Uncle Chris

Zach and James’ Uncle Chris has been featured pretty prominently on the blog since its inception. He is Zach’s Godfather  and comes over regularly for football games. We have been to New Orleans and Mexico (sans children) and he comes to all the birthday parties no matter where they are. He is just the best. I call him my second husband as we all know it would be him that would come get me (because he has) from the side of the road. You know Alex would have lost his phone or it would have zero charge. I obviously need a back-up.

Chris also voluntarily eats dinner with us on the weekends he is in town. I say voluntarily as no one really wants to eat dinner with us. It is a nightmare.

I am stuffing food as fast as I can into my mouth in between repeatedly saying “Zachary, eat.”, “James stop screaming.” and  “Alex, can you please do something about your children?”.

Seriously I don’t want to be at dinner with us most of the time.

Example A is below. We were at Chipotle after I had just pulled my children screaming from Big Lots. Zach was screaming because he wanted the ball that James had and James was screaming because Zach was screaming.

I don’t know where Zach is going and why James is sitting on the table. But Uncle Chris is amused and not horrified and that is just one of the reasons why we love him.

Meatloaf in a cup

Gross. That title seemed better in my head.
But how else to say that I made individual meatloaves?  I had saved this recipe for mini-meatloaves (shocking) with mashed potato topping. The meatloaf is put into mini-cupcake wrappers and topped with the potatoes like icing. They are super cute right?
I had made a big meat loaf using The Pioneer Women’s Favorite Meatloaf a year or so ago and everyone loved it. I personally am not a huge meatloaf fan; something about the consistency throws me off.
But all my boys love it so I I decided to try these smaller versions. I went with regular cupcake size and  used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe since I had had success with it before and it was similar to the one in the magazine. The main difference was that I used half turkey and half beef.
The end result was less that cute. The fat from the beef had nowhere to go so it just pooled around the top of the loaves.  I made it work, taking them out of the silicon wrappers and wiping off the fat, but seriously, gross.  So I only made 12 cupcake size ones and then made the rest into a small loaf. I froze the individual ones for dinners down the road and we had the loaf with a side of mashed potatoes for dinner.
Eh, you win some and sometimes you put meat in a cup and it doesn’t work out.  

Slightly Dangerous

James and Zach are getting better and better about playing together. Which is very beneficial to me needing alone time. They realized that Zach pushing James on the myriad of push toys we have could be super fun. My favorite part of the video is James waving at me before they get to the kitchen.

This usually lasts for 2 minutes until one of them runs into a wall and starts crying. No pun intended.

Have you heard of Lunchables?

If you read any mom blogs or organic non-sense you might think Lunchables are made by pedophiles and full of crack. I am here to tell you different – they are delicious and awesome.

 You don’t see this guy complaining.

Last week we had the giant hole in our kitchen fixed (where the ice maker had leaked), so we had to stay in a hotel. The fumes from the polyurethane could have killed a horse. But apparently not a rat….more on that later, don’t you worry.

It was supposed to take two days but took one which mean I was wholly unprepared for the following day. I could not access sippy cups or the lunch containers. Alex and I took turn racing into the house and packing while the boys played in the driveway. Then I was off to Randalls to shop for lunch.

I can’t lie – it was great. Did you know there are a ton of different kinds of Lunchables now? They have pizza and chicken fingers; wraps and sandwiches. They even offer “all natural” which I obviously paid no attention to. I was in the LUNCHABLES aisle, all natural is not in my vocabulary. I ended up with a sandwich and smoothie for Zach and just a regular one for James.

Zach said the cheese in the sandwich was a bit “mushy” but that did not stop him from eating it.
The evening in the hotel was fairly miserable on the whole though, given there were 4 of us in about 600 square feet. James decided he was an infant and needed to cry himself to sleep and Zach decided he was a teenager and would stay up until 10. I (so sad) had to get to work early so I left before Zach was even up. 
Don’t worry, James was. And that was actually really sweet. He puts his tiny finger to his mouth and says “shhhh” and ate part of a Lunchable for breakfast along with a banana. 
He was fascinated by the closet. I could not find him (yes in 600 square fee) and he was quietly standing in there. He insisted on walking in and out, in and out.
Looking very slim.

Rocket Crackers

Last week I looked at our family calendar and noticed it was Zach’s snack week. It was also the week for the letter R in their Letter of the Week plan and Valentine’s day. I got super excited about these opportunities.

A few years ago I had made these Smitten Kitchen cheese crackers for a school snack and the kids loved them. They are pretty easy; everything goes into the food processor, you roll it out, cut the shapes and bake. They are healthy and filling, it is a win-win.

Since it was the letter R week I scoured my cookie cutter collection for anything that started with an R. I had exactly three: a letter R, a rocket and a rabbit. Embarrassing.

I tried the letter R first and it was a disaster. It is a smallish cutter and I could not keep the dough together. Next I tried the rocket and it was perfect. You need something with indentations or the crackers get really puffy.

I went ahead and tripled the batch as I had noted on my printed copy to “double it – not worth the trouble for one batch”. I was feeling very, very smug when my 40 crackers came rolling out of the oven. I even cut some into hearts for my little family.

So in we head on Monday morning when I notice Tony’s dad putting down a bag of snacks on the table in their room.


We always follow Tony on snack week and I had gotten confused. Our was next week, with the letter S not R and not Valentine’s day…I was decently devastated. 

Tony is a total prick and starting snipping at Zach about how it was HIS week not Zach’s week. I had to pull Zach away and explain to him that it was all my fault and our week was next week and we would make Tony pay. Just kidding on that last part. Sort of.

I left the rocket crackers there anyway, they don’t keep and what was I going to do with 40 crackers? To add insult to injury, they only ate half of them so like taunting boomerangs, back they came to me.

So naturally I sent them to James’ baby class where they were highly appreciated.

In the club

The past two weekends I have taken James’ nap to get my pantry in order. I am very Petersik. We have this giant walk in pantry behind the fridge and I have filled it up and made it a death trap with junk. Junk in the form of numerous vases from these babies I keep having, small appliances I have rarely used (mini-crock pot and electric knife I am looking at you) and “party” box that is overflowing with items I have not looked at in years.  I spotted this panty organization and got inspired. I have Elfa shelving in there and was sure I could make it look good.
I am not going to get all Petersick and detail what I did because I can sum it up for you like this – I gave a bunch of junk away and rearranged the shelves fit all my stuff. Boom – I am a genius, I should have a blog.

Oh wait.
But I did move a set of wire drawers to the front and put the boy’s snacks into a drawer they could easily reach. Which means they are in and out of there constantly such that I had to put a lock on it for James. He would eat crackers for every meal if I let him. Which truthfully I pretty much do as he is such an ass about it I can’t even take it. But I digress.
At one point Zach found a set of glow sticks I was saving (aka hording) and got them out. At first I was super annoyed as he cracked them so they all started glowing. Then I realized I was being an ass and cracked the rest. The darkest place we have is the pantry so we closed the door and started waving them around like it was 1996. James was finally impressed.
Turns out it is hard to get a photo of glow sticks, so this was the best I could do. But it was a fun little moment with my boys. Once I relaxed and realized that maybe this is what I needed an organized pantry for. 

Only moderately crazy

Last weekend I decided to get a bit ahead of things and knock out the boys valentines. I had of course been planning them for months. I even printed out 4 choices for Zachary off Pinterest. I am out of control. I think I might not even need to say that any longer, you know.

He picked an the airplane one, but alas no airplanes at Big Lots. Which was just as well as I was starting to hyperventilate about attaching the plane to the card. How would I do that? With a twist tie? And it had confetti trailing behind. I could not let him do that?!

But they did have these little men attached to parachutes and I had seen just such a card….

You know I was practically giddy in Big Lots at the thought of this project.

For James I had seen this one and knew I wanted to do that with Teddy Grahams as the 18 month olds aren’t really into candy. I mean James would obviously try to eat it all, but he should not. And I am pretty sure the parachute on the toy would be a choking hazard. Not 100% sure, I need to ask my friend Laura.

As I was stuffing James I stopped and looked at my work space aka my kitchen table. Disaster. I thought you all would like to see how my crafting gets done.

PS I am not cutting anything with wire cutters. They are just there.
Zach came in to help as well and you can see the mess to the left of my “work space”. And my sweet boy who asked about 15 times if he could have one of the Kit Kats. It might have been more…

The end result.
I love them. Almost as much as last year. Maybe more as this was WAY less work. I actually hand threaded each animal on last year. Perhaps that is what led to the plane freak out, now that I think about it.
As usual I am ever thankful for Pinterest and the creative bloggers that post printable for working moms that want to still be crafty! It makes me so, so happy.

Mardi Gras Ya’ll

Last year around this time I was just discovering Pinterest. I saved all the things I saw for Mardi Gras as it always sneaks up on me. I start to see it everywhere and then all of a sudden it is the day and I am unprepared with any crafts or food. Unacceptable.
Last year (after the fact), I made these awesome King Cake Cupcakes which were very easy and tasty. I obviously just made yellow cake and didn’t die white cake yellow (don’t waste my time), but otherwise I followed the instructions. Oh and I used a box cake. Why would I make it from scratch when Betty Crocker does it so perfectly for me (butter yellow cake – you will thank me).
But this year I was on it for the actual day of Mardi Gras. I Googled when Mardi Gras was and went back to my Pinterest page to figure out what I would be doing. I spotted these mini-King cakes and knew that was it. 
You know I love anything mini. Do they make a cookbook of just mini-things? I need it if so.
Mini King Cakes Step 7
I did a test run at the Superbowl party hosted by Uncle Chris. They were a hit with one redheaded child who might have had two (don’t tell his mother). I do have to say they were not really as pretty as the ones in this photo. And when I tried to unroll them, mine didn’t have enough to be folded in half. But I just rolled them up the best I could knowing that once covered with icing and coordinating sugar all would be fine.
Apparently I did cheap out by getting the regular Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls not the Grands. I just read that is what she used. Ooops.
But they were mini and delicious. I made more for the boys as a special treat for a Mardi Gras breakfast. Alex took the boys to school early so I could not get a shot of them enjoying my creativity.

Don’t worry, James was still not impressed.

For every weekend

Because don’t you have a birthday party every weekend? It seems like we do.

I spotted these printable tags on Pinterest (naturally) and have stockpiled them like the crazy craft horder I am. They are perfect for either a boy or a girl and you can use them with flat ribbon since all the gifts get stacked up and tossed into the car.

Print some yourself today – you will be glad when Abby’s party is tomorrow and you are totally prepared.

Cutest sick guy ever

On Zachary’s birthday in December James woke up breathing very rapidly and with a gross, thick cough. I did what any good mom would do and stared at him for a 30 minutes trying to decide what action to take. He was acting normally and eating but just breathing so fast. Last time this happened he was not processing air well and had to be admitted to the hospital. I knew if it were a weekday I could just take him to the doctor to make myself feel better about his breathing. But alas, December 23rd was a Sunday. Of course.

So I called the nurse line and spoke with a doctor, I counted his breathes and stared at his lips (they were not blue) and decided I had to go to the hospital. Luckily it was only 7:30 so we walked right in and into a room.

Don’t let these adorable photos fool you – he was PISSED. Anytime someone would walk into the room he would immediately begin screaming in that pitch that only my children seem to reach. He threw-up on himself and me so he got this adorable gown. I just got to smell like vomit.

Side note:  Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen?? A tiny hospital gown? I am still annoyed with myself for not stealing it.

Zach and James had an appointment to see Santa out at the Walls so Alex swung by the hospital to drop off clean shirts for both of us and then off they went. James also did not like being left at the hospital by his dad and brother. That particular screaming might have scared the elementary age child in the room next to us.

They suctioned out his nose and put the oxygen monitor on his toe (which he insisted on pulling on a screaming about every time he remembered it) but in the end we headed home about 3 hours later with instructions to use a humidifier and do more suction.

Duh. Like this is my first rodeo with breathing problems.

I was just glad that he was not in the shape a year ago and we could go home and take naps. Which we both needed, desperately. It was big brother’s birthday after all! And super odd to not spend it with Zach (he got home that evening). Luckily we will have many more and the previous day was ALL about him.

If you think we did not go to a party that night at Tami and Dave’s you would be wrong. I am blaming the sleep deprivation on that bad decision.