Friday, March 29, 2013

Nana's Sandkakers

Happy Friday!! And especially hoppy, because it's Easter weekend! haha hoppy, get it? That's the mother in me trying to make a small joke :P Anyway, do you have big plans for your weekend? We'll be following our usual holiday ritual and celebrating with lots of family and food! Sunday we'll be gathering for Easter brunch at my sister in laws and she always puts out a beautiful spread where we all kick back and watch the cousins running around. Before the main event, we're hosting some of my side of the family on Saturday for a baking day. Every year we get together at my Aunt Greta's the day before Thanksgiving and bake tons and tons of pies and I guess this is sort of a spin off on that idea. My brother Dan and his beautiful family, Nahir, Isabel and Isaac will be making their way into town as they're the ones who requested the baking day in the first place. Dan was hoping to make a batch of our special family cookies, sandkakers. It's a great almond flavored cookie that we like to make in a group because their pretty labor intensive. After mixing the dough, we sit around pressing it into these pretty tins that they bake in. It's a lot of work and leads to a lot of hand cramps, but stealing the dough along the way makes it worth while. And of course, the end result too! The sandkakers are a Norwegian recipe that come from my great grandmother, Johanna Sophie, better known as Nana. I never had the pleasure of meeting Nana but from what I'm told, she always used to bake and I guess I'd like to think that I follow in her footsteps in that way.

That's Nana and Grandpa on the left with Mumu on the right, my other great grandmother, Elsie. They must have been visitng my grandparents at the time. What a great photo of my family back in the 60's, don't you think?

Above is a photo of our sandkaker tins! We'll press the dough in, bake them off and then once they're cool you have to bang the back of the tin gently so they pop out without breaking! It's a process, but soo worth it!! I can't wait til Saturday!!! I'm looking forward to a lovely weekend filled with all my favorite things, and maybe Nana and Mumu will be smiling down watching us bake those sandkaker cookies! We'll be thinking of you, girls! Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Airport Lunch

Today we decided to kick back for a lazy day at home. We've been busy with play dates and errands lately and between some nasty coughs and a house that desperately needed to be cleaned, it was time we took a day off to put around the house. The boys were really enjoying hanging around in their pjs, (or if you know my kids, in their undies) while they played 'guys' all morning and I started by tackling the kitchen. Good times. But honestly, well behaved kids and a little pandora radio can make cleaning seem not so bad sometimes! As lunch time approached I decided to take advantage of the weather and surprise my boys with a special date to break up our day. I handed them their clothes and said get dressed and choose a toy airplane and let me know when you're ready. Baffled, they followed my instructions. While they did their part, I secretly prepared a picnic lunch to take with us. I even managed to catch Eric at a good time where he could leave work for a little bit to meet us too! The boys had no idea where we were going and we were all getting excited for the big reveal. Finally we started to pull towards our destination when Mason said, "Mama, I know that's where the airplanes go!" and I replied by saying, "Oh you mean down here?" as I turned down the hill to our little neighborhood airport. They started to yell and cheer and I finally filled them in that we were there to have a picnic lunch. Yayyyy!!

We all got out of the car and started setting up at the picnic table when their final surprise creeped up behind us...Daddy!!! They couldn't have been happier. We all sat down to lunch and walked around checking out all the small airplanes and listening to the airport radio controller on the loud speakers. Lucky for us we even got to see a real airplane landing right in front of us! Since Owen was a baby we've been bringing the kids here to run around and take in the sights while we sit back and soak up these moments we love most!

Too busy eating their snacks to smile...Thanks Mase!
Couldn't help but notice this cute guy watching the planes ;)
Balance beam!
Helping Gavin walk the line
Choosing which ones we'd fly
Apparently he needed this for a leaf collection I don't know about 
Mason the HAM
A perfect afternoon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rocco George

Today is a very special day for our family. Today is our dog Rocco's 7th birthday. Now maybe you have a pet whose a crucial member of your family like ours, or maybe you think we're silly for finding it so important. But either way, it doesn't change the fact that for us, our oldest baby is another year older. Another year spent chasing his brothers around and loving them unconditionally, letting them climb all over him and eating all their stuffed animals, another year spent following under my foot steps and snuggling Owen at the foot of our bed...Another year spent making memories with our family and reminding us that he is always there. Through good times and bad, as loyal as they come.

Rocco was my boy from the first day I saw him. He was just a baby at three months old and running around that little pen with his sweet little mug staring up at me. I visited him a million times while trying to convince Eric and my in-law/landlords at the time that I would be a stand up dog owner if they would just let me take this baby home. And when I finally brought Eric down to see what all the fuss was about, Rocco even claimed me when he peed on my skirt while I was trying to show that he was the perrrfect puppy. It was a sign, right? He chose me too! When all was said and done, he came home with us that summer and has been melting our hearts ever since. 

No matter where we go, who comes in and out of our lives, whatever life sends our way...this little guy has been by our side through it all. Happy 7th Birthday to our sweet Rocco George! We ruff you!! ;)

Warmer days to come.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in our little neck of the woods. What started out as a morning of snow flurries turned into an afternoon of sunny skies and a level of cold that finally allowed us to venture outdoors. We have been so cooped up this winter with snow after snow after snow and when it wasn't snowing, it was so cold and yucky with leftover snow that we didn't bother playing outside. Spring, we've needed you. While we still have that slushy mess all over the place, the weather did feel a little lighter and for that we are grateful. 

After dinner Daddy came home and decided he was going to head out to smooth some of the yard along our driveway that got ripped up from plowing. I figured it was a good chance for me to bundle up the kiddos and take them out for some fresh air too. We had a wonderful evening running through the snow, helping Daddy in the yard and taking a short walk along our street. A little taste of warmer days to come and we enjoyed every minute of it! 

Snow Prints
The messy yard and Gavin pushing a shovel up and down the driveway a thousand times
The giant stump they found on our walk
Workin Man
Masie Boy
Earning their keep ;-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Potty Talk.

You're in the car driving along when out of no where... "I HAFTA PEEEEEE!!!" or even better, "POOOOP!!!!!" Yup, that's right - it's all bout the potty talk today. Literally. And no, I'm not talking about your wife or your elderly grandmother. If you have a child over the age of three, you've probably been there. If you don't have children, you probably won't want any after this. Just kidding! The first time I really remember having this type of incident was back when we lived in Virginia. Owen was almost three and had been potty trained for a little while, so we felt pretty confident going out and about sans diapers. We were heading down to have dinner with our family, Jay and Lindsey, who lived about a 45 minute drive from us. Driving down interstate 95 in rush hour from the DC area isn't exactly smooth sailing, but we were managing to make decent timing when we hear our little two year old, "I HAFTA PEE!!" Of course we begged, pleaded, negotiated everything we could think of in order to get him to 'hold it' until we got to his cousins, but it was clear that wasn't an option this time. With an older kid I think you have a little more leeway saying, "You HAVE to hold it for five more minutes until we get to an exit!" or something along those lines, but with a freshly trained two year old? Not happening. So we did what any parent concerned about their car interior would do and we pulled over on the side of the highway and let the boy pee. Eric hopped out and snuck our little guy behind the car door while I looked over my shoulder checking for police lights. (Is that illegal??) Once we were all back in the car and on our way, we laughed about our crazy life as parents and how silly we looked on the side of a busy highway with our toddler bare bottomed.

Fast forward to our weekend getaway a few weeks ago, this time with Mason. Mase is three and a half and has been fully trained for about a year now. But again, when you're in a car with a toddler and nature calls - you answer!  Because he isn't so fresh out of diapers like back when Owen pulled the same skit, we felt a little less guilt about brushing it off for a while. He got pretty anxious but we assured him we were, "alllmmmooostttt thereee" and what's even funnier is that once we got there he didn't have to go anymore. Go figure! 

Well, last night my itty bitty little baby Gavin, (whose not really a baby and is twenty months old - but is my youngest that I'm trying to keep itty bitty) decided that while Mama was out fighting the funk and shopping with Nana, he was going to pee on the potty!!! I am SUPER proud of my little guy, and secretly super sad that I missed it. I mean, really Gav? I'm with these kids all day, every day and of course he waits until the small fraction of time I take a breather. Pshh. Kids. Anyways, back to being super excited! Lately he has been taking an interest here and there and insisting he take his diaper off quite often. When he does, I simply say, "Do you need to pee on the potty?" and sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. He likes to just stand there on his stool and hang for a while and most of the time I don't mind letting him. I figure if he's getting comfortable with the idea of it then that should only be a plus when I actually do decide to potty train him. This morning he decided he wanted to try again so I was hoping to witness the big show. Instead, he climbed in the bathtub and peed there. Nice try little one! For now, we aren't really trying to kick diapers just yet but if Gavin wants to test the waters a bit, I'm happy to follow along. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we'll be hearing him as we drive down Rt 2, "POOOPPPP!!!" 

So good for you, Gavin. Mama and Daddy are very proud!! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fight The Funk.

Today I'm going to share something with you. Something I intended on sharing, but then decided not to, but then just decided to share after all. Now you're probably either thinking, 'This girl is off her rocker' or, 'Is she pregnant?' and the answer to both of these questions is, no. More of a no to the second question at least. But anyways... The truth is I just finished writing today's post and was about to publish when I stopped myself. My original post was about the 'funk' that I'm in and how I'm feeling kinda blah, if you know what I mean. But I decided not to post it because the truth is, I am in a funk and the best way to stop myself from getting OUT of this funk is to keep talking about it. Isn't that what happens when we have a problem? We embrace the misery and just fuel that fire by giving it the attention it needs to keep going. My funk today isn't really about anything in particular, I'm just grumpy and whiny and letting it get the best of me. But by writing about it and moaning and groaning my way through that post, I was doing the exact opposite of what I should be doing. If I want to stay IN the funk, then writing about it on my blog was a great idea, but that's not the goal here.

You might be wondering why I'm still deciding to talk about my 'funk' if I just explained that it's exactly what NOT to do. Am I right? Well, the reason I'm giving it the attention is not because I intend on fueling the funk, but because I think it's important for us all to realize that by talking about our problems that's just what we're doing. I've been thinking about this a lot lately as there's some things in my life that I tend to get stuck on every now and then. I'm starting to see that I'm actually just letting it have a place in my life. By talking about it, dwelling on it, and making it important in those ways I am literally saving a little place for it inside me. It's okay to have problems or things that bother us, but by going on and on and bringing such attention to them aren't we just inviting them to stick around? Yes! So stop!!

Today rather than share that post about how and why, and all the ins and outs of my funk, instead I'm going to choose to fight the funk. I'm going to stop letting it get the best of me and decide to move on with my day and maybe it will turn itself around because of that choice. It's worth a try, don't you think?

What do you do when you get into a funk? Do you embrace it? Run from it? Next time you're feeling down, maybe try and fight the funk like me!

More on fighting the funk here!

Friday, March 22, 2013


A few years back I read an article that discussed the importance of being grateful. Like they say, 'Gratitude Changes Everything' and I have started to see that whoever 'they' are, they're right. I don't remember all the details, but I remember it talked about starting a 'Gratitude Journal', and I thought this idea was fantastic. What better way to keep myself grounded and appreciative than to write down the things that keep me that way. Well, life happened and I never got around to buying that journal but I didn't forget how great I thought it could be. Just recently I came across another article discussing this very same idea and now there's even a documentary about how a gratitude journal is one of the best ways to improve your happiness in life. Makes sense! 

Can you imagine when you're feeling down and out, thinking life just plain sucks and then whipping out your trusty little journal and..."I am grateful for my thoughtful husband who made the bed and ordered me to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon...I am grateful for sweet, loving Owen who kisses me on the cheek and tells me I'm the prettiest princess Mama in the world...I am grateful for my always helpful mother, who will check on my pup at a moment's notice and even wash the dishes before she heads home." Somehow I don't think my life would seem so sucky anymore, do you? Granted it's not going to solve all the problems of the world, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to give ourselves a little boost!

I think I'll finally get out there and find myself a gratitude journal to keep at my bedside. I can already picture winding down in bed before falling asleep and taking a quick minute to jot down a few things now and then. Eventually all those little things will add up and then after a while, life starts to look pretty amazing! Do you have a gratitude journal? Do you think you'd like one? I'm secretly excited to shop for one now! I've seen some cute pink notebooks or ones with fun prints, but I'm dreaming about a simple rustic style like this handmade leather bound journal I found on etsy! What do you think?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lonely Sailor

The past couple of days we've been out and about having play dates and it's been so nice to stay busy with people who can relate to our daily life. As I've said before, I really appreciate my time with my girlfriends who don't have children, (although I kinda wish they would!!!) but I also enjoy my time with my friends who do, because nobody understands life better than someone who is living it just as crazy as we are! You may recall an old post I wrote about The Six Friends Every Mom Needs. Well, these are my 'In The Same Boat' friends. You know, the ones who stop me from jumping OUT of the boat every now and then!

A while back I started a Moms group in the area, which has since grown to Moms and Dads. It's been a work in progress - but a good way for me to get out and meet new people who might want to jump in my boat every once in a while. A play date here and there and a fun way to let the kiddos socialize with other little ones. Through the group I've reconnected with friends and acquaintances who've lost touch over the years and gotten to know completely new people who have the same intentions I do. The funny thing about having kids is that it's all you really need to have in common with someone to hit it off at the playground - kids! Some of the other parent's I've been meeting up with are people I've never met and yet we shake hands, say hello and then all of a sudden you're wiping their kids' nose and sharing snacks while we swap recipes or compare potty training methods. These friendships are truly effortless and without them I would be a lonely sailor! I mean, Mother... 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A little spring in my step.

Happy Spring!! Although we're recovering from yet another snowstorm, the first day of Spring is always a great reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner! Which also means...shorts, tank tops and bathing suits are right around the corner too. Sigh. Did I totally take the excitement away?? Sorry! But, it's true. Besides the fact that it's a good motivator to get in shape, the warmer weather always brings about a better diet for me. I'm much more likely to whip up a fruit smoothie or a fresh salad after running around out back with the boys...completely the opposite of my winter diet. I go days without leaving the house while I hibernate from the cold and make endless shepard's pie and homemade mac and cheese. And of course, I bake. Not exactly a figure friendly regime, I know. So now is the time to start snapping out of this winter rut and put a little spring in my step again. (pun intended!) 

One of my favorite ways to jump start healthy eating is with lots of veggies. And with these kiddos running me ragged, I need to have things on hand so I can quickly grab a bite between diapers, playdates, naps and blocks. What better way to do that than by making a giant pot of veggie soup to store in the fridge. It is super convenient and takes about a minute to heat up for a quick, filling meal. I buy a bunch of vegetables and roast them before combining them into the big pot which adds great flavor. The whole process is quick and easy and then sometimes when I want to add a little extra, I can even toss in a handful of cooked pasta or rice, and sometimes a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to amp it up a bit. Here's my go to recipe for a roasted veggie soup, but feel free to add or subtract to your preferences or just take a little inspiration and make up one of your own! You can't really go wrong with tossing a bunch of healthy goodness into a pot! 

Roasted Veggie Soup
1 eggplant
2 zucchini
2 summer squash
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
1 box stock, any flavor will do
Olive Oil
Flavor it up with S&P, Italian Seasoning, Garlic, etc.

Preheat oven to 450. Dice up all vegetables into bite size pieces and toss with oil and seasonings until coated. Spread coated veggies evenly on baking sheet, this much usually needs two pans. (If you want less soup, reduce amount of veggies-this recipe makes a lot!) Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing half way through. Have a large pot ready and add diced tomatoes, including juice. Once vegetables are tender, remove from oven and add to pot. Pour in stock, mix together and simmer until heated through. Now you can store this in the fridge and eat it all week, or even freeze half for next time. Enjoy!

Ready to roast!!
Tomatoes waiting patiently....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...