Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Have you ever....

Ever have one of those weeks where it just feels like you can't quite get on top of everything?

Where... as you pack up your suitcase, your one year old simultaneously empties it, and you get so frustrated that you eventually get out a separate suitcase and fill it with clothes (doubling your mess in the process) just so she leaves your own stuff alone?

Where... while you're sweeping up the crumbs from breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner, you have to stop every 30 seconds because the three year old won't stop pushing the one year old over and making her cry/scream/shriek/break-my-ear-drums?

Where... you load up the kids to get to the three year old's dance class and as you are strapping your violently shivering kids into their car seats you realize that you had dressed them like it was 70 degrees out when it's actually 30 degrees out?

Have you ever had a week like that?

I'll just assume your answer is yes so that I can pretend that I'm not alone in wanting to curl up under the covers and binge watch The Bachelor while my children roam free and empty my suitcase... again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rodeo 2015!

I hope you're having a good week! 

I mentioned last post that one of my goals for this year is to embrace more of the cultural things our city has to offer. Well, you don't get much more cultural than going to the rodeo!

Back when I was single and when Mr. San Antonio and I were first married I loved going to the evening portion of the rodeo - you get a little bull riding, and little mutton busting, and a fun concert to close the night. Now that we've got little ones in tow (who HATE - I cannot emphasize that enough - loud noises) the evening portion is really out of the question. HOWEVER!!! (Do those exclamation points make me sound excited? Because I am!) Having The Princesses has led us to discover the stock show portion of the rodeo and it may now be my favorite part of the whole rodeo experience. (You can see a few pictures from last year here)

Seriously - my girls LOVE wandering through the animals. You get to watch them getting bathed, brushed, and fed. Each animal has been raised and cared for by a young person - and those kids are excited to tell you all about their cow, goat, sheep, pig, bunny, etc. 



There is also a wonderful petting zoo with everything from baby goats, deer, and llamas, to donkeys, ducks, and the list goes on. The girls are in their version of heaven. Burrow kept saying "Hi" to all the animals...



And Rufflebum was able to satisfy her constant curiosity by observing everything about the animals. At one point I noticed her squatting down almost completely under the calf with a very serious expression on her face. All of the sudden the calf walked off and Rufflebum stood up - obviously processing something in her head. I looked down and noticed a large pile of poop. She had been watching the calf poop. 

I decided not to take that experience any further and distracted her with the duck that was waddling past. And then some baby goats...



It's a really good thing my parents went with me and the girls. I was on the verge of a panic attack the entire time we were in the petting zoo. I would say my fear is irrational... but look at the size of this llama!! My dad is 6' 4"!! I'm completely rational to have this fear!


And as soon as you walk in the goats start sniffing around you looking for loose buckles, string, or fingers to nibble on. Eek!!


But, my parents were cool, calm and collected. I'm so glad they did not raise me on a farm. I would have died from panic attacks.



But look how much they love this!! I'm glad irrational animal fear seems to have skipped a generation.



My mom convinced me to go into the pen so that I could watch the girls' faces and take photos. That is the ONLY reason I went in. Because I love my girls. I will do all sorts of ridiculous things for them.  And I knew there was a washbasin right outside the door. 

So, in conclusion - this is my PSA - the rodeo is tons of fun for all ages! And even my distrust of animals cannot and does not stop me from enjoying traipsing through animal poop in order to get to the corn dogs and chili cheese fries. 

Yeehaw!
The Pampered Bird

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentines Weekend

It was 3:30 in the afternoon on Friday. I had taken the girls to the park to play because it was that absolute perfect temperature... jeans, t-shirt and a light weight scarf kind of weather. Rufflebum was riding her bike around with a couple of boys and Burrow was collecting rocks. I was in the middle of a "it's a small world" moment...

I had invited a new friend - A. - to meet me at the park. While waiting for her, a gal H. arrived. H. and I run into each other about every six months at this park... and so we were catching up when A. arrived. After introductions the three of us started talking and very quickly A. realized that she and H. had some mutual friends. Not only that - but A. had been in a small group with some of Holly's friends and had prayed for Holly when her baby had been born prematurely last year. What?! How cool is that!? 

Anyway... in the middle of all this my phone rings, and Mr. San Antonio informs me that he is locked outside of our house with two gallons of milk. Into the car we go and off to home we race. 

After getting the milk in the fridge, Mr. SA tells me that he has planned a date for us that night - a picnic in the park after exploring a Picasso Tapestry exhibit at the Museum of Art. What?! How cool is my husband?! 

One of my goals for this year is to do a better job of embracing the many different cultural aspects of our city. Last month we went to the missions as a family. This month I got to wander around our Museum of Art. What will I do next month!?

Ok, so back to Valentines which was the whole point of this post... 

On Saturday we got to spend the morning at the zoo with some friends from out of town. Jess and I have been friends since college and keep in touch fairly regularly but our girls and husbands had never spent time together... so this was really special. 

That night I got to do something nice for Mr. SA and I made him a special dinner and baked a chocolate cake. 

It was really fun getting to do special things for each other this weekend. And hands down this was the best Valentines I've ever had. I think the reason was because I was more focused on the dinner I was going to make for him and I hadn't set up expectations in my head about what he should do for me. Often I find that the times I get frustrated or disappointed with things in our relationship, its because I'm only thinking about what I should get from him, rather than what I can give to him. Seems like a simple insight, but it really is true. I'm much happier when I focus on what I can do better than what he could do better. 

I hope you had a great weekend! If you need a dinner idea for this week you can check out one of these family favorites:

Happy Monday! 
The Pampered Bird

P.S. As I was writing this Rufflebum came out of her room (during her rest time when she's supposed to stay in her room and do quiet things). I told her to go back into her room. She said she would be sad if she went into her room. I told her she would be really sad if I gave her consequences for not going back into her room. She told me, and I quote "You're frozen, croquet, go away." But she went back to her room. So I'm going to consider whatever threat that was supposed to be, to be a shallow one at best. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites!

This is something new for this little blog... but today I'm doing something called "linking up" with some other bloggers. Basically we all write about a given topic and then "link" our pages together to make it easier for readers to jump from blog to blog. 

The hosts for today's "Friday Favorites" link up are Narci, Andrea, and Erika

So - here are my three Friday Favorites:

1. Playing at the Park

(She's talking to someone - not crying!)

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week and we've celebrated it by playing at the park. This is a great outlet for Rufflebum because she can show other kids how to go head first down the slides and chase the boys around with sticks. It's a great outlet for Burrow because she has a host of new people to "talk" to and discuss her opinions about the world. 

2. Valentines

(Sister love)

(Rufflebum loved making Valentines for her friends and family this year! And yes I was drinking a beer while she made Valentines - ha!)

Mr. San Antonio and I aren't super gushy romantic and don't buy each other things for Valentines, but I do appreciate having a season each year to really reflect on our relationship and think through the things I am especially grateful for in him. In the busyness of everyday life it can be easy to overlook our relationship and start to take him for granted. And for some reason, all the heart balloons and flowers and sappy commercials help me remember to really look at him and tell him how much I appreciate him.

3. Speaking Truth

This hot cultural topic this week has been the new movie 50 Shades of Grey. There have been many articles written and read this week about the movie (and book) and all the reasons we shouldn't go and see it. I've personally read several good articles, but my favorite so far has been this one by Kristen Anderson. She starts to cut to the heart of the issue. The reason why so many people are drawn to this story. And she closes with this, 

"Christian conservatives in particular have been working hard to combat the damage this series is primed to do, sounding the alarm about its glorification of pornography, domestic abuse and degradation.  But there’s another front Christians need to be fighting on, and for once, it’s not one where we’re on the defensive.  Forget the porn for a minute; forget the abuse.  In Fifty Shades, we have a story that has touched the hearts of millions of women, and underneath its filthy exterior, at its core, it’s about unconditional love and redemption. 

This is our home turf, people … this is our story. If a hundred million people will shell out for a counterfeit paperback version of a love we live every day, we should see that not just as an attack, but an opportunity. 
Love is our story.  Let’s tell it better."
And I agree. Let's tell it better. Because the truth is that we can take away this movie, we could get rid of all porn, we could end all abuse, but just getting rid of the negative things doesn't actually fix the root problem. Our "sinful acts" are just the symptoms of our broken hearts. And we will keep turning to new things over and over and over until we fill our hearts with Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can truly bind up the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1). 
This morning I was reading in 1 Peter 3, and verse 15 really struck me: "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."
This movie and the cultural conversations that are arising because of it, are offering us a perfect opportunity to share with others the hope that is in Jesus. So I want to encourage you (and me!) - instead of just denouncing the movie to our friends - let's tell them about the real hope and love that can be found in Jesus! 
Happy Valentines Weekend friends!
The Pampered Bird

Monday, February 9, 2015

What We Are Eating

What we are eating - February Edition!

I've found myself making the same few recipes this winter... and the one below is a family favorite on cold rainy days. 

This is adapted from a recipe I found a year or two ago in a Real Simple magazine... which I no longer have. But here is my version or Sausage, Potato and Kale Stew

If you have 10 minutes of uninterrupted time - that's how long it will take to prepare. But, if your house is anything like mine... it might take you longer (as you'll see below). 

What you'll need:
Crock Pot 

1-2 TB Olive Oil (optional)
1 lb sausage (I use mild Italian)
1 medium onion (chopped)
3-4 red potatoes (depending on size - cut into 1in pieces)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 TB Italian seasoning
1/2 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
1 small box (or bag) of baby kale (depending on what your grocer has)


How I made it:

First I put a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the bottom of my crock pot.

Next I put in the sausage (and this will sound weird)... but for the sausage, I just squeeze the meat out of the casings, break it off in 1 inch pieces, and just throw the raw meat into the crock pot (there may be a better way of describing my method... but I'm not a food blogger and am not going to take pictures of myself squeezing sausage... so you'll just have to figure this step out on your own). I promise the meat cooks completely in the crock-pot - but if you have your doubts, then you are welcome to brown your sausage first.

As soon as my hands were completely covered with raw sausage meat, both of my girls started crying for milk and a snack as though they were about to pass-out from dehydration and starvation.


I scrubbed my hands, and met their needs.

Next I chopped my potatoes and onion.

In the middle of chopping the onion, I look down and realize that Burrow has stuffed her mouth with old, stale, blue playdough that she dug out from who-knows-where. I quickly weighed the pros and cons of letting her crunch on old playdough, and decided that sticking my onion smelling fingers into her mouth to remove the blue gunk was the best option.

She disagreed. And loudly told me so.

I scrubbed my hands again, finished chopping the onion and put the onion and potatoes into the crockpot.

Then I moved on to the can of tomatoes.

"What are you doing mommy?" Asked Rufflebum.
"Making dinner."
"What are you dooooing?"
"I'm opening a can of tomatoes."
"Why?"
Taking a deep breath, "because the stew tastes better with tomatoes."
In a disgusted voice she says, "I don't like tomatoes."
"Fine," I reply absentmindedly.
"I don't like stew."
"Fine," I reply again.
"What are you doooooing?"
Realizing this could go on for awhile, I say, "Now, I'm putting seasoning in the stew."
"Why?"
"Because potatoes taste better when they are seasoned."
"I don't like potatoes."
"Fine!!!"

Rufflebum then got distracted by the fact that Burrow was digging in the trashcan and decided it was her job to lecture Burrow on how rude/disgusting/degrading it is to chew on things out of the trash.

After I remedied that situation, I poured some chicken stock in the crock pot until the meat and veggies were covered with liquid. I quickly opened the box of kale and layered the kale on top of the stew. Put the lid on and turned it on to low.

After cleaning up I realized I had completely forgotten the garlic. But Burrow smelled like she needed a new diaper and Rufflebum was jumping on the sofa and requesting "Elmo" in a singsong voice that was getting louder and louder... so I decided garlic wasn't crucial this time around and instead I dealt with more pressing matters.


So, as you can see, it took me longer than 10 minutes to prepare this meal. But that doesn't mean it will take you longer than 10 minutes.

A few side notes:
I cook it on low 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

Also, the original recipe doesn't have the potatoes in the stew - instead you serve the meat stew over mashed potatoes - which is also really good but adds a little more time and requires me to wash more pots... so I started throwing the potatoes right into the stew. :)

Lastly, this is great with some crusty bread! But I won't give you the recipe I used most recently for ciabatta bread.... because mine came out like ciabatta crackers... ha!

Enjoy! 
The Pampered Bird

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Birthday Pictures!

January 5th was Burrow's 1st birthday, and January 19th was Rufflebum's 3rd birthday! 

I don't know how this got started... I must have seen it somewhere else, but we've been doing family celebrations at breakfast on the day of the girl's birthdays. The night before I put some simple decorations on the table and prepare a fun birthday breakfast. I also get a balloon and some flowers to have waiting at their chair.  So far it's been a big success and minimal stress - so I think the tradition will continue! 


Above are some pictures of Burrow's birthday breakfast!
Below are pictures of Rufflebum's...



The girls' birthdays are exactly two weeks apart - so we had a big family party the weekend in the middle. It was really special. My grandparents, one of my uncles, and all my siblings came into town for it. 


There are three cakes because my nephew is the only other grandbaby on my side and he came into town so we celebrated him too!


Me and my birthday girls!


All three birthday kids!



After all the festivities Rufflebum passed out on Mr. San Antonio - he loved it. :)


And that sums up birthday month at our house! 
Hugs,
The Pampered Bird

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February Goals

It's the first week of February! And at least for today I think everyone in our house was feeling well. Lets hope that January took all the colds/allergies away from our house! Seriously - ever since I had the flu the week after Christmas, the girls and I have been passing colds back and forth between us. Allergies have been horrible in our area too so that may play a part. But really. Enough is enough.

February looks like it's going to be a fun month!

- Mr. San Antonio will have his annual family hunting trip
- Rufflebum will pass out her first Valentines (she really hasn't been old enough to "get it" until this year)
- Burrow is bound to take off with walking (she took her first couple steps this past weekend)
- And I get to ditch town for a dear friend's bachelorette weekend!!

Woohoo! 

In addition I have set a few goals for myself this month. 

And I'm in a list-making mood, so I'll list them for you too. Do other people even care about my goals? Hmmm... if not, you can skip to the bottom where I have some cute Rufflebum quotes for you. 

My February Goals: 

1. Continue doing the "Divine Mentor" style journaling when reading the Bible 

As someone who grew up in a protestant/evangelical church, I've been doing "quiet times" for a long time. "Quiet time" is a Christian phrase used to describe someone spending focused time with God - reading the Bible, praying, etc. 

But I have to admit, that after reading The Divine Mentor, I realized that my "quiet times" were pretty analogous to a teenage girl's diary. It was a lot about my feelings, my whining, my dramatic emotions. The Divine Mentor has given me a very focused - grown up - way of interacting with the Bible. 

2. Create a little more structure for my day

Really this is for the benefit of the girls. I find myself waking up in the morning and thinking, "hmmm what should we do today", And my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-yoga-pants strategy is causing some issues for the girls. 

3. Read more to Burrow. 

Reading to Rufflebum came very naturally. Partly she was my only one so there was more time for it. But she also seemed more interested (of course now that I type that I wonder if I'm just remembering wrong...). Regardless, Burrow pushes the books away and dives out of my lap to grab other toys. I've started just reading to her while she plays around me in the room and letting her listen while I read to Rufflebum even if she's not sitting quietly with us. I have not done any research on this - but am telling myself that it is beneficial to her and that she's absorbing more than I realize?

4. Be intentional with my marriage. 

For the first time in almost four years I'm not pregnant or nursing.... so I'm trying to pull away from my kids a bit and intentionally focus on the things I adore about my husband. There are a lot, but sometimes I have to remind myself. In the hectic days of little ones, it is easy to remember that I love his help with bath time, or that I appreciate that he'll happily eat a sandwich for dinner. But there are a lot of things I love and appreciate about him that aren't related to him as a daddy to our girls, or as a second pair of arms around the house. 

The verse I'm praying over my marriage right now is Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is nay excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things."

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Alright. Those are my goals this month. As promised here are a few things I've overheard Rufflebum saying around the house...

"When I obey, it makes Jesus happy." (said after she helped me with some chores around the house)

"I don't want baby Jesus to be a boy, I want baby Jesus to be a girl." (while frantically searching for a "manger")

"I have two babies in my tummy. Their names are JuJu and Alice. They use pacifiers. But they aren't in my tummy anymore." (said while eating a snack at the table)

"You need to be quiet. I'm working." (while playing on her "computer")

"Don't ever, ever, ever, ever touch hot tea." (Said while wagging her finger in my face)

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Alright - I'll leave you with this picture of the girls embracing after a day apart last week. So cute!! 

Hugs,
The Pampered Bird


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