January 31, 2011

It's A Wrap...

Here's the weekend hodgepodge...

1. We went to the free family movie at MorningStar Community Church Friday night. We've been once before, a long time ago, and I questioned why on earth we do not take advantage of this more often! We had a great time! We watched Disney's Robin Hood, which none of the four of us had seen before. The entire church used to be a movie theater, so the preserved theater is just like the "real thing". They sell perfectly portioned popcorn bags, juice boxes,and cans of pop for 50 cents each. We enjoyed our evening for a whopping $3.50, and it was so nice to get out and do something as a family. Note to self- go more often!

2. My Project 365 really went down the drain last week while I was at my conference without computer access. Truth be told, I was not enjoying the pressure that came along with the challenge. I think I'll just post when I feel like it, and not worry so much about forcing the issue. I take plenty of pictures as it is.

3. Tyler has been working overtime on Saturday. Love the extra money, hate the loss of time together as a family. Considering the fact that I am having trouble recalling what we did Saturday, my guess is that it wasn't anything too remarkable. Lately, Sassy has been remarking that I haven't spent enough time with her, whatever that amounts to in her little brain, so I made sure to spend Tink's entire nap time with her in her bedroom doing whatever her little heart desired. I mostly brushed American girl doll hair, changed American girl doll clothes, and colored a giant picture out of one of her coloring books- under her command of color choice, of course. Fun times.

4. We made a big breakfast Sunday- cinnamon rolls, cheesy scrambled eggs, and whole wheat toast. Would you like some carbs with that? It was delish. I don't brag about much that I make, but I will say that I make some of the best scrambled eggs EVER. I even have secret ingredients...

5. It became evident that I've not been keeping up with the photo-taking quotient around here when Sassy asked me if she could select her and Tink's clothes for the day and requested pictures outside. Geez. Oh, and select is one of her new fancy words from her Fancy Nancy books she got from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas. She is taking her new fancy vocabulary very seriously. Here are some of our favorites:

5. The girls had the choice between going ice skating Sunday afternoon or checking out the new Megalodon exhibit at EP. They chose the latter. We had a nice time. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the newest exhibit- there were some interesting tidbits, and maybe it's just me, but I get less and less enthralled with each new exhibit that comes to town. Eh. I did take a slew of pictures to make up for the lack of them last week!

6. We had Italian Beef Sandwiches for dinner last night. They're still no Chicago-style beef, but they sure do hit the spot here in Kansas. Oh, and they're SO easy! Here's the recipe:

Place a 4-ish lb. chuck/arm roast in the crock pot. Cover it with a can of beef broth, 2 cans of beer, and a jar of pepperoncini peppers (sliced) with 3/4 of the pepper juice. Cook on low all day. Shred with a fork and serve on toasted bread with garlic butter and provolone cheese. Feel free to serve with little bowls of jus. I'm telling you guys- it's good.

7. Speaking of Kansas, don't forget to hop over here and enter our Kansas Sesquicentennial birthday celebration giveaway!

January 29, 2011


Today kicks off the Kansas Sesquicentennial Birthday Celebration!

As you all know, we're not ones to make light of birthdays around here. So, I thought I'd throw a little Happy Birthday, great state we reside in giveaway!

Or, rather, a I have a lot of these left and you all said you really liked them giveaway. Whatever.

Up for grabs- one World Market non-paper cup with a homemade cozy adapted from this tutorial. Which one... well, that my friends will be a surprise. In the words of Miss Sassy, you get what you get and you don't get upset.

How to win:

1. Mandatory Entry: Tell me one thing you are doing today to make your day fabulous!
2. Follow Sweet Peas & Sassafras through Google Friends Connect (click follow)
3. Like Sweet Peas & Sassafras on facebook
4. Share the giveaway through facebook, twitter, or your blog by clicking the nifty little icons on the bottom of this post. One entry per social network per day please!

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each, and leave a way to contact you if I don't already have one! ♥

Contest will run through next Saturday morning (2/5) at 8:00 AM CST.

Happy 150th, Kansas!

January 28, 2011


Just wrapped up a 3-day conference and a slew of home visits last night, so it's going to take me a few days to get back on track around here. Just thought I'd share a quick funny Tink quip to brighten your Friday!

So, remember the glitter hair extensions the girls had put in last weekend? Yeah, they are both in love. Tink, especially. She loves those little twinkling strands of synthetic material. She calls them her farkles. (Read: Sparkles for anyone who isn't well-versed in Tink speak)...

Tink just adores her farkles. She's constantly getting our attention with wook-a my farkles. My farkles wook pwetty. My farkles fancy.

It's been all about the farkles here in the SPH.

The best part is when she personifies her farkles. She'll jump up and down and say my farkles dancin'. She will get hungry and tell me farkles wanna snack, Mommy. HA!

So, the other day, we were riding back home from Wichita, and Sassy was singing. Singing loud, singing proud... the whole.way.home. No further explanation of our sanity levels required.

Tyler and I looked at each other with wide-eyed horror as the singing continued. I even turned on the GPS for peace of mind as I watched the minutes until estimated arrival get smaller and smaller. What can I say, it's a coping mechanism.

Well, apparently Tink had heard enough, as well. Before I knew it, she turned to Sassy and scolded her very seriously. With complete frustration, she raised her voice and firmly told Sassy with all the gumption she could muster, "{Sassy}, SHHHHH... my farkles are sweepin'!!!"

It may just have been the funniest thing I have ever heard her say.

Rest well, sweet farkles.

January 27, 2011

Little Miss Negativity.

Sassy has been displaying some strange qualities as of late...

She's rather become the little pessimist around here, and I'm not quite sure I fancy that.

First off, she's been prefacing requests with I-know-the-answer-will-be-no-but...

I mean, really?!?

In all honesty, I would say Sassy gets a yes response here a lot more often than a no response when it comes to making requests. We try pretty hard to stay positive and allow her to do things that she wants to do within reason, so I'm at a loss for where this is coming from.

She also has major issues with we'll see.

I must admit, I use we'll see pretty frequently. But, it's almost always a we'll see pending good behavior or a we'll see taking into account contributing factors and rarely a we'll see meaning I'm too lazy to deal with the ramifications of no or a we'll see as in fat chance. I'm not a big proponent of stringing my children along.

Well, lately, any time I say we'll see, Sassy says, but that always turns into a NO.


As in, not.a.chance, Missy.

Really, though, it doesn't.

So, I don't know what's caused Sassy to be so sketchy. It's like she doesn't trust me or something. It makes me sad.

Have any of you gone through this with your little ones? Any advice for one SPH Mama?

January 26, 2011

The Cutting Edge...

aka A Lesson in Irony.

Thursday was an interesting sort of day.

I awoke to news of a "snow day" due to the icy road conditions. Twice in as many weeks... unheard of. But, I'll take it. I spent the morning sorting out home visit rescheduling and figuring out how to keep my sweet peas entertained. Failing miserable, I contacted Lynzee to see if it was worth the risk to try to get the girls together to entertain each other. We soon found out the the roads were in near perfect condition already, and we would have no problem navigating around town a bit.

We decided to feed the girls lunch at home, and then meet at McDonald's for a large Diet Coke and play time. We ran into half of our little town there... apparently everyone had the same idea. Since we arrived after normal lunch time, we parted with the masses soon after, and had a peaceful play session. Lynzee had planned to take LMB ice skating for the first time that afternoon, considering the roads were in great shape, and asked if Sassy and I would join them.

I was super hesitant to skate, between my lack of skill and my tumble last weekend, of which my ankle is still thanking me for daily. {Insert sarcasm} It was finally decided that I would accompany Lynzee, LMB, and Sassy to the arena, help Sassy get into her skates, and await Tyler's arrival there from a self-proclaimed early work release (he made up some time Friday)...

I did not want to skate for fear of falling and hurting myself further. Far enough, right?

Well, after Sassy's ice tumble last time, I decided it would be best for her to wear a helmet. It's amazing that I hadn't even considered that before we went last time- I'm typically very safety-minded. I did see other children wearing bike helmets at our last skate, so I thought it would be a smart idea to bring one. So, we trekked inside and I realized that I left the helmet int he van. The arena had helmets available for use with skate rental, so we settled on that. Until the helmet didn't fit. I decided I needed to go outside to Lynzee's van to retrieve the one that I knew was fitted properly for Miss Sassy.

I was on a mission, not paying to much attention to what I was doing, and as soon as I stepped foot outside the arena, I hit a patch of ice... the same patch of ice I had seen and cautiously navigated around ten minutes prior upon entering the first time, and fell HARD on my hands and knees. So much for my master plan to avoid further injury. Instead, I added insult. Grrr...

Once I returned inside, Lynzee took a spin cautious skate-gait around the rink to get used to things while I gave the girls a verbal definition and real-life example of irony in its truest form. Oh, and I took some pictures.

Miss Sassy, prepared for battle:

LMB, ready to show us what she's made of:

Skatin' fools:

I ♥ to see my little girl laugh with her BFF with utter inhibition!

Lynzee & LMB take the ice...

LMB was a bit sketchy on her skates at first, but things fell into place. Sassy and I continued to wait for Ty to get there. We cheered LMB on from the sidelines!

Finally, Ty arrived, and Sassy was able to skate, too. She was more fearful this time than last, which surprised me. She did a nice job, though, and she's definitely improving each time.

Lynzee and LMB made nice progress, too!

Tyler spent a great deal of time out on the ice with the girls, teaching them how to fall properly and get back up on their own. He taught them the penguin waddle, and they took great delight in seeing him purposefully fall and slide across the ice for them... over and over and over.

Both girls had a great time, and LMB did a fabulous job for her first time out on the ice!

Sassy in convinced that she wants to take ice skating lessons now. I don;t know exactly where this will head, as we cannot afford to put her into classes for everything, but I do love, love, LOVE her enthusiasm!

January 25, 2011

Stream of Consciousness, Weekend Edition...

As you read this, I will be sitting in a conference in Salina, learning all about the Promoting First Relationships curriculum... for three days. Three glorious days of learning followed by even more glorious evenings of peace.and.quiet. Can I get a collective ahhhhhhh?

Of course I will miss my sweet peas like crazy, but I know they are in good hands. I probably shouldn't be this excited about getting away for a few, but here I am.

Anyway, thought I would wrap up our weekend happenings. I had a pretty busy one!

Friday, I was supposed to teach an Infant Massage class, but things didn't work out quite as planned, and I was "off the hook". Instead, i met up with some girlfriends at Abuelo's and then we headed to see No Strings Attached. Loved it. I big puffy heart Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. I know, I know. Tyler and I saw A Lot Like Love the night we were engaged, so it brought back some great memories to see another Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy. ♥

Saturday, I spent most of the day taking the girls to get their hair cut, spending some quality at-home time with them, and getting ready for the CIS fundraiser Rock the Keys. We had a really nice time, and it was nice to get dressed up a bit and hit the town! Dinner at Bella Luna followed by wine & dancing. Great friends, great food... Can't ask for more than that!

Sunday, we spent the morning making spinach & artichoke dip and prepping for the big game! The girls got all dressed up in their Chicago Bears finest... and I didn't take a single picture... gasp. We headed over to a friend's house to watch the battle go down with the Chicago Bears Fan Club: Wichita Chapter that we have formed. Unfortunately, the game did not turn out the way we had hoped. We had a fabulous time anyway. You can read all my rants about the game here.

I finally pulled out the camera for the day once the girls were int heir jammies and eating a before-bed snack. Tink displayed the general feelings of the SPH well...

Apparently, Sassy had been watching a different game.

And, so we wrapped up another weekend here in the SPH. Here's one for the books...

January 24, 2011

Chicago Cutler-y

In case you haven't figured it out yet, here in the SPH, we are BIG TIME Bears fans. They're my team- always have been, always will be.

Everyone knows it's a big joke for Chicago fans regarding our inability to secure solid quarterbacks. What else is new? Well, I for one am a Jay Cutler fan, and fan or not, I have a few thoughts on the turn of events that transpired yesterday in the Bears demise against the Packers.

So, Cutler was injured towards the end of the second quarter. The replays show a mechanism of injury that screams MCL involvement {hopefully isolated}, which some sources are reporting. Regardless of what comes to light with the MRI results, I think a lot of people owe Jay Cutler an apology.

I took to facebook last night and stated, "I'd like to give Cutler the benefit of the doubt ... I have seen countless athletes continue to stand/walk/attempt to play on knees with torn ligaments. If he/they felt he was a liability to his team rather than an asset, he should have been pulled. I must say, I`m feeling a little sorry for Jay tonight and all the terrible things being said about his integrity."

Look, I have no doubt that Cutler's injured. There's plenty to be said about his demeanor and facial expressions and perceived level of interest during games. I get it. I think he, just like everyone else, has his own temperament. Qualities and characteristics that may be unusual for a star NFL QB, but that's just the way he is. If he was gung-ho crazy excited during every other game and sullen and dejected looking yesterday, there'd be room to talk. Pretty sure he's like that all the time. Maybe it's something he needs to work on as a leader of his team, but it's nothing new. Maybe he suffers from a social anxiety disorder? Maybe he just needs to work on staying more positive and engaged? Doesn't mean he's a coward or a quitter.

I am a bit floored at the slew of unprofessional, judgemental comments shared by many current and former NFL players yesterday. You can read some here.

I felt so bad for Cutler during the press conferences yesterday. I wanted to give him a hug when he said no comment to questions regarding his toughness and integrity. He looked so sad. Can you even imagine what it feels like to have your character questioned in that way, especially if you knew you were not ready to play at a level that you were being called to play at?

I think it's a players responsibility, with insight from coaches and training staff, to know when enough is enough. Everyone's criticizing him for leaving the NFC Championship game. In my opinion, it's extra important to make the unselfish call in a game of this magnitude. How selfish would it have been for him to continue to play, knowing he wasn't close to 100%, and risk the advancement of his team to the Superbowl?

Maybe it would have helped his cause to flop around on the field and scream and cry and be carted off, but for what? It wasn't necessary. That's not within his character, either. More than I can say for some athletes...

The comments about him standing and walking and riding the stationary bike obviously stem from ignorance. Anyone who knows a lick about knee injuries will know that's nothing out of the ordinary. And, every person responds to knee injuries differently. Let's look at ACL tears- for every person who drops like a fly and cannot be rendered remotely functional, there is a person who can walk around looking pretty damn stable with the same degree of injury. Really. It's kind of amazing, actually.

Oh, and let's not forget that Cutler never missed a college game at Vanderbilt due to injury. Plus, he's faced being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes as an adult, and has learned to manage the disease as a professional athlete- no easy feat.

A quarterback has got to be able to protect himself on that field. If he was unable to do so appropriately, than it's completely unfair for any of us to expect him to go out there. Period.

Makes me love my team even more to hear everyone come to his defense. Thank God for small miracles. Here's a smattering of support from his coach and teammates. I think the entire situation could have been handled better. The Bears were wishy-washy with injury updates during the game, and both Lovie and Cutler chose to make statements that could perceived as questionable rather than definitive in regards to what happened, who pulled whom, etc. Such is life.

I hope Jay's injuries do not necessitate surgery- most isolated MCL's are treated non-surgically these days, but that in no way means he should have been out on that field.

I think Jim Trotter said it best in his column, stating, "The look in his eyes after hearing that players around the league questioned his integrity told me something that an MRI cannot. The pain in his heart was far greater than anything he felt in his knee."

Hugs to Jay from Kansas. We ♥ you! Do what you need to do to recover (physically and emotionally) and we look forward to seeing you next year!

SPH Mama rant... OVER.

{clever title completely swiped from facebook friend Heather in thoughtful comment left on my rant last night...}


aka The One Where My Two and Four-Year-Olds Get Hair Extensions...

Saturday morning, Tink had an appointment to get her little pixie coiffure trimmed up. I love the hair salon we've finally settled in at here in Kansas. It only took us four-and-a-half years, but who's counting?

Anyway, Tyler was working overtime, so Sassy accompanied us. As soon as we walked in, we spotted a little girl of about 7 or 8 getting her hair styled in the corner chair. Nikki, our go-to-gal, brought us over to take a closer look at what was going on. The little girl was getting Hair Flairs tinsel extensions, just a few strands for the slightest bling, and it looked so cute!

Sassy fell immediately in love, of course. The price was so reasonable, and I just couldn't say no. The extensions last 3-5 weeks, and can be washed, dried, straightened, curled, etc. I let the girls choose whichever "modest" color they wanted. At first Sassy wanted the bright blue, and I just wasn't sure if I was that cool a Mama. HA! Maybe when you're six, sweetie. The application was painless and took no time at all.

So, now the girls are proudly rockin' their glitter hair. They've experienced the art of hair extension before I have. What's up with that? Subtle, especially in the pics, but so, so cute!

Tink chose light pink. Doesn't she look more sprite-ly than ever?

She's my silly little monkey girl, that's for sure!

Sassy made no qualms about letting everyone know that her extensions were called diamond, and she has diamonds in her hair. Diamonds. Got that?

Made me laugh, because all I could think of was all the ladies I know who have diamonds in their hair and promptly pluck them out! HA!

Of course, we had to replace the headband of the day and take some pictures that way, too. Sassy wouldn't have it any other way...

It's so fun, having girls! ♥

January 21, 2011

SPA: Sweet-ie Potato Soup

I have a hard time getting my sweet peas to eat vegetables. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to find a way to prepare Sweet Potato Soup in which they were willing to gobble it up.

I use the word "prepare" loosely.

I start out with a container of Imagine Creamy Sweet Potato Soup. I buy it at Dillon's Marketplace in the natural foods section. I warm the soup in a saucepan per the directions.

We dress the soup up with some fixins'. This day, we used Snowman marshmallows, a la sweet potato casserole. The girls got the slightest sprinkling of Pampered Chef Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle seasoning (also great on a bagel with cream cheese), whereas I topped the grown-up soup with Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend (with a hint of orange)... Another night, we prepared this with a sprinkle of Splenda brown sugar blend- just something to give it a bit of sweetness. I think I preferred it this way. In any case, we think it's delicious!

And, voila... a steamy, dreamy bowl of soup for a cold winter's night.

We usually pair our soup with toasted whole wheat and cheese sandwiches, which make for a great complement. I think we may try these next time...

January 20, 2011

What I Know About Photography: An Introduction

Many of you dear readers have asked me to share with you some wise words on photography. Well, let me just tell you that the mere thought of sharing my photography prowess makes me feel fraudulent to the nth degree... right up there with teaching parents how to be "good" at their most important job. But, hell, I do that every day. So, here goes...

Photography is a learning process. Just like positive parenting is a learning process, healthy living is a learning process, successful gardening is a learning process, living eco-consciously is a learning process... you get the picture, right? I am so incredibly green on my photography journey, it's remarkable. There is just so much I don't know yet. But, there are a few things I do know. And, as the old adage states, go with what you know. Or something like that. Well, I can do that. And, as I grow to know more, I'll be willing to share more. Sound fair?

OK, then let's begin.

Welcome to click, click, chirp- the newest blog series here at Sweet Peas & Sassafras. I already have a first lesson taking shape in my feeble little brain. Let's give it a day or two to stew in there. For the meanwhile, why don't you share some specifics on what you'd like me to address. What are your photography hang-ups? What overwhelms you? What do you want to learn how to do? What is it that you like {thank you, thank you, thank you- picture compliments are the highest form of flattery for this SPH Mama} about the pictures you see here on the blog?

So, if the answer to my little blog title prompt hasn't scared you away, good! I am excited to get started on this fun little journey with you lovelies! Stay tuned...

January 19, 2011

Birthday, BEARS, and taking one for the team...

We had a pretty fun weekend here in the SPH!

My Mom celebrated her 55th birthday Sunday, so much of our weekend revolved around that. And work. Lots and lots of work.

Friday, I took the girls shopping for Nana's birthday present. They chose a Kindle gift card, a pretty binder with page protectors to fill with their artwork that Nana has been collecting in a pile with no place suitable to store it, and a Monster High Doll. Yes, you read that right. Sassy though it would be completely appropriate to buy Nana one of the new Gloom Beach Monster High dolls, and she ever so coincidentally chose one for Nana that she doesn't yet have, and quite possibly let it slip that it might be a good idea for the new doll to live in her bedroom so she wouldn't get lonely. Yeah. Smart, smart girl.

Friday night, we went to HuHot for dinner, where Tyler met up with us. Tink ate her entire meal with chopsticks. That was amusing to watch. A little messy, yes, but amusing nonetheless. Afterwards, we took my Mom to the mall so she could purchase the perfume and blush she wanted from the department store. That's my Dad's idea of birthday shopping- handing over the cash. HA!

Saturday, Tyler was a dear and took the girls swimming and to lunch while I spent the better portion of the day hunched over some paperwork that desperately needs finishing. Not too much to write home about there. The girls had a blast with Daddy!

Saturday night, my Dad took us all out to P.F. Chang's for my Mom's birthday- her request. I've only been there a couple of times, but the food was just excellent! We had to wait almost an hour and a half, so we sat and watched in disbelief as the Packers routed the Falcons.

Oh, and I perhaps spent a moment or two self-photographing...

After dinner, we returned home and watched Nana open her birthday gifts. She was, as always, quite animated!

Sunday, we prepared for the big game... GO BEARS! We had a blast watching them come out strong and ready, and we may or may not have partaken in the consumption of not-so-healthy football snacks.

Before the game even started, the girls took great care in selecting their Bears clothing and matching hair pretties. They even made some signs to hold up during the game! With Tink around, any photo taking opportunity is like a comedy of errors, but we had fun...

Sassy wanted to try this "stylized" picture pose, and of course Tink wanted to follow suit. HA!

Sassy has been taking every opportunity humanly possible to hone her skills with her real camera she received for Christmas. It just melts my heart every.single.time!

I ♥ my little Bears Family...

Never a more beautiful picture painted...

Oh, I almost forgot to share what I did to myself. Yeah, totally took one for the team. I stepped off the single stair we have into the foyer, and stepped right on one of Tyler's giant winter boots. I fell, sprained my right ankle, and hit my left shin HARD on the door that was ajar. Fell like a ton of bricks. Spent the rest of the day intermittently icing and elevating my injuries. It's now Wednesday, and I am still sore and swollen. Geesh. At least the remainder of the team stayed healthy for the game. HA!

Monday, Tyler again took the girls out of the house- this time to The Donut Whole and Exploration Place, while I spent a considerable amount of time on paperwork. Sassy had dance class as usual, and that rounded out our fabulous long weekend!