Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter {2013}!

The girls have been up long before dawn.
We are trying to hold them off with breakfast before starting the morning festivities.

In the mean time, here is our Easter card! Hope you have a happy day with friends and family!

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Something You Don't Know About Me

I think the smell I dislike most in the world is the smell of burnt popcorn. Making popcorn in the microwave has to be one of the most annoying tasks too! Every package says it will be ready in 1-4 minutes and every microwave is different. So three minutes in one microwave with one brand will burn to a crisp and another, not even three kernels will pop!

It's maddening!

I reiterate that I am no Julia Child in the kitchen and while I am enjoying cooking a bit more it still isn't a hobby I enjoy. It doesn't bring some great joy. I still think of it as a "To Do" on my ever growing list of to-dos. I say this, because I include microwaving as a culinary skill. Now I know that microwaving isn't up there with souffle or Bearnaise sauce making...but a skill nonetheless people! A true chef knows his oven...and his microwave! 

I vividly remember asking my dad as a kid what I should set the microwave at to heat a roll leftover from Thanksgiving. He quickly answered eleven seconds. Not ten or fifteen, straight up eleven! It seemed so strange to me. How had he fallen on eleven seconds? So I asked.

Ten seconds would do the trick, he answered. But to punch in 1 and 0 you have to lift your finger from the 1 all the way to the 0, so it is more efficient and you get juust the same amount of heat if you hit 1 - 1. 


Never thought about efficient microwave button pushing but...

Court asked me the other day when heating up a blueberry muffin, if I had used 11 or 22 seconds. 

"I used eleven and it wasn't hot enough so I'd go with twenty-two." I answered. 

It took me a second to realize that I implement my dad's 'efficient' microwaving techniques to this day and that Court has picked up on my crazy microwaving antics.

So yes. When microwaving, I use same digit numeral settings. And as long as I have our current microwave and we use Safeway brand popcorn, 1:44 will never result in burnt popcorn. 1:55 will. Trust me. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm Bringin' Happy Back...Yep!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we had a bit of a rough morning the other day. Tuesday morning to be specific. I was up early as usual but before I knew it, it was already 7 am! The girls weren't awake and Grace had school! 

So I started the wake up process and everyone was on the grumpy side. Pancakes was requested and I obliged hoping that would smooth things along. (I'm no chef but I can whip up pancake batter in a matter of minutes!)

The first pancake was cooked to golden perfection - in my opinion.
It sent Grace into cataclysmic tears because it was 'crispy'!
Yes, crispy.

So I made another.
This time I erred in barely cooking it so that it wouldn't be crispy. 
The dead center was a bit undercooked, so I cut that part out, cut it all up and doused it in syrup.
She was onto me and you guessed it.
More tears. 

The third pancake was again rejected and 

I'm not going to write out every detail but I can recall at one moment a part of my brain, the logical part of my brain saying Stop. Stop. It's just pancakes. My emotions just tsunami'd over all logic and it continued.

Finally, I put myself on timeout and when I was calm, I returned to breakfast and getting everybody up and out the door for school.

The entire way home from drop-off I just felt so guilty.
Wracked with guilt. 
I kept thinking about all those patience quotes people are always posting on Facebook or in their Etsy shops and it made me sicker. 

I did a quick online survey of some when I got home. I wanted to buy a mantra to put up so I could look at it every morning in order to prevent a situation like this again in the future.
I've always loved quotations and inspirational pieces so I figured this would be a perfect little Easter gift to myself. 
I found a lot I liked but the message was never exactly what I wanted it to say 
so I decided to make my own.
I've never painted or drawn or done anything like that but I am telling you,
I understand now - a little bit better - why people use art therapy.
It helps purge the demons.

Here is my "masterpiece." It looks very juvenile, I know.
Court thought Grace had drawn it and then teased me about hanging it up in his office like one does with the artwork of a child.
I recognize it isn't a Picasso but for a first time drawing anything?
Not to toot my own horn but my lettering looks pretty good, no?
The flowers and stuff suck but hey!
It was about the purge and it did help me feel better. 

After picking up Grace from school, we tried to bring a little happy back and died some Easter eggs.

I hate dying Easter eggs. I don't know why but I just do. 

They never look as pretty as the ones in the magazines and that just frustrates me to no end and I absolutely hate hard boiling eggs. It is a lengthy, annoying process that often leads to cracked, unusable eggs and for some reason it kills the joy in the fun of the coloring process for me.

I wasn't planning on dying any eggs this year so I quickly found an online tutorial for blowing eggs, making some die from food coloring and away we went! From start to finish, it all took an hour. The ideal amount of time for Grace and Charlotte. They got burnt out when we had one egg left to color so it was perfect!

I even found an online tutorial for making a drying rack out of toothpicks!
Another thing I always hated about coloring eggs.
That big, splotchy circle on the back where the egg sits in a puddle of colored water!

As God is my witness, I will never hate dying Easter eggs again!
(said in Gone with the Wind Scarlett O'Hara voice!)

All business!

Eyeing just the right egg!

A closer look at the darling Easter aprons from Grandma!

Grace took a timeout to scope her apron in the bathroom.
We had to do the two - mirror trick so she could see the back. 

In the end, we brought happy back!

And all was forgiven.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Bird in the Nest is Worth...

Not exactly sure what that saying is or how it goes...but as you read along you'll get my point. 

In recent months, the sleep habits of our girls has been, shall we say, less than desirable. 
BOTH fight bed time. 
BOTH want a story.
BOTH insist on having the lights on.
BOTH insist that I stay with them until they fall asleep.

This is the worst. Our house is old and therefore it creaks. A LOT. With every step. With every breath!
Charlotte has super sonic hearing because I'd have to literally sneak out of her room, holding my breath, and she'd still hear me, wake up in a panic, cry and then we'd have to start the whole thing over again. 
I've been wanting to tear my hair out for months!!

And if that wasn't bad enough, at about 11:23, little Charlotte Katherine (as she prefers to be called) wakes up out of the blue, walks downstairs directly to my side of the bed, says hi mom and crawls into our bed.

The first few times she did this, we thought it was cute and endearing. We aren't co-sleepers and don't believe in it. But there was something sweet about waking up and hearing Charlotte's heavy breathing or feeling her snuggle up in the middle of the night.
Throw in the fact that we've all been off and on sick over the last couple of months or traveling, we were willing to do whatever it took to get some uninterrupted sleep.

And there lies our first (millionth?) mistake. 
We didn't make the effort to correct it then and there. 
Therefore, we created a monster.
A sweet, charming, darling monster.

But a monster nonetheless.
Her innocent breathing became snores.
Her precious snuggles became kicks and slaps.

We decided enough was enough and we were going to take a stand.

We were going to get our bed back!

When she came down at 11:23 like a moth to flame, I took her right back up to her room.
She cried. She got right back up.
Over and over and over again.
Finally, I stayed with her until she fell asleep.
The floor creaked as I left her room.
Curse that creaky floor!!
Of course, she woke up.

Eventually, I ended up in her bed with her until she fell deeply asleep.
Then I left. I'm not going to even tell you how long that took nor am I going to share how many times we repeated this process in the middle of the night.
I'm just going to say that by 6 am the next morning, both girls were in our bed and I clocked in less sleep than if I'd had a newborn.


(This might have thrown me into I-don't-think-I-can-have-another-baby column...I think I'm officially too old for sleepless nights...let alone a year of them!!)

So when out of the blue the other night, Grace wanted to make a nest of blankets on her floor and sleep in it like a bird, we were a bit hesitant at first. Do we need her making sleep problems for herself? Don't we have enough? Should we correct this before it even starts?

We decided to roll the dice.

In the middle of the night, as I am in the middle of night two of retraining Charlotte to sleep in her own bed, it dawned on me!

Why not put Charlotte in Grace's bed?!

When I posed the option to Charlotte, she couldn't run fast enough to Grace's bedroom. She climbed in, snuggled up and was asleep in five seconds!

It was a small miracle!

A few weeks ago we dragged Charlotte's mattress from upstairs into Grace's room so that they could sleep together. It didn't work.
Something about the nest was magic!

Grace in her self-made nest. 

Snug as a bug bird.

And this one? Out cold.
All. Night. Long.

And while I should feel bad that one of my children is sleeping on the floor, 
I am 'sleeping' on it. (pun intended! ha!) 
Because a bird in the nest is worth one in the hay? In the bush? 
Seriously, what is that saying?!?!

Regardless, we are running with this as long as it works. 
Now that I've posted this, I am sure the nest's magical powers will disappear. 
Until then....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Are you like avid blog reader? I love reading blogs - all kinds of blogs. Some relating to home decorating, others to crafty endeavors and still others just sharing their stories.

I follow the blogs I read in Google reader. This way, I can log into one site and see all my favorite blogs in one spot! No more going to each individual site to see if there is a new post! (I know for some of you this is old news...but need to catch up some folks to 21st century technology! Court, I'm talking to you!)

Well, if you have been living under a rock, Google Reader is going away. Apparently, Google is going to focus its resources into fewer areas (i.e. talking shoes that motivate you to work out....yeah right! Like that is going to work!) and the first thing to hit the cutting block is Google Reader.

Anyway, the new blog reader of choice is Bloglovin so I'm letting you all know about it. While I've been following blogs for ages I've never checked to see if mine was followable. I don't know how I let this little detail slip through the cracks...and for so long! Well, I finally did today and guess what! Some setting I had checked four years ago made my blog not followable! Soooo I quickly changed all that!

Please add Home Sweet Home Place to your favorites. In the last year, as the lives of my girls have gotten busier and my range of interests has broadened, I feel like the blog has taken a nose dive in the entertainment department. In between all the hours I'm logging in the car, refereeing whose turn it is to pick the next movie and coming up with something to eat every night, I plan on giving this blog some much needed love - which will hopefully translate into laughter and fun for you. Or tears. Or curse words. Eliciting any emotion will do. I am setting the bar super low!

Click the link below to follow along. Bloglovin even has a app so you can stay up to date on your reading wherever you are! I love that!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day {2013}

We were in Boise getting ready for the long drive home but I couldn't let this fun little holiday pass by without doing a little something special. 

First things first. Wake up sleepyhead!
Charlotte was charged with this duty and she did a great job.
Grace woke up with a smile!

Once downstairs, they discovered that our friendly leprechaun had a fun scavenger hunt waiting for them. Each shamrock had a clue* telling the girls where they would find the next clue and at the end of all of the clues was their pot of gold.

So let's get started!

That little leprechaun took us all over the house!

Upstairs, downstairs and all throughout.

Downstairs one last time! To the laundry room!

Just as promised...little pots of gold! 

Filled with a few surprises!

With the conclusion of the scavenger hunt came our good-byes to Grandma and Grandpa. 
Time to hit the road and head home!
Luckily, we'll be back in two weeks for Easter!

* clues can be found here

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicks 'N Bunnies: Behind the Scenes

We hustled down to Boise last Friday for our annual Chicks N Bunnies photo session!

The girls were super excited.

We could barely contain them in the "dressing room."

They kept sneaking around the corner trying to get a glimpse of 
all the baby animals!

I think Grandpa was excited too because he got to tag along and watch all the fun!
The girls were so gentle with the animals and Grace even got to feed a goat.
The biggest challenge was trying to get individual pictures of each girl. Charlotte wanted nothing to do with waiting on the sidelines. So it was a bit of a zoo - pun intended - behind the scenes!
Luckily, Charlotte didn't have to wait too long and was back in action before too long!

Dying to see how the photos turned out. It is always amazing to see what you see during the actual photo session and what the photographer creates with her camera...and her computer.

After we worked up an appetite canoodling the baby animals, we grabbed some lunch.

Grace INSISTED on sitting in between Grandma and Grandpa even though it was a tight squeeze!
It was the perfect photo op - until Grace decided to go 'pirate' on me.
I took 10 photos and ALL of them she pulled a pirate. 
What a goof ball!

After a quick trip to the coolest candy store, we adjourned our outing and headed home to prepare not only for our long drive home, but hopefully from a little visit from our friendly leprechaun!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Running Around with Our Heads Cut Off

So much stuff everyday. A lot of it is driving. Picking up. Dropping off. Repeat. Running errands. Returning to the grocery store because you forgot an ingredient for dinner. UGH! Servicing vehicles. Only to have to return the vehicle for more service the next day. And drop it off for the entire day while your cruise around town in a rental because by the time you drive all the way home and back, the car will practically be ready. But sitting in the waiting area for 2+ hours is obviously not ideal. So like I said. Running around with my head cut off. I am already beginning to realize that next year will be worse. Grace will be in school four days a week and Charlotte two days...but neither at the same time or in the same town. (You across town commuters got nothing on me!) These are the kinds of things they will thank me for. Silently - in their minds. Someday. When they have their own kids. Right? Right? Bueller? Bueller?

Anyway, today was picture day at Grace's school. 

She was in love with her dress and apparently asked her teacher a 100x if SHE liked it!

In other exciting news, I think I have discovered something truly remarkable.

Purse love is hereditary.
Court is in SO. MUCH. TROUBLE!

Grace had ballet yesterday afternoon and Charlotte insisted on wearing her tutu and slippers too. Even though she's not enrolled and her ballet slippers (Grace's old ones) are FAR too big. 
I dressed her up nonetheless and as I was - once again - running around the house with my head cut off - getting dogs squared away, picking up stuff strewn all about the house, sweeping, getting coats on, packing snacks - heading out the door, found them like this. 

The anticipation of wearing her ensemble was clearly exhausting. 

Finally, we returned from a lovely vacation with Court's immediate family to the British Virgin Islands over the weekend. I'd never been and it was beautiful!
I'll have more on that later.

Happy to be home! Got lots of things I want to do for St. Patrick's Day and Easter. If I'm ever out of the car long enough to get anything done...maybe it'll happen. Probably won't. I guess there is always next year.

Last but not least, is Daylight Savings kicking anyone else's ass?