Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sharpie Manicures

Tessa and I have found a new favorite way to do nail art. With sharpies!

Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:
(Okay mine is 5 days old when this picture was taken...not exactly perfect)

I just applied a coat of color (pink for Tessa and grey for me) and adorned us with purple Sharpie polka dots. Let it dry and apply a heavy clear top coat. Ta-da! I might need to invest in a bunch of different colors so we can have more fun with this.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Cookie Project- Chocolate Chip Surprise

Yes, I still bake cookies from time to time, just not as often as when I made it a whole household project and everything. Basically I was teaching myself to bake back then, while simultaneously sugaring up my kids. One batch of cookies per week or so. It worked really, because whipping up 3 dozen cookies for the school carnival is like no big deal to me now.

Immersion baking education, bad for the waistline.

I was going to do our awesome dark chocolate cookie, which are always a hit, but found out too late that I didn't have any cocoa powder. Crucial. Ooops.

I had the stuff for chocolate chip but wanted them to not be boring, so we added some of these chocolate candy things that come in a milk straw.

We had a few of these left from Christmas and the kids haven't used them much for their milk (note- they get clogged easily and make it difficult to enjoy). So we cut these puppies open and added them. Basically they are small chocolate sprinkles.

They added a nice little crunch to the finished project. I hope the people eating them realize that that's intentional and not a stray egg shell.

The other good thing about all that baking I did long ago is that the kids are pretty good at it and used to helping in the kitchen sometimes.

I give them a scoop and they roll it into nice shaped balls. 

See that peppery affect? That's those crunchy chocolate sprinkles. I need to think of what other fun unexpected things I can add to a chocolate chip cookie, cause they certainly are easy.

I mean, assuming we have the ingredients on hand, it's only like a 15-20 minute time investment. I guess I always thought baking was a lot harder than that. Sometimes it is.

Packaged up and ready for the winter carnival, 3 dozen cookies. No sweat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Working Under the Same Roof

It dawned on me randomly today that our lifestyle setup is probably different than most. In fact, I can think of only one other specific family that we know who lives in a similar manner.

What I mean is that we are generally always operating under the same roof, day in day out, all day. Since 2005, when we moved from California back to Indiana, Jeremy has been what is considered a 'tele-worker', or 'remote employee' or whatever other weird title you want to give it.

Meaning simply that when he is not traveling, he works out of an office in our home. For a while his company was the same one based in CA, and a couple of years ago the spun off and started a smaller company whose offices are in Pittsburgh and CA. Since Jeremy deals directly with clients all over the country, the idea was always that his centrally location, proximity to an airport and willingness to travel meant he could work from anywhere.

So that's exactly the way we set it up so many years ago. Our sun room has always been his office, with 9 beautiful windows that look out into the neighborhood, and french doors with blinds that can block out the rest of the house.

Jeremy used to travel about 50% of every month, but recently it has been somewhat less than that. He usually does short trips that last only a couple of days and we hardly notice he's gone (as opposed to times past when he was gone week after week).

A common question I get is how I am able to manage a traveling husband, and keep things balanced.

I find that to be a strange question to answer simply because I've never known it any other way. Jeremy has been traveling since we first married 10 years ago and hasn't stopped. This is what we know.

But when the kids were really little and I was sleep deprived, I'm not going to was sometimes hard. 

The thing that people sometimes don't think of though,  is that when Jeremy is home working, we see each other a lot. Like all day. So it's really and an All-In or All-Out lifestyle. Meaning, when he is home he helps me in the morning, we typically have lunch and I see him around the house all day grabbing coffee or showering or whatever. Our ability to be in-sync with what the other is doing is pretty open.

He has always been very disciplined about working from home simply because he has to be. The kids have been trained to know that if the doors are shut and the blinds are drawn, we generally leave Jeremy alone. Sometimes that can go on all day, which is totally fine. And many times he is more available than that and the kids run in to say hi when they get home from school, or he can lend an extra hand when someone is sick or laid up.

And mostly, it seems to work for us. I realize though, that it's different than what most stay-at-home-moms are used to.

The Good
Availability- If and only if Jeremy has the availability during the day, I can talk to him, ask questions, have meals or ask for extra help if someone is sick or something. 

More parental time- Since his commute to the living room is a short one, we usually get more morning and evening time together than most families, not to mention occasionally during the day. I think later on the kids will remember that Mom AND Dad were both always around, and that's a good thing.

Less Mileage- We have a car that's literally collecting dust in the garage, mostly used for taking Jer to the airport and times when we need to go separate places. 

In-sync- He knows the routines of our days and vice versa. 

Appreciation- I know specifically how hard he works and vice versa, and we can appreciate each other more for that. 

The Bad
No Sweeping Under the Rug- Meaning, I've often wondered if a lot of stay at home moms are able to mask the craziness of their day, or clean up the house quickly before husband comes home or slap on some makeup. I can't do that. It's all out there where he can see it. The good days and bad. If the kids are screaming, he'll hear it. 

Over-familiarity- Like....oh, are you still here? I hadn't noticed you there because I see you all day every day. 

Taking advantage- This is something I have to be careful of when I'm sick or something. I sometimes assume he might be able to put on a movie for Charley while I lay in bed, and that's not always realistic. Although it had come in VERY handy a time or two. 

No true alone time- 
Even when the kids are at school, he's still around I'm rarely truly alone. But when I am, it kinda feels weird. 

The Ugly
What I am on days where I'm wearing raggedy sweatshirts and no makeup. And he sees in all. And I guess he loves me anyway.

President's Day Play

Monday Tessa had the day off school for President's Day, and Jeremy had the day off work as well. We took Charley to his regular 9am gymnastics class and then headed off to the Children's Museum.

I wish someone would have told us that it was free admission day and that half the state would be there, but oh well. We scored some awesome parking in a side lot they had just opened up when the garage overflowed. And we pretty much stayed away from the hands-on exhibits for fear of the kids getting trampled. But all in all it wasn't bad.

I miss the days when the kids and I would go on any given weekday morning, never have to worry with crowds and could stay all day. Ah, those were the days. Dang ol' kindergarten.

Glad we packed these because the cafeteria was insane.

Yes Jeremy is shooting the carousel deer. Cause he's classy like that. 


Tessa, pickle juice fan for years.

We spent a little over three hours, bought some plastic lizards in the gift shop and got the heck out of there before the post-lunch crowds crushed us. Instead we spent the rest of the day leasing a new car. More on that to come!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Yesterday when Tessa got her ears pierced she cried for a very short amount of time when it was all done. Less than two minutes. When she found out that we got 20% off anything in the store because of her piercing, her tears dried right up. Mine did too in fact, and I got a new purse.

Tessa chose a couple of big hair bows to put in a ponytail.

It's funny, between the ages of 2-5, Tessa would NOT let me put all her hair back in a ponytail. There would be tears and teeth nashing at the mention of it. Remember when her hair was a super short bob with bangs? That's mostly because she wouldn't let me style it and I didn't want her looking like a ragga-muffin.

Ragga-muffin is a perfectly acceptable midwestern term in case there are those of you who aren't familiar with it. 

So ponytails are new to us but now she asks for them a lot. Probably because the other girls in her class wear them, but she says the main reason is because she can't stand static electricity. Smart girl.

The second reason now is to show off her newly pierced ears.

She was determined to find an outfit to match her new hair bow this morning for church and picked this ensemble all on her own. I told her it looks like she's ready for Easter. As much as I love winter, that's not a totally horrible thought. I've forgotten all about green grass and warm temperatures...but for now, her outfit, ears and cheeriness brighten my day.

Faces of Charley

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Simple Store-Bought Valentines Day

Last year we got crafty and made some awesome homemade Valentine cards. Heck, we even mailed them to far away relatives. Those were cute and actually pretty easy, but this year we ended up keeping it simple. Sometimes simple is good.

Heck I didn't even get the cards and candy. I got the candy that you can write directly on. Oh yeah. 

Tessa did her whole class herself and it took well over an hour. But she did it!

This morning, the fam woke up to some lovely store bough treats at the breakfast table. It's interesting how quickly and quietly they consumed their food and without complaint. Maybe breakfast should always have dessert? 

Tessa wore some pretty pink stuff and asked put her hair in curlers last night so it was extra fancy.

I'm not going to lie. Every time I see her pink cowgirl boots, I have a small pang of boot envy. Sigh. My stupid foot. Maybe someday I'll pay to be fitted for some boots that actually fit. But for now I'm just jealous.

Tessa's school kept it pretty low key, but I visited Charley's preschool to help out with their big valentine's party. In the course of an hour, they passed out cards, made paper valentines, decorated cookies and consumed copious amounts of sugar.

I love preschool classes. They're always entertaining and crazy and fun. And sometimes kids eat their glue sticks, whatever.

Oh man, somebody took my pictures too. Dang!

See the ever so slight fade in his eye? Mid day nap and sugar crash are immanent. A little over an hour later he would find himself in his room in time out yelling "I want more CANDY!" until he gave up and settled for some sliced cheese.

Cereal boxes make awesome Valentine's backpacks

And that's pretty much it. I was surprised to find roses when I got home. Not surprised that Jeremy is that nice, but just that he remembered Vday at all. It's not usually very bright on our radar screen. I'm feeling kind of yucky tonight so ramen soup and early bedtime are going to make for a less than romantic ending to the day.