Souper Supper! {lifehack}

So, it’s been chilly around here lately. Well, cold, then like 70, then back into the 30’s. Then back into the 60’s…Texas is bi-polar with weather. Really.

It’s why we never really put summer clothes away and rarely take out our winter coats…and WE NEVER DRIVE IN SNOW AND ICE AND DON’T KNOW HOW! So, please, don’t be too hard on us my northern friends. It’s not our norm. Not in Central Texas anyway…

My sister is, of course, LAUGHING at this post I’m sure. Because, well, she lives in Ohio now and is experiencing her first seriously snow filled winter. It’s a whole different kind of life I hear. But, she totally gets it….she understands how unprepared we are here BECAUSE IT HARDLY HAPPENS. As in, it snowed when I was six years old and then not again until I was a teenager…see? RARE.

Anyhoo…so, cold. Cold weather means soup weather! I love some soup. All kinds of soup. And today I thought I’d share one of my very favorite life-hacks.

I’m sure there are TONS of different ways to freeze soup, but this is just how I have found to do it that makes my life THAT much easier. For real. I love it.

You ready?

I make a big ol batch of soup, sometimes two, over a weekend {or whenever} and then after it cools, I ladle it into silicone baking cups that I’ve lined up in a clear baking dish.

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Then I just pop them in the freezer for a bit {overnight works too}, then easily pop them out and store in a ziplock freezer bag labeled with the type of soup and instructions on re-heating {obviously this pic is from back in October…}.

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I think my favorite thing about this is how when we have “soup night”, I usually have about 3 or 4 soups already stashed in the freezer and everyone can just pick out their favorite and heat it up. We typically serve with a french baguette or some yummy crusty bread of some sort. Makes dinner on a crazy weeknight so much simpler!

And I know we ALL could use a little more simple in our lives, right?!

It’s also a great way to do a “make one/freeze one” weeknight meal. Make a double batch of soup and take the leftovers and freeze them. Then, you’ve got another weeknight “soup night” ready to go, or a grab and take to work meal too. Many possibilities.

Do you have a favorite life-hack that just rocks your world? Please do share!

Coffee, Crumb Cake and Yellow

If you were here today…

The sun would be shining in through the kitchen window and the aroma of freshly baked crumb cake would be mingling through the house.

There would be two cups of coffee on the kitchen table, straight from the percolator.

We would sit and chat away about how the kids are doing, how fast they’re growing and you can’t believe how tall your Jake is getting.

“middle school already?!” you’d ask. And we’d both remember back to how it seemed he was just born.

We would have some crumb cake and you would set some aside for me to take home to my family. And we would, of course, have more coffee…

I would give you the handmade cards the kids had made for you, and 6 yellow roses {your favorite}, one from each of us.

You would ooh and ahhh at the cards and I’d see the joy on your face as your smile widened, making yours eyes sparkle, as you studied each card. You would feel loved.

It would be a shorter visit because the babies would be needing to get home to nap, but it would be amazing.

You would hug and kiss on my babies and hug me tightly and say “I love you bunny” and we’d plan for our next visit, which of course would be sooner than later…

***************

Today would be my Gramms 88th birthday. She passed away unexpectedly four years ago, just a few weeks before her birthday. I never doubted a moment she wouldn’t make to at LEAST 95. She was always so healthy and vibrant. She was amazing. And is so dearly missed.

So, today, I pour a cup of coffee in one of her favorite mugs that I still have. I will bake a crumb cake this weekend for my family to enjoy. And we will take yellow roses to her at the cemetery.

I still cannot believe she is gone. I don’t think I will ever get over it, not really. It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years….

But I will never, ever forget how much we loved having a coffee together. Miss you Gramms!

Mom Needs More Coffee…

It was a Monday.

That should say it all right there. Except, I actually look forward to Mondays. Because, well, Mondays mean big kids are at school and I’m only outnumbered by 2 instead of 4…

But this Monday? It was a holiday, so there was no school.

::blink::blink::

There were some errands to run. And one child to drop off at a friends house.

It took about an hour to get two toddlers a snack, wiped down, cleaned up, changed into clean diapers and clothes and ready to head out the door….that is, after I located the two pairs of socks and two pairs of shoes that they ran off with after gathering everything together to get them changed. Stinkers…thankfully, the big kids can {mostly} fend for themselves…

Two mini backpacks {aka diaper bags}?

Check.

Two sippy cups IN said bags?

Check.

1…2..3…4…kiddos

Check.

Allright, lets head out!

Wait…what’s that smell?

Quick diaper change. Again.

OKAY…NOW let’s head out!

Heading out to van…one toddler takes off running. Send biggest kid after that one while I attempt to get other toddler in car seat. Screaming commences.

She wants her paci. We are trying to wean from paci. Paci is not with us. Decision to give in and go get paci or have screaming {more like shrieking} toddler the whole errand running time?

I totally caved and ran and got it.

{Note: I hate the paci}

Other toddler has gotten loose from oldest child’s grasp and is headed for the street {this is the moment I thank heaven for culdesacs and know I have a smidge more time to grab him…}

Run after toddler. Try my best to get him strapped in while he attempts all angles to get OUT OF THAT SEAT.

I win.

Both toddlers crying, oldest wishing I could hurry up, second oldest keeps asking repeatedly for gum.

Get gum, assure oldest I am hurrying as fast as I possibly can. Seriously…

Go to close van door and suddenly feel pain on the upper left side of forehead.

I have been smacked by a flying toy phone. Sent soaring by my youngest son, who has the uncanny ability to toss things JUST RIGHT, timing it so that whatever the item may be, it manages to JUST get out the van door as it’s closing.

We’ve almost lost several precious items this way.

Okay, get in van, check rearview mirror…yes, all four children are indeed buckled and ready.

Drop oldest at first destination. Make a mental note that I need to be back within 2 hours to pick him up.

Head to library, drop off books…decide I need a coffee. Head to the SLOWEST Starbucks drive-through on earth to get one. I would head to the local place right by the library, but that would require unloading three kiddos again and, well, just no. I don’t need any additional items flying at my head.

Get through drive through, it takes so long that both toddlers are now crying because they are DONE being in their car seats.

I’m not kidding when I say it took 20 minutes. All I got was an iced mocha. And the person in front of me didn’t seem to have ordered 27 coffees or anything. Really, what DOES take so long??

Realize I now have about 20 minutes to head back to pick oldest child up.

Traffic.

Get to oldest in time, pick him up. Everyone is hungry.

Of course.

Throw some gold fish at the oldest two and get a couple muffins for the youngest two.

Go to start dinner and realize a bottle of a very sticky substance has been left upside down on the kitchen island and there is now sticky goo EVERYWHERE.

OY.

Clean up as best I can. Husband texts…he senses stress. He decides to push easy button.
{we save one for occasional use…we rarely push that easy button…but OH HOW FABULOUS when we get to!}

And then I decided no more outings for the week. And a glass of wine.

It Runs Deep Through My Veins…

They reached up, two little hands on either side of me grabbing for mine, and my heart I think might burst as we walked up the stairs together.

They more toddle-walked. But, still.

I am truly in awe of how quickly the days are passing. Them changing rapidly as each day zooms by.

More words, understandings, doings “by myself”.

My twinfants are full blown toddlers.

And here we are, firmly planted on the other side of 1 year. Closer to 2 than 1 now. Right now it is a few months. But, I know soon enough it will be a few weeks, then a few days…

And I’m not sure how to take it all in enough. I don’t want to miss a moment. Not a single one.

Because there are two of them. And they are a blast. Exhausting, but so much fun.

How absolutely fun this stage is. The space between emerging toddlerhood and full fledged pre-schooler. More steady on the feet, running…climbing. Learning and pushing the boundaries of their abilities to see just how much more they are capable of.

And, with that comes exhaustion. And often chaotic and busy days. But, I soak it in. I never ever, in a million years, thought that 10 years after giving birth to my oldest, I’d have not just one, but TWO more littles to care for. And in between that, our spunky curly haired one joining us through adoption.

So, we dance around the kitchen. We’re silly. We play puzzles and read books a thousand times in a row.

I sit by and watch them play, more independently, each day. I observe, study their little faces and hands while they build with their blocks and try to put their own shoes on. Or on each other….

I find part of me wanting to hold tight to these days. The days that are seemingly so long, but the season incredibly short. I want to hold tight and stop time, just for a few moments. But, I know what happens…they will keep growing and learning and becoming more independent. And so, I give myself permission to release. To just go with these days the way they are. To realize it won’t be forever and to be OKAY with crying about it sometimes. It IS really okay to be sad that they won’t be little forever, and to also cry because you seriously just.want.five.minutes to yourself.

So, I take a deep breath in…..

And I just let myself be the mama to these littles. The unapologetic mama bear that sometimes finds herself with tears welling up in her eyes….because the love I have for my children? It runs so very deep through my veins.

My children are truly my heart.

Overconnected? Or Not Enough?

I was at an event not too long ago and I noticed something…

Cell phones. Everywhere.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly something new. I know the mobile phone has been around for some time now. And, yes, I too have a fancy shmancy one. But, as I chose to look up from my phone, I saw so many others still immersed in theirs.

When did this happen? This culture that we’ve become so connected, yet so disconnected?

Where we’re so busy trying to capture the moments on our phones and share it via social media, that we miss the very moment we’re attempting to capture?

And I know. I’m guilty of it as well.

But, to stop and put our devices down and look up. Look around us….there’s a whole world of over sharing, social media connected people. But, none of us is LOOKING at each other face to face.

And in this realization, I am saddened by my own methods of “keeping in touch”. My friends I chat with via texting and social media….but when was the last time I shared a coffee in person?

{and as am mama of littles, I get this is not always possible}

When did we become so over connected with those we’re not with, yet so unavailable to those we are? The people right in front of us.

Our families, spouses…our kids? Our friendships surviving via social media, but needing a soul soothing in person connection.

I feel the weight of this as I raise my children in a fast paced technology driven culture.

How do we slow down? How do we help them navigate in this world, yet look up long enough to not miss the life happening right in front of them? How, as their parents, do we help demonstrate this to them?

It’s something I’m wrestling with. Thinking on and pondering.

Technology definitely has it’s place. But there is so much life outside of our phones and computers to live. And I don’t want to miss it!

How about you…how do you fit technology in your life? Is it something you struggle with balancing?

I’m thinking of starting to have some “un-plug it” days scattered about in our family. Have you tried that in your own life and family and was it successful?

I’m Not Super Mom

As a twin mom, I often hear things like…

How do you do it??

Or

You are SUPER MOM!

Or

You are a rock star! I couldn’t do it.

But, aside from totally being a rock star {kidding. not really. well, sometimes..}, I’m really NOT super mom. Or woman.

I am simply a mama trying her best to keep her head above water and get stuff done.

I will admit though, having twins has definitely kicked my efficiency methods into high gear. Perhaps it’s because if I don’t, chaos.will.happen.

Perhaps that is the answer to “how I do it”. I just keep going and hardly ever sit down. When I do, it’s usually to change diapers or read books or play puzzles. Or pee.

{just keeping’ it real folks}

To be honest though, I hardly stop moving throughout the day. And yet somehow I’m still not quite back into my pre-pregnancy jeans…

But I digress.

My husband tends to laugh at me a bit with my whole timeline of things…that is, until the whole system gets a wrench thrown into it, or he’s in charge for a bit and I come into a kitchen full of dishes on a saturday morning after just having left it EMPTY before heading to bed the night before…and only ONE MEAL has been eaten!

That is so not fun.

So, here is a tiny glimpse of how I do things:

I need to boil eggs. So, I put them in a pot, cover them and pop them on the stove. I also reach up and push the buttons to start the oven pre-heating.

I then grab a sweet potato, peel it and cut it into wedges and get it ready to toss into the oven for the twinnies lunch in a bit. Once that is ready, I empty the dishwasher. And having twins makes this go REALLY fast…because they help me by bringing me ALL THE THINGS from the dishwasher. {except the utensils. I take those out first for obvious reasons}.

By then, the eggs are normally just to a boil, I turn it off and hit the timer for 12minutes.

While that is going on, I feed the twinnies a snack, re-fill their water cups for the 5th or 6th time and start to re-load the dishwasher. Then I grab a bowl, fill it with ice water and have it ready for the eggs.

BEEEEP.

Oven is ready, pop in sweet potato wedges.

BEEEP again.

Eggs are finished! Aaannnd into the ice water they go. DONE.

And in between all that I also de-seeded a pomegranate that the twinnies had some of with their snack.

After about 25-ish minutes, the wedges are done and I leave them on the stove to cool down.

While those are cooling, I clean up the kiddos, sweep up and wipe down high chairs and get ready for round two! Lunch is about 45 minutes away. It’s tuna, so I go ahead and make the tuna up while they toddle about the kitchen.

{annnd BREAK! Just kidding. There is no break}

Now, I don’t really think I’m super mom for being able to do all that. I just simply work around the time it takes to get things done and do it.

I’m not gonna lie though, I stay on a pretty tight timeline with things. But I have to…because if anyone gets off their schedule, I then have TWO toddlers to deal with. And that is not really fun because we will all cry.

But, in the effort of full disclosure, I am sitting {ha! I’m finally sitting down!} typing this up while wearing a shirt smeared with sweet potatoes. But not from today. Nope…no, from the other days dinner.

{I know}

And the cat is next to me bugging me to pet him and give him attention because he’s not gotten nearly as much since those two cute tiny babies came home….that have now turned into full blown toddlers that like to run up to him in their squeaky shoes and holla. Poor kitty. I promise, he’s well taken care of and they love to pet him gently too. But their current thing is the HOLLA.

{le sigh}

So, I’m not super mom. I can knock it out of the ball park at times and have crazy efficient days, definitely. And I work really, really hard at that. I’ve learned to take advantage of those opportunities to get a lot done and try to manage my time the best I can. And that is something I am learning and re-learning all.the.time.

But I’ve learned I have to…because I can totally feel like an absolute rock star one day, getting tons accomplished and freezer stash built up and laundry {actually put away} and all that. But then? The next day I might not get crap done. Like zero. And it might be because I have more than usual clingy twin toddlers, or one of my littles is sick, or there is an appointment or two that take way longer than planned. And I am thankful for those days I take advantage of the extra nap time…

Because it means having more time to sit and play with my littles and give them the attention they need and deserve.

So, I’m not super mom. I’m simply a mama to 4 littles that is trying her best to keep afloat and a tiny bit ahead of things.

And if you came over RIGHT NOW, you’d see toys scattered about and a few crumbs left from lunch time I missed….

Oh, and laundry exploded all over the laundry room.

Keepin’ it real. I’m not super mom.