Sunday, March 25, 2018

Springtime, Scooters, and Shaving Cream...

That's a normal title, right?  The boys enjoyed their weekend - it was a very busy one.

The weather was somewhat nice outside so we were able to enjoy some fresh air and play on our scooters. My new tradition is trying to take a family photo out by "the rock" every season. Here is our "winter" version and "fall" photo, everyone in similar spots - Cal and Jim left, then me, Caden, and Conor. Did the rock get smaller or did we get bigger?!

We will have to take another when there is no snow, and maybe some buds/leaves on the trees.

Here are some other photos from today's impromptu shoot:

Our fav obsession lately is shaving cream! I figure why not let the kids have some fun with something that's less than $2.

We also LOVE magnet tiles - they were a huge hit from Christmas. Conor seems most into them than anyone else in the family. He loves to build things. The structures he makes are super impressive. He also likes to put his little toys inside, like a dice or bouncy ball. It's like he's making a house for his toys!

Here's a sunrise pic of our backyard the morning after the second Nor'Easter this year. It was probably around 7:30AM.

My friend Mackey originally bought this donut for her halloween costume. It sat in our garage for quite some time. Then I thought it would be fun to blow up and use as a sled during one of the snow storms. It quickly turned into something where (mostly) Caden sits and watches TV. Cal was lucky and got some time with the donut today. Of course, he had to play in the donut with "Woof Woof".

We're old enough to get the mail now...

This is how you watch TV when you are a twin...

Bedtime stories

Since Conor and Caden have been separated for some time at school each day, they are SUPER excited to see each other when I go to pick them up from school.

 Instead of getting out of the car, we do this instead.

 Friday night movie sesh

I must admit that I am really thankful for my blog right about now. There have been some extremely difficult times lately. It's funny - sometimes I feel like we're making some serious strides whether with routines, behavior, speech, etc - and then BAM I feel like I am drowning. The past few weeks have been harder than usual for me. Maybe I need a vacation, or maybe the boys are going through something tough. Cal is challenging right now - but I know he is on the verge of having more words, which will in turn make him less frustrated (and us too). Conor and Caden are talking a lot - however there seems to be lots of emotion in our home lately (and at school too, hence the separation). They set each other off and bother each other in ways that they know will get under each other's skin. They are so lucky to have each other, but they honestly need to give each other some space. In short, there are moments where I look back on pictures, or on prior blog posts and I am sooo happy that I took the time to write everything and post photos. Because at the end of the day, everything is a phase. I feel like I am in the thick of it right now - a tough phase. But then I look back and think of the days Conor and Caden didn't talk much, and how challenging that was. Or how recovering from my c-section with the twins living in DC with zero family around, or recovering from Cal's birth WITH having two toddlers at home here in MA, and breastfeeding for a year after Cal was born, and going back to work when I had three very young babies at home -- all those little struggles. It was HARD. We've been through a lot. Three babies in 26 months is no easy feat. At the end of the day, I am proud of us. I am sure I will look back next month and be like wow, what was I so worried about? We are good. We are lucky. We have each other and that's all that we need. 

Sometimes shazbythesea is brief and fun and then sometimes, she's deep. Thanks everyone for listening! ;) Enjoy the rest of your weekend...


Friday, March 23, 2018

Hosting Brunch This Weekend? Shakshuka Better Be On the Menu!

A friend of mine recently introduced me to Shakshuka and now I can't get enough. It is a simple spiced tomato dish consisting of onions/peppers, some peeled/crushed tomatoes, a few spices, poached eggs, and finished with some feta cheese. You can garnish with parsley or whatever you feel like really. It's delicious. Another friend of mine told me it's weight watchers friendly, too! Of course if you eat it without the loaf of bread like I usually do...

Other life things: Conor and Caden recently tested out being in separate classrooms at school a few weeks ago. It turns out, they did amazing. They are together so much, it must be refreshing to have some separate time. This was them after their first day of being separated - they were SO excited to see each other. 

Mom and Caden:

Mom and Cal:

Mom and Conor:

Silly supper time!

All for now! Til next time...


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Weekend!

WOW. First off, I cannot believe that it has been almost three months since my last blog post. Time just flies by - between the kids, work, and every day things - I can't seem to find the time at night to blog like I used to. The boys have been falling asleep later and later, which means my evening hours are dwindling very quickly. ;)

I wanted to blog about some recent happenings in our life, as well as recap our fun St Patrick's Day and weekend. When uploading a few pics from this St Patrick's weekend, I found some pics and blog posts from some in recent years. Here is my post from last year, 2017 - apparently the boys were sick - check out my title! HA. And here is the post from 2014 when we were staying at my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Den's house in Alexandria, VA, when I was pregnant with Conor and Caden.  I even have a post from 2013 - wayyyy back before kiddos weren't even on the radar. I was living in LA and flew to Boston to hang with my sister when she lived in Southie. We went to the parade and it was a blast.

The last few Mondays, I have taken the boys up to Skyzone in Danvers for some trampoline fun. We have had some serious cabin fever, so Skyzone is the place to go. During the week day mornings (10-11:30AM) they have "Toddler Time" for a discounted rate. It is $16/family when you have children under the age of 4 (with 4 kids being the max). Essentially, it is perfect for the Phelan phamily. I can bring all three kids, and it's $16 for an hour and a half of jumping and running around. A few weeks ago, we stopped at Dane Street Beach in Beverly to check out the waves. It was just after our first Nor'easter. The waves were gorgeous and it had that "post storm" vibe. The kids were feeling it too!

Here's a capture of Conor and Caden shoveling the driveway! Jimbo got them some smaller shovels and they actually do a pretty good job! :)

This was us as we went to school Friday morning. It was SUPER sunny with the sun bouncing off the snow - so they needed their sunglasses. Check out this website. It's where my sister and I got the boys their sunnies last summer.

Saturday morning we woke up, threw on our green and also threw the corned beef/potatoes/carrots/cabbage in the crockpots!  I used two crockpots this year, I put the corned beef, carrots, and cabbage in one - and then used a separate one for the potatoes since there were so many. They cooked slowly for about 4-5 hours on low. I also made a Guinness Chocolate Cake!

We visited our friends Shayla, Kyle, and Anna for a corned beef hash brunch. Of course it was like 10am and the Guinness and mimosas were flowin. All the kids played great together; and Conor Caden and Cal did NOT want to leave. They loved playing with all of Anna's toys!

Thanks for yet another delicious brunch guys. :)

Chocolate cake, crockpot #1, crockpot #2, and plate of finished corned beef and potatoes.

Later that afternoon, we visited Julie and her boys Brayden and Tyler. They had a lot of fun together.

Look at these Irish lads... Con/Cay 2016 and Cal 2018.

Cal Pal and his besties "woof woof" and "giraffe" lol

We decided to brave the freezing temps this afternoon and walk about a 1/4 around Horn Pond in Woburn. As I mentioned above, the cabin fever can really get to we needed some fresh air. We lasted a total of about 16 minutes and we abruptly turned around and bolted back to the car to warm up.

Guinness Chocolate Cake anyone?  I made a quick recipe yesterday with the intention of bringing it over a friends house. Turns out, it took a little longer to bake than I thought, so then it was too hot to add frosting. So I ended up leaving it at home, and frosted it this morning. I just had a slice with some coffee and it was delicious. It reminded me a bit of a fourless cake, with a slight Guinness flavor at the finish. Definitely different, and perfect for this weekend.

Ingredients For the Cake:
  1. 1 cup Guinness stout / oatmeal stout / chocolate stout.
  2. 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter.
  3. ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa.
  4. 2 cups superfine sugar.
  5. ¾ cup sour cream.
  6. 2 large eggs.
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  8. Butter for the pan


  1. For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.
  3. For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.
  4. Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.  Slice and plate. :)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Back to the grind.

Til next time...