Wednesday, March 28, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Ask me what I was doing exactly two years ago on this very day.  Go ahead - ask. 

My husband and I were spending our last night as parents of one child - we were headed to the hospital the next morning to have our little girl.  I remember watching "The Blind Side", eating Peanut Butter Cups well into the wee hours of the morning, and not sleeping a wink.  I remember sitting in my baby girls room - looking at the masterpiece of pink and pinker that my husband and I had created.  I went through her closet one last time and double checked our hospital bag about 25 times to make sure she had her very first flower clip for her hospital pictures. 

It may sound cliche but two years has gone by SO fast.  Her birthday is tomorrow and we're going to head to the American Girl Store - (our birthday tradition) and pick up a new red headed Bitty Baby and a party dress.  We're going to have Dora Cupcakes.  She's going to open her presents.  I'm going to try not to cry, try not to cry, and try not to cry.  She's definitely not a baby anymore - she's growing up.  And I'm going to continue to thank the Good Lord for both of the biggest blessings in my life.  Happy (1 day early) 2nd Birthday to my sweet, beautiful, baby girl!  We love you!

P.S.  I think it's beyond obvious that I suck at Wordless Wednesday! :)

Getting ready to head to the hospital!  I heart scheduled inductions!!! 

Our first family photo - The kids are both SO little!

Monday, March 26, 2012

R.I.P Spider

My husband and kids recently brought home a new "pet".  I was at work and they decided to take advantage of our school district being on spring break as well as the unusually warm March weather.  Although we have every toy imaginable in our back yard: water table, play house, swing set, slide, etc.  - both kids still love to walk to the school that's a couple of houses down and play on the "big kid" playground. 
Now I may be missing some details here, because I usually don't find out the full version of what happens while I'm away until days- - -sometimes months later.  But the gist of it goes something like this:  One of the kids found a craw-dad....well crawling on the ground.  There was no body of water to be found anywhere near the playground.  I'm pretty sure if they would have looked, they probably would have found a ditch near by to drop the crawdad back in.  They didn't look and instead my husband convinced the kids that they should take it home and let him live in our fish tank.  When I found out about this, I said:  "You should have left him there - he was obviously on a suicide mission".  My husband said: "Oh no - he was just looking for a good home."

When I got home from work, both kids were so excited to show me their new "friend".  "Look mommy - it's Spider!," Emma squealed.  Brayden said, "Daddy, let us bring him home!"

Spider didn't try to kill the other fish in the tank.  He got a little rough with Mickey Mouse (yep all of our fish have names) and he taunted Kool Aid a little bit, but for the most part he kept to himself in the sunken pirate ship next to some neon rocks.
Fast forward one week later.  Garry called me on my way home from work to let me know - Spider jumped off a ledge....he literally escaped from the fish tank, jumped off the cabinet and made an attempt to crawl to the light (our patio door).  He didn't make it and Garry found him (dead) right next to the door. 

So, here's to Spider.  The best darn crawdad our family could have asked for.  He will be missed, even though we only had him for a week.   We love ya Spidey!

Spider - 2012 to 2012 (He's in the opening to the sunken pirate ship).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tasty Tuesday! Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf Minis

Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf Minis

One of my favorite comfort foods during the winter (or anytime of the year for that matter) is meatloaf. I'm still perfecting my own meatloaf recipe but until that happens, I happened to stumbled upon a new recipe for a Turkey Meatloaf over at   I wasn't a big fan of the bagged broccoli cole slaw that the recipe called for, so I substituted the slaw for some other veggies and made some other (minor) adjustments as well.
These were a big hit at my house - and I'm pretty sure they could be frozen to use at a later date. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture - enter frowny face here, but trust me....They were SOOO yummy.
1 Small Onion - Diced
1/2 cup of Ketchup
1 Pound of Ground Turkey (don't knock it until you try it!)
1 1/2 cups of cooked spinach - (chopped in a food processor)
1 medium red bell pepper - Diced
1 egg
1/2 to 3/4 cup of plain instant oatmeal
Seasoning (I used about one teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with baking cups.
Mix diced onion, ketchup, ground turkey, spinach, red pepper, egg, seasoning, and oatmeal
Fill the cups with the mixture
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes (I like to make sure my turkey is thoroughly cooked.)
P.S. I had one of these for lunch today - and OMG - I think they were even better the second time around! As always, I want to hear from you! If you have a recipe to share or have feedback for this recipe - email me at
I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to introduce my newest blog sponsor and Tasty Tuesday, happens to be that perfect time! Please welcome NorCal Wood Design to the ole' blog! Check out their bio below as well as some pictures of their handy work!
NorCal Wood Design, a father and son duo from beautiful Northern California (I'm SO jealous!) handcrafts unique housewares and beautiful furniture out of wood. They are avid farmers and builders and have perfected their craft and recently expanded by opening their Etsy shop.  Follow them on Twitter at #caliwooddesign, "Like" their Facebook Fan page or check out their website at You can also send an email to They are continually adding new items in the Etsy shop so make sure you stop by, check em' out and order a handmade cutting board, napkin holders, office decor and more! Have someone to give a gift too? Maybe some newlyweds or a someone who is moving? What a great and unique gift idea!

Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY: Cereal Bracelets

The kids and I did this craft a couple of weeks ago - it was my take on candy necklaces - the only differences were we made ours with elastic cord and fruit loops instead of string and hard candy.  It was fun for both kids - the three year old loved stringin' the loops and the one year old loved eatin' the loops.  Simple. Fun. Fast. Easy Clean Up.  That's my kind of craft! 

We used fruit loops - any cereal with wholes in the middle would work though!

Brayden: Concentration

Emma:  Enjoying all of mine and Brayden's hardwork.

All you need is a cereal of your choice (has to have the holes in the middle), elastic cord, and scissors for cutting.  Tie a knot through one cereal loop and begin stringing your bracelet (or necklace) to your desired length.  Tie up your two ends and Bam!  You have cereal jewelry!  It's supposed to rain here in the metro for the next few days, so now would be a perfect time to make sure you have everything you needed to get craftin'.

I shouldn't have to say this, but I'm going to anyways.  Children under the age of 3 should probably be supervised during this and any other kid craft or DIY kid project I post.  There's your warning!  I don't cut my kids loose with scissors and glue and neither should you!

Do you have a DIY craft or project you do with your kiddos?  I'd love to hear about it!  Send an email to and you could be featured in a DIY post!  And don't forget to check out my Facebook Fan Page by clicking here!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tasty Tuesday! Crock Pot Lasagna

Crock Pot Lasagna

I am by no means queen of the kitchen - I do (almost) always try but occassionally I have major dinner time flops.  A perfect example would be the time I intended to make chicken noodle soup in the crock pot - I decided NOT to use the provided recipe and instead went at it full force.  All by myself.  It was a hodge podge of ingredients and my end result was a ginormous crock pot full of chickeny mush.  We all ate a little bit, but the rest ended up being trash.  I couldn't tell you exactly where I went wrong, but I'm guessing it started somewhere around the whole "not following the recipe" part. 

With my blunders also come some fantastically delicious meals as well.  Meals that don't get turned into a mushy mess.  Meals that delight my family because they are filling and delicious.  One of my favorites of these delicious meals is crock pot lasagna. 

I first came across this dish from a girl I go to church with.  I've since tweaked it and changed a few things around and its turned into a simple, easy dish that can cook while I'm at work.  I encourage you to try this out and make your own adjustments - comment below and let me know what you think or you can send an email to!   I'm also always looking for recipes from everyone and everywhere - so if you've got a good one to share, send it to me!   You can also check out my Facebook Fan page by clicking here.   I'll do my best to make sure that Tasty Tuesday recipes are on Facebook too!

1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon each of: salt, dried oregano, and dried basil
1 large can of Pasta Sauce (I use the Hunts Four Cheese variety)
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 small container of part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup of low fat cottage cheese
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of water
1 box of uncooked lasagna noodles

1.  Cook ground beef and onion in skillet over medium heat.  Stir in pasta sauce, salt, dried oregano, basil and water. 

2.  Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, all of the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and cottage cheese. 

3.  Spoon your 1/4 of your beef mixture into the bottom of the crock pot. Top with noodles until your beef mixture is covered.  Spread a portion of your cheese mixture over the noodles.  Repeat until you've used all of the beef mixture and cheese mixture.  (Your final layer should be the uncooked noodles, topped with a small portion of your beef mixture.)

4.  Cook on a low heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on a high setting for 2 hours (or until noodles are tender.)

5.  Sprinkle lasagna with the remaining mozzarella cheese and let melt.

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In case you missed me....

Long story short, our Internet has been out/spotty since late Monday night.  We've My husband has been on and off the phone with our provider since Wednesday morning.  As of Friday afternoon, it still wasn't fixed.  He ended up unplugging and plugging the router back in and it magically started working again.  So, in all honesty there's no telling how long we were really out of commission.  If we he would have tried that Tuesday night, it might have worked and we wouldn't have lost touch with whats going on in the world.  You know, things like brooms standing in the center of rooms by themselves?

I didn't realize how much I would miss the Internet, until it was gone.  Even my phone was playing stupid and not letting me do a little Facebook stalking scroll thru.  I couldn't Pin.  I couldn't blog.  I couldn't read my favorite blogs.  It pretty much sucked - so here's a recap of what I would have liked to have said earlier in the week.

Tuesday was another day and another dollar.  I made the mistake of drinking about 48 ounces of water right before I left work.  The wind was blowing like Wizard of Oz - tornado crazy and there was an accident on the two lane road I use to get home.  The only detour was a tiny gravel road, which on a normal day would probably see 3 cars - of course today it had probably 300 cars on it.  45 minutes into my detour, and still a good 45 minutes from my final destination - I was cursing that deliciously refreshing tap water that I had downed.  I had to go to the bathroom really bad.  It didn't help that every song on the radio had to do with water or bodies of water.  This play list did not help my situation:

Waterfalls - TLC
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
Some Beach - Blake Shelton

After the last song, I gave up and turned the CD player on.  Of course, what CD is in there?  Some kid CD and it was tuned to....Rain, Rain, Go Away - followed by The Itsy Bitsy Spider.  UGH.

In case you're wondering, I did end up making it to the bathroom - with no accidents - but barely. 

I've been dealing with a flat tire that keeps going flat for a couple of weeks now.  I drove Garry's "truck" to work Wednesday morning.  There are a couple of things to note about Garry's "truck":  The Check Engine light has been on for 3 years now, the door handle on the drivers side is completely broken off,  and occasionally (pretty much every time I drive it), the driver door will go all Christine on me and lock by itself and won't unlock.  This happened Wednesday morning.  I probably should have turned around and gone home at that point, but I made my escape from the killer truck my climbing over to the passenger side and going through the other door.

I came home with pizza from Little Caesars.  To thank me for my thoughtfulness, my hubby took my car to get not 1 - but 4 new tires on it.  The kids and I had a dancey dance party while he was gone.  It was supposed to be a cleaning house party too - but it ended up being a 100% booty shaken' dancey dance party. 

It was another rough one at work.  You won't hear me say this often, but I do let the words slip out of my mouth:  This kind of work is above my pay grade.  I researched one issue for probably 4 hours - and I still couldn't find my answer.  Honestly, I had more contact with The Library of Congress, DFAS, the DOD, and the Federal Times than I care to talk about.  One word to describe my work day:  Annoying.

I lifted my spirits with a little retail therapy on my lunch break and after I left for the day.  I scoped out Hobby Lobby and picked up some things to craft the perfect centerpiece for sister-in-laws baby shower, headed to Payless Shoes to utilize my 50% off coupon:  two new pairs of shoes for me and two new pairs for each of the kids, and checked out the new grocery store that had opened.  I was definitely feeling better by the time I got home, however my baby girl was not.   Poor thing was a coughing and a tad whiny.  I'm not a psychic, but I could see a Doctor visit in our future. 

After the kiddos went to bed, I got my Crafty Cathe hat, plugged my glue gun in and got to craftin'.  Cute centerpieces, the bottles are brand new so can definitely be re-used and the flowers can be turned into hair clips once the party is over!  My hot glue gun can cure the blues on any given day.

Baby T's Centerpieces!

I had to call in sick to work on Friday - my princess was up most of the night with a fever and a cough, which almost always leads to ear infections, so we wanted to nip this in the bud quickly.  Sure enough, her ear was a little red, but it was nothing to serious.  We're on our second day of antibiotics so here's to my little girl getting better quickly!   I woke up with a sore foot Friday too - so bad I could hardly walk on it.  I either got used to the pain or it went away, because it seemed to be better by the evening.  I had two BIG glasses of frozen daiquiris so that could have something to do with it also.

I woke up with the same pain in my foot today that I had yesterday.  I don't run/exercise so I don't know what's causing it, but self diagnosis via WebMD is a bitch.  What the hell is Peripheral neuropathy and Metatarsalgia?  Seriously??!!

What the heck is going on?

I spent the evening watching Toy Story (for the third time today) with my babies.  Emma asked to go to bed about 6:45 so I tucked her in tight.  Brayden asked to stay up really, really late so I let him - because I'm a cool mom like that.  He declared he was "king of this castle" when I let him stay up until 8:30 watching Scooby Doo.  "Who's cool? I am". 

This was right before he pulled two marshmallows out of his pants and said "Surprise!"  I'm a lucky momma!
I hope every one's week was fantastic.  Here's hoping my Internet connection stays clear through Tuesday, where I will be introducing "Tasty Tuesday".  Tasty Tuesday is where I  share my favorite recipes from (occasionally) my own head but mostly from my mom and around the web.  I'm starting with one of my favorite crock pot recipes: Crock pot Lasagna!

I'm also re-welcoming The Rustic Pearl Boutique!  Because of my computer issues, I didn't get to share the page as often as I would have liked - so make sure you check em out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Christmas in March

Christmas in March - sounds kinda crazy, right?! 

Well, as much as I LOVE Christmas - I do not celebrate it all year long.  This year, my Christmas tree/inside decorations started coming down on December 26th.  I had caught a slight bug of some sort on Christmas night, so the spirit of the season had left my body in more ways than one.   During the week in between Christmas and New Years, I continued to take down trees, pack ornaments away, and place all the decorations in their assigned spots. I was on a roll!

Flash Forward to March 1, 2012:  As I got in my car in the wee hours of the morning, I paid more attention to the front of my house than I have in mmm...probably the last couple of months.  What I noticed, was actually what I had failed to notice over those past couple of months.

We still have our outside Christmas decorations up/out in the open for all the world to see.  I could have sworn that we put those damn things away.  It was dark outside when I realized it so I couldn't take pictures to prove they were still up - but wouldn't you know - when I got home from work, those dang decorations hadn't gone ANYWHERE! belated/early Christmas present to you is, Christmas in March.

This is a "Christmasmoose" and at the moment, I couldn't tell you how long he had been laying, face down in our front yard.  He's a cute little guy when he's standing - all wrapped up in garland and lights with a big round red nose.  How lazy of a homeowner can you be to not just pick him up and tuck him away in the garage?  Helllooooooo oblivous homeowner!

These are the outside decorations that I did take down (along with some of our Little Tykes Slide and Water table that were supposed to be put away at the end of last summer).   Notice how the slide doubles as a candy cane holder?  I would also go out on a limb and say that we've probably lost most of the stakes that go with those Christmas trees.   Oh, and let's not forget about the inflatable 6 foot tall Frosty the Snowman, draped over the slide.  Is it to early to say that I'm just getting ready for next Christmas?  Eh, probably not. Hellooooooo tacky and oblivious homeowner!

Ignore half the dog butt in the picture and pay attention to the railing.  Still wrapped in green garland with white snowflake lights going across.  Pretty huh?  I debated leaving the garland up since it's green and St. Patricks Day is coming up, but I wasn't sure if everyone would see that as creative genius or.....lazy, white trash homeowner!  I went ahead and took it all down.  I even moved the play equipment to the back yard - it's harder to see back there, thus making our front yard look less tacky. Hellooooooo tacky, lazy, AND oblivious homeowner!

Moral of the story?  I end each holiday season with the best of intentions.  As I'm typing, I notice that I still have red lights, heart garland, and red tissue paper flowers hanging up in my house.  I've definitely got my project for tomorrow!

Do you have holiday lights, Christmas Trees, or decorations still hanging around at your house?! Leave a comment below!

And.....Wait for it, wait for it, wait for's a new Sponsor!   Please join me in welcoming The Rustic Pearl Boutique!

"Mindy Porter and Brittney Moreland are the creative minds at The Rustic Pearl Boutique. We create one of a kind jewelry. Mindy recently began designing and creating one of a kind custom wood blocks. All of our inventory is created by hand so please keep that in mind when placing and receiving your order. We work from our homes; that is how we are able to keep prices reasonable and affordable. Our prices range from $15-$35 dollars. The necklace price depends on the beads/stones that are used and approximately $3.00 for S/H. The custom wooden blocks are $5 per block plus $10.95 Priority medium flate rate box. I can do just about any theme or color for the blocks.
Our customers can contact us by email @ or visit our Facebook page."

They've got some super cute things!  Make sure you check them out and give them a holler and tell em that Tiaras and Tantrums sent you!  I hope everyone has an AMAZING week!   Oh - and if you have a second - please go and visit my Facebook Fan Page - Tiaras and Tantrums and give me a like! I would love to see you there!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I am on my first day of a three day weekend.  It's a spring cleaning/party planning/get caught up on everything kind of weekend.  I have a second birthday party to plan for this month, a baby shower to plan in April, and a fourth birthday party to plan in May.  Plus, I want all my spring cleaning done by the time spring/summer actually roll around.  I want to spend as much time as possible outside with my kiddos soaking up every beautiful day we come across.   I'm taking a mini break from tonight's chore, laundry to bring you my most hated of all chores:  Folding Socks.

I give you Mount Sock-Suckous!

There are a million and one things I would rather do then fold those socks.  I wear my husbands socks quite often because he has more than all of us combined.  I've sent Brayden to pre-school with the socks with that weren't quite a match.  I've put snow boots on Emma because I couldn't find any socks period for her.  More often than not, when someone needs sock - they are required to go and find the sock pile and pull out a match.  When you have six trillion socks in the sock pile though it can get kind of difficult.    I need socks, the hubby needs socks, my kids need socks, and I also need my green basket back to store some downstairs toys in.  I'm going to do the grown up/good mom/good wife thing, and fold them.  Normally, I would go buy a new basket and put new socks for everyone on my Wal-Mart list.  Tonight, my kiddos are asleep - I've got wine on my side and I'm gonna become a sock foldin' fool. 

And on a side note, specifically for my husband (who secretly reads my blog), a gift certificate to Merry Maids would be great appreciated for Mothers Day.

I'm off to fold socks - but I want to know - what is your most hated household chore?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oh The Places You'll Go

"My name is Cat. I don't like hats.  I once saw a bat.  It wasn't fat.  Imagine that? A not fat bat.  It was thin.  I named him slim."

O.K. My attempt to Dr. Seuss it up was pretty lame - I'm obviously no Dr. Seuss. 
Green Eggs, Ham, and Cinnamon Rolls.  And a three year old hand trying to nab my dessert.
We celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday with a dinner that consisted of green (scrambled) eggs, ham, and cinnamon rolls.   While the eggs looked oldy moldy - they were pretty yummy (and incredibly easy) to make:

Mix your scrambled eggs up like you normally do.  (I use eggs, milk, salt, and pepper).  Brayden put the food coloring in - we used the gel kind and we mixed it all together.  I wanted really green eggs so we used a lot of the food coloring.  Cook em as you normally would and bon appetite!  Your green eggs are served! 

Now, it took some coaxing to get my husband to attempt to eat the "green" eggs but he eventually did and didn't complain about the color.  My three year old gobbled them up and asked for seconds.   My one year old just flat out refused the eggs but did enjoy the ham.  I was with B on the yummy factor.

After dinner, "The Foot Book", "Green Eggs and Ham", and "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" were our books of choice for the after dinner reading show.  My kids see these books as funny and whimsical with a new rhyme at every turn.  I, as a parent see these books as a learning tool - teaching them important lessons, even though they might not know it at the time.  The whole point of "Green Eggs and Ham" is - "try it, you might like it" - something I say a million times a day. 

My favorite Dr. Seuss book by far, is "Oh, the Places You'll Go!".  I received my copy of this book as a gift on my high school graduation day - way back in 2002.  The book starts out simple enough:

"You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself any direction you choose." 

Most parents can relate to.  We all want our kids to be able to make good decisions and steer themselves in the right directions. Even though it's not always easy:

"You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?"

We are all in charge of our actions.  Life is full of ups and downs and then back ups and back downs.  There will be amazingly bright and brilliant moments followed by some of the darkest times in a person's life.   Your entire life is indeed a balancing act:

"You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go. 
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
A Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left."

"And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)"

Stay balanced, stay focused, if you get knocked down - get back up, if you travel the wrong road - get back on the right road - you will succeed, 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.

Reading has been important to me since I was little.  I remember going to the library every week and getting to pick out ten books. (10 was the max.)  As I grew, my love for reading did also.  I still carry my love for reading with me as an adult.  There is nothing more relaxing (other than two simultaneous glasses of wine) than getting lost in a great book. 

My kids are well on their way to having their own library.  We bought books for them before they were born.  I passed down books that were kept from when I was little.  "Good Night Moon" and "Big Red Barn" were instant favorites.  Emma goes to bed every night with her "Barney: Alphabet Soup" and "Barney: Opposites" books.  There are many nights I can hear her in her room trying so hard to repeat the words that were read to her just an hour before.  Many nights, Brayden will sit quietly in his room, flipping through pages of dozens of books.  He loves everything from his sisters "baby" books to books about the Presidents and the First Ladies - or the "President's Girls" as he calls them.    I take pride in the fact that they each have their own library cards and have seemed to already develop an early love of reading and story telling.  They have an entire world of imagination at their fingertips - those books and stories can take them anywhere.

Unfortunately, not all kids are so lucky to have books at their fingertips.  I would strongly encourage everyone reading this to seek out local organizations that encourage literacy and donate - donate new books, donate your time reading to elementary kids, or donate money to purchase books.  It really can take something as small as donating a book to make an enormous difference in a life.