Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I've been keeping myself busy with a few projects lately. First, I found a shelf at a garage sale last summer for $3. It was that ugly 80's golf leaf-looking color, so I painted and distressed it to my liking. Now this little shelf is hanging above our loveseat and has been deemed my "seasonal shelf." My goal is to decorate it according to the holiday/season coming up. Here's what I did for St. Paddy's day. Those four-leaf-clovers in the frame are REAL! Not only that, they're actually from IRELAND! Jim found them when he lived there for two years serving a mission for our church. Besides the frames and clovers, I made everything on the shelf.
Below is my spring look. Most on this stuff is from the dollar store, and then re-painted to my liking, and the plate is from a thrift store. I just cut out the pink vinyl on my silhouette to put on the plate. I painted the frame, and used some scrapbook paper for the mat. Then I cut out "Lil' Chickadees" with some vinyl. The chickadees I'm speaking of are my own two lil' birds. See them there in the pictures looking all sorts of cute? I'm still not sure what to put in the small circular frame. Something spring-ish. Until I figure it out, that cheesy model couple will be there.
So, I felt bad that I haven't done anything for Hunter's room, and I've painted a lot of fun little things for Tralee's. So. . . I went to a favorite craft store, picked up a $10 canvas, and started to paint. I knew I wanted a dinosaur, so this is what I came up with.
Close up:
Not to toot my own horn, but I really like how the "sky" turned out in the triceratops painting. Everything is hand painted, except for the grass and flowers. I cut out the grass and flowers with different scrapbook paper using my trusty silhouette, then modge-podged them down.

Moving right along. . .

I've been thinking an "EAT" sign would look good in the dinning area, so I used some square canvases, paint, paintbrushes stain, sandpaper, soap (yes, I said soap. . .use it between layers of paint, then sand it off, and it causes a cool antique effect), antique crackle, scrapbook paper, and my silhouette and came up with this:
I DID NOT paint the picture below. It was in a frame I bought at a thrift store (used in a different project) but I didn't want to throw away the painting. Someone obviously used their time and talent to paint it, so I proudly hang it in my kitchen next to a funky jar (also found at a thrift store) filled with candy, and a can full of straws. The overripe bananas will be turned into a delish whole-wheat, low-fat, refined sugar-free loaf of banana bread. Seriously, SOOOO good for you and my kids gobble it right up like it's the bee's knees! I also just realized I was talking about a healthy loaf of bread right after showing you a picture of a jar filled with candy. Yeah. . . I'm awesome.
The last two pictures are of my kitchen and living room. I had just cleaned, and we all know how long a clean house lasts around here, so I thought I better capture it.

I recently put the pictures of my lil' chickadees on top of the entertainment center. Not sure if I like them there yet. They might be flying off to a new local soon.

That's all. Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my projects and house.

Until next time. . .

Remember when?

Remember when you were little and piled up all the pillows and blankets to watch a movie? Tralee and her friends, Jovie and Oakley did it the other night. Looks comfy.

They look pretty cute too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Tricks

Tralee has really been into hula hooping. She's been trying and trying to figure it out, and this morning it all came together. We're so proud. Check out the video, but don't mind our appearance, we were all still in our jammies.

Hunter also surprised us with a new trick today. He walked up to Jim, pointed at his own nose, and started whimpering. Upon further investigation Jim discovered Hunter shoved a little Russian stacking doll (the tiniest one) all the way up his nose. Lovely. Luckily, Jim was able to maneuver the little doll right back out. Ah. . . so proud of both our children today. :)

I love my little chickadees.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

Here's my secret: My house is usually messy. I'm not talking about call-the-health-department messy. I'm talking like there's usually toys scattered across the floor, beds unmade, some smudgy face or finger prints on the tv left as a reminder that Tralee or Hunter had been there, a sink full of breakfast's (and sometimes last night's dinner) dishes, cracker crumbs on the counter, and various craft/sewing projects taking over my dinning room table. Don't get me wrong, the messes that NEED to be taken care of, like when Hunter's diaper leaked onto the couch yesterday morning, get my immediate attention. It didn't take long for the steam cleaner to suck up and sanitize my couch back to normal. It's the everyday clutter that takes over my life, and I'm okay with it. . . for the most part. Here's the thing, if you were to call me and say, "Is it okay if I stop by in about an hour?" I would calmly answer you, "Yeah! Sure, come on by. I can't wait to see you!" Then as soon as I hung up the phone I would de-clutter, clean, sanitize, dust, vacuum, and cram each toy into the toy box as fast as I could in an hour. When you'd ring the doorbell, I'd answer and then say something like, "Come on in! Sorry the house is SOOOO messy" knowing full well it looks pretty neat compared to its earlier state. What a little liar I am.

I wish I was one of those people who could keep the house neat and tidy 24/7. I'm not. I let it go until I can't ignore it anymore, or until I'm expecting company. Most of the time it's as described above and I live in perpetual fear that someone will stop by unexpectedly and discover my dirty little secret. Either that or I wish I could just be okay that I'm not the best housekeeper, and not worry about what others would think of me if they found out. Today I actually discovered what would happen if someone discovered my messy secret.

A lady in the neighborhood dropped by with her four-year-old so we could chit-chat and let the kids play for a bit. She had come over before when my house had just had the One Hour Once Over by Leslie. I probably opened the door when she came by last time and did my usual, I'm-gonna-say-sorry-it's-messy-even-though-it's-clean-so-you-think-I'm-an-awesome-housekeeper-bit. Well, today my house was anything but tidy, and to be honest I had a bit of a panic attack when I opened the door and realized it wasn't just the UPS guy dropping off a package. It killed me to say, "Come in, sorry about the mess" and know I was telling the truth. I inwardly kicked myself for not cleaning earlier, and invited my visitor and her son in. Once the shame of being outed as my messy self wore off, I sat on the couch and visited with this woman as the REAL (messy house and all) Leslie. And guess what DIDN'T happen? She didn't point at me and shout, "YOU DISGUST ME WITH THIS MESS!" No one died due to the box of kleenex Hunter pulled off the counter and pulled each tissue out of earlier. And most importantly, my face didn't implode with all the shame and humiliation going on inside. Instead, she and I had a great conversation while our kids played together. She informed me that her house looks about the same as mine, and she felt right at home. The Atari games (yes we own an Atari thanks to Jim's big sister) stayed strewn across the floor, the crumbs on the kitchen counter sat patiently waiting to be wiped up, and the blankets my kids had made a fort out of last night stayed sprawled across the couch while this lady and I talked about our children, weight management, and the appropriate age to teach said children about S-E-X. It was a lovely hour-or-so, and I realized I wouldn't have minded if it continued longer, even with the mess. I also realized this woman had pretty much seen my house as bad as it gets, so anytime she comes over after this will probably be a step-up.

So what did I learn from this experience? My mom would probably answer, "I hope you learned to keep you house clean all the time so this doesn't happen again." Yeah, I wish that's what I learned, but I don't think I'll ever be a Hillary Housekeeper. Don't get me wrong, I like my house clean, I feel better when it's neat and tidy, and I'm a lot less stressed about unexpected company when the floor is freshly vacuumed. It's just that my house never stays clean for very long and I don't want to spend the better part of my life worrying about crumbs, smudges, and a carpet of toys (this raising kids thing goes by way too fast and as people often say, "you'll miss the mess when it's gone"). So I ask once again, what did I learn today? I learned that I shouldn't think the state of my house defines me as a good or a bad person. I am STILL a good wife, mother, crafter, baker, cook, and friend even if I'm lousy at the housekeeping thing. So stop on by (if you dare). Or if you prefer the freshly cleaned look, give me a call about an hour before.

Deep breath

Hello, my name is Leslie and my house is (more often than not) a mess. Pleased to meet you.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some tidying up to do. . . or maybe I'll just go jump on the tramp with the kids instead.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Paddy's Day Clothes

We take the pinching tradition very seriously around here on St. Patrick's Day, so I wanted to make sure my kids were safe with some green outfits. Yesterday it was my mission to come up with some cute green clothes for the babes. Not wanting to spend any money on this little project, I raided Jim's t-shirt drawer and made this St. Paddy's Day dress for Tralee out of some of his older (filled with holes) t-shirts (didn't use the holy parts for the dress mind you). I used this tutorial as my guideline, then cut out some shapes/words using freezer paper with my silhouette, used some fabric paint on various t-shirt strips, then sewed it all together. I think it turned out pretty cute. I made it a little big so she can (hopefully) wear it again next year.

As for Hunty, I cut out a four-leaf clover using some leftover t-shirt material, sewed it onto one of his t-shirts, and cut out some iron-on transfer letters using my silhouette. You can't tell in the picture, but his shirt says, "Lucky Charmer." Cute, and it gets the job done as far as wearing something green is concerned.
Now no one will pinch my kids today (but feel free to load on the kisses).
In other St. Patrick's Day news, we ate green eggs and ham for breakfast (it's tradition) and made a green smoothie (that turned purple) to go with it (still delish). Tralee and I might tackle Irish Soda Bread later on as well. I found a whole wheat recipe that sounds pretty scrumptious. Since Jim's not in town no need to do the big Irish dinner. Maybe when he comes home.
Also, Happy Anniversary of our first kiss to Jim, and Happy Anniversary to my brother Jimmy and his wife Amy as well. To everyone else. . .
Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Grammy Char Char's Visit

My mom came to town for a few days while Jim was gone. It was lovely and we miss her already. Here are a few things that happened during Grammy Char Char's visit:

1. Shopping (a lot)
2. She brought a big bag (think Mary Poppins) full of books, clothes, and games for the kids
3. We went to the movies (Tangled was the movie of choice this visit)
4. Grammy Char Char treated us to delicious meals at nice restaurants
5. Mommy (meaning me, Leslie) got to sleep in while G-Char Char woke up with the kids and took care of their morning routine
6. Things were magically a lot cleaner while Char Char was around
7. We stayed up late watching cheesy chick flicks
8. The kids always had someone willing and ready to read, cuddle, cook, and play at their beck and call.
9. Tears were shed when we dropped her off at the airport.

And now. . .

. . . A few pics from Grammy's camera

A little reading time with Grammy Char Char

In the two pictures below (taken on my phone) one of them Tralee looks goofy, and in the other pic Hunter does. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.

Thanks for visiting Mom, we can't wait for you to come again.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Can kids get much cuter than this?

I seriously doubt it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Hunter melts my heart. He really does. Everyday. He's the snuggliest of my two kids. Tralee likes a good cuddle every now and then (when she's tired or sleeping is the best time to get your cuddle on with Stinks), but Hunty has her beat in the snuggle department. Hunter melts right into you, and then does super sweet things like rub your arm, or softly touch your face. Sometimes when we're laying on the couch Hunty will climb up, lay belly-to-belly, tuck his legs into the fetal position, and shove his arms under his belly. He also likes to shove his arms between you and him when you carry him around, as well as when he's sleeping. He's a tummy sleeper. So am I, and I like to tuck my arms underneath me when I sleep too. Always have. I like these kinds of similarities. They're sweet, and I love it.

I find rocks all over our house. I love that too. It's a little reminder that Hunter had been there. He has to clutch things in his hands at all times. His favorite items include an orange bouncy ball, the Hungry Hungry Hippos balls, a little blond girl toy we have from Little Einsteins, and any rock or pebble he spots while we're outside. Eventually he has to let go of something to pick something else up, thus there are rocks and other treasures in any given area of the house.

Last night Hunter was crying upstairs in the play area. It was his, "I'm ticked off and need help with something" cry. Jim went upstairs, figured Hunty was just tired, and put him to bed. He was tired, and fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, but that wasn't the main reason he bawled. We got the real reason in the middle of the night when Hunter woke up and started complaining about the same thing he did when Jim put him to bed. It was like we hit the pause button by putting him to bed, and as soon as his eyes opened he was on play again. I went into his room, but Hunter would not calm down and kept pointing to the playroom. I decided to go into the play room with him and see if I could figure out what the fuss was about so we could FINALLY get some rest. Hunter said, "Ball! Ball! Ball!" through his tear-stained face. I asked him where and he pointed to the rocking-car and mustered, "under." So, I looked under the car and sure enough there was his little orange ball. I grabbed it, gave it back to Hunter, he whimpered, "Tanks," and we made our way back to bed. He fell right back asleep clutching his favorite little orange ball.

One of my favorite things Hunter does is call his big sister Sweetie. I think he heard me call Tralee this one day, and it stuck. I frequently hear such things as, "Come on Sweetie," "You got it Sweetie!" and "Sweetie, you wan diss?" Melts my heart.

Hunter is a little shy sometimes. His cute little head-tilted-downward-eyes-peeking-up shy face melts my heart too. Whenever we peek in on him in nursery at church he's usually standing on the outside of the action. He has a toy clutched in each hand, and just watches the other kids with a shy little face. When Jim picked him up from nursery last Sunday his teachers said, "We were so surprised today! Hunter actually talked! He walked up to a little puzzle and started counting the pieces, we didn't even know he could talk!" I guess from going from saying nothing to counting to ten was a big shock for them. Hunter sure likes to talk around the house, so it was funny for us to hear his leaders' surprised reaction.

Hunty-Dizzle loves to copy his big sister, this is no surprise. It's mostly a good thing, as he knows most of his letters, some of their sounds, and how to count to ten (sometimes beyond ten, but he's got ten down). Sometimes copying Tralee is not the greatest thing when she's playing with something and he wants to as well. This usually results in a tug-of-war between the two. Sometimes I don't know who had the toy first, so I tell them to "work it out or the toy will go bye-bye." I don't want to choose one child over the other if I don't know who had it first. But when I witness one stealing a toy from the other, I'll usually lend a helping hand. If this doesn't go in Hunter's favor, he'll usually hit me or Tralee. Not good.

My little man still likes to hit. He hits for fun, when he's mad, if he's embarrassed, or when his daddy asks for a kiss. After Hunter smacks Jim, Jim pretends to cry, then Hunty will give him a soft little peck. It's their little game. I'm not sure how to end the hostile hitting when we allow it during these types of games. We should probably start a zero tolerance hitting policy, even when it's for fun. Any suggestion to stop the smacking would help.

Another thing I would like to adopt a zero tolerance policy on is Hunter taking off his diaper. He's really really good at it. Yesterday I was checking my email while the kids were playing with their toys. I saw Hunter run by out of the corner of my eye and noticed he was bare-bummed. I figured all would be well if I finished deleting a few messages, and then put a diaper back on him. A minute later I heard Tralee say, "Ew! Mommy! Corky pooped in the house!" When I went to investigate I saw some poop on the carpet, but it sure wasn't our dog's. It was a little gift from Hunter. I cleaned up the mess, and promised myself to never procrastinate diapering my child again. I also make sure he has pants on at all times. If he has pants on, the diaper usually stays on. If I just let him run around with a t-shirt and diaper (which I do on occasion when we're just chilling at home) he tears it off, and I have to deal with the aftermath.

I love my little boy. Diaperless or diapered, he's such a sweet little ball of joy. I'm so glad I get to be his mom.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hearing Check and Recent Projects

Turns out Tralee's hearing is just fine. Just as I suspected. She did very well at her hearing check. She listened to the doctor and followed directions like a dream. The doctor told me it's amazing she got through all the testing, as some seven-year-olds can't do it. That's my girl! I asked why Tralee might have failed the hearing test at her four-year-check and the dr. said it could have been any variable of reasons. Tralee could have been moving around too much, she could have had water in her ears from that morning's bath, etc. So, we're knowingly relieved at the results. Back to normal programming.
I made a few decorations/crafts for our house lately. I bought some dollar store frames, painted them, and then cut out each state/providence Jim or/and I have lived (with exception Ireland, as it's a country). Then I pasted the state/providence/country on some cute paper, and then placed them in the frames. The two frames that don't hold a place of dwelling are some things I made using this tutorial and then just printed them out. All-in-all this little project cost me around $15 bucks give or take.

I also made this little poster and used modge podge and scrapbook paper to spruce up the mat in the frame. I kinda love it.
Then I moved along to this little project:
And lastly I wanted something for our bedroom so I made this poster using the same tutorial from above, bought a frame at Ross, painted it red, and then viola! Some new art for our room.
I thought Jim would like the project above because it's an Irish wedding blessing (and he loves all things Ireland), but he's not a fan. I have no idea what kind of decor Jim likes. He complains that what I decorate with is too girly. Some of it probably is, but whatever. I just so happen to be a girl, and when I ask for his opinion his answer is always, "Just do what you want." So when he comments, "This looks really girly." I wonder to myself, what would he have done? Bowling Pin lamps? Sports paraphernalia everywhere? Taxidermied (spl?) fish and furry animals hung above our bed and in our dining room, blankly staring at us while we eat and sleep? Maybe a bearskin rug? Or Canadian and Irish flags hanging on every wall? Movie posters to Strange Brew, Back to the Future, and Monty Python, framed and hung where we watch tv? All of this is SO not gonna happen, unless Jim has a Man Cave someday. He can decorated however he wants in his Man Cave. So until then, this is my opinion on the matter: Women should get full say in decorations, and men should learn to say they love it all no matter what, even if I decorate with pink flowers and red hearts in every room of the house (which I won't by the way).

That's all.

A good day to you!

Post Post: After I wrote this and told Jim about how I think he would decorate he said, "Yeah! That's exactly right!" He especially liked my idea about the bowling pin lamps and taxidermied animals everywhere. I love my manly man, and I'm actually warming up to the idea of some bowling pin lamps. That might be kinda funky. I like funky and eclectic, even though funky and eclectic for me always translates into girly. But I think bowling pin lamps would be anything but girly, and I might get some points from the hubster.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tralee's Four Year Check

I took Tralee in for her four-year-old check up. She had a lot of fun talking to her Dr. and his nurses up until the shots came. She had to get FIVE shots! The good news is, no more shots until she's eleven. WAHOO!

Tralee's doctor asked her to count her fingers, hop on one leg, spell her name, and answer some more four-year-old related questions. She answered them all beautifully and the doctor was impressed with her smart little self. She did not, however pass her hearing test, which means I'll be taking her into the ear doctor for further investigation on Friday. I'm not too worried about it, but a little curious to see why she didn't pass. I know Tralee can hear, as I whispered in each of her ears throughout the day yesterday and asked her to tell me what I said. She got it right each time. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes on Friday.

When Tralee got her flu shot a few weeks ago the nurse had Tralee lay down, while I was up by her head holding her hands. I didn't even tell Tralee what was going to happen, and just distracted her by doing silly things. When she got the flu shot Tralee and I were saying the alphabet as fast as we could. She was laughing and before we knew it the shot was over and she had no idea it even happened. My plan of attack was the same for yesterday. When the nurse came in to do the dirty deed I explained to her how it worked so well with the flu shot and she said, "Oh ok." Next thing I knew she turned to Tralee and said, "Okay sweetie. I'm going to give you some shots and they're REALLY going to hurt. You're going to cry and scream and that's okay." WHAT THE HECK!!!!! Did this nurse not just hear what I said? So, instead of being nice and calm Tralee was all tense anticipating each shot. She wouldn't even look at me and do the silly things, her eyes just got big as each needle headed towards her leg. Poor thing. She was really brave though, and only cried a little at the very end. The rest of the day Tralee kept saying, "Those shots had pinchers on them. I did NOT like those shots!" Poor baby.

As far as Tralee's stats go, she's pretty much off the charts with her height. She's 97% for weight and literally off the charts for height. The doctor said something like, "She's about 97% for weight and well. . . over 97% for height, but she's continuing on her healthy growth curve so no need to worry. She's just really tall." In fact, she's about the size of an average six-year-old. No matter how tall she is, she'll always be my sweet baby girl. I just love her so so so much!

So that's what we did yesterday. I'll let you know how the hearing tests go on Friday.