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?
meat-cupcakes-mashed-potato-frosting
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.

Damn.

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.