Parenting Priorities

Ella was off school last week for spring break and we had so much fun just having a few days to not have a schedule to stick to. We went to the zoo, had a couple movie nights with popcorn, and went to the trampoline park in Madison. Now that she is back to school this week, I am having a hard time getting anything checked off my ever-growing to-do list. It doesn’t help that Grayson is refusing to nap while Ella is at school, which is usually my time to get to work.

In November, I made the decision to become an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. I bought all the books and have been attempting to read and study as often as possible. The problem I am facing, is how to put the time in that I really need and still be able to focus on my kids when they need me. I am getting down on myself a lot. I have been a stay-at-home mom for over five years now. I forgot how to do anything else on top of it! I feel like it shouldn’t be as difficult as it seems. I know there are so many moms out there who go to school or work full time so I feel silly for thinking this is so hard, but it is! I have so much guilt if I am working on other things when I’m the only one home during the day. Then I’m mad at myself for not working harder. On the days I do decide I’m gunna get shit done, the kids are needier than ever.

The toughest part about being a mom is stretching yourself too thin. And I’m pretty certain we all do it every day. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we deserve “me time” because we do, but doesn’t the guilt always creep in? We want to be supermoms who can do it all. Maybe that means something different for each of us – supermom – but no matter what it means, it’s ok to not be her. I am reminding myself of this daily. The feelings of inadequacy can sometimes be a good thing, right? Because that means we care enough about our kids to want to be there all the time. We care enough about them to feel badly about the things we didn’t do, or shouldn’t have done, or when we handled a situation poorly…

Oddly enough, as I’m writing this, my kids are fighting with each other. I’ve had to leave my computer about five times to intervene and my patience is gone. The point is, it’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to get mad at them. It’s ok to take time for yourself. It’s ok to want to be away from them. It’s ok to put other things on hold to be with them. Motherhood is one giant contradiction. We can do everything in some moments and we can do nothing in others and it’s ok.

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These sweet people make every day worth living whether I’m frustrated  beyond  belief or over-the-moon in love.

xoxo

 

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Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

We Happy Friday everyone!!

I am so excited for the weekend. I leave tomorrow with an awesome group of ladies for our annual canoe trip. We spend 2 days canoeing down the river, drinking, camping on the beach, singing, playing games, & drinking more. It is easily one of the best weekends of the year! (Plus it’s a weekend off from momming)

Summer has been pretty chaotic for us, as I’m sure it is for most of you. So I’m trying to make meal time easier by making things ahead of time. One of my favorite recipes is my Mother-in-law’s blueberry lemon coffee cake. She is an awesome cook and has shared many amazing recipes with me, but breakfast recipes are always the best! I am not big on breakfast because this is how it usually goes…. I’ll get the kids each their breakfast while the coffee is brewing. Then once they are seated and eating, I will start making my own breakfast. By the time I sit down, they both are done and need to be cleaned up. Then Ella feeds the dog so I have to get up to let her outside. When I finally am sitting down, my food and coffee are cold. I’m sure all moms can relate.

Anyway, let’s get to it!

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 c. butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 c. blueberries

Topping

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. butter
  1. Whisk together first four ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  3. With an electric mixer, on low speed, add in the butter to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and blend.
  5. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a greased 9×13 pan.
  6. Spread blueberries over batter and cover with remaining batter.
  7. In a small bowl combine the topping ingredients with fingers and sprinkle evenly over cake.
  8. Bake at 325degrees for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top & sides.
  9. When cool drizzle lemon juice over cake and sift powdered sugar on top.

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It’s very important to make sure your butter is at room temp because that will be the only way this cake will turn out. If your butter is melted, it will make the cake soggy and it won’t set.

I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does!

Happy baking

xoxo

DIY Mother’s Day Apron

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I love homemade gifts. Both making them and receiving them (are you reading this, Scott!?!?), but I am a little behind schedule with this one. It was a few sessions of trial and error. I saw this idea on Pinterest once upon a time and decided it was easy enough to do myself. Well, it didn’t start out that easy.

First I bought the wrong size aprons (I had no idea aprons had sizes?!), then I used a fabric spray paint which is almost impossible to keep confined to the area of the apron you want to paint. But the third time is always a charm, right?!

I’ll explain the easiest way of doing this, at least as far as my experience went, and you can modify it to fit what you want your apron to look like!

First things first: supplies.

I frequent Michael’s and found everything I needed there, but I’m sure any craft store will do.

You will need:

  • 2 one size aprons
  • sponge pouncers
  • stencils of your choice
  • fabric paint (I let the kids pick their colors)
  • newspaper or cardboard
  • iron
  • paper plates
  • paper towels
  • a bowl full of soapy water
  • an old rag (this will likely wind up with paint on it)

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The first thing you will want to do is iron your aprons. Once they are wrinkle-free, lay the aprons on your cardboard or newspaper and cut out your stencils. I did this so I didn’t have to wait for the paint to dry.

Line your stencils up and get your paint on your paper plate. Dab your sponge in the paint and blot to remove any excess. Hold your stencil very still and blot the paint down. *Be aware that too much paint on your sponge could mean the paint could seep under the stencil.*

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Rinse each stencil after each use so the paint does not transfer elsewhere. Lay on paper towels and pat dry.

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I chose to center my words but you can stagger them or do them however you’d like. Once your words are finished, time to get the kids involved. (I let mine dry overnight, but you can do it all at once if you prefer)

Have your bowl of soapy water and your rag handy. Put your handprint paints on separate plates. Have the kids dip their hand (one at a time) in the paint and gently place on the apron (palm first, then fingers). Quickly wash off hand and dry. Then repeat with the other hand.

I had my daughter go first so my son could see how to do it.

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And there you have it! Super easy. Well, not so easy for my 18 month old, as you can see by his blue hand prints. But, easy enough!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day and that you are showered with homemade gifts and love.

xoxo

Supermoms

I’m sure all of us moms feel the same… burnt out and wanting to relax once in a while. But we can’t just relax – we have kids to entertain! And they need to be entertained NOW. They wait for no one. Impatient little things…

Over the past couple of weeks, the kids and I have done museums, gone to the zoo, flown kites, planted flowers, played games… I’m starting to feel like I did too much too fast before summer is even here.

I’m wondering what all you supermoms out there do to keep the kiddos entertained? Once upon a time, I felt so much more creative. Maybe it’s the age difference between my kids that makes it a challenge at times, but I just am lost for new and fun things to do with them!

So… help a mother out! What are your go tos?!

Life lately

It’s been a while since my last post. Things have been crazy around here!

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The Wedige’s are moving! And I accidentally misplaced my laptop charger in the midst of starting to pack.

We have been back and forth on the idea of moving for quite some time. We absolutely love our home and our neighbors and I think that’s what’s made this decision so difficult. But a few weeks ago, we decided to finally walk through a house that we’ve been looking at online for quite some time. I think we decided we needed to move there about 5 minutes after walking in the door.

The next few days after that turned chaotic. The next morning we were actively discussing making an offer. And the day after that we submitted our offer and decided we needed to be ready to list our house by the end of the week. The staging and the cleaning all needed to be done within 3 days. With two little kids, that’s not always easy. Plus, I’m a Monica (FRIENDS anyone??) and things need to be PERFECT so I have a hard time letting other people help (aka mostly just my husband).

Within a 72 hour span, we had 7 showings and two offers! We “sold” last Tuesday! So I have started the packing process so I can be ahead of the game. We close Memorial Day weekend!

We are so excited to have more space! We have needed space for quite some time because Ella and Gray already share a room and we have to have a guest room. The new house is beautiful. I cannot wait to share photos! Until then, I will be packing!

xoxo

Ireland in March

Let me just start by saying WOW!

This trip was absolutely incredible. I’m warning you now, this may be a lengthy post because I have so much to share. If you have never been to Ireland, start planning your trip yesterday! The people, the scenery, the food, the weather (surprisingly enough!)….it was all so fantastic.

We were there for 8 nights and I would say that this was the perfect amount of time for us. We chose to stick to the south half of the country and we did a self-guided tour. The only hard part about doing it on our own was definitely the driving. Not only are you on the wrong side of the road, but the wrong side of the car! Once you get used to that, you have to get used to how narrow half the roads are. It’s a little scary to see a car come around the corner heading right for you and you have nowhere to go to steer clear! (I mean, you can usually steer clear, but it sure feels like you can’t!)

We flew into Dublin and got in around 5 am local time. Ireland is normally 6 hours ahead of CT but with daylight savings we were only 5 hours ahead while we were there. I am usually a nervous flyer (I’m happy to say I don’t think I will be anymore after this trip!) so I had a hard time sleeping on the plane. No sleep made our day in Dublin a little tricky. We started our trip by going to a service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (below). It was not a Catholic service, but very neat to be a part of anyway.DSC_0011

After viewing the cathedral, we found a nice lunch spot before heading to the Guinness Brewery. We had been warned that the brewery is very commercialized and way too busy (which it was), but if you go there for anything, check out the Gravity Bar for a pint of Guinness (not our favorite beer of the trip, but you have to try at least one, right?!). It has 360 views of Dublin which I’d say is the best way to see the city. [side note – if you want to go to the brewery, make sure you put the Guinness Storehouse in your GPS and not the Guinness Brewery because otherwise you will be lost]. Once we left Dublin we decided to head to Kilkenny. Our B&B was in the cutest little town and our host was most helpful in planning the rest of our trip since we were sort of flying by the seat of our pants for the first 6 days. We went to some really fun pubs with great live music and stumbled upon this place (below) called The Hole in the Wall.

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The next morning, we headed for Cashel. I was so beyond excited to see the Rock of Cashel because I think the history of it is so neat (being an Irish lass, myself). [If you don’t know, the Rock of Cashel is where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster to Catholicism] Below are two of my favorite photos from the trip. This is a truly breathtaking spot… As you drive into Cashel in Co. Tipperary, you come around a bend and it just appears on a hill in the distance. I would highly recommend making this a stop on your trip!DSC_0040DSC_0044

We ventured onto County Cork afterwards to see the Blarney Castle. Another stop I was extremely excited about! My grandparents visited Ireland in 1997. It was one of the last trips they made together before my grandpa passed in 2000. They both kissed the Blarney Stone and I just had to do it too. It’s kind of scary climbing up the stairs to get to the stone. Very narrow and winding…my husband could barely fit! Once you were at the top, you had beautiful views of the countryside as well as the rest of the estate where the castle was built. DSC_0085

We stayed in Kinsale for the night at another wonderful B&B and ate dinner at Jim Edwards which had fantastic fish & chips. We were kind of bummed that we didn’t go in to see Cork City the next morning, but we definitely preferred the country settings for the majority of our trip. I was told the English Market in Cork City is really incredible and that Kinsale is the “foodie” capital of Ireland. We will definitely go back and make sure we spend more time there.

Our next destination was the Dingle Peninsula. On our way there, we stopped at Killarney National Park for a short hike. It was a very beautiful park, but we felt we had seen very similar places in the states. (I’m sure that sounds weird but mountains and waterfalls weren’t what we primarily came to Ireland for). DSC_0140

Now, the Dingle Peninsula, however…… breathtaking! This was us at a beach just outside of Dingle before we started our drive.You could drive your car 1km down the beach.DSC_0157

We did the Slea Head Drive and we had the perfect weather for it! (Again, surprising! We hardly got rained on our whole entire trip… we were expecting to be drenched every day.) This is just an absolutely gorgeous drive. If you only have so much time on your trip, you may have to choose between the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. We were told by several locals to do the Peninsula because there are no buses allowed on the route. The Ring of Kerry can be very trafficy and can take a long time if you do the whole thing. To each their own tho… because I don’t think either one is going to be a bad choice as far as scenery! DSC_0178DSC_0203

The next morning was our anniversary (3 whole years, I know… this trip was our very belated honeymoon). We took Connor Pass up to the north side of the Peninsula and were bummed to have such a foggy/rainy morning. I’d love to take that drive again and see what all the fuss is about because we could only see a few feet in front of us. Luckily the fog cleared by the time we reached the Cliffs of Moher. It is terrifying and beautiful all the same time. It really is one of those places that gives you confirmation that God is real. Very busy with tourists but the walking paths go on for so long that it’s easy to distance yourself from the crowd.DSC_0252

We settled into Galway City for the night and had a delicious dinner at The Front Door. The next morning we stayed around the city and just took a walk along the bay on the Salthill Promenade before gearing up for a night out! The night before St. Patrick’s Day is INSANE. And I mean that in the best way possible. Quay Street is the place to be! So many awesome pubs/restaurants that you can only get to on foot. We came back here for the parade the next morning and spent the entire afternoon in and out of the pubs (The Kings Head was our favorite). We got absolutely drenched as it rained all of St. Patrick’s day but we absolutely loved Galway and all it had to offer! We were happy to leave though because two straight days of Smithwick’s was enough. DSC_0292DSC_0307

On Saturday morning we drove up to Connemara to see the Kylemore Abbey. A very beautiful former boarding school turned Abbey sitting on a 15,000 acre estate! Learning about how the estate became what it was was very fascinating. The neo-gothic cathedral on the estate was equally as beautiful as the Abbey itself.DSC_0322DSC_0327

Then came our afternoon at the Ashford Castle. I felt like royalty in this place (although we showed up in sweatshirts and rain gear… oops). They had a school of falconry on the estate. We got to fly Harris Hawks! Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime activity. Our dining experience at George V Restaurant was to die for. A very elegant 5 course meal that I wish I could indulge in on a weekly basis. Everything about this place was to the nines. I wish we had been able to stay for one more night. It is a great place to spend the day if you are not able to stay here. Trust me, we would not have stayed here if it wasn’t included in our travel package. There are all sorts of activities to partake in as well as just touring the castle. DSC_0345DSC_0355

I know this was a lot to read about but I hope it gave you some insight for when you decide to make the trip yourself. I highly recommend doing a B&B package. We had vouchers along the way so we just stayed wherever we felt like and nothing was planned ahead until our stay at the castle. I loved this aspect because we could stay in the places we loved for longer, and leave the places that were just OK. Only problem with not planning ahead was that St. Patrick’s is way busier than we anticipated. We got lucky with a place to stay but you cannot stay further away than walking distance if you are going to have a few pints! Anyway, I am already excited to plan a trip back! It was so great to spend time with my husband and meet so many amazing new people along the way!

Thanks for reading!!!

xoxo

Spring Cleaning

Every spring I feel the need to completely gut the house. Maybe it’s because we’ve never been in one place this long. I was so used to packing and moving from place to place at least once a year. I’ve never been really good at ‘settling in.’

*to back things up a bit, my husband used to play in the NFL. He was a free agent and we bounced around from team to team, from city to city for about 3 years. I know that doesn’t seem like a long time, but with a little one and being newlyweds who had lived together in college, it was such a hard transition to not having a home base and only seeing each other for a few days at a time every few months.*

Anywho, I guess that explains my need to be on the move. So this year I’m trying to focus on minimalizing. -that’s a word, right?- My husband gets irritated with me wanting to throw sh*t out, but it just makes me feel like I’m getting rid of negative energy in our home. Do you ever just feel like you have way too much? Too many clothes, too many toys, too much crap that literally just sits there because “you might use it someday?” I am sick of looking at all the things that are unused and unnecessary. The hard thing is, clearing out the kids’ stuff. They see toys from 2 years ago that haven’t been played with in that long and decide they are, once again, their favorite.

My method for cleaning this Spring is broken down room by room. The simple plan for each room is to make a pile of ANYTHING that has no personal value, and donate it. Seems easy enough, right? By the time I am through this whole house, I think we may have quite the assortment. (I will be doing deep cleaning in each room as well, but that’s to be expected -hence the ‘cleaning’ part of spring cleaning.)

Unfortunately, I have the itch to get it all done right now, but we leave for Ireland in ten days and I really really really shouldn’t start such a project when I should be packing, planning, preparing for babysitters, etc. So until we are back, I will continue to brainstorm the best ways to get it all done (with two kids in the house, nonetheless).

What are some of your spring routines?! I’d love to hear what keeps you feeling organized and clutter-free!

Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Villarta

Last week, we got back from an awesome five-day trip to Puerto Vallarta. Our resort was Dreams Villamagna in Las Palmas just north of Puerto Vallarta. We went with my husband’s work and it was absolutely a blast. We arrived on Thursday and had a welcome dinner by the pool with a big Mexican buffet. Friday, Scott and I woke up and went to the spa. We had an incredible Swedish massage and got to sit in the sauna and immersion pool afterwards. It was so relaxing and a great way to start our day.

Saturday, we rented a catamaran with our group of 33 people. We booked through Vallarta Adventures and they were fantastic! (If you ever are in Puerto Vallarta you NEED to do an excursion with them – I believe they have other locations as well). They had a crew of 4 – a captain, a tour guide, a chef, and a photographer who captured our day (I still need to buy some of those photos…). We cruised and drank until we stopped at our snorkeling spot. Definitely not the best snorkeling I’ve done. The Pacific ocean is just not as clear and much colder, of course, but it was fun nonetheless. We then continued to a little inlet with a gorgeous beach (pictured) where we swam, paddleboarded and had lunch. You guys, the food on this catamaran was pretty unbelievable considering we were on a boat and there were 33 of us to feed… We had some tuna rolls, lots of bread, fresh fruit, pasta salad, chips and guac… it was great! After lunch, we started to head back and on the way we saw so many whales!! It was humpback mating season and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The males would surface and show off to impress the females. There was so much jumping and splashing and it was truly a breathtaking thing to witness. Needless to say, our day on the water was a total success.

Saturday night our tour guide from the catamaran took us out to a Cuban restaurant where the men smoked Cuban cigars and the ladies learned to salsa. It was such a fun experience to see the nightlife and check out where the locals like to go.  It was called La Bodeguita del Medio and I would highly reccomend checking it out. They had the most amazing Mojitos! Most of our group said they don’t even like Mojitos and still thought these were delicious.

The rest of our time was spent eating sushi, playing volleyball, swimming, and drinking cocktails in the sunshine. It was really nice to connect with new people and just relax for a few days.

Five days away from the kids was definitely tough. Our next trip is to Ireland in a couple weeks and that will really be a test for me! We will be gone for ten days *yikes*. But until then, I will be enjoying being home with them (in this 70 degree weather in February, I might add -WHAT?!-) and keeping myself busy with momma duties.

xoxo

Prepping for vacation

This morning I woke up to a very stinky boy. I picked him up to change him and realized he had sh*t up his back and all over my bedding. Literally every layer of bedding – even the pillows. Yesterday morning, I woke up to puke in his crib. After back to back early morning baths, I am clearly ready for vacation on Thursday!

My husbands’ work offers an incentive through their region. Qualifiers receive an all expenses paid vacation. This year we are heading to Puerto Vallarta for five days! I am looking so forward to sunshine, QT with my husband, and a mommy break.

I love being able to stay home with my kids. Some days are amazing, other days are so stressful and irritating. It’s pretty unpredictable. Once in a while, it’s nice to take a break and just have some ‘me’ time (or some me and hubby time). I always am ready to leave but I miss them right away. This is the longest I will be away from Grayson. So I’m hoping I am able to just relax and enjoy myself and not miss the kiddos too much.

I will share photos and trip details when we get back!!

xoxo

Welcome

I am gunna take a stab at this whole blogging thing. So I’d first like to welcome you to my page and thank you for checking it out! Let me tell you a little bit about myself…

I was born and raised in Sterling, IL. I now live in Southern Wisconsin with my husband, our two children (Ella – age 4 & Grayson – age 1), and our Yellow Lab named Primrose. I am a stay at home mom and it is such an awesome job that I never in a million years though I would do.

I love music and I love to sing. I just started guitar lessons (thanks for the Christmas gift, honey!) and it is really exciting! My hope is to share everything with you all… from cooking to fitness, from parenting to traveling…. you name it! We have a really big year planned and it is going to be full of fun and exciting events and experiences. I hope you will follow along and enjoy it with us.

xoxo