Bramell, Party of Five: February 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Say Hello to My Friend Paige

I started the year off by deciding to share a little piece of my bloggy friends on my blog each month.  Last month Fawn shared a great idea about Technology Tickets to help monitor your children's screen time.  For February, I'm proud to introduce Paige from Approaching Joy.   I met Paige the year I attended my first Arkansas Women Bloggers conference and have enjoyed getting to know her since.  What first attracted me to her blog was her eye for everything artistic:  photography, design and fashion--everything that I am a miserable failure at.  She has such a warm light about her, for real, that's what she reminds me a little Tinkerbell.  I've asked her to guest post today, so here's Paige!
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Hi my name’s Paige and I have memory problems. While not diagnosable (thank goodness) it’s always been something I have had to work with. For example, the time I forgot / misplaced my lovely (i.e. expensive) DSLR camera which I blogged about here .  
When Rhonda asked me to guest post for her I said, “Sure!”…and then promptly forgot. After she reminded me I sat astonished. She has three kids, a full time job, can simultaneously make biscuits –That, dear friends, is talent and skill and memory that I simply do not have.  However, it was her reminder that made me wonder, “What would I do if I WERE in her situation?” My answer: Rely even more heavily on technology. Calendar reminders are currently my life saver but what if I had even more things to juggle? Enter the web-based app “If This, Then That”.
If This, Then That (IFTTT) is a useful tool that I discovered when handling Social Media for a brand new nonprofit back in the summer.  It is set up to run an action for things that you want automated.
Example: Rhonda has cute kids. See exhibit A- Her Instagram feed.  Let’s say Rhonda wanted to make a picture book will all the cute things her cute kids do during Spring Break. To help this process along she would go to and set up the following equation, or recipes, as they’re called on the site-
IF THIS happens: @mamabramell posts an Instagram picture with the hashtag #BramellFamilyVacation
THEN do THAT: Save those pictures to a dropbox folder
By doing this she saves herself the extra hour it would take combing through her photos after vacation. The fact that she doesn’t have to waste the mental energy on this extra step? Priceless. Cool feature: If people choose to make their recipes public then you can search through them to see what automations may make your life a bit easier. So go check it out and then come back and let Rhonda know what recipe you’re most likely to use to save time. Check out my favorite recipe here: Paige’s Favorite IFTTT recipe.
Paige is a relatively recent addition to the Northwest Arkansas community where she currently works for a nonprofit. She loves taking photos that Rhonda declares "artsy" but she has no idea of how to best use the photography skills other than to overwhelm her friends instagram feed. If your Instagram feed needs to be overwhelmed follow her here .

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pinterest Made Me Do It

Lately, I've made a genuine effort to cut back on carbs.  I started doing a food journal and quickly realized that I have a serious problem with carbs, and that I've been in denial about it.  But I also know that sometimes you just have to have some bread!

One night I was making dinner and knew rolls would really go great with our meal (I don't even remember what it was now).  However, there was nothing but stale sandwich bread in the house:  no biscuits, rolls or french bread to be found.

With the main dish already cooking, and me not wanting to go to the store, I went to Pinterest to look for a quick recipe that included ingredients that I already had in the cabinet.  The name alone, "30 Minute Rolls," got me.  And now, as I read through the recipe, I realize that I didn't follow it exactly.  Since I was in a hurry, I'm pretty sure that I didn't let the dough rise for the amount of time it says.  And I also don't have a fancy stand mixer with a dough hook, but I thought they turned out great anyway.
Give these a try the next time you need an easy, quick recipe for rolls.  Let me know if you like them!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Big Sis Bragging

We had parent-teacher conferences earlier this week at Big Sis's school.  We are so happy with how she has excelled this year!  Her teacher let us know that she works well by herself and in groups, and that she is respectful of others in the classroom.  She has improved on just about every subject since last semester.  She is reading at grade level (and probably above) and doing fine in math.  We just need to work on the talking in the hallways and when it's quiet time....but, secretly, I'm OK with that.
 We are so happy with her first grade teacher.  I'll admit, after having such a great kindergarten experience, I was doubtful that we'd get lucky twice.  But we did!  Big Sis just adores her teacher!  Here is a picture she texted me on "mustache day."  Of course, Big Sis doesn't want any part of dress up or silly days at school.  Only on PJ day!  I can't deny that she's my kid for sure.
 I also love getting random texts from her teacher to show me that Big Sis is having fun or doing her work at school.  It just makes me feel very connected to the classroom.  It also makes me a tiny bit sad that Big Sis is growing up.  My heart is full and Lee and I are so very proud of our little bookworm.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Twin Tuesday

We had a mini photo shoot before school pictures the other day.  My little hams sure do clean up good!  It's hard to believe that they will be moving to the 4-year-old class before we know it!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Conversation(s) With My Kids

It's no secret that I like to blog about the funny things that my kids say and do.  I don't capture these funnies to embarrass them later in life or even to embarrass them now; these are the sweet things that I want to remember many years from now when they are grown and gone.  These are the moments that make all the hard stuff worthwhile.  I'm not being dramatic; I'm serious.  In this house, we are either laughing or crying. And, as you can imagine, the laughing is much better.

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A couple of weeks ago during bathtime, I had both twins in the tub.  Girl Twin was just singing her little heart out, as she has been doing a lot lately.  Sometimes, I can identify a song from her daycare or from the radio.  But either way, she has really started to sing to us a lot.  It's sweet.

So, as they were bathing--

Me:  Sissy, you are my good singer!  

Boy Twin:  Yeah, and I'm your good pooper! 

Boys will be boys.  (And, he's right.)

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We had another funny going to school last week.  When we are captive in the car, I often feel like I'm in front of a firing squad, with each kid peppering me with "Hey, Mom!" or "Mom, Mom, Mom?", each fighting for my attention.  I've gotten to where I actually call on them when it's their turn to talk.  Otherwise, they are talking on top of the other and I can't field any questions.  And, of course, they always have such important things to say.

Boy Twin:  Is that Katy Perry on the radio?

Girl Twin:  Hey mom!  I saw a red ball in the grass!
Big Sis:  Mom!  Justin Bieber's IN JAIL!!!
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