Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kiva

By far, one of my favorite Christmas presents was a Kiva card from my aunt. I'd never heard of Kiva but now that I have I'm so addicted.

From Kiva's website:
We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works
So basically people ask for a loan for a specific amount of money, say maybe $300, to buy seeds so they can grow vegetables to sell. I used the gift card I was given to loan $25, then a bunch of other people can choose to help that borrower until they get the $300 they asked for. Eventually, they pay back the loan and Kiva gives the money to you in credit  so you can choose another borrower to make a micro loan or you can cash it out and get your money back.

How cool is that?!

My first loan was to Felicitas, in the Philippines. A loan of $500 (of which I gave $25) helped Felicitas buy fertilizers and herbicides to apply to her vegetables. There's also a short bio on her and her family. Based on the repayment schedule, it looks like Felicitas was able to pay off the loan early!


I chose to use the $25 and make another loan. this time I chose Telnaz from  Georgia. A loan of $1,700 helps Telnaz to begin a clothing business.
Telnaz is 43 years old. She lives in the Gardabani District with her daughter. Telnaz has requested a loan from local financial institutions several times for a family start-up business, but without any success. Her loan requests were rejected repeatedly, because of her family's low income and poor living conditions.
 Telnaz is involved in agricultural activities. She has a plot of agricultural land, where she grows different kinds of vegetables. She sells the harvested products at local markets. It is hardly enough for food for the family. According to Credo estimates, the family belongs to the subsistence poor category.
With this loan, Telnaz will begin a clothing business. She plans to purchase clothing at wholesale prices and then resell it at higher prices. This will increase her income and she will be able to provide better living conditions for her daughter. The new business initiative, financed with the Kiva start-up loan, will significantly improve the living conditions of the family. 

I love the feeling that I'm making a difference in someone's world. I feel so much for people but sometimes I just don't know what to do to help. Kiva gives you a chance to help in a way that may seem very small to you, but could mean a complete change in someone's life in a different part of the world.

I can't wait until the Bambinos are old enough and we can pick people to make micro loans together. I think when they start getting allowance, we will also put some money in a separate piggy bank that can go toward Kiva loans or some other good cause.  I want them to understand how fortunate they are, and know that even small gestures mean so so much.
 

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Child's Love

In two months my Bambinos will be 2.5. Where did the time go?!? The other day I was thinking about how this is the month they've grown up....


They're speaking longer sentences and their vocabulary has exploded. The other day, Peanut walked up to me and randomly said, "Suitcases." I don't even know where he learned that word. They've started saying "I wike" this or "I wike" that. They have opinions and tell us when they don't want to eat something. Sometimes they use, "My" and sometimes they use "Mines."  They are so funny. Peanut loves to dance. Bug walks around with at least two (usually three)  Hot Wheels at all times.  They've started playing together more. They've become more stubborn. They challenge me by whining and not using words I know that they know or by constantly wanting to be held.

I do my best to hold them whenever they want me to but there are times when I just don't have time. I need to get dressed and I can't do that one handed, or I'm in the middle of simultaneously making pancakes and peeling carrots (yes that happens) when I remind myself that I need to stop and give up a task so I can hold my baby. They won't be small enough to melt into the curve of my neck forever, they won't weigh little enough that I can hold them forever, they won't want me to hold them forever. As I remind myself of this, I'm met with a "Hey baby," by Peanut as he reaches his arms up for me. 



I found this video of Kid President the other day and it helped change my perception. When I feel frustrated because they're whining, demanding to be held, it's because they love me.

They love me

A child's love is so very special. It's flowing and free, without boundaries or stipulations. My love for them is the same. They have not yet learned the pain of heartbreak or rejection. They haven't learned to withhold their love. They love us more than anything. More than anything I love them. I can take a few minutes to hold them while I'm half dressed or I can stop peeling carrots and finish the pancakes one-handed. I can savor the smell of their baby shampoo and delight in the feel of their soft skin and rosy cheeks pressed against mine. These moments won't last forever. I'm not going to be frustrated when they're demonstrating their love. I'm going to drink it up and soak it in because when they're crying for me it's because they love me and it won't last forever.






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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Undomestication is Insane

Reason # 9456 I call myself Undomestic Mama.


I bought a bundt pan at Goodwill a few months ago and just knew it would come in handy for something. When I suggested that we have our family to our house for Mother's Day I thought it would be so cute to have individual strawberry shortcakes using the bundt pan!

I followed the directions on the box of mix, but I ended up with a brown, crusty mess. After posting the picture on Instgram, this lovely lady responded letting me know that you can only make angel food cake in an angel food pan.

Mind blown.

I had no idea. I thought people just did it that way to get a hole in the middle. I wish I'd checked Instagram before I tried buttering the next pan (a cute little heart one from Goodwill) I used.

By the way, there's a reason the box of mix says not to butter the pan. It doesn't work. My third and last attempt was to use the remainder of the mix in a regular bread pan. It worked but I didn't have enough batter left and it didn't rise as much as I expected so I was left with about 1/4 of a cake. At that point, I gave up and decided to paint my finger nails.

Sunday afternoon, I tried a different recipe.
via
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch fine salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups heavy cream, plus a bit extra for brushing
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey
One 16-ounce container strawberries, trimmed and chopped (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, torn, plus extra for garnish

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the butter and work into the flour, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the butter pieces are the size of small peas.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup cream with the egg and 1/3 cup water. Add to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a stiff batter is formed. Drop 6 mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each biscuit. Brush with a bit of cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet.

While the biscuits bake and cool, combine the honey with 1/3 cup water and a pinch of salt in a small saucepot. Gently simmer, stirring, over medium heat until the honey is dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cool, and then toss in a bowl with the strawberries and torn mint. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the strawberries to release their juices.

To assemble, whip the remaining 1 cup cream with 1 tablespoon sugar to soft peaks. Split each biscuit and place the bottom half on a plate. Top evenly with the berries and accumulated juices and then the whipped cream. Place the top of the biscuit on the shortcake and garnish with the fresh mint.

It's from the Food Network and delicious! I used a mix of white and wheat flour because Boyfriend accidentally added wheat into our container of white flour a few weeks ago, and I added the mint into the strawberry/honey concoction, but it turned out pretty good. B didn't love the mint, but his sister did, she said she never would have thought of it but it was a nice touch.

Although my first idea would have been cuter had it turned out, this one tasted better. Do you like strawberry shortcake? Do you have a special way you make it?


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Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Should Be a Four Day Weekend

I think when there's a holiday on the weekend, we should get that Monday off to recover. This weekend was one of those weekends where I need a weekend from my weekend.

Friday night we went out for this cutie's birthday.


Initially I didn't want to go, but it ended up being pretty fun. We went to Lucky Strike because DJ Scene was spinning and it had been ages since I'd seen him spin.


Oddly enough, one of our other former DJs was spinning upstairs at The Parlor so we got to stop by and see Risk One too. 

The funny thing is, we both know the guy in the background of the photo. We haven't seen him in years either.
It seriously had been years since I'd seen either one of these two (or gone out to a club.) I'm proud to say that both my sister and I hung in there. We joke that she's an old lady because she takes a ton of naps and goes to bed early, but when I decided we were leaving so I didn't get stuck driving home in after-club crowds, she was questioning why we were going home early....it was 1:15am :)

Saturday was a day of recovery. Thank goodness I didn't drink the night before! I felt hungover just from exhaustion. Going to bed at 2:30am and being woken up so thoughtfully the next morning at 8:30am by your sister will do that to ya. B was nice enough to go to Chucks and get us doughnuts.

If you're ever in the South Seattle area, you must go to Chuck's. The maple on their maple bars is like frosting - it's fabulous.

Saturday night B went out with a friend and I intended to go to bed early but when he came home he found me awake painting my fingernails. And then we watched TV and hung out until 1am. So much for that sleeping thing. 

Sunday I forgot it was even mother's day. It wasn't until I was making pancakes for the Bambinos and Boyfriend put a present on the table that I remembered; my first thought was, I need to get something for my mom too. It wasn't until he put another present on the table and asked about 10 minutes later, "Are you ever going to open them?! Geez."

Can I just say, Boyfriend knows me so well. The Bambinos each drew me a card, they got me a box of Think Thin bars, and Boyfriend got me a pair of Nike Air Maxes. I'd been wanting some new shoes to MixxedFit in and he got me a pair I don't even remember telling him I wanted.
They're a lot cuter in person. AND, the best part is, the upper is mesh so they won't get creased when I'm dancing. Yes, I'm a freak that doesn't like my shoes creased.

B had two softball games so I cleaned our house, gave the Bambinos a bath, showered and made dessert before our family came over. Then, we enjoyed burgers, the bouncy house, and strawberry shortcake for dessert.I still feel totally sleep deprived, but it was a good day.

To all the mama's, step-mamas, foster mama's, and dad's who are mama's, Happy (late) Mother's Day from my family to yours.


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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nee Nee

Today I wanted to share with you someone very special: my sister.

Sisters are a very special thing, aren't they? My sister used to be my very favorite person in the world.  I say used to be because now my Bambinos are with Boyfriend and my sister coming in a very close second. And the cool thing is, my sister would completely understand this.

My sister is my rock. She's seen me through break ups and make ups, she's willing to help me pack up her car after a break up and then drive everything back five days later when we make up. She's willing to drive to my house at a moments notice. She's willing to not make too much fun of me because she cooks better than I do. And we get tattoos together.

She's responsible, has a flair for fashion, she makes me laugh until I cry, she lets me call her just to vent, she was the first person to watch my Bambinos, she chases her dreams, she handles her money well, she's the most stubborn person I've met, she's a hard worker, she talks way too much when we watch movies at home....and in my office when I'm trying to work, she takes vacations with me, she's ballsy enough to chop off all her hair.


 I always wanted a little sister. After 7 years, I was SO excited for her to come along. I'd tell my parents that  I was going to change all of her diapers. I always felt like her second mom. I still remember the first time I scared her and made her cry as an infant. I felt so bad. I remember when she bit through her lip and her imaginary friends and what they looked like. We played dress up. I did her hair every morning at daycare.


And then we grew apart. With 7 years between us we didn't have a lot in common. At 12 years old, she was 5 and annoyed me when my friends were over and she insisted on hanging out with us. My best friend still brings up how she used to stick her tongue out at him. We spent a few years being more annoyed at each other than liking each other but I always loved her.


When she went to Nationals for cheerleading, I made sure she had film for her camera and some spending money. She spent some of that money bringing me back a Stitch doll from Disneyland. She has a big heart and the best sense of humor.

As she entered high school and we had more of the same interests, we grew so so close. She became exactly the sister I'd always wanted. She was one of the first people to know I was pregnant - she gave me the sweetest card and a present. She was the 2nd person to find out we were having twins. She helped me tell my dad because I was scared. She planned a baby shower for me from the other side of the state. She spent hours at the hospital cuddling her new nephews and now she comes over all the time because she's practically their second mom the way I was hers. And she'll be the only bridesmaid at my wedding.

Why am I telling you all this?
This was just last night
Because today is her 23rd birthday and I just want to say Happy Birthday Nee Nee! We love you so very much and hope you have the best day ever even though I scheduled you to work :) I hope this year gives you even more opportunities to chase your dreams than last year.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pump Pump Pump It Up!

Sunday started out not as I'd hoped because I ran over a screw and got a flat tire on my way to get spray tanned. B was outside using the saw as the Bambinos napped so I knew his phone was on the counter in the kitchen.

I called my sister and asked her to come over a few hours early so she could explain to B what happened and stay with the Bambinos while he came to help me. In the meantime I went and got my spray tan. B's a saint and put my spare on my car in no time.

We planned on stopping by B's softball game before we headed up to the birthday party. Since I had a spare on my car, my sister had to drive and she has no air conditioning right now. Grrrrreeeeeat. I was sweating just from putting the car seats in her car!

By the time we got off the freeway to head to the game, we decided to make a detour and get the Bambinos a mini Blizzard. Both of them were slumped in their car seats about to sleep when we pulled up to the drive through. As we got to the menu board, Bug popped up and said, "I get cookie?!" in his high, little voice. I think even the DQ worker laughed.

Unfortunately by the time we got to B's game it was almost over so we only saw a few minutes of it and got to visit with him for a few minutes before we headed to Pump it Up for the Party. We'd never been to Pump It Up before, but the Bambinos loved it. My sister and I got quite the workout going on everything with the Bambinos too. Bug loved the slide, he had the cheesiest grin the whole way down.

We only jumped for an hour but let me tell you, I'm not sure we'd be able to go much longer than that. It is work trying to help toddlers up and down inflatables.

This was supposed to be a group picture but Peanut settled himself down way in front of everyone else.
At one point, Peanut and I were trying to go through this obstacle course when I'd already helped him onto this hill and needed to climb over it myself, unable to jump and hold onto Peanut at the same time, I let him go not realizing it was as big of a drop as it was. I heard giggles of happiness when I let him go but I was mortified when I hopped over myself - I think he went down head first!

Going to the party just reinforced that I need to get the Bambinos into preschool. As all the 6year olds were sitting down watching Taylor open her gifts, Peanut plopped himself right down in the back of the crowd like a big boy. I am not ready for him to be so big yet.

We left before the gift opening was finished because it was the Bambinos bedtime, but not before they were given awesome goodie bags. They fell asleep in the car, but the minute we got home they woke up and wanted to enjoy their goodie bags. They roped my sister into blowing bubbles for them and then they just ran around or sat on our laps until we finally put them to bed at 9pm!
Bug looking for airplanes

Afterwards my sister and I sat up drinking Lime-A-Ritas while B enjoyed his Tecate....once B went to bed, my sister and I might have stayed up until 11pm eating a pretzel bread baguette from Whole Foods. Oops!


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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Trout Sharks!

I got off work early on Friday (love when that happens!) to find Boyfriend's friend, Tommy, at our house dropping off some trout that he'd caught that day.

Tommy was at the table on the back deck cutting up the fish when Peanut came over to me asking to be picked up. I picked him up and was talking to B and Tommy when I realized Peanut was pointing to the fish saying, "Shark....shark....shark...." over and over.

So cute. I can see why he'd think that: he's never actually seen a shark so he doesn't know how big they are.


B and Tommy left to get stuff for dinner and Bug threw a fit. I'm talkin' screaming, crying, and banging on the door crying out for Daddy until I finally bribed them with Bubble Guppies. I don't usually bribe them with TV, but he would not let me touch him and try to soothe him at all. All my other distraction attempts were met with cries.

We enjoyed a nice dinner of steak, potatoes and grilled asparagus on the deck along with some Straw-Ber-Ritas for the adults. I'm sorry but I just don't see the blog-hype in those. They're so sweet! It didn't stop us from drinking them but we got some Lime-A-Ritas for Cinco de Mayo and I enjoy those much more.


Saturday we got the Bambinos hair cut. It'd been almost 5 months since they'd had one! Okay maybe it was just over 4 but still....that's too long. Unfortunately I had to wake them up from their nap (which we never do) so they were a little more apprehensive than usual, but they still did great. I like this salon so much better than the very first one we went to.

After their hair cuts, Boyfriend took us to Red Robin for lunch and then we went shopping for a birthday party the next day. As we walked through the mall from Red Robin to Target and then to Old Navy, Bug threw a fit because he wanted to be outside. I don't blame him, it was so nice this weekend (we're talking high 70s-80s) but we were those parents with the screaming child in Old Navy. As I was paying B took Bug outside where he calmed down immediately. Little stinker.

 We went home and let them play in the backyard where Peanut found his first "Ca-pi-yar." He was so happy he went to show Boyfriend and Boyfriend being the good daddy that he is even let him touch it! Bug calls them, "Pa-pi-yar" and wanted no part in touching it although he'd check to make sure he was still there from time to time. (All caterpillars are boys ya know.)


I'll have to blog about Sunday tomorrow because this post is already getting lengthy.

How was your weekend? Is anybody else super late on posting about the weekend like me?



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Friday, May 3, 2013

Etsy Faves: "Wobot!"


via
Peanut would love this.They both would really but for Easter they got flashlights with interchangeable lenses which Peanut calls, "coins" and likes to carry around. He'll repeat "Shark....shark....shark!" Over and over.

I've tried over and over to get the Bambinos to play with stuffed animals, maybe they actually would play with this one.

via
As much as I love the other one for it's cuteness, I love this one for it's coolness. There's only one available so I better get on it!

As much as I love hearing Peanut say, "shark," I also love listening to the Bambinos saying, "Dinosooor, rawr!" I'm not positive they'd even play with them, but they sure are cute! They'd at least make a good room decoration.

via
Oh how I love this. Originally, we weren't going to give the Bambinos toys with batteries so I love the thought of this truck. And, it can even be personalized! Even if they never play with them, I love the thought of having this in their bedroom to give it a personal touch.

via
I just want this for their room because I love hearing Peanut say, "Wobot," I need to get video of it, it's so cute.

So I just did a search for Robot and look what I found!
via
I know they wouldn't play with this, but it's so cute! I can just hear Peanut pointing and saying, "Heartt!" With a very hard 't' sound.

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