26 May 2014

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime

So school is out and we officially have a 7th grader, 1st grader and Kindergartner in the house. I was so ready for the school year to be over. It has been a very challenging year with 3 kids in school and everything that having children entails...and then some. I am sure my kids' teachers were feeling about the same way with the school year.

We eased into the summer by not doing much of anything this weekend. We did some yard work, hit some tag sales, went to church and met my parents for lunch. I didn't do all of the digging, weeding and involuntary tree removal that I wanted to because of the rain, but I did get to some of that. And I am so grateful for the rain. It made weeding that much easier and the rain cleaned the air around our home.

This weekend we wanted to try to make a cool (literally) breakfast treat - Yogurt Popsicles with Strawberries and Kiwi - but we ran into a snag. The 4-popsicle mold we have is missing the tops/sticks and our local Walmart did not have ANY popsicle molds. Aubri and I checked last night....3x. We were at Walmart an extra hour scouring each aisle. It was disheartening, but we improvised.

Sweet Ball Jars

We got these cute little 4 oz jars that would be perfect for freezing baby food and used them to make the yogurt popsicles. We also got the complimentary dried herb jars too. Aren't they adorable?

Frozen Yogurt

This morning I had to run the jars under warm water to loosen the yogurt first.

Frozen Yogurt
Waiting Patiently

But it was worth the wait. Next time we will actually use popsicle sticks if we can find them. And we might have to get more of those cute jars.

Today we hung out at home. I watched 12 Years a Slave for the second time (with last night being the first) with Emi and Scott before I got busy cooking beef for the Tavern Sandwiches and hot dogs for a late lunch with his family. What a powerful movie! Out of all of the Oscar winners, this movie has been my favorite with Blue Jasmine being a close second. I did not love Dallas Buyer's Club, and American Hustle and Gravity were all okay. Maybe there was too much hype for those last three. Note: I haven't seen all of the Oscar winners and I am not a professional movie critic. When I watched Blue Jasmine, I was sick in bed on my birthday and Scott picked up that movie and some Nasacort and chocolate. I had no preconceived notions about the movie, I went in cold. Anywho...

After the family had eaten and we were hanging out around the pool, I decided to chillax a little and soaked up a little Vitamin D to last me through the week when I am a desk jockey.

Soaking Up Some Sun
Shameless Overexposed Selfie

The water is still a little too cold for me but the Little Ones didn't seem to mind. They swam for about four hours this afternoon, emerging pruny-fingered, blue-lipped and against their wills....


It's official, folks. Scott and I just saw the first fire flies (a.k.a. lightning bugs) of the season. It's summer!!!

Do you have any big time goals for this summer?

I have too many to list but a couple that I really want to accomplish are:

  1. To become a runner again.
  2. Family bike rides around campus. (This should be doable now that Aubri can ride unassisted).
  3. Learn to play a musical instrument (The sitar is calling for me but it may end up being the piano, guitar or mandolin as that is what is currently available in my household.)
  4. Grow something to fruition. (The almonds aren't looking so hot right now.)
  5. Teach David and Aubri to proficiently read. 
  6. Regular date night with the hubs.
  7. Clean out the garage and host a garage sale.
  8. Install iron/metal driveway gate.
  9. Transform the back driveway.
  10. Attend as many free outdoor concerts as we can.
(Ok, well I guess there weren't too many to list because that up there looks like a list to me.)

24 May 2014

Tag Sale Finds

Today after we renewed our Driver's Licenses (*shiver*) and dropped off 2 children at the mall, we had some time to kill so we drove around checking out local tag sales. The Little Ones scored the best deals because they continuously got free stuff from the hosts of the sales.  I think it's the curly hair. 

At the first sale, I spent 50 cents and scored some mini roses that will come in handy for the next Derby Party and She's Come Undone.  

Not Too Bad
At the next sale, I spent a little more, $2.50 but I was really taken by these hand made pot holders.  And for 50 cents, Nature Girl sounded like a good investment. That is less that what I might spend on overdue fees.

Pot Holders and Nature Girl
We hit a couple of sales that didn't really have anything that we needed and were good times to show the Little Ones that we needn't buy something just because it was cheap or there. They had their own money so they were jonesing to spend it on just about anything so we had to talk them out of a couple of impulse buys.

I got Aubri a cute shirt and myself 2 pair of earrings at the next sale.

$1.50 Haul

One woman even had  a sign on her garage with "Our CRAP Could Be YOUR CRAP". Yeah, I bought a bin of her crap for 75 cents. I only wanted the cool rain poncho but there were also some unused paper clips, a gift bag, luggage tags and 2 set of cute little plain note cards in there.

Bin o' Crap

And the last sale we hit, I bought some faux pearls to go with some earrings I already have and a bead necklace that looked like I might be able to polish it to it's former glory... We'll see.

Junk Jewelry
I had a limit of $30 to spend all morning at the sales and I am happy to report that I came home with $21.75.

23 May 2014

The Lawn and Short of It

Remember a couple of months ago when a little yard work turned into a little more?

Blank Slate

Our patch of dirt was smoothed and leveled (somewhat) and then we put fresh sod down...

Post Sod

Well, do I think it was worth it? I was not so sure as I was wrestling with the reel lawnmower 2 times over the last week, and lovingly extricating weeds and other undesirable grass species from the yard. But after that was done (for this iteration), I felt it was worth it. We needn't think we can "set it and forget it" just because we re-sodded though.

Front Lawn

The grass-to-weed ratio is a lot better than before and I was able to walk on the lawn barefoot. That was nice. And the lawn is way more level and healthy than in previous years, so yes, it was worth it.

19 May 2014


So I got tagged by Melissa to answer eleven questions... and I think I am to come up questions for others to answer. Let's go with that...

1. What has been your most favorite vacation to date? 

I would say it was the road trip to California to visit my Little Ones' birth grandparents. It was a bit painful to drive cross country and back with a car full of kids and gear, and the summer prior driving to the other coast to visit my mom was really cool too, but we totally loved the adventure and newness of the trip to Cali. The south has better beaches, beignets, boudin and Cuban sandwiches, and my mom of course, but the California trip had more meaningful new experiences and opportunities to cross things off my Living List

2. Do you prefer big city life, suburban life, or a life in the country? 

I prefer healthy personal space so country life for this Stress Monkey. I like what big cities have to offer, but I'd hate to be trapped living in a big city. I'm good with just visiting. Truth be told, I think I belong on a coconut plantation near the ocean. 

3. What is your favorite type/genre of food? 

I have to say "Asian" although you know me well enough to know that I love all types of food. And I may be genetically obligated to say "Asian" though, huh? Not necessarily Filipino food although I do LOVE flip food, but I salivate thinking of Thai food. I am making a chicken stir fry as soon as I finish this survey, in fact. But a close second is Mediterranean food.

4. How would you typically dress yourself for a weekend night out? 

Let's see. Weekend night out. I don't get out much but when I do, I am super casual. Last time I went out I was wearing longer baggy jean cutoffs, a plain white pocket tee and my strappy Ugg wedges. If it had been cooler, I'd probably have swapped out the cutoffs for broken in khakis (Gap has some really comfy ones) or my dark wash mom jeans.

5. Do you like to wear accessories? If yes, what are your go-to accessories? 

Yes. I have some silver ball earrings that I wear all of the time, but my go-to accessories are a cheap shiny necklace and earring set I got at Dillards a couple of years ago for a Casino Royale fundraiser and an even cheaper set I got at a boutique in Medicine Park. Sometimes, I wear Emi's turquoise earring and necklace set too.

6. How do you typically fix your hair? (Blow dry and straighten/curl? Air dry? Wash and go?) 

I put some gel and Shine Shake (smells so yummy) in my hair and blow dry the roots a little if I have time, then I air dry.  I don't straighten or curl but I do try to scrunch my hair as it's drying because I love messy natural hair. I don't color or process my hair. Not that I'm against it but I am happy with my natural color (not necessarily the texture though). Also, I can't keep up with hair maintenance...

7. What make up do you wear on a daily basis? Do you have a preferred brand of cosmetics? 

I have very sensitive oily skin that will break out with almost all products. Good times!!  

My daily products include:
  • Moisturizers: SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense or Clinique's Dramatically Different moisturizing gel
  • Foundations/Powders/Blush: Bare Minerals powder foundation &"Lovely" blush & sometimes the bronzer; Clinique's 'even better' makeup
  • Lips:  yummy lip balm from my dentist and NARS Pigalle lipstick 
  • Eyes: Bare Minerals "Hottie" or "Intuition" shadow,  Korres Obsidian Black mascara
  • Nighttime Moisture: Andalou Naturals Purple Carrot +C Luminous Night Cream (from Natural Grocers)
My preferred brand must be Bare Escentuals but I am open to what makes me look and feel good...within reason...

8. What is your preferred workout? (Gym? Outdoor running? Yoga? Group classes? None? Etc...?)

I prefer yoga and walking but most days I don't get a chance to get in a real workout.  I also prefer to exercise alone or with Scott in the privacy of our home. We have a variety of videos with the Thirty Day Shred being a favorite. I want to get back into running again too. I get the occasional yardworkout in and that must count for something. I loved my yoga and zumba classes at work (when I worked with the NWS) but not at the gym. I also have a rebounder that I like to jump on to 80's music in the basement...it's covered with clothes at the moment though...

9. Where is your favorite place to shop online? 

Lately it seems to be Gap.com. Work clothes shopping...

10. Do you enjoy entertaining guests in your home or would you prefer to be a guest and leave the hostessing to someone else? 

I totally enjoy entertaining guests in my home (or backyard) and I also love to help others who are hosting a party. 

11. What quality do you really value in your significant other?

The thing I value most in Scott is his patience but a very close second is his sense of humor.

Now I'm tagging the 4 people to answer 4 questions.

What say you Jackie, Melissa, Kim,  and Carla?

1. Do you play a musical instrument? If so, what instrument?
2. What is the last thing you cooked that you loved?
3. What is your favorite (alcoholic or no) beverage and why?
4. Is there anything new you plan to do or tackle this summer?

Be sure to comment if you participate so we can share answers.

18 May 2014

Lazy Girl Gardening (a.k.a. Let It Grow (as sung by Adele Menzina))

So far this growing season I've been very lazy. I can't keep up with my wants in the yards so I am giving myself a break, talking through what I want to do with Scott and breaking things up into more manageable sized chunks. And letting nature do her thing too, of course.

Before the Derby party, I tried to get the traditional "garden" behind the chicken coop at least partially tilled so I could plant my tomatoes (still in the pots, ya'll) after the party. I noticed that some plants had been growing out of the compost which needed turning, so I halfway attempted to turn the soil and then life moved me on to something else.

In that time period, something (Seymour?) has really blossomed (no joke) and born fruit.

Compost Garden

Now there are a few different plants growing in that tangle, but this is what I'm talking about!


10 May 2014

Bulgogi and Reality

The other day I was listening to this southern Korean-American woman being interviewed and a couple of things struck me.

Backstory: She grew up in the South, the daughter of a Korean woman and blonde-haired blue-eyed service man. That sounds a bit familiar to me. She talked about growing up in the 70's and how she didn't think that she looked different than her Caucasian friends, except when some kid would call her "Chinese". Another familiarity to me.

Then the interviewer asked her something about how finally, in her middle age (she's 43) she yada, yada, yada..... I stopped listening because it made me think how I've never really thought of myself as "middle-aged". And I am 2 years older than the "Chinese lady". I wonder if the interviewer caught HER off guard with that question too.

Now, I don't really expect to make it to 90, but who knows? I am so busy getting through the day to day, expecting a tee shirt for every phase I get through that it didn't dawn on me that I am "middle-aged". Or past middle-aged. Egad!

She talked about how her mom related to her Korean roots through food and how she missed out on kimchi because her family didn't like kimchi growing up, so her mom enjoyed that solo. It made me think about my mom's story leaving the Philippines pregnant with my brother at 23 and moving to the south - South Carolina, Mississippi and finally settling down in Florida where I have my earliest childhood memories. I don't recall her cooking much Filipino food growing up, I got my early tastes at her friends' gatherings.

So, back to bulgogi!!! She mentioned Bulgogi as a Korean dish that she loved to make, thinly sliced beef marinated in sugar and soy sauce (we marinate our steaks in brown sugar and soy sauce too) and I was intrigued so her Bulgogi Soup is now in the queue.

It's not like I haven't been cooking though. I squeezed in another Oh She Glows recipe that was not exactly a hit with the fam. I liked it, but I didn't race to the fridge in the middle of the night for seconds. I did pack it for lunch for the next day though...

I know it doesn't look good but it was delicious. Only in that heated up Amy's meal way. The "cream" sauce was something else though.  I can think of other recipes to use that sauce in...

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce

And last night we had an amazing "burger" at The Garage, the Huevos Rancheros Burger. Just look at it!

Huevos Rancheros "Burger"

Tonight I recreated it - taking some liberties of course - for the fam. And they approved.  I personally think that adding a fried egg to any sandwich is a bonus.

Huevos Rancheros Deconstructed

So, at whatever age you are (or think you are anyway), what are you cooking that's worthy enough for me to distract me from the list I've accumulated?

04 May 2014

Derby Day

So we had our "Talk Derby to Me" party yesterday and it was fun enough for us to want to repeat the event yearly.

The decorations were fun for me to craft and they gave me an excuse to wander aimlessly through the aisles at Hobby Lobby looking for just the right pieces.

I already had the blanket of roses and wine cork felt rose horseshoe. (When have you ever seen those last five words together like that?) And I found some cool Derby printables to help kick things up a notch.

I knew this crate would come in handy. . .

I used a cool shabby chic frame of mine for a couple of the Derby printables. . . 

I was so pleased to be able to harvest some Derby-themed goodness from my yard. I snipped some roses from my knockouts in the front yard and lots of spearmint from the back yard.  I put them in Ball/Mason jars wrapped with twine and I attached some straw hats (6 for 99 cents at Hobby Lobby) for a fun festive look.

Roses and Mint from the Yard
My kitchen smelled so divine when I was putting these together.