Friday, July 25, 2014

WE EAT | Egg & Cheese Tacos

We are major egg-advocates in this house.  We have tried them a couple different ways {scrambled with turkey dogs HERE, and hard boiled HERE} and most definitely like them all.  
Egg & Cheese Tacos
3 whole eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of smoked paprika
1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella 

plates / OXO tot // bibs / Rockin A B Designs
Cant forget the {organic} whole milk!   As a child I was lactose intolerant.  My mother had to put a pad lock on the fridge to keep me out of it.. and if this same intolerance were the case with these two, I'd be investing in some locks of my own.

We offer milk and breakfast and dinner, but its water the rest of the day.  They would rather drink than eat {hence their nickname: little birds}, so I watch what they drink around meal times.   Whole milk fills them to the brim.
After the 73rd morning of 'sharing' his breakfast tacos with Parker and Jolie, Jordan decided to see how they would do with their own. 
We LOVE these whole grain white tortillas by Tia Rosa.  Whole wheat tortillas tend to be crumbly and hard when they are rolled (although perfect for a quesadilla!), but these are super soft, and really delicious to boot!

 Daddy.  Please, will you, help me roll my egg taco?

 Parker.. rolls and un rolls her taco - attempting to stuff every last scramble in her tortilla.  
Good girl.  Soon we will be dipping in salsa.

 We like it!  While we love a good scramble, these tortillas made for a great mix up.. and really fun for meal time with these two.  Totally renewing their interest in eggs.

Hey, Jo.. can momma have a bite?

Jo be like.. "JO{ey} DOESNT SHARE FOOD."


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beautiful Mess

Truth be told, my girls are wild.  Wildebeest does in fact seem to fit well.  
prefix: wild
I must give them some credit because most often (if it means getting all eyes on them..) they will sit still and wait to be told how amazing they are.  

During our pediatrician visits they patiently and quietly allow Dr. Butler to give them the 'once over' all while keeping momma in the corner of their eyes as to make sure I am actually watching how wonderfully they are behaving.

Parker picks up my phone and butters me up with a slobbery smooch before I can even say 'no ma'am, hand it over..' 

Sister acts silly, breaks a laugh out of her daddy or me, and sister goon number two follows quickly behind. 

This boast so well for picture taking.  Hand holding, hugging, kissing, smiling.. they know how to make me (and Brittany) jump up and down like baboons and squeal with delight upon their doing such a thing.  They eat it up.  I'm not sure if THEY or WE are more in for the entertainment.  
I actually don't care either way as long as we get a decent shot out of it.  

We often plan our photo shoots right after they've eaten dinner and had a bath.. right around the time when my two wildebeest's lose their minds.  
This night was no exception.  
We three adults (Jordan, myself, and Brittany) gave out a good chuckle when Parker was being super silly and slithering her way to the ground.  Out of that chair.  Onto the itchy grass.  Beaming the entire way through.

Her love for attention this night backfired on momma just a tad.  These pictures aren't 'posed'- they are the attempt of posed.  457 attempts to be exact.   
Although this is the case, I am absolutely in love with the light-hearted nature Brittany was able to capture.  Parker. That smiley little thing.  Jolie is typically the over-the-top outgoing one that finds everything hilarious.. but on this day, Parker had it down.
This sweet (strawberry blonde??) Jo Grace posed perfectly whilst the mother ship chased her crazy co-pilot in life around.. shoeless and drenched in sweat (I'm talking about her mother.  Parker was refreshed and clean, of course). 
..and finally Parker decided for about a 10th of a second to tame her wild hairs.
Everything about this outfit is amazing.  I had perfect plans for pairing these bloomers, with those super fun shoes. Up until this point we have always always always worn moccs.  Occasionally we wear a pair of sandals (We own just one style..), but for the most part we stick with the moccs for comfort and the fact that there is no velcro.  Replacing shoes to toddler feet 23 times while running an errand (ONE errand.. if I'm out all day this number triples) isn't something I've got a whole lot of extra time for.  You know?  These are precious and super soft, and so comfy.. very similar to moccs, but a 'high-top' version.  We've walk/run/trot in these things (outside, mind you) and they have held up great - plus they are very affordable - especially for those mommas with twin babies like myself.  $60 vs $120.. ehhhh, I'll fair the cheaper route for the most part.

Moving up the outfit train to those tees.  Like I said, I had an entire outfit planned and ready until they came in the mail the day before our shoot.  
Love.
We officially became the brand reps for Trilogy Design Co (original photo shoot HERE) and I was ELATED to have Parker and Jolie chosen among a handful of other perfect babes and kiddos to represent the company.  
There were over 3,000 entries. 
whoa.  
Pretty sure this picture represents this baby tee to upmost perfection.  
High five and a back pat to these two little birds for making our first 'rep' job a success.
SWOON

The number one question {I} get asked is "how do you make then do that?  Hold hands?? HUG??"  
Truth: I dont.  More truth?  I DO try to pose them and briefly explain to them what mommy wishes for them to do, but the rest is up to those 19 month olds.. {and Brittany} to capture them in the most natural way possible.  If you every get the amazing chance to work with her, you'll see what I mean. 

The above and below pictures have already been ordered in canvas prints. 
Of the thousands of pictures that I have, these have to be among my absolute favorites.    
Leave it to these two to make the 9 minutes spent behind the camera worth 1,000 words.  
7pm in the evening & just 9 minutes. 
The magic numbers for a 19 month old (or two) in this house. 

Very special thank you's:
headwrap c/o: Garden of Arden
Beautiful Mess tee c/o Trilogy Design Co.
bloomers c/o Lovey Lake
shoes c/o: Fledge Feet
photography c/o: B Faith Photography
{all props provided by the photographer}

SUPER exciting news for girl momma's swooning over those bloomers handmade by Leah over at Lovey Lake.  Bloomers are all the rage right now, don't you know?

Remember when 3 Ladies & Their Gent offered a coupon code to her shop earlier this summer {HERE}? Well, she is ready to say BUH_BYE to summer, and hello to fall {my kinda girl}!  
Use code "masseytwins25" for 25% off your entire purchase!  
I already MAY have used my own coupon code to nab a pair {or two} of these..
..and these.  

Shady? Nah.. bargain shopper I am.  
See also: Mother of Twins

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finding Balance

This post is weeks in the the making.. the writing of it, you would think, would come easy, but after a conversation that I had over the weekend might prove otherwise.

These last couple weeks have been overly-busy.  The weeks are flooding in, rolling by, and my days are running together with appointments, phone calls, text messages, work, meetings, and then to come home at the end of the day and play momma to my two little precious birds.  Thats just for the weeknights.  Leave it to the weekends to cram every breathing moment with 'something' to do.  Costco, Sam's (yep, we shop at both), date nights, social events, parties, playdates.. we sleep in there somewhere.

I few weeks ago we received an email via Twin Talk  asking about finding balance.  How to 'fit' it all in. The email went on with many forms of flattery and requests for advice as to how to do it 'all'.

Truth be told, I do it very poorly and I surely do not have it all together.  This sort of 'advice', if you want to call it that, is hard to give because what works for some is called crazy by others.  So, here I go- and don't judge me:)
--
 Quiet Time.
I wrote this entire post and was going to add this piece of my life at the end, but decided it is best placed at the beginning.  
My Quiet Time. What is 'quiet time'.. 
as a Christian this is a time we come together with Jesus.  Whatever that looks like.  It is definitely different for everyone.  For me, it is reading my Bible, praying, and journalling.  Since the girls were born, journalling has gotten difficult, but most recently I have come to start journalling again, and I forgot how much I absolutely love it. My morning 'quiet time' is 100% among the best moments of my day.  I don't have a specific 'study' that I do, but every morning I read and excerpt from Jesus Calling (here) and then look up the accompanying verses in my study Bible.  I've read Jesus Calling nearly 3 times (it is a daily devotional), and every time I come to a new day, I get something else out of it that I maybe didn't catch before.  His teachings work in such pristine ways, and it is funny how He can always bring it full circle just at the perfect time.  I wake up around 5am, make a cup of coffee, and sit in the kitchen nook to read, journal, and hit my knees with thanksgiving or requests.  
Parker and Jolie are still asleep- Jordan has either left for work, or is sound asleep himself.  My time.  Me time to drink my coffee, eat my breakfast, and make time for the Man that blessed me with this life.  It is EARLY, and most days I dread my alarm, but being awake, alone with my Lord before everyone else, lets me charge for the day.  A better attitude, mindset, and patience is developed when I do this.   

My calendar.
I am organized.  Organization rules my life.  My OCD tendencies have a place in this organization and chaos I simply call my life, and it doesn't always have to be a negative description.
My calendar.  Holds many appointments.  Appointments right down to the 7:30pm dinner time. Thats right- I input what we are having for dinner in my calendar every week during my meal planning so that I can always be prepared for the next day for my family.   

I work best from my iPhone calendar and have my personal calendar, my work calendar, and also a 'Home Calendar'.   The 'home calendar' is something that Jordan and I share via the iPhone for appointments that we both should attend or know about.  Exam appointments, work trips, social outings, photoshoots, date nights.. you get the idea.  When Jordan is planning something he can always look into that 'home calendar' to see what we have going and if there is a possible conflict.  We also have a 'Twin's Calendar' that we share with Jordan's mom (our primary caretaker of Parker and Jolie when we are both working. This keeps us all on track for when we do and don't need help from BB in watching the girls.  Takes the Sunday night panic planning off the table.

While it might seem like overkill, this calendar method of organization has been super helpful to keep all of us on the same page of life, so there isn't anything popping up with the ever the expected "I told you last week.."   
Jordan (nor myself) don't often get that excuse. 
I have used the paper calendar and before the days with my iPhone I was obsessed with writing in it.. I've been loving the Erin Condren 2015 calendars, but haven't made the splurge to get one.  I can totally justify it for other things aside from the regular 'calendar planning'.. you know? 

Cleaning/House Duties.
Fortunately I have help with this in more ways than one.  
Jordan is EXTREMELY helpful around the house, and if it weren't for him, this entire life of ours would crumble to the ground.  Over the years we have developed a routing to compliment each other very well when it comes to sharing the home duties.
I cook, he cleans the 'after-dinner' dishes, and I wipe down the counters.  (We've been doing it this way for our entire 9 years of marriage) 
He does the laundry, I fold it.
(he also leaves his terribly folded laundry sitting in a pile for a week before putting it away.)
I am usually the last to get out of bed in the morning.. but he always makes it.  Occasionally out of frustration:)  He hates for his sheets to be twisted and making the bed every morning is the equivalent of freshness to him.. I couldn't care less as long as my feet are covered while I sleep.
He does all of the yard work.  You should see the sweat beads and hear him sing praise to Jesus via Jeremy Camp when he's using his beloved push mower to cut our near 1 acre of a yard.  
I bring him refreshments:)
Regular maintenance of the household duties is assisted by our housekeepers that come every other week.  When I went on bed rest while pregnant, Jordan was working all the time, and I was unable to clean per doctor's orders (awwww, shucks). We made the financial decision to hire someone to help.  After the girls came we couldn't even think of making time for wiping the windows or cleaning the toilets (major kudos to you ladies and your hubby that DO), and so they have stuck around for nearly 2 years.  
Jordan and I both agree that we would hand over our cell phone if it meant we had to cut something out in order to manage these ladies (there are two that come every other Tuesday) into our budget.  My ceiling fans have never been so tidy.

Cooking.
I love to cook.  When we got married I was approaching my final years of school to be a dietitian, and while the science behind food, wellness, and healthy living was all fine and dandy, it was the real power of what you actually put in your body that caught and held my attention for choosing a career path.  I have worked many different roles in my job life: hospitalist, marketing, ICU (intensive care unit), and I even spent 3 years as a personal chef.  This is where it all hit home.  So, cooking is engrained into my mindset of life.  We incorporate and expect that this should be done in our house, but I know it isn't for everyone.  And not always for me..
I eat cereal for dinner when Jordan is at the fire station. 

Meal planning is VERY helpful (which I first talked about HERE, and share more often what WE EAT here) and is the greatest piece of advice I can offer when it comes to figuring out how to fit it all in, and make a relatively healthy meal for your family.  Breakfast and lunch are typically very similar on a day-to-day basis, so, I leave those out of the calendar plan - but dinner varies and we often eat something different on a monthly cycle.  

Breakfast  for me personally often looks like fruit, Greek yogurt & granola OR peanut butter toast/English muffin.
Lunch:  protein smoothie, leftovers from the night before, OR a sandwich of some kind.  I could eat sandwiches every.single.meal. 
Since I have my dinner meals planned ahead of time, I often am able to prep what I need to in the days leading.  I make sauces, marinades and casseroles up to 2 days in advance.  Sometimes that looks like cooking up a couple things on a Sunday night, or prepping on an evening when Jordan is at the fire station after the girls are down.  Occasionally, I will prep dinner the moment I walk in the door.  This is typically around the time the girls are having their snack, so I sometimes have about 20 minutes to make use of that time.  Last night I made Caprese Turkey Burgers - prepped the patties, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and popped them in the fridge until it was time to grill them up for dinner.  It makes my evening go much smoother when I do it this way.

Last week, I popped a meatloaf in the oven (made ahead the night before) and had about 45 minutes of 'nothing' to do.  The girls' most favorite thing to do right now is feed the dogs.  They are overly excited and totally accomplished after we allow them to dump that dry food in Daphnee and Ginny's  food bowls.  BIGGEST helpers on the planet these days, and this 'task' is just among the long list of things they help with on a daily basis.



Working Mom.
This one is tough for me.  During the first months of life with Parker and Jolie I was desperate to be at home with them.  Major milestones, like making the first moves to crawl and rolling over, were witnessed by video while I sat at my desk at work. Truth be told, I hated my job at the beginning of last year.  I was in a different role, in a different company, and while still practicing dietetics, it wasn't making me happy at all anymore.  I needed a change - and I was convinced that the change was going to come in the form of being a stay at home mom.  God had other plans.  He always does.  
So funny how that works..
After THREE failed interviews (to which I have always 'won' a position I have applied for..) I got a call.  A call from a contact that I had met over two years previously to come in for an interview.  
God is so good.  
My current job is absolutely amazing.  I am extremely blessed to work for a company that loves, respects, and appreciates my role - and most importantly understands my growing family life at home.  I work 9am-3pm | Monday-Thursday an then I get to come home and switch hats to 'momma'. While I would LOVE to say that work ends at 3pm, I am BUSY, and I am the only one that does my job.. so some days I am still answering emails by phone once I get home because I understand that 90% of the work population's day doesn't end at 3pm like mine does. 

This has been a balance I've had to learn as I go.  I struggle.  Some days I'm TERRIBLE at managing it.  I come home stressed out, tired, and unmotivated to do anything but unplug.  And then I realize what I am actually unplugging from.  


#selfie (with a bit of yogurt I missed from snack time..)
Social Media/Blogging.
Yet another struggle for me.
As far as blogging goes, I've got a notebook that I carry around with my everywhere I go.  I jot down post ideas, thoughts I want to share.. you get the idea.  I have found that really helpful when trying to bring a post into words.  I can spend anywhere from 1-2 hours writing, and I used to try to do this at night - which is often my time to spend with Jordan.  A few months ago I started getting up early and blogging after I did my quiet time, and before my day as mom and employee got started.  
Game-changer, ya'll.  

Social Media.  The BEAST.  While I don't have Facebook, Instagram and I have a love/hate relationship.  I find it hard to 'unplug' from this piece of my world.  Work is busy, and when I get home I am so excited to share with every one a little bit of my life in the afternoon.  The reality is I can find myself missing a fun moment with my girls because I am only concerned about snapping the perfect picture to share on Instagram/Twitter or the blog.  Jordan gets frustrated with me because I insist on the attempt to retake a picture about a bazillion times of uninterested toddlers.  
Sorry, Jordan. 

It is a constant battle for me to find the balance with this and maintaining my time with Parker and Jolie.  I'm afraid I don't have the answer to this 'secret', but I had an amazing friend and fellow twin mom share this with me last week:  
Be present.
The realization and self reflection I had after she said those two words with me made me realize how much I could potentially be missing.

That same evening last week I mentioned earlier, after feeding the dogs, we played outside.   Enjoyed the evening.  I was PRESENT with my little girls.  No Instagram, no computer, no text messages.  
Just being mom.  We spent just about 25 minutes outside, but in that 25 minutes I felt sort of liberated from my pull to social media.   My tendency would be to pull out my camera, snap 'the perfect' picture(s), and then immediately come inside to load them to the computer.  Not this night.  I wasn't going to do it.  


Look at that face?
How could I have potentially missed this.  This interaction with their daddy?
It brought tears to my eyes (and as I write) to realize that I am often worried about so many other things than being present. I have to forget about the anxiety of not answering that text message, replying to that email, and posting the perfect picture.
My time with these girls (at this age) is very limited.  The moments are flying, and I can potentially miss it.  I'm not saying NEVER get on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, or answer emails, or that you are a terrible person for replying to a text while sitting with your family, but personally I just have to make it a point to be unplugged from time to time, or I'll miss something.

..and I don't want to miss a thing.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

WE EAT | Homemade Cinnamon Rolls {with Cream Cheese Icing}


{adapted from Cooking Light}
original recipe HERE

 
Cinnamon Rolls were always such a treat for me growing up.  If I woke up to that smell - you know that delicious bakery smell, I knew I had to throw myself out of bed or else the brother trio would chow down my chance of getting anything on the breakfast table.
 
I had never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before and was determined to find the most simple recipe on the planet.  Bread dough scares me - bread bowls I made a couple years ago could break a window, and then last year I tried my hand at some sweet potato slider buns (they were good and I was proud). 
 
and then last week.. I made my own dough, ya'll.

 

I prepped the cinnamon rolls on Friday evening after the girls went to bed.  I usually save my personal 'to-do's' (like blogging) and food prep for nights Jordan is at the fire station.  On Saturday morning I let them rise for about an hour before baking and they came out perfect!
 
Parks wasted ZERO seconds before she stuffed a handful of gooey pulled cinnamon bites.

I took it upon myself to remove the possibility of icing in the hair, and the look I got from this one as I interrupted her breakfast meal..


 


 


 
We liked the cinnamon rolls.  A LOT.

Parker sucked all the icing off before she decided to eat the actual bread part of her breakfast.  I learned she was doing this the hard way after popping a piece in my mouth when I offered her some milk. 
Soggy.  Why does that always happen to me?

If they could talk they would be chanting about what a great/awesome/amazing cook their mother is.

The original recipe called for a basic powdered sugar icing, but I opted for a cream cheese version.
Good ol'Martha helped me out on this one, but I cut the recipe a bit (give or take..) to make it more of a glaze than cake frosting. 
But cake is always well received in the mornings. So- frosting would be welcome, too, I suppose.

 
Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

My kids ran in circles for 44 minutes and then fell face first into their cribs for a morning nap - completed sugared out for the entire year.

While I don't often feed my babes this sort of thing (aside from the occasional donut hole, you know..)  it was such a treat for these baby's first.



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Are You Doing...?

I am totally late (or so I feel like) in starting the girls in doing more (practiced) fine motor skill development.  SURE we talk about blocks, puzzles, colors, ABC's.. read books, listen to music, and observe our surroundings.  

But, I had yet to set aside time for little 'art' projects for these birds.  They are home ALL day long and we play, a lot.  We listen to music, a lot. We are outside, a lot. 
So, I ask myself why haven't I left little things for their BB or daddy to do with them while I'm at work?
Why haven't I done it with them myself on the days and afternoons home? 

Pinterest is my favorite demise.  I have about 8,000 pins under 'Family Life', to which I started pinning activities for toddlers when they were still in the womb.  
If you are reading this expecting to find some grand plan for toddler projects, you won't find it.  Today - we color.  Its our new thing.  Totally pin-able.  

Jolie is a whiz with the crayons.  They color in the nursery at church, and she's totally got the hang of holding it the most correct way a toddler can hold it just after a couple times of practice.  I am elated for them to bring home their art once we start Mother's Day Out in the Fall.  I have real grand plans for their little art projects to be hung and displayed like this.  My girlfriend, Jacqueline did this in their playroom and I about died over the genius of an idea it was.
Parker is still working through it.  It is amazing to see the different levels of maturity in their skill development.  Parker far exceeds Jolie is some things, and vice versa for Jolie in others.  Eating with a fork and spoon came as a 'no-brainer' for Parker, but holding and using a crayon has been a struggle.  Jolie still, after months of practice, hates the spoon and will use it only half the time during meals, and the other half she will throw it off her tray in frustration.

It is super hard not to compare them.. I've been doing it all their little life.  Size, weight, who is eating what.. and now we've come to this drastic time of skill development, and as a mother I feel like I cannot help but compare them, once again.  A positive comparison, not negatively - I've been really pretty good at keeping myself in check on that.
Up until now we've done everything in their high chair, and after witnessing my children tirelessly fidget while sitting at a kids table at a birthday party, I decided we needed to 'practice' sitting at the table for activity rather than restricting that to our high chairs.

Another mom epiphany of toddler-dom: everything takes practice.  Not just for them, but definitely for me as well.

Recently, I received these Nuby booster seats and we've gotten amazing use out of them.  Before ever strapping them to a 'big girl' chair, we used them as a comfy seat for everywhere.  These kids tote them around like a handbag and love every minute of it. We've taken them to BB's house, Ashley's house, and traveled with them for use while they eat (and we don't need to cart the huge highchair around)
Find them on Amazon HERE
We finally decided to use them for our coloring activity at the table.. and my word.  Just like that there was no more sitting up on top of the table.
That 'anklet'.  Parker has been wearing it for weeks (we take it off at bath).  It is a hair tie and she doesn't even touch it all day.  Puts it on and leaves it.  

Proud mom moment.  My girl accessorizes. 
Coloring at the table has become a family affair- Ginny (and her new hair cut) was waiting patiently for a crayon to fall in hopes it was edible (because it is..) and it would actually taste delicious (but it doesn't).  She couldn't figure it out.  Parker did and spit blue for the following 36 minutes leading up to dinner.
Daddy helping his sweet daughter, and that sweet daughter's look of intent while coloring.  
 My favorite.




Until we get one of those kid tables for the playroom we will be using those booster seats {HERE} for our little arms to reach the table top. 

There will be lots of coloring going on over here this summer.  This coloring had inspired me to go through my Pinterest boards and find some more toddler-friendly activities.  Carly did a blog post for Twin Talk a couple weeks ago about summer fun for twins (well, kiddos in general) {find it HERE} and she had some really fun ideas to share, and, yup- I've pinned it.

All I have is time.  So, mom, lets get busy brained with those twin littles. 


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