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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Of Halloweenie Things...

I would like to discuss the holiday that is nearly upon us despite what the shelves at Target are screaming out.  Yes, it's Halloween time.  While I'm not a balls-to-the-wall Halloween gal, I totally appreciate those folks who go all out.  You know, if it's your thang - do it like you mean it.  

So, while I do not decorate my house or yard to the nines, or throw a pumpkin-carving party for this, the spookiest holiday on the calendar, I make up for it in my efforts to dress up my kids like a Halloween boss.
{Listen the days are numbered for having coordinating duds so I'm riding that wave HARD until I can't ride it anymore.}
This year, the costumes of choice were of the "Great American Hero" variety thanks to Costco WAY back in September.  We have a Fire Fighter, a Swat Team Member, and an Army Dude.  They could not be more pleased with themselves.
Which leads me to the rest of the family.  A couple weeks ago at dinner, I asked the hubs what he was going to be after telling him what the little men had selected. 
 He said, 
"I guess I'll wear scrubs and be a doctor… that will be easy."
Done.  Perfect.  And then, in that 'slap yo butt, flirtatious husband way' he said, 
"And you should be a nurse… a naughty nurse."
Wink. Wink.
{This is called foreplay for parents people.  Don't judge - you do it too.}

We shared a little laugh and dished up some chicken and potatoes to the little people who were gathered around the table and went on about our bid-ness.
Let's fast forward to a few days later.  My neighbor Mickey drove by.  She stopped to talk to the boys who were out riding scooters and asked what they were going to be for Halloween.  They dutifully replied, and then, my oldest said, 
"And my Dad is gonna be a doctor and my Mom's gonna be a naughty nurse!"

I blushed thirteen shades of red, then we had a good laugh and I chalked another one up to my kids and their non-existent filters.  Wowza.
But this leads me to the sad reality that is Halloween costumes for women.  I mean really, if it ain't kinda risque and borderline inappropriate for a mama to wear, you can bet they won't be selling it on the Walmart shelves.  I would know… I've been looking for a nurse costume and turns out - nurses of the naughty variety are the only viable options.  And hey, I've been there.  I was once Little Red Riding Hood who sported a corset and a mini skirt and blonde braids and it was HAWT.  So let loose and get into character if you'd like.  For me, this year, with the Great American theme we have going on... it seems a little outta place.  Next year maybe we'll be Minions and I'll get that adorable little mini-denim-jumper skirt and revert back to my old ways.

This year, it's looking like I'll be the one at home handing out candy to all the cute little Elsa's of the world.  (We have a running bet as to how many Elsa's there will be and I'm going with 20+)
I'll send out my Great American Heroes to gather their goods  accompanied by their Dad.. the doctor. 
But maybe I'll pull out a little naughty nurse getup for later.
:)

XO
Amber

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One of Those Moms...

So today is my 4th kiddos birthday. The big number 5! All my girls were born in the fall....so it seems that from October til December, I have a decorative mixture of birthday banners and fall leaves and pumpkins. And if I'm being honest, I wish Nate and I would have "planned" things a little more conveniently (like that's possible). Summer birthdays are much more fun and chill..plus I don't have a billion other Holidays to juggle and compete with. 

Anywho..along with birthdays..comes planning and parties. And if you are like me with a whole herd of kids and a to do list a mile long..weeeellll...these birthdays tend to sneak up on me. I have the best intentions of putting on the most incredible party. You know..one of those Pinterest parties..complete with homemade invitations, matching hats and plates with the striped chevron straws; fancy cupcakes set on a white cake stand along with matching jars of coordinating candy..tied perfectly with polka dot ribbon...you know..those ones ;)




Yaaaa...so then I snapped out of my pinning coma, realized I had two days til the big sha-bang and put my big-girl, realistic, mommy pants on. And you know what? A momma who loves her wide-eyed little ball of fire can really pull out some magic when it comes down to it. You know those fab times when, under pressure, you can really nail it? 

So yes...I'm patting myself on the back cuz guys..today I'm having 8 five year old over for a party and we are..wait for it..having a PAINTING party. I know..you think I've lost my mind...but it's washable and guys..girls and painting are a winning combo...they love drawing pics and it takes up lots of time...therefore, I don't have to come up with any other activities or pin the tail on anything games. Applause all around.

This was the pic that started it all



And in reality, we won't have canvas or easels or aprons for that matter..hello..cha-ching. But we will have tables and pieces of poster board and maybe some paper towels ;) And we'll have cupcakes and candy..and really, what more does a 5 year old little gal need? Ok..so maybe I did splurge (to the tune of $3.99 for four..thank you Hobby Lobby) on these bad boys..but can you blame me?



So in the grand scheme of life, I may not be a fancy-party, overachiever, match-matchy party mom. But I don't fall into the never-throw-a party, lazy bum of bum moms either. Nope...I've decided I'm a middle of the road, realistic, gotta party and do real life with a real budget kinda mom. And I'm down with that.



XO
Ashley

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Orange is the New Black...


Hey friends!  It's fall break around here.  Which means exactly two things:

1.  I will make a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies using my recipe perfected.  Really, though, we have a winner here.  DING DING DING!
and
2.  I will be deer hunting with my beloved and the three little amigos this weekend.  That's right, sporting blaze orange and eating pine nuts in a truck while wielding a rifle.  Do I sound like I could be a part of the Duck Dynasty clan yet?  Good.  Because I totally could.  And I have some mixed emotions about deer hunting, and I don't mean to offend any of you who lean far to the left, but mostly, I enjoy feeling that if things went terribly south and Ebola took over the globe and I had to hit the hills with my family and dine on venison roasted over a fire… I could do it.  But please… team work.  Let's all wash our hands and try to keep that apocalypse from happening any time soon and focus on this buttery yellow autumn that we're basking in right now, OK?
OK, then…
THE Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cups canola oil
1/4 cup molasses (it makes me feel either incredibly fancy to use molasses in a recipe or incredibly southern… you know?  I channel my inner Paula Dean when I pull out a jar of molasses)
2 cups sugar
1 can of pumpkin (Approximately 1 3/4 Cups)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla

Dry ingredients
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
(*alternatively you could use 1T pumpkin pie spice because we never frown on efficiency)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
As many chocolate chips as you need… and listen, I'm not one to judge, but I've come up with an artful mix of semi-sweet in both mini and regular size that seems to morph into perfection in this recipe.

Mix wet and dry ingredients until smooth, then drop by the spoonful onto your cookie sheet using a scoop.  For those that really care about aesthetics, just know that the way you plop the dough on the pan is the way it comes out of the oven on a slightly more puffy scale.  So - you've been warned.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Be prepared to have your neighbors think of you a bit more fondly.  I know, I know, like that's even possible - but seriously - this bakes up a SERIOUS batch of goodness.  So there's plenty to share.  

See you next week when I'll be hosting a deer jerky giveaway!  What?  You're lining up already?  :)
Oh the confidence of this huntress… I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

XO
Amber

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pity Party...

I will admit it. I've been having a massive pity party for myself lately. It's really been quite lame..with no balloons, cake or confetti.



It started out a few weeks ago when our computer went ka-put (it did give us a long 8 years so I wasn't complaining...until...) our smart TV (of just 2 1/2 years) started turning off and on every two minutes..on the dot..it may or may not have been possessed but it cost me $350 bucks to cast out the demons aka replace the MainBoard.

A few weeks later Nate went out to edge the lawn  forest (because guys..I'm a lawn mowing pro but that edger gives me grief and Nate had been MIA for about a month or so). He got one side of the front yard done when it gave up the ghost. And I'm not lying when I tell you that I seriously considered taking a pair of scissors to the edge of our outta control lawn. 

A week later while in mid-mow, the lawn mower busted a gas line..leaked gas all over my lawn and was benched. Do you want to come to the pity party yet?

And if things weren't bad enough, I was driving the Suburban home from St. George two weeks ago (you see where this is going) when my transmission blew. This put my minor pity party event into a full-blown, firework, celebrity-status celebration. Why can't it ever be just the gas cap that breaks?

And to top it all off, my husbands job requires me to be a single-mom until far too late each night...leaving all the dinner prep, dinner dishes, homework helping, bath time, and tucking into bed all to yours truly. Lucky me!

And you know..I get it. I really do...you guys are all nodding your head because you have been there..or you are there..or you have it even worse. 



And really I know this is all part of life and things are always gonna be hard and there will always be challenges to rock our boats. But sometimes it builds and builds and builds and you start to forget all of the wonderful things in and about your life because all of the bad have been taking over...or in my case, I was letting them take over me. Sheesh..this is getting serious...but just humor me for a few...

So two days ago..as I was sitting in church, I had a little tender mercy..an ah-ha moment..the light bulb finally turned on. And it happened as I watched this video.


I realized that I was giving so much of my time and thoughts and energy to all of the negative things happening in my life that it was clouding my vision of all the good. And as I was telling the hubs later that night how our 3 year old came running into the kitchen butt naked..beyond excited to tell me to "come see" that she had pooped in the potty....he reminded himself and me that those were the positive, good things we should be focused on. Yes people..potty training! 

We have so much good and it will ALWAYS outweigh the bad. But sometimes it gets hard to see..especially when you have to spend $3100 on a new tranny but the good news was that the lawn mower part was only $6 bucks. See..this is me focusing on the good;)


So the lesson here is that it's OK to get bummed over the crap that does or does not happen in our lives.. it's part of being human. But we can't dwell on it. It will inevitably lead to your own pity party and let me tell you..no one wants to come to your pity party! Oh and go to church..lesson numero dos;)

XO
Ashley


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wendy Peffercorn...

It seems Ashley and I have ourselves a little theme of late... "Lotioning, Oiling... Oiling, Lotioning" a la Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot.  Tell me you know what I speak of?  If not... the shame!  :)
Anywho... here I am today shedding some light on my latest lotion - it may just qualify for potion status because it's that good.  I present to you, Green Cream.
A couple of weeks ago I swear I reverted to fifteen-year-old status.  My skin was out of control.  HOW can I be in my thirties and be sporting acne?  It was embarrasado.  In a truly passive fashion, I asked my hubs to ask the Dermatologist what I should be using to avert the disaster like the "third eye" I was currently sporting.  He dutifully came home and reported, "You should probably consider Retinol??"  You should have heard the clueless inflection in his voice, God bless him.  "But he said he would have to meet with you for an examination before he could really prescribe anything."

Let me tell you... that was all I needed.  I got my Internet researching specs on after the brood was in bed and surfed the world wide web like my life depended on it.  (Yep, I said World Wide Web like a boss because I like to throw out a little vintage verbiage every now and again)  After much humming and hawing and excessive review reading, I landed on this baby-- and girls?
I ain't never gonna look back.

Here's the brief and un-scientific skinny on Retinol:
-It is a derivative of Vitamin A which is a key building block in hair and skin
-It minimizes the appearance of pores and scars
-It diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 
-It reduces the frequency and lifecycle of blemishes
-It is the most effective anti-aging and skin repair treatment available.

Read no further for this gal.  I ordered the goods and upon receiving my Green Cream I followed the instructions like an 'A' Student.  

I utilized the cream for two days straight and on days three and four I did notice some flaking.  I washed my face on day three, skipped the cream, and moisturized with Aquaphor that night, and on day four things were looking amaze-fest-USA and I was a clear-skinned happy camper.  

OK, fine, I'll shoot straight with you, I was basically doing cartwheels and considering submitting pics of my mug for any future ad campaigns that Green Cream might want to contact me to star in.  *It goes without saying the lovely people at Green Cream have no idea who I am - I just REALLY have a testimony of their product, so should they catch wind of this, they should know I stand at the ready.  You know, in case Wendy is unavailable.
 Bottom line... if you're having Macne (that's Mom Acne, and yep, I just had that little stroke of genius) give it a whirl.  Even if it doesn't clear up your skin, the other benefits are worth the bucks you'll spend for this little bottle of potion.

Now go ahead and say it with, "She knows exactly what she's doin'."
Yeah we do, ladies... Fist bumps.
XO
Amber

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Prickle Stickle Fix...

Do you guys remember way back when...when I discussed all things razor bumps in the Prickle Stickle post?

If yes, then five points for you...if not..then shame on you;) and let me catch you up.

As fellow ladies, who I'm gonna assume keep their lady parts trimmed and groomed, you know what a pain razor burn is...literally. Shaving cream, special razors, sharp razors, lotion..nothing seems to keep those nasty bumps at bay. Am I right? I'm soooo right. Cuz I had nearly given up and was seriously considering getting one of these puppies that I had been almost suckered into #infomercials for the crazy low price (please tell me you can sense my sarcasm) of $495.00. Whaaa? I know right? I  was even crazy enough to think I could convince Amber to go in on it with me (until I remembered that she lucked into the  real deal #nomorehairforlife) and besides that's not weird right? To share a hair removing laser? Desperate I tell you.



Enter a lifesaving text from my sister-in-law



She promised this cheap, sketchy-looking bottle that she purchased for a whopping 8 bucks from Walgreens would fix all my red bump, post-razor probs..for reals. And since I'm clearly a sucker and quick believer (note above comments on million dollar laser) I finally found this gem on Amazon for $11 (price you pay for not living in a big city..and yes I checked Walmart..and no they are not carriers) 

And it was a little like Christmas when it came in the mail two days later..thank you Amazon Prime. I quickly got everything trimmed up nice and neat and then rolled on the bottle of red bump preventer. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. And by the third day, there were still no signs of red, annoying bumps anywhere. It really was a miracle...(insert the heavenly choirs of angels singing a "hallelujah" and a few "thank the Lords." 

And I waited to blog about this until it had been tried and tested by yours truly....cuz I'm all about taking one for the team to better all y'alls lives. You and your better half can thank me later. And for all of you doubters out there...I've tried it twice now with the same fab, bump-free results. So you can rest assured it will be 11 bucks well spent on a product that I can and will vouch for..and duh..this is not a paid advertisement.



And while we are not out of the shaving woods just yet, we have tackled and conquered the red bump issue. Next..is the inevitable prickle stickle. Anyone want to go in on the half a grand laser? ;)

XO
Ash

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Friday Night Experience...

When the hubs and I were sitting at home one Friday night in the throws of new-parent-hood we had this realization that we had arrived at the bottom of the social totem pole.  I'm not exaggerating... we had a one-year-old and a three-month-old and having someone come babysit was expensive and seemed totally laughable since I couldn't even prop my eyelids open with toothpicks past eleven pm.  

We were talking about what a change this was for us, {former play boy and girl of nearly ten years} and my mama threw out this term like it was as commonplace as the color red.  "Oh yes..." she quipped, "You've arrived at the good old days of 'The Friday Night Experience'." 

"What?" I asked, like the rookie I was who was so obviously unaware of the YEARS of Friday night experiences ahead of me....

"Yep, you can't/won't/don't want to go out on a weekend for the myriad of reasons that parenthood piles up on your doorstep, so you start to do the 'stay in' thing like your life depends on it.  Probably because it does."

And listen that realist of a lady hit the nail on the head.  Don't get me wrong... I love those little boys more than flies love stink... but the whole feel of a weekend has changed nearly one hundred percent.
SO...Now that our boys are five, four and three (yeah - I said that) and we don't put them down at 7:30 then live it up 'til midnight... we have arrived at what we call "Friday Fun Night".  The recipe for this is simple for our little trio of terrors.  Dinner+Movie+Treat = Friday Fun Night.  Usually we let them lay out their sleeping bags and a heap of pillows in the playroom and then we press play, hand over the popcorn, and race out the door before someone needs to go potty or wants a refill.  When the mister lays out the ground rules he usually says genius, sales-y things like, "If you just stay up here and watch nicely you might even just fall asleep and you'll get to have a sleepover!"

Yeah.  This ain't his first Friday Fun Night.

Then (and here's where it gets good) we start our Friday experience.  Ry or I race down the hill to collect some adult take out.  We're on a Rumbi salad kick right now, and really, who can blame us?  Then we either pop in an adult Red Box or we watch an episode or two (or three if we're feeling supremely wild) of Orange is the New Black.  Man it is SO BAD and SO GOOD!  

We find on Friday's it's ridiculously difficult to balance our children's physical safety and well-being along with our own desire to remain motionless and unplugged from our parental status.  Last Friday the movie the boys selected was The Muppets something or other and it must have been a total flop.  All of them piled into one slickery sleeping bag and were going to slalom down the stairs together.  We had witnessed them have success with this many times as individuals, so we were 95% sure they would be fine even though it looked harrowing for the three-year-old, in particular.  So, we nonchalantly yelled, "Careful you guys!" which, of course, served no other purpose but to relieve us of some guilt and possibly distract them just long enough to cause a slip-up in their epic plans.  You know.
On the docket for tomorrow?  It's big you guys.   Feel free to duplicate our rad Friday plans at your own household if you're cool like us and you're going to bring out the big guns.  :)  It goes something like this: Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy's for the posse (Holla October!) followed by caramel apples and a showing of Turbo.  Jeal to the ous... right? 

The mister and I?  Well, I plan to pick up Cafe Rio for two and I'm throwing a bone to my boyfriend and reserving Draft Day - because nothing leads to a literal happy ending like a sports themed movie for your hubs, eh?

Dude.  Bottom of the social totem pole.  I told you.  I told you.
Cheers to another few years of the "Friday Night Experience".

XO
Amber