Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Goodbye 5, hello 6!!!

My Cameron turned 6 years old today!!  Happy birthday, Cameron!  Everyday spent with my guy is special to me; he is such an amazing person & I'm beyond proud to be his mommy!  So loving, caring, compassionate, giving & selfless!

I told him yesterday that he'll never be a five year old ever again so we had to capture some last minute pictures of a five year-old version of Cam.  Of course, Reese had to get in on the action!

After Cam went to bed, we hit the ground running & decorated our butts off so he'd have an exciting way to wake up on his big day!

Reese & I got a head start before Cameron got home from school yesterday.

I had to hide the balloons in the guest bedroom shower so Reese didn't spill the beans to Cameron!

So, what is the six year-old version of Cam like?  He adores video games of any kind but is into Sonic & Pac-Man these days, loves Spongebob more than any other cartoon, hates sleep & would stay up till midnight & wake up at 5am if we let him, fights homework many evenings but has learned SO MUCH thus far in kindergarten.  Cameron is super affectionate & loves to cuddle with me or Mike whenever possible.  He's tough as nails when it comes to physical pain, not so much emotional pain.  He's a lover & expresses his love of his family very often which is the sweetest.  He's such a unique kid & I'd never change a thing about him!

Cameron noticed this Spongebob balloon at the grocery store over the weekend & loved it so much.  We didn't buy it then & he kept telling me, "I just can't get that balloon out of my head!"

Lets just say that the balloons were a mega hit this morning!!

I'm so lucky that Cam's birthday fell on a Wednesday so I was able to head up to the school with Reese for a little outdoor lunch date & share cupcakes with his adorable classmates!  Tonight we'll be enjoying Pioneer Woman's cinnamon toast & "Dr Seuss eggs" which is just pureed spinach with eggs that are scrambled.  Huge hit for Cam & little does he know it's packed with spinach.  He'll be getting off the bus in a half hour so we'll begin the cake decorating & let the celebrations continue!  Happy birthday to my love!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Recent happenings

We continue to get into the groove with the new school year which I'm thankful for.  We headed up to Cameron's open house at school last week & now we have a monthly homework schedule which is super helpful.  When I know we're going to have some busy evenings, we can work ahead to cover them.

As soon as we get home from the bus stop, Cameron heads to the play room where I have his snack ready & we hit the homework to get it out of the way.  Twenty minutes is pretty typical plus we read for another 15-20 minutes at bedtime so in total, he has about 40 minutes of homework each night.  That seems like a lot for kindergarten!  I mentioned in this post that I picked up a basket at the dollar store to use as a homework caddy.  It's come in very handy & I love having everything we need in one basket.  We keep a notebook, pen, pencil, colored pencils, markers, erasers, his homework binder & a folder for any papers we need to reference from school.


Any papers worth saving, go into this file folder bin sectioned by grade that I store on our laundry room shelf.


I'm going to make a yearly tradition of filling out an "all about me" sheet paired with picture to go at the front of each file folder.

Using another basket, I also put together a lunch caddy with anything I would need for sandwiches; turkey, cheese, mayo, cream cheese, mustard as well as some other sides I might throw in like cheese sticks or Greek yogurt tubes.  Anything to save me time in our frantic weekdays is fine by me!


I pack Cam's lunch most days to save money, but he does have an account that is automatically replenished when he hits a certain amount.  He thinks the food is free since all he needs to do is swipe his ID card, but I keep explaining otherwise.  Yesterday I noticed he barely ate & then I caught him red handed with a push pop ice cream he forgot to throw away!!  He smiled & said, I buy one everyday!  I hopped on the website & sure enough, there was a daily purchase for his $.75 ice cream!  I'm going to crack down & only allow him to buy them on Fridays.

I used to lay their clothes out for the week inside our coffee table, but now that they're getting bigger, hence, their clothes getting bigger, I just use the coffee table for undies, socks & PJs.

We have a nice, big storage closet off our family room so Mike installed a shelf & I picked up this hanging organizer from Target.  Every Sunday, I lay out clothes for the week.  Again, one less thing for me to worry about on hectic evenings.


Despite me putting clothes out for Mike to dress the kids, this is what Reese looked like when I picked her up from daycare Tuesday!!!  I could not believe my eyes when I saw her belly hanging out of this skin-tight tank.  Yes, I did lay it out, but I had no idea this 4T hand-me-down didn't fit!  Men.

As I was heading to take the picture of the closet, I heard wimpering coming through the closed door & here I find Reese trying to hold up her old, falling highchair.  We're stashing boxes of out-grown baby gear & toys to hand down to our friend.  I swept through all the toy bins to weed out old toys to make room for the new that are bound to come with their birthdays & Christmas just around the corner.

Speaking of birthdays, Cam's is less than two weeks away!!  I can't believe he's almost 6!

Next to our pantry, we installed an adorable, turquoise bottle opener I picked up from Etsy.  Since we host football games most Sundays, it gets put to good use with all the beer going down!

St Petersburg Beach

 In my last post, I mentioned that we were scheduled to go on a five day cruise without the kids.  Well, after a sit down, I found out that Mike was also very hesitant to be unavailable on our days at sea after the kids have been sick.  Despite the fact that Carnival won't refund us or give us a voucher for another trip, we've decided we're not going.  But, since my boss covered my shift Monday, I'm not able to work so we're going to head to St. Pete Beach for two nights instead.  This way we're only an hour away & can call & check in whenever we want.  Mike went onto Priceline & got or room for only $45 per night at the Post Card Inn which looks adorable!

The evenings are beginning to be a little less humid & hot, so I'm really looking forward to a couple of days at the beach to relax!

But before the relaxation can begin, I'm putting Mike to work on pressure washing our disgusting patio!  With the horrific summer humidity, the patio gets all green & nasty every year.  Love me a productive Saturday!!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Sick of sickness

Since Cam's three night hospitalization, we've all been dealt with the stomach bug on two separate weekends, so we've been dealing with sickness for nearly a month now!  Last weekend we were driving home from our friend's house when Reese complained that her teeth hurt.  Turns out, she didn't know how to describe nausea & seconds later it was a scene from the Exorcist in my back seat.  Good times, good times.  Days later Cam woke us up at midnight saying he "puked."  I was up from midnight till 4am cleaning & taking care of the sickling & then worked the following day.  On top of it, the poor bugger has missed two more days of school because of the stomach bug = 6 days out of a few weeks of school = not good.  Thankfully this is just kindergarten! 

Amidst the sickness, Mike has been like a five year-old on Christmas morning, getting all jacked up for the start of the NFL season!

We kicked off the Bears game (which sadly ended up being a loser) with Jeff Mauro's Chicago Italian beef.  

 I've made this many, many times & it is always a complete hit.  It's positively delish, there's nothing more to say about it.  Click here for the recipe & I can guarantee that unless you're a vegetarian or vegan, you will not be sorry!

After 14+ weeks, I finally got my trailer park looking highlights done, so that's another plus!  Gone are the highlights since I don't have the time or money to maintain them as I should, so I decided on peek-a-boo highlights.  You can't really see the blond streaks in the picture of me above, but they're there.

This picture above was my inspiration since I love contrast but not the grow-out that comes with it.

Ever since Cam's hospitalization, he adores playing board games.  We recently bought Trouble to add to our collection.

Thankfully Cam's bus is finally on a good schedule with drop-off!  We were told the first couple of weeks had a lot of delays & they weren't lying!  Reese & I would have a good half hour to kill each day so we'd just walk up & down the street in the 95 degree heat, waiting for the bus to show.

Speaking of Reese, she's finally out of her crib & into her big girl bed!  Cam was converted a lot earlier as a baby since he was jumping overboard, but she never tried climbing out (except for the time we were in the hospital & my mom was watching her).  But now that she's potty trained, she needs to be able to use the bathroom at night. 

Last but not least, we're scheduled to leave on a four-night cruise next Monday!  Last year we sat in on sale's pitch spiel & ended up getting a deeply discounted cruise for only $450 for the two of us, food included.  Well, the trip has completely snuck up on us & with the kids being sick recently, I have to say that the idea of getting on a ship headed towards Cozumel & Grand Cayman terrifies instead of excites me.  We're rarely without our kids & don't often have date nights, so I know it will be good to get away, but I know I'll miss the kids so very much & worry about them.  My mom is coming up to stay at our house so I know they'll be in good hands, I just hope I don't have a panic attack before the boat departs.. I could cry just thinking about leaving them.  I never thought I'd be like this as a mom, but here I am having major separation anxiety from my chillins!  

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Party like it's 1955!

I've always been fascinated with the 1950s & the simplicity of that era & I sometimes daydream about what it would look like to raise a family during that time.  Of course, my first image is June Cleaver with her perfectly coiffed hair, dress with heels & all, with dinner always waiting on the table when hubby came home from a hard day at work.

Ward Cleaver never came home to a flustered wife, wearing over-sized sweat pants, un-showered hair, thrown into a disheveled pony.

She was never complaining about how rotten the kids had been, constantly fighting since they were always well behaved, no video games to divert their attention or TV sucking out their brains.  With my 1950s daydreaming, I wanted to find some vintage recipes & see what people back then actually served working hubby for dinner & had to laugh at some of the recipes!!

I am totally making this lime seafood salad for Mike's next birthday dinner.  I mean, who could resist a lime jello ring incorporated with cottage cheese, mayo & onion, filled with seafood salad?  What a showstopper!


I thought bananas wrapped in ham, topped with hollandaise sauce would be the perfect accompaniment, don't you?

And in keeping with the banana theme, the table would have to have a banana candle centerpiece to add just the right touch.

Since our friends also like to celebrate Mike's birthday, I'd host a get together that weekend & serve "Perfection Salad" which is always a hit with the gang.  Click here for the recipe, you won't want to pass by this gem.


I'm getting ahead of myself here, because I like to first ease guests into dinner with a cocktail & some appetizers.  No party is complete without the liver sausage pineapple.  Again, you cannot beat the presentation.  You'll thank me when hosting your next party.  Click here for the recipe.  They can wash down this delight while spooning sipping my jellied tomato refresher

Okay, now we've moved onto the main entree, my famous frosted ribbon loaf with the creamy cream cheese frosting encasing ham & egg filling.. mmmm.  Click here for the recipe.  You're welcome.

Although, I'd also consider this other staple of mine, the super supper salad loaf.  Who can resist a hollowed out hunk of bologna filled with a gelatinous mixture of mashed peas, onion & mayo?  Not my friends!  Anyway, hope you're all having a fabulous Labor Day weekend!  Keep in mind, you still have time to scurry to the market, whip up one of these beauties & host an impromptu get together that is sure to please!  Enjoy!

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