Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week in Review: April 21-27

Last week...
...the girls & I planted tomato seeds in eggshells. I've always wanted to try it out. (Today---8 days later---the first sprouts appeared!)

...I found an idea from a friend on facebook on how to deal with my allowance & the ever-evolving attitudes I see creeping up in my children. I wish I could link the original source, but haven't found it yet. The girls decorated jars, which I filled with marbles. The marbles represent their weekly allowance of $5. (Each marble = 25cents.) Every time the girls argue or complain, they have to remove a marble & write the scripture Philippians 2:14 on a piece of paper: "Do everything without complaining or arguing." At the end of the week, they get what money is left. I am seeing immediate results & I LOVE the jars! The girls? Not so much. 

...I made some seriously delicious & notable recipes. Firstly, THIS Italian Chicken Crockpot recipe is so super yummy & easy to make. (I served mine over spaghetti noodles.) And then I used up my seriously brown bananas (why do I always have a constant supply of these?) & baked up a batch of THESE Oatmeal Breakfast Cupcakes. They're not REALLY cupcakes. But that's what the recipe is called. Though the girls have been enjoying them for breakfast, mostly we've been munching on them for snacks. (I added mini chocolate chips AND Reese's chips to mine.) 

...I actually got to sit down for some knitting. I haven't gotten to do that in a while. It sure felt nice. 

...the girls & I took a trip to the library, one of our favorite places. We were extremely happy campers.
...I watched the Mr. teach the girls how to skip stones.

...I made indoor s'mores. I had a craving. And chocolate. 

...I taught my 4th grade STAR Club crew how to make 3-D cloud mobiles. Remember? Like the ones I made HERE for Zoey's birthday party decor last year. The kids LOVED making them. And of course they put their creative spin on the project: one kid made a 3-D sun, another added lightning bolts to his clouds. I love their imaginations.

...I had the biggest, ginormous hassle trying to renew my domain name. It's all settled now. For the most part. I've had it for 2 years now. Did you know that this blog is officially whimsy-love.com?? It'll still re-route you if you use the whimsy-girl.blogspot.com address though. I guess that makes me more fancy or something.

...I found out that my community is going to be adorning trees by the river with "sweaters" this fall. As in: yarn-bombing, knitting graffiti. I am so stoked & totally need to figure out how to get involved.  The poster explains it this way: "A public project to create colorful art pieces along the rivershore to increase conversation, community pride, & walkability in Richland." Yay, Richland!!

...Pazely & I found $20 while walking to school one morning. Cha-ching! The rest of the way to school, Pazely kept saying, "Finders! Keepers! Finders! Keepers!" in this real hysterical, maniacal way. Weirdo! I am absolutely positive that I found the bill first. But she insists that she spotted it at the same time. Whatevs. We split it 50/50 & called it good. But only because she wasn't going for 70/30.
I predicted her money would be quickly spent on Littlest Pet Shops figurines. She is going through a resurgence of LPS adoration. She has LPS villages set up all over her bedroom floor. I find the animals in little vignettes scattered all about the house. She does LPS tradesies with friends. She carries a Littlest Pet Shop stash with her wherever she goes. She's nutso for those things.
My new-found dough, with every good intention, was gonna be saved for something special for myself. But I know how that routine goes. Every time. I spend it on someone else.  And, in fact, that's how it went: I gave my half to Zoey, & both girls spent their cash at the school book fair. (Where they even bought a book each for a teacher's classroom "Wish List". SO SWEET!)

...I stumbled across THIS version of the popular song "Let It Go". It's thoroughly entertaining---the whole way through.

...my mother CONTINUES to spoil me with gifts every day for my birthday month! I've been taking pictures of them every day. See HERE for the set of pictures.

For a photo play-by-play, click HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week in Review: April 14-20

Last week...
...I had a spa day at Lazuli Blue! The parentals gifted me with a certificate (months ago) that I finally redeemed. I enjoyed an infrared sauna, a Swedish massage (I was certain there would be bruises afterwards), & a hydrafacial. A LOVELY way to spend an afternoon. I don't get those kinds of experiences very often, so it was an absolute treat. It was hard to say goodbye to the fuzzy robe  & slippers.

...the fam & I (except daddy, 'cause he had to work *sad face*) attended Zoey's first school strings performance. She was so excited! Without any pressure from me, I really hope she decides to continue on with the cello. I can totally picture attending her high school orchestra concerts. And I'm bonding on the musical level with that girl of mine as much as I can. But our 2-man band, Chuke finds it hard to practice very often: (What? You wanna play outside? What? You wanna chill out & play games? What? You wanna invite friends over? What? You've got homework to do?)

...Zoey & I decided to do some container gardening during her monthly date. I spent some of my birthday money on dirt. Haha! But sad news: our cucumbers aren't looking so hot. I think they are diseased. Great. I can do lots of creative things, but I have never been one to grow things. We are planting carrot & tomato seeds this week. I'll prolly kill those too. Just give it time. I really, really, really, want this to be successful for Zoey. She loves plants & flowers & outdoor things like that. In fact, she currently loves weeding. She just recently told me that if she could have any wish, she would wish to have a yard filled with weeds, just so she could pick them all. Seriously, we'll be passing by a random field or yard, & she'll see weeds, & it just KILLS her inside that she can't go pull them. Yesterday the Mr. took the girls to the park. While he & Pazely were tossing a ball, Zoey was sitting near a patch of weeds, weeding to her hearts content. 

...the girls & I contributed some artwork for a local park project. A friend's son is hoping to have a sign put up at McMurray Park in Richland, using artwork from locals, which will be turned into tiles. The project has yet to be approved, but I'm certain it will get a bunch of "Yay's"! Sitting under a gazebo in a park with the girls, & coloring with pencils, was a super fun way to spend an hour on a Saturday morning.

...I finally finished making 52 mini buntings for donating to the BirthMom Buds Retreat. I think this is my 4th year donating items to their annual retreat, as part of the goodie bags the ladies will take home. (Last year I made vintage button rings for all of them!) Have fun in Charlotte, North Carolina, ladies!!

...the girls & I decided to mix things up for Easter's annual egg decorating scene this year. I found THIS idea on Pinterest which makes tie-dyed eggs using shaving cream & food coloring. Ours turned out rather light, so next time I think we should go crazy with the food color. We ended up applying rub-on tattoos to decorate the eggs as well. And then our refrigerator died. So we had to bring our things down the street to grandmother's house for safe & cool keeping.
We kept things simple this year for Easter, because we had to. I kind of felt bad about not being to get the girls new dresses & shoes & tights. (Thank you, Jesus for hand-me-downs!) We made do. And there weren't the big baskets filled with lots of  fun prizes & treats. Just tiny things that I found around the house. That fit in an egg carton. For reals. But the girls had fun & we made memories just the same.

...I made scones/griddle cakes. I'll share the recipe later this week. They were so yummy, & cooked right up on my griddle! I need to restock mother's lemon curd though. Can't get enough of that stuff on the cranberry griddle cakes!

...I had the largest group of kids for 4th grade STAR Club last week: 13! (It's normally a maximum of 8, but I made an exception this week.) For the first time there were trouble-makers in the mix too. Which makes everybody act more obnoxious than usual. (Boo. Hiss.) I secretly wished that several of them had chosen to attend the bunny craft in the next classroom over. 
I hear all sorts of topics of conversation with those kids every week. First, the kids were quoting lines from a new movie out in theaters. (I am very surprised at the movies that parents of 10 year olds let their kids go to! GAH.) And then someone mentioned the word "puberty". I think they thought it was a bad word. (I'm one to talk. I'm married + 39 + have 2 kids, & the word "sex" still makes me feel uncomfortable. haha! I blushed when I typed that.) But I explained (in 7 seconds) that puberty is simply your body changing as you get older. General. Basic. No weirdness. Yet they still made grossed out/that's disgusting faces. Then, one girl asked me, "How are babies made?" I replied: "This isn't that kind of crafting class, honey." (Are there even those types of crafting classes?)

Have a happy Monday!

For a photo play-by-play, click HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week in Review: April 7-13

Last week was birthday! My mom picked me up in the morning & surprised me with breakfast out with my sister & grandmother, & eventually my dad. In the evening a bunch of us went to Fujiyama for dinner--you know, that place where they cook the food in front of you on the Hibachi grill tables. I'd never been to one before. Though our chef didn't do a lot of crazy tricks (& kept dropping things), it was fun anyway. I don't know if he was sad or drunk or shy, but he didn't wow us like the other chefs around us. The food was REALLY delicious! The Mr. & I shared the steak & shrimp. We finished the night off with some cupcakes (of course!) & a game of Farkel. 

Last week I also...
...prepared a make-yer-own pizza night for dinner.
...made 4 dozen waffles. (I was in the kitchen until almost noon.)
...made Cheerio birdfeeders with the 4th graders for STAR Club.
...baked up some turkey pot pies. (First time making pot pies. A complete success!)
...led worship at a church while the Mr. preached. 
...sipped chai with my mother.
...continued to have little surprises given to me each day by my mother to celebrate my birthday month. (One was given by my dad: he sharpened all my knives!!)
...listened to Zoey & her friend Zoey play the cello & violin together, in preparation for their school concert tomorrow evening. Here's a GIF I made of them. (The "sound" is one of the songs I recorded while they played.)
...started walking the munchkins to school more, now that the weather is getting nice.
...enjoyed some park-time with the fam. We watched a giant paddlewheel boat launch.
...started gathering supplies for impromptu picnics that might pop up. Have you read THIS article by Jerusalem Greer? It's what inspired me to purchase THESE melamine dishes that look like cheapie disposable white plates & bowls. *Squee!*
...donated a trio of my vintage handmade button rings to the Choose Joy Auction on Instagram. The auction supports a family seeking to adopt. Check it out on Instagram April 16-17 with the hashtag #choosejoyauction2014 There will be loads of other handmade goodies up for bid as well!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week in Review: March 31-April 6

Last week was all about spring break. And, though I was a tiny bit sad that we couldn't go on a fun trip...say, to the coast or something...we relished in the lovely days at home. The days were quiet & simple & extremely lazy. We slept in when we could, hit the park almost every day, had bbq's aplenty, & even lit the firepit for the first time this season, cooking dinner over the flames. Oh, while we're on the subject of firepits & roasting things & such: I need THIS sweatshirt. Campfire smell is my fave. I will not shower or wash my hair after a night by the fire. It's just too good a scent to waste. My family thinks I'm nuts. And sometimes smelly.


On the very first day of spring break, the girls got to take part in the tea + brekkie that my grandmother, mother, sister & I plan once-a-month. I made an egg casserole & also threw together some delicious yogurt parfaits in cute little jelly jars. (The 'Mom on Time Out' blog suggests having some already made in the fridge for kids to grab as a quick breakfast in the morning. Fab idea!)


When April rolls around, I always joke about having a birthday MONTH, instead of just a birthDAY. (One day is not enough, right?) 
But, really, I'm not joking. 
My sweet mother is making this concept a reality for me this month. Every day she has been doing sweet things for me, or gifting me with little presents. It has been fun getting surprises! My girls are even starting to ask, "Has Mimi come by yet?" They are just as anxious as I am to see what the next treat will be. Click HERE to see the lovely prizes I've gotten so far. 
I am super spoiled. 


The fam & I got away for an afternoon lunch date to Between the Buns. My Julie friend has been telling me about this place. Crazy gourmet hotdogs. Zoey & I had the MacDaddy Dawg: an all-beef hotdog, wrapped in bacon, & slopped with homemade mac-n-cheese + more bacon on top. DE. LISH. US. Holy moly was it good! Pazely munched on the Waddi Dog: a polish sausage, wrapped in bacon, then smothered with peanut butter & bacon bits, with syrup for dipping on the side. I don't know what Scott had. He ate it so fast. And then he mumbled something about wanting to eat "all the hotdogs".
The staff are super friendly. You can even create your own gourmet hotdog from the toppings + dogs listed. It's just a fun experience & I'm so glad we made a visit. If you're in town, they're on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick, WA. One of my favorite things is the store hours listed on their door: (They end in "ish".) Check out their facebook page HERE.


Pazely & I had her date day last week. I surprised the munchkin with a new sketchbook. (It makes my heart happy that a 60-page spiral-bound pad of blank paper can satisfy her in such an intense way.) And then we packed our drawing supplies + hot drinks + triple double Oreos (oh my gosh, they're like the Big Mac of the Oreo world) & headed to a swing bench by the river where we proceeded to sketch & people watch. Taking a couple hours every month to do something special with each of our girls is the best decision the Mr. & I ever made.


I'll be donating THIS trio of handmade vintage button rings to the Choose Joy Auction, which is happening from April 16-17 on Instagram. Check out the hashtag: #choosejoyauction2014. There are lots of other lovely handmade items going up for bid as well, all to support a Choose Joy attendee in building their family. 


•With all the spring happy hues popping up, I am desperate to go on a photo color walk. I gotta make that happen this week. 
•I am currently obsessesd with learning "Zombie" by The Cranberries on my ukulele.
•I read a couple fairy tales, from the Brothers Grimm, aloud to the girls. Is it bad that they giggled during the gruesome parts?
•Chubby squirrels are the cutest ever.
•My new favorite tea is the STASH brand Jasmine Blossom. Although, Earl & I will forever be pals.
•P.S. Today is my birthday. *GIANT GRIN*

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Banana Boats

This treat was a new one to me at Camp Wooten just recently. It was so yummy, I had to share!
I know you can make these over the campfire or even on the grill, but we baked these in an oven set at 350 degrees F.
These are so simple to make! The kids will enjoy helping out too.

The ingredients we used at camp were:
mini marshmallows
mini chocolate chips
Reese's Peanut Butter sauce
BUT, I have no idea where to get that heavenly peanut butter sauce. Like, it was a big ol' tub of magic awesomeness. So, I opted for the Reese's peanut butter chips instead. 

First, slice the top & bottom off of your bananas.
Then, slice it lengthwise, through most of the banana, but not slicing through the peel on the other side.
At camp we placed our bananas inside paper food trays, but at home I just crumpled up some foil to hold the banana in place.

Line your banana boats on a cookie sheet.
Next, cram them full of mini marshmallows & mini chocolate chips. (And the peanut butter chips.) We even purposefully let some fall all around the sides too.

Lastly, drizzle with peanut butter. (If you have it. If not, no biggie.)

Bake until the toppings get all ooey gooey & the skin of the banana is black. It took about 15 minutes. But just keep peeking at it until you notice it's done.
The banana gets all soft & delicious. Just use a spoon to scoop-&-eat!

There are tons of toppings you could add or substitute: drizzle with caramel, sprinkle with butterscotch or white chocolate chips, toss on some nuts. You get the idea.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week in Review: March 24-30 (CAMP WOOTEN!)

Last week was all about Camp Wooten. And all the pictures (except one) in the photo collage are from Camp Wooten. The feetsies pictured by the river is after camp. My poor, poor, aching feet. They needed that bit of rest right there.

Camp was a complete & absolute BLAST!!! What was I so nervous for? I really was nervous. But I found out that all the moms I was working in the kitchen with were nervous too: "What if I get stuck with a bunch of lame ladies?", etc. Before I go on & on about how amazing it was, I must say this: That was one of the hardest weeks I've ever had in my life. For reals. I think it rates in the top 10 for sure of the most difficult things I have ever done. No joke ma-goats.

But it was worth it.

Not only because I was able to contribute to the 5th graders experience during their Outdoor Education Week (oh my gosh: all the teachers were AMAZING with the kids), but because I also made new friends & had laughs aplenty! Isn't that what camp is for? Oh my golly, did I laugh. I love my new mommy friends/kitchen buddies. We bonded like none other. 

We rose when it was still dark out &, after working all day, we headed back to our cabins in a different dark part of the day. And, boy, did we work our booties off. I honestly think no one works harder at camp than the cooks. We had to clean at the end of the day too. So, not only was I scrambling 270 eggs, helping to assemble 900 pieces of bacon, & assisting in the making of over 200 grilled cheese sandwiches {for instance}, I was also wiping down urinals. Yummy.

The days seriously never ended. We'd prep for breakfast, cook breakfast, serve breakfast, clean up after breakfast, then prep for lunch, cook lunch, serve lunch, clean up after lunch, then prep for afternoon snack, make afternoon snack, serve afternoon snack, clean up after afternoon snack, then prep for dinner, cook dinner, serve dinner, clean up after dinner, spend at least 2 hours cleaning the mess hall & bathrooms, clean ourselves up, get to bed at {at least} 10:30, & get up at 5:30 to do it all again. 
All. Week. Long.
For 150 people.
It was beyond exhausting. My feet hurt something fierce. My back was not especially happy either. The days did blur together & it felt like we'd been there much longer than we actually were. Once, when referencing something that happened that same morning, we were like, "Wait. That was this morning? Are you sure that wasn't yesterdy?" Long, never-ending days... (My bed was my favorite thing to see every night. Oh, & did you see how cute my corner of the cabin was? I dolled it up all creative-like.)
There were a few moments to escape & peek at our children attending their classes or having fun during their recreation periods. Every night around campfire were songs & skits & silliness too. It rained a few days. It hailed once. I never had to wear the long underwear or wool socks I brought though. (Woohoo!)

Our kitchen crew each came up with nicknames of sorts for each other. And they all might hate me for this, but here goes...
Elizabeth... laughs a lot & is {apparently} really good with knives: She actually sliced one of the chef's fingers. This specific chef is lovingly called Mr. Manners by the kids at camp. So, we called Elizabeth "Killer". She's really nice, though. Really.
Melissa... hates lots of things. Like Jello & cartoons & bananas & anything cherry flavored & parks & Cheerios & when people walk through her beautiful snow. "I HATE that..." just stuck with her. 
NaDell... was totally teacher's pet, only in the kitchen instead of a classroom. Chef's pet, if you will. This is nothing that the kitchen crew hasn't already discussed with NaDell, so it's not like I'm talking behind her back. We all tried to compete & be like NaDell, but we never achieved her lofty status. The chef's loved her. And she really took charge. Like, all the time. So she became "Boss Jr.". 
Angie... is quiet as a mouse. And sweet. And soft. And all things petite. Even her feet are tiny & cute. We wanted to call her "Mouse", but Elizabeth didn't like that. And, who are we to mess with a lady who just knifed Mr. Manners? So, Elizabeth named her "Sweetie Bell". We didn't argue.
Michelle...was kind of like the mom of our group. We saw her take charge with the kids & set them straight several times. She's definitely the brains of the bunch too. The kitchen crew played "Are you Smarter than a Camp Wooten 5th grader?" Like, in front of all the 5th graders & staff. Let's just say...we were all humiliated. Except for Michelle. She is lovingly referred to as "Mama Bear".
And then there's me. For whatever reason, everyone had trouble coming up with my nickname. I really didn't think I was that difficult to get a reading on. I became "Tender Heart" (like the Care Bear). Elizabeth said I had a tender ora about me. It didn't make sense to me, it's not the nickname I would have chosen, & I seriously wanted to sway their thoughts on this. But again, when knife lady speaks, you listen.
We all snuck over to the Rec Hall & made ourselves pinback buttons with our new nicknames on them.
(Crafty time at camp! YAY!)
Later at camp, we had to say goodbye to Killer & Boss Jr. as they had only volunteered for the first part of the week. (Saddest day ever.) Three newbies joined the kitchen crew to finish out the rest of the week.
I should mention Jeff, Jon & Debbie, the chefs that really did most of the work all week. They are old pros at this, with many years of volunteering at Camp Wooten. They ordered the food, planned the menus, organized the whole thing. And they were so great to work with! And I'm pretty sure I can say that we were part help/part entertainment for those three all week.

The highlight for me at camp was just being with my new friends, laughing & laughing. (Neighboring cabins weren't so keen on our laughter & late-night giggling. One of the Camp Directors politely asked us to quiet down. Oops.) None of us "moms" knew each other before camp. We all agreed it's a shame that it took this long to get so closely acquainted. Elizabeth said the school should send kindergartners to Camp Wooten. (So we'd get to meet each other sooner.) But then she decided that 7 kindergartners in a camp cabin is like 90 cats.
Ain't nobody got time for that. So, nevermind. 
Better a late friendship than no friendship at all, I suppose.

I brought all sorts of things to do in case I was stuck with a bunch of ladies that were no fun. I didn't even read or knit once while at camp. That's how much I love them. I later found out that they all, too, brought things to do for the same reason. haha!
No interent or wifi for the week was a breeze. I was too busy to care about all that. Didn't miss it once. Didn't yearn to make a status Facebook update. Didn't pine for Instagram. Didn't pout without Vine or Twitter. I lived to tell about it. 
I am a survivor. 

I even got mail at camp! My sweet mom sent me mail. As did the Mr. + Pazely. Happy mail at camp? Best ever. Zoey got oodles of mail too. Thanks to those who mailed stuff to her! Zoey said the highlight at camp for her was the fishing. And she thinks if I wasn't there that she might have been homesick. (It was awful fun getting to hug & kiss on her every morning & evening, & see her smiles, & watch her interact with friends.)

Camp Randomness...
•Next time I need to remember to bring some chapstick. (Who knew long hours in the kitchen causes lip chaffing?) 
•Did I just say "Next time..."??? Well, Pazely will be in 5th grade next year. She might get upset if mom doesn't do the same for her. I wonder if I can talk the Mr. into taking my place...
•I realized that to cook for a large group of people you need to use large things.
•Laughing helps your feet hurt less.
•The food at camp is DELICIOUS. (No one goes hungry.) 
•The hot cocoa at camp is amazing. (I've got the secret. And I might tell.)
•I didn't get eaten by a wild animal, but I did step in deer poo. 
•Zoey showered at camp more than I did. (And she only showered twice.)
•I learned that cream of tartar helps make fluffy scrambled eggs. (1 tsp per 1 dozen eggs)
•After peeling & chopping garlic for dinner one evening, I learned this tip: Scrub your hands with coarse salt. (I did. And it took the smell completely away!)
•I already miss Eva, the industrial dishwasher.
•A chipmunk stole a cookie from the kitchen one afternoon. (I saw him do it. Cutest tiny thief EVER.)
•I shooed away a tick, crawling on my face. (EEP!)
I got to ring the dinner bell one day. Sounds silly, but it was something I was particularly looking forward to. (Hey, it's the little things, people.)
Melissa & I got a lesson in human salad spinning. Take a peek at my GIF of chef Jon, HERE. (I only lost a few lettuce leaves when it was my turn.)
•Slicing with the meat cutter = buff right arm.
•Melissa also hates milkshakes & smoothies.

I am so happy to be home. It took me 3 full days to recover. It didn't help that I was starting to get sickly the last 2 days there. Sore throat + stuffy face cruds. Blah. When we returned home, I heard all about Pazely's week with the Mr. 
Pazely declared it "The Best Week Ever!!!". (WHAT?! haha!) I feel super loved & needed right now.

I made many happy camp memories, gained new friends & now I have another adventure under my belt.
 That's a good week, I'd say.

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.
Click HERE for all the Camp Wooten photos.