MakeOver

I wish I could tell you that I am the one who got a makeover but alas, it isn’t true.

Instead my kitchen table and chairs are getting makeovers! Or plastic surgery, whichever you want to call it…


We were given our table and chairs by a friend 4-5 years ago for free. Can’t beat that price! They used to be the beloved treasure of a 90 year old lady. As you might be able to tell from the lovely fabric….

I thought about making play clothes out of the cushion fabric for the children and I so we could hang from the trees like in Sound of Music….but there wasn’t enough fabric to go around.

Darn.

Phase one of the transformation was a good sanding and a couple of coats of white paint! Already looking much better…..

Then the kiddos and I made a trip to JoAnn’s (Have I ever mentioned to you how much I love this store??? Craft-Lover’s paradise…) to buy some new fabric. Thankfully the boys and I were able to come to a unified decision:)

We also got some new foam to replace that nasty disinigrating spongy foam that was underneath the equally nasty, shredding fabric, er, I mean lovely vintage fabric that previously covered our chairs.

And for a grand total of $24.40 (all supplies included except labor:), we now have these:



Aren’t they pretty??!! (just tell me they are, even if you don’t agree, okay? It’s good for my ego:) The blue is a little darker than the picture shows but I am so happy with how they turned out!!!

I got all 4 chairs done today and started on the table. I was hoping to get it all done today so I could pack like a crazy woman without interruption tomorrow but despite working like a horse, I wasn’t quite able to manage it. Oh well!

I’m pleased! Now I have to go wash the paint off of my toes and out of my hair….

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Goodness

Tonight’s Breakfast For Dinner is brought to you by Pumpkin. And Goodness. And Love.

Best tradition I ever started!

Usually we have fresh fruit with our special Sunday night dinners, only I am biding my time til the 1st when the ole’ budget starts over and I can fill our fridge again!

So I was scrounging around in the seriously depleted pantry, hoping for a genius idea to spring out at me to serve with our scrambled eggs, when I discovered the last unopened can of pumpkin leftover from the winter. (not that it’s really spring here yet.)

I toyed with the idea of making pumpkin waffles but since that would require making syrup, too…..I decided to look for a different recipe.

Meet Pumpkin Coffee Cake. My new best friend. (Well, as much as a food can be a best friend anyways:)

DEFINITELY a must-try recipe, my friends!! Esp if your weather is yuck-o like ours is and you haven’t banned oven-use for the next 3 months or so yet.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup flour

2 TB cold butter, cut into small pieces

Cake:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 c-1 c white sugar (recipe calls for 1 cup~think next time I’ll reduce it)

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream (I substituted vanilla yogurt)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour (would substitute 1/2 whole wheat flour next time!)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I also added extra cinnamon!)

1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Combine topping ingredients, except butter, and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. In small bowl, combine pumpkin, sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla. Mix well. In another small bowl, combine dry ingredients well.

4. Add pumpkin mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture alternately (How many times can I say mixture in one sentence!!) and beat on low speed until just blended.

5. Divide batter between 2 greased 8-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle topping over both and dot with butter pieces.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Fantastic! If you wanted to be sneaky, you could add all sorts of good things to this (carrot or squash purees, shredded zucchini, etc). The boys inhaled it!

Think about us this week or say a quick prayer or two~it’s going to be a doozy of a week! B and I sat down to work out our schedules for the week and especially the last few days of the week are so crazy we have it scheduled hour by hour.

Plus it would be great to pray that we have enough help and that all goes smoothly! Thanks!

TaDa…or not

Well. I was about to tell you how computer savvy I am after having solved some very annoying blogger issues to upload my very cute video..

Only I didn’t solve them. And it’s been 2 hrs now since I started trying to upload the video. Grr. So you will have to wait a bit longer before I show you a cute bundle of sweetness.

Instead, I suppose I’ll ramble about today for a few min. Z and I worked very hard on packing today, as it’s his one day off of preschool. He “helped” me. He started to help me anyways and got quickly sidetracked by the discovery of an old lost set of keys.

He quickly abandoned me for long happy moments taking his keys on and off the keyring. I have always said, it doesn’t take much to entertain kids! Save your money and give them a big box, some crayons and paper, some blocks, a few matchbox cars and apparently..keys!

Eliana was a bit fussy today which is unusual for her. She had a major random crying episode in the middle of the night so maybe she was extra tired or something? Who knows with babies! Really. I will be a millionaire…no, a trillionare if I ever write a baby manual that comes with tips and information on what to do in every possible scenario with a baby. And believe me, there are a lot of them.

I think I’ll go start writing it now…

Happy Friday!

This n’ That

Missy started doing something very cute tonight, just when daddy came home! But….blogger won’t let me upload my video til tomorrow night (long story).

Will that make you come back to see it? Hint: It is adorable and it made Daddy’s day!

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I got a bit overwhelmed today with the whole moving business, suddenly realizing that I have ONE week left to get everything into ship-shape before people come to help. I wasn’t exactly as prepared as I should’ve been last time (which led to far too much last minute stuff being thrown into trash bags!) and overwhelmed with all the j.u.n.k. we had.
I have grand visions of having the entire place lined with perfectly stacked boxes, a beautiful spread laid out for the hard workers and me sitting outside sipping lattes (not that I drink lattes…). Okay, maybe my visions aren’t exactly realistic……I guess:)
Anyways, you know what I’m up to! Samuel is handling the move much better now and has jumped on board the “excited wagon” that the rest of us are in! I am so glad that this end of the transition will be good. The school transition will be another story but at least we don’t have to deal with that yet!
And the part that Zakkai is the most excited about? Getting to stay in a hotel with Grandma next Friday night! The boys get to have a fun night/day with their Gma (and not under our feet!), who is helping us SO much by coming to help out with them. Plus if Z were around, he would be stopping the movers every 3.4 seconds to ask them questions about the truck, the boxes, their shoes, the lights, the new apt, etc:)
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Next Thursday I have a federal investigator from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety something or other coming to talk to me. We had an “incident” the other day that I reported. In February I bought a lightweight sweatshirt at Target for E to wear. She’s worn it a handful of times and I love(d) it because it is super-soft and keeps her not too hot/not too cold.

But. Little Miss puts-everything-into-her-mouth likes to chew on her clothes and especially zippers. Can you see where this is going? Thankfully not as bad as it could’ve been! The other day I took her out of her carseat and was holding her on my hip while I hung up my coat. She was holding onto her sweatshirt and I heard the sound of something metal hit the ground.

It was the zipper handle. Just completely detached. I was very upset when I thought about how easily that could’ve been in her mouth or even her hand! She so easily could’ve choked on it or swallowed it. So I reported it to Target that night, thinking that they would want to know so as to prevent a more serious incident from happening with another baby.

They sent me back an email saying they were “so sorry I was disappointed with my product” and that they knew “how frustrating it can be to have a product not work out.” blah blah blah. So I reported it to the safety consumer people and they obviously are taking it seriously! They are coming to take pictures, take the sweatshirt and zipper part and are going to Target to buy more sweatshirts to send to get tested!

I’m just thankful E’s guardian angel was watching over her and that she wasn’t chewing on the zipper this time when it fell off.

And last but not least…..I made this again tonight and highly recommend! Yum.

In which you are lucky enough to read my rantings and ramblings:

My extremely valuable thoughts for today:

*Yea, Scotty!! I was a huge American Idol fan for the first few years and have gradually lost interest due to crazy judges (ahem, Paula!) , bad decisions (teeny boppers always keeping the worst contestants on), etc. But I got into it this year (and don’t let Ben fool you: he did, too!) and thought it was one of the best seasons yet! I said it here first: Scotty will make it big!

*What is up with the crazy weather? I was talking to my mom the other night, as she was hiding in the closet with my stepdad, 3 cats and 1 puppy, and she told me there have been over 1000 tornadoes this spring in the U.S.! Wow. I am so sad for all the people who have been affected by this.

*I did not enjoy going out to do laundry this morning in the POURING rain but I had put it off long enough that we were out of towels, undies and school uniforms. Definite signs that a good ole’ trip to the laundromat is needed! And there was this crazy guy there who came in towards the end of my invigorating experience. He must’ve been high or something and started yelling at the attendant for quarters; “MISS! I NEED NEW QUARTERS. THESE HERE QUARTERS GONE BAD!” And then he put his one item in the dryer, once he figured out how to use it, went outside into the pouring rain, came back in FIVE minutes later, opened the dryer door and started cussing at the dryer for not drying his clothes yet!

The best part? He slammed the dryer door shut as hard as he could and went outside and screamed really loudly! When I left the laundromat, he was talking at the top of his lungs (not sure to whom…)about how he brushed his teeth this morning….

I heart Chicago.

*Ben went and got me the perfect boxes for books, etc tonight (what a keeper, he is!). The only problem? He got them at the liqueur store (we’ve heard that is the best place for boxes) and they are covered with pictures of sexy women. Yuck! I’m almost tempted to waste a whole bunch of my time coloring over them with permanent markers or something…

Except I value my time a lot:)

*We were running so late this morning for school that we didn’t eat breakfast in time. They now serve (crappy) breakfast at school and up til now I haven’t let the boys eat it (seriously…allow me to rant about the breakfast in one moment, please.) but today I let them. Not that I had a choice.

Zakkai burst into tears and howled that he didn’t want to eat breakfast at school:) It’s been a new routine at CPS schools that I abhor since it has totally messed up the school’s morning routine, made teachers snappy at parents and (the part that I am going to rant about…) they serve JUNK to the kids!

They do serve milk each morning, which is a plus and rotten bananas and kids have a choice of cold breakfast or hot breakfast. Things that might be included? Sausage biscuits, cheese sticks, apple juice, graham crackers, eggs with salsa mixed in (Z took one look at that this morning and quickly turned up his nose! It smelled nasty.) and almost every single day…raisin bran.  Seriously? That’s the “healthy and nutritious” breakfast they are serving our children every morning?

No. Thanks.

*Let’s see….what else can I rant about now that I’m on my soapbox…..:) I have finally, after many hours on the phone, set up all our utilities for the new place. The new landlords (whom I can tell we will love!) called and said are getting a brand-new bathroom before we move in next weekend!! They weren’t sure it they could get it done in time but some things fell in place and they were so happy to tell us that. Woohoo!

*Now on to the little people (much more exciting than crazy people, rain and american idol anyways..); Eliana is starting to rock on her hands and knees. Ah! Not ready for this yet! We are going to have to set up some serious lego/small toy rules for the boys. She is reaching for everything around her. We have switched her from rice cereal to oatmeal which she seems to like better and her face has cleared up, thankfully. She is really enjoying life and is so happy and chatty these days!

Zakkai has had a 4 year old ‘tude lately. Just when we had high hopes that he had grown out of it…..sigh. He rolls his eyes and yells that he doesn’t want to do anything that we ask him to. 4 going on 14. Oh and it’s really great when we try to sit him in time-out and he SCREAMS “Ow, ow, no, I don’t want to!” at the top of his lungs so it sounds like we are torturing him. I always want to run up to the neighbors and say something like, “I know it sounds like we are pulling out his fingernails one by one but I promise you we are just trying to get him to sit down on the ground in time-out. We’re great parents…really!”

I don’t know it they would believe us….

Samuel’s class is getting all ready for their Kindergarten Celebration (they won’t let them graduate anymore..) in a couple of weeks. Sniff!! How is my baby almost done with kindergarten and about to turn SIX?? wow. He reads like a pro, is learning math, can tell time (somewhat), aces his spelling tests, is slowly improving his atrocious handwriting (is that a boy thing?), and loves to write in his journal before bedtime. (his journal entries are ADORABLE and complete with pictures:)

To use Zakkai’s newest favorite word: My life is so “instresting!”

Rabies

 We live up on the second floor of our little house/building and we have a nice little porch to go out on during the 3 1/2 nice months of the year;)

The other day the boys and I went to go outside when we were stopped short by a territory battle between a robin and a squirrel. You might think the squirrel with its bushy tale and little claws might win but let me tell you, don’t mess with a mama robin (or a mama bear or a mama cow or a mama….well, you get the picture!). She has a nest in the next door neighbor’s porch and Mr. Squirrel must’ve gotten a little too close for comfort…

Poor Mr. Sq. lost a few years off his life (how long do squirrels live anyways?) and had to take a breather after the mama lion, er, bird flew off…

 Which gave us all sorts of time to talk about rabies….which gave Daddy all sorts of time to come up with rabies jokes to torture the boys with. Boys!! (even big ones!)

I’m glad there are two of us in the house that are still sane…..