Sunday, July 31, 2011

Temps hit Triple Digits but the Alternative is Worse (10 Reasons Why)

I know, I know.  We're all so over the heat.  And yes, this picture is from our thermometer on Two Bears Farm.  Whew, it's hot out.  So hot out that the humidity gauge on our thermometer thing broke.  But I dare say the alternative IS worse.  I'm not a winter person, so whenever I get to complaining about the heat, I just have to remind myself to be thankful.  Why?
  • No scraping windshields 
  • No itchy dry skin when I get out of the shower
  • Veggies don't cost an arm and a leg, only to have absolutely no flavor
  • I don't have to worry about layers of clothes when I leave the house
  • Less laundry - summer clothes take up less space in the washer
  • No getting stuck behind school buses
  • Don't have to worry about dumb weather forecasters (you know, those forecasts that go oh-so-wrong)
  • Don't have to worry about trying to get somewhere on icy roads
  • No dealing with Christmas music for EIGHT STRAIGHT WEEKS (enough people, really!)
  • It doesn't get dark early (my personal favorite!) so you can enjoy evenings on the porch
See, come on, now don't you feel just a little bit better about the temps?!?  It really could be worse!  What's something that you DON'T miss about winter?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

DAAAAD!! Mom's Feeding Us Seaweed Again!

You all know I like fruits and vegetables.  Probably more than the average person.  I've always been that way.  Anyhow, I'm laying the foundation here for my new favorite snack.  Because you are really going to think I've lost my marbles over this one.  I can't seem to stop!  I absolutely love Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed Snack.  You can eat the entire bag (which is 2 servings) in just 60 calories.  I apologize for the smears on my pictures.  Apparently little fingers got ahold of the camera.

Cort said, "NO WAY.  Get that green stuff outta here".  Reid, who eats anything, said, "Mmm, tasty"

Huh.  Turned out he liked it.

Uh oh.  He really likes it. And we don't have a Trader Joes anywhere close - it's a 3 hour drive!
I really didn't want to share all of my roasted seaweed.

The only drawback is that it does tend to get stuck in your teeth in funny ways...
Do you have a snack that you love that's a little bit off the beaten path of normal?

Please stop by to enter my giveaway for fun beauty supplies here! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mom to Boys Blog Hop

What do I spend most of my days doing?  Being a mom to three boys, of course.  So when I saw that the First Annual Boy Mom Blog Hop was going on here, I thought I should jump in. 
Mothers of Boys
If you're stopping by for the first time, we have a log home on 72 acres in the Blue Ridge mountains.  We have many animals and like to spend a lot of time outside.  Except lately.  When it's been in the upper 90s everyday.  Now we only get out to tend the garden and feed the animals.  Hopefully this heat will break soon.  
So let me introduce you to the important ones - my boys.
My oldest, Pierce, is 4 going on 5.  He loves riding bikes, swimming, and reading this book called Pizza Pat.  It's one of those really annoying books where you have to repeat the same sequence of sentences every page, only adding to it each time.  But he loves it.  Thankfully, he can read the whole thing himself, so at least I don't have to do all those repetitions about gooey and gloppy crust and sausages and those stupid mice that eat the poor guy's pizza at the end.  I tried to get Pierce to change the ending - you know - the mice make a pizza for Pat to make up for gorging on his, but Pierce doesn't go for it.  Now I just try to get him not to read the last two pages, but he's not into that either.  I think he secretly likes the gloom and doom.

My next oldest, by all of 6 minutes, is Reid (he and his brother will turn two August 8).  He's my troublemaker.  You can read yesterday's post about my multiple calls to Poison Control on account of Reid.  He also does things like sneak into the pantry and pour bulk boxes of baking soda on the floor, all while I'm changing his twin brother's diaper.  So don't let his sweet big blue eyes fool you (but he is kinda sweet, when he feels like it).  Reid loves TRUCKS!!!  Everytime we drive down the road and a semi passes he's all TRUCK!  MA!  TRUCK!!! and I think he's going to explode out of his carseat with excitement. Reid also really loves to eat - particularly cheese.  I can always count on enthusiasm from him during dinner, even when everyone else is sneaking food to our border collie, Scooter.

My youngest, Reid's twin brother, is Cort.  He's the loyal and protective one.  When I had a doctor appointment recently, he threw a huge fit when they tried to run a test on me - he didn't want them to touch his mom.  The doctor had to take him down to her office and let him play with toys so they could finish the test.  And if anyone in the house is crying, Cort is the one to bring stuffed toys and blankies and pat heads and give hugs.  He's also quick to laugh and he actually helps clean up when it's time instead of just wandering off.  He adores our cats, but sadly is allergic to them.  Cort loves balls - he is actually pretty decent at throwing and kicking, but then I guess I'm biased.  Only I'm not that biased, because I don't like sports anyhow, other than running - so maybe he really is good!

Thanks for coming by, I look forward to hopping by to visit you and your boys as well!  I do have a giveaway right now, which you can check out here for some fun beauty and pampering items.

White Trash Pools Continued....Swimming, Anyone?

 It wasn't that we meant for the pool to get this gross.
In fact, back in June when I wrote my White Trash Pools 101 post, I had no idea that we'd live up to expectations so thoroughly. 
Indeed, after a week of neglect and a week of temps in the mid 90s, we have this mess.
Sadly, I didn't create this green shade with Picnik, folks!
Guess we won't be taking a dip anytime soon.

Have you entered my giveaway for beauty supplies and other goodies yet?

My squash and zucchini burritos recipe is featured today in Yummy Finds on Act Fast Chef if you want to check it out.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hello? Poison Control? It's Me, Lisa. Again.

We consider our house pretty child proof.  We've got gates up over the stairs, our cleaning supplies are protected by child locks, and we keep the bathroom door shut.  Our outlets have covers, and there is a lock on the pantry.

The thing is, you just never know what kids will get into.  And we have one that is very sneaky and very fast.  Can you guess which one of these jokers is giving us trouble?

If you guessed Reid (far left) you'd be right.  It started with the changing table.  Reid is tall, and one day he pulled the A+D ointment off the changing table.  I found him sucking it down like those squeezable yogurts.  Nice.  None of the ingredients were too alarming (castor oil and the like) but it did say to call poison control if ingested.  So I did.  They warned that it might cause loose stools if he ate a good amount.  I countered that at least he'd be well-lubed for the cause.  No harm done, and I moved the ointment.

Not even a month later we had another incident.  Paul was in the bathroom with Cort and Reid.  He was brushing Cort's teeth, and Reid was looking for trouble waiting his turn.  I was putting away cloth diapers and walked out in the hall to see Reid chugging tea tree oil with a dreadful expression on his face.  The tea tree oil is kept in the bathroom (I use it on occasion to strip the cloth diapers), so it never occurred to me that anyone would get it.  But Reid is fast.  In a split second he'd snagged it, run out in the hall, unscrewed the top, and taken a swig - all while Paul was brushing Cort's teeth.  I promptly removed the bottle, but a whiff of Reid's breath almost knocked me over.  Yes, he definitely sampled it.  But how much?  I had to call poison control again.  This time was a little more serious.  It was bedtime, but we had to keep Reid up for observation for an hour.  If he started vomiting or became extremely drowsy, we were to take him to the hospital.  He was also supposed to eat and drink something.

Oh, Reid had a grand old time staying up late without his brothers.  He gorged himself on squash bread and ran giddily all over the house.  Thankfully, he was fine.

I hope I don't have to call a third time.  Because I'm pretty sure if they see just one more call from my number alarms will go off in the building and I'll be declared an unfit mother.  At any rate, moms, have the number on your fridge or programed in your phone - someplace you can find it easy.  Because it only takes a split second for kids to grab something they shouldn't, no matter how child-proof you think you are! We are so thankful our sweet (but sneaky) Reid was okay.

I have a giveaway celebrating 400 followers here for fun beauty supplies, come enter!

And for a wonderful yellow squash recipe, check out my Tex-Mex Squash Casserole, which is featured in a guest post on Recipe Lion.  It was a huge hit with the whole family!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

400 Followers Appreciation Giveaway!

Hey folks!  I'm super excited to have reached 400 followers last week, so I wanted to give away some fun pampering items in appreciation. 
So one lucky person will receive a travel manicure set, an exfoliating glove, a hand made (by me!) beaded keychain lanyard, green nailpolish (I have this exact color myself - I know it's a little crazy but green toes are fun in the summer!), a reusable floral patterned eco-friendly shopping tote that compresses from Old Navy, John Frieda's Secret Weapon (to help your hair survive the humidity), Opi lipstick in a neutral rose tone (Color: Who Comes Up With These Names), and Nicole nic sticks in a neutral beige (Color:  Stick With Me).

To enter you must be a follower, and you must leave a comment.  That's it!  Make sure you leave your email if it isn't visible in your profile.  Winner will be chosen by on August 2 at noon, and I'll ship anywhere.  Winner must respond in 48 hours.  Good luck!

Also, thanks to everyone who entered the Loveable Labels giveaway.  The winner was Meghan from Edible Madness

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Once Upon a Farm

 Figured it was time for a farm update.  All is going well here.  The watermelons have grown even bigger since I took this picture!  We cut into one, but we were just a few days too early - it was nice and pink, but only in the very center.  We ate that part and gave the rest to the horses.  Horses just LOVE watermelon rind!

A word to the wise - watermelon takes over your rows, your plants, your garden, the world outside your garden....well, you get the point.  Selfish little vine. 

Tomatoes have been slow, but it does look like we are going to have some, finally!
I also tried a tomatillo, but it wasn't quite ripe yet either, so we're waiting a bit more on those.  Paul and I are have dreams of salsa verde.

Our teenagers are still thriving.  They have toned down the mohawks - just a tiny bit.

See.  Rebellious chicken pictured on the right brushed down his mohawk for the picture.  He didn't want ya'll to think badly of him (her?).

Canned pickles for the first time!
See that big jar in the middle?
Alas, it didn't make it.  But all the others did.

Letting the pickles cool on the deck outside.  I use the word "cool" lightly, as it was 97.5 degrees outside, so they weren't exactly doing much cooling.
I was worried the pickles would not taste right or would be too squishy, but they turned out crisp and tart and delicious!

And finally, my favorite veggie recipe of the week - zucchini casserole!  
This was a HUGE hit w/ the family - I found it on Amish Stories Blog.
I used ground turkey instead of beef and red pepper instead of green pepper, and I halved the amount of cheese suggested.  It has a wonderful taco flavor and I'll definitely make it again.
This post is linked to WV Treasures Tuesday Show and Tail. 
How does your garden grow this week?  Is it surviving the heat?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna on Muffin Tin Monday

It's Muffin Tin Monday today, so you knew there would be garden veggies around, right?  I don't like to disappoint!
Pierce had roasted turnips, homemade cheesy breadsticks, and lasagna made from layers of sliced zucchini, spinach, tomato sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese.  It was a little watery, but it tasted very good!

Have you checked out my giveaway yet to win some Toddler Toes from Loveable Labels?  You can find it HERE.

For more muffin tin meals ideas, visit Muffin Tin Mom.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oh I'm a Dog, I'm a Working Dog,

Oh I'm a dog,

I'm a working dog,

 I'm a HARD WORKING dog!

Don't even think about coming in this house like that, Scooter!

Psst!  Have you entered my Loveable Labels giveaway to win your little one some Toddler Toes?  If not, go HERE.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Squash and Zucchini Vegetarian Burritos Recipe

I am still on my quest to create fun and exciting squash and zucchini recipes!  My zucchini is almost done I think, but my squash has taken over where the zucchini has left off.  I made burritos the other day from a mixture of squash and zucchini, and they turned out wonderfully.

You will need:
2 medium squash, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. parsley
1 bay leaf
2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. basil

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a good simmer, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until tender.  Remove bay leaf, and use a slotted spoon (it will produce some liquid in cooking) to drain and spread on tortillas.  Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese if desired.  Serves 6.

Friday, July 22, 2011

8th Grade (A Shameful Memory) - Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can blog about your memories and link up.  Everyone is welcome.  This week's suggested topic is 8th grade, although you can blog about any memory and participate.

In December of my 8th grade year we moved across the state.  It was not a move I approved of.  Not one bit.  I wanted to stay with my friends in the school I knew and loved.  In my new middle school, I was no one.  And with my new school being in the suburbs of Washington D.C., I found the students to have a much higher focus on material things - and me without a single pair of Guess jeans.  Fitting in was hard.  On my very first day of school, I walked around all day with a lint sheet hanging out of the leg of my pants.  I was convinced, once discovered, that everyone must've thought it toilet paper.  I knew that was a bad way to start my new life.

But things got worse.  I walked into my Physical Science class, where students were seated in long lab table rows according to last name.  My teacher made everyone in the rows rearrange until I was seated next to the one girl who shared the same last name as me.  Her name was Mary.  She was beyond unpopular.  She had no friends and she didn't bathe regularly.  I loathed sitting next to her.  I would scoot my chair as far from hers as possible, trying to hold my breathe from the stench.  She never spoke to me, and I never spoke to her.  We grandly pretended the other didn't exist.  All we shared in common was our last names.

It was an ill-fated day that the Big Incident occurred.  The teacher was up front lecturing.  I was distracted by Mary, who had her head down on the desk, moaning on occasion.  I didn't bother to ask what was wrong, but wished I could've scooted further to the right, further away from her.  That's when I heard the splat of liquid on the floor.  Mary had thrown up.  If there was one thing, one fear I had, it was vomit.  VOMIT!  Right next to me!  And no one was doing ANYTHING!  I sat, sweating, heart racing, waiting for intervention that didn't come.  No one noticed.  Mary continued sitting there, head on the desk.  The teacher kept lecturing.  The smell kept drifting.  And there was foamy white and yellow vomit right next to my feet.  Finally, I couldn't bear it one more second.  I stood up, and exclaimed, "CAN'T SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?" and then I ran out.  I don't remember the evacuation or what happened to Mary or the clean up.  What I mostly remember is refusing to return to class that day.  I sat in the hall and said I wasn't going anywhere near the vomit.  Little princess much?

Mary didn't return to school for a few days after that.  When she did, we never spoke, and continued pretending the other didn't exist.  I only made one friend that school year, and was happy to move on to high school and better things the following year.  I don't recall ever thinking of the situation from Mary's perspective, or wondering how awful that must have been for her, until I was an adult.  What can I say?  Thirteen year olds are self-absorbed and selfish.  Or at least I was.  Thankfully we grow up and broaden our minds a bit.  I hope that Mary found more happiness in her adult life than in her teen years.

Want to link up to Memory Lane Friday?  Just add your website to the link up below.  Be sure to take the time to visit the blogs of other participants!

I'm taking some time off from Memory Lane Friday, so there will not be one next week.  Thanks for participating!

Got little ones?  Be sure to check out my giveaway for Toddler Toes HERE!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


In May I casually informed Paul that I'd need him to watch the boys Monday nights during the month of June.  He said, "Sure, how come?" and I said, "I signed up for a beginner's sewing class."  Paul didn't quite pass out in shock on the floor, but instead he said, "YOU?!?  SEWING?!?"

Okay, so maybe I'm not so inclined with these sorts of things.  Perhaps he was remembering one of my very first blog posts, (click here to read), a sewing attempt that was almost a complete bust, and even resulted in breaking out the hard liquor.  At any rate, Paul agreed to watch the boys so I could attempt a sewing class.

I warned the teacher the first night that sewing gave me a temper.  She just laughed and told a story about someone that threw her material across the room in a rage.  The teacher then sent her home for the night.  I knew right then that I'd better be on my best behavior!

For my first assignment, I had to pick out something with a zipper, that used material that wasn't slippery, and a pattern that said "EASY".  So I picked out a purse.  I swear, sewing patterns are written in a foreign language.  Because I read that thing a hundred times and I still couldn't understand it.  And this was just the part about cutting out the pattern!

I never would've succeeded without significant intervention from my mom and the teacher.  The pockets were a nightmare, I didn't know what a gusset was, and HELLO they should not make patterns that don't fit the exact size of the zippers you can buy.  Duh!  Oh, and thank goodness for a seam ripper, as I ripped out five seams. 

For my next project I wanted something easier.  I didn't want to go through all that mess again.  So I decided to make a teepee for the boys.  This pattern was so easy - I could understand it and although it was monotonous doing the same thing for each piece, it wasn't difficult.

This time, I only had to remove one seam (sewed it on the wrong side) and I had to redo the PVC pipes because I originally drilled the holes in the short ones instead of the long pieces.  But it turned out well, and is nice because it stashes under a bed.

I don't want to press my luck or anything with this, but I'm tempted to buy some fabric paints and let the boys do hand prints along the sides of their teepee.
I had my fun, I learned some great stuff from my teacher (most importantly, how to read a pattern) and maybe I'll even break out my sewing machine before the dust is 3 inches deep again.  We'll see.  I do want to make some eco-friendly reusable sandwich packs before the school year starts back up...

Check out my giveaway for Toddler Toes from Loveable Labels HERE!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Loveable Labels Toddler Toes Review and GIVEAWAY!

One thing I really love is cute labels.  They make me feel so organized.  And organization makes me happy.  So I'm thrilled to be able to review Loveable Labels.  They have all sorts of wonderful products - like Allergy labels and Original Bag Tags and Press n' Stick Clothing Dots - all customizable with names, colors, and icons.  The had-to-have product for me, though, was the Toddler Toes.  These are stickers you can place in your child's shoes.

So here's why I really needed the Toddler Toes for my twins.  See their devious sweet little faces (having just hidden the seat cushion to this chair)? 
 Well, these two are obsessed with shoe removal in public places.  Grocery store, doctor's office, middle of the mall - you name it - these two take off their shoes.  And then I have to backtrack to try to figure out where the lost shoe was left.  Once, I had an employee at Barnes and Noble come running after me with a shoe I hadn't noticed was missing.

You can put the child's name, address, and phone number on the Toddler Toes.  This way if you lose a shoe, you have a good chance of someone picking it up and giving you a call.  (Note:  I just used our last name because I have 3 boys, and I put sticky note over our phone number since I didn't feel like sharing my cell phone number with the entire internet).
 Note that the Toddler Toes come with the L and R on them, to help your child to learn to tell which shoe goes on which foot.  Genius!  They were easy to apply in the shoes, and you can even wash them and they won't lose their grip.  How great would these be for situations like daycare or preschool - so teachers know exactly which shoes belong with your child?  Cort and Reid were really excited to see the new stickers in their shoes - they ooh'd and ahh'd over them for quite a while! 
So would you love to win some Toddler Toes?  Even if you don't have children, they'd make an excellent original gift for a mom friend!  To enter, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the US or Canada.  Winner will be chosen by on 7/26/11 at noon.  Winner has 48 hours to respond. 
  • To enter just leave a comment telling me who you would use your labels for if you win.  Please make sure to leave your email address if it is not visible in your profile.  
  • For an additional entry, follow @myloveablelabels and @varunner7 on twitter (leave another comment letting me know you've done so).
  • For an additional entry, mention this giveaway on your blog and leave me the link in another comment letting me know you've done so.
Thanks for entering! Good luck!
Disclosure:  One set of Toddler Toes were provided to me free for the purposes of this review, but all the opinions expressed above are my own. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Log Home House Tour! Come on in!

 Normally our house is so overtaken by toys that I don't like people to just stop by.
However, this past weekend I hosted a brunch for new moms to twins, and after a solid twelve hours of cleaning (you know, the type of cleaning where you scrub floors by hand and clean light switches and window panes) I decided to take a few pictures.  I was positively giddy to have such a clean house, just for a day.  I even hid a good number of toys in closets (and outside!), and I felt like I had a grown up house for a short time. 
 I love our house.  Paul and I designed the floor plan ourselves.
It's small but feels so homey :-)

We also did some of the work ourselves - Paul built the countertops and we did all the painting and staining.

A view of the loft -

This is Pierce's room - and no, it's not normally this clean.  And I'm not sure his bed has ever been made before...

The twins' room -

A view inside the loft.
I'm a big reader!

Master bedroom -
 We also have a guest room but I didn't think to take a picture of it.
 Someone brought me this calla lily to the brunch.
Isn't it beautiful?
If I plant this outside is it one of those things that will come back next year?  Anyone know?
Well, by the time this post publishes, there will be piles of dog fur on the carpet and raisins smushed into the hardwoods again.  But it was so nice, just for a day, to feel a sparkling house.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Asian Inspired Muffin Tin Monday with Many Squashes

Thankfully, this week's Muffin Tin Monday went over much better than last week's!  

We went with an Asian theme, in my quest to use up every zucchini and squash in our garden in new and exciting ways.
Pierce had tempura zucchini, sushi rolls w/ cream cheese and zucchini, tempura squash, sweet pickled squash, sesame noodles w/ shrimp and edamame, and tamari for dipping.
This was a really yummy dinner and Pierce declared his favorite thing was the sushi! 
Paul and I happen to love sushi too, and it really isn't difficult to make once you learn how, plus it's quite healthy, so I'll have to start fixing it more often.

For more fun muffin tin lunch ideas, go check out Muffin Tin Mom.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Walking in the Woods on a Sunny Day

Every so often I like to blog about our adventures walking down the old logging road that runs along the base of the mountains, across our property.  Last year I had the twins in the stroller for our walks, but this year they are big boys and can walk along.
I love these little Life is Good rompers that a friend passed along to us, but they seem to be a little big for my skinny boys' necks! 

Pierce and Reid liked to run ahead, while Cort hung back, stopping to pick up and examine each and every stick he found. 

We made it to the end, just barely.
Scooter, our border collie, is always right with us.

Doesn't this look like something that belongs in a rainforest, not Virginia? 

On the walk back I found a millipede. 

Pierce had a grand time letting it crawl all up his arm, and even on his neck.
He laughed, saying it tickled.  Reid watched in fascination. 

But then Reid found a really great rock.  I know it was a really great rock, because he carried it around for about 2 hours. 

A little time running around in the back of the farm truck, burning off the last of the energy before lunchtime. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Easy to Make - Whoopie Pies

First off, congratulations to lucky link up #7, who was picked by to win my vintage peanut butter parfait dishes giveaway.  These will go to DogsMom.   She is always looking out for thrifty finds, so I think they'll go to a good home!

I've never made whoopie pies before, partly because they remind me of the Moon Pie Incident of 1982, and partly because they seem complicated.  But Family Circle magazine had a recipe in their April issue that is so easy - and they turned out delicious!

1 box devil's food cake mix
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp water

1 stick butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350*.  Coat 3 large cookie sheets w/ nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl combine cake ingredients.  Beat on low 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes.  Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350* for 12 minutes.  Let cookies stand on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.

While cakes are cooling, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar, vanilla, and water.  Beat on low speed until blended, then medium-high until smooth.  Spread a heaping tablespoon of filling onto cake.  Sandwich with second cake.