here's the girls and their first sand experience.

Mom got them started with jumping the waves.


We went on a walk one morning so I could get some pictures in the bright sunlight. They turned out just OK - mainly because my subjects weren't being super cooperative!

We found tons of lizards during the week!

This was a cute little mail station in Watercolor.

There was also an adorable Post Office in Seaside. 

 Along for the ride...

This was one of the paths behind the homes and around the lake.

The architecture of Seaside and Watercolor is amazing. Every house was cooler than the last and we loved seeing all of the unique features of each home.

A lot of the fences has cutouts in the boards. I don't think I had ever seen that before but it's a great way to make the fences unique.

Love the black windows!

Found some huge adirondack chairs in front of one of the stores.

Jack did not want Tessa to sit with him!

The kids club pool had a splash area too which Jack and Tessa liked.

Jack spent a lot of time sleeping on our laps or in the bike buggy or really wherever he could.

Tessa even caught some z's every once in a while.

Everyone rode their bikes!!!

We caught the ice cream truck once.

Here's the big storm that went through. Gram and Jack had a great time watching it go by.

Dad and Josie made Tessa into a mermaid.

These are all fun pictures we took at our favorite place to eat - the Taco Bar.

Finally, some other random fun.