Unwanted Visitors — June 17, 2019

Unwanted Visitors

Alright folks, this may make me sound uppity, but No Soliciting means NO SOLICITING! Am I right?

I’ve never been comfortable having unwanted visitors show up at my house, but especially with having small children and crazy dogs. It’s a no go for me.  

Growing up in Iowa, I do not recall strangers coming to our house to ask for us to buy things or listen to a religious spiel.  Every now and again, we’d get a girl scout or boy scout but that was the extent of it.  

From there, I was mostly in apartments so didn’t see if this type of soliciting was branching out until we were in Tucson, AZ where our home had a security or privacy door which was great.  I recall a few Omaha Steaks solicitors coming to the door and I felt safe because it was a door that they couldn’t see into the house as well as heavy enough to “protect” me.  But I still do not like this method of marketing.  I will not buy anything from you with the exception of neighborhood children selling school stuff.  

During our time in Georgia and with a little one, I started seeing the “Don’t Knock or Ring bell as I have a baby sleeping” type of signs.  I definitely jumped on this bandwagon as nap and bedtime are critical to the baby as well as my mental sanity.  And I’m a protective Mama bear who from time to time is home alone with my brood.  

And now in the PNW, the majority of our neighbors had personal “No Soliciting” signs on their homes instead of one sign at front of neighborhood. After the first few weeks, we understood why.  Jehovah’s Witnesses, Big churches, Bug companies, Painting services, Yard maintenance, kids selling stuff, etc all walking door to door to offer services or a religious discussion.  It’s weekly if not more.  So, we installed (aka used a sticker) to put up a No Soliciting sign as well hoping that we would be over and done with all this.  But nope.  They just ignore it.  And when I ignore them or are not home, they shove a flyer in the door jam.  (Just try to ignore them with a barking dog and two kids shouting that there may be a friend or a package outside the door!)

So, then we get the Nest Hello Doorbell trying to further deter them.  But instead, these folks just knock on the door and ignore our doorbell and No Soliciting sign all together.  But at least we have them on camera so I do feel some safer!!  (Though I think we’ll end up with a privacy door of some kind even if it’s just a glass door as an extra layer up with kids opening doors and such.)  

Our Nest Doorbell even caught the thieves who broke into our mailbox cluster.  No kidding.  We were able to see the vehicle back into the road, get out, break into the mailboxes and drive off.  Chris sent this to the police and we understand they may have been apprehended because of this.  

Who knows!  Maybe I’m just extra protective due to hearing these types of briefs during my stint at the National Laboratories and/or having Chris be in the military.  But one thing is for sure, I will do anything and everything to protect my family.  

Thanks for listening to my rant! lol.  Friends and neighbors always welcome at my house though.  Just don’t try to sell me anything 😉

~Mel

(ignore the bugs and dirt on siding please)

Potty Training — May 20, 2019

Potty Training

OK folks, I’m going there. The place no one wants to talk about. Potty training. Ugh. Just typing it makes me hate it more.

Not everyone wants to talk about it because some kids get the hang of it very quickly, and some take much longer.  And it’s usually the parents of the kids who’s kids are potty trained first who want to bring it up.  But it doesn’t matter. It will happen. And if it doesn’t for some reason, it’s no big deal either. You’ve got this!

Potty training for us has been a journey. With Olivia, we started her very young and just made it a fun thing. Sit on the potty before bath time and go.  Oh, and here’s a jellybean. Around two-two and a half, she figured out how to go number two in the potty and never looked back on that particular number.  But we were still working on catching every pee in the potty when she started Preschool3.  We had a wonderful program and teachers in Georgia who helped with potty training during the three mornings a week she went to school. The teachers had even stated “all children will be potty trained by Christmas”.  By November, the teachers were telling me I could send her to school in underwear because she got it.  And that was that.  Or at least how I remember it as we’re working with Jaxon now.

With Jax, potty training has not gone as smoothly.  Really, life has not gone as smoothly if I’m being real.  First off, Jaxon doesn’t talk as much as Olivia did/does.  He’s my happy lazy snuggly boy.  We started him off the same way with sitting on the potty before bath time.  Followed by said jellybean.  But oh boy, is having a little boy different than a little girl.  lol.  Jaxon liked to sit on the potty but only if we took him.  He never wanted to initiate going to the potty. (And yes, I say potty and not bathroom, restroom, toilet, etc as it’s easier for kids to say so get used to it.)  We got so that every time we took him to the potty, he would go potty.  But he never initiated.

Once we moved to the PNW, we enrolled him into a Preschool3 class as well but this one stated he had to be potty trained.  WHAT?!  Where are my helpers at?!  So, we pushed Jaxon harder to try to meet this deadline.  I tried the three day potty training method after we moved into our new house.  And Chris was on TDY (travel or away for any non-military folks).  I set a timer.  We went to potty.  He peed in potty.  Another timer.  More pee.  An occasional poop.  But never once did he initiate having to go potty.  Not once over these three days.  While he did get better at holding it a tad longer and actually going to potty when I said it’s potty time, this method did not work for us.  So, Mommy told a little white lie and he was in Preschool3 as a “mostly” potty trained boy who still needed pull-ups.  Oh, and help going potty sometimes because he was nervous.  lol.

I’m not trying to put Jaxon on blast or anything because like I said, every kid is different.  He just wasn’t ready and I’m not sure pushing him didn’t make it harder on us.  The teachers would somewhat help him into the bathroom at school but if he ever had a number two accident, I had to go change him.  I think this happened two or three times in almost five months; and by Christmas, the school told us we needed to step up our potty training game.  And by the way folks, by potty training, this school means fully going to the bathroom all by yourself.  Initiate it, shut door, pants down, go potty, WIPE and pants up all by himself.  I’m sorry, that’s just a bit much for any three year old in my opinion.  I know six year olds who still don’t wipe after number twos.

So, we refocused on potty training.  First off, I started by waking him up by 6:45am so he could eat and drink and run around before school or errands to ensure I could get him to go number two on the potty before leaving the house.  This worked great for most school mornings. But, we had to find something else that would work for Jax.  For us, and him, it was the beloved iPad.  We started with poop accidents.  If he had a poop accident, he didn’t get his five to ten minutes of iPad time like he normally does before bed.    And then I think he may have had one or two poop accidents resulting in no iPad time before bed that had him initiating going to the potty more.  And maybe a meltdown or two.  And then bam, it sunk in.  This worked amazingly well for us.

Now, I’m not saying we haven’t had blips on our radars from time to time whether it be sickness or forgetfulness, but he’s been doing great.  After he grasped initiating going potty (we had him say potty as well as grab the privates/bottom areas to ensure others understood his meaning), we started the no iPad time before bed for pee accidents.  And again, it took a few sobbing night time routines after having an accident that day for it to sink in for him.

And now, I’m knocking on wood before saying we are nearing the end. Jaxon still uses a pull-up at nights but has been dry the last two weeks. He’s even been waking up crying at night because he has to go potty and is a bit confused in his tired state.  But we manage to make it to the potty during these middle of the night wakes as well as first thing in the morning.  I do still send him in a pull-up to school just as precautionary as his teachers don’t always seem very responsive to him.  And hello, he’s not there with wiping yet so that’s safer than the skid mark tundies.  I also help him fix his tundies and pants as he just yanks them on up with no regard for the waistband being folded in and pants twisted.  But in my eyes, he’s potty trained.

To close, hang in there on your potty training journey. We’ve hit both ends of the spectrum and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Jaxon is almost three and a half and we are close to being diaper/pull-up free.  And if you’re like me, don’t feel embarrassed or bad for Jax as he’s doing the best he can.  We’re rocking life the best we can!!  And next year in Preschool4, Jaxon will continue to grow and learn and be his best self!! As I will.  (and Chris and Olivia too for that matter)

As I always say about life, “Everything is temporary”.  So if you’re in the diaper phase or the potty training phase or the up all night phase or whatever your baby/kid phase is right now, it’s temporary and will pass soon before you’r on to the next phase.

Adios.

~Mel

Two kids. Will they be besties? Or will they bicker? — April 26, 2019

Two kids. Will they be besties? Or will they bicker?

Hey y’all! Just a quick post because I’m actually alone. Wait, scratch that. Jaxon is taking a forced nap and Olivia is out riding bikes to the park with my awesome neighbors.

Life has been a bit crazy lately. But isn’t it always?! We’re in that weird in between stage with Jaxon right now where he doesn’t need naps but by the fourth or fifth days, he’s a hot mess and needs one. That’s where we are today. He’s normally such a happy kid. But lately, he’s trying to establish his dominance all over the place. So forced naps is what it’s come to. Oh, and lots of timeouts.

I’m not sure about y’all, but our two kids started out as the sweetest display of sibling love I’d ever seen. I grew up with a brother and would say we fought a lot growing up; but as soon as we were in high school, we were very close and remain so to this day.  I want that for my kids.  To have that someone that you know in school, to have a “friend” to run into at a party/college, to hang out when visiting grandparents, to ask important questions to, to buy beer for you.  Oh wait, my kids…not me. Lol.

But Olivia is the best big sister. So sweet and loving and helpful. And Jaxon looks up to her and gives her hugs and snuggles all day long. Until the last few months. They still have their loving moments, but Jaxon is wanting what he wants and won’t take no for an answer. Hence, all the timeouts. And during this transition as he tries to communicate with us better (hopefully), Olivia takes this time to then tease or throw things in Jax’s face.

I know it’s a phase. Everything is a phase. But boy, it can be exhausting in the rough moments. And then a sweet moment comes along and almost erases the bad ones.

Hang in there folks! Hope your day ends with a sweet moment instead of a rough one! Cheers!
~Mel

Fitness After Fun — April 23, 2019

Fitness After Fun

It’s one of those mornings. I had big plans to workout and even got dressed appropriately. But then I didn’t just couldn’t bring myself to start. I know we all have these days, and as a stay at home mom, there are only so many hours that I get all to myself lately.  But after the weekend we’ve had, I knew my body needed to move.   

We had some besties in town from Iowa who wanted some adventure. From the coast to the mountain, we got in some hikes and saw some snow, but mostly we ate and drank. So now, Chris and I are trying to get back on track. We went for a 5k jog yesterday while pushing Jaxon. And today he’s back to work so he’ll get in his 2 hour gym time. But me, I got the kids ready for school, planned dinner, ran to the store, walked the dog and wanted to clean up the house a bit. I had planned to run or do some weights in the 3 hours the kids both have school today, but just couldn’t push myself to do it.

SO, I decided to just make myself at least do this 15 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) YouTube video my brother introduced me to from The Body Coach (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI9xtXoaNv0).  First of all, I love his accent. Second, he makes me laugh because he gets tired (or acts like he is) during the workout HE is instructing. But it doesn’t require any equipment and is quick and easy.  It’s good for when you’re in a pinch, traveling or just enjoy have a few minutes to sweat. [Warning, some pain in the rear dogs may not like the Tabata timers and whine and bark and bother you through the entire workouts.]

But, try it out and let me know if you find him as entertaining as I do. I’m off to pound some meat! LOL.  Had to say it.  But yuck! Making big Cobb salads tonight and really want the chicken to cook fast.  How many hardboiled Easter eggs can one throw onto this thing and make it edible and still clean out the refrigerator?!

Peace out and take it easy on yourselves if you have a few bad eating days and hop back on the wagon.
~Mel

Pesto Chicken Salad — April 18, 2019

Pesto Chicken Salad

Another random recipe being thrown your way! I’ve been trying to eat healthy around my pizza and Easter candy obsession. But my current fave is this pesto chicken salad. I’m a huge pesto fan!

For the last month or so, I’ve been throwing some chicken into the crockpot with some chicken broth and salt&pepper. Then I keep it shredded in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners.

The last three days I’ve had this pesto chicken salad for lunch. There isn’t really a recipe but here goes an attempt at what I use:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 C of chicken, shredded
  • 1 heaping T pesto (I use Costco’s because it’s the best)
  • 1 T mayonaise
  • 1/2 T Everything But The… Seasoning (Trader Joe’s brand)

STEPS

  1. Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

That’s all y’all! I’m super fancy. And I’ll try to add a picture when I make it again next week as I snarfed it today between school pickups, speech, errands and cleaning.

Adios!

~Mel

Laundry — April 16, 2019

Laundry

OK, quick post. My husband goes through more clothes per day than a newborn baby!! Yes. It’s true. Newborn babies who spit up and have blowouts. Our hamper is full in 1-2 days with his workout clothes, work clothes, uniform, working around house clothes and errands/out clothes. And let me tell you…they are all inside out as well.

So, teach your littles to re wear clothes like most women do 😉

PS – I love my husband. And he may or may not be cleaner than me at all times.lol

Crockpot Poppy Seed Chicken recipe — April 12, 2019

Crockpot Poppy Seed Chicken recipe

Morning y’all. So, anyone who knows me might be surprised by just the title alone. Yes, I somewhat eat chicken now! As long as I make it. And it helps if I can start recipe from it’s frozen status. Insert shocked face, I know!

For those who were unsure of this random fact, I am a very picky eater who didn’t choose to eat chicken for many years. It was a number of factors really. Dissecting an actual chicken breast in middle school. My Dad very liberally applying lemon pepper spice to the chicken and forcing me to eat it at least once a week while growing up (seemed like daily to me because I didn’t like it at all). Numerous restaurants serving not fully cooked chicken. Fatty bites. Ugh. So gross! It’s actually most meat but chicken has always been the hardest for me.

Enter parenthood. I’m trying to teach the kids not to be picky eaters as well. Can you imagine the embarrassment when going to eat at your future in-laws house and they serve prime rib and you just cannot get yourself to eat it? I don’t want to be picky. I’m a big texture and sight gal. I also love most vegetables. Well, as long as they aren’t soggy. Lol. And hello, carbs are so yummy!

So, not wanting my kids to have these moments of embarrassment along with obviously the health benefits of some of these foods, I tried to step up my game. I started with the crockpot and putting frozen chicken breasts in some chicken broth and then shredding it. I still do this often because shredded chicken is my new jam. I can see it’s cooked. It’s cooked enough it can even shred on it’s own. And thus, my big problem with chicken is mostly solved.

Without further ado, below is my Crockpot Poppy Seed Chicken recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 10.75 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 of same can of milk
  • 1 T poppy seeds
  • 20ish Ritz crackers crushed
  • 1/4 Cup butter melted

STEPS

  1. Spray crockpot with nonstick spray (PAM, etc)
  2. Place frozen chicken in crockpot
  3. Mix soup, milk and poppy seeds 
  4. Pour/dump mix onto chicken
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (again, this is my time to ensure chicken is fully overcooked).  I actually do high for a few hours of this too but remember my above chicken issues
  6. Before serving, mix together melted butter and crushed crackers and sprinkle over chicken

See, easy peasy yumminess. 

 

  

(Please ignore our old school crockpot.  It works)

And that’s that. Remember, I’m not a chef nor am I very technical, but I/we like my easy and yummy recipes. This one was used by listening to Chris talk about this poppy seed chicken casserole he had while he was in Texas assisting with Hurricane Harvey. So after he talked it up over and over. I searched for different methods and lazily put one together. We love it! And we do eat healthy for the most part but sometimes you just need some leave it and go recipes!

Thanks!

~Mel

Coupon codes — April 8, 2019

Coupon codes

It’s Sunday Funday. We started this morning with church, errands, naps and are about to end it with breakfast for dinner. Great day! And what’s even better, I had a 20% off REI member discount code to use by today so I DID!

Much to Chris’ dismay, I’m of the mindset that I’m losing money if I don’t use these promotion codes or discounts. Not really. I get the marketing tactic and am smarter than that. But sometimes they are a tad more difficult to resist. Along the similar lines are the Old Navy, Carters, etc spend this much and get this much off later coupons. Truthfully, I do love these types of coupons for kid clothes maybe once each season and can buy a bit at first and then use the “savings money” the next month when the code applies. But overall, I can spend money wisely and only make these impulse decisions every now and again. If I do purchase something online, I always search for coupon/promotion codes before buying because sites like RetailMeNot make it quite easy even if it’s just free shipping.

I will always be a notorious impulse buyer but try really hard not to look around when I get to a checkout lane. My Mom always said as I child I was the kid having the meltdowns because I always wanted candy. I see traits of this in my daughter as well but she knows it’s just not going to happen. And I’ve found that ordering my groceries online from time to time helps with the random impulse snacks I do buy for the kids when I have them with me at the store.

In general, I like to tease Chris with this stuff so he may chuckle at my choice in posts today. “But I’m saving money.” “This cookie is healthy because it has peanut butter in it.” “Ice cream is so good for us because, hello, dairy.” “Chocolate covered almonds counts towards our protein.”

So, in short, I’m excited for my new raincoat to arrive later this week. My old one is 11 years old and peeling. And hello, the PNW rain is no joke! Yay for my rainy Sunday Funday, my hubby making dinner and for my REI exclusive members code (that is available to every REI member and not that exclusive)!

~Mel

Another Blog…I get it… — April 4, 2019

Another Blog…I get it…

Hey y’all.  Just a quick post to let everyone know I’ve decided that I have things to say so I’m starting a blog to compile all of my ramblings.  Greenfeet Mama will mostly be about things going on in my life that may pertain to others.  I will try not to bore or give too many personal details but I’ve always enjoyed writing…and talking about myself so here goes. Lol.  Hopefully this will give me an outlet to talk with some adults throughout the day as well as use my brain.  It may be slow as I learn webpages and can improve the blog/social media page(s) so bare with me please. 

I’ll try to post every so often but it’ll be around my daily life with two kids.  I mean even as I’m trying to work on this first blog post, Jaxon had an accident because he didn’t want to stop playing and Olivia wanted the perfect Belle-bun to go with her Beauty dress so I had to stop for a bit.  

It’s spring break here in the PNW and since Chris has big stuff going on this week at work, we’re sticking around town.  We’ve been doing mostly normal stuff but boy, the kids without their normal schedule is rough. Lots of bike riding, parks, baking, reading, movies and playing.  We even started a garden this week and I’ve finally finished painting our house.  Sherwin Williams Mindful Grey all the way!! But, we’ve probably more meltdowns this week than we’ve had in the last few months so this Mama is in desperate need of a kidless night (but our sitter on spring break too naturally).  

OK, back to the craziness.  There’s a dishwasher that needs emptying, kids that need scolding for not sharing well and dinner to be made.  Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll check back soon!

~Mel