Saturday, January 19, 2013

Make time.

Happy new year, everyone! (I know, I know, I'm a bit late...)

I'm not one for making resolutions, as we all know how unlikely it is to keep them up for an entire year (hence my annual "must work out" and "eat healthy" regimens which are always an epic fail.)   But this year, the theme is going to be "Make time". I am feeling optimistic about making some tiny adjustments that will hopefully promote happiness, inspiration and encouragement to my crazy busy life.  Maybe if I keep my goals small, they will feel more obtainable. And if they are small goals, they won't take too much time to do so I won't have any excuse for not accomplishing them.

Overlooking the city of Dorgali on the Italian island of Sardinia and feeling happy and overwhelmed. 2007.

Tara's list of things to strive for in 2013:

- Last week, a close and inspirational friend gave me some stellar words of advice, "You can do anything for five minutes... Instead of taking a day at a time, take five minutes." How true! When overwhelmed, discouraged, excited, anxious, I have been putting that motto to the test and have felt a much-needed sense of peace and motivation. I'm going to keep that in my back pocket for 2013.

- Tackle my pinterest inspiration list. I used to feel frustrated and think, "Who are these super moms who find the time to DO all of this amazing stuff while dealing with work and little kids each day??" But, I am changing my tune. (Note to self: Add "Be more positive" to list for 2013) So, instead, I am going to try to do an artsy project each week to keep my creative urges hustlin' and bustlin'.

- This summer, get our organic garden going again. Eating natural fruits and veggies is a major goal.

- Try new things. I have been feeling so stagnant, repetitive and bored for longer than I would like to admit.  The goal is to keep an open mind.

- Cook more with Quinn.

-  Live more in the moment. "Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have."

Those are just a few of the things I am going to work hard to tackle this year. What are some of your goals for 2013?

Encouraging words.


             Photo by Julia

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rainbow Cupcakes

After being unemployed for longer than I ever have been and Mike carrying our family's financial stress solely on his shoulders, it was very apparent that we were going to have a pretty low-key Christmas last month. Not until Christmas eve were there finally presents under our tree, and thankfully our families really helped out in the gifting department. As disappointed as he and I were to not have a ton of gifts for her to try to sneak peaks at for weeks prior to Christmas, Quinn, our sweet girl, surprised us again with her easy going personality and desire to play with non-toy-related items. Quinn seemed excited about the toys she received, but quickly went back to her favorite toy, my iPad from over a year ago. It has been the main source of entertainment for Quinn since we have had it.

At first we were kind of worried. Can playing on the ipad really be that good for a two yearold? You hear stories of kids who play video games and turn into antisocial nerds when they grow up (haha, okay maybe that is a bit of an over exaggeration.) I just didn't want Q to turn into a Dungeons and Dragon's wizard girl and one day marry her dragon slaying boytoy via a virtual ceremony next to a magic bag of crystals or whatever.

ANYWAY. The ipad has been a really great tool for us to discover what Quinn is really into, which has been the greatest gift of all. Thanks to the trusty apps we have downloaded, Quinn has taken a keen interest in books, puzzles, matching games, and most of all, process-oriented activities. For instance, no matter what youtube video she starts off on, she somehow always navigates to a cooking tutorial or a how-to video. Whether it is someone from Japan showing her how to make erasers, or a little girl demonstrating how to use her new toy castle, Quinn will sit patiently and watch the video from start to finish. No matter what the length. It is really intriguing to watch her focus on every step leading up to a final result. So after she watched a "How to bake rainbow cupcakes" tutorial for the 193857493875th time, I decided it was time for us to make these badboys ourselves using the steps listed in her fav video.

It was so much fun! She seemed really excited as she realized she already knew which step came next in the process. Here are some photos...

First, Quinn mixed our cake box mixture in a large bowl with the water, eggs and cooking oil. Once blended together, we separated it into five separate bowls. I had Quinn put a few drops of food coloring into each bowl and stir it until the color magically appeared. "Mommy, these are magic soups!" Haha. We talked about how primary colors could make any color in the rainbow if they are mixed properly. Oh, and Thumper was there to help.

 Then, we took a scoop of each colored mixture and filled up the cupcake wrappers (use foil ones so the dye doesn't bleed through the wrapper,) layer by layer until they eventually looked like this. Next time I know to purchase two boxes of cake mix, because we started to run out of some of the batter...hmm...I wonder why...

 Oh, that's why. Because someone kept scooping spoon fulls of the batter into her mouth when I wasn't looking. Watch out for sneaky batter-eating-kids. You can spot them by the mass amounts of food coloring all over their faces and hands. BUSTED.

 Once they were done baking, they looked like this...

 Hold on, Quinn! Let them cool first!!! THEN we will put the frosting on.

 Ummm, I tried to take a picture of the final result, but she devoured hers too quickly. Oops! I guess they tasted good.

It was our first adventure truly baking something together and it was so much fun, especially because I know it really peaked her interest. We took a few extra ones over to Holt's house. Quinn said she wanted to give him a cupcake present. Hehe.

 I am going to see what baking videos she navigates to next and maybe we will try another baking project next week. Fun times!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Things that made me smile this week!

My desperate attempts to get Quinn to eat anything besides Yogurt and bread. Girl, eating is fun!

                       Seeing my buddy, James VanDEERbeek each time I walk through the door.

                                                        Quinn's new monster bathing suit!

                                                      Ellie, photobombing my snapshot of Olivia.

                                           Chillin' beside this adorable guy at the stop light!!!

    Quinn expressing her dislike for our Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody impromptu dance party during breakfast this morning.

                                                                    Kitty snuggle time.

          Our last few nights of Christmas lights. Sorry guys, you're coming down tomorrow!
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