Finding Our New Normal

Posted 25 August, 2016 by Trish in Life, Reading Nook / 17 Comments

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This week was a big week for our family–Elle started Kindergarten. Do you guys remember when I first announced I was having a baby? Sometimes it seems so unreal that I’ve had three little kiddos during the lifetime of this blog.

 

Kinder first day

 

On Monday morning, Scott and I took Elle to her new school while my mom watched the littles for us. The school is within walking distance of our house so once the school was in sight, Elle went skipping ahead of us. Her oversized backpack bouncing up and down behind her.

I was overcome with emotion, watching this little girl who was so excited, who has the whole world in front of her. I fought back the tears because I didn’t want to ruin her excitement or give her reason to be nervous.

We weren’t allowed to walk her all the way to her new classroom–a blessing in disguise–so we went as far as we could and took a few pictures. As she walked through the doors, she turned around, gave me the biggest smile, and ran to my arms to give me one last hug. Yes, I’m crying while I type this. She had a great first day. I couldn’t be more excited for her.

Meanwhile, we’re all trying to find our new normal. This week I’ve picked up an extra day at work which means one less day at home with little Cara. After Labor Day she’ll start going to daycare full-time while I return to work every day. I’m not ready. It’s hard being home all day with a baby, but she is a sweet little thing who loves kisses more than anything. Of course I’m happy to oblige smothering her squishy little face.

Even though I’ll be heading back to work full-time, the gig is more part-time as I’ll be leaving the day early enough to pick up Elle from Kindergarten. This means that I’ll have about 45 minutes of alone time with her every day before picking up the girls. As I stayed home with her the least amount of time when she was a baby, I’m looking forward to having this one on one time with her.

To add to the insanity that is our new normal, I’ve also signed the girls up for their first activities–Elle gymnastics and Evie dance. No really–I’m pretty sure I’ve gone insane.

 

evie weevie

 

I ask myself all the time how I can simplify my life, but I think the new question I need to ask myself is how can I adjust? Certainly not by giving anything else up…no way jose! Though, I think we can all tell that blogging most times has fallen to the wayside. I always have big plans and good intentions. All I can do is make the best use out of those 10 minute blocks of time I can steal?

So what have I been doing in those 10 minute stretches? I’ve been learning how to use the serger I got for Christmas–including sewing up little outfits for the girls (one day I’ll share pictures). I’m constantly battling the clutter here and there. Seems like every week one area of the house is targeted on my to-do list. Speaking of to-dos, I’m still keeping up with and loving my Bullet Journal. I haven’t been exercising because I hurt my wrist (please don’t be carpal tunnel!), but the weather has been a bit cooler and hopefully when dinner starts making itself we can go on family walks in the evenings. Scott and I are on our final season of The Wire. I’m slowly reading The Madonnas of Leningrad. I’m still obsessively listening to Hamilton instead of listening to audiobooks. I dream of making fun and fabulous school lunches for the girls, but in reality stress too much about what I’m sending and what they’re eating.

 

library babe

 

Some days I wonder what I’ve done all day. It doesn’t feel like much. But it sure is busy! Funny how that works, huh?

Thanks for sticking around and being patient while I go through some personal growing pains. Life is good. Life is full. Lots of Love, Laughter, and OMG so much Insanity. I’ll figure it out, right?

Let’s talk about you. If you had 10 “found” minutes, what would you do what that time?

 

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Family Favorite Meals Around the Web

Posted 19 August, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 21 Comments

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Family Favorite Meals Around the Web

 

The other morning Scott was making waffles for breakfast and he asked if I had a recipe. I immediately pulled out the sheet from my recipe scrapbook. He took one look at the worn page and said “wow, you must really like this one.” There are about a dozen recipes that I’ve found online that my family loves loves loves, so I thought I would share our favorite family meals from around the web. I’m not sure why so many of them come from Allrecipes–I’m guessing that several of these are from way before I discovered Pinterest!

Breakfast Favorites

Fluffy Pancakes from allrecipes.com – Confession: I love Aunt Jemima buttermilk pancake mix, but if I’m in the mood for making pancakes from scratch, these are my go-to.  On Pinterest

Fluffy French Toast from allrecipes.com – I used to make French Toast the way that my mom taught me–just throwing together ingredients in a bowl and hoping for the best. The result was alway edible, but then Scott found this recipe and ruined my French Toast forever. It must be the addition of flour? It’s now one of the kids’ favorites for breakfast. On Pinterest

Banana Muffins from allrecipes.com – My favorite is actually banana bread, but I love making these banana muffins in mini cups for the girls’ breakfast when we are on the go. I usually cut the sugar down by half and they’re still delicious. On Pinterest

Dinner Favorites

Fried Rice from food.com – Truthfully this recipe acts more like a gateway and I don’t refer to it anymore. I don’t measure any of the ingredients, skip the sesame oil and bean sprouts, add different veggies, use a combo of oil and butter but don’t know how much, etc. And instead of adding meat which would probably dry out on my watch, I pair it with sweet and sour pork balls. Mmmm!  On Pinterest

Salisbury Steak from allrecipes.com – Scott would eat this meal for dinner every night if I’d make it for him. I stick pretty close the recipe but add mushrooms to the sauce. The girls love it and the patties without gravy was one of Evie’s first favorite meats. On Pinterest

Parmesan Crusted Chicken from Hellmanns – I feel sinful including this recipe in the round-up, but my family doesn’t have the best track record with chicken. However, everyone will devour this chicken and the leftovers taste pretty good as well. On Pinterest

Vegetable Beef Stew from allrecipes.com – I love this beef stew for two reasons–it makes a ton of stew and the leftovers freeze well. It’s also a great way to dump in all the vegetables. Comfort in a bowl. On Pinterest

Creamy Tomato and Bacon Linguine from Foodie with Family – This is a newer one in our rotation but it’s so delicious and I love that it cooks in all one pot. The leftovers the next day are even better. On Pinterest

Garlic Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops from Big Oven – A meat thermometer is key for this recipe or any pork chop dish. It’s so easy to over cook chops, but done correctly and this recipe has a great outside crust with a tender and juicy inside.

Cookie Favorite

Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from allrecipes.com. They’re so amazing. Though I cut the recipe in half because this makes a billion and I can’t resist them. I also add a bit of salt because what kind of cookie recipe doesn’t have salt?! On Pinterest

 

I’d love to hear what recipes you make over and over again that can be found online! Share your links below.

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Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

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Ten Books Set in Texas

Posted 17 August, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 19 Comments

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Ten Books Set in TexasNon-native Texans always joke that they might not have been born here, but they got here as fast as they could. 26 years ago my family moved from Toronto to Texas and I’m not sure I could consider anywhere else home. I love this state–for all of its faults. Texas seems to be such a bold state and many of the books I’ve included below are quintessentially Texan.

I missed this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), but the topic is Books with X Setting. I played around with books not set in our world (Discworld!) or books set after an apocalypse, but then decided to look to my own state for inspiration since Lonesome Dove is the book I vowed to read this year.

Ten Books Set in Texas

Texas Books 1

 

11/22/63 by Stephen King – While King’s books are generally set in Maine, this favorite of mine is set in my own big city (Dallas). There’s lots of history in 11/22/63, but besides that it’s just a damn good story. A must read! Amazon | Goodreads

The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing, All the Pretty Horses, Cities of the Plain) – Many of McCarthy’s books are set in Texas and the outcome of these stories is often as bleak as the landscape of West Texas. One could argue that the landscape in the Border Trilogy plays as big of a roll as any of the characters.  Amazon | Goodreads

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Cowboys cowboys cowboys. So very Texan. Even today (I married one). Amazon | Goodreads

Borderlands / La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua – The border between Mexico and Texas plays a huge role in the lives of so many on both sides. In this collection of poems/prose, Anzaldua discusses identity and how borders are blurred in all aspects of life. Amazon | Goodreads

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon – Fort Hood is one of the largest army bases in the United States and is smack in the middle of Texas. In Fallon’s collection of interconnected short stories, she highlights life for the women on the base, particularly when their men have gone on tour overseas. Amazon | Goodreads

 

Texas Books 2

Ride the Wind by Lucia St Clair Robson – Although this story is fictionalized, it tells of Cynthia Ann Parker who was kidnapped by Comanches in the 1830s, married to one of the chiefs, and mothered Quanah Parker (one of the last Comanche cheiftons). I loved this book. Amazon | Goodreads

Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros – Another look at border life, through short stories, from one of the leading Chicana authors (you know her from The House on Mango Street).  Amazon | Goodreads

Texas by James A. Michener – Ha! Truthfully I haven’t been able to get through this slog of a saga yet, but how could ignore a book titled Texas? One day I’ll get through this huge tome on my shelves.  Amazon | Goodreads

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger – The year that my baby brother went to college was the first year that I hadn’t attended football games in decades. Friday Night Lights refers to the lights that shine down on high school football–the game that is king in Texas. Nonfiction. Amazon | Goodreads

In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel – I’ve covered west Texas, the border, and Dallas, so that leaves us with east Texas where the land is swampy and the air thick as butter. The atmosphere of In the Midnight Rain plays a huge part of the mysterious, romancy story. Amazon | Goodreads

Sadly enough, I haven’t read all of the books on this list though I own them all. Since making my list, I’ve also discovered books like Holes and Giant that seem to be must reads when it comes to Texas. This makes me feel like a bad Texan and I’m definitely making a list to amend my bad ways.

What books come to mind when you think of Texas?

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Happy Sunday!

Posted 14 August, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 29 Comments

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pretty woman

Happy Sunday! Also Happy Birthday to me. :) Today I’m halfway between 30 and 40 and trying not to freak out about it. Actually, the 30s have been great so far, though sometimes I have a tough time remembering that I’m an adult.

I read an article the other day about teaching children how to do things for themselves–laundry, cooking, cleaning–and I wondered how I can teach them these things when I’m not even adult enough to do them myself. I keep wondering if I’ll ever learn how to properly do laundry. Ha.

So how am I spending my birthday today?

I’d love to enjoy a couple cups of very hot coffee in bed while reading my book. I’m about 75% through Just Mercy and would love to finish it up this week.

After finishing my book, I’d go for a nice run since it’s been too hot for one lately and the high today is going to be a glorious 88 degrees (hey, that’s a lot cooler than the 105 it has been).

Next I’d love to take a long hot luxurious shower. Maybe while listening to some Alabama Shakes radio on Pandora. Singing at the top of my lungs.

A delicious lunch that I don’t have to make would be perfect. Followed by some time in my sewing room to work on some lingering projects. Maybe work on a bit of a post for this coming week. Maybe spend some time with my Bullet Journal.

Then naptime. When the whole house goes quiet and I pretend to read my book knowing that in 5 minutes I’ll fall asleep, too.

Dinner that I don’t have to cook, bedtime that I don’t have to handle, chores I don’t have to do, and a cold glass of white wine while spending some quiet time on the couch with hub watching The Wire. Ahhhhhh. Perfection.

In reality? I’ll reheat my coffee 4 times before giving up on it. I’ll probably share my shower with at least one other person. It’s been so long since I’ve run that I might make it to the corner if I’m lucky. Though the five pages of reading before naptime will be a reality. Naptime is the one constant in our household. We’re having dinner at my mom’s, but of course I’ll be in the bedtime mix here. Evie will come down 5 times while Scott and I try to watch The Wire and by the time she finally goes to sleep it’ll be too late to finish our episode.

But there will be lots of snuggles and I’ll cherish all of them. In 15 years I’ll have a quiet birthday and will likely wish that it was as loud and crazy and raucous as it will be this year.

 

hearts

 

Books Recently Finished: It’s been a while since I’ve finished anything so will hopefully hopefully hopefully I can finish Just Mercy this week. Not sure what I’ll read next! With the school hustle starting next week, probably something light.

New Books in the House: None, but I do have Baby-Led Weaning waiting for me at the library.

New Books on my E-Reader: Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. I know nothing about it except that several blogging friends loved it.

Books on the Nightstand: I’ve given up on audiobooks in favor of Hamilton (musical). I’m afraid I might need to restart The Cuckoo’s Calling before continuing. This is why I listen to mostly nonfiction on audio–it’s not a big deal if I miss big plot points. And still Just Mercy on my ereader!

What’s going on in your world today??

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Le Tote Subscription Service Review

Le Tote Subscription Service Review

You might remember that last November I posted about Le Tote Subscription Clothing service. The kind people at Le Tote have given me three totes to send to new subscribers, so I thought I’d recap the service and share some pictures. Admittedly…I’ve been working on this post for months, which is why you see some long sleeve items here. Ahem. Note that this is not a sponsored post–Le Tote is not giving me anything for writing […]

Posted 11 August, 2016 by Trish in Life / 14 Comments
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Book Catalog Spreadsheet

Book Catalog Spreadsheet

    Happy Sunday y’all! I’m hoping that today can be a lazy day around our house. It’s hotter than hot outside and this is one of our last few Sundays before we start the back to school grind. Except in our case it’ll be the start of school grind. I’m a ball of anxiety thinking about sending Elle to Kindergarten. Not because it means she’s growing up (though, wahhhhhhh), but because of how much […]

Posted 7 August, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 28 Comments
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Books Recently Read – Post-Apocalypse Edition

Books Recently Read – Post-Apocalypse Edition

  We all have our preferred reading topics and post-apocalyptic is definitely not one that I gravitate towards. Except surprisingly almost a quarter of the books I’ve read this year are set after an apocalypse. What strikes me about all of these books, is how different they are from one another (The Fireman and I Am Legend are two no included in this post). They’ve also all been optioned for movies, so I guess post-apocalyptic books […]

Posted 5 August, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 15 Comments
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What I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding

What I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding

  My Breastfeeding Journey I’ve been drafting this post for what feels like years, but seriously for the past several weeks. Learning that this week is World Breastfeeding Week gave me the push that I needed to actually write down my breastfeeding journey. I’m currently a little over halfway done with breastfeeding my third babe. Halfway done because she’s seven months old and my goal is a year. Of course a lot of this depends on […]

Posted 3 August, 2016 by Trish in Mommyhood / 21 Comments
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Sweet and Sour Pork Balls

Sweet and Sour Pork Balls

  Trying new recipes is always a gamble with kids. I love experimenting in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s tough to get little ones to buy into something different. Even with mashed potatoes (what IS it with kids and mashed potatoes!). A few years ago I found a recipe for sweet and sour pork balls that we really enjoyed, and it’s one of those that I’m shocked everytime my kids gobble it up. Mom and […]

Posted 23 July, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 13 Comments
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Books From Around the World

Books From Around the World

Reading books from around the world is something I love to focus on. I love traveling to different countries via books and seeing the world through other’s eyes. Sadly over the past couple of years, though, I haven’t been paying as much attention to where I’m reading nor where the authors I’m reading are from. This means that while my reading is still fairly diverse, the books I’ve been reading have been mostly set in the […]

Posted 19 July, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 28 Comments
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