Survive

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  This week has been just short of insane.  Remember the letter I wrote to myself during the newborn stage to help me get through that crazy time period?  Well here’s a new letter to myself to help get me through the next year.
Dear Erin,
          SURVIVE.
Love, Erin
You see, I had plans this week.  Places to go, projects to complete, activities to attend, e-mails to respond to, a birthday party to plan, a trip to pack for, a house to clean, and let’s not forget fun pictures to post on the blog.

But alas!  Here’s what my week looked like instead:

First mom can watch me pull out all of my toys and her wrapping paper…

then I’ll move on to dad’s socks.
Scrapbook supplies are where it’s at.
Mom won’t care if I munch on these stickers.  They are so last year…

Pasta is my favorite.  The messier the better.  Mom especially loves it when I show her I’m done by  chucking my food at record speeds.  Love to watch that food fly!
Ha!  She THINKS I’m contained.  Not for long…
Ahhhh!  The one year old.  This stage is KILLER.  And Kole just might kill me.  
One munched on scrapbook sticker at a time.  
Have a fabulous long weekend everyone!  You all know what I’ll be up to.  :)

Bring on the rain

Last week we had a few rainy days in our forecast…

I got the girls off to school (after we picked roses for their teachers), got Kole down for a nap, and decided my kitchen cupboards could use a little face lift.  Rain always makes me want to turn on some music, organize my kitchen, and just enjoy the coziness of home.

First I tackled the bottom kitchen cupboards.  These are all of the plastic bowls – the “safe zone” for my little one year old who loves to pull everything out.

Next I tackled my cupboard with all of the glass bowls.  Here’s a “before” of this cupboard.  Not awful, but definitely not as orderly as I like it to be.

 And the “after”.  Ahhh – much better! 
 The glass cupboard above is one of the “off limits” cupboards to Kole.  
Sorry buddy!  Not a safe place to play.

Then I slowly made my way up to the top cupboards.  I didn’t take a before of our plates and bowls, but it didn’t look too much different.  This one is easy to maintain.

My cleaning supply cupboard was starting to drive me crazy and was what initiated the organizing of my kitchen cupboards once again.


And the “after.”  SOOO much better!  Now I can easily get to my cleaning supplies and see what we are running low on.  I also keep sunscreen in this cupboard because it is right by the back door – easy access when we are on our way out.  My rarely used cook books are stored up high along with a rooster pitcher that was my Aunt Pat’s before she passed away a few years ago.  I like that now I can see it and think of her every time I open this cupboard.

 I straightened out the drawer next to our sink – the baby/toothbrush station…

and then tackled the pots and pans.  This cupboard is right below our homework drawer and was starting to become a catch all for bigger coloring books and art projects that were too big for the homework drawer AND the arts and crafts drawer.  Probably a sign that we have way too much of this kind of stuff!  This is the “before.”

The “during”…

and the “after”.  
Much better.  A great way to spend my morning in the rain!  :)  

Marriage

I’ll never forget the first fight Kenny and I had.  It was soon after returning from our honeymoon.  We were in the grocery store on our first official married shopping trip.  It all started in the cereal isle.  We were buying Cranapple juice.  Kenny wanted to get a generic brand.  I insisted on Ocean Spray.  Yes, Ocean Spray was $4.00 – over double the price of the generic Cranapple juice, but hello!  Ocean spray tastes better!  My mom always bought Ocean Spray and well… I wanted Ocean Spray.  Kenny wasn’t having it.  Next up was hair spray – once again Kenny wanted to buy some cheap generic junk.  What!?  Hairspray from the grocery store?  Uh. no.  I would be getting my Paul Mitchell from the salon thank you very much.  It went on like this for the next hour – Kenny trying desperately to buy the cheapest possible option, going on and on about our sad little budget while I fought tooth and nail, desperately trying to hang on to the life I was used to under mom and dad’s roof.  We finally came to blows in the broom isle.  There was just NO WAY I was sweeping my floor with that cheap piece of crap broom…

{February, 28th 1997 – the night Kenny and I were engaged — looking WAY too young to get married!}
The famous “Cranapple fight” is one we remember and laugh about often.  Thankfully we’ve both matured quite a bit since then (at least we like to think so!).  While we don’t fight over what to buy in the grocery store anymore, we do have VERY different personalities and have to work hard to keep our marriage a happy one.  

Last week I went to a wedding shower for a friend.  Before presents were opened, each guest was asked to share a bit of marriage advice for the soon to be bride.  I felt myself saying amen and amen to everything that was said.  Great advice for anyone about to get married and even better reminders for those of us who have been married for a while.

Here’s some of the advice that was shared:

- Don’t be in a rush to have kids.  Enjoy that special time together when it’s just the two of you.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Really.  Your spouse will do a thousand little things that irritate you. Let the little stuff roll off your shoulder.  You’ll both be a much happier couple if you do.
- “You can be right or you can stay married.”  When you can tell an argument is escalating, be the one to step back and say I’m sorry.
- Make date nights a priority.  ESPECIALLY after you have kids.  Prioritize and plan for time together with just the two of you.
- Don’t think that your spouse can read your mind!  Be specific about what you want/need in the relationship.
- Time apart is good!  It’s important to have things you enjoy doing together and it’s important to have your own hobbies and interests.
- Don’t look to your spouse to make you happy.  Prioritize yourself.  Make time for the things you love that bring you happiness each day.
- Don’t talk badly about your spouse to friends/family.
- Make sure your spouse knows how much you appreciate him/her.  (several ideas were shared about ways to do this – phone calls, notes, little surprises here and there…)
- Make sure that even with the craziness kids bring to your relationship your spouse knows that he/she is still a priority.
- Be a team.  Don’t worry about whose job it is to do what.  Always chip in and work together.
- Have fun together!  Remember to laugh and not take life too seriously.

I threw that last one in myself.  A little advice to me from me. 
And we both lived happily ever after.  Drinking Ocean Spray Cranapple juice all along the way.  
;)
p.s.  I’d love to hear any other sage advice if you have something you’d add to the list!

Mexican Chalupas

Hi everyone!  The weekend is upon us.  YEA.  So you are all in for a real treat today.  Another recipe by yours truly!  (By this point I’m hoping you can tell when I’m being sarcastic.)  I cooked one of my favorite easy recipes this week to take dinner to a friend and she loved the recipe!  Said her kids loved it too!  It made me so happy.  And so mad because my kids don’t love it.  What’s up with that.  Then I remembered that the last time I made this was in December and I was going to blog the recipe and forgot.  Or more likely I got sidetracked with my mass production of pretzel hugs.  So here’s a little Christmas decor in May!  Along with a simple, tasty recipe that is pretty hard to mess up.  
What you need:
1 pork tenderloin
1 large can chopped green chilies (I always buy two little ones because I can’t ever find a large can and I get impatient looking for ingredients in the grocery store)
1 large can salsa (that’s always easy to find)
2 cans rinsed pinto beans
1 jar green salsa (optional – I’ve never added this)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 fake poinsettia – not really but it does add a bit of flair, doesn’t it?
What you’ll do:
Cook 1 pork tenderloin in crock-pot on high for 3-4 hours (optional – lightly season with salt and pepper – I’ve never done this either because I think pork is plenty salty on its own)

 Remove tenderloin and shred into small pieces

Rinse out crock-pot and put shredded pork back in
Add all of the above ingredients
Stir and heat everything until warm (this takes a while – at least another hour)

 Serve in warm flour tortillas with cheese and sour cream

Delicious and easy.  Here’s hoping that you and your kids will love it too!  
Have a great weekend everyone!

I’m dreaming…of a white…

kitchen!  Ok.  I actually already HAVE a white kitchen.  And I still love my white kitchen.  I have been a fan of white kitchens for as long as I can remember and when we built our current house nine years ago a white kitchen was my top priority.  As styles come and go over the years that is the one thing that I still love and probably always will.  White kitchens.  Such a clean look!  And a great back drop for any and all colors.  
If we were staying in this house for a few more years I would replace our tile with wood floors, repaint, add a fun light fixture in the kitchen, change the light fixture over the dining room table, and re-decorate.  
I’m  a bit antsy lately so the re-decorating part may happen regardless.  :)
I have been saving pictures of white kitchens I love for a while now and thought I’d share some with you!  These are a few I’ve cut out of magazines…

I just love the island in this one.  And the painted hood over the oven.  And the windows over the sink.  I just love it all!

These are my favorite wood floors.  Big thick planks.  I’m not a fan of this back splash or island, but I love the cabinets.  And the dog.  He looks like he loves white kitchens too.  :)

Love the oven hood.  Love the legs below the sink.  
I absolutely adore this green island!  So fun.  
Several of you mentioned Pinterest in the comments after I shared my binder.  OH YES.  I have definitely joined Pinterest!  Have you all heard of it?  You MUST check it out if you haven’t already.  It has proven to be the most addicting thing ever.  Dare I say that it maybe even ties with blog stalking!?  So much fun.  I’m not creating an amazing variety of boards – just using it strictly for home decor/ideas.  You can find me pinning up a storm here.  Like I needed one more thing to occupy the free time I really don’t have!  
Here are some of the BEAUTIFUL white kitchens I’ve pinned on Pinterest and their original sources…  


How gorgeous is this kitchen!?  Love the bead board cabinets.

I can’t get enough of this one.  How heavenly is all that GREEN!!!  I especially love the green paint behind the white dishes in the cabinet.  LOVE it.  

Beautiful ceiling.  Beautiful kitchen.  Still debating whether or not I love the big white farm sinks that are so in right now… anyone out there have one?  Pros?  Cons?  

How dreamy is this kitchen!?  Such a clean, calm look and the light fixtures are TO DIE FOR.  

This kitchen is perfect.  Maybe I’d change the chandeliers (a little too fancy for me) and the chairs, but everything else…perfect.  

SWOON!  I couldn’t get over this one, but I think that has just as much to do with the organized pantry as it does the kitchen!  Be still my heart.  

Source: google.ca via Erin on Pinterest
Love those island legs and the windows.  Gorgeous!  

This kitchen is just FUN.  It makes me happy every time I look at it!  
So there you have it!  Kitchens I adore.  Kenny is so sick of hearing me talk about white kitchens.  When we check out a house the first place I head is to the kitchen to see if it has the “bones” to someday be transformed into my white dream kitchen.  It especially baffles him because he knows how much I despise cooking.  I tell him I don’t plan to COOK in it.  Silly.  I just want to organize it and decorate it and bask in its loveliness every day.  
And then call for take out.  
:)