by christine victoria alexander

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

THE GIRL'S BATH: UPDATE

This project is taking a bit longer than I was expecting! As with most home projects we have had a couple surprises that have effected our timeline. Here's a little update on how things are going:


We painted the walls, installed a shiny new light fixture, then realized the patch job we (I) had done was no good. Everything looked fine in daylight but when we turned on the light in the evening it showed every ding, dent and rough patch where the old fixtures had hung. Isaac spent a weekend sanding and repairing the walls for me and they look brand spanking new again. Too bad he doesn't enjoy that kind of thing, it would be so fun to fix up a little airbnb together! I'm pretty sure we will fix up a little beach house one day, he just doesn't know it yet. But back to the bath, we repainted after repairing the walls and reinstalled the light fixture. I love the polished nickel!

We hit another little snag when we went to swap out the faucet. The one I ordered didn't fit so I ordered a new one and it will be here next week! In the meantime, we have a busted pipe to repair because pipes from the 80's don't last forever. Another project for Isaac...

I sanded down the vanity and gave it a fresh coat of paint in the same color as the walls. The previous owner had painted over the original brass knobs so I stripped the paint and put them back on. Hinges and doors will go back on this weekend.
I'm ordering a big, brass mirror to go over the vanity that will tie in the knobs, the shower rod and the shelf over the toilet. I'm so excited seeing it all come together!

We installed a fixed shower rod (the last one was a tension rod that fell down every other week), hung a new curtain, bought a fresh bath mat and mounted three shiny new towel hooks which just feel a little more casual and kid-friendly than a towel bar.





So what's left?
- Installing the mirror
- Plumbing repair & installing the new faucet
- Mounting the toilet paper holder
- Updating the tub spout & handle
- Updating the ceiling light
- Artwork

We've made some great progress but I'm still kind of bummed it's taking so long! I wish I knew how to do more of the electrical / plumbing things so I didn't always have to wait for Isaac to do it on the weekend. Adding that to my list of things to learn...
I have been really careful to do this whole project without going over my allotted "home allowance" each month, so while it feels like we're moving at a snail's pace, I am really proud of myself for staying on budget!

I'm hoping we'll have everything finished up in the next couple of weeks and will post the before/afters and all the sources then! Thanks for following along!

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

THE WEEKEND & SOME FLIPPIN' DELICIOUS BANANA PANCAKES


This weekend has been slow and sunny and lazy and just really exactly what we needed. Isaac surprised the girls and I with 10 dozen roses, the softest teddy bears and our favorite Hu chocolate bars. He certainly knows how to make us feel loved! As a treat, we cooked up gluten free gnocchi from a box that was 10x better than the gnocchi we tried to make from scratch on a date night a very long time ago. After the girls were tucked in bed Isaac and I snuck back down to the kitchen and baked up some chocolate chip cookies and had a cozy little date of our own. It was perfect. We slept in late then whipped up our favorite banana pancakes (recipe below!) in our pajamas. It doesn't get much better in my book!

A few years ago when my Nana's health started going downhill my sisters and I made a little YouTube channel with videos of the kiddies to cheer her up. I posted a couple videos of Olive feeding Rosie back then when she was just 2 years old and now she and Rosie are feeding Madeline for me! It goes so fast. Slow weekends help me soak up this beautiful season of life we are in right now.






I've been testing out gluten free pancake recipes for years and have finally created a pancake that doesn't involve 4 different flours, weird gums or even getting out my hand mixer. In fact, I make the whole thing with one bowl and a dinner fork every time. They are simple, healthy, quick and delicious. We cook up a pile nearly every weekend and top them with handfuls of blueberries and a generous pour of maple syrup. Leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram if you make them!

CHRISTINE'S BANANA PANCAKES
gluten free, dairy free, grain free
A few quick recipe notes for you: I used almond flour in this recipe, not almond meal. Almond flour is finer than meal which makes the pancakes fluffier. Trader Joes has a good one! If you don't have cassava you can swap it for an all-purpose gluten free flour like Bob's Red Mill. And lastly, you'll notice there is no sweetener in these aside from the bananas, so make sure your bananas are nice and ripe (yellow and spotty) for best results. 

makes about 18 pancakes
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2 medium bananas (about 1 cup, mashed)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup almond milk

1 & 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup cassava flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

butter or coconut oil, for cooking
_

Mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs, vanilla and almond milk.

Add the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The size and ripeness of the bananas will determine how loose your batter is. If it looks too thick add a splash of almond milk.

Melt butter (or coconut oil) in a non stick skillet over medium heat. When butter is sizzling add pancake batter. Cook until the edges look dry, then flip. Cook for another minute and move to a plate. Stack 'em up and top with syrup!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

RAISING KIND DAUGHTERS


Last year I had an idea to make a sticker chart for the girls to reward them for kindness, thoughtfulness, being helpful, and showing good manners. It worked so well and really encouraged them to look for ways to be kind. We filled up that whole sticker chart and the girls have been begging me to make a new one. I decided to share it here for any of you who are interested in using it too!


Lots of moms use a sticker chart for potty training, not to teach their child to expect a sticker every time they use the bathroom for the rest of their life, but to encourage them as they learn something new and motivate them to do it over and over again until it becomes second nature.
I think the same idea can work for teaching kindness - strengthening their "kindness muscle memory", if you will. Now, months after finishing our first sticker chart, Rosie still surprises me by getting my shoes out of the closet before we go somewhere and carries a pile of of toys over to Madeline if she's crying. Olive still throws away Madeline's dirty diapers without being asked, picks out pajamas for Rosie every evening and draws pictures for our neighbors. The sticker chart motivates them to look for opportunities to be helpful, and practice over and over again putting others before themselves.


Olive and Rosie are 4 and 2 and still think stickers are pretty much the coolest thing ever, but if your kids are older you could check off the squares with a marker and come up with a reward for every 10 squares.
I hope you'll try it out with your littles and let me know what you think!

Follow this link to download and print your own kindness chart!

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

BEING A MAMA TO THREE

A little update on the girls and a few pictures that are so special to me, not just because this delicious squishy baby stage is so fleeting, but also because my eldest daughter took them. ๐Ÿงก


Olive has blossomed into such a capable girl - she is so helpful to me and is like a second mommy to her little sisters - sometimes I forget she is only 4! I can only imagine how much more she will grow into this role as the oldest of the bunch as time goes on. She is extremely active, loves riding her bike, running, climbing trees, digging in the dirt, making forts out of chairs and pillows and riding her rocking pony, Ted, around the living room. Since all of this comes so naturally to her I really try to encourage her softer, more caring side as much as possible because I find that's where she often runs into trouble.

Rosie is a few months shy of turning 3 and a personality paradox: stubborn and headstrong, tender and kind hearted. She is not very active and prefers sitting in her lawn chair watching Olive play or laying on the driveway while Olive runs circles around her. She likes playing babies, pretend cooking, making up songs on the piano, dancing to her music books and cuddling on the couch. She and Olive started sharing a room a few months ago and it's helped them grow so much closer. We hear them talking and giggling in the evenings and as long as they aren't jumping on the bed or throwing things at the wall I try not to interfere - it's so good for them to have each other. ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘ง


Sunday marks 10 months with my Madeline girl, the happiest baby of them all! I wish everyone had a Madeline. Her smile and her cuddles make anything and everything instantly better. I could not have dreamed up a more perfect little ball of sunshine. Five teeth just came in all at once and her little smile is so ridiculously cute with those tiny little choppers peeking out now. I'm starting to offer her some smoothies and purees and, like all my girls, she detests avocado and loves green smoothies.

A friend of mine recently asked me how I like being a mom of 3 and it sort of caught me off guard. I didn't know how to respond because this is my reality and I'm not the kind of person who ever thinks about how things would have been if.... blah blah blah. I assume this person meant how do I like it with three vs. when it was just Olive or just Olive and Rosie. Well, I've thought about it and you know what? Babies are work, hard work. But here's the secret. Babies are happiness too. I was so happy with just Olive and then I had Rosie and yes, it was more work, but so much more happiness too! And now that I have Madeline it is a tremendous amount of work but oh my goodness if you only knew how much more happiness! So maybe that's why it's hard to answer. How do I like it? Well, some days are absolutely perfect and some days are utterly grueling, but the truth is, I've never been happier in my whole life.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

10 WAYS TO CELEBRATE A RAINY DAY

Happy February, friends! I think my daffodils must have heard the groundhog predict an early spring because they are all up and blooming this week! The girls brought in handfuls of them yesterday as a surprise for me but little Rosie hasn't figure out that you need to pick them with a stem so half of them were just the blooms with no stem! It's warm and drizzly in Charlotte today and I'm sharing some fun (screen-free) things to do inside with your littles when it rains.


Learn to sew with lacing cards  
My mom brought over lacing cards a few weeks ago and they were a big hit with my girls! Olive likes getting them out during Madeline's nap for a quiet "big girl" activity. There are a bunch available on Amazon, but why buy when you can download and print them for free? Here are two pretty sets of cards I found: cowboy & cowgirl cards, watercolor cards

Read a new book
There's just something wonderful about cozying up under a blanket with a big stack of books on a rainy day. This Atlas of Adventures is one of our favorites right now. Each page takes you on an adventure to a different part of the world - it's loaded with fun facts and illustrations! Some more of our favorite kiddie books are linked here.

Start an indoor garden 
This seed kit is a cool way to introduce kids to gardening! You don't need to have anything on hand because they include everything (even the dirt!) in the kit. Most seeds are best started about 6 weeks before the last frost.

Play a round of bird bingo
Another one my mom introduced us to (thanks Mom!) - traditional bingo but with birds! If birds aren't your thing there's an Ocean Bingo and a Bug Bingo too. ๐Ÿค“

Make a pine cone bird feeder
Remember making peanut butter covered pine cones when you were little? You may already have everything you need to make them, if not, this bird feeder kit makes it easy to get all the supplies shipped right to your door. How easy is that?

Stretch it out with some yoga
I just found these yoga cards for kids last night and I think they are such a cute idea! You can also find a bunch of great (free!) yoga and ballet classes for kids on YouTube.

Squish, create, repeat
Imagine if play dough were made with non toxic ingredients and scented with essential oils - meet Hello Dough, a Canadian company making all our healthy play dough dreams come true! If you don't want to splurge on one of their fun kits, a trip to the dollar store for some tiny trucks or horses may be all you need to make your own kit at home.

Sew a tiny friend
Cynthia Treen Studio has the most adorable animal kits in her Etsy shop. I shouldn't really be including them on this list because they are for adults or older children who can sew, but I couldn't resist! This little lioness reminds me of my niece Simone!

Cook something delicious
My girls and I cook together every single day and I think it's one of the best things you can do with your littles. Pull up a chair and let them help! If you haven't tried this cookie recipe yet, what are you waiting for?

Hope you picked up some fun ideas! If you try any of these send me a pic or tag me on Instagram!

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Monday, February 3, 2020

CURRENTLY CRAVING: A NIGHT IN

This month's Currently Craving post goes out to all the homebodies! There is not much I love more than a cozy night at home with Isaac; a long hot shower and a body scrub, fresh pajamas, cozy slippers, putting on my favorite mask and making a mug of tea. We might watch a movie, talk a little or maybe just scroll through Pinterest then jump into freshly washed sheets and call it a night. Here's what I'm loving lately for an evening at home...


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