Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend in Review.

This weekend we...

went on a (much needed) date night. We thought about going to a movie, but I dropped out of that plan when I realized we'd not get home until after midnight. Apparently I'm officially old.
Penguin be photobombin' our date night.
Since we skipped the movie plan, we diverted to a local hotel that has a 24 hr art museum. An older gentleman asked if we wanted him to take this picture for us; Drew responded with "no thanks. We just want to take a selfie with the penguin." Ha!

Saturday we watched Braydens soccer game (and made it back to the car less than a minute before a huge rain storm came to town). It has been so fun watching all of the boys grow into little soccer players. (Brayden is #3)
Hung out with Gigi, who is here on a visit (we love visits from Gigi!)

Brayden learned how to tie his shoes, thanks to my moms help (I've been trying to work with him, but it's a whole lot harder teaching a right handed person when you're left handed!)

Sunday, we made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. I've got a million and one pictures to sift through from the pumpkin patch, so we'll make that a separate post.

We're off to a great start to our week... hope you are too!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five on Friday: Five Randoms.

This week has FLOWN by, and I realized tonight that I haven't blogged at all... Yikes! We've been super busy so I thought I would just do a conglomerate of thoughts and things, and link up for Five on Friday with The Good Life Blog.
1. All Boys.
Earlier this week as we were leaving the preschool where Brayden does speech, a lady asked me if my baby was also a boy. I said yes, and then chuckled. Then she said "oh my gosh, I'm so sorry." I'm sure she meant well, but on the inside I was wanting to yell. I am just SO SO SO tired of people telling me that they are sorry for me having 3 boys. I love being a boy mom, and can't imagine life any other way. Sure, we mirror a small circus when we're out and about, but that's just part of life. So my PSA is this: if you see a family with multiple children of all the same gender, just smile. And instead of telling them that you're sorry, or that their hands are full (trust me, they probably already know that!), tell them they are blessed. Because ultimately, that's the truth.
2. Soccer, Soccer, Soccer
We're in the thick of soccer season. Brayden has really acclimated well to the sport (although he told me the other day that his favorite sport was raquetball-- RANDOM.) Connor and Tyler are good sports about being dragged to all of the practices and games.\
This dude is a STINK-ER. I have to run onto the field multiple times because he wants to play so bad.
and this guy just soaks it all in.
3. Awkward. 
I was scrolling through some old pictures of me. It is no secret that I put the A in Awkward when I was a child (specifically the pre-teen and teen years. Bless my little heart). Found this picture, and really. No words are needed. Also, why were we posing with a cat in the bathroom?
#tbt let's just say that I put the A in awkward. @dubstepjeff
Kari Jobe.
4. Kari Jobe.
This past Sunday I was able to go to a night of worship with Kari Jobe. It was AMAZING. That girl can not only sing, but she brings people to the feet of Jesus.
5. naps.
Finally got him asleep in the crib. Let's see how long this lasts.
I'm trying to convert Tyler to crib naps. It's not going that great, as we wake up around 40 minutes. Thankfully he converts to the swing well, so I'm still able to get him to take a full nap (in the rare moment that we're home long enough for him to do that). I'm holding out hope that he'll take a turn towards good naps at 6 months, but I'm not holding my breath. Especially considering that he's having to take car naps a lot these days :/

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Annual Trip to Bikes, Blues & BBQ.

For the past two years we have made it a little family tradition to head down to Fayetteville to enjoy the first night of the Bikes, Blues & BBQ festival. My boys LOVE to see the motorcycles, and we've found that if we make it there on the first night, it's a bit more family friendly (and less crowded), than if we waited until the peak of the festival. You can see our past two trips there HERE and HERE.
Before we headed to the festival we stopped by the Old Main front lawn. I wanted to take a few pics of the boys in their Hog gear at one of our favorite spots on the U of A campus. Connor declared to us that "he liked this college and would go there someday when he was a big boy". Then he broke out in a random chorus of the fight song, followed by the hog call. I love that our boys love the Hogs.

We headed down to Dickson Street after our Old Main adventures, and as soon as the boys saw the food vendors, they were asking about funnel cake. Apparently our tradition of splitting one as a family was not forgotten.

I have to admit, I was a total slacker when it came to taking pictures this year. It's just hard to do when you're trying to maneuver 2 strollers, 3 babies, a camera bag and a diaper bag, all through heavily congested areas of both people traffic and vehicle traffic.
(good to the last bite of sugar)

At the end as we were going back to our van, Brayden kept saying "man, this is awesome, dude!" I'm not sure if this was all Brayden talking, as he had eaten a good portion of the funnel cake himself, so we're going to chalk up his extreme excitement to both the wonder of thousands of motorcycles, an obsession with neon lights/signage (which there is a lot of down on Dickson since it's basically a street lined with bars & restaurants) and an extreme amount of powdered sugar, running through his veins ;)

Also, I feel like I should note that Drew and I got a good chuckle out of the fact that although the event brings a lot of rather interesting people to our area, we both felt like we got more stares than anyone in the crowds. Apparently that's what happens when you try to bring 2 preschoolers and a baby to a bike rally, and push both a double and single stroller through the chaos of it all.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tyler Paul {4 Months}.

Last night we ventured down to Fayetteville for Bikes Blues and BBQ (more on that in another post). As I sat there holding Tyler and watching my two bigger boys chase squirrels on the lawn of Old Main, I wondered to myself how I could have blinked and gone from a college freshman to a 30-something who was married with 3 beautiful boys. Time flies, doesn't it?
As if that moment wasn't indication enough, somehow we've blinked and Tyler is an all out infant now. He's completely lost any semblance if a newborn and is rolling, cooing, laughing, watching us eat food, and adding that joy to our family that we didn't even know was missing but has definitely filled a piece to our family that we couldn't do without.

Tyler started MDO this month. I was a little sad at first, as I've never put one of my babies into "school" this early. But it's turned out to be a good thing for all of us. Tyler seems to enjoy it, and comes home so exhausted that he'll take a 3 hr nap. We've also started back with BSF this month. Ty's teachers told me that he is a happy baby and that he loved when they sang to him.
:: 4 Month Highlights ::
  • he weighs 17-18 pounds according to my super scientific way of weighing myself and then weighing myself holding him ;)
  • he wears mostly 6-9 or 6-12 month clothes. I can still squeeze him into 3-6 month clothes, but it's not that flattering for his butterball figure ;)
  • wears size 3 diapers. I'm thinking about switching him to size 4's at night soon.
  • can roll from tummy to back really well. Working hard on rolling from back to tummy (his chubby arms get in the way). He's also pulling his knees up under himself.... NOOOOOO. Not ready for him to be mobile.
  • coos and talks up a storm. He loves to talk to his brothers, especially Brayden. 
  • starting laughing consistently. We've still not gotten a deep belly laugh, but Brayden can get him to chuckle pretty good.
  • tylerpaul4months_adollopofmylife_19
  • He's found his toes/feet and LOVES to hold on to them. It's the cutest thing ever. 
  • He's also re-found his thumb. He basically came out of the womb sucking his thumb and I thought that if I fought it hard enough with the paci that I'd win. Well, in the past two weeks I've gone into his room to wake him up and found him chowing down on his thumb like it's the best thing ever. 
  • tylerpaul4months_adollopofmylife_15
  • He does not like to be alone or feel like he's missing out. If he can see the action, then he's content.
  • Started sitting at the table with us. I won't introduce solids until he's 6 months old, but he has shown interest in wanting to sit with us when we eat so we went ahead and pulled out the high chair.
  • We've had a huge bout of sleep regression. He slept through the night for about 3 weeks. Then he hit a developmental leap and was waking up around 3:30, talking, then crying to eat, and would go back to sleep. Now that it's allergy season and he's got this deep nasal congestion crud that I can't seem to suck out with the aspirator, he is up multiple times in the night. This morning it had me in tears because I am SO sleep deprived.
  • tylerpaul4months_adollopofmylife_22
  • He's still exclusively breasfed. My initial goal was 6 months, and I'm hopeful that we'll make that goal. He eats about every 3.5 hrs... extending his schedule made some of our breastfeeding issues go away, which means that I probably was trying to feed him too often. Thankful that was an easy fix!
  • He naps atleast 1 good nap a day. Honestly I feel a little bad for him because we are on the go so much that he gets a lot of cat naps in the car. 
  • HATES HATES HATES his car seat. It's a bit of a problem considering the point above (our crazy on the go schedule). I'm hoping that once he moves out of the infant carrier and into a rear facing convertible car seat that things will get better.

A year ago when we found out you were on your way to our family, I never could have imagined how much our family would be completed by your presence. You have given us all more reasons to smile, more laughs to laugh and more hugs and kisses to give. We love you so much Tyler Paul, and are so grateful for all that you add to our family. Happy 4 month birthday little man!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Gravy.

One of my very favorite slow cooker recipes of all time is pot roast. You just can't beat it as a great fall meal, and now that we're in the thick of our fall schedule, it's one of my weekly go-to meals. I figured I'd share how I cook our roast, since I'm sure I have readers who are looking for a way to make dinner time just a bit easier.

You'll need:
A hefty roast. Since we get a 1/2 beef every year, I just pull one of my roasts out of the freezer. For this meal, I used an arm roast, but my favorite cut is definitely a rump or chuck roast. I generally use about 3lbs of meat for this recipe.

2 stalks celery, chopped. I don't really bother worrying about the size of the celery pieces. If you have picky eaters who don't like seeing greens in their roast, I'd cut it up small.

6-8 large carrots, cut into fourths. I just wash the carrots and don't bother peeling them. This helps retain a little more nutrients. You can also use baby carrots.

Cut one medium sized yellow onion into eighths.

Add 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed.

Toss the roast and all of the veggies into the slow cooker.

Sprinkle an entire packet of onion soup mix over the meat and veggies.

I also sprinkle just a bit of McCormicks Montreal Steak Seasoning. Probably not more than two teaspoons.

Next I mix 2 cups of boiling water with about 2 Tablespoons of Beef Base. Pour the mixture over the meat and veggies. Add an additional cup of water. Your liquid should come close to covering all the ingredients in your slow cooker. In case you're wondering what beef base is, this is what I use (I purchase this at Sam's Club).
mccormick beef base_adollopofmylife

Set your cooker on low and cook for 6-8 hours (or until your roast shreds easily with a fork).

After the roast is cooked, take 2 cups of the broth from the slow cooker and add to a small sauce pan. Add 1 Tablespoon salted butter and 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. In a small coffee mug or bowl, combine a few tablespoons of the broth with 6 teaspoons of cornstarch, and mix together until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the broth/cornstarch mixture to the broth in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until thickened.

Serve the roast & gravy over rice or quinoa with a side of green veggies for a complete meal! Enjoy!

(This post is linked on Milk & Cuddles for the Mommy Club Link Up and Liz Marie Blog for Inspire Me Please)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Soccer & Sickies.

We've had a pretty laid back weekend. Unfortunately we ended the weekend with all of us suffering from seasonal allergies turned mild head colds. It's no fun for anyone involved.
Saturday we had our second soccer game. All of the boys have made such big improvements since the start of the season. I'm so proud of all the boys on our team! Brayden did so well, scoring 3 goals.
After B would score, he would clinch his fist and say "YESSSSSS!" Then he'd look up to the crowd to find Papaw, Uncle Paul & Aunt Kelly and his cousins and me.
my proudest moment of the game was watching Brayden check on a little boy who he is friends with who plays on the opposite team. They had gotten into a kicking match for the ball, and his friend on the green team fell down and was hurt. B stopped playing to check on him, and then gave him a hug unprompted. It was such a sweet moment and made me so proud that he chose compassion over competition. I hope that he always has a tender heart.
another one after he scored. He is such a cute little soccer player!
being the brother of a soccer player isn't the best. But this guy puts up with it. I promise he didn't give me the "go to hell" look the whole time.

Saturday night we went to our friend Ella's birthday party. I thought I had tossed my point and shoot in the diaper bag, but when we got to the party, I realized I only had an empty case. BUMMER. I did snap this cute picture of Connor with his buddy Cooper. Love these two boys.
Connor and his buddy Cooper. #latergram #littlerazorbacks #wps

Sunday we all woke up with nasty allergies. We figured that going to Sam's as a family might be a good idea, but only... it was not a good idea at all. Tyler screamed most of the trip, Brayden kept ramming his spinning seat into the table while eating lunch, and Connor whined and also wanted to use the public restroom (which means taking off all clothes). I was WORN OUT by the time we were done. Praying we all wake up feeling better tomorrow. We have a FULL week ahead, and don't need allergies slowing us down. Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ever since meeting a few of the Duggars, I was intrigued by homemade laundry detergent. Thing was, I just couldn't get past the goop that was the liquid version of homemade laundry soap (people said it was the consistency of snot, and I already deal with enough boogers and runny poopy diapers in a day to know that I wasn't about to MAKE something with that consistency). I tried to find a recipe for dry detergent that I liked, but there wasn't one single recipe that jumped out at me.

So I set off to create my own, and have been using it now for over a year.

We LOVE it. Friends and family have asked so many times for my recipe now that I felt like it was probably blog worthy (and this of course makes it easier than having to type up an email each time someone new requests how I make it).
4 cups Borax
4 cups Washing soda (found in the cleaning aisle, not to be confused with BAKING soda, washing soda is in a yellow box)
2 bars FelsNaptha laundry soap (also in the detergent aisle)
3 cups Oxyclean
3 cups Purex Crystals (optional)
the players
I shred the Felsnaptha in the food processor. Works like a charm
it also looks like cheddar cheese. Brayden has come into the kitchen while I am making this and tried to eat it :)
I add all the ingredients together in a large bowl
mix together well
Then I take the mixture in 2 cup portions and blend it into my blender until it looks like a fine powder
this is what it looks like completely blended
I have friends who keep this in a cute glass container. I went the cheap route and store it in a 1 gallon pitcher. I use 2 tablespoons per load for most loads. If it's a super small load, then I'll sometimes only put 1 tablespoon.

A few things to note:
- I have friends who use this recipe in HE washers and it works fine. Thanks to one of my readers though, she has said that Oxyclean can cause damage to some machines (see comments for our dialogue). So, it's probably best if you check with your specific make/model washing machine to make sure that you can use certain elements of this recipe (ie: Oxyclean) if you indeed have an HE machine.
- I have found that the Oxyclean and the Purex Crystals tend to be cheaper at Sam's, unless you can find a killer coupon. Since we don't subscribe to the paper anymore, we get these two items at Sams.
- this recipe makes enough to last our family approximately 6 months. On average we wash about 3-4 loads a week. If you have a smaller family, then you may want to cut this recipe in half, otherwise you will have A LOT of detergent for your household.
- you will have enough borax, washing soda, crystals & oxyclean to last you through two batches of this recipe, so basically, a little more than a years supply.

- Here's a breakdown of costs for a years supply of homemade laundry detergent:
Borax: $3.38
Washing Soda: $3.24
Felsnaptha: $0.97 (x4)
Oxyclean: $15
Purex Crystals: $9
Total: $34.50

Not too shabby for a years worth of detergent!

This post is linked on Inspire Me Please with House of Rose


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