The truth behind those cute pictures

I love the pumpkin patch. I love eating caramel apples and picking out the perfect pumpkin and going on the Hayrack ride and pretty much just everything about it. 

I. Love. It. 

And I always post adorable pictures of my adorable kids there (yeah, I’m a little biased) and everything looks picture perfect. 


And even though it was a great day…nothing is perfect. 

There are things that I don’t post, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen.

Like when my pumpkin obsessed toddler resolutely refused to pick out a pumpkin in the patch, refused to walk, and screamed because she wanted a pre-picked pumpkin that she saw earlier.


Or when my oldest got upset because he didn’t want to do the activities that he declared were “for babies” and my toddler didn’t want to leave said activities. 


Or when they complained because the line for food was too long.


Or it smelled.


Or there was too much walking.


Or the toddler was furious because she wanted to jump in the muddy puddles in her brand spanking new – first time she wore them – stride rite shoes, and I said no.


Trust me, we had our fair share of tantrums behind those picture perfect photos.

An open letter to my kids

Yesterday I was using the bathroom and, like always, you joined me.
This time instead of crawling on to my lap while I tried to quickly do my business, you squatted down on the bathroom floor next to me and squeezed out your own rabbit sized turd. On the floor.
So we quickly switched spots and you finished up in the toilet, getting 80% of your bowel movement in the correct spot. 

So we clapped and danced, and I walked out to get you the m&m you expect and covet after successful bathroom trips.

You did not follow me. You quickly slammed the door shut… and locked it.

I didn’t even know you knew how to lock the door. I stood outside the door and pleaded with you to open up. I made promises and bribes and counted to 3. You laughed and flushed the toilet multiple times.

But you finally opened the door.

And I want you to know that even when you ruin an entire roll of toilet paper, I love you. 

Even on days when you decide you want to eat your Mac and cheese as we are walking out the door, the same Mac and cheese that you’ve been staring at with disinterest for the past 45 minutes. I love you. 

Even on days when homework stretches out into a 2 hour ordeal because of bathroom trips and snack breaks and you’re crying because multiplication tables suck. I love you.


Even when you pee on me, or scream like a banshee as I wrestle you into your car seat, or wake up multiple times in the night, or complain about getting your dirty laundry together, or feed your food to the dog, or spill your entire cup of milk in the middle of the aisle at Target, or beg for an ice cream cone and eat 2 bites before deciding you’re done with it, or contort yourself out of the seat in the shopping cart, or when your bedroom that we just cleaned 2 days ago is so messy that walking to bed turns into an obstacle course, or bring home a hissing cockroach for a pet, or start throwing an epic tantrum after only 9 minutes at the splash park, or refuse to let me have a single phone conversation without screaming incoherently in the background. I still love you. 


Even on the days that I have to resist the urge to take 3 birth control pills instead of 1, I love you. 

 Through all the ups and downs and bodily fluids, I love you. 

The “this is why I still haven’t lost my baby weight pie”

Okay maybe it isn’t just because of this pie. 

It may be a combination of this pie, cinnamon rolls, lattes, donuts, crab rangoons, nachos, etc.

Eventually I’ll fit into my pre baby jeans. But right now this pie, THIS PIE, tastes a lot better than skinny feels. 

I ate a slice last night right after it got done baking and I ate a slice for breakfast this morning. Zero fucks given. 

I’ve made quite a few apple pies and this recipe is by far my favorite. It’s no surprise that the recipe came from thepioneerwoman.com 

The original recipe calls for a homemade pioneer woman pie crust. Of course. However, I’m slightly lazy when it comes to pie making and I knew my toddler was only going to allot me a certain amount of time before freaking out and trying to shinmy up my leg like a spider monkey. So pillsbury pie crust it is. 

This pie is filled with apples that we picked at the apple orchard last weekend. The apple orchard and the pumpkin patch are two of my favorite things and thankfully the toddler was complaisant that day and only threw one tantrum. 


Also, because we hand picked these apples, they are Jonathan – those were the ones that were ripe – and not Granny Smith like in the original recipe. 

Recipe 

Preheat oven to 375

In a bowl mix 3 peeled and sliced apples, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.


Fill your premade pie crust with the mixture 


In a seperate bowl prepare the topping by mixing together 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 7 tablespoons butter, and a dash of salt. I used a fork and mixed until crumbles formed. The original recipe also calls for pecans which I’m sure would be delicious, but I didn’t have any on hand, and ain’t nobody got time to run to the store. 

Cover the edges with foil and place a flat piece of foil on top as well. Set pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 60 minutes. Check on it and bake an additional 15-20 minutes if needed. Mine needed the whole 80 minutes. Take the foil sheet off during the last 15 minutes. 

I’m not one for traditional nursery rhymes.

I try really hard to instill my values into my kids.

And by values I mean my love of shopping and donuts.


Sometimes I switch it up and send the piggie to the library or farmers market to partake in pastries or pumpkin spice lattes. 

Man Bars…

Yeah, I’m not overly fond of the name myself.

But my 9 year old boy thought it was pretty awesome.

I wanted to surprise my husband with a baked good when he came home from his work trip to New Orleans, but considering he got a couple nights of uninterrupted sleep and delicious Cajun food I had no intention of making anything overly ambitious.
So I took to Pinterest and found these babies on southyourmouth.com


What did I like about this recipe?

1. It didn’t involve a thousand ingredients that I didn’t have on hand.

I was watching Chopped Junior yesterday and a 12 year old was cooking an amazing dish with galangal. That’s not me. I don’t even know what galangal is.

2. It sounded super easy and doable

So I got to work and it turned out great, so it’s definitely one you should give a try. If I can do it, you can do it.

Here’s a picture of my ingredients


Here’s the recipe:

2 14oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 sleeves crushed graham crackers

1 12oz. bag semi sweet chocolate chips

2-3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all of your ingredients together – except for the powdered sugar – Pat your mixture into a FOIL LINED AND SPRAYED 9×13 pan (see how I capitalized that, I promise I’m not yelling at you, but its important) and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool completely and then slice into squares and toss in powdered sugar. I got about 30 squares out of this.


In a shocking turn of events the powdered sugar was a big hit with the toddler.

And, yes, it does help if you sing ‘Be A Man’ from the Mulan soundtrack the whole time you’re tossing them in powdered sugar. Who knows… these may just help you get down to business and defeat the Huns.

The worst Pinterest project in the world 

Let me preface by saying this, the building of this project went fine. It wasn’t overly complicated or expensive and went according to plan. 

The idea was awful.

I’m sure you’ve seen those “learning towers” all over Pinterest. The ones that you make with an ikea bekvam stool and allow your toddler to safely interact with you. Sounds like a great idea right? 

Well I thought so too. Guess what? It was great for about 4 days. 

Maybe my toddler is just extra rambunctious. Maybe this will work out better for you because your youngling isn’t constantly training for American Ninja Warrior: Toddler Edition. 

But I’m just giving you forewarning that this project is the worst.

I had pinned tons of Montessori ideas. I had dreams of making homemade strawberry muffins together with my toddler. I had dreams of her helping me crack eggs and make breakfast and eventually growing up to become Julia Child and inside the pages of her cookbooks she would thank me for helping foster her creativity in the kitchen at such a young age.

That is not what happened. What happened was she constantly pushed her learning tower over to the ice maker and tried to turn our kitchen floor into an ice rink. What happened was she used the learning tower as a stepping stool to climb on to the countertops and rummage through the kitchen cabinets. What happened was she got into my k pods and tried to constantly turn the Keurig on and make herself a cup of coffee (this may be a sign that I drink too much coffee). What happened was she tried to climb into the sink and give herself a bath. What happened was I could no longer take a 26 second pee break.

What happened was I eventually turned the learning tower down on its side to prevent the destruction of my kitchen, which led to a tantrum, which led to me removing the learning tower from her sight.

What happened was the learning tower has been sitting in my 9 year old’s room for the past 2 months and has become a catch all for every knick knack and jacket he owns. 

So maybe you have more fortitude than me. Maybe you are a Montessori master. Maybe your toddler’s goal isn’t to create chaos. Maybe your fridge doesn’t have an ice maker on it. Maybe you just want to prove me wrong. I truly hope your experience turns out better than mine but I thought this time Pinterest needed a different perspective. 

So, if you want to make your own tower, head on over to this blog for a materials list and directions….

http://blamecrayons.blogspot.com/2014/03/diy-learning-tower-with-materials-list.html?m=1

Let’s talk car seats…

It’s child passenger safety week and since car seats are one of my favorite subjects I’m going to talk a little bit about them.

I made this meme in jest awhile back and it has been shared around various different groups and sites. It was made one day while basking in the glory of a gooey chocolatey Reese’s peanut butter cup that I didn’t have to share. 


pro tip: turn the radio up and open the wrapper in stealth mode to further mask the secret snack eating.

But in all seriousness there are more reasons than just chocolate to rear face and I want to talk about a few of them.

1. If you live in California, Oklahoma,New Jersey, or Pennsylvania it’s actually a law to rear face until at least 2.

2. The American Acadmey of Pediatrics recommends it, and they know their shit. 

3. It’s safer. There have been studies showing why rear facing, until at least 2, is safer but there has never been a study showing that it’s not. So why risk it? 

Now that we’ve talked about the reasons why to rear face, let’s talk logistics.

I promise you that your one year old isn’t too big to rear face. The Graco Extend2Fit rearfaces up to 50 lbs or to 1″ below the the adjuster handle when fully extended. This means that a 49lb, 48 inch, child would still be under the rear facing limits. 

My 2 year old is 26 lbs, 34 inches, and comfortably rear faces in her seat (a Maxi Cosi Pria 70) with plenty of room to grow. 


So give it a try. You can thank me later when you’re drinking your milkshake in peace while your little snowflake sips on their kale juice in the backseat. 

DIY Kids Picnic Table

Unlike the DIY learning tower from my previous posts this Pinterest project was a success! 

We have a high top table outside that seats 4. I love it but it isn’t the best for the littles and when we have friends over there isn’t enough seats for the kids. So we decided to make our own kids picnic table. I had seen a few blogs that had easy DIY instructions that would actually be cheaper than buying a new plastic kids picnic table so we decided to go that route.

My husband isn’t a fan of Pinterest projects. I’m not sure why. They usually involve new recipes, which are edible (even if they aren’t pretty) about 75% of the time, or a construction project that he enlists a buddy to help with. They tend to stretch the projects out longer than strictly necessary. Our garage, where all the building takes place, is outfitted with a tv to watch sports and a refrigerator full of beer. It’s not that much of a hardship. 

(Before and after staining)


But even he begrudgingly admits that this project was a good one. It was quick, inexpensive and effectual. The toddler loves it and we have ate many breakfasts outside since its construction. Breakfast outside takes about an hour longer to complete because we have to periodically get up to look at every ant on the ground or stop and wave at every airplane flying by, but as long as we aren’t on a time crunch it works out great. 

I would highly recommend making your own. We followed the directions on this link. Happy building! 

http://www.chalkboardblue.com/2014/05/how-to-build-kids-pic-nic-table.html?m=1

Bodily fluids and healthy lunches

My toddler is sick.

But just a tiny bit sick. She has a low grade fever and is extra snuggly and chill when she isn’t on Tylenol or Motrin. When the medicine is kicked in she is running around like the energizer bunny again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she isn’t hurting. But I’m tired. She’s extra antsy because I’m keeping her cooped up in the house so we don’t risk infecting anyone and she’s ended up in our bed the past two nights which means I’ve taken kicks in the head, side, and face by cute little baby feet.

On top of this we are currently in potty training pergatory. It’s never ending. She’s completely trained when she’s pants-less and at home but as soon as I stick underwear or a pull up on her it’s game over. Earlier today she started falling asleep on me for an extremely early nap. Naturally she was not wearing a pull up. Naturally she pissed…on me. 

Not just a little piss. A full load. An I-drank-an-entire-large-movie-theater-pop-and-held-it-for-2-hours load. 

When I laid her down to go change my clothes she woke up and refused to go back to sleep. 

So, yup, that’s how my day is going. 

Also I’m eating homemade, gluten free, sugar free, wheat germ cereal with hemp milk for lunch.


Just kidding, it’s Cookie Crisp. 

Karma is a bitch

Last night I was making pumpkin muffins with my toddler. 

No, there is no recipe for these muffins included, they’re from a box (Pillsbury). I could lie and tell you that I had 6 different types of vegetables in there, but if ‘Stranger Things’ has taught us anything it’s that “friends don’t lie”. 

Anyways, I had the mix all whipped up and poured into the muffin cups and started to run my fingers along the inside of the bowl to chow down on the batter, which is when my toddler looked at me and asked for a lick as well.

Of course I said no. There were raw eggs in there. While I’ve never contracted salmonella from raw cookie dough or cake mix during my 27 years of life I wasn’t going to risk it with her. 

Which pissed her off. A lot.

So I turned on the oven light and bent down to show her the muffins that were cooking in the oven and that is when karma came back to bite me in the ass. Quite literally.

My favorite pair of yoga pants snagged on the corner of the kitchen cabinet and now they’re sporting a brand new hole in the butt.

So, moral of the story, don’t be a hypocrite with the batter.