Monday, August 31, 2009

S is for Shoes.... School.... and Semi-Homemade...

It's that time of year in Texas..... back to school! And just because they looked so darn cute, I thought I'd share a couple of pics from the first day of school. Big Sis started Preschool II last week and starts ballet tomorrow!

G-man has a bigger transition.... from an infant class to young toddlers. You see, in this class they sleep on cots (no cribs), eat table food and drink from sippys (2 things he's got down!) and they wear shoes! That last one has been the challenge.... I have bought, tried on, and returned shoes from Target, JCPenney, and Payless... and nothing fits. You see, G's foot is almost as wide as it is long. So, it shouldn't have been any surprise to us when the lady at Stride Rite informed us that he is, indeed, an extra extra wide. And that, apparently, costs you $50. Per pair. Ouch! (If anyone knows of a way to get his feet to stretch longer while stunting any growth in width, send them my way. Just kidding. Kinda.)

Anyway, he IS super cute in his shoes, so that helps take away some of the sticker shock. ;) Isn't he such a big boy?

Here are the shoes we got him.... Stride Rite's Bolton

Here the are in action..... right before he stuck a leaf in his mouth...

And here he is, blowing you big kisses! Muuuuuah!

Apparently, this new big kid class is pretty tough.... he's already taken a few spills, as he starts trying to copy the big boys! He came home on his 2nd day with a big bruise on his head! Over the weekend, he added another bruised bump and a big gash. He's ALL boy!!!

This is Big Sis on the 2nd day of school.... she insisted on wearing the giraffe dress the first day (I told her it was a little summery for the first day of school, but this girl lets no one dictate her style!) So, the 2nd day she agreed to wear this preppy plaid dress with her maryjanes. And why does she have her hands behind her back and her knees bent? Yeah, I don't know either, but she did it in 4 pics and then I gave up.....
(ETA: Is it me or does it look like Big Sis is practicing her Bunny Dip?! She must have caught me watching Girls Next Door at some point!)

Happy Back to School, y'all! And be on the watch for our Semi-Homemade Countdown to the Pumpkin Patch..... or how-to-attempt-to-get-Big-Sis-to-sleep-past-6am-on-the-weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ainsley is 2!!

Happy birthday to my sweet niece Ainsley! (Here she is, enjoying a cupcake at G-man's Pirate Birthday Bash!) Hope your day was super sweet - we can't wait to celebrate at your party next weekend!

My new favorite lipstick

I've been on a lipstick-finding quest for ages. (Mostly because I never have time to shop.... and when I DO manage to find myself in a mall, I have a 3yr old and a 1yr old with me. Which is NOT a favorable condition for the all consuming chore that is picking out a new shade and brand of lipstick at my fav store, Sephora.)

Anyway.... I did manage to steal 5 minutes at Sephora recently while one of their sweet associates put pink lipgloss on Big Sis (oh, she looked too, too cute!) and Mr. Fix-It fed G-man cheerios. By the truckload. ;) I told the girl what I wanted and she led me to this:

And I love it. The color selection is limited, but I found one that worked. It's called Vanity. The lipstick is super moisturizing. Stays on well. And smells like vanilla. (That last one wasn't one of the prerequisites I gave the sales associate. Just so you know.) The gunmetal packaging is pretty cool, too....

I also got lip liner #5 (because that's the kinda gal I am!) ...and I love it, too! Retail therapy - especially when it's cosmetics - really does help this girl feel better!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Semi-Homemade Staycation: Puerto Rico!

With summer's end fast approaching, I thought it was about time I shared our Semi-Homemade Staycation - we experienced Puerto Rico! I've gone on and on about the negative side of this damn recession.... the positive side is that we've done some things as a family that we usually wouldn't. Like take a staycation. I still can't wait for the economy to turn around and to go on a VAcation with the family, but the fun part of this was that we all got involved in the planning and execution of our "trip."

The inspiration:
Our trip to Puerto Rico last summer when I was 7 months pregnant with G-man. We left Big Sis at home with her grandma (wow, the memories those two made!) and Mr. Fix-It and I got to relax and get away!
The memories:
First, I want to share with you couple pics from the trip and the island, so you can see what we were trying to recreate. Mr. Fix-It and I at the poolside bar...

For the record, Puerto Rico was a great place to vacation while pregnant!

This restaurant is called Parot Club and is located in Old San Juan. It was so amazing we ate there twice!

Puerto Rico has amazing color everywhere you look.

And the food? Was SO GOOD! That was the deciding factor when it came time to decide where to staycation this year. Our favorite was this trio of appetizers from the Parot Club. (We're already planning to try to recreate these at some future time, but we didn't get quite this ambitious yet!)
The top layer is a type of nachos with plantain chips (yum!!) and a pork brisket type of meat. Y'all know my love of brisket tacos... The next layer was an empanada (saw lots of recipes for these when searching for Puerto Rican food. I think we'll try 'em next time!) But these empanadas are especially good because of that balsamic glaze on them.... heaven! And the third level was calamari (although I think we had something slightly different... maybe scallops...)
The ambience:
To recreate the scene, we dressed in bright colors and played music from the island. Lots of dancing ensued...
I pulled out anything colorful I could find to decorate for dinner. The smell of coconut candles floated in the air!
The menu:
We started with the drinks! ;) Frappes are a fruity drink that are easy to find in Puerto Rico! We mixed up the Frappe Tropical without the alcohol (then Mr. Fix-It and I added some coconut rum to ours!)
The food:
We went with some dishes we'd seen in practically every restaurant on the island.
We made Puerto Rican Pork Chops (somehow I only got pics of the colorful relish and not the actual pork chops!)
And served some black beans and rice with it (the semi-homemade way, a box of Zatarain's!)
Then for dessert, we Fried Plantains (we didn't really fry ours... more of a sautee... but I think we'll try frying them next time!)

Oh, and for a totally semi-homemade touch..... these coconut mnm's really worked, too! ;)
If you're thinking you'd like to try a Puerto Rican Staycation..... this is a great recipe resource!

The final effect:
Here are the Semi-Homemades, enjoying the sounds, smells and tastes of Puerto Rico!
Hmmmmm..... I wonder where we should 'go' next? I'm sure some of you have some great ideas.... share 'em!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

She loves the hip hop...

Can it ever be a good thing when you leave your almost-4-year-old watching cartoons on youtube... and 10 min later you hear Soulja Boy blasting from the speakers?

And she was loving it.

And "booty dancing," as she told me.

In her defense (or in mine, as a parent!) it wasn't as bad as it seemed.... Apparently, someone with extra time on their hands has crafted some 'remakes' of those silly penguins from Happy Feet rocking to some, ahem, popular music. Like Crank That Soulja Boy.... I was super relieved to find some jammin' penguins and not some half nekkid girls "booty dancin" in front of some fast cars, or something.

But hey... guess she got her momma's love of the hip hop.... ;)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Welcome, Baby Everything!

Y'all, Baby Everything is here!! She's a tiny peanut, too! She has a cutie pie name (I should have checked with her momma, Mrs. Everything, to see if I could share it!) and she arrived at 7:31 this morning. She's 7.2 lbs and just 18" long. Big sister Miss Priss will probably be meeting her later this morning, and I bet that'll be fun!

I can't wait to go to the hospital and see her! Welcome to the world, Baby Everything! I know your parents and sis are so excited you're here - and so are we!

Friday, August 21, 2009

As it turns out.... has shaped up really well. Hear that sarcasm? I've pretty much solidified my title as Mother of the Year.... See, the kids had a End-of-Summer bash at school from 5-6, and we promised that one of us would be there. Except that Mr. Fix-It sold my old car today (yea!!!), so he ended up at home without a vehicle. And I ended up stuck at work. Unable to get away at 4:30, like I needed to.
So when I showed up at 6pm, poor Big Sis was stuck in her classroom (with only 1 other kid who must also have losers for parents), while all the other kids were outside at the party. Eating cotton candy and listening to Rockin' Rhett. (He's actually really good! This is him- click on the pic to listen to one of his songs. I'm a big Barenaked Ladies fan, and he reminds me of them!)
Big Sis looked up when I walked in and said.... but Mom, you said you'd be here for the party and you weren't!
Broke my heart. Something must change.... work is costing me too much. Life plan brainstorming in progress....

I hate you, Tax-Free Weekend!

I usually avoid any kind of shopping during tax-free weekend. It's just waaaay too much trouble. (Now, maybe if I had nothing better to do....and treated it like a competition or sport.... like the moms that were in Gymbo this morning.... but saving $8 out of every $100 is not enough savings for this working momma for the time it takes to get said savings. I'm just saying....)

Anyway, as you know, G-man needs new shoes! By Monday, as it turns out. Because he's (sniff, sniff) graduating to the big boy classroom. So... in order to try to avoid the Sat/Sun chaos of Tax-Free Weekend, I decided to take an early lunch and head to the mall at 11am today.

And that's when I met Officer Rich..... The instant I saw the lights, I had tears streaming down my face. And by the time he approached the car, I was in full-on silent sob mode. (Yes, I'm tired.... I've been up since 1am with a child who shakes because she's so afraid of storms.... and I've worked a million hours AGAIN this week, while still falling behind in this impossible-to-do-job... I'm normally not a cry baby, I promise!)

Anyway, he was very polite, but very unaffected by my tears and stream of non-waterproof mascara... And now I have a date with the municipal court (because I've been so successful at escaping the office for ANY reason during business hours..... hence, why I currently have my very last set of contacts in my eyes right this second and why my dentist thinks I've left her).

Mr. Fix-It was sweet and told me it was no biggie.... I couldn't even tell him how much the ticket will cost, because they don't put that on the citation anymore! (I haven't had a speeding ticket since 2002 in KS - I was on my way to pick up my wedding dress.... in between meetings....yes, I see a pattern here...)

So, the new jeans for momma came off my lunch-time shopping trip.... (I haven't bought myself new clothes since I was shopping in the maternity section last year!) But I did manage to score some amazing deals at Bath & Body (if you have those 20% off entire purchase coupons right now... you can combine it with their 7/$20 foam soaps and get 7/$16!!) And I was able to snag a couple cute things from Gymbo (that evil, evil place!) because I could maneuver the check out line easier than those moms (with the babies in the double stroller, older kids wanting snacks, and their Circle of Friends coupon in the bottom of their diaper bags!)

If you're looking for me this weekend.... I'll be at home, hiding from the mall and all this evil tax-free stuff! ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life is about to get a little crazier....

.... and you thought that wasn't possible, ha!

G-man took his first steps last night! On the 1 year anniversary of his due date, I might add... ;) I'm so thankful to have gotten to witness them, especially as a working momma. I was in NYC for business the week Big Sis took her first steps. She was only 9 months old, so we weren't expecting it and I was super sad....

But it was the most amazing thing! 3 precious little steps! And I got so excited and gushed over him for so long that it wouldn't have surprised me if he did anything to avoid getting that kind of reaction. ever. again. But he took a couple more tonight! (And all this with me encouraging him for months NOT to walk! Just kidding. Kinda.)
So, now.... I need advice! This boy needs shoes! Big Sis wore shoes from birth... I worked in the shoe industry prior to moving to TX and I had friends near and far buying her the cutest, girliest shoes. G-man has worn shoes... maybe twice. I'm guessing the flexi-sole kinda thing is what I'm looking for.... and style is big for G-man (I mean, you saw his rocker pics, yes?) But here's the thing... don't forget the damn recession! I'd rather not break the bank, ok? So... fill me in! Here are a few I found in my 2 seconds of spare time that I liked:

Oh, and before a bunch of you suggest crocs..... those are not allowed at the Semi-Homemade School (or Big Sis would be in them sometimes!) Oh, and most of you know of my love of Amazon and/or free shipping... :)
Thanks for your help and celebrating G-man's big milestone! Hmmmm.... wonder what size he is..... g'night!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Semi-Homemade Back to School Guide

Back to School is better (and easier!)....... thanks to Etsy (duh!) and Cool Mom Picks! I've got it all here - from custom looks to personalized paper... and from new traditions to teacher gifts!
Let's start with visiting my friends over at Paper & Cake - especially if you're a teacher! I think this fun set would also be great for parents & students, too! Especially if you love to customize everything, like I do! Remember their mantra? Print ~ Cut ~ Party! Love that! You simply order your package and they email you everything you need. It's practically instant!
The Back-to-School Teacher's Collection includes:
* a teacher's daily planner (formatted for a 3-ring binder) - Or why not use this to keep your kids' schedules straight?
* "Welcome" door banner - customizable! Y'all know how fun customizing is...
* bookmarks
* tent style desk name plates
* seating chart (formatted for a 3-ring binder)
* large & small stickers - I think I have a small sticker problem. Okay, okay, I admit it... a BIG problem!
* alphabet pennant banner
* note cards + envelopes (for notes home or notes to teacher!)
* letterhead
* fill-in certificates
* art saved as .png files (can be used as room decorations or ironed-on tee shirts or a canvas bag!)
* snack boxes (great for snacks or art supplies!)
* pencil toppers (in two styles)
* two full sheets of patterned paper (for artwork, scrapbooking, decorating, wrapping, etc!)
Here are some pics, for all you visual people. ;)

Okay, now something for the moms, college students (or even stylish tots!) And free, too! Check out this giveaway on some of the most fun stationary! There are tons of cute ones to pick from, but the adirondack chairs and the small crab flats are my fav! Check out the giveaway here!
Those notecards would be a perfect place to try out the new Sharpie pens I've been dying to try! (Sad, I know, but fun office supplies make a difference in the office!) But when do you think it'll come in fuschia or aqua? ;)
Okay, but back to the kiddos... how fun is the Traveling Tots Art Tote? And what a great idea at only $18! I love the guitar print for boys:
And here's one of the girly prints:
This is PERFECT for traveling or entertaining your tots while you (try!) to eat at a restaurant! It's made by Tag Line Designs and they say:
This adorable Traveling Tots Art Tote is the perfect solution to entertaining toddlers and kids of all ages. They have so many options that it will keep them busy for a very long time. Great for kids going to school! This comes with crayons, chalk, paper and chalk mat. As a special touch, I have included some paper cut outs for your little one to glue to their hearts content. Just add a glue stick, it will fit! You can swap anything in this tote for something or add them all. Crayons, Markers, Chalk, Glue Stick, etc.
And kids have GOT to go back-to-school in style! So, what about this pillowcase dress in APPLES and cream?

You can find a bow to match ANY outfit at Southern Baby Boutique. They've even got some monogrammed bows for that preppy back-to-school princess!

Or girly girls can carry their pencils in style with this Bow Pencil Case from Katie Gariepy!

But the boys aren't left out! I'm sending G-man back to school in the shirt from his 1 year pics! It's from Punky Monkey and I heart it!

As always, The Cool Mom Picks Back-to-School Shopping Guide preps your kiddo to be the most stylish one in class. Check out the list of discounts and score some cool back to school gear!

To show your new teacher some love, why not just rework the S'more Semi-Homemade Teacher gifts that we used at the end of last school year? It was a big hit with our teachers!

And finally..... I think I'll start a new tradition at the Semi-Homemade house for the first day of school this year.... centered around a fun breakfast! I saw this idea and thought it looked fun:

You just take a bagel, cover it in cream cheese, and your kids can decorate it with whatever goodies you have/buy/deem appropriate. Of course, the always-in-a-hurry-mom that I know I am... I'm thinking this is better left for a weekend, maybe the day before school starts or the Sat after the first week back.

Luckily for me, my kids (and Mr. Fix-It!) will be equally impressed with the semi-homemade route that I'll probably end up going for that first day of school. I'll either make muffins the night before (just simple ones, from a mix!) or pick up Big Sister's favorite, kolaches! (I apologize for this bad, almost gross, really, picture of kolaches! I couldn't find a better one!)

Happy Back to School, y'all! And if you live in TX, get out and get your shop on! Next weekend (thanks, Mrs. Everything!) is tax-free weekend! Click here to get the latest on what's included and get shoppin'!
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