Friday, July 26, 2013

fitting it all in

I have one hour before party prep begins. One day before my sisters visit. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! And one week before a big family beach vacation. !!!!!!!!!!!!! Everything backs up to the other, no breaks in between. Thankfully each event is fun and something to look forward to. After today's little dinner part for two special people's 25th wedding anniversary, I'll tidy up for the girls to arrive and do some of the bulk of our packing for our trip. Then, we'll have fun with the girls and be on our way to a much needed and anticipated time away! Fitting it all in, along with the every day tasks of a wife and mom may be a bit challenging, but it will be good in the end and will work out! Do you have any special tips to share how you fit all the every day craziness in?

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Two days ago I made a plan for myself. I am not the most organized person. I am not overly scheduled. I don't tend to finish things either. Yet, I crave it all. So, I thought I'd try to set out with a new routine. I try out a new routine and then not long after I settle into it, bam! something happens. I am off my routine, dangling around to find a new one to mesh with what has currently been put on my plate. It's a  plan, rinse, repeat, kind of thing. So, like I said, I made a plan for what our day would be like and then wallah! we were under the weather, cranky, and completely out of sorts. I have been absolutely exhausted which leads me to feeling under the weather and worn out. Gus has been more out of sorts than Will and he woke up sick this morning. So my plan has gone out the window for our routine.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Why do I find myself wanting to do so much and change so much, yet not actually do much at all? My days are full and endless, but my lists never shrink. My mind is on overdrive, but my body has its emergency break on. I have been extra tired lately and I do get lazy from time to time. I want to have the clock stop for the day, freeze life, have some energy, and catch up, get into a routine again and get my groove back. I want to be physically active again. I want to run. I want to notice and feel myself getting into shape. I want that routine that is just right for me. I want to finish things and be more well rested and less on edge. I want my time in prayer. I want to feel, and truly be, caught up on my random to do list so I can focus on the regular day-to-day, accomplish what needs to be done and have time to relax, unwind, enjoy, and feel rested. I want to create, whether it be in my journal, on my blog, through my photography, or being crafty. I want to stay updated in my writing. I always regret not recording my thoughts on time, or at all. And I like to do it. I always say I am going to, and don't. It's part of starting, but not finishing things. Maybe this can be a day one (again) for me. I've been wanting to go on my walks with the boys like I was doing after Nina left, but it has been so rainy which isn't good for walking the little men. Here is a good routine for a day in our life: 

Boys wake up
Change diapers
morning walk or boys breakfast (depending on what time they wake up and their moods)
*pray during our walk
breakfast if we didn't eat before our walk
playtime/facetime Grandma
*work on chores while boys are playing and talking to Grandma
naptime for boys and shower for momma
*if boys are still napping, check e-mail and get organized for the day
go to Mass (bring bottles along) - on days that it is doable 
*days we do not go to Mass, use this time for daily chore
naptime for boys and free time for momma - do something enjoyable, or nap!
dinner prep
feed boys
dinner for us and playtime for them
bathtime and bedtime for the boys
tidy up from dinner and the day
time to relax from the day
10/10:30 bedtime for me

Maybe I can try this tomorrow. I know not every day can go as planned, but I want to make an effort to have some routine that works!

To any stay-at-home mommas out there, or mommas of twins +, do you have any tips on how to keep to a routine?

Friday, July 12, 2013

my take on martha's one-pan pasta

A few nights ago I posted about and made Martha Stewart's One-Pan Pasta dish. I made a few changes to it that I thought I would share. It was a hit and I cannot wait to make it again next week! I did not add the red pepper flakes because a few of us aren't big on spicy dishes and I didn't want to chance it. I figured if anyone wanted to add a little extra heat, they could sprinkle some on their own plate. I also added about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of tomato paste to add a little something extra to it, especially since the hubs wouldn't be eating the grape tomatoes already in the meal. Everyone loved it and I passed the recipe along. It is such an easy recipe, either the original or using my changes and will definitely be a repeat on our table, especially on nights I know I will need something quick!

this or that?

tea or coffee? sweet tea cold, cafe con leche hot

matte or glossy? in pictures, glossy

sweet or salty? i'm a real combo girl - pretzels and m&ms = perfect match

tv or radio? that's a real hard one. i would have to say tv if i can only pick one.

morning or evening? morning

pen or pencil? pen, preferably a LePen

introvert or extrovert? introvert until i get to know you and i open up more

mountain or beach? BEACH

spontaneous or structured? i need structure or else i am a mess, but i'm not too good at it

neat or messy? i'm not dirty, but if you ask the hubs, i make little piles in little places - so i guess that is a bit messy, but i'm not a slob.

town or country? that's a hard one. i like a little of both. i love the beautiful countryside, yet i love a quaint town

eat in or take out? i'm not the best cook. i have a few good dishes, but that's about it. and by dinnertime i'm usually exhausted. last night was take out. but overall eating in is best.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

we're more than best friends

On July 11 (7-11 - how fun is that!?!) of 2008 my very dearest and lifelong friend married the man of her dreams and I was lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids in their wedding. She was a beautiful bride on that warm and sunny day and five years later she is a beautiful and amazing wife and now a mother to two very cute little men! I can't believe that five years have passed, but I know they have been five very blessed years for their sweet and growing family!

Happy Anniversary dear friend! I love you and your family with my whole heart!

Here is a picture of her on her sunny and warm wedding day and me on my cold and rainy wedding day. Two very different days, but two very similar faces! We may not be sisters by blood, but in our hearts we certainly are. I think you can see that in each of our faces! She was my Matron of Honor at my wedding... but unfortunately she wasn't able to physically be there. Her first little handsome man was arriving a little earlier than expected, just two days later so she had to stay behind. She wrote the most beautiful and perfect speech for us and a mutual friend read it aloud for us and our guests. I know she wasn't there, but some how, God allowed her to be in all of my wedding day memories. What a gift! And what a gift she is!

Katie, you are a beautiful wife and mother and your husband and sons are very blessed that you are theirs. And I am blessed to have such a loving and beautiful friend. I will love you forever!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

mini kitchen makeover

Slowly but surely somehow we find the time to get some home improvement projects done. I have a very knowledgeable and handy aunt and uncle and they volunteered their time and tools to help with my kitchen project. Our goal was to tile the backsplash in the kitchen. It wasn't a very large area so if I was able to find tile in our budget, this would be doable. My uncle did the cutting, my aunt did the measuring and I did the installing. It was a lot of fun!



It just adds a little touch, yet isn't a drastically different look. I had made the white curtains when we first moved in and didn't know how we were going to be decorating and as much as I loved the clean and simple look, I wanted a small splash of color in there so I purchased new fabric and made new ones. Same style. ha.

We have a lot of baby items in our kitchen and it isn't any designer kitchen, but it is functional for our family. I'm always changing little things up here and there, but all but one of the big kitchen projects is done. Last is to install a new light above the island. I just have to find the right fixture. I'm always on the lookout, but I have yet to find one I like in my very limited budget.

a before and after

When we purchased our home that we would live in when we got married, the hubs and I each had some furniture to contribute to furnish the house. We were quite well situated and had all the necessities. We knew though that in time there were a few pieces we would like to have. One of the pieces was one for the foyer. I knew I wanted it pretty, yet functional. The foyer is directly off the dining room, so I knew it would be perfect to hold many of our china pieces, etc. We didn't have a huge budget, but being that I wanted something pretty and didn't want to settle, I didn't have too high of hopes. At one point before we moved in, Mom and I were shopping and I came upon a great deal for a piece I loved. I just didn't love the color. I should rephrase that. I liked the color, but the color didn't like our house. I went through with my purchase anyway because I figured one day I could some how figure it out and wing it with re-finishing the piece. I had never re-finished anything in my life so I knew I was semi-crazy, but I couldn't pass up the deal. It was a beautiful piece, very well made, and a great price! So we threw it in the back of Mom's Tahoe and off it went. The purple piece sat in our house for quite a while. Some people loved it. Some people looked at me with a questioning look. And two babies later, it took me an even longer time to be crazy getting it done. One day I had the urge to do it and after the boys were asleep, I began my long project, just praying that as I went, I'd figure out what I was doing. I started with the mirror (another super cheap find- thanks Jilly!) and when that went well, I moved on to the piece of furniture.

I had heard people raving about Annie Sloan's chalk paint so I thought I'd give it a try. I do like how it worked on these pieces, but when I went to use it on a few other pieces, I became less of a fan. I am glad I went with Annie Sloan for this piece of furniture and am truly pleased with the outcome, but in the future, I would definitely consider trying to refinish with another brand, less pricey. I am not really sure what the big deal with the paint is. It does look nice, but I am not sure it is worth all the hype. Maybe it is, but I just don't realize what the difference would have been with regular paint.

First I painted the pieces with Old White Chalk Paint.

Once it was completely dry, I used some antique glazing. Again, I was praying as I went alone that I wouldn't destroy the piece with all the black glaze!

And while I don't have a great DIY or step by step pictures, here is the after. Although purple is one of my favorite colors, I do think this looks much better! I'll let you in on a little secret... I still have to wax this piece, but at least it looks finished. Maybe when the boys are a little older I will have the time... college age older. wink.

Don't be afraid to try to refinish a piece yourself! It's not too hard, just time consuming and a little tedious! So don't pass up that cute end table or desk just because of its color or finish! 

Martha Stewart: One Pan Pasta

I posted one of my current favorite recipes for an almost one pan/pot pasta dish, but this truly is a one pot meal! It looks delicious, healthy, and easy... including an easy clean up! There is nothing I love more after a long day and a good meal, than an easy clean up! Below you will see the step-by-step pictures and then it is followed by a video tutorial (via a link) underneath.

12 ounces of linguine 
12 ounces of grape tomatoes (or cherry)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced (I will probably add more garlic)
2 sprigs of basil
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper
2 teaspoons of salt
olive oil
4 1/2 cups of water
Or, if you would like a little bit more of a tutorial, check out the video online for Martha's One Pot Pasta!
This looks simple and delicious! I think we will have this for dinner tonight!

an almost one pan dish

Spring Break doesn't happen for Momma's of babies. Maybe once they are school age and we have school breaks, Spring breaks will happen again. Spring break does happen for my cousin, and Gus's god-mother. She decided to spend hers with us and we were delighted to have her and my aunt stay with us for a few days! Lea is a fabulous cook! While she was here one night she cooked an easy and healthy meal. I wasn't sure if the hubs would like it, but even he did so it has become a repeat favorite meal in our home! I don't have exact measurements, but hopefully between my pictures and approximate measurements, you can enjoy this easy and healthy meal as we do!

You will need:
a large pan, with a cover
olive oil
2-3 shallots (or more if you'd like! the hubs doesn't like them so we don't use too many)
garlic (i used one whole head because we love garlic)
kale (one bunch)
parmesan cheese (to your liking)
pasta (i used about 1 pound of rigatoni)

First I begin with the prep work.

Cut the stems off the kale and then chop finely.

Then slice the shallots. I would do this finely as well, but keep it larger so the hubs can remove of the deadly slimy things easily! The garlic is finely chopped. That's not deadly to the hubs.

After everything is chopped and sliced, I start my pasta water boiling.

Then, I pour a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over the bottom of my 14" pan and let it heat.

Put the shallots in first so they become slightly transparent.

And then add in the garlic. (add more oil if needed)

Once the onion and garlic has blended well, add in the kale. 

I pour a slight bit of water in and stir before I cover for a few minutes, cooking on medium-high heat. Keep it at a temperature to cook high, yet not stick and burn.

After the shallots, garlic and kale have been cooking for a few minutes, it is at this point I add in the pasta to the boiling water.

Once the mixture is nice and tender in the pan and the pasta is ready, I pour out the pasta water and put the pasta into the pan, along with parmesan cheese. Mix and taste to your liking. Here I add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy! I hope you enjoy this dish as much as our family does! It is quick, easy, light and healthy and we love it! One of the best parts is, it is all done in nearly one pan! One pot for pasta water and one pan for the meal! Not too many dishes!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

be still my heart

A few years back I got my first DSLR camera. While I am in no way a real photographer, it is something I love. I am not great at it, I don't know how to use photoshop, but I love to capture the little moments of my day. Last August when our little men arrived, the number of pictures skyrocketed. From Jan 1, 2013 until today, I am nearing 9,000 pictures of them. Just them. It's a sickness. Back when I was looking into cameras, I didn't have a big budget. My parents ended up giving me the Rebel t1i and the kit lens and I fell in love. It's certainly not top of the line, but it was in a reasonable price range when considering these cameras. My dream lens that I wanted was a 50 mm 1.2, but the lens alone was more than I could afford (or ask for) for the entire package. So I went to the 50 mm 1.4 and I do love it. I look at camera equipment, blogs, websites, etc at least 4 times a week. It is something I love. I'd love to find the right online photography program, but have yet to find one. Lately the hibgs has been doing camera research for work and it has gotten me going on high speed again looking at lenses and such. I've been happy with my camera body until recently and last night, was the icing on the cake for me. I got my hands on, only momentarily, a Canon D Mark III with that beautiful 1.2 lens!!! Be still my heart. If only I had a stash of money saved up, won the lotto, was naturally super rich, or had a reason to justify such a purchase... well, I do think I have a reason. Two reasons actually... Gus and Will. I've thought of every way around trying to get this combo for myself. I know it is a very elaborate and expensive and seemingly needless (to some people) desire, but a girl can dream, can't she? I've thought of bribing certain people, if they donate to the cause (The Gus and Will Camera Fund - I'm blaming it on the boys; they'll never know), I will send them 100 personal pictures each week - or something like that. I am willing to work with them. I've thought of bribing a certain hubs that if I don't make my little piles and I get through each week keeping clean and tidy to his standards, I get $10 to the fund. Oh, I've thought of it all. So now I am just resorting to the fact that I will only get this if God sends an angel to my door with the exact amount.... or a B&H box arrives with one to my doorstep. ha. Like I said, a girl can dream! And to increase the dream even further, I'd like that envelope of money or the box from B&H before August so it can come with me to the boys first big beach vacay and their first birthday festivities!!! Keep on dreaming Marezy!