The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

For the Birds!

Last Saturday I saw a bunch of birds around our house. There were two or three outside my kitchen window, I saw the cardinal in the front yard, and some others chirping in the back yard. It’s cold, and I wanted to help them out a bit. I posted on Facebook and a friend of ours who is a bird feeding expert offered to meet us at the bird store Sunday morning.

My mom has a lot of bird feeders at the lake and we have really enjoyed watching the birds fly in and out. It surprised me, because it sounds a little like watching paint dry, but watching the different birds and different colors was actually really fun! So I’m excited to maybe have something similar at our house.

We bought a clamp thing that we put on our fence, that will hopefully keep the squirrels out of the seeds. We also bought a cedar hanging feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. I put it out immediately Sunday afternoon and of course, it snowed a ton and got really cold so we saw zero birds (or squirrels!) until yesterday. Yesterday was warm and sunny and all the animals came out! I haven’t seen any birds visiting, but I can tell they’re eating the seeds. It doesn’t seem like the squirrels are getting it, because there wasn’t a mess but I’m sure they’ll eventually visit.

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Just a minute

One of my other New Year’s resolutions was to not procrastinate doing things that only take a few minutes to do. I’ve found myself not emptying the dishwasher, not picking something up, or not doing the breakfast dishes because I feel like I don’t have time when in reality, these things only take a few minutes to do. Caden timed herself emptying the dishwasher the other day and it only took her 3 minutes and 38 seconds!

In the past I’ve tried to just do things right away. Put it away when I walk past it, do the dishes right away, clean up the mess right away. But that hasn’t always worked. I look at it and know that’s what I need to do, but talk myself out of it because I either don’t want to (who does?!) or don’t have time to do it at that moment. But, when I look at the task and think That will only take a minute to do! it helps me get over my objections and just get it done.

I’m using this at work too. I often have meetings back to back, with only a little time in between. Things have a tendency to linger on my to do list because I feel like I don’t have time to complete them. But, I realized that like emptying the dishwasher, many of these things only take a few minutes to complete and it felt SO good to cross them off my list!

In case you’re wondering, we’ve been juicing fairly regularly which also feels good! That’s another thing that I always think is going to take forever to prep and juice and clean, but really doesn’t. End to end it probably takes 10 minutes if that. So, here’s to doing those things that only take a minute!

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Down time

Things have been busy around here, especially with me out of town last week so I very purposely scheduled nothing on Sunday.

This was good since Saturday was back to back. The girls had their private riding lesson that morning. It was REALLY cold in the barn. Most of the time I’m able to stay warm, but every part of me was cold! After that was piano lessons which we kind of bombed. She was essentially making the girls practice in front of her and I finally told her it had been a rough week since they were away from home for two nights.

Right after lessons I headed over to a Rodan + Fields event at another consultant’s house. I’ve networked with some local ladies and it has been the best! thing! ever! It was so fun to connect with them and we were laughing that we could have talked forever. I’ve so loved being social again!

After *that*, we headed to pick up Ramsey. He was stinky and required a bath and well, all of that took up our evening.

Sunday. When we first moved into this house the girls had their beds separated. At some point we bunked them so they could have legos in their room, and then we separated them last spring again. But, when we separated them they chose opposite sides of the room, which meant their bulletin boards were on wrong walls. They’ve been asking to switch around their art for ages, but we never found the time to do it. On Sunday we moved everything around and tried to clean things out a bit. The room doesn’t really look different, but I feel better knowing Caden’s bulletin board is by her bed, and Delaney’s is no longer collecting dust on the floor.

Also, they’ve spent a bit of time at their friend’s house and Caden has been commenting on how clean her room is, and how she’d like their room to be clean. Honestly, even when their room is clean it doesn’t feel clean because there is so much stuff in there. They devised a plan to move their bookcase downstairs and replace it with a desk. It seems like it could work except we have a metric ton of books and if we don’t have a bookcase to store them, where do they go? I do think the books we own could go downstairs, but that still leaves library books. They want to do book ends on their dresser which could work, but we could also lose 10 library books behind the dresser as well. I’ve been lobbying to clean out the bookcase and simplify it, but I’m not sure I’ll get anywhere with that.

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Ramsey

Internets, meet Ramsey! He’s our newest foster. He’s a 2-3 year old hound mix, and weighs about 60 lbs. He’s a big guy, which is definitely different for us. We are used to the 5-15 lb dogs, not 60! But it’s also been really fun to have a big dog in the house again. He takes up the whole couch! And snores really loudly. It’s great. We are hoping to help him lose a little weight, so we’ll be doing daily walks.

So far, he’s been very chill, but those first 24 hours often are. He’s taken a lot of naps on the couch in between walks outside to go to the bathroom. He came from a shelter in Alabama, so we weren’t sure how he would like the snow but he’s done really well in it! I got a coat for him, but because of his size and prey drive we double leash him which makes it hard to put a coat on since we need to be able to hook a leash to his harness.

I was worried about how a 5 lb chihuahua and a 60 lb dog would get along, but he’s ignored our dogs so far so no worries there. He loves the girls, and his favorite spot is on the couch with his head in their lap. I always hope that our foster dog will sleep with them, and so far we are two for two. To be fair, I think if he didn’t sleep with them he’d probably sleep on the couch so I think I’m safe.

If you’re interested in Ramsey let me know! He’s ready to live the good life!

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Back Home

Ahhh! I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting. So! Sorry!

So, let’s discuss this week. I had a business trip. Flew out to Los Angeles on Wednesday morning and back home Thursday afternoon. This is what most of my business trips are these days, just a single night away. But. It’s a lot of work to do a one night work trip. Since I was flying out early Wednesday morning, the dogs had to go to the kennel on Tuesday morning and the girls went to their friend’s house Tuesday evening. Luckily they’ve done quite a few sleepovers with this friend so when I asked her mom if she could watch them for not one, but two! nights she didn’t hesitate. And when I asked another mom at the bus stop if she could pick them up from school Thursday afternoon she didn’t hesitate. When I dropped the dogs off at the kennel the woman remembered Midas and Lark from when they were there as fosters. It takes a village and I have an amazing one, but it still was a tough trip.

Because there were so many shenigans for this trip, it completely occupied my mind all week. From Sunday on I just wanted it to be Friday. I wanted to know I landed with enough time to pick up the dogs and get the kids to their riding lesson (spoiler alert – I didn’t, picking up the dogs this morning) without the snow interfering. It all gave me so much anxiety that it just sucked. Too many moving pieces, too many things that had to fall in place.

Even worse, I knew I had planned as much as I could, I knew what needed to happen when, but for whatever reason, I have a lot more anxiety over this kind of stuff than I ever used to have. I blame middle age and hormones. And possibly not enough vitamin D. I don’t even know anymore! I think I probably need more sleep and more exercise, but that’s just a guess. More than anything, I don’t like living with this anxiety, this tension in my body all the time. It’s no good. So for all of you middle aged women out there, if you have advice, if you’re going through this, let’s talk. I’m going to talk to my chiropractor about acupuncture, and I’m going to get serious about exercise next week. There has to be a better way!

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All the kitchen appliances

One of our New Years resolutions was to use what we have. We have a juicer and an ice cream maker that haven’t been used in the two years we’ve been in this house. So this weekend we busted them out!

I have a cookbook with juice recipes that is really great, so the girls went through that and picked a few recipes that sounded good. We started with a tropical juice that had pineapple, kiwi, grapes and ginger in it. We’ve had really good luck with pineapple based juices, so I knew this one would be good. It was very tropical and the ginger gave it a nice kick!

Here’s the good and bad about juicing. The girls love it. And they want to juice nonstop. We intended to do two different recipes on Sunday, but ran out of time. We went from one thing to the next and the next and by the time Sunday evening came around, I was exhausted and starving. Juicing takes a decent amount of prep and clean up and I didn’t have the energy for it, but I’ve promised the girls we will juice tonight. Here’s hoping I can make good on that promise.

Next up was ice cream! My go to ice cream recipe book is the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook. The girls chose a basic chocolate ice cream which was perfect. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since I’ve made ice cream and I forgot that you have to freeze the bowl first. Luckily the bowl was in the garage, so it was already cold. But, we didn’t start the process until after dinner, so the ice cream wasn’t done until close to bedtime and even then, it needed time to freeze. They were both really good about the process taking a long time, and Delaney was satisfied that she could check in on her ice cream frequently. They had a quick bite before bed, and then had ice cream for breakfast. Delaney has decided the next recipe will be Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Maybe in a few weeks!

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Tiny Bits

* I know it’s not any colder the last few days than it has been, but it FEELS colder. I just can’t seem to get warm! Not at the office, not at home! I think we’re going to have to have a fire again tonight. At least warmer temps are in the forecast!

* Last night at riding I was helping get all of the horses situated. When the 4:30 class lets out our 5:30 class is generally trying to get into the ring so it takes some coordination. Truman needed to get past Frodo, so I unhooked Frodo and pushed him over so Truman could get past. Frodo isn’t a horse my kids ride, but he knows I have treats and he will go to great lengths to let me know he wants one and I always oblige. As I was standing with him off to the side he put his head on my shoulder and snuggled in. Awwww. This is why I give treats to everyone!

* Delaney is riding Ziggy again in January. Ziggy and I have this whole dance we do while Delaney gets him ready. He asks for treats, I tell him he has to jump first. He nibbles at my coat, I tell him no. It’s cute. He was awesome per usual and Delaney was able to work on her seated canter, so after the lesson I was giving him his treats. He got so greedy he bit my hand! I think he got excited, but Ziggy! That’s not allowed. I had to get serious with him and then he felt bad.

* Because apparently we are the only school that gave their kids two weeks of winter break, WE ARE STILL ON BREAK. We are all very ready for Monday.

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No No Spend

I started doing No Spend January in 2013 and have done it every year since. It’s always a good reset on our spending habits and a welcome break after the holidays. Last year didn’t really yield any extra savings though, and I think I possibly spent more on groceries trying to never eat out, than I did normally. I had been contemplating doing a modified No Spend month this year, when I realized I didn’t need to do one at all. Our spending, our need to buy stuff, has leveled out.

I think a few things factor into this. First, I no longer shop on Black Friday. Now that we’re flying back to MN that day, I mostly skip it. Last year I did some online shopping that day, this year I didn’t even do that. And let’s be honest, most of that shopping was clothes for the girls or me, not gifts. In fact, this holiday season I didn’t even step into the Gap or Old Navy, and past years I’ve been there once a week.

Last year I feel like we were at the mall a lot leading up to Christmas. We’d head there for some gifts and end up spending $50 in the fancy candy store, and another $40 for dinner. This year, we went to the mall once, and that was for a very targeted shopping excursion when the girls needed to buy gifts. I also think it helped that I didn’t buy the girls any expensive presents. I focused on smaller gifts that were meaningful and that worked well.

I feel like this year, I finally got to that mindset shift where I knew what our big dreams were that we were shooting for, and I actually had a path to get there that wasn’t based on a hope and a prayer that cutting here and there would save us a few bucks. Having Rodan + Fields as a way to earn extra money, with the possibility of really earning extra money, has been a game changer. When your dream seems out of reach, it’s easier to just get that coffee and spend the $5 because you’ll never be able to retire early anyway, so why not enjoy life now? But now I know I can, and it’s freeing to know that getting there is dependent on me working hard, not hoping I get a raise or a promotion.

I should probably do a post just on this, but having a side gig has been the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. A body at rest stays at rest, and that’s what I was. A home body that always had reasons why I didn’t reach out to friends. R+F was a kick to start being social again, and you guys it’s so fun! I participate on Facebook now, rather than just being a serial liker. I meet my friends for coffee and lunch and catch up on their lives. Reconnecting is good. It’s also got me learning new things, and really wanting to learn new things. Being in the same job for 18 years means you don’t leave your comfort zone often. I’ve been nervous and scared and excited more in the last three months than in the last three years! It feels good to learn and grow. I highly recommend it.

So what are we focusing on in January? A few things. I’m trying to get to bed by 11:00pm. That probably doesn’t sound like a goal you actually need to set, but I find it really hard to just turn off the light and go to bed at night. It’s turned into a thing and I hate it. Plus, I know if I can start getting solid sleep, I can start getting up early and working out. Right now I’m setting a reminder on Alexa and then just turning off the light before I can talk myself into checking Facebook one more time.

We’re also trying to use what we have in the house. We don’t have a huge pantry of food, but I would like to try to eat what we have, especially the baking mixes we seem to accumulate. The girls are also astounded that we own an ice cream maker, even though we used to make homemade ice cream all the time. There are some good cashew based dairy free ice cream recipes, but we’ll probably start with just a good basic ice cream that the girls can eat. We’re also going to start juicing again! The girls are very into smoothies and have asked to juice. With the dry weather they’re always thirsty, so might as well get them to drink their vegetables.

I have big big dreams for 2018. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Our plans got flip flopped a bit. My dad was really sick and our extended family plans were canceled, so we headed down to Mankato on NYE to see my parents before they left to go back to Arizona. We got back to our house about 7:30pm and crashed on the couch and watched Ryan Seacrest’s show. Caden made it until 10:00, but Delaney really wanted to stay up to watch the ball drop. Thank you east coast time zone. It didn’t feel like NYE but that seemed to be par for our holiday.

We had planned on fondueing on New Year’s Eve, but instead did it New Year’s Day. It was perfect timing since we spent the morning taking down the tree and baking a cake, so we were all starving by 4:00pm. The girls kept declaring it Best! Meal! Ever! I’ve learned that it is, as long as we only do it once a year. If we do it more, it tends not to be as amazing and then it’s just a smelly house.

So the cake! We’ve watched a few of the cooking competitions that feature kids and we are all always amazed at their skill level. My kids can cook on their own, but it’s basic things that they like to eat. We were watching an episode of Cupcake Wars that had kids on it and Caden looked at me and said “What if I would like to learn how to bake cupcakes?” I still have a few of my old cookbooks, so I grabbed my Magnolia Bakery books, she found the recipe she wanted to make, and we got it done Monday afternoon! I LOVE baking and frosting cakes. I used to really get into it, so it was fun to do it on a day when we really didn’t have anything else planned. The problem is, I have no idea who is going to eat it!

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Best Pictures of 2017

You guys. The end of the year kind of snuck up on me. Normally I plan out these final posts, but I realized today that I needed to get this in since Sunday is NYE! So here goes! Let’s see what we find.

In no particular order…

Demi! Look at those wrinkles! I miss that girl’s kisses.

This picture is pure Caden. Limbs flying, hair flying.

Huey. This is the only foster that I cried over when we got him. He was so sick, and his ears were bleeding. I hate people sometimes. Huey man, I hope you’re living the good life now!

When Delaney got her glasses. She was so excited to be able to see!

There were so many good New York pictures! But I love this one of Caden that Delaney took the best.

This is definitely my best picture from 2017!

I know this is blurry, but that is some epic side eye from Laney!

This picture epitomizes our summer. Ray-ban sunglasses, happy hour mocktail, on the boat.

As long as we’re doing all of the foster dogs, Hazel! She is DEFINITELY living the good life!

Every once in a while I still get inspired to get the shot. So glad I grabbed my big camera and not just my phone for this.

And that’s it! No epic snow shots yet this year, since we haven’t gotten much snow and I didn’t get any amazing pictures when we were sledding.

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