Friday, January 31, 2014

FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!

Yay! Friday is here and that means it's the WEEKEND!
I'm really looking forward to the weekend to get caught up on some things that got neglected this week and it's the Super Bowl!

In case you're stopping by from somewhere other than the southeast, this week has been crazy. Which leads me to...

NUMBER {1}
The weather!
We started out Monday with temps in the mid 60's. By Tuesday night, it was SNOWING!
It was tons of fun with all the anticipation and then the snow day.
The boys were out of school Tuesday and Wednesday. Then they had delayed-start on Thursday and today. With all the inclement weather, in-service days, and MLK day, I feel like my boys have been out since before Christmas.

Any who... here are some highlights from a wonderful snow-day! It really was the most fun. Great memories were made with these 3 little guys.

 
We even made SNOW CREAM!
 
4 to 6 cups of fresh snow
1 cup milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Mix sugar, milk, and vanilla until sugar is dissolved. Then gradually add a cup of snow at a time. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!
 

NUMBER {2}
To-Do List!
I have been quite the To-do lister recently. I guess since I have taken on my 40x40 Challenge. Shan and I sat down Sunday night and made a monstrous punch list of all the projects we need to tackle to re-do "finish" our house.  I'm ready for new paint, furniture, and fixtures!! YIKES!
I think we both went to bed feeling a tad overwhelmed by that list. Looks like we'll be prioritizing next!
So speaking of lists...
My mother-in-law is the greatest list maker in the history of transcription. She ALWAYS has a tiny notepad in her pocketbook. It's so cute. I thought about how well-planned she is and how she never misses a.thing! So when I happened to be in {my least favorite place on the planet}Walmart, I found my very own tiny note pads to fit in my pocket book. Only a whopping 88 cents each! Now I don't have an excuse to not write it down.

El Cheapo and Cute-ish enough.

NUMBER {3}
Design time!
One thing I'd love to get caught up on this weekend is my design time. It has been so long since I just sat down and created. I love making organizational printables and freebies to post, but just when I was getting back in the swing, I suddenly had lots of people in my house again. ;)
A couple things I have gotten done this week are some super cute TWINVITES for a Lego/Karate party and a Dinosaur party!



 
NUMBER {4}
So! The Grammys!
Did you watch? So many incomprehensible things happened over those few hours. But I think the thing that left me scratching my head the most was this...
 
Y'all! What has happened to our music industry. Miley...just Miley, The Beibes can't go to the Grammys because he's just been arrested, Half-naked women dancing on the grammys, "Queen La" is now a justice of the peace, and Boss Hog is Madonna's Doppelganger. God help us!
 
On to more normal-ish things...
 
NUMBER {5}
Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend. Yay! Or as I like to call it...The Commercial Bowl! I'm not a sports buff at all so it's definitely about the food, fun, and beverages! We're hoping to get together with a few friends to watch and eat some good bad-for-you food. I see these buffalo sliders in my future!!
 I pinned this recipe from Shared Appetite.
 
Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Avocado Ranch
 


 
Have a good weekend!
Linking up for Five on Friday and High 5 for Friday.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Anticipation and a {small} Victory

Snow days in these "parts" are few and far between. The anticipation of the snow day is often more fun to witness than the snow day itself.

School was cancelled for Tuesday by 6:00pm on Monday for snow that wasn't due to fall until late Tuesday afternoon. The stores resembled the eve of the apocalypse. Or better yet, like the world's largest brunch was to be thrown with French Toast as the main course. Milk, eggs, and bread - wiped out!

Though I was a tad frustrated by the premature school closing {'cause I gots thangs to do!}, I love that I woke up to the sweet, sleepy voice of Fulton asking, "Mom, did it snow yet?" And every hour or so I'd hear, "where is the snow?" or "is it gonna start soon?" A frustrated Oliver even said, "C'mon God! Just make it snow!" They have been on pins and needles and tuned into the weather reports all day!

And finally it came. Just before bed.

In our house, the great anticipation of playing in the snow is palpable.

One was super sleepy and hanging on by a thread, but kept an eye peeled to see it coming down steadily. He doesn't really remember the last BIG snow.


One opened his blinds before turning out his light so he could watch the snow falling. He said he wanted to be able to see it as soon as he woke up.


And one made sure to locate his snow boots and heavy gloves because there's no time to waste in the morning.



Snow days. They don't come often. But when they do, they sure are sweet!

---------------------------------------------------------------

Speaking of sweet...
I love a sweet little victory every now and then.
I'm on my second week of my 40x40 Challenge. {Read about it here.}
My first weigh-in for goal #1 was Monday. It was a tough first week, as I was trying to be more conscious of my goals and what I needed to do to achieve them. In other words...I was HAWNGRY!
But not deprived. I had plenty to eat. I was simply having to be mindful.
The end result of my hard work... -3.2 lbs. Yay!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday

It's Friday again. I'm linking up. Here are my Five!

*ONE*
I worked at the boys' school the other day and I was fortunate to be in the classroom with Oliver. During their rest time, his teacher who is a huge country music fan, put on the BEST lullaby CD from hushabyebabymusic.com. I might be completely tardy to the party, but these CDs are awesome! My boys still love going to sleep to music in their rooms! I'm not really in the market for lullaby CDs anymore, but I want to share this fun discovery in case you are. They are also available on iTunes.

*TWO*
This week was a very short 3 day week! We had a great play date at the new Hi-Wire Trampoline Center. Even though Santa brought a trampoline for Christmas, this was a completely different experience! I will say, it is pricey for 6 and over and an hour is truly plenty of time in the event that you're planning a visit.

 
 
Video clip: Fulton loves a slow-mo video!
 
*THREE*
Sam and Fulton were asking me what a "selfie" was. I'm not sure what they thought it meant but I could hear them quietly talking about their friends taking selfies. So I gave them the opportunity to take their own.
 

Yes, I still have up my Christmas cards. They stay up til the end of January.
 
*FOUR*
I took a BIG break from designing invitations and I have been steadily getting back into the groove. And speaking of that and trampolining...
This is the one I just finished!
 
 
 *FIVE*
A quick update on my 40 by 40 challenge. I signed up for Weight Watchers Online. I like it. But I have to admit that it has been tough after a very lacks holiday where I didn't think twice about putting things in mouth. So that said, my recent and sick obsession with Jif To-Go Chocolate Silk spread on a banana as a snack has been nixed. *Sigh* The spread alone is 7 points on WW-PP. I think I'll be saving it for a splurge! If you haven't experienced it...you need to.
 
 
I have also been digging into my No. 22. It's so interesting and fulfilling at the same time! Y'all should check it out!
 
Happy Weekend, Y'all!!
 

That is NOT Okay!

It has been brought to my attention that my got-to phrase recently is "That is NOT Okay!" I can usually be heard saying it when redirecting my boys or referring to a situation that is just NOT okay - crime, discourteous drivers, or unnecessary foulness. See. They've already made me a t-shirt.



Well, I'm going to tell you what is definitely NOT okay. Today's TV commercials!

A week or so ago, while fixing a second cup of my decaf {I know. Decaf. What's the point, right?}, I caught the chatter of a commercial in the background.

You may have heard it...
The one about a very personal and intimate issue some women experience after menopause. In case you haven't had the embarrassing and awkward experience of seeing this ad... here it is. While I realize that this is a real medical condition and it often requires the attention of a physician, do we really need another commercial about dysfunctional genitalia? I mean, are the erectile dysfunction, warts, and feminine wash commercials not enough?

First of all, the pharm industry has gone completely bonkers with their marketing. Am I the only one who thinks I have every disease they aim to treat? I certainly have all the symptoms, so I'm pretty sure I have most all incurable ailments. And their list of side-effects! Well, from the sounds of the commercial, they seem to be worse than the actual disease. 

Thank you, drug company! I don't need to ask my Dr. about your drug. You have scared me enough. {By the way - I think I acquired all the side-effects, just by watching your commercial!}
 
They have jacked these commercials all up! They are going to a whole different level by talking about all these intimate topics. As my mom would say, "is nothing sacred?" If you have issues in those departments - male or female - you need to take that up with your doctor and let them tell you about the best treatment - NOT the commercial during Days of Our Lives or Sports Center.

I miss the Stay-Free and Tampon ads of the good ol' days. You know the ones with the shot glass of blue liquid? And I thought those were offensive in my coming-of-age years. Ha! Looking back, they were quite wholesome in comparison to this.

Any who, there are so many things wrong with this ad, but I personally have issues with a couple of things. It usually runs during the hours targeting women; mid-morning on weekdays, which is fine and I get it from a marketing standpoint, but that doesn't mean impressionable and curious kids aren't home to see it! 

For real! Ya gotta love a good commercial to prompt questions during dinner such as, what is menopause and what is vaginal tissue? Or even better, Mom, do you need that?

Fortunately for me, I haven't gotten those questions yet. Yet! But I'm so sure it's only a matter of time. When they see I match the target audience advertised, sometimes they do  ask me questions or tell me I should buy something. They ARE paying attention.

So here's my other problem. I am not a prude or insensitive to women's issues. I am a woman in a house full of boys, and maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive about this stuff. Regardless, I would like to have certain aspects of life kept private or "sacred". This is going to sound all feminist-y and everything but - why is it okay to shout out female body parts in commercials, but you don't ever hear anyone say the word that starts with /p/ and ends in /eenus/. EVER. Because there are plenty of places I could put that word in male dysfunction commercials and it would make just as much sense. But No! This commercial doesn't leave any guessing for inquiring and developing minds. If that is something that women in their 50's and up {as the commercial portrays} have to face, do we really need to bring it to the attention of everyone in the family? 

I am happy there is treatment for such frustrating and unpleasant, PRIVATE issues. But in my opinion, it is just NOT okay to discuss dysfunctional genitalia and difficulty with intimacy in a flippin' commercial!

Maybe I'm old-fashioned and just getting crotchety in my old age. 

Is anyone else with me?

What are your thoughts? Have you seen it?

Stay tuned for my next post: That is NOT okay! Part 2: My letters to Justin and Miley

 
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Celebrating Five

 My baby turned FIVE a week ago! Completely unbelievable.

Since our first family trip to Disney {to be posted} he has been "upset" {obsessed} with "Wizard" Mickey!

He has a Wizard Mickey hat, a doll to sleep with, and a figurine who rides around with us. So it was no surprise that he would want a Wizard Mickey theme party!

On the heels of Holiday Market and Christmas, momma was burned out and looking for quick and easy.

His birthday fell on a district half-day and I pressed my luck planning an outside birthday party at the park in January. But it couldn't have been a more beautiful and perfect day for a party!


I love Oliver's age.

He has an opinion about things. He knows how to count down the "wake ups". He appreciates detail. He gets SUPER excited about events.

Turning five for Oliver was a big event!!!

And apparently, at five, big things happen...

You get a donut birthday breakfast!
 
 
You have your first Celebration of Life at school.
 
You got to pick the best party favor ever {in your opinion}...Punch Balloons!
 
 
 
You should have seen mommy transporting them...YIKES!
 
 
You get to have a special after-the-party play date with two of your best buddies.
 
You get to pick where we eat supper...Chick-Fil-A, of course.
 
You learn to shave.
 
And you finally figure out the monkey bars.

  video
 
BIG THINGS are also in you future, Ver-man! Your smile, your personality, and your determination will get you very far, as they are qualities loved by all of us.

What I also love is...
that you are our "baby".
that you are friendly.
that you are a perfectionist {just like someone else I know}.
that your blue eyes are sometimes "greeeeeenish".
that you spend $.40 a day on milk even though I pack you a drink in your lunchbox.
that in your prayers you ask if God will come into your room to get rid of the bad dreams.
that you ask if the Tooth Fairy works for God.
that you think Cupid is real and that eating Valentine's Little Debbie's will "make you get in love".
that you know and hold us to your bedtime routine {bath, 2 books, prayers and scratch back for 2 songs.}
that you are one of our biggest blessings.

Happy 5th Birthday, sweet boy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

40 Goals in 40 Weeks by Age 40

It occurred to me the other day that I'll be 40 years old in 40 weeks exactly on January 20th, 2014.

That's today.

FORTY. 40.

I don't know why that number gives me anxiety. Maybe because I remember my parents turning 40 - vividly - and now it's me. Or maybe it's because it represents the dreaded era of the "mid-life crisis". But then again, it could be that 40 is the new 30, and technically at 30 you're supposed to be a "grown up". So if I didn't feel grown up at 30, the pressure is on now...and I REALLY DO HAVE to be a "grown up".

Never mind the fact that I've been married almost 15 years, I have had 3 babies and I'm raising them, I haven't been on my parents insurance in years, or that I have TONS of life experiences that would deem me a "grown up". For some reason I feel like there are things that have been left - OUTSTANDING - or that I could be doing a better job of or more often.

Having more fun. Taking better care of myself. Enjoying the little things more.

So, I'm starting my 40 x 40 Challenge. Today.

I've made a bucket list of sorts that I'd like to accomplish by my Fortieth birthday. I plan to blog about each one as I work towards it or accomplish them {in no particular order}.

I hope you'll support my journey by following along, but mainly in the form of prayer. I'm gonna need it.

I tried to divide the list into categories:
{The Hs}health/home - {The EERS}career/volunteer - {The Fs} faith/fun/family.

So here's my list...
 

  1. Health & Home-Reach a goal weight
  2. Walk/Run 40 miles per month
  3. Run at least a 5K {I'm sure you marathoners just giggled.}
  4. Treat/Manage anxieties
  5. Treat/Manage dry skin
  6. Attempt yoga - again {even if I look like an idiot}
  7. Make multi-vitamins a habit
  8. Plant a veggie garden
  9. Make window treatments for 5 rooms
  10. Learn to bake a turkey
  11. Learn to bake a ham
  12. Learn to bake Aunt Nita's 9-layer Chocolate Cake
  13. "Finish" the house we've been in for 10 years
  14. Make my birthday wall
  15. Organize our estate {I know, I know.}
  16. Career/Volunteer-Pick a career
  17. Register for a class(es)
  18. Plan a(nother) successful event for the Junior League
  19. Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  20. Read The Power of Positive Thinking
  21. Investigate/Sign up for volunteer opps at the MIDDLE school {YIKES!}
  22. Faith/Fun/Family-Tackle the Essential 100 Challenge
  23. Host a small-group Bible study
  24. Pray through Christmas Cards
  25. Host monthly Sunday lunch/dinner for my parents and Shan's
  26. Learn the basics of playing guitar
  27. Take some(more) tennis lessons
  28. Celebrate our 15th anniversary like we deserve
  29. Mail a note or card to someone weekly
  30. Invite 1 couple/family over per month
  31. Go apple picking in early fall
  32. Go strawberry picking in the summer
  33. USC Football game road-trip with friends
  34. Teach my boys about Dave Ramsey for Kids
  35. Buy a bike for ME
  36. Go on a family bike ride(s)
  37. Watch the sunrise at the beach with my boys
  38. Camp in a tent with the boys
  39. Learn about football
  40. Host the Ultimate White Trash Party II {Filed under "Faith", of course...J/K!!!}
There you have it. I'm starting today.

Do you have a milestone birthday or important event coming up? Have you set goals? I'd love to hear about it!

Wish me luck!

CTBaker

Friday, January 17, 2014

I love a FRIDAY!

PHEW!!! What a week! Oh! How I love a Friday.

Especially THIS Friday. We have an extra-long weekend, thanks to MLK, Jr. Monday and an in-service day Tuesday. YAY!

It's time for a link up for FIVE ON FRIDAY!



This week I'm posting 5 things that made me smile - since my last Five on Friday!

{UNO}
 
A fun dinner night-in with one of our favorite couples. SO many good laughs!!!
 
 
{DOS}
 
 
My one-of-a-kind burlap door hanger from aDOORnaments! This lady can do anything. ANY.THING! She's my mom and I "aDOOR" her!
 
{TRES}
 
 
 Seeing hard work and dedication pay-off with this number.
 
{QUATRO}
 

 
This text from my sweet friend about her MOST adorable twins after an extended play date with Oliver. It's the text you look back at several times because you just have to.

 
{CINCO}
 
 
Celebrating the "Wizard Mickey" birthday of THE CUTEST 5 YEAR-OLD I know!
 Party details coming soon.
 
Happy Friday!
 
 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I've Been Featured...AGAIN!

About 2 years ago I did a post on some origami bookmarks I made with the boys. They weren't my idea. I just tried them out because I found them on Pinterest. {You can follow me there, too.}

Every once in while my blog stats sky-rocket and it makes me a little giddy that my post has been featured somewhere!

I'm just a lowly ol' veteran mommy-blogger of 7 or 8 years, on the brink of age 40, who posts about my average life with 3 amazing little boys and an adorable husband.

I don't fit the mold of a blogger with stats like this!
I'm not a writer.
I'm not a fashionista.
I'm not a DIY diva.
I'm not a decorator.
I'm not a blog-vangelist.
I'm not a diet and exercise junkie.
I'm not a foodie.
I don't live in a custom designed home that I can blog about.

I'm just ME!
I write like I talk.
I wear what's clean and what fits.
I may try a DIY thing or two and blog about it, but I know it's just for my own reflection.
I upfit and decorate my house practically and when I can afford it and may or may not post about it.
I write about my faith when I feel inspired to share.
I rarely write about my struggles with weight management.
I post only about tried and true recipes that 3 little boys enjoy.
I live in a very old house with REAL, functioning transom windows and floors that creek and you may hear me refer to it frequently.

My daily average is small potatuhs {250-350 visitors}. So it's always exciting when I click on my stats and see a jump like this...


Thanks for the feature, DIYcozyhome.com!

Go CTBAKERinTHEACRES.com!

So scroll back through my posts... over there on the right. =======>
You just might find another good one. ;-)




Monday, January 13, 2014

{HOLIDAY} Family Traditions

..."I said leave me alone. I'm singing all night long it's a family tradition!" -HW, Jr.

While the holiday busyness took over, my little blog got neglected {again}.

We had a great holiday season and I feel like it officially ended Monday night with the Feast of Lights at church.

I just love establishing family traditions! My mom was always good at it and I thank her for that.

I'm going to back up a couple of months to highlight some of my favorite holiday traditions...

{GIVING THANKS}
Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. It's a "no-pressure" kind of holiday. Just a time to be and give thanks. We alternate spending our Thanksgiving with either my family or Shan's. While Aunt Laynie was sick and with it being my mom's first Thanksgiving without her, we have been celebrating with mine the last few years, but typically we rotate.

It's sometimes chaotic with so many people under one roof. But it's like I always tell me mom...It's OUR chaos and I LOVE it!

This year the boys had a blast as my dad dragged out the karaoke machine after dinner.
HILARIOUS! I tried to post the actual videos but I was having technical difficulties. So cute!



We truly have so much for which we are thankful. I am especially thankful for these guys.



{GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS}
After Thanksgiving we moved onto Holiday Market week, which has been a family tradition for the last 7 years. I won't be in charge in the years to come, but we still plan to support the events during that week.

 
{LIGHTS}
One of our favorite places to see a great light show is in a neighborhood not too far from us. Our good friends live directly across from the display. Their circular driveway gives us the best view of the thousands of dancing lights. The boys dress in PJs and we get warm chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate from the drive-thru to enjoy while we watch the show from the car.
I found this link to a small portion of the display on youtube.

{GOOD EATS}
Then the few days before Christmas through the few days after Christmas are packed with family, exchanging gifts, baking and playing!

Some of my favorite things we make in our family are our Biscottis - a true family tradition, Toffee Crackers - YUM!, and my mom's Crispy Cheese Wafers.

{LET THE FUN BEGIN}
{December 23} We spent the night at the lake with Shan's family at the lake house. I make a big pot of potato soup and Nana makes a yummy ham along with some other goodies and my S-I-L provides the sweets. I love sitting around their living room, watching the kids exchange gifts, laugh, and play with their new loot. My favorite part is our feast-of-a-breakfast prepared by Papa on Christmas Eve morning. It's a great kick-off for the special day ahead!





{December 24} Christmas Eve is always a whirl-wind day. We ended up having a quiet Christmas Eve dinner at home after church. Our tradition is a big Italian feast at mom and dad's, but there was a change in plans this year. It was actually a first for us to be at home, but it was really sweet with just the 5 of us. Each year after dinner, the boys put on their PJs and track Santa on Norad and they love reading A South Carolina Night Before Christmas before heading to bed. Then the fun begins!!! Shannon and I always have a ball preparing for Christmas morning together. I don't know who is anxiously anticipating the next day more; us or them.





 
{THE BIG DAY}
{December 25} Every Christmas morning I love making the boys wait on the steps or by the living room door so we can all go in together to see what Santa brought. We eat French Toast Casserole or Cinnamon Coffee Cake {whichever one the boys request} and an ambrosia salad for breakfast. Early in the day we stay at home to enjoy opening gifts and playing with Santa's goodies. It's so relaxing and pleasant! We also enjoy the tradition of going to my mom and dad's for lunch and visiting with mom's family.







{THE BIG DAY CONTINUES}
{December 28} This year my brother and his family came in town to make Christmas #3 for us a few days later. We usually get together at mom's, but since Santa brought a trampoline and some cool things that couldn't be transported, we decided to celebrate at our house. We made some heavy hors d'oeuvres and grazed in between watching the kids play and exchanging gifts.



 


{THE NEW YEAR}
{December 31} I have a love-hate relationship with New Year's Eve! It is completely over-rated and I hate making plans, but I'm always so glad we did on January 1st. Thankfully, we always have good friends to shoot fireworks and enjoy the evening with. So this year for New Year's Eve we gathered with a few friends and neighbors to ring in 2014. It was quite convenient because the host and hostess live next door to the adult party we were all invited to. So we all took turns dropping in while the kids all played next door. It could not have worked out more perfectly!






{January 1} Not much to say about our New Year's Day traditions that vary from anyone else's traditions. It consists of laziness, football, pork-collards-black eyed peas, and sweet tea! New Year's Day is always so laid back. The holidays are winding down and it's a fresh start... I love it!

Those are a few of our favorite holiday traditions.
Maybe you have some we'd like to try. Tell me about yours in a comment!