Animal Adventures!

Tuesday, September 1

This past Sunday we headed out on an adventure, to a local park called “Animal Adventures”…it’s a small zoo, at which you can feed most of the animals. It was so much fun! We were there when they opened, which was great! There wasn’t a ton of people, the staff was awesomely informative and helpful, and we all had a lot of fun!

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All of the zookeepers were willing to talk and answer any questions.

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When we were learning about the camel, Avelyn was VERY informed {via Wild Kratts} and could answer all of the questions the zookeeper asked…very much like her daddy.IMG_5710

They even let the kids feed the animals. {The whole zoo is outfitted with feeding tubes for the animals you can’t reach and you can feed the giraffe and the camel carrot sticks.}

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The kids were so brave! I was a bit nervous about how they would feel around the animals, but you can tell from Henry’s face that he had a blast!

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I’m not too fond of zoos, I really don’t like the idea of animals in captivity. We asked the zookeepers where they got their animals from and they were very open to talking about it: Some of the animals are donated, particularly the birds and more domesticated animals, by people had them as pets and didn’t know what they were getting themselves into, some of the animals are from other zoos, and some are from DEC raids {ie. people who had animals that are not permitted as pets…for example, lemurs}. All of the animals looked well cared for and the entire place was impressively clean.

Routines in the White House: Cleaning

Thursday, August 27

Mostly I like cleaning…or at least I like a clean house. Now, I’m not talking immaculate. Nothing crazy-clean like my German grandmother would insist on, but if my house is chaos I start to feel a bit, well…chaotic. With 4 kids running around making messes….there’s a bit of a disconnect between my reality and what I’d like my reality to be.

I used to have a routine: The kind of plan when you did this room this day, this activity this day, then we moved out for renovations. When we moved back in we had 3 three year olds and I was pregnant 2 months later. It all went out the window. It was all out anarchy in our house. I did what I could and didn’t have it in me to fight children to do what I wanted them to.

Now that I’m not pregnant, Peter is 2 months old, and the triplets are nearing 4 I decided it was time to implement some changes, because honestly my sanity wasn’t going to be able to handle scrapping dried banana off the floor anymore. I haven’t gotten crazy yet about it, but this is what I did do.

Routines in the White House Cleaning House

*Another toy purge {I do them frequently}
      My kids honestly are not interested in playing with toys. They’re interested in dumping them all over the floor, kicking them around the room, and generally not touching them once they’re scattered about. Call me a mean mom. My kids have books in their rooms, some stuffed animals, and a few dolls…that’s it.

      Our living room has two boxes of toys; one contains our wooden trains and the other a few random toys and books {which I will be going through again soon}. The only other toys in our living room are 3 Fisher Price Little People buildings {castle, jungle, and a house} and a bag of little people.

*No food beyond the kitchen
      I know this sounds like a no brainer, but when you have 3 kids wearing you down…you cave on things. This was one of them. With Ave it wasn’t a big deal. She didn’t spill and didn’t make messes….the other 3….not so much. Elanor has a habit of liking to do pouring exercises on the TV cabinet. Once I did this though cleaning up became infinitely easier, because I wasn’t having to scrape food off of things before putting them away.

*Sweep it all in a pile
     I’ve shared on instagram before how I clean a room: I sweep everything into a pile, sit on the floor and deal with it. Interestingly enough, most of what ends up on the floor is garbage…broken crayons, nonsense and paper, because, again, my kids really don’t play with toys. Once I’ve dealt with the pile the room is clean, because I’ve already swept the floor. How about THAT for multitasking?!

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*Stay up and clean
    
Yup. There are times that I will stay up very late in order to clean the house. What’s the saying? Cleaning your house with kids around is like eating Oreos while brushing your teeth. Exactly. Not always, but probably once a month I will stay up way too late in order to clean the house. I’m not talking spic and span clean, but clean enough that it looks like it’s actually been cleaned.

*A little some of the time
    
I do try to do a little bit of cleaning every day. I try not to go to bed without picking up the living room and at least having loaded and run the dishwasher. It makes a big difference for me, mentally, to not walk up to a mess, but some times I just don’t have it in me at the end of the day to spend that time {usually 45 minutes or so} to do that little bit.

On those nights, I look at Matt and ask him “What time is Bridget coming?” It’s a running joke. Matt’s grandparents would ask the other when the made {Bridget} was coming if they didn’t feel like doing the clean up, then blame her for not showing up when it didn’t get done. I like that tradition!

That’s a bit of a peak at how I TRY to keep the house in some state of order.  It’s not perfect, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s one of those things that we have chosen to show ourselves grace in….at least until Mommy is having a total melt down and can’t handle the mess anymore. I will openly admit that our showers get cleaned once every few months, the toilet may be a bit more often, and the floors rarely are mopped, but the  kids are fed, clothed, and kept alive.

Do you have a system that you use for keeping the house clean?

Two Months Old

Sunday, August 16

Last week Peter had his two month well baby visit and I was curious to see how much he’d gained…he didn’t disappoint!

*He weighed in at 12lbs
*Measured right around 23 3/4”  {so far he’s a touch bigger than Avie was at 2 months old}
*Holding his head up
*Giving lots of smiles
*Starting to chuckle when he’s smiling
*Sleeps INCREDIBLY well! He takes a bottle in the late evening, between 8 and 9, then passes out until 3 or 4 am. Either he’s a really good sleeper or I’m used to other kids that just don’t sleep {might be a bit of both}.
*People are always commenting on his hair…it’s crazy {he has way more than even Ave had at 2 months}.
*Fitting into 3 months clothing
*He loves sucking on his fist…I’m really hoping that we can avoid a pacifier.
*The kids are thoroughly enamored with him and are constantly in his face…he’s going to have to be the toughest one in the bunch!

 

Peter 2 Months Old

Cast Iron Convert

Monday, August 10

One of the most exciting things for me when my husband and I got engaged was creating our registry: LOVED IT! Both of us moved from our parents’ homes straight into our first home together, so we needed everything. I was beyond ecstatic to register for pots and pans…specifically Calphalon pots and pans: 10 years later those pots and pans are still going strong and I do love them!

But….

A couple of times Matt tried to convince me of using cast iron cookware, by bringing out his rusty old pan from his boy scouting days. I wasn’t too thrilled by it and pretty much refused to use it. Then last year we moved in with the in laws and I was forced to use cast iron, all of our stuff was in storage. My mother in law had only recently started to use cast iron again…so I went with it.

Cast Iron Convert Switching to Cast Iron When You're Scared to Death of It at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

It was heavy. It was huge. I was scared to death to drop it on my foot or in the sink or on the counter tops {they have granite}. It just scared me. I was afraid of not washing it right, not cooking with it right. You name a potential reason to not like it and that was my excuse.

Then Matt requested a dutch oven for his birthday {he’s so sneaky about how he goes about converting me on things!} and he wanted to try making our own tortillas, so we needed a comal. Then it was a large sauté pan that we needed to do veggies in the oven. Before I knew it we had 4 different cast iron pieces. And here I am…reluctant to admit I love our cast iron cookware!

That’s right. I’m not afraid of it anymore, because it’s pretty much indestructible! Although, I do get nervous with it around my countertops and sink {it is HEAVY}. The only time I pull out one of my Calphalon pans is when I’m making crepes, because the cast iron really is too heavy for all that wrist work, or large batches of liquid.

It’s a worthwhile investment that seriously doesn’t cost much and will last forever. I recently saw a post on facebook from someone who had just inherited her grandmother’s cast iron….it was over a 100 years old! I’m pretty sure no stainless steel cookware will last that long!

Why do I like it now?

I like that it’s indestructible, that if I burn something I don’t have to spend HOURS AND HOURS scrubbing something clean, because chances are it’s not all cooked into it.

It’s easy to clean…seriously…I just wipe it out with some hot water and I’m done.

It’s convenient! I can take things from the stove to the oven and back without thinking or worrying about ruining a pan. It makes it so much easier when I want to sauté things and then brown them in the oven or roast it in the oven and then make a gravy on the stop top.

Here is some other great information about using and caring for cast iron:

How to Season Cast Iron
12 White-Hot Ways to Use Cast Iron Everyday
Cooking with Cast Iron –How and Why to Get Started
5 Reasons to Get Cooking with Cast Iron

What do you use to cook with?

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