Friday, January 30, 2015

mama bird: a kid in a corn maze

Last fall, I went on a “field trip” with one of my teams at work. We went to a place called Sever’s Corn Maze. Any local Minnesotans probably have heard of it, but for the non-locals, it is what it sounds like, a maze cut from a corn field. There is also an exotic petting zoo, a giant inflatable jumpie trampoline, a huge pit filled with dried corn kernels that you can basically swim in, and a place where you can shoot small pumpkins at a target from a large cannon-like mechanism. Oh, and there are also mini-donuts…it’s a pretty fun place.
However, when we were planning it, I just kept thinking to myself, “I am a 40-year old woman. What kind of fun will I have there? It’s more of a place that I’d bring my kids.” But hey, it was a day off work, outside on a nice fall day, and remember those mini-donuts? So I went.
And let me tell you, it was a blast. I ran around like a small child, petting kangaroos, swinging (not so successfully) from a rope swing into a pool of corn, shooting pumpkins (also not so successfully), tearing my shoes off to jump on the trampoline, and yelling “MARCO!” “POLO!” when we were all accidentally separated from each other in the corn maze. I even successfully completed a full course of monkey bars over the corn pool. There was also a giant slide, caramel apples, and of course, mini-donuts.
When I go to places like this with my children, I normally sit on the sidelines, making sure they are having fun, behaving themselves, being safe, etc. But what’s stopping me from doing all of these things with them? Why can’t I act like a kid with my kids?
So the next time I take my kids to Sever’s, I will jump, swing, shoot, and slide, and I will also make sure they are having fun, behaving, and staying safe. Because as parents, we don’t just have to be bystanders….we can always join in on the fun!

megan bird

Thursday, January 29, 2015

outfit of the day(bird): airing my dirty laundry

jeans ~ Opitz
t-shirt ~ thrifted
booties ~ b. (a resale shop) 

I mentioned a while back that Chris lost a bet that required him to do all the laundry for the whole month of January. It sounds fabulous, no? Well, it hasn’t been the carefree month I had hoped for. I can assure you he has done none of these things intentionally, however, the man needs to learn a thing or two about laundry.
Since the beginning of January, he has:
~ shrunk one of my brand new sweaters (it’s Eva’s now)
~ waited so long to do laundry that I literally ran out of clean bras
~ left clean loads of laundry, unfolded, in the basket to wrinkle away
~ left clean loads of still-damp laundry in the basket to mildew away
I have helped him a bit, I will admit. When I would see a load in the washer, I threw it in the dryer because who knows how long he’d let it sit there. And when he didn’t fold the two loads of clothes sitting for days in the baskets, I will admit I took ONLY my clothing out and folded it. I’ll help him out, but he can still learn his own lesson of what happens when you don’t fold clothes right away. Stubborn of me? Yes. Did I feel a little guilty? Yes. Did I fold his laundry because of my guilt? Nope.
So this week ends the month of me not doing laundry. And I have to say it might be a little easier when I start doing it again*. Or maybe I’m just a control freak. You be the judge.
megan bird
* For the record, Chris is amazing around the house. We each have things we normally do, and laundry just happens to not be his. But I don’t want to give you the impression that he’s useless. He is in fact, quite useful!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

a bird's life

I was too busy lazy this week for a DIY or bird seed post, so a bird's life it is! Along with the photos, I thought I'd share a few other tidbits from my (rather unexciting) (surprisingly movie-filled) life lately...

~ Jim and I recently Redboxed (yes, I can verbify just about any word) the movie, Boyhood, last weekend. We both enjoyed it. Jim more so than me, as he definitely related more to the life of a heterosexual white male growing up in America. Duh. But it is worth checking out!
~ We also watched Maleficent with Mimi and we all really loved it! We watched it after Ben was in bed since we figured he was a little young yet, but Mimi enjoyed it tremendously.
~ And in other movie news, this was recommended to us by a neighbor. Has anyone seen it? I think we might check it out this weekend.
~ Jim and I recently attended a show at HUGE Improv Theater (we don't only watch movies!). It was super funny and something new for us. If any of you locals are looking for a fun and inexpensive night out, check out one of their shows!

~ A last minute babysitter called for an impromptu date night.
~ Jim is home from India! We are so happy!
~ Snuggles and laughter.
~ Bright lips on a cloudy day.
~ Ben was so pissed that I got him dressed that day.
~ Mimi's first Skee-Ball experience.
~ Watching Lifetime's Whitney Houston biopic through the protective lens of my wine glass. It was slightly cringe-worthy, but entertaining!

xoxo, nora bird

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

outfit of the day(bird): sock drama

sweater~ b. (a resale shop)
jeans~ Jessica Simpson
shoes~ thrifted
hat~ made by my mom
necklace~ Etsy

I have a weird thing with socks, which I am sure is not uncommon. I cannot stand to wear socks that have holes, are too loose, are too tight, or are twisted the wrong way. My socks have to be in tact and fit my foot perfectly. If I see someone else with hole-y socks or running around with their socks halfway off their foot (this is very common with my nephews) or if their sock is twisted around so the heel is on the top of their foot, it makes me cringe. In fact, just typing that made me wince a little. It upsets me. Quite a bit. It might seem silly to some, but I am sure many of you share in this messy sock aversion. My best friend, Krista, will often text me when she is experiencing a messy sock situation. She will describe it to me in great detail because she knows it will make me squirm. This might sound slightly cruel, but this is just the type of relationship we have and I can laugh about it after the inital shiver of disgust. Why am I telling you all of this? Because the other day, Ben started crying and I couldn't figure out why. Finally, he pointed, rather dramatically, at his foot, with a look of despair in his eye. I looked down and saw that his sock was twisted around so that the bottom was on the top and I immediately recognized what he was feeling. So, I am sorry, Ben, for passing down to you this strange sock quirk. Not that I didn't know already, but this definitely confirms that you're mine.
xoxo, nora bird

Monday, January 26, 2015

inspiration monday: unfriend

the inspiration

megan bird

pants ~ Marshalls
tunic ~ Second Debut
boots, hat ~ thrifted

nora bird

sweater ~ hand-me-down from Megan
pants ~ Marshalls
necklace ~ gift from in-laws
shoes ~ BCBGeneration

We had dinner at our parents last night to celebrate my brother-in-law's (Nora's hubbie) birthday. While we were sitting around chatting, Nora asked one of our other brother-in laws what happened with his Facebook account. She had tried posting something to his wall the other day and couldn't see him.

It turns out he unfriended all of us. Even our sister, his wife. He claims he is going "off-grid", but really I think he is sick of our stupid Facebook posts and jokes. We threatened that we were going to post his full name on the blog and ask you all to friend request him, but that would just prove to him that he's right and our Facebook jokes really aren't that funny. But maybe I'll ask him to be friends again, just to see how he truly feels.

megan bird

For next week's inspiration picture, click here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

bird seed: mini chocolate chip blondies

I love to bake and I do it a lot. I enjoy coming up with new recipes and trying out interesting ingredients. I find it calming and it is something fun to do with the kids. Mimi especially loves to help. Lately, if I have some time and I know we have a showing later, I will bake some cookies or bars to make the house smell yummy. If you walked into a house that you were thinking about buying and it smelled like freshly baked goodness, wouldn't you want to buy it that much more? I like to think it helps. Anyway, my problem is that I don't really eat the baked goods. I mean, I will but, if given the choice, I will pick salty or savory over sweet any day of the week. My kids love them, of course, but I am one of those strict moms that doesn't allow a ton of sweets in their diet. Just ask my dad. He will tell you. He yells at me about it all the time. (Grandpas be crazy.) Jim gets annoyed because he usually ends up eating most of what I bake. Ha! So, lately, I have been baking cookies and bars and giving them away to family or neighbors. Last night, I had a showing and basically invited myself and the kids to my parent's house for dinner. Since I seem to be doing that a lot lately (sorry Mom and Dad!), I decided to bake them up some bars as a thank you. They were pretty yummy and super easy, so I thought I'd share the recipe! Enjoy!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag mini chocolate chips

~Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
~ In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Slowly, add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
~ Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Makes about 2 dozen bars.

Do you enjoy baking? What's your favorite thing to make?

xoxo, nora bird

Thursday, January 22, 2015

outfit of the day(bird): serial

sweater~ hand-me-down from Megan
jeans~ Levis
headband~ Free People
shoes~ eBay
necklace~ gift

I am slightly late to the game, but I have recently become obsessed with the podcast, Serial, which is a spin off of This American Life (which is also great). I've tried emailing my family about it and they ignored my crazy gushing, so now I will gush to you guys. Sorry. I'm so obsessed that I seriously cannot stop listening. I started listening two days ago and am currently on episode 8. As in, I am listening to it as I type this post, while my kids are napping. I will likely finish the series today and then I will be sad that it is over because Season 2 has not yet been released. I have listened to it while working out and have actually extended my workout (usually heard of!) to finish an episode. I have stayed up way past my bedtime to listen. I have skipped my usual nighttime 'after the kids are in bed' TV to instead listen to a couple of episodes. I even wondered at one point, "Would it be bad if I just put my ear buds in and listened to an episode while my kids played in front of me?" or, "Maybe the kids could just watch another half hour of Wild Kratts while I finished this episode?" I decided against both of these scenarios but, I'll be honest, it was a tough choice. If you have not listened to it yet, I highly recommend it. Obviously. In case you couldn't tell. Do it.
Perhaps next week I will discuss my obsession with the British series, Black Mirror, which is on Netflix and which Jim and I watched, in it's entirety, in two evenings. I bet you're sensing a theme here. Yes, I enjoy a good binge watch/listen of a great series!

Have you binge-watched anything good lately?

xoxo, nora bird

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

bird.i.y.: all natural face wash

Do you ever wish you had actually listened to your parents at 15? Like really listened to all of what you thought was minutia, but really was brilliant? Because trust me, as a parent now, I know that everything I tell my kids is brilliant. (right?) Parents speak from experience, but kids think they know everything. It’s a hard combination.

One of the things I wish I had listened about was my skincare. Sure, it’s a small detail….if I’m being honest, I wish I would have listened to everything my parents told me. But then I guess I’d have had the easiest childhood in the world, and I’d be an insufferable ass right now. So let’s just stick with skincare for now.

For the most part, I come from good genes. Anyone who has met my parents knows this. Both my mom and dad look at least 20 years younger than they actually are, and I’m not exaggerating (check here for yourselves). So genetically I have good skin. I am also a vegetarian for 25+ years, which many people will say attributes to good skin. But honestly, what I have found has been the best thing for my skin has been the all natural route I have been taking the past two years.

I have stopped buying most skincare products, and instead have made my own, or just used plain oils on my face (some favorites are coconut, almond, jojoba, and rosehip seed). At night, I slather a generous amount of raw organic shea butter on my face. Up until last week, I was still using a store bought face soap, but I vowed to myself that once that was gone, I’d make my own. And that is the recipe I am sharing with you today. It’s so easy, and so fabulous.
All you need is:
~ 10 raw almonds
~ 1 tablespoon uncooked rice (brown or white)
~ 1 tablespoon powdered milk (any fat content will do)
~ jojoba oil (or any oil of your choosing)
Blend together the almonds and rice in a coffee grinder, or some sort of appliance that will grind them to a powder. Add the powdered milk and mix together. Store this in an airtight, waterproof container. When it’s time to wash your face, add about a teaspoon to the palm of your hand, and squirt enough jojoba oil to the mixture to make a watery paste.

Wash your face as you normally do.
I have been using it for about a week now, and love it. Not only does it smell fabulous, but it leaves my skin feeling soft, looking more radiant than it ever has recently, and I even dared to go to work yesterday with not a stitch of makeup on. None, nada, zip. 

And no one spit their coffee out when they saw me!

megan bird

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

outfit of the day(bird): shopping blackout

sweatshirt ~ Athleta via Second Debut
leggings ~ Kohls
boots, hat ~ thrifted

I put on a "Stylish Moms" workshop at Second Debut last Saturday and it was a blast! I got to the store about an hour before the workshop so I could pick out outfits based on what I think are the nine wardrobe staples for busy women. Picking out outfits is really one of my favorite things to do...The only problem is that as I was picking out fabulous outfits, I was also finding items that I couldn't live without. Just as Chris and I were saying that we should maybe cut back on the spending, I find $100 worth of items that I needed to have. And of course, after the high of putting on the workshop, and then having a two-hour personal shopping appointment right after that, I went in to a sort of blind "pull out the credit card and buy whatever you want" sort of blackout.

Luckily I loved everything I bought (including this fabulous Athleta sweatshirt), and will honestly get so much wear out of everything I picked out. My next workshop is on Valentine's Day, so who knows what I'll come home with after that one!!

megan bird

PS. Thanks for all of the kind words on our dog yesterday. He's 15 and has had a great life, but I'd prefer it to be a lot longer. He's hanging in there.

Monday, January 19, 2015

inspiration monday: almost wordless monday

the inspiration
Emma Stone
megan bird

tank, scarf ~ thrifted
hat ~ TJ Maxx
jacket ~ Dots
booties ~ Shoedazzle

nora bird

jeans ~ b. (a resale shop)
t-shirt ~ thrifted
jacket ~ TJ Maxx
boots ~ Shoedazzle
scarf ~ gift

I honestly can't think of much to say today. I am sitting in my bed, after deciding not to go out with Chris and his coworkers tonight. Next to me is my very old, kind of sick dog, and I just wanted to snuggle with him. I am watching junk tv, and I'll admit that I am such a bad mix of tired, sad, and sentimental, that I actually started crying at an episode of Hawaii 5-0. Don't judge, I love hour long crime shows; doesn't matter what show.

So I'm going to leave it at that. Snuggly dogs, bad tv, and not a lot to say.

megan bird
For next week's inspiration picture, click here.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Goodwill Hunting: Inspired by Katy Perry

I blogged over at Goodwill....


My Goodwill Version (everything pictured is from Goodwill, except the socks)

My daughter has taken up cheerleading. It’s a fun sport for her, it teaches her rhythm (which doesn’t always come naturally), and discipline, and it’s given her a nice boost of self confidence. Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, her classes just happen to be three blocks from a Goodwill. So, every Thursday, I drop her off, wish her well, and march myself over to do a little thrift shopping. It’s amazing what you can find when you only have 40 minutes to thrift. I have settled on a plan on how to conquer all two floors of the store in 40 minutes. I start with shoes … I always start with shoes. And trust me, there have been some days when Target must have just dropped off a shipment, because one Thursday, I got about seven brand new pairs of Target shoes for $2 each. I digress … I start with shoes. I then move on to dresses (and again, I have hit quite the jackpot on dresses, the one I’m wearing here included). Being a Minnesota gal, I then move on to winter coats, then sweaters, and I finish the first floor with jeans. Man, you’d be amazed at the fabulous jeans I’ve found there. Bonus, you don’t have to break them in! Then I move upstairs, which might be my favorite part. I could peruse home goods for hours, but like I said, I only have 40 minutes. Last week, I found an original Kaj Franck enamel mixing bowl for $5. Yep, $5, do you believe that??? I usually have my cart stuffed with goodies by now, and then I head to the kids’ department. I never buy new clothes for my kids. I swear to you they must walk on their knees at school! Thrifted clothing for growing kids just makes more sense, doesn’t it? After I finish the upstairs, I hop in the elevator, and pay for all my treasures. And it’s usually just in time to pick my daughter up. The night is good for everyone…kids get a little play and exercise, and mama gets a little retail therapy. Win/Win! 

What’s your favorite section to shop at Goodwill? 

megan bird