April 27, 2014

Living & Dining Room Before & After

Arguably the most exciting part of a home makeover (or any makeover, really) is comparing before and after! So, when we first moved in to my dream home, the wall colors weren't exactly what I would have chosen. Which is actually kind of ironic, because they're the colors I always thought I would want. Anyway. I've had a vision for the whole living area for months, and it is almost done! The only thing missing is carpet, which should be installed in the next week or two.

Before, back in December... Like the tree? :)

April 26, 2014

Birthday Trip to DC

Just a taste of our DC (and NYC!) adventures! I'll let you know when I get the rest of the pictures up on our family blog :)

My parents' cherry tree, which basically FILLS their courtyard, was at it's peak the day we arrived! The festival probably was too, but we didn't get to it for a few days.
We absolutely drank this one in.

 Ho hum, just a crazy drive up to NYC for a day, you know, no big deal. :)
 New York bagel for breakfast at Zabars! Definitely the best bagel I've ever eaten. 
 Of course you have to ride the ferry out and see Lady Liberty!

 New York Pizza at John's on Bleecker Street. Also, best pizza EVER!!! (The Geologist wasn't as in love. He's more of a deep-dish guy)
My birthday caaaaake (slice), Strawberry Cream Cake at Rocco's. Perfection!! (Hey, this IS a food-lover's trip!)

The Met. Which I did NOT get to see. I had a bag of treats from Rocco's and they wouldn't let me in!! *pout*
 The Geologist. On the rocks in Central Park. Of course. 
 I loved the mosaic walls in the subway under the Natural History Museum!!

Then, after a long and late drive home, and a crash with a few hours of sleep... On to the beach!
 Where we spent hours collecting tiny fossilized shark teeth. Is that awesome or what!?

Monday was reserved for a trip to the Arboretum, to see Bonsai trees, which I LOVE!!
This one is over 500 years old. Craziness!!
 They also just happened to be having a special exhibit on Japanese flower arranging, which I also LOVE! Talk about timing, I'm a lucky girl!! 
And CHERRY BLOSSOMS!! We missed the peak, but it was still BEAUTIFUL. If cloudy. Oh well. :)

 Our last day of sightseeing was reserved for the birthday meal I demanded: RAMEN! After two days of research (I take this stuff seriously) we had ramen at Toki Underground for lunch. It was heaven. 

Followed by a trip to the National Gallery, to see if Jackson Pollock was all he's cracked up to be. They wouldn't let us take pictures, but this is the one that was on display: "Lavender Mist". Which bugged me to no end because I saw no lavender anywhere. It was HUGE. And after seeing it up close, I get why he is so important now. It's not just splattered paint. There are so many layers, and details. Do I like it? Not really. But I get it now. 
Source: flickr
I also discovered that I LOVE Pissaro.  Thanks Kate! :)
Best Birthday Ever. 

April 25, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara and Roasted Balsamic Asparagus

Children are incredible. Is there anyone else in the world that can take you from "who in the heck ARE you and where did you COME FROM!?" to a warm, gooey pile of parent-ly mush in 2.7 seconds quite like children? They don't even have to be yours! I've heard the same sentiments from teachers, babysitters, relatives, anyone who has the care of children on a regular basis. They can be the most incredible, insightful, caring, genius little people, then morph into sticky, screeching, lunatics over whether or not they got to push the buttons on the microwave. Everything comes in phases. If your kids are in the middle of one, hang on, ride it out, it will pass. But relish the peaceful times in between, when you recognize that loving little toddler you once knew, because the phases don't ever seem to end. They just change.
"Candy Sale: Available in prices of dimes, nickles, and pennies"

My little Stephen has been in what we like to call "The Brainless Stage". My parents refer to it as "Being Eight". Whichever. It's like his brain just leaked out of his head one night about a year ago, and he woke up with a blank stare and a complete disregard for the world around him. He's a brilliant kid, really, but even going through his homework was a struggle. Every. Single. Night. His hands had a mind of their own, and would just wander around aimlessly, sticking themselves in your food, breaking things for no reason, picking up every piece of produce in the store... Generally making us want to tear our hair out and trade him for cheap patio furniture. But somehow, over the past week or so, my Stephen has re-emerged! He's helpful, and sensitive, and grateful, and brilliant again! He has spent hours on catch-up homework from our trip to DC every night this week, with no complaints. He cares again! This is my Stephen. The kid I remember. This is the stuff that makes being a Mom the only job I have ever wanted.

April 23, 2014

Biscoff Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

 This is just one of those weeks! It starts off simple, straightforward... and then somehow manages to unravel itself. We haven't finished all the last few details of the home makeover (our evenings keep getting interrupted), so we're still camping out in the middle of the living room in a jumbled pile. Bracken mysteriously hurt herself, but I can't figure out how, or whether I should take her to a vet because it comes and goes. I'm worried about her, so I'm not sleeping well, which of course makes EVERYTHING harder. Why is that? Such a simple little thing, sleep, yet the dynamic of our whole family can change if there is a sleep deficit. I'm thinking that's also why my Joe is deteriorating into pools of frustration. Whenever he goes through a growth spurt he needs naps like crazy, but of course doesn't want them. I must hold my ground. Besides, then I get a nap!

Mmmm, naaaaps... That sounds heavenly. Two of these and a two hour nap and I'll be a new woman!

April 21, 2014

Weekly Menu April 21

This week we have:
Biscoff Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats
Spaghetti Carbonara 
Roasted Balsamic Asparagus
Ginger Citrus Bundt Cake

For today, April 21...

April 6, 2014

Easiest Pineapple Cake

 Ahhhh, General Conference, my second favorite (and bi-annual!) holiday of the year! Technically it isn't a holiday, but it sure feels like one. We get to stay home from church in our jammies (or brand-new comfy jeans, yay!), bake lots of treats and listen to our church leaders speak to us (on TV, radio, or internet) on every subject under the sun. I love how my home feels during Conference. I love that my boys already have a favorite apostle. And I love how much I learn. I don't talk about my faith very often on here, that isn't really one of my goals. But if you're ever intrigued, I do have a link to more info over there on the left! Now I will leave you with this cake and go make rice krispie treats. :)

April 5, 2014

Small & Wonderful Things 42

My very first ever pair of REAL Converse sneakers!! I am in love. I need more.

The way the air smells right before it rains 

April 4, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Cookie Bars

It's been a busy, busy week! I was supposed to get a lot of cleaning done, but that didn't happen. I've been on a mission, to finalize our carpet order! It's the first home improvement job that's been completely mine, and it's been quite an experience. I had to check the color I wanted twice, to make sure it was still what I remembered, re-scheduling appointments over and over because of that family stomach bug, waiting for calls back, changing my mind about carpet type... I'll be so glad when it's finally installed!! Dog hair is a serious pain to sweep, but a cinch to vacuum. The house is developing beastie-hair tumbleweeds in the corners...

April 2, 2014

Awesome Chicken Enchiladas

My garden is like a box of chocolates. I never know what I'm going to get! *giggle* Most of the things that are coming up, I have already identified. I've got some succulents in the rock garden, a dozen or so random tulips, a patch of irises, and some hyacinths (which are the only things actually blooming so far). There were big patches of dead something-or-other, and something weird-looking has been coming up underneath them... 
Do you know what these ARE?!
You garden-y people probably already know, just by the pictures. I'd say they're pretty distinctive. I had no earthly idea, until a lady stopped by to pick up the blinds we posted on Craigslist, and said, "Oh, your peonies are coming up too!"

Wait. Hold on one ding-dang second. 

*proceed with ecstatic freak-out*

Can you believe it?! They're only my second favorite garden flower EVER!! I always thought they'd be finicky and there'd be no way I could grow them myself. But they're already here!! Four whole patches of them!!! Can you tell I'm a little excited about this?? I just hope I don't kill them... Time to study up on the care and feeding of peonies!