Currently – July 10th

This week is all about Hadley. He’s turning 2 years old this Sunday, so we’re doing plenty of reminiscing, planning, prepping, and just generally getting getting our heads in order. God. Two years. He’s practically in college. *sigh* Gotta say, the ladies who put “Currently” together selected the PERFECT themes for our week! 😉

We’ll be celebrating with our close family members this year. Last year, we invited a ton of people — all whom we care about deeply — but this year, we decided to cut it back to just family. (What my mom calls “a normal birthday party.” Thanks, Mom.) Just kidding, I’m actually super lucky that my mother agreed to hold the party in her backyard since they’ve got way more space than we do (and we could all fit under their carport easily if it rains). I can’t wait to have a larger space for times like this…and for an excuse to clean. Obviously.   

There are times that I can’t seriously believe how much Hadman’s growing into a little boy, but at other times I’m like, “Yup. That happened. I remember it. It’s gonna get worse.” and I can rationalize the crap out of it. Parenthood! I’m just lucky that, when I ask him, he still identifies as both a “big boy” and “mama’s baby.” Oh, Lord, I’m going to go cry now!!

Monkey’s (in case you don’t notice, he’s got a million nicknames) been playing pretend progressively better lately. Oh, and so am I. There was a time when I was about 9 that I remember telling Mom that I was officially a grown-up because I had lost my ability to pretend. She laughed…a lot…and I think I know why. Only a kid with an active imagination could come up with crap like that.

But, seriously, there are a handful of great reasons that parents need to take time out of their day to play, on the floor, no devices in hand, no pictures being taken, no distractions. There are positive psychological and developmental repercussions for the child, but I’ve noticed that it can be a mood enhancer for Mom, as well as providing my brain with some great exercise… not to mention fun memories.

For setting up the shindig, I’m hoping to put up a couple of handmade posters (with none other than ducks from his favorite books, of course), a row of streamers behind the food table, and a mix of the old poufs and a few new ones that go with the yellow-and-blue duck theme. I found some fun cloth to use as a tablecloth for the food table to reuse elsewhere (can you say “chevron”?!), but the rest of the tables will just get a wipe-down. My sister’s also going to bring a kiddie pool to set up, and my stepdad found the old school sprinkler (which kids may or may not run through, we’ll see; Had’s still at the “trip over his own feet” stage) for some fun. Only having two little ones to run around at a party like this makes the “entertainment” part of it kind of simple.

Even a small birthday party like ours isn’t THAT small. I only sent out 5 homemade invitations (they’re awesome), but that ultimately invited 16-17 people. See why we couldn’t have it at our small house? Plus, I come from Blogland, which is just a town over from Pinterestonia. I’ve got to at least put some effort into the aesthetics of the thing. Although, no matter how adorable the paper straws are, NO ONE uses them. NO ONE. Unless, of course, you serve root beer floats.

Oh, the feelings. The feelings. I’m calmly excited (vs. last year’s inevitable stress-out), a tad nervous about making a lemon cake that’ll be fluffy (I’d like to never use a boxed cake mix ever again…even if they are delish), but ultimately all the emotions revolve around Hadley’s growth. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing some of the stuff he’s saying now, which, when compared to one year ago…well, it’s a completely different kid. Totally.

So, that’s what my week’s currently about. After his birthday, I’ll be turning my attention to some puttering around the house and other laid-back funness. 🙂 With my guys in tow, it’s hard not to enjoy life.

Thanks for hosting, Ot & Et and Harvesting Kale! You ladies rock.  

Lemony Goodness

Apparently lemons are my thing lately. I’m hoping to make a lemon cake for Hadman’s birthday this weekend. But today’s not about recipes. It’s about essential oils.

I’ve had my starter kit for a couple of weeks now, and I’m discovering the awesomeness of each kind s-l-o-w-l-y. As a problem strikes, I turn to Google to see which oil will help me out. It’s been fun to learn about these all in a hands-on way. And it’s kinda funny to see how excited, amazed and clueless Dave is about these little viles of magic. I’ll never forget the first time he set eyes on them and said, “Aww! I’m so sorry they’re so small. Is there a bigger size to buy?” Sure, 15 mL is a small container, but for the most part you’re only using a few drops to maybe 10-20 in one use. So, they actually last quite well.

So, while I’ve been using lavender on my pillow (Dave says it’s the best sleep ever), an “arthritis” blend for my achy knees (I’m not old, really), tea tree on my feet when I feel like I’m coming down with a summer cold, and peppermint to chase away an upset stomach, I thought I’d share my current FAVORITE use for essential oils. By far the best.

See, while I’m not a laundry hater, and I stay on top of it pretty well, I have a tendency to get that smell goin’ on with it. You know the one. The I-forgot-the-load-and-left-it-in-too-long-on-a-humid-day musty smell that, if you wear the clothes, follows you all day.

I’m the queen of that smell, it seems. Am I the only one?

Well, the only EO that I’ve decided to relocate out of the handy carrying case is the lemon — next to the washer. It’s going to stay there until it’s empty…then I’m getting more to repeat the process!

There are two ways that I use the stuff. I’ve come to add it automatically (10 drops, give or take, depending on the size of the load) to the washing detergent before dumping it into the washing machine. If I don’t get to the clean-but-wet load in a day or so, I haven’t noticed that musty smell AT ALL.

Then, if the load has been in the dryer and is displaying any not-nice smell, I put about 10 drops on a washcloth (it can stain, so make sure it’s an old cloth or one you’re okay with staining; this hasn’t happened for me, but you never know), toss it in, and run it until everything’s dry (or run it for awhile to “fluff” the load). If it doesn’t take it away completely, repeat the process. It shouldn’t take more than two “fluffs” to rid the clothes of the smell.

The reason that the lemon EO is so ideal for laundry use is its disinfectant qualities. (It can also be used in other cleaning applications, too.) See? The stuff ain’t just for aromatherapy! I’ve found a couple of links (like this one – alternative to disinfectant hand gel?! – and this one) that give you far more information than I currently can on other incredible uses for this lemony goodness.

Does anyone have an EO uses that they can’t live without to share? I’d love to pick your brain!

By the way, I’m not a seller of any essential oils, so these opinions are just to help out anyone interested in the benefits of EOs, no strings attached. 🙂     

How Does Your Garden Grow? Part Deux

French makes me feel fancy. “Deux.” Mrs. Turner would be proud.

{She might be a tad less proud that I giggle incessantly when I hear the word. Hee hee. Sounds like doo. I am the perfect person to have a boy, I tell ya.}

Now that I’m freshly showered, in comfy clothes, listening to a sleeping baby on the monitor, and half-watching (I’m the champion at half-watching stuff) the Canadian station (cooking shows with adorable accents, yay!), I’m ready to tell of the harrowing tale of my foundation planting today.

Okay, not harrowing tale. Annoying yet rewarding experience tale? Yeah, that. That’ll work.

So, after Hadman’s breakfast and SECOND poopy potty break of the morning (love that he’s using it, but when you’re on a time crunch, oye!), we shuffled to the car and zoomed off to Lowe’s. I commandeered our buddy’s favorite shopping distraction these days, the “car cart”, found the topsoil, and stocked up. For this space, I needed 10 bags. Not sure why that’s relevant, but just thought I’d say. Oh, and they cost $2.10 each (usually they’re on sale, but I’m the idiot that waited ’til the freaking week of July 4th to do get my flowery goodness on), so it came in at under $25.

After filling the back of our SUV with the stuff, we perused the aisles again. They weren’t lacking stuff, but I didn’t see anything I liked. Plus, my mom mentioned that one of the local joints the town over might have some stuff still, and that they often have sales. Whomever said mom was always right…well, they were right.

At the local joint, I utilized the stroller. This kid can’t really be allowed to walk ‘cuz he doesn’t listen to “no” or “stop” properly yet. Maybe 10-20% of the time, and it’s not worth playing those odds on a very busy street. He had fun shouting out the colors he saw in the flowers. After awhile, I had decided on two 6-packs of red impatiens for $3.09 each, and four “4-for-$10” perennials — three mountain gold alyssums and one lamb’s ear plant (so soft!!!). Speaking of soft, Mom’s going to be dropping off a family favorite, silver mound artemisia, for me to plant, too, so I may have to shift these guys around, but I THINK I have a spot for it.

So, when we got home with the goods, I turned my attention to the monkey. That’s my strategy: chunk the day into manageable pieces and analyze what can be done in what time. It’s how I roll, and it usually works. Usually.

Lunch. Yet another potty break. Down for nap. Minimal fussing. I slap on my sunblock and sneakers, grab my gardening stuff, start to grab weeds and…downpour. Damn it.

I came inside and grumbled online until, luckily, it subsided. While it was super drippy (as in, dripping on my head and back) and super messy, the weeding was done pretty quickly.

I piled the bags of dirt near the spots I needed them (easier than one big pile). Then, I actually placed them where the dirt was needed when I cut so that a) I didn’t have any unnecessary messes and b) it was less of a lug to spread the dirt. A bit of a workout, but altogether silly easy.

Then, I broke up and evened out the dirt. I planned out where the flowers would go, and, of course…the rain started again. This time, it was more of a drizzle at first, so I just smiled, laughed, and kept going until everything was in the dirt. No way I was going to give up another naptime just to dig some holes, rough up the roots, and plant. No frickin’ way!

So…picture me…running to put stuff in the garage (scaring some outside kittens while I was at it, oops!)…snapping a few fast “after” shots (while getting a couple of “looks” from people driving by, of course)…and rushing inside to get a quick shower before Hadman woke up.

I felt like I achieved a huge feat just getting the outside of the house semi-presentable. 🙂 Now I won’t have that embarrassed feeling every time we come or go. Sure, I despise the hosta that has taken over, but I’m workin’ with it.

Oh, and I meant to snap a picture of our netting on the veggie garden, but. Y’know. Rain. I’ll try to grab one next I think of it!

Do you have a spot around your foundation to plant? Do you have hedges or plants or flowers (or a combo)? How do YOU deal with this fun-yet-awkward spot? Or do you have a different spot that proves challenging to plant at your place? I’d love to hear!

And HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! Hope you have a great time, however you’re spending it! Dave’s got the day off so we’ll have some family time, and you know I’ll be watching “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at some point. (And it’ll probably make me start a “John Adams” marathon soon, too.) 😉 Enjoy!

Currently – July 3rd

I’ve been managing summer life with a toddler pretty well, I think. The key, especially when it comes to naptime, is to make a *simple* schedule. Apparently that’s the key to a lot of things, parenting-wise. Heh. Who knew?

We’re missing our neighbor, George, who recently passed away. He was in his nineties, but the last time I saw him he was doing so well and asked us all in to hang out with his family. I’m so glad we took the chance to do that. The unadulterated joy in his eyes watching Hadley run around and play and discover was something I’ll never forget. He was, by far, the most sensitive, kind-hearted man I ever met (which always surprised me, given his age and the toughness of his generation). On a bit of a side note, I’m also missing my grandfather since, well, I find myself always missing his presence since he passed earlier this year, but particularly with the 4th of July upon us. Any patriotic holiday does that to me, I guess. And when I watch “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, I’m sure to enjoy it along with some tears.

I’ve tried to take a bit of a break from thinking lately. Does that sound idiotic? I mean, I’m an over-thinker, so it’s nice to just kind of stick with the aforementioned toddler schedule with a few fun or productive activities thrown in for good measure. I fall into a guilt-ridden abyss when I don’t try to do something productive, so I’m taking my mom’s advice to try to do something fun and something off “my list” each week. I’d say that sounds good, especially knowing that once I get my “something productive” done that I can just kinda chill…unless the energy hits me to do something else. 😉

Be it naptime or after the munchkin hits the hay at night, I’ve slowly but surely been creating his little felt food. It has taken FUH-REV-ER, but it’s worth it. I had some confusion when I posted an image of a lowly “fried egg” the other day. Yes, I’m making him fake food made of felt. There are toys all over the interwebs for sale, but I like to do one handmade gift a year (if not one for his b-day, one for Christmas). He happens to be obsessed with pretending to “cook” and “mix”. I guess if folks could hear how adorable his little energetically mouse-like voice as he “tastes” his “soup”, rubs his belly and says “Yum, yum, yum!” they probably wouldn’t question how much he is going to L-O-V-E these toys. Dave saw a slice of “bread” I sewed the other day and wouldn’t stop talking about how much the monkey will enjoy them…which is really all that matters.

I just hope I can get a ton more done before next weekend (his birthday); gah!!! Lots more planning and getting ready to do, too, so yeah. I’m a tad stressed. Just a tad, really. Gotta find a cake recipe that suits Hadman but that will be tasty enough for the rest of the guests to enjoy, too. (Like, I would do a lemon-blueberry cake but I’m not sure if that’s universally liked, y’know?)

Speaking of searching, I’m still looking for new leads on my search. My “world” membership, which gives me access to a buttload of new material from our European ancestors, just began. So, needless to say, I’m excited about this. My goal is to see how far “up” the tree I can go through my more recent European ancestors (like the majority of my relatives on my mother’s side), most of whom came from Ireland in the mid- to early-1800s.

I’m also newly interested in my paternal grandmother’s family. They’re part of the only line that has lived in the U.S. from pre-Revolutionary War times. I had found some who were in the British nobility (which makes me think of Downton Abbey, but in Medieval Times) and some part of the Dutch settlers of Manhattan Island, so any additional information with regards to the heights of the tree will be simply thrilling. If I could do this stuff all day long, I would. 

What’s “currently” going on with you guys? How’s your summer going? Are you managing/missing/thinking/creating/looking lately? 😉

Linking up to Ot & Et and Harvesting Kale. Check ’em out!

Summer Update #1

Hey, guys! Now that summer’s well under way (can anyone else not believe that July 4th has come and gone?!), I thought it’d be nice to grab a reminder of some of the fun we hope to undertake this year.

So, there’s some stuff I’m super excited to have crossed off, and some stuff that we’ve got in the works. Let’s chat, shall we? First, what’s complete.

#6 – My sister decided to have a garage sale earlier in June, so I happily offered to help out if I could bring stuff to sell. We didn’t make a ton, but it was more than we would’ve made by donating everything. Plus, we dropped everything off at the Salvation Army right after the sale so that we didn’t have that “dump the stuff in the cellar/garage and forget about it” moment. That’s never a good moment when you discover all the crap stuff months later. So, to have the extra space in our basement and to have the garage cleaned? Priceless.

#7 – As you know, I’m working on our garden. Since it’s planted and we’re to the “tend to it” phase, I’m calling this one done. I may move around the strawberries/herbs or try some new ones to see if I can get them going a little better. Otherwise, our netting seems to be working to keep the kitties out, and our lettuce is going great (and, considering it was all planted at once, it’s awesomesauce that it’s growing to varying heights — they’re not all ready at once!). Actually, I finally “harvested” some lettuce recently, so yay! 

Now, for the stuff we’ve got in the works! 

#2 – Man, if I don’t have stuff underway for buddy’s second birthday, I’d be in trouble! It IS this Sunday, after all. So, our closest family members received their invitations (it’s going to be a small, fun shindig this year; like 17ish people), and I’ve got a menu drawn up. 

It’s a mid-afternoon get-together, so we’re just doing snacks and cake. We already bought water, soda, and organic juice boxes, as well as bags of pretzels and two kinds of non-GMO popcorn. A little later this week I’ll pick up some fruit and veggies to cut up and the makings for some dip (any “real food” fruit or veg dip recipes are welcome! Pinterest has been a pain on this search). Oh, and of course there’s the cake. Thinking of doing a lemon cake (again, suggestions for a fluffy, non-box mix recipe are welcome! They all sound too dense), maybe with organic cream cheese frosting. 😀 

Now, if only the weather would cooperate…

#3 – Okay. This is one reason my post is a day late. My sis and I had planned on taking our munchkins to our zoo, but (again) the weather had other ideas. Luckily, she knew of a newer indoor play place for all ages of kids (it was, indeed, a blast! And super clean, whew). It just means we’ll have to plan another trip there sometime this summer. We’ll probably take a quick family trip there when the weather looks nice again, too, so I have high hopes!

#4 – Yay! We have our trip booked! I’ll just be sharing the location here; we’re not keen on letting folks know when our house will be unoccupied. So, I’m sure some of you guessed it, but we’ll be swinging back to Massachusetts — starting in the east near Concord and winding our way back to spend more time with some friends, with some other adventures along the way. Can’t wait to go, and can’t wait to share how we handle keeping a toddler and two grown-ups happy along the way!

I’m in the earlier processes of a couple of other list items (like puttering), so I hope to be back with another update soon…and it BETTER say “we went to the zoo!” in it. 😉

How’s your summer going? Any great plans or list-checking?

Pops All Around

Alrighty, time to vote! (And this time, there’s no mud-slinging coming from either side. Lord, I hope not.)

We’ve had some wicked hot weather the past couple of weeks, and I’m thinking we’re in need of a treat or two. Aaaaaand, of course…I can’t make up my mind about it all. Of course. Do y’all know me? 😉 Nice to meet you, I’m Mrs. Indecisive.

I’m having a hard time figuring out which style of popsicle makers would suit our needs best. I’ve seen a million awesome popsicle recipes lately and I’m dying to get in on the action (and hoping and praying that our monkey’s into super cold treats).

At the same time, I’m trying not to get too hung up on the “what will look best photographed and shared on the blog” part (which is hard for me…I’m an aesthetic person) and to focus more on the “what will make the least mess when used by a toddler” area.

So, meet our contenders… 

(Side note: How badly I wanted to call this the “Ice Pop Maker Fight to the Death” or some such thing using the word “hell”, but adding “AKA Pops for Tots” in the graphic. But I refrained. Aren’t I a lady?)

I’ve heard about these silicone ice pop molds for awhile now. One of my favorite blogs/Facebook pages shares them frequently, and how well they work to put, frozen, into her little ones’ lunch bags (and they have a slushy smoothie type of snack by lunchtime). Clearly, we’d use them in frozen form, but they’d be neat to have for the future if we’re into that type of snack.

They seem like they’d be easy enough for him to push up and would give the right amount of popsicle-y goodness as he needed it…vs. having an entire popsicle melt all over him since he can’t eat it fast enough. So, there’s the big “pro”, but I’m not convinced. Like, there’s a point to making a popsicle a POPSICLE, y’know?

I’ve also kinda fallen in love with this option. I’m still not sure whether I’d select the “classic” option or the round option (they’re both super cute). They’ve got drip guards (but would that really matter?) and both the above option and these have about the same 3+ ounce capacity. While these don’t look as awesome as the traditional ones with wooden sticks that you see all over Pinterest, they’d probably meet our toddler-y needs the best, y’know?

Either way, these pops all remind me of when my mom used to pour plain ol’ orange juice into freezer trays with plastic wrap and toothpicks in them when the summers got super hot. Yeah, she was a rad mama, and always made do with what we had. Let’s just say I’m super lucky that I have the luxury of selecting such a specialized little item to make my little guy (and the dorky daddy…okay, and me) happy.

Anyhoo, feel free to vote and leave opinions and comments below! Thanks, in advance, for your help.

Which type of ice pop maker should Meg get?
The tube-style maker
The Zoku mould-with-sticks-style maker free polls