Friday, August 29, 2014

Before & After Entry

I have so many posts rolling around in my head! As usual though, things are always busy and finding time to sit down and write posts for my blog usually take a back seat to other things. like, Pinning on Pinterest, I'm sorry to say :) But here we go with the first of many posts on..... how home renovations have been going! (and by renovation, mean lots of paint :) But seeing my friend (and cousin... in law! ) share all of her inspiring home projects have inspired me to share and come up with my own!

The first project to share.....
The Entryway!

I forget how old this house is (we rent) but I can tell you, many, MANY renovations were done in the 1970 and 1980s! And I don't mean the cool, vintage vibe of the 1970s. More like dark gloomy colors and lots of stained, peeling wallpaper.

Before:




Now, cost is a big factor in the changes to our home. We only plan on being here a short while. So in addition to saving for our dream home (That, God willing, will be a nice piece of Texas land to put a pond in and have a cow :) We don't want to get "to comfortable" renting and seeing this as home. But, after living in an apartment for 5 years and never doing much to that, we really want to make our home really feel like "Our home" and reflect us.

I'll be share some of the deatils about the decor, but this is how our entryway currently looks:

After:






So much more lighter, refreshing, and airy! I still have many things I want to do, like paint the trim and get a mirror and some larger pictures. But right now, I'm really just liking the airy and more "us" feel of everything. :) 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Day in Our Home and Some Recipes!

So tonight I have been unable, or just  unwilling to go to sleep. Although it's been a long crazy day and I'm exhausted and my feet hurt, I just lay in bed not wanting to sleep. It's not even that my mind is racing, I feel perfectly peaceful, calm and collected. But that's just it... the calmness! The Peace! The still gentle quietness. I know once I close my eyes it will all slip away the moment I fall asleep. And although my sleep will most likely be a restful one, it still seems like I sleep for a moment and all of the sudden the alarm goes off and another whirl wind of a day starts! 

Today was pretty "average" in all the wonderfulness and tragedy that comes with staying home with young children. So in case you were wondering, this is what a average weekday looks like at our house....

5:00 Wake up! Hubby gets ready for work while I make coffee and prepare his lunch. We get to talk and snuggle just a few minutes before he is out the door! I also let out the dogs and feed that kittens and dogs.

5:45 Shower, get geared up for the day, make our bed. Drink coffee! Eat some peanut butter.

6:15 Spend some time with God praying, giving thanks and reading His word. This is so very necessary for me! This quite time in the mornings with my bible and coffee is what keeps me grounded for the day and is the well in which I draw hope and patience for later on!
You know those woman are so patient and slow to wrath? Come to find out, that's not me....  But God picks up where I let off!

                                             source:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/558376053771863775/


7:00  Quick check on emails, blogs, facebook, and Pinterest!

7:30 First girl wakes up! The second girl isn't far behind! (One always seems to need a little more sleep than the other. :) We all lay around a little and usually watch Micky Mouse Clubhouse on the couch together.

8:00 I make pancakes! I make all that we need for today plus what's left in the rest of the box. That way I can freeze the rest for a day when we are short on time!



8:30 Caleb is up! He was up a bit ago but seemed content so I let him be so I could finish making breakfast. Once I go to get him though, I find out he has peed through EVERYTHING! 

8:45 The baby is clean and the bedding is all tossed in the laundry room. I make the girls pancakes and hold Caleb while he drinks some milk. (although he is weaned, he still like to sit on me most mornings cuddled up and drink his milk.) The girls finish their plates, I get them seconds and make Caleb up his plate of pancakes.

9:15 Clean breakfast up, Go hang up laundry on the clothes line, start a new load of laundry. We all spend time together in the living room playing/ I write out my goals for the day. We all eat a snack of fresh blueberries! 

10:15 Suntan and bug spray on! We all go outside to play before it get's too hot out. We fill the girl's pool up so they can play in it later. We play with the hose and chase each other around the yard. Caleb finds handfuls of mud and proudly brings them to me :) The Girls dance in the water :)



11:00 Inside, dry off, Caleb gets changed and put down for a nap.

- The girls and I clean the living room top to bottom. We pick up and put things away. They take turns dusting and washing the windows. 
- The girls pick up the mess in the hallway/ foyer area. I sweep
- I tidy up the bathroom and sweep. Girls feed the pets and clean the litter box (Diana loves that job 0_o )
- Go outside to take the laundry of the line, fold it, hang up a new load and start another load of laundry!

12:00 Eat lunch! Mostly fresh fruit and sandwiches for the girls.

12:45 Do a little school! (Very, very laid back school. But learning none the less! :) 

- Practice letters and sounds
- Practice writing out letters
- Do a few pages from pre K and Kindergarten workbooks.

Us girls just talk, write in our notebooks and play.




1:30 More suntan lotion! (Brutal South Texas sun!) 



I bring fitness and cooking magazines along with my pen and notebook. The girls swim and play in their pool while I plan my freezer cooking.
I bought extra food last week so I can cook a bunch of extra dinners for convenience and in anticipation of my no spend week. (More to come on that later!) 

With 9 pounds of chicken breasts and a pound of ground beef I plan my dinners:

- 2 9x13 pans of lasagna roll ups

 source:http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2011/03/meatless-monday-spinach-lasagna-roll-ups/

- 2 9x13 pans of wild rice and chicken with slivered almonds

source:http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/wild-rice-chicken-dinner

- 2 9x13 pans chicken, green beans and potatoes
Source:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/178736678932660096/

- 1 gallon bag of chicken breasts, onions and vegetables for the crock pot


- 1 gallon bag of lightly breaded rosemary and Parmesan chicken strips.

Since I pulled out all the meat earlier in the day and everything is just about de thawed, surely I can whip up most of those meals in an hour or so after coming inside... right? :) 

I almost call my mom and sisters, but instead spend time talking to the girls while writing out my list :)

2:15 Come inside. dry off! have a snack. I hear Caleb up but wait to get him until the girls go down.

2:30 The girls get tucked into bed for quite time and spend some down time cuddling with their kittens.


 I get Caleb after putting them down. Diaper change then lunch for the little man! 


After getting cleaned up I spread toys on the floor and we play with cars then I scoop him up and cuddle and play and swing him into the air and be silly!
I can't but help think of the dishes and my dinners. But remind myself that the reason I stay at home with my kids isn't to have a perfectly clean home and a bunch of things accomplished (though being at home instead of working helps me get more done around here! ) The reason I stay at home is to lavish much love on all my children! The rest will always be there.

3:15 The girls get up. All the kids eat a snack. They play and hang out while I divide my attention between playing/checking on them and cleaning the kitchen and dining room and do all the dishes.

 


The dishes, they smile at me!

4:00 PBS Wild Kratts starts ( Two 30 minute animal shows, the kids love it!) They watch tv while I start browning the hamburger meat, slicing the chicken breasts up and cook a few batches of lasagna noodles. (I need a bigger pot!)



I prepare the filling and lay out the pans for the lasagna dinner. The kid's show is almost done so I have the girls help me! I knew it would be messy and take longer, but decided to go for it anyway.

I brought Caleb's play pen into the kitchen and set up 2 little "stations" so each girl could help with one pan and I stood in the middle to help them.

Oh My.....

I knew this would be messy, but the mess far exceeds even what I anticipated! The girls have food everywhere, they are starting to fight and Caleb's fussing has turned into crying. The dogs are chasing the cats and fighting over all the food on the floor and totally under foot.

5:45 Dinner finally ends up in the oven and I freeze the other pan. The kids get cleaned up I give them a snack because I know dinner is going to be late and then clean up the mess in the kitchen. (Most of it, anyway)

(Random things that often happen when I go to the bathroom)

6:00 Hubby is home! Kids get crazy we try to talk over them and then dinner is done!

6:30 Dinner time!

7:00 We finish dinner, Daniel chases the kids around the living room while I sit and watch them all and laugh. Daniel and I literally sit and talk for 10 minutes before the kids start to meltdown. He turns on the tv, they all chill. I start the bathwater for all the kids to take a bath and gather dry diapers and pajamas. By this time the kids are calm and hubby has fallen asleep on the couch. (He worked almost 12 hours outside in the 100* heat! Poor man :( )

source:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/270286415109548171/

7:30 Bath time (Crazy time!)

8:00 Kids are all out of the bath, dried and ready for bed. Hubby is still lightly sleeping so I go ahead and tuck the kids in. I put Caleb down and give him some milk and sing him a song and then go to the girls room, tuck them in and pray with them. Diana's prayer is that she is so thankful we got to do school and Ellie was so happy we got to play outside :)

I put away away dinner and prepare Daniel's lunch for the next day. I take care of the dogs and change into comfy pajamas myself. I check my emails and hubby wakes up!

8:45 Although still somewhat early, we are both exhausted and decide to get ready for bed. By the time we actually finish showers, talking, laying out clothes for the next day get something to drink ect... it's 9:15 when we actually go to bed.

9:20 The hubs is already asleep and I'm laying in the peace and quite. I can hear the bull frogs outside and the moon light is shining bright and streaming through the window into our room. So peaceful! I feel as if I could lay here and enjoy the quietness all night. But 2 minutes in and I'm already feeling myself fall asleep. Except, I'm really not. I have gotten out of bed and have been on line for 2 hours! So before much more time passes, good night all!


                                     source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/384846730627826191/

*Next Day Edit*
Note to self: When you're exhausted, go stinkin to bed! There is a reason why God lets us feel peaceful and tired at night, it's so we can go to bed and get some sleep and not be dead tired and grumpy the next day! :)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Houston Ballet: Swan Lake

This past Saturday Daniel's brother Josh, hubby and I went to the Houston Ballet's performance of Swan Lake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was completely breathtaking! I have been to 8-9 professional ballet performances between The Milwaukee Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet (Chicago) and the Houston Ballet. Houston'a Swan Lake was by far my favorite! The opportunity to go came at just the right time too.

Lately I have been feeling a little, homesick? I guess that's the word? That isn't completely right, because Texas is home and I'm not totally distraught like I have been in the past missing my family, friends, and all things familiar. But I have been missing everyone/everything none the less. So when Josh randomly asked if we wanted to join him at the ballet that weekend, we said yes! It was the perfect sort of thing to get out of a kind of gloomy mood and have something fun for the weekend planned. Houston is still a very "new" city to me, so I love when an opportunity arises to go do something fun in Houston!

Also, I  was finally able to wear my headband of strands of twisted crystal rhinestones that I bought and haven't been able to wear yet. I wish I had a better picture! But, believe it or not I hardly took any pictures! We had so much fun talking in the car and jamming out to music that I did't have time to worry about my camera! That, and you can only take so many selfies when other people are around ;)




The ballet was at the Wortham Center, which is just the most beautiful and perfect place to watch a performance. It's in the heart of downtown, and with it being an evening performance, the downtown city lights just seemed to make everything dazzle. 

Photo credit: iaahouston.com



Photo credit: downtownhouston.com


I always get so, so excited for, well, things in general. :) But when I'm eagerly watching the clock as each minute passes and I'm waiting for something to start... well I can hardly stand it! You could tell everyone was excited! I mean, most people. I was excited for the actual ballet, Josh was excited to hear a full, uncut score of Tchaikovsky, and Daniel, well he was excited because he loves to make me happy and spend time with his little brother. :) 



It seemed like forever as we eagerly waited in our seats (which, by the way were the very highest and farthest back you could get, and still $50.00 each!) 

As soon as the curtain raised and the music started, Oddette came gliding in on a boat surrounded by mist. The whole stage was flooded with with deep blue and green lights and there were beautiful, eery trees all around. The music just soared from the orchastra and I settled back into my seat. I could just tell this was going to be stunning!

Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/

For a good synopsis of Swan Lake, fee free to go here ----> Swan Lake 
But in short:

Swan Lake is about a beautiful maiden named Oddette who gets turned into a swan by an evil night named Rothbert. She is a swan by day and a maiden by night.

After a successful day of hunting, the prince, Seigfreid is reminded by his mother the Queen that this is the last day of his youth. He will need to choose a wife at the ball tomorrow and take on the responsibility of adulthood. He is introduced to four beautiful princesses, none that he falls in love with. He runs deep into the woods alone that night.

 Deep in the forest that evening along the edge of the lake, Siegfried sees a young maiden.  She is beautiful, and he falls instantly in love.  However, she is terrified, and begs him to leave, to no avail.  Charmed by his bravery, Odette finds herself falling in love with him.  As the sun begins to rise, the evil knight Rothbart summons Odette.  She goes to him and is transformed into a swan and flies away.  Soon thereafter, a large flock of swans lands on the lake.  Siegfried’s friend and some hunters from the royal party see the flock and prepare to shoot, but the Prince intervenes and orders them to leave.  Siegfried notices that one of the swans is Odette and he professes his love to her.

The next night the Queen once again hosts a ball and this time, the evil knight Rothbert arrives, with Odile. Who is the Black swan and mirror image of Odette. Prince Seigfreid is tricked into thinking the dark swan is Odette, professes his love to her only to realize he was fooled and runs after Odette, who was at the ball and he begs for forgiveness. 

The sun is starting to rise and the maidens turn back into swans. Odette is swept back up into the sky along with Rothbert and the black swans. Prince Seigfried, desperate to be with his love, grabs his cross bow to shoot Rothbert. He misses and instead hits Odette. She falls into Prince Seigfreid's arms as a maiden, the curse broken. She dies in his arms. Seigfreid picks her up, holds her close and walks into the lake, drowning himself .

So yeah, not the happiest of stories. But, wow, it sure does make for a dramatic and beautiful ballet! 

It really was hauntingly beautiful. The dancers acted just as much as they danced, you were just drawn into the story as they danced and swirled across the stage. 

Photo Credit:http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/

All the costumes seemed like they walked right out of the page of a story book! The colors were fantastic and everything has just the right bit of whimsy.

Photo credit:http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/




The skill of the dancers was just amazing! It's one thing to be able to do an amazing and technically difficult move here or there, but each dance was just one amazing feat after another. Swan Lake is actually considered the most technically difficult ballet ever written and choreographed! 

Odette and her prince danced a very convincing couple! The love and tenderness in which they showed on stage made every beautiful, gliding movement so romantic!


photo Credit: unknown google image search



Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/

It was just a beautiful, beautiful story told through dance and some of Tchaikovsky's best work! It was also very long. Often they will cut down the music for swan lake, but this time they kept the whole original score. The ballet was 3 hours long (with 2 short intermissions) and I just loved it!

Since we went to the later showing at 7:30, we didn't even get out to the car until after 11:00pm We were also starving as we made our way back home. Of course not much was open, and despite being midnight, iHop was packed. So we settled for a classy dinner at Taco Bell :)

This last weekend was just so fun! I really do love this city and state and can't wait until the next time we get to see another ballet!