Friday, April 27, 2012

Garage Sale Scavengers

At our house, we love a good garage sale.  Some of us to an extreme...(I am talking about you, lovie!)  Not actually holding a garage sale--we've yet to do that, but when we are done having out, world! 

So last Saturday, we decided to hit a few.  My boys play HARD in their clothes, and we are always looking to increase our stash of play clothes.  I knew in advance that we'd have to plan some fun for the big boys, especially Reece, since most of the sales were spread out.  I'd noticed a lot of scavenger hunts on pinterest lately: nature, the zoo, etc.  I figured I could make one up for garage sales that would be easy for my big man to follow.

I came up with a list of things that would be pretty common at garage sales, found some clip art images to go with them, and made him a list.  Since he's prone to fits of excitement where mere paper may not survive, I also laminated it with clear contact paper.  I'd have given him  a wipe-off marker, but I don't trust him that much.

The game started well.  We got him excited and made sure he understood that the list was full of fun things he could look for at the garage sale, and if he found them, he could pick a prize.  He was kind of moody that morning, so he needed some cajoling to get started, but he did find some items:

A pretty cute teddy bear...not the prize!
Either "Something Red" or "a star" he couldn't decide!

Thank goodness we found "someone selling snacks!"

After the snack break, he was having trouble concentrating, so C.C. suggested that we just have him look for one item on the list for the rest of the stops.  We decided Santas would be a good fit, since there was one he hadn't spotted nearby.  This really worked, and I think it shows how this activity could be tailored for any kid.  You could have a younger child, or one who struggles with ADD concentrate on one item.  You could have several kids compete to find one item, the whole list, or give each one a different item to search for. 

Santa #1

Another Santa.  Two different garage sales.  Odd how similar they are, huh?

The prize!  It only cost $3, and plays YMCA!  Why YMCA? No clue.  
 Of course, you have to have some shopping for yourself!  We were able to find some clothes for the next couple of years for Reece, and some shorts for the baby thing!  There was also a woman closing out her ebay store, and we got some Geotrax toys for $7 each.  Love buying toys ahead of schedule for birthday and Christmas gifts!  By far, my favorite purchase was this:

They were 1/2 off, too!  Only $2.50!
 You can download my garage sale hunt page here if you missed the link above.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Son, the Mountain Goat

I don't think I'll ever get boys.  Maybe it's more that I don't get daredevils.  Because I've come to the conclusion that is the word that defines Sully.  (Sometimes I don't get Reece, but that's a completely different post.)  Reece has never been too adventurous.  I'm pretty sure that if he still slept in a crib, he'd be in there every morning.  But Sully...he's another story.  The boy is a climber.  Anything he can step on, get himself a little higher off the floor, he'll climb it.

For example, the phone in the playroom.  We need a phone in the basement, and the only jack is in the playroom.  But, we have a ledge that runs under the window, at least four feet off the ground, which so far has been the perfect place to keep the phone out of little hands.  Perfect, that is, until Sully.  The little guy has begun crawling up onto the couch, stepping over a foot-wide gap, onto a file cabinet, standing up on that, and then stealing the phone.  So, no phone in the basement until we find a better solution...

Speaking of phones, that might be the source of the problem.  Anything electronic causes him to lose his mind!  If there is a phone, a remote, a camera, he will climb to get it.  So, I might luck out.  He could become one of my favorite types of guys...the electronics geek, aka computer nerd.  I promise I am not using that as a pejorative!  That is a title worn by some of my best friends, and I respect them and often call on their wise advice...Though I don't recommend going to dinner with three of them without someone else to talk to.  They can be hard to sidetrack onto a subject I understand!

However, it's not always the electronics that motivate him.  Sometimes it's just pure devilment.  He won't back down if he wants something.  Even if it means climbing walls...or at least a baby gate.  This time he was after the sippy cup drawer.  Thank goodness he can now talk, and ask for a drink, instead of unpacking my cupboards every time he wants water!

I can picture myself in the future, freaking out at the bottom of a climbing wall...or a mountain...or a high dive.  Actually, I can handle a high dive, provided there's water in the pool.  Oh...diving just made me think of sky diving.  I cannot watch my son get into a plane he will jump out of.  I am not too much of a worrywart, at least I don't think I am, but perhaps I was not prepared to be the mother of this child.  If he's already scaring me at 18 months old, what does the future hold?

If today's adventure is any clue, I am in BIG TROUBLE!

note the look on Reece's face!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I have been feeling as if we've been stuck in a food rut at our house.  We have a lot of go-to, kid friendly and easy to prepare favorites that we've been recycling over and over.  Don't get me wrong, they're good, but boring after awhile.  Also, one of the many reasons I was so excited to be a SAHM was that I'd get to cook more, especially things that took a little more prep.  We just never had time when we were both working. 

Sadly, we were still in this rut all the way up to this winter.  Right after I started staying home, I had the summer of surgery with my gall bladder.  It was all I could to remain upright most of the time, and NOTHING to do with food sounded good.  Except cupcakes and toast.  I can almost always eat those...Then there was wedding prep, and holiday prep...and adoption prep...

But now, I have finally hit my stride!  Reece is back in school after the break, and we have a really good rhythm going most of the time.  Also, as before mentioned, I have that nasty Pinterest addiction, and I've been "pinning" recipes left and right.  I sometimes have a problem sticking to our weekly meal plan, but since I've been excited and motivated by these new recipes, that hasn't been a problem!

garlic cheese bread

So far, we've tried Chicken Gyros, repinned from  Even made the homemade pitas that she includes on her page.  Next up was baked ziti from with awesome garlic cheese bread in the bread maker from  I decided to break out the crockpot next and tried baked potato soup from  We love chinese food, but I hate to pay for take-out, so I decided to make sweet and sour chicken from  I was a little scared about this one, because I HATE to cook in oil, but it was suprisingly easy, and awesome with brown rice.  I also hate to dredge food in egg and flour, because I hate to get my hands dirty, but I have two sets of tongs now, and I used a new technique that I'm sure I read about somewhere, and it went well.


If you can tell, we eat a lot of chicken, so I actually tried beef this week!  First we had squash and tomato soup from (I really like her site.  She has an index of the best of whatever category recipe (i.e. the best chili, the best chocolate cake) she's been able to find, and a huge variety of choices)  The soup was different, but good.  You can taste the squash pretty well, so you might not like it if you don't like squash, but it's a nice combo if you do.  Next up was the beef choice, a take on beef stroganoff from, you guessed it,!  This was a little change from the "gray gravy and noodles" (as my sister used to call it) that my mom makes.  It has tomato paste, and of course, hamburger instead of sirloin, but it was pretty good!  One of my favorites so far was also the easiest!  I broke out the crock pot again, and made "crock pot soup."  Seriously.  That's what it's called.  So simple, and just on Pinterest, so I'll list the recipe here.  Can of rotel, can of corn, can of black beans (rinsed and drained), 8oz. cream cheese, 1 pkg. dry ranch dressing, 2 frozen chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder. Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook 6-8 hours. Shred chicken, and enjoy! It's good as a soup, but so thick it can almost be a dip with scoop chips.

I have some more great recipes to try next week, and I can't wait to use up some of my pantry staples and search the web to find recipes to share myself, instead of just pinning other people's pins...Until then, here are some pictures of my cooking, on my pretty new plates!
chicken gyros, deconstructed!

squash and tomato soup

baked ziti--kind of obsessed with this one!

there is baked potato soup here, under the cheese and bacon...

Friday, January 06, 2012

Today I was a bad Mommy...

That's right.  I lost it.  I hollered.  I cried.  I made my kids cry.  Now, lets be honest.  I don't strive to be perfect, though I always strive to be better than I am.  But today was a BAD DAY.  I know I'm not really a bad Mommy.  I've seen plenty of case files, heard plenty of stories.  Hell, I know the stories of my boys' biological mothers, and I don't approach that level on the worst day.  However, I'd have been embarrassed if anyone saw the way I melted down today.  I'm embarrassed my kids saw it.  If I'm embarrassed, why am I blogging about it?  Well, I read another blog today that made me feel better, and that's my main point, but before I get there, I will explain my meltdown, because I'm sure I've made it sound worse than it is.  Or maybe not.  You can judge.

So, my biggest housekeeping fallback is laundry.  We always have clean clothes, don't get me wrong.  They just may not have come from a closet or drawer.  I'm pretty bad at getting it put away.  In my defense, there are a lot of 'helping hands" around, and due to Reece's sensory issues, he loves to roll in piles of anything, especially laundry.  He likes to create those piles too.  I should have known better.  But, one of my goals was to get all our laundry folded and put away.  I just don't have a lot of time.  So, while the kids have been playing in the playroom, which is adjacent to the laundry room, I've been folding.  And folding.  And folding.  For at least an hour each day this week.  While breaking up fights, distributing toys, enforcing the "get one out, put one away" rule, and playing with the three boys.  So there was folded laundry all over the playroom couch.  This morning, I sent Reece and Sully down the stairs while I fed baby A.  I should have fed him down there, but he gets really distracted by the big boys, and I could hear them, and see them if they were in the right part of the playroom.  They were fine, but my laundry was not.  I got halfway down the stairs and froze.  My several hours of work was all over the floor.  Like I said, I lost it.  Yelled at the boys, sent them to time out, and cried.  I know it seems like overreacting, and it was, but I was feeling really accomplished and was going to get it all put away this evening when C was home to watch the boys but before they went to bed.  It just seemed like a slap in the face.  I know it wasn't.  Reece has no idea what he did, really.  He knows he knocked the clothes on the floor, and that it was a bad thing to do, and it made Mommy "sad and mad" but he didn't do it to make me feel that way.  I don't think I permanently wounded them, they seem to be over it, but I carry the guilt and will for awhile.

Here are the before and after shots...after I cleaned it up again...

So, there it is, my bad Mommy story.  It's funny, now that I look back on it, because the playroom has certainly looked worse.  Judge if you will.  So, there I was, feeling bad about myself this afternoon.  I checked facebook while the boys were napping, and came upon this link, that Amy posted from

 I strongly urge you to read it, it's fabulous.  I guess it just felt good to know I'm not the only one out there.  I feel guilty when I'm stressed or need a break when C gets home, because being a Mommy is all I've ever wanted.  I know she works super hard at a job that's not always fufilling, so that we can have our kids, and I can stay home.  I'm so blessed by that.  But, it's really overwhelming at times. People think we're crazy for having 3 kids this close and this young, but we have a slightly different view.  As foster/adoptive parents, it's really hard to say no when that call comes.  You just don't know when it will come again.  You also don't want to be another "no" for that child, even when you don't have to say it to them.  I won't be having biological children.  It was "my choice" to bring these kids into the house at the times we did.  I know we open ourselves to heartache and worry.  It's hard on our friends and especially our family too.   But, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  My boys are absolute joys, and I have a lot of "kairos" moments with them (you have to read the post) every day.  The strides that Reece has made are A-MAZ-ING.  If you'd have known him at age one...Well, lets just say he's made it really far.  But, the stress of raising a special needs child can wear on you.  It's hard to meet everyone's needs at the same time, as well as manage a house.  I don't ever want to complain about it, unless I'm in a really safe space, because I feel like people are thinking "well, you didn't HAVE to do this."  We didn't, it's true.  But I'm in it, I love it...most of the time, and I'll do it again if the opportunity presents itself.  It's just good to know that there are others out there who understand.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I blame Pinterest

I  have a lot of goals this year.  I blame Pinterest.  We are going to be revamping several rooms in the house, all of which we have been planning to do, but now that I'm obsessed with Pinterest, I've actually got ideas and a plan for execution!

Our first project is to move the boys around.  Since August, we've been sharing our room with a little guy!  Not that I don't love seeing his little face peering up at me from his bassinet, but Baby A, you need your own room!  Our room is pretty small as it is, and our closet is small too.  We have shelves that divide our closet, where we normally keep shoes and things, but Baby A is now using the closet too, and I think he has more clothes than I do.  Don't feel bad for him, though, the room he's moving to is pretty nice! 

those three shelves in the center?  Yep.  Those are A's clothes.

That's right, Sully is going to have to give up the nursery.  Which means he will be living with Reece.  I'm pretty sure I just heard the gasp of horror from all our babysitters.  So he will be leaving his little cocoon, which you will see below.  I'm pretty proud of this room.  It's the first one we decorated completely by ourselves.  It inspired his first word, "owl."


So, our next project is Reece and Sully's outer space room.  I've found a lot of great ideas and can't wait to get started!  Then it's on to the playroom, basement bathroom and guest room/craft room!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Time Warp

Well, obviously a lot has changed since the last post.  Life really caught up with us!  Here are some changes, to name a few:
  • We did close on that perfect house...and have lived here for three years!
  • Six children have come into our lives, four have left the home, but not our hearts.
  • Josie went home to her parents.
  • We lost our beautiful Buchigross.
  • We adopted Chilly, black lab mixed with something...tall...and FEISTY!
  • I became a stay-at-home mom in May of 2011.
  • I lost my gallbladder after two surgeries that consumed my summer.
  • Little Derion is now 3 1/2 years old, and answers to Reece.  He was adopted on March 10, 2009.
  • Reece has a little brother!  We adopted Sullivan on December 28, 2011.
  • Baby A (yes, another boy!) has joined our family.
  • We got married!  November 5th, 2011 was our special day.
Here are some pictures that relate to the updates:

photo by Sarah at ExpressionsKC

Big Man Reece

Our Sully-Boo

Chilly Bones

Saturday, October 25, 2008

BIG news!

It's been a crazy few weeks around here! For awhile, we were just rollin' along with the babies, watching them achieve milestones and grow up, with a few looming dates in our minds, some more specific than others. The updates, in date order...

1. "sometime in October" Josie was supposed to go to live with family. We've now been told that could be several more months--like 6 to 9! We are thrilled to have her as long as possible, but knowing that we won't get to keep her, that is pretty hard on us, and on family and friends who really love her dearly. This is an expectation we knew about, though, so we are prepared. In the meantime, what fun the holidays will be with the two of them around!

2. October 16th--Derion's 4 month birthday and also court to find out if his parent's rights were terminated, and they were! Finally, something has happened the way we expected it to! This means we are a big step closer to the adoption process, and we couldn't be happier! He is such a sweetie, growing well, with less health problems than were expected in the beginning. He's really quite a normal little guy, even a little ahead on some developmental milestones.
3. December 31st--Our apartment lease terminates. We had to decide what to do, extend it a little while or try to buy a house. We started hunting in September, and really hadn't found anything, so we decided to wait until Spring. Of course, soon after that, things fell into place and we found THE PERFECT HOUSE! It's exactly what we wanted and right now, if everything goes right, we are set to close December 10th. So maybe if any of you far-awayers are in town over Christmas or New Years, you'll come visit!
We included some pics below of the little ones, so you can see how much they've grown!