Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello, October!

Hello, October! It's nice of you to finally join the party. We've been excited for October since the first day of September. We broke out Halloween jammies and shirts way early this year, and we already have costumes pretty much done. After last year's costume disaster I swore we were going store bought, but my desire to having matching costumes won out. I swear next year we'll just hit up the costume aisle at Target.


Brooke is in love with everything witch, which is great because we have lots of witch things this year. We all LOVE this amazing witch headband from Jameson Monroe. It's already getting quite a bit of wear. I just hope is holds up to the constant attention B gives it.


I think the witch obsession stems from a couple of our favorite books. Ghosts in the House is one we love along with Room on the Broom. Room on the Broom never made it to the storage shelf with the rest of the Halloween books last year. We love it! We added a few new Halloween books to our collection this year. Creepy Carrots and Monster Party have quickly become regulars in the rotation.

Aside from Halloween, we're looking forward to all the fall fun October brings. Hayrides, apple picking, Corn mazes, changing leaves. You get the idea. Yesterday was a great fall day. 60 degrees and cloudy. Perfect for burning spiced pumpkin cider candles, my fave and apparently a lot of other peoples too because they're sold out of them, cooking chicken and noodles, and drinking lots of hot coffee. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 80s. We could really start enjoying fall if the weather could make up its mind. However, I know that's too much to ask.

Like the majority of the world, we're loving everything pumpkin flavored right now. Pumpkin Noosa is at the top of that list. We'll all be very sad when it's not available anymore. Pumpkin Spice Krispy Kreme Juniors are killer. Way better than Pumpkin Munchkins, IMO. Pumpkin Spice Oreos, um yes please! And of course Pumpkin Spice Green Mountain. The best pumpkin coffee I've found. I tried Archer Farms last year and was not impressed. I was even less impressed with the PSL Via packets.


October also means The Walking Dead is back!!! Less than two weeks until our Sunday nights are occupied by Rick and the gang. We are of course planning a premiere party. Probably not as all out as last year's party, but fun and TWD themed none the less. We have a few friends who will be joining us every Sunday the show airs, which is an awesome way to end the weekend.


What do you all love about October and fall in general? Are there great books, treats, products, or activities we're missing out on?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekending

Another weekend has come and gone. And even though it's officially fall, it's still feeling like summer around these parts. Friday morning the kids and I went for a walk to the park first thing in the morning. They have been taking on new playground equipment almost every time we visit a park, and Friday was no different. They mastered the chain ladder steps and then we did slide trains. Over, and over, and over again. They would have stayed all day, but mean mommy ruined the fun and told them lunch and naps were a must.


We had to close up shop at the daycare that evening, and then met some of our favorite peeps for an impromptu Chipotle date. I'm pretty sure everyone at Chipotle thought we were crazy when we took over the patio. 5 tables, 9 adults, and 3 toddlers running around. That's how we roll. We ate, played, had ice cream, and stayed up past bedtime. It was a great start to the weekend.





Saturday was a no kids day almost all day. Kim and I did pedicures in the morning. I picked up Jimmy John's and had lunch with Lynn and the kids before they went down for naps. When they woke up, I was headed off to a wedding and they left for church with my parents. 


Rob wound up having to work, so Saturday night was ladies night. A childhood friend from the lake was the bride, and she was beautiful. She planned a gorgeous wedding, and the venue couldn't be beat. Her sweet pup comes into daycare, and he was included in the reception even though he couldn't be there. So sweet!


Anyone who met me after high school knows me as Jenn or Jennifer. If you met me in my younger years, you probably call me Jenny. Since I don't hear Jenny too often anymore, I always love seeing or hearing my name that way. See the name card below. 


When we left the reception we head to JK O'Donnell's for a night cap. Black Velvets on the patio in the warm fall air. It almost felt like my pre-child days. Kim happened to know that Brava's food truck usually parks at The Brass Rail on Saturday nights. Lucky for us they were there, and we got hot dogs and patatas bravas to end the evening. Saturday evening was a great reminder of how great Fort Wayne can be.I know a lot of people hate on the city, but with the right company and itinerary it can be quite fun.

See those lights on the top two floors of the building? That's were the wedding and reception were held.

Sunday was of course full of football watching. The kids and I made a coffee and grocery run in our pjs to grab a few things for lunch. The inlaws along with Rob's cousins and their son came over to watch the Steelers game. We ate taco salad and chili cheese chip dip. It was 80 degrees and our a/c is broken, so cooking anything on the stove or oven wasn't an option. Yay crockpot!

Short naps led to a rough afternoon and an early bedtime. This seems to be happening an awful lot lately. I'm hoping it's just a phase. We are definitely not ready to loose naps. Rob and I watched a few episodes of Californication to finish out the evening. I've seen the entire series, but I'm thoroughly enjoying rewatching it with him. The entire series is available with Prime right now, and I think the first season is up on Netflix.

Today is a very exciting day because my dad turns 67!! Right now he's spending time with H and B while I work. I hope they're treating him nicely on his birthday. Happy birthday, Pops!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Twin Talk - Birth Story

If you have twins and spend any time in the blogosphere or on Instagram, you probably know about Twin Talk. Twin Talk is an amazing blog with loads of resources for parents of multiples, and singletons too. Meredith, the awesome woman who runs Twin Talk, is one of the first twin moms I started following on Instagram and is definitely one of the nicest women I've "met" over the internet. Every week Twin Talk shares a twin birth story, and ours is being featured today. So exciting!

When I got back to blogging, I did a catch up post that included the basics from H and B's birth. I never did a full birth story post, but you can find the quick rundown here. Or even better, click on through to Twin Talk and check out our featured post there.



And because no post is complete without pictures. Pictures of Harrison and Brooke in the hospital, and pictures of them from the park last night. 



What fun does everyone have planned for the weekend? We have a wedding, family time, and lots of football planned for this weekend. TGIF!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Nice Little Weekend

"Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time."

If you've seen the movie "Old School," you get that. If not, you need to see it. We did have a nice little weekend, full of lots of fun. Our association garage sales were this weekend, so on Friday morning H and B hopped in the wagon, and off we went. Of course since I didn't shower, we ran into a couple people we know while we were out. One Instagram aquantiance and a friend from the kids' tumbling class at the Y. It works like science. If you throw on clothes and head out the door, you will run into people you know.

The plan was just to let the kids each pick out a small toy, but we found some really awesome deals. Harry picked out a bag of toy tools and Brooke grabbed a cute little Elmo phone. I thought we were done there, but then we found a train table for $5, a carpet play mat for $2, and some great books for $.25 each. We bought 12. When we drove back out to pick up the train table, we happened to drive past a bounce house. $35 later, and it came home with us.

That night we went to work, and then came home for a pizza and bounce house play date with the kids' BFF, Sophie. They all had a blast, and we learned that three kids is too much to have in the bounce house at once.



Saturday morning Harrison got his third hair cut. He did better than last time, no tears, and just wanted to hold my hand, and his toy drill, the whole time. Afterward we stopped a few places to look for things for the kids' Halloween costumes. One of the places we stopped was Wal-mart where we came across Poo Dough in the toy section. Seriously, why?!


After naps, the kids' and I headed to the Bluffton Street Fair. We were trying to beat the rain and did, just barely. They got to ride big kid rides by themselves for the first time. They did awesome and loved it. I got to ride the bus ride with them. They were watching the kids in front of us raise their arms, and after a time or two around, they started raising their arms too. It was so cute to watch. I can't wait to take them to Cedar Point! Maybe next year?




After riding 4 rides, we order three corn dogs and fries. While we were waiting on our food, the rain started, so we took our food back to the van. Nothing like eating fair food on the floor of the van while it pours rain outside. While the night didn't quite pan out like I hoped, we still had a fun time and are already looking forward to next year.



Sunday. Perfect fall weather, football on TV, and no plans at all. I stayed in sweatpants all day and the kids never put on pants. It was glorious. We had bacon and biscuit for breakfast. Lots of books were read. H and B jumped in the bounce house. We played a lot of trains. A few meltdowns were had. B fought her nap. We snuggled on the couch and watched football. No one had to leave the house at all. It was a great Sunday.



H and B had popsicles in the bathtub after dinner, and then decided they were ready for an early bath. They went to bed early, which they definitely needed, and then Rob and I watched the Steelers beat the Panthers. Perfect ending to a great weekend!




I had to be to work at 7am this morning. Ouch! A little coffee and 20 barking dogs is a quick way to wake up. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Nutella S'more Bars

It's officially feeling like fall in Indiana. Yesterday was cold and rainy. We had a wet morning at the zoo, and I was still cold after the kids' naps even though it was 70 degrees in the house. I just couldn't shake the cold. I decided we needed soup for dinner and to put the oven to good use. The kids got in on the action too, and we made a super easy, delicious dessert.


I love baking, especially during the fall months. I really love baking with Nutella. I pinned this recipe last week and wanted to make it right away. I tried it out on Saturday and loved the results, but there were a few things I wanted to change. The bars were really greasy. They were delicious, but I thought there was too much butter. Is there such a thing?  I really loved the few bites with browned marshmallow on top, but I felt there should be more exposed marshmallow. So with those two things in mind, I tweaked the recipe a little and love the bars even more.



Nutella S'more Bars

Ingredients

14 graham cracker sheets (there are 9 in a package so you'll need two)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Nutella
7oz jar marshmallow creme

Directions:

1. Crumb graham crackers in the food processor until they are finely ground. There should be no lumps.

2. Mix the graham cracker meal with flour and salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla.

4. Stir the graham cracker mixture into the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until just combined. It should be crumbly.

5. Spread into greased or parchment paper lined 13x9 pan. Keep back 1/4, approximately 1 cup, mixture. It will be used to top the bars.

6. Spread Nutella evenly over garaham cracker crust.

7. Spoon marshmallow creme onto Nutella. You won't use the entire jar. The marshmallow doesn't need to be spread, just dolloped around the pan.

8. Crumble remaining crust onto bars. There will be exposed marshmallow.

9. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Marshmallow should be lightly browned and puffy.

10. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.


Notes: I use parchment paper so I can pull the bars from the pan to let it cool. I have made the crust both with my Kitchen Aid and by mixing entirely by hand. Both yielded similar results. These are amazing while still warm, but cut cleaner if you let them cool for 30 minutes first. The first time I made the bars they were gone within a day, so I'm not sure how long they keep. Store in an airtight container.




H and B were all about their treats. Although, they were just as happy to lick Nutella off their spoons while helping me bake. There are quite a few fall recipes I want to try out, so I'm glad to see they were eager to help bake. We may have found a new activity to pass the time while we're stuck indoors. Our kitchen table is the only place they can sit to help, so be prepared for lots of pictures of them hanging out on the table over the next couple months. 



And now I think I'll go have a bar and a cup of coffee. Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

This afternoon was one of those afternoons that you just have to laugh at. It went something like this.  

H and B wake up from their naps. I immediately take Brooke to the bathroom. While she's doing her thing, I notice Harrison has a big knot on his forehead. I help B wipe, and then focus back on Harrison. I'm trying to decide if maybe he fell before naps and I didn't notice it, or if this is a reaction to a bug bite. I decided a spider took a nap with him, so I go to look for the evil arachnid that bit Harrison's face. 

While searching their room, I hear Brooke say she needs to poop. Perfect. I'm glad she's still running around half naked, it saves a step for me. She goes back to the bathroom and I flip over mattresses and check pillow cases. I decide I should take Harrison to RediMed, and start getting shoes, socks, and pants around. 

I get Brooke's panties and leggings on, and then start on Harrison. I notice a brown smudge on Harrison's foot and start to smell something foul. I look around and it dawns on me that I never cleaned the potty seat when Brooke was finished. I then realize the dogs cleaned it for me and then cleaned their dirty mouths on the carpet. I vow not to accept any kisses from them ever again. The next realization is that Harrison has poop on his foot, and oh yeah, I forgot to help B wipe before I put her pants on. Oops. 

Thank God for clean panties, my carpet cleaner, and a fenced back yard. And Nutella. My day ended with dessert, so now I can laugh about the disasterous 20 minutes that followed naps today.
 
   
And Harrison is fine. I overreacted to the bite, and was sent home with a prescription for Benadryl and an ice pack. After of course a $100 copay.   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Toddler Snacks

As any toddler mom knows, getting your kids to eat what you put in from of them is a challenge. Harrison is a great eater most of the time. Brooke eats well 50% of the time, but when she decides she's not going to eat something, forget about it. There are definitely nights that she goes to bed without eating any of her dinner and only drinking milk. She thankfully loves smoothies at least 374 times more than Harrison, so she gets lots of fruits and veggies first thing in the morning.

Getting them to eat fruits is never an issue, but finding ways to get enough veggies in their bellies is a challenge. They are getting better about eating raw veggies with hummus (which they love) or ranch as a snack, but often times that results in them putting more in their mouth than they can chew and then throwing up half chewed veggies. They also never want to sit still and would much prefer to snack as opposed to sitting down for a meal.

I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks for them, and especially things that travel well. We used to do berries as snack, but after cleaning mashed berry off of their car seats, and bottoms, we stopped doing berries in the car. We have found a good assortment of snacks that aren't messy and are easy to take on the go. Especially now that the kids are coming to work with me a couple days a week, food that travels is a must.


Eat Your Vegetables Chips - These are our favorite chips. We love the sea salt variety best. Brooke would eat an entire bag of these in one sitting if I let her. There's 1 serving of vegetables in an ounce. Definitely a snack win. We're able to get these at Kroger (Fred Meyer) for $2.50 a bag on sale.

Simply Balanced Dried Peas - Target's Simply Balance line is great. Our favorite part of this line is their freeze dried fruits and veggies. Peas, edamame, and corn are available veggie options.

Snappea Crisps - We can find these at Target and Kroger. These are another one that the kids will finish in one sitting. They're light and very addictive.

Veggie Gos - I discovered these at Earth Fare here in town, and saw them again at PCC in Seattle. H and B both love them. You can buy remnants on their website for much cheaper than the individually packaged leathers.

Kashi Warm Cinnamon Cereal - No fruits or veggies here, but I included this because it is consistently their favorite cereal and they love to snack on it.

Plum Mighty 4 Bars - These are a breakfast go to in our house. They're packed with loads of vitamins and minerals. They contain a high iron content which is a big concern in this house.

Clif Kid Z Fruit & Veggie Twists - These are a little expensive unless you can find them on sale. Kroger regularly has them on sale for somewhere between $2-$3 a box. Clif also makes a just fruit version, but we always go for the ones with veggies.

Happy Tot Pouches - I know, pouches right? Every mom know that pouches are easy and expensive. We used to do one a day when they were younger, but we don't have them too often anymore. When we do buy them, we buy HappyTot brand. They, along with Ella's Kitchen, have twice the iron content of Plum and Sprout pouches.


Obviously eating whole, fresh foods are the best, but sometimes prepackaged foods have to step in. The kids have continuously eaten all the foods listed, and I don't feel bad about letting them eat them. We are always looking for good snacks, and just food in general. What healthy snacks do your kids love?