Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The day I pretty much RUINED our hardwood floors...

So, when we bought our home, the living room looked like this:

It isn't bad but the green carpet and yellow walls just weren't our style. I personally feel that green carpet with yellow and red walls shouldn't be anyone's style. (I say this and I am sure that tomorrow I will look on Pinterest and see an ah-mazing room that has green carper and yellow & red walls). 

Before we moved into the house, we had all the carpet taken up and hardwood put down in the living area. When we moved in, the house looked like this:

My husband kindly painted the living room while I was out of town and just forgot/didn't feel like doing the cut-in. Try not to be jealous of the classiness we have going on here (and at Christmas time to boot). 

If you look closely enough at those pictures you will see that our floors are clean and shiny.  They were beautiful! Then we had H.... that kids spills anything and everything. He spills stuff I didn't even know could spill and he spills it out of spill proof cups! It is a great skill that he was just born with. 

Before we had kids, we could polish the floor a great floor cleaner but you had to do it on your hands and knees. It didn't happen often before we had kids and it hasn't happened since. Who has time to go over the whole house on their hands and knees?

So, when I saw this Pin for natural hardwood cleaners and polisher, I had to try it. 

We have 2 kids and a dog, so I figured I would try to "heavy duty" floor cleaner with white vinegar and baking soda.  I waited until the kids went down for a nap and mixed everything together per instructions. First off, the stuff didn't mix together no matter what I did so the baking soda appeared to sit at the bottom of my bucket and 1 Litre of water didn't appear to be enough. But, I am a rule follower, so I went with it. 

I swept the floor to make sure I got as much loose dirt up as possible.  I moved all the furniture so that the floor space was completely clear and then I took my mop and cleaned the floors of the whole house.  I didn't really notice anything crazy until it started to dry. I noticed white marks on the floor and a sandpaper-y feel to the floor. Oh my word, it was awful. 

Do you see that grim on my wonderful hardwood floors!!?!?!

H (a 2 year old) woke up from his nap and as soon as he saw the floor he said "messy. nasty." My 2 year old, who has played with his own feces, thought the floor was nasty. To say that I was freaking out would be an understatement.  I tried to invent games to play on the floor in hopes that walking on it would take the grittiness off it. Nope. You stuck to the floor like crazy. Poor H was so used to moving around on hardwood that he fell like 4 times because his feet and socks would stick to the floor. 

Seriously... when a 2 year old calls the floor dirty, it's dirty. 

Luckily JJ had a work happy hour so he was going to be home late. I was hoping that I could either fix it or that he would come home with enough alcohol in him that he wouldn't notice. That last part was just wishful thinking because to not notice the floors he would actually have to be so drunk he was passed out somewhere other than our house. 

When I had calmed down a little bit I looked at the sight again and saw a different way to clean that was also supposed to polish the floor. So, after I put the kids to bed, I mixed my lemon and olive oil with water and said a little prayer. 

Right away I could tell a difference. I was able to feel the lemon and olive oil cleaning off the baking soda. It was actually kinda nice to get instant gratification while mopping and being able to not only see but feel were I had already mopped. 

You can totally see the difference in the 2 photos above. It was so nice not to see all the grime.

I mopped the whole house and it looks better. It is still a little dull but at least we won't stick to the floor.  I think that I am going to have to suck it up and get on my hands and knees and polish the house to fix what damage I done. 

Now my floor looks like this:
The floor is pretty again!

I never thought I would be so happy to see a dull but clean floor. 

Lesson learned. I am not an au-natural person to begin with. I should just stick with what I know (the stuff that comes in the bottle) and call it a day. I was trying to be environmentally safe and it almost killed me and my pretty floors. 

Now my floors and living room look normal again!!

Have you ever had an experience like that? How do you clean & polish your hardwood floors? Clearly I am open to trying anything as long as it isn't on your hands and knees. 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I smell like a dead animal

Last week we had a break in the rain so Mom & I decided to take the kids to the Jacksonville Zoo. I love the Zoo and try to take the kids there at least once a week but it ends up being 3x a month really. I know that seems like a lot but when I had A, we bought a Zoo pass. The Zoo pass lets our family + 1 more adult come to the Zoo for free as many times a year as we would like. Hence, me trying to take the kids there once a week.  It is great because H & A get to see and learn about the  animals and we get exercise walking the Zoo. It is a win for everyone.  

So... last week Mom and I went to the Zoo. I get to the Zoo as soon as it opens so that we can be home by nap time. The fantastic thing about getting to the Zoo when it opens is that we are normally the first people in the zoo, it isn't busy and a lot of the animals are active because it isn't hot. 

Man, I am really digressing here. I swear that I have a story to tell. 

So, there we are first thing in the morning heading to the first exhibit, the Rhino's. 

H loves the rhinos. They are the first animal that he talks about when I mention the Zoo. Since he loves them so much, we typically spend about 5-10 minutes at the rhino exhibit. 

There were 2 Zoologist standing there watching the rhinos. We see Zoologist all the time so we don't think anything of it. We are spending our time getting down and showing H the rhinos and trying to teach him about them. They were eating breakfast so we were talking about what the rhinos eat, etc. As I am talking to H, I notice that one of the rhinos seems to be drooling and the more I watch the more I realize that it isn't drool... it's bile and the rhino is making what sounds like a coughing noise. This bile and coughing lasts the whole time we are there. I start to get kinda worried about the poor guy. 

So, I decided to strike up a conversation with the Zoologist as to whether he has a cold, etc. She tells me they noticed his cough this morning when they were bringing the food and are observing the rhino. They think maybe he has some food caught in his throat. I think "cool. good luck with that" and get A out of the stroller to show her the rhinos. 

This is the picture taken as I am about to bend down.

As I am leaning over to show her the rhinos, the Zoologist behind me is trying to  lure the rhino closer to get a better look at him. Since the rhino is getting so close, I squat down with A & H to look at the rhino up close and personal. This was a mistake. A mistake I will NEVER make again.  At this point the rhino looks up ( and I swear to god it glared at me) and coughed all over me!   I am not joking when I say coughed. I immediately put A down and kinda look around like "did that just happen?" Neither H nor A seemed to get anything on them but I had spit dripping off my nose. And I think that the nose is the worse place to have rhino spit/bile land because it smelled like death/poop/rotten meat all rolled into one wonderful mouth.  

I am off the side trying to get myself cleaned up and H was dying. H thought this was the funniest thing he had ever seen. 

He didn't want to leave the rhino exhibit. He kept saying "rhino cough. spit mama. HAHAHAHAHAHA." Looking back it is funny but at the time I was trying to clean myself off and try not to throw up from the smell so my 2 year old laughing at me just wasn't calming me down like it normally does. 

Since we had driven all the way to Zoo, I was not about to leave after the first exhibit. So, as we walked the rest of the Zoo I was pulling bile and spit out of my hair all day. (You will not see anymore pictures of me from this day at the Zoo because I threatened my mom's life if she took a picture). 

The rest of the zoo was uneventful. Mom kept making jokes loudly about people needing to hold their breath around me (so hilarious Mom). 

Even after a shower I smelled like animal. JJ actually asked me to shower 3 more times before he would let me get into bed that night because he couldn't sleep with that nasty smell. 

So..... Moral of the story: if you see an animal at the zoo coughing, don't get too close. 

Has anyone else had an experience like this? Please share because I feeling that a complete weirdo that this happened to me!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Watching My children sleep

I am one of those mothers that cannot fall asleep until I know my babies are safe and sound. 

It started from day 1 with H. I, as many new mothers, would sit there and just watch him sleep. I loved how perfect and peaceful he looked. Even in those first few hours I knew enough to enjoy those peaceful times. 

H has never been a good sleeper.  I take that back. He is a great sleeper, he is just the worst at falling asleep. No matter what we did, he never learned to sooth himself to sleep.  Even now, at two and a half years old, he often cried himself to sleep.  So my habit of looking in on him became a nessecity for my sanity.  After listening to your baby scream himself to sleep, you kinda need to see him in a happy, calm place. I need to see his sleeping smile and the way he curls up on top of his blanket instead of under it.  I like to see if he has fallen asleep clutching a toy or book. Without fail he manages to play with a toy or "read" a book while crying and screaming for his bad (who has just spent the last 30 minutes reading to him and putting him to bed).  

My Mom gave him a little wheelbarrow and he had to sleep with it at nap time.

So, every night before I go to bed, I sneak into his room and just love on him. I silently pray for him and send him happy thoughts while he dreams. Because he has a hard time falling asleep, I am careful not to touch him.  I don't want to wake the beast so late in the evening.  I did that a few times when he was younger and I just had to kiss him or move a lock of hair.  I eventually learned my lesson.  I do feel that he can sense me and my outpouring of love in those quiet moments and these thoughts are what get us through the days when the terrible twos rears its ugly head.  

Enter my precious baby A. She is a marvelous sleeper; as long as you don't count those 4 days where she only slept in 45 minute stretches when she was 3 months  old. Spoiler Alert: she was crazy hungry and formula for a few days solved that problem.  She rarely cries when you put her down to sleep.  She buries her face in her blanket, plays with a book or snuggles with her giraffe (Jewel Jr.). 

I always go in to check on her after I check on H. She is a pretty light sleep and invariably wakes up when I come in. I don't know if she doesn't care or is just that easy going but age will stretch and snuggle down to go to sleep.  She never falls back asleep right away. She will lay there with her eyes closed and move her little hand on her blanket or her face while I watch her.  After a few minutes she will roll onto her back and smile up at me.  That is my cue to kiss her on her forehead and head off to bed. She in turn rolls back on her side and falls fast asleep.  I like to think that she gets as much enjoyment and peace out of it as I do. 

I have rarely thought about myself as a sentimental person but now I realize watching them sleep is my way of treasuring them and being sentimental about the day that has already past and that we will never get back. 

Do you watch your kids sleep? Do you have any other ways that you try to preserve their childhood in your head?  Also, if you have any suggestions on ways to ease a toddler to sleep, please pass them on. We need to break him of this habit. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Social

      Sunday Social

Happy Sunday!! It is time for Sunday Social with A Complete Waste of Makeup!!!

1. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- I would eat a baked potato every day if I could. I love baked potatoes and if I had to eat them for the rest of my life you could mix up the toppings so that you don't get tired of it.

doesn't that look delicious?!?!

2. What’s your guilty pleasure/comfort food?
- McDonalds is hands down my comfort food. If anything bad happens to me, my husband knows that he should just bring me McDonalds while I wallow in bed. It doesn't fix the world but it comes pretty darn close. 

3. What’s the weirdest/craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?
- I am not the most adventuresome eater. Probably the craziest thing I have even eaten in Escargot or Frogs Legs. They weren't awful but I don't plan on eating them again. 


4. What foods do you avoid at all costs?
- Any food that includes insects. I have never eaten an insect but I have seen enough shows to know that isn't something I ever want to experience. 

I think this pictures says it all.

5. What meal reminds you of your childhood?
- My moms spaghetti reminds me of my childhood. It is the best spaghetti sauce EVER and we never had a bad family dinner while eating it. I was also and incredibly pickey eater growing up and this was one of the few things that I would eat so Mom made it a lot. 

6. Share one of your favorite recipes and the story behind it.
- My moms spaghetti is my favorite recipe. See #5. It is just really well balanced and honestly taste divine to me. I have no idea where she got the recipe but it has taken me years to get mine to taste likes hers. The secret is to make the sauce in the morning and let it just all marinate together during the day. 

 - Recipe can be found on my blog here

I hope that you have a great Sunday!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Commenting Challenge Day 5 - Favorite Meal Ever

We are finishing off the week of Jenna's commenting challenge. I have really enjoyed meeting all the new bloggers and it has been really nice to have someone come up with an idea for me to write about all week. 

My favorite meal ever is anything involving Caprese. I first discovered Caprese when I spent time in Florence after graduation. Traditional Caprese is sliced tomato, sliced fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, salt & pepper and a balsamic reduction. It is very simple to make and absolutely delicious. 

 There was a little Cafe called Bar Daria near FSU's international school. I would get a Caprese sandwich every afternoon after class.  Other than the fact that the flavors are perfect together, Caprese just reminds me of a time in my life when I was adventuresome, stepping outside my norm, and exploring an amazing place all while learning about and bettering myself.  Who doesn't want to me reminded of that!?!?!

This sandwich is made of bread, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella slices, basil, salt & pepper and a little bit of olive oil & balsamic reduction. It can be served hot or cold.  It is pure heaven to me and a staple in Italy (and now my life).   

There are so many variations out there but the traditional salad is great. There is also a pasta version that I first experienced at Danny Rock.  It is no longer on the menu now, but man, this pasta melted in my mouth.  I have a great recipe for the Caprese pasta but I don't get to make it often because JJ hates tomatoes (unless it is a soup or something). 

One great thing about this pasta is it is great leftover. You can eat it cold or heat it up (just like the sandwich!).

Any variation of Caprese is great for lunch or dinner. It is nice and light but filling at the same time. I always feel healthy when I eat Caprese. 

So... that is my favorite meal. A nice simple meal from an extraordinary time in my life. 

Have you ever had Caprese? What is your favorite way to eat it?

I hope that you have a great weekend!


#BackthatAzzUp Friday is back!!!

It is that time again! #backthatazzup is back! I know you are as excited as I am. 

I am still following the 90's trend that I started last week. You know that it truly doesn't get better than the 90's.

This one I have been loving since it came out. It is always on my workout playlist and it gets me pumped and ready to go every time I hear it.  The movie that it comes from wasn't that great. Lets be honest, once you hear that movie name, you probably will realize that you never actually saw the movie but have heard the song. 

So, without further ado... here is my song for the week: Come with me by Puff Daddy from Godzilla. Enjoy it! I know you will!!

Come With Me by Puff Daddy on Grooveshark

Jam out and have a great weekend!!


{This Moment}

{This Moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Happy Friday!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Commenting Challenge Day 4 - Christmas Gifts


 Todays topic is Christmas gifts. This topic is a little daunting. I have only just started to think about gifts and really don't have much on my list yet. 

I like to get something practical and something fun for JJ. A few years ago I gave him a chainsaw. This one was a winner because it was both practical and fun. He has been asking for a chainsaw since he was 2 years old. Yes, you read that right... he was 2 years old when he started asking for a chainsaw. I think this freaked his parents out (as it would any parent) and they never got it for him. On his first Christmas as a father, I figured he deserved a chainsaw. He has gotten good use out of it.   


This year I am going to get him an edger.  He loves his power tools and the one we have needs to go. He has the hardest time starting it and once it starts it usually conks out.   The fun gift... i have absolutely no idea. 

The kids will probably get toys and books. I want to get H and indoor trampoline


He is a typical 2, almost 3 year old boy, and has a lot of energy. We have a lot of thunderstorms in Florida so he can't always play outside. I think this will be a good way for him to have fun and get some energy out without wrecking the house.  He got a tool set last year and loved it so much. I would love to get him this nice wooden tool set & work bench. I like to buy toys that will last and that we can keep around for the (future) grandkids. 


A is a little tougher. This will be her first REAL Christmas. She was 2 months old last year and just sat there. This year she can move and will have a small idea of what is going on and actually be able to play with her presents. I like to buy presents that she can grow in so most of her presents will be more for her when she is 2 than at Christmas when she is newly 1. 


I think that a little Kitchen set is a must! I want her to be able to use her imagination and H loves to play pretend as well.


Maybe we will get her a little doll and stroller set so that she can build her caregiver side. I think that is something that every little girl needs. 

As for my mother & sister, we have started an unspoken trend of making things. So... now that someone has gotten me stressed out about Christmas, I will be scouring Pinterest on stuff to make. 

My Favorite Christmas Present: I don't have any pictures of the present (my mom has them). When I was 10 years old I became very big into Samantha the Original American Girl doll. My heart broke when I figured out that she is discontinued. 


Anyway, that Christmas I got the Samantha doll as well a stand and numerous outfits. I was in heaven! I didn't think that it could get any better. The last present I opened was from my Aunt Laurel. Aunt Laurel has yet to get married and doesn't have any kids, so my sister and I got to spend a lot of time with her. I absolutely adore my Aunt Laurel with all my heart. So, since Aunt Laurel didn't have any daughters,  she gave me a doll from her childhood that she had saved for her future children. The doll was/is in excellent condition and even came with a change of clothes. Even at 10 years old, I knew how much that doll meant to her and what it meant that she wanted me to have it. 

I get tears in my eyes now just thinking about the love I felt that day knowing that Aunt Laurel thought of me as a daughter and entrusted me with something so precious from her childhood. 

That doll sat on display in my room until I left for college. I have both the Samantha doll and Aunt Laurels doll safely preserved and in storage for A when she gets older. I can't wait to gift her with 2 dolls that have such special meaning to me and my family. 

JJ thinks that dolls are incredibly creepy and has said numerous times that A will not have dolls. I just laugh. The poor guy is going to freak out when I have him build shelves to display dolls in A's room :)

What was the most meaningful Christmas present you have ever given or received? Also, any ideas on present to make for my sister?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mom's Spaghetti Sauce

Oh Man I just drool looking at this picture. My mom makes the best spaghetti sauce.  The flavors all melt together and it really is a joy to eat. The trick is to make it early and let the flavors meld together all day long. 

I made it for dinner last night and it was a hit! There wasn't much left, which, with with kids age 2 & under, says a lot. 

See... this girl really loved it!

1 tbsp of olive oil (or spray)
1 lb ground beef (I use extra lean)
1 large onion - chopped
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1-16 oz can diced tomatoes
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (I typically use Cabernet Sauvignon) 
8 oz sliced mushrooms

Favorite Noodles

1. Brown ground beef and drain. Set aside in a large pot. (I use a dutch oven or crock pot). 
2. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add that to the beef in the pot. 
3. Stir in parsley, basil, oregano, paprika and cook for a minute or so. 
4. Add the tomatoes, sauce and wine. 
5. Let simmer for a few hours. I usually make this as early as possible so that it can really simmer together all day long. 

To Double the recipe (which I recommend): instead of 2 cans of tomato sauce, use 1 can of tomato sauce and 1 small (4 oz) can of tomato paste. I also omit the extra can to diced tomatoes as well. Other than those changes, I double everything else. 

When you are ready to eat, just cook the noodles and pour the sauce over them. I always garnish with some Pecorino or Parmesan cheese and have some bread on the side. 

I hope that you enjoy this as much as we do!


Day 3 of the commenting Challenge - PINTEREST!!!


We are on Day 3 of Jenna's 4th Annual Commenting Challenge. The topic for today is Pinterest. A Pin you have actually completed or ones that you want to complete. 

I tend to Pin a lot but rarely complete them... I am trying to get better at it, I swear. (You can follow me on Pinterest HERE. I have made some recipes off Pinterest but there is actually 1 project that I pinned and completed. 

It was around Christmas time and I was trying to find something to go up on our mantel with the Nativity scene.  I came across this on a blog that I follow, I heart nap time, and fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I HAD to have it in my house. Here is the pin.

I love the rustic nature of the stained pallet and the sparkly star about the nativity scene. It was just what mine was missing.

This is a fairly easy DIY and only took me 1 night to complete. All you need is some spare wood. I actually went to Lowes and just got some flat pieces of wood (they were really cheap).  I already had the dark stain (I can't remember the name).  I picked up some Martha Stewart craft paint at Michael's.  I got a gold and a gold glitter for this project.

I had my husband cut the boards all the same length and then we nailed them together alternating the way they lined up. I them used my stain and put about 4 coats on the wood until I got the look I was going for. 

When it was time to add the star, I went online and googled "star stencils" and picked this one:

I printed it out on regular printer paper and went to work. I used a straight edge knife to cut out in the inside of the star; then I taped it onto the wood where I wanted the star positioned. Here is how mine looked:

I apologize for the awful photography. This was taken late at night with my phone. 

I then painted the star with the plain gold craft paint. I did several coats so that it would be really gold. Make sure that you tape the pictures down tight. I got the picture as tight as it would go without ripping and I did not have a problem with paint bleeding through or going outside the desired area. Once that dried I put the gold glitter paint in the center of the star. I wanted it the glitter to make the star appear to sparkle and add movement like the star was still guiding the wise men. 

Here is my finished product:

Seriously, please ignore the mustard looking walls (they are not mustard) and the awful photography. 

I am extremely happy with the finished product. I love it and can't wait to get it out of the attic at Christmas and put it up again. Every time I look at it, I smile :)

So... that is my most successful Pinterest project!

Have you had any success with a Pinterest Project or recipe lately?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Commenting Challenge - Day 2: Favorite Show(s)


We are on Day 2 of Jenna's Commenting Challenge. Todays topic is favorite TV show/series/reality show. 

Let preface this by saying that I love TV. I am not sure what it is but I have always loved watching TV. I was a very active kid growing up by loved TV so much that my parents had to limit me to 30 minutes a day and 1 hour on weekends. That being said, it is pretty hard for me not to list about 100 shows that I watch and love. 

I love that this picture has Damon Wayanes Jr.  He is super funny and missed the boat on this one! That being said, Lamorne Morris is very funny.

First show that I love is New Girl. Anyone want to second that one? It is one of the best new shows. I love the cast and pretty much all episodes are funny (which is rare these days).  Nick Miller is my fantasy crush.  He may be a dirty rapscallion but he has a heart of gold :)


Scandal had me hooked from the first episode. The acting is exceptional and I truly do enjoy the plot lines. I like all the twists and turns and how Olivia Pope outsmarts pretty much every person on the planet. I wish I had that ability.  Also, I hate Fitz! I am not sure what it is about it him (lies... I dislike him because he is a cheater and annoying)  but I do not want to see Olivia get together with him AND I want his wife to leave him. Teach that cheating man a lesson!!!!


How I Met Your Mother is another favorite. I am completely invested in the show and have waited with bated breath to meet the mother. (I was so glad that they finally showed her in the season finale). I can't wait to see the mother and Ted together as well as Barney & Robin as a married couple. I have always liked B&R together so it makes me very happy that they are getting married. 


Veronica Mars is along the same lines as Scandal but has much more attractive men as a whole. She is a bad ass who solves not only her problems but everyone elses. I was stocked to hear that they are making a movie and can not wait until 2014 when t comes out. I will probably be in line at midnight for it. 

.... and last but not least.....


..... Friends. This is the whole that really started it all for me. I watched all 10 seasons in real time and as much as I am embarrassed to admit it, I cry every time I watch the finale. These people really did become my friends. The show had it all. Laughter, drama, fashion, pretty people. What more do you really want from TV?!?! Monica was probably my favorite character. I am relatively neurotic like her so I identified with her.  Joey really annoyed me the whole series but the show needed him so I always let him slide. 

What is your favorite show(s)? Who was your favorite Friends character? You know you have one. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

It's Monday again! This means a weekly trip to the grocery store to get our groceries. I have never been very good at planning meals. In college I lived in the sorority house so someone cooked for me and I lived with my parents for 4 years after college so if I wanted a home cooked meal my mom cooked it for me. So, when JJ I got married I didn't know how to cook much less plan meals for a weekly grocery trip! This has been 4 years in the making but I feel like I am finally good at planning (relatively) well balanced meals. 

** I don't have pictures for ANY (ok, I do have pictures from online for 1) of these recipes or even any of these recipes up online but I love them all so I will be posting them this week as the week goes on.  Sorry! ***

-- I make this on Monday so that we have something to eat for lunch during the week
Tuesday: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Wednesday: Doritos Pie 
-- JJ has a work Happy Hour so he won't be home for dinner. I am making this for the kids & I
Thursday: Taco Dip

The weekend is my time off so it is most likely going to be take-out unless JJ is feeling adventuresome. 

I truly am hoping to get recipes and pictures of these to link up to this week.