3/20/17

She Said...

One of the main reasons that we are moving is to give our kids a better education.

I don't love the school system here, and I feel like the kids are already starting to show signs of working with a less than stellar program.

That's just my two cents and you don't have to agree with it.

So, it's almost April, and I have been a little disappointed in the progress that my Girlfriend has been making with her reading... and alphabet sounds.

We work together regularly and I have already sent her to a friend of mine who specializes in this type of thing.

I have been in touch with the teacher, repeatedly, like a loon, and she keeps saying, "not to worry, blah blah...."

But, I am worried anyway.

Let me give you an example of why I am stressed about GF's reading....

She came to me and said... "Mommy! Mommy! East said the "T" word!"

So I'm thinking...the "t" word?? how old am I? There's a new word?

I'm like, tell me my seven year old said "tit"... and I'm gonna lose it.

Clearly I was ill prepared for this, "t word / new swear" conversation...

And she's all, "Yeh, you know! The "t" word! Mom YOU KNOW the "t" word!"

So I'm thinking really hard here, and I'm like do I say "tit" right now?

No. No of course not... what the Hell would I offer up a new word for?

As I was busy being bipolar with myself Girlfriend was all..

"You know, the "t" word... ta- ta- ta- FUCK!"

Oh of course... the "t" word is fuck.

And literally all I could think in that moment is, my five year old thinks fuck starts with "t".

It didn't even bother me that she, and he, apparently everyone, is saying fuck...

It bothered me that she didn't know the "f" sound...

At least my priorities are straight, right?

Fuck.





3/16/17

Monster Jam

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be able to surprise the whole crew with tickets to Monster Jam!

Sunny Sonny is currently obsessed with monster trucks thanks to a chance run in with a monster truck show at a fair last summer.

His love for this culture that Husband and I know ZERO about, is over the top and honestly, pretty adorable.

Recently we rented out  the local children's museum for his birthday party and threw him a monster truck themed party.

He even has favorite trucks and knows their little fan-girl things to do and say for them... he is a devoted and knowledgeable fan, even at age three.

So, I saw online that Monster Jam was coming to the arena near us and although their prices are pretty affordable, I just couldn't rationalize it.

You see, our kids are famous for getting somewhere, us dropping a ridiculous amount of money for them to get in, and then deciding after 25 minutes that they are over it.

But I really wanted to go, so I begged my salesman brother in law to see if he could get tickets through work, and he pulled through!

We put the kids in the car and we were like, "We have a surprise!!! Let's goooo!"

They were freaking PUMPED when we finally told them where we were going.

Especially this little guy.



I cant with that face.

It was amazing to see him so excited about something that HE loves, and not the big kids for a change.

AND our tickets were even in the Stags Club, which is the seats at the very tippity top of the stadium, all spread out and clean and not smooshed down below.

Before we went we stopped at Home Depot and got each kid a pair of ear buds because Monster Jam is loouuuud.

We did this because I had an idea that those ear muff things would be expensive and they absolutely were... at $20 a pop, times 3, that would just be kind of ridiculous.

I was able to get three pairs for $21 at Home Depot and it was absolutely worth it to make a quick stop ahead of time.




One thing that I really love about Monster Jam is that they are really appreciative of our military.

Both times we have seen Monster Truck shows they have made announcements to have anyone that is serving or who has previously served to please rise and stand so that we can all clap and cheer for them and show them some love.

I love this, especially because Husband is a veteran but also because hello...it's our military and they deserve it!!

 We should do this at every sporting event... every. single. one.


The Monster Jam community is actually so fun and exciting, each truck has their own like team of fans and they have special music that they get announced to, some have special crazy arm movements they do... it's a legit sport with a huge fan base!!

There are even girl drivers!



There were two at our event- one drives the Scooby Doo truck (look up) and one drives the truck below, with the horns!!



In case you're wondering, Sunny Sonny is a Grave Digger fan (he even says it like the announcer, "GRAAAAAAAAVVEEE DIIGGGGGGGGERRRRRR") and the big kids are Zombie fans (a truck that has "Thriller" for its theme song and arms that move while it drives).

This one with the green and black below is Grave Digger... Sunny Sonny went wild when this happened... and if I'm being honest, we all did!

It's so cool to watch!


I also loved that as I was blowing up my instagram page with a million Monster Jam photos during the show, monster truck drivers were liking every single photo.

It is a super active community and the drivers really love their fans.

Monster Jam didn't know we were there and obviously has no idea that Our Tiny Place exists, so I'm not telling you this for any other reason except that it's a cool show to go to if you can the chance!

But for real...don't forget your ear buds! Those trucks are no joke... it is LOUDDDDD!

3/9/17

Life Lately....

So, we are officially on the market and we have been for one whole week.

We've had ZERO showing requests.

This is pretty freaking disheartening to a pair of people who put their blood sweat and tears into HGTVing their home every single day for two months.

Husband is always the Debbie Downer in our crew and was discouraged when we hadn't gotten a showing after an hour...

I was able to remain positive through the first weekend and then Sunday night I officially joined him aboard the USS Negative Nancy.

Guys... it is hard to always be the positive one.

I am super frustrated.

Our realtor, has been wonderful.

FANTASTIC. Yes, that's in all caps, even though our house hasn't sold and here's why...

First thing Monday morning, as in 7 am... I had an email from her assistant asking if we could schedule an Open House for this upcoming weekend.

By 9 am I had heard from our Realtor herself who said that she was making calls to people with similar listings in our area to find out if they had had any activity over the weekend.

This step was new to us but we were instantly like, duh, why didn't our last realtor do this??

She found out that the market is still slow in our area, not too many people looking yet, and that things really start to heat up closer to April around here.

So good to know.

That tiny nugget of information is helping us not freak out.

Also, if you follow me on Instagram (@ourtinyplace) then you saw some of our house photos from our listing... here's a few more...



Our realtor hired a professional photographer who brought all these cool bells and whistles and tripods and our listing really shines... and I mean that in the list corny, braggy way possible.

It just looks nice, I think so anyway.

If you are interviewing realtors find one that will hire a photographer for you!!

And a home stager who will shame you into making your home clean and empty!

These steps feel like they were very important, and again, even though we haven't sold, we do feel like these steps were missed our first go around. 

(Side note: If I get any feedback that people are interested in what we actually had to do, I would be happy to share the list from the stager and go over the boring logistics of what went into making our home empty slash prettier.)

We are living a 90% spotless life at all times... which, let me tell you, besides absolutely fucking sucking... is exhausting.

The last thing I want to do is make 4 beds every morning and clean up 4 bedrooms every morning and do a load of laundry every single day BUT...

It turns out, if you do all the laundry in your house 100% completely, then there is only enough laundry for one load a day... what is this weird laundry Hell slash Heaven ?

I had no idea that this weird Laundry Purgatory existed, but it is a super double edged sword like... on one hand, I am doing laundry every day, on the other hand, when I throw that one load in in the morning and put it away in the afternoon, that's it... like, there is nothing else hiding anywhere.

HAAAAAAAALLLELUJAH! This is foreign territory for me and quite possibly the most wonderful thing to come out of our non-move yet.

Also, with half our toys packed up and almost all of our non-essentials in storage, it turns out the monsters can actually live with waaaaay less crap then they think they can.

I keep rotating the toys in and out of hiding and it has been wonderful for the kids, who are so excited to see their toys after what must seem like forever (but is only like three days)... that they are playing together, and with their toys, more than ever.

Everyone is getting good at putting things away, which is also amazing.

It's been a process, and a life style change for the better, for all of us.

But... I'm tired, Husband is tired, the kids are tired of hearing us tell them to live carefully... like, don't bang the walls, don't slam the doors, don't make a mess in the sink!

I feel guilty not letting them be themselves all the time.

Some days suck... but I keep telling myself, this is temporary.. this is temporary... someone will buy this house, someone will buy this house!!!

Please keep your fingers crossed for us... we are over it.

I know it will happen but we are ready to begin the next phase of our lives!

No more trips to the storage unit and endlessly refreshing realtor.com!!

The Positive Person in me is still in there somewhere I guess, and she knows that these things take time, and patience, and continued and constant sparkling cleanliness... all things I fucking hate.

Stay tuned for what is sure to be a bi-polar few months around here!

3/8/17

The Body Suit

For some unknown reason, I ordered a pair of cheap bodysuits from Amazon.

First of all, don't fucking to this.

Second of all, if you are going to do this (don't) I suggest you not be a cheap ass like me... DON'T buy a TWO pack for $20 and expect it to look good on you.

Clothes should not be bought in PACKS is my new rule... socks and sponges are bought in packs... not close fitting, skin tight clothing that sits in your crotch.

I haven't even told you how it looked yet... I mean, you can probably imagine, but let me finish anyway.

So, I order the body suits, and they arrive, and they are supposed to be like a cute V-neck.. and of course, it is like the lowest V-Neck you will ever see.

I'm not sure what this V-neck was supposed to be flaunting, but unless it was my fucking belly button... it failed.

Nothing looked good.. not even one thing... everything looked smooshed down like chicken breasts smashed into a too small zip loc bag.

Whose idea was putting on a bodysuit anyway?

Oh yeh, mine.

I was all.. "If Khloe can do it.. I can do it!"

Except that's not true... not all the time... especially not in the case of bodysuits.

Sometimes, you just shouldn't do things, even though a Kardashian can do it.

I try not to ever beat myself up, even though my friends and family know that I have wrestled with body issues for an eternity... I keep it well hidden from my children.

So when my daughter busted in (as children will do) while I was modeling the horrendous-ness that is a non-sculpting, extremely low cut bodysuit ... I was all, "What do you think!?"

And she was all, "Mom! You look AH-MAZING! I LOVE IT! LOOK AT YOUR BOOBS THEY LOOK SO SMOOSHY!"

And she's all smiling and clapping because she has no clue that I am having an internal struggle for so many fucking reasons but mostly because I hate this body suit and it is doing nothing for the body in it....

So I just said fuck it. And I clapped with her. I forgot about the panty lines that stupid bulky body suits give you... and I forgot about the weird hook and eye clasps in my crotch... because WHY...

I forgot about the fact that my usually petite-ish waist looked like a beer belly from pretty much every angle...

I did NOT forget that if I am ever dumb enough to order a body suit again that she will be made of all the spanx-ish material that one can mold into an article of clothing that is actually a weird bathing suit that you wear under your jeans.

I didn't forget that no matter how ugly and uncomfortable and down right bad someone feels about themselves... that there is nothing nothing nothing that a good excited clap cant make better.

So I clapped with my girl and I modeled that fucking God awful body suit for her and I told her I felt damn good about it...

Because even in moments of weakness, and self loathing, they are watching... and it's my job to make sure that my body image never ever ever become hers.

And one day, when she accidentally on purpose buys herself an article of clothing in pairs, and it looks totally horrendous and I find her in the mirror looking like I did... like... what?? why??? where did?? what happened to...

I will be there to clap and jump up and down and tell her that she looks AH-MAZING... just like she did for me.


2/24/17

Our Yellow Front Doors

A few years back I decided that our house needed to say, "Happy," as soon as you saw it.

We live in a builder basic home, which aside from the abundance of chaos and love pouring out the windows, is pretty much your cut and dry boring 90's colonial.

I wanted something that said; we are different, we are EXCITED!, we are happy!

So... we piled the whole crew into the car and went to Lowe's...

Where I grabbed the very first bright yellow that I saw...

I thought, it's yellow, but maybe too bright?

Maybe too happy?

So I turned it over, and there, in black and white font, I had my answer.

This larger than life color wasn't "too happy," it was just, "Happy."

Yes, the first color I picked was named, "Happy," and so we bought a few gallons and the rest is history.

From that day forward we described our home as, "the big white one, with the yellow front doors," or "you know the house with two yellow doors?" or "you know the house with the front doors that look like the smiley face head?"

We said it all, and I was so proud of those front doors... I still am actually.

And you know what is absolutely adorable? You know who else is proud of them?

The kids.

I have received COUNTLESS drawings of our home, all complete with bright yellow doors.


The kids LOVE those doors... they exude their little personalities... there is literally no better color in the world for our front doors.

Unless.. you are selling your house and you have a Nazi Home Stager telling you what to do... and then, the yellow gots to go.

I'm not sure if we will ever have yellow doors again, so this kind of feels like the end of an era to me.

It's silly, but it does.

The kids are DEVASTATED.

We are legitimately taking away every single thing that makes this house unique, and exciting... everything that makes it their home, is gone.



This past weekend, our doors got a boring make over.... the color is called "Colonial Red," so you can just imagine how colonial and cookie cutter and boring it looks.

But true to their nature, these little guys found a way to make me proud even while I was mourning being the "yellow door house..."

First off, they told me why they hated the red doors, which made my heart happy because ... they get me.

They SO GET ME.

They listed off fifty rational reasons that yellow was the right color for our fun and happy home....



While they yammered on, I couldn't help but smile, even though my front doors are now red and stupid...

My kids are cute and smart...

And like the little sponges and students that they are... the yellow doors had taught them exactly what I needed them to.

The kids enjoyed the special feeling of being different, of being a little loud, and a little quirky..

The kids said, "We don't want a front door like everyone else's- we want to be different!!"

SUCCESS!

If my kid's could just continue to look at life through their yellow front door colored glasses, then I know they will be alright...

If they could just continue thinking that being unique is cool, that wearing your emotions on your sleeve, or in this case, your front door... is A-OKAY!

It's more than Okay to be happy, IT'S AWESOME!

And even red doors are just fine, when they open up to cute little nuggets like mine... who have big brains and even bigger hearts.



2/23/17

Valentine's Day At School

What the shit is going on with Valentine's Day?

Did I miss something?

Granted- I will admit, I still have never been on Pinterest... so maybe that's where there is a disconnect- but come on people... what is happening!

My kids came home from school after their Valentine's Day parties and they had HUGE GIFT BAGS... Like the birthday party kind... like 5 or 6 of them each kid.

WHAT?

WHAT!

I thought we had a fucking deal here people- we buy Valentine's at Target- hope that we get there before all the good ones are gone, and call it a day, right?

Well, apparently, I'm wrong... I'm the odd man out here, but damn it I am hoping to change all that.

Consider me a Pioneer for the Make Valentine's Day Mediocre Again movement.

Cause you people sent my kids home with BIG HUGE BOXES OF CHOCOLATE!

First of all.. why?

What is your problem?

Why the fuck would you send a box of chocolates home with a 5 year old?

What did I ever do to you?

Second of all... this.







How sweet of you to send my 7 year old home with a plant, which we will inevitably kill...

Also, he handed it to me and was like, "Here Mom, just what everyone wants on Valentine's Day... a radish."

And he didn't hand me the gift card that it came with, just the "radish."

And I'm turning it over and over in my hand like, what the fuck is happening right now, where did this come from and why is it in my hand?

Also... why do they always think I know what is going on! I have no idea what this is!

And all their eyeballs are looking at me silently like: "HMMM HMMMM? What is it Mom?"

And I'm looking back at them like, "STOP YELLING AT ME! I BARELY PASSED HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY!"

So I open my mouth, and no words come out...

And I try again, this time speaking slowly because I have no idea what I am even saying..."You know what Bud, I actually think this is an onion. Orrr... maybe a super old potato that grew eyes?"

I'm thinking to myself, "This is the weirdest shit I have ever seen... who the Hell gives their kid onions to pass out on Valentine's Day?"

Of course, once he produced the little print out, I knew it was a bulb... and I felt like a jackass, because A- I thought it was a potato, and B- what a cute little hippy Mom to go to all this trouble.



But again, but still.... WHY???

They are kids! My own husband didn't give me a bulb, or a radish, or a potato on Valentine's Day!

I got $3 carnations that had probably been dropped and stepped on and pulled out of the reduced produce section.

But that's okay... because it's the thought.

And my thought is: Please, let's all go back to not trying to out do each other on fake school holidays.

Let's just all make a pact to do our best, and by "our best," I mean minimal effort on minimal budget...

Otherwise we are going to find ourselves at bulbs today and BMWs when they turn 16.

Let's get back to our boring, crappy, stickers, tattoos, and glow sticks Valentine's... before it's too late!

2/22/17

You're Doing A Good Job

Let's be honest, parenting is hard work.

And in case no one else told you this today, you're doing a great job.

Whether you have a baby bun in your oven, or a 1 year old, or a teenager, whatever you've got... you're doing a good job.

When I think back to when my kids were 4,2, and just a baby... I can distinctly remember needing to hear those words.

This shit is hard ass work and if I've learned anything at all, it's not to judge people... and that we are all just trying to do the best we can.

Oh, and that no one has any idea what the fuck they are doing.

That is actually a really comforting thought to me some days...

Like today: when my oldest was like, "How old do I have to be to kiss with my mouth open?"

And my daughter who is FIVE was like, "Can I wear a belly shirt to school tomorrow?"

And the baby referred to just about every single thing as, "the damn thing," and for whatever reason only wanted to watch YouTube in Spanish.

So... as you can see... nothing has changed around here and I still have no idea what the fuck I'm doing.

It helps when I think that my parents had no idea what they were doing with us either, and we all turned out pretty okay.

I'm just kinda winging this parenting thing, and it makes me feel better to know that most of you are too.

If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we had a candle light dinner for Valentine's Day.

Well what the photos don't show is that I took the kids to Good Will before dinner to grab those candles... because I didn't want to spend a lot, and I figured it would be quick and easy.

Except that's the funny thing about life, and kids... just when you think, "this will be easy," life throws a curve ball at you that makes you want to duck and run.

Or in this case, put your hood on and hide from your own kids.

So we are walking through, minding our own business, and it's pretty packed but also pretty quiet and my adorable daughter decides this is the perfect time to ask me something slightly inappropriate.

Now here's where I would usually just tell you what she said- but, I actually wrote this blog last week, and originally, I included what she asked...

And then, I sat on this blog for a week and decided that I didn't feel like being attacked by the Internet- so I'm NOT going to tell you what she said.

But it's along the lines of something pretty embarrassing, and she's five, and doesn't know any better.

She doesn't know that her honest to goodness innocent question could be mistaken as rude, or ignorant. She doesn't know this.

But I do... obviously... which is why I'm not going to tell you what she said...

And even though I have hammered home every single lesson that I can about not staring, and not seeing skin color, and not caring who marries who,  and that our differences are what make us great... kids are still gonna be kids.

And they are still going to embarrass the shit out of you.

As someone who was teased, and was chubby, and doesn't see handicaps, and loves people of all colors, backgrounds, and sexual orientations...

 And someone who is insanely emotional about acceptance and anti-bullying... I was mortified, and felt like a total fucking failure.

Also...I had no idea how to handle it. 

Now here is where I should say that I calmly, and sweetly mic dropped a nugget of knowledge on my girl and was totally prepared for this mortifying moment but you guys...

I froze.

Actually, if I'm being honest. I didn't freeze.

I put my hood up. And was juuust about to run out of the aisle and literally leave my kids in the dust, when my oldest spoke up.

Actually, he just totally took charge and hissed at his sister..., "Baker! You don't say things like that! I know you don't know any better, and you're not trying to be mean, but you cant ask things like that in public, it isn't nice... ask Mom at home, or in the car!"

My little guy owned the shit out of that moment and if my mouth hadn't been on the floor.. I would have slow clapped for him.

I was so so proud.

He took over when I couldn't... he knew what was right... and he taught his sister in the same way that I taught him.

And my sweet daughter who loves all people, and accepts everyone, and whose only true wrong doing was being outwardly curious...she was so sad, and embarrassed to have been called out by her brother, and to have said something that could be deemed hurtful.

She really is such a little Mama, she loves everyone and always wants everyone to feel love... she was honestly sad to have voiced her question...

And I was torn, you know?

You want them to ask questions and be curious ... but you just don't know how people will react, and I think that was my big problem...

You just cant trust people to have a good reaction all the time, because this is 2017, and history tells us people are insane.

So right there in Good Will, I got on the floor, and I hugged all three of them close... because when emotions are running high, I have found that a hug from Mom is always the very best cure.

And because when I don't know what else to do... I hug them.

And because when I just need somewhere to put my arms... I hug them.

So... when you can't see past the two year old temper tantrum in front of your face, or the nine month old ear infections, or the teething, and bed wetting, and endless taxi rides to and from events...

If you're stuck in traffic and your kid is screaming bloody murder, or you have to feed them McDonald's or ice cream for dinner once in awhile, if you skip a few pages of the bed time story....

Remember this...

They are watching, they are listening, they are learning.. they are soaking up your energy, and your guidance, and taking their cues from you.

And every so often, they will embarrass you, but that's okay... because every so often they will make you proud too... because that's their job... to make you bipolar... to keep your emotions running hot and cold for the rest of your life.

And one day, they will be old enough to be embarrassed by us too..

And you can bet your ass that I've already got a laundry list of ways to make payback be a bitch... I'm gonna start by pooping in the grass at the Outlet Stores while they have a panic attack.

I mean...

No, you're not supposed to have all the answers, or have a clean house, or folded laundry .... all you need to do for them is be there to hug them when they fall...

And teach them what not to say in public, or at the very least try.

Oh yeh, and love them... fiercely.

But don't forget... to love yourself.

And stop beating yourself up all the time.

You are great, and you're doing great, and you look great, and you have such a nice ass!!

I knew exactly what you needed to hear right now, didn't I?

It's because we are all the same, we all want to love and be loved, and have a nice normal, crazy life.

We all just want to be good people, and raise good people.

There's gonna be ups, and there's gonna be down's... they are not a reflection of the job you are doing... they are just life.

Your job is to keep going and doing the best you can, day in, and day out... embarrassing moments, and happy moments, too.

Wherever you are in your parenting journey, whatever side of the world you're on, whatever time of day it is right now for you... know this...

You are doing an awesome job... you're allowed to have a bad day... and your kids think you're great.






2/17/17

The Baby

My littlest guy, is funny, like the rest of them, but more dead pan.

Very matter of fact funny, like never intentionally.

He also rolls deep.

He 100% prefers to be near his brother and sister, and doesn't actually talk much or act like himself when they aren't around.

For bed time, since he can't be with his siblings, he has acquired his own little tribe of things to bring with him to sleep.

The other kids never did this, they never had something they loved and needed for bed.

My baby though, he has a Pottery Barn blanket that he named, "Taa" - as in "tag" with no "g".

It is super duper well loved.

Somewhere along the line he added a stuffed animal of a Bernese Mountain Dog, whom I quickly named Rosie because I thought she was a short lived thing and would only last a day.

Except "Wosie," soon became part of the team... followed by a tiger, named "Dragon."

Kids are weird, I have no idea why the tiger is named Dragon.

Anyway, bedtime without these three pretty much wouldn't exist.

So one night Husband is juuust about to dip out for the Gym at bed time, which, side note, OF COURSE my husband would go to the Gym at bed time.

How about after bed time dude?

Anyway, right as he is about to leave I cant find Taa... who is like the head Gangster in the crew.

If Taa doesn't sleep, NO ONE SLEEPS.

IN THE WHOLE FUCKING NEIGHBORHOOD.

So Taa is missing and I am PANICKING.

SWEATING.

SHRIEKING!!!

I am tearing the house apart with such speed and determination... if you were to happen to walk into my house at this exact moment you might think I lost my engagement ring.

Or my mind.

But it was just the most important blanket in the world and IT WAS MISSING!

FUUUUCCCCK!

So now Husband is mad that he cant leave for the Gym, and the big kids are mad because it's bedtime and they are in their beds, and Taa is missing so their troll of a little brother is fucking their shit up...

Like pacing back and forth in their rooms just looking for trouble, ya know?

And I am downstairs literally tossing shit around the house like a maniac and I'm like...

"GOD!!!! CAN SOMEONE PLEASE COME HELP ME FIND THIS DAMN THING!"

No sooner were the words out of my mouth that my little guy pops around the corner in his little undies and he's all: "I'll help you find the damn thing, Mom!"

And just like that, I'm smiling and laughing and marveling at my ridiculous life.

I am so lucky to have these insane monsters to keep my head right.

Oh and Taa was found... inside the seat of a fire truck... of course.



2/13/17

The Home Stager

Last we left off I told you that we were re-listing our home, and that we had worked with a Home Stager.

So what happened was, our new realtor hired a Home Stager, who came, walked through our house alone, and then with us, and then alone again.

She was so nice and chatty, and took lots of pictures and had such sweet and positive things to say....

And then she sent us an email with more than 150 things to do, and links, and exclamation points!! And so many things!

I know.

Her list was thorough, and LOOONG, and pretty expensive when you add up all the money that we need to spend to make it a reality.

But, it is what it is at this point... if I'm being honest, she's right about nearly all of it.

Some things I'm like, ehh... about... I mean, it's her job, so she knows best, however... I don't think we need to hide ALLLL of our toys.

I mean, kids live here, ya know?

Thank goodness for our realtor, bless her cute heart, she told us to just look at the stager's list, and pick half or three quarters of things to do- she said that it's not all 100% necessary...

She said this to us before the Home Stager ever even came to our house, so, clearly she knew what she was getting us into.

I feel like a Stager's job is to basically come in, and tell your Husband/Wife to do everything that you've been telling him/her to do for years.

So... we painted. And painted. AND PAINTED. AND PAINTED our fucking hands off.

The Home Stager suggested Benjamin Moore's Manchester Tan, for like, EVERY WALL.

Apparently, this is the color of new construction, and tricks people into thinking that your home is newer than it is.

Let me just note here, in case I am reading this ten years from now, and am considering doing a home renovation of any kind, ever again: DON'T DO IT SELF. DON'T DO IT.

My house was TORN apart for a week, with couches pushed in the middle of every single room, and rollers, and tape, and paint cans, and tool boxes in every direction.

It absolutely sucked.

THEN... add to the total chaos of painting your entire house: SNOW DAYS! LOTS OF THEM.

Ugh, it was a nightmare. Three kids and a construction site house, snowed in...

It's funny 'cause I'm not super religious but last week I heard myself talking to God quite a bit... let's just say I was taking a lot of deep breaths.

They're lucky they are so cute.



Besides painting, we changed a bunch of lights out for oil rubbed bronze versions, we took down all but 4 family photos in the entire house...

Considering we probably had 75 up, it feels pretty naked around here.

Our list is forever forever forever long... we've been to Home Depot and Lowe's 50 times.


We are bleeding money.

Speaking of money... this weekend we got a storage unit, and put a ton of our stuff in there.



We basically de-personalized the entire house.

Which everyone hears about on HGTV but really, when you actually switch out everything fun and exciting you own for neutral, white, and boring... it is sad.

It instantly takes your house from your home to .... not your home.

The Stager told us in a matter of fact manner that the most important thing for us, was paint, and lots of it... because our home looks a little bit like it's been beaten up by three children.

Hmm... not my angels.

She said that emptying out wasn't a huge focus for us, but I got the storage unit anyway... here's why.

Last year, when we got the text about a showing... things went like this:

SHIT FUCK SHIT
THROW ALL THE THINGS IN THE CAR- EVERY FUCKING THING
GRAB YOUR CLOTHES, GRAB YOUR SHOES, GRAB ANYTHING THAT LOOKS LIKE A HUMAN HAS TOUCHED IT AND PUT IT IN THE FUCKING CAR!!!!!

Thank the Lord we weren't selling our cars... cause those shits were full of laundry baskets and five thousand toys.

This year, my hope, my dream, my "in my brain this sounds nice," idea... is that if I get a ton of stuff out of the house ahead of time, then maybe I wont have as much stuff to clean.

Makes sense right?

I mean... it sounds good.

Who the shit knows if it will actually work out... but in the mean time...

We are selling, EVERYTHING... and anything that isn't getting sold is going to Good Will, or the storage unit.

We have an official date for the photographer to come, and so now it's just a matter of how fast can we get things done...

Our list still has some major things on it, like painting my beloved yellow front doors.

And our beach bathroom... waaaah.



But, like my friend's husband said to me the other night... "Complain about it, get if off your chest, and then do it... because you want to move, right?"

Right.

Right.





2/10/17

Cook's Companion Wonder Pot Review (& CAKE TOO!)

Here's a little known fact about my kitchen... I have an entire humongous cabinet designated to just gadgets.

I know what you're thinking... "So does everyone."

Well, you might be right, but mine are special.

You see, my Father in Law used to watch the shopping network at night... do you see where this is going?

So we own every strange, and exciting, and interesting, faster than a speeding bullet, kitchen appliance known to man.

I have one of everything, and something that does everything.

So, as a lover of all things speedy and cooking-y... I was super excited when I was asked to review the Cook's Companion 6 in 1 Wonder Pot.


This little guy does the work of 6 different appliances, in one... hence the 6 in 1 name, of course.

You can use it to bake, stir fry, steam and even make rice, stew or soup.

The Wonder Pot is very "set it and forget it," - kinda like a crock pot, but with more features... and the digital settings make it pretty much fool proof.

I think this little guy would be great to use in the summer months so you're not standing over a hot stove, it is the perfect size (3.2 qt) for side dishes or small meals.

Or at large family gatherings, because it has a small footprint, and wont take up a lot of counter space, but is super easy to clean (take the pot out, soap and water, done).

Plus... if you are ever traveling somewhere that you don't have an oven but you do have electricity... and you are someone that enjoys a daily baked good (ahem, me)... then you need to bring this guy with you because...

HELLO... you can BAKE A CAKE without an oven.

I know, because I did it!

I made a recipe from the Cook's Companion Cook Book and it was super easy.... so easy that it is actually called, "The Easy & Delicious Wonder Pot Cake."



I just followed the instructions, dumped the ingredients all in the pot, and then hit "bake".


In 50 minutes (this time is pre-set when you hit "bake" it automatically cooks for 50 minutes) we had a perfect little cake.


The inside of the Wonder Pot is a ceramic, non-stick pot, so my cake came out super easily, no prying, or hoping the whole thing would come out in one piece...

Just plop! And out it came! Look at how smooth and not crumbly it is!

 It was the perfect snow day treat, that didn't really take any work on my part (win!).

The cake was super moist, totally low maintenance and delicious... for real!

If you're in the market for an affordable, one and done, no fuss kitchen gadget, I give this guy two thumbs up.

Enter below for your chance to win a Cook's Companion Wonder Pot... Good Luck!







Disclaimer: I received a Wonder Pot for review. All opinions are my own, and yours may vary. As always, I ate the calories and am wearing them on my thighs because I wanted to.

2/7/17

The Salad Bar...

Yes- another salad bar post.

Except this one isn't nearly as delicious as the last one.

So I sent Husband into the grocery store to grab us salads at the salad bar.

I know.

Sending him in alone was my first mistake.

But... I did it anyway.

So he comes out of the store with two tins... his, and mine, obviously.

I take one look at his and I'm like, "Well that looks like a beautiful gourmet feast... who was in there, Emeril?!"

My God.. it was a fucking beautiful salad.

It was every color of the rainbow and chock full of all kinds of protein... I had to admit... he did a good freaking job...

On his. HIS.

My poor tin on the other hand...

Had two things in it: spinach, and tomatoes.

That's it.

So I'm like, "So, how come yours looks so amazing and mine... doesn't? Why do you have lobster and chicken and ham and cheese and eggs and I... don't?"

And he's like... ((chomp chomp chomp)) "Oh, I didn't think you'd want any."

I look down at my poor salad again like... hmmm... what?

Seriously, who doesn't want a beautiful Giada at Home salad?

So now I'm looking back and forth from my salad, to his, and back again and I notice something.

"Hey..." I say, as I glance over at him crunch, crunching away...

There's legitimately food falling out of his mouth, he has so much healthy goodness in front of him, he's like a human juice bar.... just all greens, goodness, and false promises...

"How come I have tomatoes and you don't?"

"Oh," he says... "I would never eat those nasty salad bar tomatoes... those things are fucking disgusting."

Welp... Spinach it is.






2/6/17

Is It Just Me Or...

Sometimes I look at kid things and I'm like... who approved this?

Seriously- this is not kid friendly.

Case in point...

I was reading a book to the kids...

I'm not gonna tell you which one because I'm sure someone put their blood, sweat, and tears into getting it published and sold and I'm not trying to be mean here, I'm just... surprised?

Anyway, I'm reading this book to the kids, and I'm just minding my own business when I turn the page and....



You see that dog on her knee.. you see his look of sheer terror and confusion and but WHHHHHYYYY-ness?

That's how I looked too!! I am actually still making that face right this very second as I type this.

HOW, how did this get passed the illustrator, author, publisher??

Plus all their families?

You know someone was like, "Hey Honey, check out my illustrations, and pictures for the old lady book..."

And not ONE person was like, "Ahh... why's she gotta swallow a pole? I thought this was a family book?"

I mean I know, I KNOW that's not what it's supposed to look like, but hello, it does anyway!

Come on. Seriously...

It's not just me, right?

RIGHT!?

Fine, FINE. Whatever. You can pretend that nothing even remotely non-PG would have ever crossed your mind if you were reading that book but guess what?!

I don't believe you.

2/3/17

Ruby Tuesday Garden Bar Review & Giveway

So I hear from companies from time to time about doing Giveaways and Reviews, and sometimes, I feel like their product probably wont be a good fit for us.

But food?

FOOD is always a good fit for me.

So needless to say, I was SO PUMPED when the good looking people at Ruby Tuesday reached out and asked if our whole crew would be interested in trying out their new, humongous Garden Bar.



I was like all the yes's... all of them. Please put the food in my belly.

So before I jump into this, let me just say that while Ruby Tuesday invited us to check out their new salad bar on them, they didn't ask me to talk about anything else outside of the salad bar.

But, come on, hello.. do you know me?

I'm going to give you every last detail... whether you like it or not!!

So I wish I had a photo of this, but the very first thing that happened was two staff members OPENED THE DOORS FOR US while we were walking in.

I know, I know, here is where a photo of two smiling faces holding doors should go, but guys, I was so surprised and so into feeling like someone special, that I totally forgot to grab my camera.

As soon as we were all settled, we ordered the kid's dinners and a family sized Shareable Appetizer (The Trio Sampler).

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED that there was PICTURES of the dinner options on the Kid's Menu.



Seriously, why doesn't every restaurant do this?!

We were all, "Point to what you want," and then we were done! Genius!

Ruby Tuesday = Leaders of the Kid's Menu pack.

Once the kids were all set, I made a mad dash for the Garden Bar.

The first thing I noticed, was an attendant, who was constantly pulling things out, putting new things in, making sure that no weird drops of things got in the wrong bin, and that every surface was spotless.

Nice touch, RT (can I call you RT?).

Now I have to be honest here, there were so many options at the salad bar (58 total!) that I didn't even know what some of them were!

Guys, it's huge.

There was a whole section of just cheese!

 And there's hummus!

And artichoke hearts!

And even an entire corner dedicated to crunchy things!

Pumpernickel croutons, candied walnuts... chips on top of my salad? Yes please!

Everything was super fresh and CLEAN!

I know I already said that, but if you ask me, it's worth repeating.

I hate when I go to a salad bar that looks like a hundred people have been there before me, ya know?

Anyway, I made my masterpiece and headed back to the table, where everyone was digging in and trading french fries for onion rings.


Husband ordered a side of salmon (an extra $5) and I ordered a side of grilled chicken (an extra $4), which magically appeared at our table as soon as we sat down with our Garden Bar creations.

 We just dumped our extra protein right on top, and we were instantly skinnier!

Well we were, until we went back for seconds!






You see, when the waitress was all, "Enjoy our Garden Bar for $9.99! Endless trips!"

I accidentally thought she was challenging me... so I jumped up and slapped the table like, "GIRL... IT'S ON!"

Needless to say, I left with a FULL belly.

I know this is going to sound weird, but my favorite part was actually the salad dressing.

IT WAS AMAZING.

I am pretty much a blue cheese connoisseur - a restaurant instantly fails my Credibility Test when they hand me a packet of store bought dressing.

All of the salad dressing at Ruby Tuesday on the other hand, was yummy and made fresh, in house, daily!

I know, because I asked. Of course I did.

I also asked if there were any plans to sell their dressing because I would have bought a keg of it.


You can just go ahead and wipe that look off your face, and leave me and my keg of blue cheese dressing alone... mmmkay?

If you're wondering, each of my picky eaters finished off their dinners and then, of course, we went for dessert.


Good Lord, it was amazing, plus... how could you say no to something with seventy five spoons in it??


 As we were leaving, we found out that on Tuesdays kids eat FREE with purchase of an adult entree...sooo if you need us on Tuesdays,  you know where we'll be.

We loved that atmosphere was casual, and not too loud...so we weren't super worried about the kids acting like perfect little angels (like that happens).

Also?

We heard the waitstaff sing Happy Birthday, (twice) and I was kind of wishing it was my birthday.

They did the cutest yelling, clapping, stomping thing... and you guys know I love all of those things!

I give our night out at the Ruby Tuesday's Garden Bar a TEN OUT OF TEN.

See? Here we are, all smiles! 


All that to say... has it been ten years since you've been to Ruby Tuesday? Or ten days? Ten minutes?

However long it's been... if you're interested in checking out Ruby Tuesday FOR FREE... They were kind enough to offer one Our Tiny Place reader a $50 gift card!

How's that for good news?

And, since the good looking people at Ruby Tuesday are just so dag-gone sweet, they want you to have this coupon... for a free kid's meal with purchase of adult entree.

 Good for any night! Not just Tuesday!

((Side note: I loved that when I used that coupon above (click the link), I didn't have to print it out...
I just pulled out my phone, showed the waitress my screen shot, and I was good!))

So what are you waiting for?

Stop Reading! Go!

Fill out the Giveaway!

Good Luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




***Shout out and big hugs to Ruby Tuesday for working with us, and sponsoring this post... they fed our bellies, but all of the pounds gained and opinions given are my own!






 


2/2/17

Surprise Snow Day

I pulled this crafty little number out of my arse last week when we had a surprise snow day and my monsters were being monsters and needed centering and entertainment.

This is a good one because you will have all the ingredients on hand.

AND... you can trust ME when I say that.

I am not like those other bitches you see on line that are like, "Oh just pop into your pantry, and you'll have all the fixins for this lovely crafting afternoon! All you'll need is 27 glitter eyeballs, a squirrel's ear, 7 penguin feathers, an orchid, and a silver dollar from 1974."

No bitch.

I would bet five bucks that you have all this shit at your house right now.

First... gather your supplies.


Then... gather your monsters.


Then pick up the monsters in one hand, and the supplies in the other, and smash the two together until you have a perfect pinterest crafting afternoon.

Or just dole out the goods and let them go to town.

The abbreviated, you're not stupid, explanation of this craft is this:

Grab some glass plates, the lower the better so you don't waste all your daggone milk...  I used pie plates.

Of which I apparently have three.

I have no clue why... who the heck makes that many pies at once?

Anyway, pour the milk, squeeze in some food coloring, hand the kids a q-tip, and bada bing bada boom... you've got yourself a real life artistic masterpiece.



This little project kept everyone excited, intrigued and involved for almost 20 minutes.


I absolutely call that a win.

Any time I can keep them altogether in one space, I am happy.

Also?

You can't plan crafts like this and then be mad when they make a mess... that's just a part of life, parenting, childhood... the world.

It's just the way it goes, if they are calm and quiet, you will probably have to clean up a mess.

 

In this case, our craft ended with a shower for everyone because my Girlfriend, God love her, can't do ANYTHING without eventually putting whatever it is all over her.

Anyway, put this one in your rolodex of things that you will try when you have tried everything else.

Fair warning: by the end, everything will be a weird shade of dark green brown, and your kids might probably be covered in milk.

But they'll be happy... and you'll get a break, if only for a few minutes, while your kids cover themselves in milk.

Sounds like a fair trade to me... amIright?



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