Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thanks A Latte {Easy Teacher Gift}

This is the last week of school for Lauren and William and we wanted to show their teachers a little appreciation.  Something that was creative, but budget friendly because I had to get something for twelve teachers.  Yes, twelve.  I know it's a crazy amount, but with two kids and a low student to teacher're going to have a lot.

I was searching pinterest and couldn't believe all the thoughtful ideas out there, ideas I will be pinning for years to come!  I found this and it seemed to fit all my criteria.  A complete tutorial and the printable is all there!
This not only works for teachers, but would be great for a neighbor or coworker.   I included a handful of kisses for a little something extra, but overall the project was easy.

 ***The only change I made was tweaking the printable on so I could print from our home computer.  I was able to make a file where two could print on one sheet.  I'm happy to email you my file if you are interested.***



Saturday, May 25, 2013

You win some, you lose some.

I'm not going to sugar coat it or try to be poetic, there were several moments this week when I wanted to take the sweetness and thoughtfulness from Mother's Day and shove it right up my children's tiny little behinds.  I was in the trenches of battle before breakfast was even served several mornings this week.  And I'll tell ya, when you start the day like know it's gonna be a long one.
When I lost this week, it was big.  At one point, they were both shunned to their rooms until Billy came home.  They are never both in their rooms.  I wish I could say they were in there for hours learning a lesson, but it was probably 20 minutes at the most.  But even though I lost some battles, a few were strategic losses.  I may not have gotten them to clean the playroom with the reward of an ice cream sandwich.  But I outsmarted Lauren and William by cleaning it myself and eating that ice cream sandwich right in front of them acting like it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted.  The light bulbs were going off in their tiny little heads, lemme tell ya!

But we did have a few wins.  Feel good, I'm a great mom, they are going to remember this one day kind of wins!  We took an afternoon trip to the movies to see The Croods, it was Wills first trip to the show and a complete success!
 I followed that up with a trip to TCBY for Waffle Cone Wednesday and a visit to the library.  You won't believe it, but it the movies and ice cream only cost me $11.00!  The price of the afternoon was a win even if everything else had gone to $hit!
 We ended the week with a trip to Chuck E Cheese.  Lauren had been asking to see Emma for weeks and even though we're visiting with them this weekend, seeing her in this little fun house was a huge surprise!  Aunt Jocelyn gets the win for this great suggestion!

I haven't been to a Chuck E Cheese in years and have to say I was pleasantly surprised, not sure I'd want to be there on a Saturday afternoon...but it was perfect on a quiet Friday.

I was down on myself for the battles lost this week, but I know there will be more, plenty more since I think they are really starting to figure out it's 2 vs 1. To combat, I try to start each day fresh, hope they are learning some of the lessons I'm trying to teach and praying for patience.  Patience goes a long way with a 2 and 4 year old.  And wine, that goes a long way too...that's why we always have lots of bottles on hand.

They got their ice cream sandwiches later in the week...just to be clear that I didn't give in:)


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap {Update}

I posted about making my own laundry soap back in January and I just ran out of it last week.  I split the batch with my mom who coincidently also ran out at the same time.  If you do the math, an entire batch would have lasted about eight months.  
Eight months of laundry for only $25!

I wasn't blown away by the stain remover, but most of the stains in my life are grease/oil and those are tough to remove no matter what detergent you use.  But I wanted to give it another try after finding another recipe online.
It was so much easier to mix this time because I only had to grade one bar of soap and I through everything together outside so there was no mess!

I'm loving this one more because it was cheaper at $17.60 and smells so good with the addition of Purex Crystals (which I had never heard of).  And this recipe states, one scoop for light loads and two scoops for heavy/dirty loads.  Let me know if you try it and I'm happy to give out a little sample!



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Sweets {Chocolate Mousse with whipped cream & fresh berries}

I'm straying from my usual love for cookies and bars this Sunday to share an incredibly easy dessert when hosting a few guests.  
I'm not even sure if Jocelyn remembers but she was hosting a few of us for dinner one night after work several years ago and I arrived early to help.  She asked me to whip up this chocolate mousse and it's been a go to dessert ever since.

I love this dessert when playing hostess because it can be made hours ahead of time.  I was whipping these up at 8am.  You simply add milk and the powder and blend away.  The brand pictured is what I always use and is available at most grocery stores.

To make it look like there was a little more effort I serve the chocolate mousse in martini glasses.  These glasses have been used for dessert more than they have for cocktails.  This time I added reddi-whip and fresh berries, but I've served the mousse plain as well.
Preparing for guests can be a lot of work, so anything that is easy and can be done ahead of time is always a plus!  Do you have any go to foods when having company to make things easier?



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dad's Vacation

Billy has been home with us for almost two weeks because he will be starting a new job come Monday.  The longest vacation from work he's had was when we got married and even that was only a week and a half.  But this wasn't just a break from work, he was free of voicemails and emails too!

We didn't want the two weeks to pass us by without tackling several lingering honey do's as well as getting in a little fun.  So we made a list, a big list.  The list had big and little things we've been meaning to get to but we also included the fun things we wanted to do to.  There was a lot of time for some extra fun last week because the kids were out of school...

We took cousin Johnny out to dinner at my favorite place in Ann Arbor, Dominick's.  It's a great little seasonal place that has some fabulous Sangria!

 School was out, but there was a planned field trip back to Skyline where I had taken her in the fall.  They had a great morning together with perfect weather.  Billy loved that he had the opportunity to go!
And this should come as no surprise, but we made a trip to the zoo!  I should really post a map to show you just how close we are.  I think this is our third trip of the year and the season has just started.  For those in the area, the new lion exhibit is awesome!   
And he spent most of Friday and Saturday working on the yard.  It looks great especially with all the spring if only a potential buyer could see this!  
I've certainly kept him busy, but I think we both feel good about crossing so many things off the never ending list!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Ask and you shall receive...there was a lot of peace at the Crawford house today.  I was surprised with balloons, breakfast, and flowers this morning.  I later hit the gym and Target for some me time...Target all alone, I could have been there for hours!  
It was such an enjoyable day, one where I barely lifted a finger...thank you Billy for letting me take the day off!
We are so blessed to have such amazing mother's in our lives.  Grandma Robin and Grandma Mary are two special women that not only I have as role models, but Lauren does too.  
Feeling beyond blessed today to be a mother.  


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Graduate!

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, I'm certainly milking the mother's day aspect of it over here.  Every scream and each fight has been ended with "it's my mother's day weekend, you need to be nice."  Yes, weekend.  Heck, I may drag this out all week!  I'm excited for tomorrow and hoping for a little peace:)

But last weekend, we got to celebrate with the newest Michigan State graduate!
Congrats to cousin Emma!
We don't miss many opportunities to head up to East Lansing, but this was extra special because Emma was celebrating her graduation party just as Billy did.  A quaint little send off in her apartment with family, subs, chips, and drinks!  Emma and Aunt Mary did step it up with freshly blended margaritas.
 The kids loved every minute of the visit.  They are loved on so much by all their cousins, aunts and uncles.
We never made it onto campus, but walked Grand River Rd. while doing a little shopping.  William has since worn this hat everyday, Lauren hasn't touched hers.

 Billy and I did make an unexpected stop at an old East Lansing favorite of mine.  I have a lot of memories...ok, some hazy...but a lot of fond college memories with sorority sisters at this place.  I'd like to think I'd fit right in on a Saturday night, but I'm sure yawning at 11pm and my lack of knowledge on what a "Spartan Bomb" is would be telling.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ooh La La Beauty Shop

I surprised Lauren with some outdoor pampering after school last week.  While she was at school I prepped a few things to turn our patio into the Ooh La La Beauty Shop.

If you have a little girly girl in your life then you are probably familiar with Fancy Nancy.  We love her stories and for Lauren's birthday she received "Ooh La La!  It's Beauty Day."
It's a cute story that Lauren wanted to replicate once the weather warmed up and since we've been enjoying some summer like temps, we did!

 I was going to attempt the mashed banana face mask, but Miss Lauren declined.  Thank goodness!  We stuck to what we know...pedicures!

Even Wills soaked his dogs.  A man needs to have some good looking feet too!

The Ooh La La Beauty Shop has extremely reasonable prices, but very limited hours.
Her word of mouth advertising should do wonders...everyone and their brother got to see her toes.  We'll be sure and let you know the next time we are open for business!



Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm No Barefoot Contessa {IV}

I'm meal planning for next week and not much in my repertoire sounds good at the moment.  I hate when I dread grocery shopping before I even make the list!  Just in case you are in the same boat as me, here are a few recipes I've tried that were hits are my house!  This post is a little heavy in the mexican category, but I guess that's fitting with Cinco De Mayo on Sunday.

(All pictures are mine, but the recipes are found at the corresponding websites)

Baked Crunchy Taco Casserole
This recipe is great because you could make the filling the night before or earlier in the day...just reheat and assemble.  Delicious!

These were delicious, there was a little more effort involved...but worth it.
The kids weren't a fan, so if I make again I could do a simple quesadilla for them.
I followed the recipe exact too.

Thai Chicken Naan Pizza Recipe with Peanut Sauce, Red Pepper & Carrots
Another Jocelyn find.  This pizza is a great mix up to your traditional cheese and pepperoni.  I did follow the recipe and made the homemade sauce, but there are a lot of bottled peanut sauces out there if you want to save a step.  The sauce is AWESOME!
I made it once with fresh pizza dough and a second time with a naan.  Both are delicious.
The kids loved too!

Coconut Chicken
Everyone enjoyed these homemade chicken nuggets.  It was one of those weeks where I couldn't think of anything but wanted to keep us somewhat healthy...vs the nuggets that come in a box.  The kids weren't a fan of the sauce.

Mexican Stuffed Shells
I think there are about twenty blogs out there with the same recipe for these delicious stuffed shells.  They are easy and so yummy.  My kids ate them up too!

Lemony Spinach Hummus
I had to throw this in too.  It was a recipe I saw on pinterest and went out to buy the ingredients the next day.  I served it with part of our lunch one weekend and it was gone.  The entire batch gone!  Another success!

If you've tried anything delicious and kid friendly lately, please email or leave me a comment!  I need some help this week:)  Have a great weekend!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Birthday Bash

I'm been a bit of a slacker in the blogging world, but after today I think I'm finally caught up.  We've been crazy consumed with all things home buying and selling, and we are now taking on selling our home by owner.  Fingers crossed!  It will be more work, but hoping a change in price might attract the right person.  

My birthday was two weeks and I got to celebrate it with my favorite girls and their favorite guys.  We planned to get away that Saturday a few months earlier and it just to happened that my birthday and Frank's were on the same day earlier that week.  

We are so lucky to be invited to Jocelyn's parents house as much as we are.  It's the perfect place to escape for a night, and it was much needed time with our close friends. The eight of us don't get together enough, but we always make up for lost time.  

We enjoyed great food and wine, and we all laughed so much!  Jocelyn woke up on Sunday saying her abs were sore from all the laughing...we never stopped!  Even though we aren't that far now, they will all be minutes away from us once we move.  Minutes is huge!  Talk about killer abs, looks like I could be rocking those if I just hang out with these folks more:)

The night away was a perfect little stress reliever from all the house business.  We went radio silent for 24 hours and just enjoyed the celebration and good company!