Dec 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!




I can't believe today is Christmas Eve! It came so fast this year, but I am happy to say I have nothing left to do. Well, until Friday, at least. The house is clean, laundry is done, candy and cookies are made. Now it's time to just "be" in the moment, and enjoy what this season is really about.

Today we are going to go to Brad's Mom and Dad's to open gifts. it's nice, because we get together early in the afternoon, and then we have time to go to church. We always to go Cold Springs Catholic church, they have the BEST Christmas Eve service. They put on a fantastic kids program, complete with "camels" that the kings ride in on! The girls love going to see it every year. Makes it seem more real for them. After church we'll come home and open gifts with the girls. After they go to bed, we'll get everything set up for Christmas morning!! I can't wait. Emma got an American Girl doll (The Kit Kittredge one) and an accessory set, and Rachel got an MP3 player, and an IDOG. Alayna we just got her a doll accessory set (the stroller, car seat, high chair). But the big gift is Rock Band. Although, I'm not sure if that was really for the kids, or maybe just for Brad:) Anyway, can't wait!

We will deliver some goodies to the neighbors before we go today, I bought tins from Crafts Direct, and I filled them with cut out cookies, date filled cookies, English toffee (never made it before, but it was so easy and sooo good!) and chocolate truffles. The girls are excited to have them out:)

I am including pics of the girls making their gingerbread house with Brad. I had a meeting Monday night, so they got to have fun with Dad! It turned out awfully cute!

Have a wonderful, blessed, and safe Holiday Season!!!!!!

Dec 17, 2008

Homemade Christmas




I thought I would share some of the things we made for Christmas this year! I decided I would try my hand in making lip gloss and scrubs this year. The lip gloss was super easy, I bought the supplies from rusticescentuals.com, which was just a tub of their lip gloss base. I should have used the tubes instead of pots, as the consistency is much more of a chap stick than lip gloss, oh well lesson learned. I flavored it with a cherry berry flavor oil that I got from the same place. I had waaaay too much oil leftover, so I made a sugar scrub also. That was 2 cups of sugar, oil (I used olive, because that was all I had on hand. next time I will buy some almond oil), and oil. You add the oil so it is the right consistency, and add several drops of oil. You could use any kind of essential oil, I'm going to make some lavender scrub next time. The I bought some cute little jars from crafts Direct and decorated them. They turned out super cute!!
For the daycare parents, we made potholders that have their hand print on one side, and the poem, "Big hands and little hands together make quick work" on the other side. The kids LOVE to paint! We also made ornaments (I got these at Crafts Direct too), just glass ones that the kids rubbed on a saying on the front, then filled the ornaments with these Styrofoam colored balls. These were adorable! We also made salt dough ornaments, stockings, hand print angels, reindeer (with their hand and footprints) and little manger ornaments. We've been busy! This is my favorite part of staying home though, getting to make these things with the kids:)

Dec 16, 2008

P.S.

Yes, our tree is really that bright. You may think that it looks like it's glowing in that picture, but it really is. You see, we had to buy a new Christmas tree this year (water in the basement and a tree in a box don't exactly mix...) and Bradley thought, "hey, what about a tree with 1500 lights on it?" Ok, well, our other tree only had maybe 800 lights on it. We love lots of lights, and this one was pre-lit (No more dealing with Mr.Scrooge, aka Brad on putting up Christmas tree day) so Brad happily brought it home.

If you haven't seen National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, you might want to watch it. There's a part where Chevy Chase's character finally gets all the outdore lights on, and the whole family stands outside to watch him light it up. It ends up blinding the whole neighborhood because there were so many lights. Well, that was us. I could hear the angles singing from above when we lit that baby up. You can see the tree from a couple miles away. Not kidding either. It's a beautiful tree, and now we're used to it, but I'm telling ya, if you plan on visiting, make sure to bring your sunglasses!!!

My favorite time of the year


Anyone who knows me, knows that Christmas is my FAVORITE, most FAVORITE time of the year. If the Christmas season could last six months, I'd be all over it. I know people hate when stores start putting out Christmas things in September, but I loooove it!! I love the sites, the smells, the food. Every piece of it. My favorite thing to do is sit in the living room with the fireplace on, having a glass of wine and reading a book. I am trying this year to really "be" in the moment. And to be honest, I feel like I'm succeeding! I'm also teaching the girls more about the true meaning of Christmas and I think they understand that it's not all about them getting gifts, it's about helping others. This year we decided to "adopt" a family from our church and buy gifts for them. With money donations from others, we were able to buy all of their gifts on their wish list! It was so fun to take the girls and have them pick out the toys. Rachel said she really liked doing it, but she wished she could be there to see the kids open their gifts:) And just yesterday Emma was talking about how she really wanted a baby that pees on a potty (seriously, the things they come up with, ugh) (and no, she isn't getting it, sorry kid) and Rachel reminded her that Christmas isn't all about what you get, it's about helping others. WOOHOO FOR RACHEL!!!! She gets major bonus points, lol!
So, I am really at the point of enjoying Christmas, my shopping is mostly done, cards are done, baking is done, and daycare gifts for the parents are finished. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief! I really hope and pray that all of us can sit back, have a mug of something hot and remember why we celebrate Christmas!

Dec 14, 2008

It's snowing, it's snowing!!!!!!!!!







This, my friends, is my dream day. Completely. I was up at my usual time (6:15) drank some coffee and popped the cinnamon rolls in the oven. Emma and Alayna had made the dough last night. And all day long, we have watched is storm something fierce, I LOVE this!!! It's been so cozy hanging out with nothing to do. We did manage to venture outside for some sledding this afternoon. It is COLD out there! But we all had fun (including Jasmine:).

This was a great weekend of getting caught up with things. Yesterday the girls and I made some of the Christmas gifts that we're giving this year, homemade lipgloss and a body scrub. The girls had church practice for a couple hours yesterday morning. We brought in the gifts that we bought for our adopted family in church. The girls really enjoyed buying gifts for the kids, and I pray that we got the right things! I made a batch of lasagna for supper. It was a no-boil recipe that was super easy, and very good. Brad spent the day building a new dog house for Jasmine, that will be one lucky pooch. She even has a hallway in it, for pete's sake. Last night the girls wanted to watch home movies from last year, so that's what we did. I can't belive how much a year changes them! It's so much fun to see them in their younger days.

This week will be busy finishing Christmas gifts and some more baking, and just plain getting things ready for Christmas. I can't wait for my vacation, but I'll be sad when Christmas is actually here. I think the month leading up to it is so much fun, with the holiday movies, music, crafts and other fun things we do. It makes the winter not seem so bad, lol!!
I've included pics of us outside today, and the lasagna recipe!!
No Boil Lasagna

1 qt. spaghetti sauce
1lb. ground beef
1c. water
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese and it was just as good)
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. shredded mozz cheese
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1Tbls. parsley flakes
Dash nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Brown gorund beef, drain excess fat; add i quart spaghetti sauce and 1 cup water, bring to boil.

In large bowl, mix together Ricotta cheese, beaten egg, mozz cheese, 1/3 c water, 1/4 c parm cheese, parsley flakes and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper if desired.

To assemble: Use lasagna strips uncooked, but rinse in hot water before layering ina 9x13 pan.

Layer as follows:
1. 1 2/3 c sauce, lasagna strips, 1/2 cheese mixture
2. 1 2/3 c sauce, lasagan strips, rest of cheese mixture
3. 1 2/3 c sauce, lasagna strips, remaining sauce
4. top with 1/2 c parm cheese or lots of shredded mozz

Bake at 375 covered with aluminum foil for 40, uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Dec 10, 2008

Oh the weather outside is......







COLD! Jeepers, we finally have snow, and we're all dying to get outside and sled, but it's too darn cold to go out! Maybe today will be better. We have about 2-3 inches of snow, and that makes me a happy mama. We have a fantastic sledding hill that we love. As happy as I was to see spring coming last year, I was truly very sad that my snow was gone, we had so much fun sledding!

Last night Mom came over and we baked Christmas cookies. Besides three floured children, and a kitchen/dining room full of flour and sprinkles, we managed to put out about eight dozen cookies! We just made the normal cut outs, and then I made my Grandma Omi's Date Filled cookies. The girls of course had a blast and at the end, Miss Alayna was licking sprinkles off the counter. *sigh* Anyway, it was fun, and that's all that matters. It doesn't matter that I spent the whole night cleaning up, or bathing the girls. Nope, it was allllll about them having fun. Just kidding, that's the funny part about being a parent though. I really could have cared less if I had to re-make all the cookies, just seeing them have so much fun was all worth it! Really!

Brad and I bought a new camera, and as soon as I figure out how to get pics from the camera onto the computer, I'll post baking pictures. It's a Sony something or other. I love it, takes great pics, and I don't have to try to hold the battery in while taking a picture!! It also records video too, very neat. This is our Christmas present to each other.

well, I'm off to wake up two crabby kids and get them breakfast, wish me luck:)

Dec 5, 2008

She's Baaaaaaaaack!!

Yikes, it's been almost a month, but, I'm DONE with the novel, and am excited to lead a normal life again. The month of November felt very long for me, I got tired of the novel on about day 5, lol. Seriously though, I just didn't enjoy this year near as much as I enjoyed last year. But, I have successfully written two novels, and look forward to getting my first one published!!

The girls are wonderful, today is report card day, hahahahaha! Now I get to really see what they're like in school! Alayna is still my beautiful, precious, loving, non-whiny, EXTREMELY patient, two year old. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I was talking about me. She still makes me crazy, but I try my hardest to ignore the thirty minute tantrums while hanging on to my legs as I cook. I know that this too shall pass, and I try to remember to the song by Trace Adkins, "You're Gonna Miss This". I know I will, ROTFL!!!! (That's, Roll On The Floor Laughing, for you not familiar with computer lingo)

Life is busy right now, trying to get finished with Christmas gifts, Sunday School practice, school, gymnastics, and the rest of life. But, as one of my friends said, be glad to be busy because it means your life is full and filled with friends. Very true!

Ok, I promise to post some new recipes, hopefully this weekend. Have a great one!

Nov 8, 2008

Quick update

Just thought I would check in quick, as I *should* be writing, but I have a serious case of "don't-like-my-story-need-new-ideas". Ugh. This story is sooooo booooring. Although, it's 14,751 words of boring:) I just need to think of a great plot right now, and my brain is fried today. I actually spent a day doing, nothing. I really think I needed that though. This month has been insane so far, and it just started! Why oh why can't they do like February for National Novel Writing Month??!! Oh well, I shant complain too much.

I made some absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS pumpkin scone today, and I will try and post the recipe sometime this weekend. They are soooo good. The girls gobbled them up. I figured it was a nice quick breakfast for my deer hunter too. (Who, I might add got a doe at about 6:46 this morning!!) Tonight I made a recipe from my Rachael Ray magazine, it was called Chicken with Peas and Mushrooms. I'm sure it would have been fantastic if my mushrooms weren't rotten, and I would have actually had onions! It wasn't half bad, the kids did eat it, but I was bummed I didn't have the ingredients. I substituted green peppers for the onions, and left out the mushrooms. I didn't need the family puking all night.

Our fridge went out on Thursday. For those that don't know, we've been in our house for 3 years, (newly built) and have had issues with every.single.appliance. First it was the oven, (which we ended up getting another one) then it was the dishwasher, (they let us trade it in for a Bosch) then our microwave stopped showing the display, and now our fridge went kaput. I was making lunch when it hissed like someone let air out of a balloon. And it stunk. The fix-it man came out and said that liquid had seeped all the way down and burnt out some little electric board thing. (Hmm, I had warned Brad that I spilled some beef broth, oops...) So he fixed it and left. Then when we went to unplug it again to clean behind it, it hissed again. Brad called the guy to come back, and he after looking at it, he said that the "liquid" actually burnt a hole in the compressor. Lovely. In his 28 years of fixing, it's only the second time he's seen this happen. Isn't that just magical? Good grief. So, we ware without a fridge until late next week. Thank goodness for the beer fridge!

So, that's us in a nut shell, or rather, me in a nut shell. The girls are fab, keeping us busy:) Pray that my writing block subsides, lol....

Nov 4, 2008

Halloween!




Here are the pics of the girls on Halloween. It was such a beautiful night, but we were bummed that a lot of people that we normally would sit and chat with for awhile, were not home. The girls still had fun though, and Alayna was pretty excited that people actually GAVE her candy! One of the first houses we went to, Alayna went up to the door, and I asked her, "What do you say?" Her response was, "thank you", and she turned around to leave before they put anything in her bucket, it was too cute!!
Saturday night Brad and I had a couples Halloween party at Craig and Heather's. We dressed up as Adam and Eve:) It was pretty fun! My camera is done, but I'm waiting for one of the others to email me pics so I can post them. It was a great time! I made a kitty litter cake for dessert. It's just a box of spice cake mix, white cake mix that you crumble up into a (new, and very clean) litter box, then mix some vanilla pudding and crushed vanilla cookies in. You take about a cup of the crushed cookies and add some green food coloring, then sprinkle that on top. The fun part is adding the tootsie rolls as cat turds. You melt them for a few seconds in the microwave and shape them to look like poop. My girls loved it! You buy a new poop scooper to scoop out the dessert. I took it to the farm on Sunday as we had the Halloween party for the kids there, and all the kids were so grossed out!
In other news, there isn't much to report. November started National Novel writing Month for me. I had no real determination to achieve the 50,000 word goal, but once I started, I'm all in now! I'm at almost 9,000 words so far!
That's about all I have, have a wonderful week!!
P.S. I caught Fluffy red handed in the candy. naughty little cat...

Oct 30, 2008

Pumpkin Carving!




We (finally) carved our pumpkins last night. I bought a carving kit at Crafts Direct on clearance for $2, and that worked pretty slick! Brad soooo enjoys carving pumpkins every year he can hardly contain himself, heehee. The girls had fun getting all the pulp out and separating the seeds. I roasted the seeds in the oven right away, and have been enjoying eating them, yum!

Today we had our daycare party, and it was a lot of fun. not. I spent half an hour getting everyone ready in their Halloween costumes, all the while my youngest two cried. *sigh*. So, for the half hour it took me, they were in their costumes just long enough to get pics taken, and then promptly took them off. I made pumpkin shaped pancakes for breakfast, pumpkin shaped cheese chunks for morning snack, pumpkin shaped pizza for lunch (do you get the theme here??!!) and chocolate cupcakes for snack. I'm still finding chocolate crumbs everywhere. Note to self, if it's nice again next year, EAT CUPCAKES OUTSIDE. Oh well, the kids had fun, and that's all that matters. And I'm drinking wine. HA!

Brad and I are going to a costume party on Saturday night, and I just bought our costumes today. We are going as Adam and Eve!!! Really!! I got the costumes online for really cheap, I should get them tomorrow, I can't wait to see how they look! And yes, I will post pics, don't worry.

Remember now, November 1st starts National Novel Writing Month, so Homespun Kitchen might be a bit sparse. I will try and do some quick updates, but these butterfingers will be excitedly writing my next novel!!

P.S. Fluffy was so very excited to get her pic taken, she felt left out. Aww....

P.P.S. It won't let me upload pics, grrr. I'll try again tomorrow.

Oct 24, 2008

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL MANIA!!!!!!!!!




Well, the title says it all. For all of you "uncool" people out there, tonight was the opening night of High School Musical 3. And as much as I want to deny it, I was there. With 4 other moms and 9 kids! :0 Yes, it was crazy madness at the theater. The whole theater was filled with giggling, screaming 5 year olds on up to see the new movie. And as much as I digress, it was actually GOOD! (And Troy really is soooo cuuute!!!) The music was awesome, and one of the moms burned the CD for all the girls, how cool! We had a great time, and now all the girls want to play Gabriella, shocker!!

Brad is gone hunting for the weekend, and the girls and I are going to the Stearns History Museum tomorrow for their Halloween Historia, it's from noon-5 and looks like it will be a lot of fun! Rachel won't be with us though, she has a birthday party at a horse ranch. Ugh. Freaks me out, I'm not a horse lover. They are waaaay too large a beast to be sitting on. In the evening I will have three of my daycare kids here overnight, we swap overnights with the parents, (well, the KIDS sleep over, not the parents) and it works out great! Sunday afternoon I am taking the older two to see the play, Peter Pan at the Paramount Theater. I got season tickets this year, and the girls are so excited to go!!! So, another busy, busy weekend!!

Enjoy the pics!

Oct 22, 2008

Let's eat cake!


Emma had picked out a cake from one of my Taste of Home cookbooks a while back that I never got around to making. I decided today would be a perfect day for it! I made a regular boxed yellow cake mix, then added raspberry jam (homemade from one of my daycare moms!!) as the filling, and made a cream cheese frosting. The decorating wasn't the greatest, but boy was it GOOD!! And Emma was happy to have her cake made:)

Oct 21, 2008

I'm counting my blessings....

Today was an emotional roller coaster for Brad and I. I posted in a previous post that we had taken Alayna in to the doctor on Friday, because I really thought she had ear infections. We went in, and her ears were fine, but she had spots in the back of her throat, they did a strep test, and that was negative. Sunday she spiked a fever all day, no biggie, I know a lot of kids that have been getting the 24 hour fever bug, so we assumed that's what it was. Monday I was convinced she had a bladder infection. The doctor on Friday had suggested that maybe she had one, she had been complaining of her butt hurting, and was peeing a lot. So, Brad heads to the doctors office to get a specimen cup for her to pee in. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try and get a two year old to pee in a cup?! After much trial and error, I get her to pee in the cup, and promptly award her with candy.

Brad takes the sample in and a couple hours later they call to say that the UTI test was negative, I was baffled. BUT, she had sugar in her urine. Ok, what exactly does that mean? She explained that it could be part of a viral infection, could be diabetes, etc. WHOA! Back up the train lady. Diabetes? In a two year old? I had never heard of it it that early on. So, the plan of action was for Brad to take her in for a complete blood work up, and that they would call with the results. An hour later they call to say that they want her to be seen right away. Brad takes her in, and meets with Dr.Lee, he calls me and puts me on speaker phone so she can explain what they are going to do. She explains juvenile diabetes, and what they are trying to find out.

It was almost as if my whole being went numb. I couldn't really react, it was surreal. I felt like she was basically saying Alayna has diabetes. After that, I called Brad back and asked what he felt like she was thinking, and he too, felt as though she was preparing us for that diagnosis. I know that diabetes is serious, of course I know this, but I also know it's manageable. It's not like getting a diagnosis for cancer, so I don't want to sound like a drama queen. I just couldn't believe she might have this.

About 30 minutes later Brad calls back to say that she's ok, she does NOT have diabetes! They actually think that the first test was a mistake, that test showed her blood sugars to be over 300, but this afternoon it was only 65. So, a couple things could be going on, first, it could all just be viral, and second, this could very well be the start of diabetes. So for now, we're in the clear, they are going to run another test later this week, just to make sure it's in the normal range.

It was just such an odd feeling, I can't explain. I kept thinking, if this is what it is, we are going to be in the hospital for a few days, learning how to give her shots, changing our diets, etc. Our lives would have changed. But now it's all good, and I am so grateful. I looked at her tonight, while I was getting her ready for bed, and was just so happy to have her getting ready for bed in our home, and not trying to figure out how we're all going to sleep in the hospital.

So, tonight I hugged my kids a little tighter, and thanked God for those three, beautiful, perfect, amazing gifts he has blessed Brad and I with. And I prayed for all the parents out there who are finding out their child has some grave illness. God bless them all.

Oct 17, 2008

A perfect, perfect day!

Brad and I took today off, as it is MEA so no school for the kids. This morning I made caramel rolls for the girls, I asked them last night what special breakfast they want, and caramel rolls it was! After breakfast, we went to the Stearns History Museum in St.Cloud. We have a membership there, but haven't gone yet. It was such a fun time! They had a big playroom for the kids, it was my dream playroom too, all wooden toys/foods, etc. They had a kitchen/grocery store area, puppet theater area, train set area, and a reading corner. The girls were in heaven! After that we toured the museum. Brad thought the girls would be bored, but they were really into it. There was a nature preserve area that talked about different animals, a big old barn to tour, that showed how cows were milked 100 years ago. But their favorite part was an "eye-spy" type area. They had different themed rooms and then would have you find different items in those rooms. They also had a theater room where you could watch mini documentaries on four different subjects, we watched the one on the granite quarries, and how they came about, and how they are used. Very interesting! Even Alayna sat and watched!

We were at the museum for about an hour and a half, and then went to Lake George and had a picnic. They have a fantastic playground area so the girls were able to burn off some steam:) From there we went to the doctor, as Miss A has been sooooooo crabby, whiny, and crabby. She also has a cold, and we wondered if maybe she doesn't have an ear infection. She doesn't, which is great, but that just means she's crabby for no reason. They did do a throat culture to rule out strep, and I haven't heard back form that yet.

After the doctor we hit a couple garage sales, (mainly junk) and then went to the farmers market in town. My first stop there was the Collegeville Artisan Breads stand. The have the most incredible apple croissants, so we got two of those, and two chocolate ones (yay me!!). I also bought a loaf of their sourdough bread, which is to die for. I keep telling Brad that once I perfect my Artisan breads, I am going to sell them, haha!! I also bought more maple syrup, as I was out, and the girls got their face painted, of course!

Our final stop of the day was to go out to St.John's University in Collegeville. The colors out there are spectacular, and we wanted to walk on the trails next to the lake that take you out to the small chapel. It's about a two mile walk out to the church, and the girls did awesome! Emma was very busy finding stuff to bring home, I now have a piece of birch bark, some moss, acorns and rocks on my counter! The walk was incredible the colors amazing, and it was so QUIET out there! And of course, I forgot to bring my camera:(

It was such a wonderful, perfect day. The kids were all in a good mood, and Brad and I were just reveling in the relaxed mood we were all in!! Tomorrow I am going to head down to southern Mn to visit the grandparents. I am leaving around 1:00, and will head down to see Grandma Trellis for a couple hours, then over to stay with Jim and Lori. Sunday morning I am going to head over to Waseca and visit with Grandma and Grandpa. I am going solo this time. I feel a bit guilty for not bringing the girls, but I feel like I need a short break too. I am looking forward to seeing everyone.

Here's the recipe for the caramel rolls, they are super easy!

Caramel Rolls

1 tube crescent rolls- slice into 8-10 slices, lay in a greased pan
melt 2 Tbl butter, add 3 Tbl orange juice, and 1/2 C brown sugar, heat to boiling, pour over crescent rolls, bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are brown. Take out of oven and immediately flip pan upside down onto a plate. Delish!!

Oct 16, 2008

I'm ready to go, mom!!!!


Tonia (my SIL who also does daycare in town) and I decided that since we have such wonderful, perfectly mannered, non tantrum throwing two year olds, we would start swapping them once a week as a reward for them being sooo wonderful.
HA! HA! HA! I was soooo being sarcastic. Actually what we thought was, maybe they have been so difficult because they need some change in their lives. So, Tuesday daddy took Alayna to daycare! She had a blast, and it was actually an unusually quiet, calm, peaceful day. I forget how needy my little princess is. Of course on Wednesday, she managed to dump Rice Krispies on the floor, grab the big chunk of cheese from the fridge and start eating it, and got into my makeup bag. She was full of powder, foundation and mascara. Ugh, it was a long day, to say the least. Fortunately Brad and I both tool tomorrow off (it's MEA), yay!!!
Rachel got a note sent home with her that her teacher wants her to be in an advanced math class at school!! I am sooo proud of her, and sooo happy she didn't get her math skills from me:) It's just her and one other girl from her class that will join other kids once a week to work on more advanced math stuff like problem solving, geometry (seriously, I never even took geometry and she's in 2nd grade!!) and other things. Yay for Rachel!!!!

Oct 14, 2008

Move over, Fricken Chicken, there's something better!!


Have you ever made something, sat down and took a bite and went, "are you kidding me??!!!" because it was so good? Brad and I did this last night. I made Chicken Marsala, and it was probably the BEST chicken dish I have ever made. (Sorry, Fricken Chicken, but you're still in my top five) It was a heavenly dish, and ohhh so easy to make. Here's the recipe:


Chicken Marsala

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 Tbl flour

1/2 tsp sweet basil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Dash salt and pepper

4 Tbl butter

2-3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 c Marsala wine or chicken stock

1 Tbl lemon juice

Grated parmesan cheese


It says to flatten chicken, but I didn't. Add the flour, basil and garlic powder in a gallon size baggie, add chicken one at a time to coat.


In a large skillet, cook chicken in 2 Tbl butter (might need a bit more) for 4-5 minutes on each side, until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.


In the same skillet, saute mushrooms and garlic in remaining butter, 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Add the wine or broth and lemon juice, stirring to loosen the brown bits from the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by a third.


Return chicken to the pan, sprinkle with parmesan cheese (I grated some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano). Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1-2 minutes.


That's it, so easy, and sooo good! I had a fresh loaf of bread, and some cheddar mashed potatoes to go with it.
This afternoon for snack, I tried a recipe for peanut butter rice krispy bars, although this one called for chunky peanut butter, honey, and milk powder along with the rice krispies. Well, as most of you know, we cannot have peanut butter in the house, so I used sunbutter instead. It tasted good, but it didn't stay together, so I figured I might as well melt marshmallows and mix that in, since the original recipe didn't call for it. It turned out good, just very gooey. I liked the addition of the honey, and the kids scarfed it down!
Tonight for supper, I made turkey soup. I had a huge bag of frozen turkey stock that I put in the crockpot, added carrots, potatoes and egg noodles. It was a nice hot supper for a cold day, and I figured it would be good for Brad's cold too.

Oct 12, 2008

New (not really) Furniture!!!



Today Tonia and I went to a store in Sauk Rapids called "Gypsy Leas". Oh.My.Gracious. This store is like heaven on earth for Tonia and I!! It is a store full of antiques, refurbished furniture, old paintings, vintage jewelry, etc. etc. I ended up buying an old dresser that was repainted to look aged, and a beautiful antique chair for our bedroom. I LOVE these pieces! The chair's fabric is a perfect match to the color of my comforter and window covering! There were so many things I wanted to buy, but I think I spent enough:) And in all honesty, I really didn't spend that much, they gave me a great discount. They are open only one weekend a month, and they never keep the items for more than two openings, so they can have a huge variety of things. Everything is very reasonably priced, and they are willing (I think at least, they did with me) to dicker a bit. And Brad was so excited that I bought these!! Har-har...All I do is say, "how often do you hunt and take hunting trips??!!!" Heehee.

Instead of the Split Pea soup today, I made a big batch of Baked Potato Soup. I found the recipe after googling Cattle Company's Baked Potato Soup. That was the BEST soup I have ever had, and I was able to find a recipe that resembles it. The only changes I made was that I baked the potatoes first in the oven, then scooped out the pulp, so it was still a bit chunky, but still creamy. Plus, this saves a lot more time doing it this way! I also just used skim milk instead of the half and half. I made a triple batch to take to the farm, and then I also made my grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches with the mayo/italian dressing sauce. It was a hit! here's the recipe:

Baked Potato Soup

35 min 10 min prep
SERVES 4 , 1 quart
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely sliced onion
2 tablespoons flour
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 lb baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice (2 medium)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup half-and-half or substitute low-fat milk
Melt butter on medium heat.
Add onion and saute for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the onions.
Sprinkle flour over the onions and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Gradually add chicken broth.
Add potatoes, salt, basil, white and black pepper, Tabasco and garlic salt.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in half& half; heat through.
Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, cooked& crumbled bacon, a dollop of sour cream and finely sliced green onion.

Oct 11, 2008

A Beautiful Day!



Today was the most beautiful Fall day of the whole year! (Minus the darn flying ladybugs and boxelder bugs:( The girls were at Moms overnight as we went to see the band Hairball in Sauk Center last night. It was a blast! The place was PACKED, 1200 people. 1200 stupid drunk, young, beer spilling, bad come-ons people. Good grief. It was fun for one night, but I don't need to do that anytime soon:)

I picked the girls up around 3:00 and we headed over to Collegeville (where St.John's University is) to the Collegeville Orchards. They were very busy, but we had such a great time! They have a small petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and a lovely store with lot's of local specialties, like honey, jams, sauces, homegrown veggies, etc. We bought a pumpkin bread mix, blueberry muffin mix, an essential oil candle and a bag of apples from their orchard. Yumm!! We made the blueberry muffins tonight, as Brad and Rachel are going duck hunting in the morning. Here are the pics of the girls, unfortunately they were not very photogenic today, lol!! I don't know what is up with Alayna's "smile"!! Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and a perfect day to go out there, the colors are spectacular!

Brad got the pontoon and is bringing over to Glenwood to some friend's of ours who have a cabin and a huge shed. he's going to store it there for the winter. He wasn't overly thrilled to have to do anything today, teehee. Tomorrow I am teaching Sunday School, and my only real plans are to go to a new store in Sauk Rapids, they buy old furniture and refinish it and sell it. Tonia got a gorgeous entertainment center (although that's not what it's called, but I can't think of the name right now!!) for super cheap, so I'm excited to check it out. I'm going to attempt split pea soup in the crockpot, I'll let you know how it turns out!!

P.S. Hmm, it's not letting me add an image, I'll try again tomorrow....

Oct 9, 2008

Aren't We Cute??!!




We got our pics taken last week, one of my daycare moms does photography on the side. She came over to the house and did them, I really, really loved how they turned out! She did a great job. I *think* this one might be our Christmas card!

Oct 7, 2008

Rainy Tuesday!

Hah! I get kind of tired having to come up with a title for every post, lol! But it really is a rainy day. It started late last night and has been raining off and on since. A nice day for candles:)

Last night I made a big crockpot of chili for the Vikings game and a loaf of bread. The girls wanted grilled cheese, so we had that too. The chili recipe is sooooo yummy, given to me by my SIL, here it is:

1 lb ground beef browned with onions and green peppers
1 large can Bush's Baked Beans
1 can kidney beans
1 jar salsa (I happened to have a jar of homemade salsa from a co worker of Brad's)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used a jar of the diced tomatoes I canned on Sunday)
6 cooked bacon strips- chopped
1 packet McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning

That's it, put it all in the crockpot and let it simmer all day. It's the best chili!

For lunch on Monday I made a corn and ham bake for lunch, and it turned out quite good! I just used the Bisquick recipe for their Chicken Pot Pie, but instead of the chicken and bag of frozen veggies, I substituted corn and ham. The kids ate every bite, and so did Brad, who hates anything with Bisquick! Today for lunch I made Beef Stroganoff which is just browned hamburger, 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup, some sour cream, and cooked egg noodles. Another popular lunch! I think tomorrow is going to be sandwiches and baked potato wedges. I add the potato wedges to a ziploc bag with parmesan cheese, a bit of garlic powder and some pepper and bake until crispy.

Emma and I also made chocolate chip cookies today. I've only had *ahem* 6. Ugh, I have no will power for them. None. It's terrible. I will suffer for a couple days, but they are sooo worth it! One of my next cooking goals is to make homemade yogurt. I have some recipes tagged that I would like to try, I'm just not sure when I will do it. I think it would be so yummy to at least try it, although it might really suck, I don't know.

And as if I don't have enough going on in my life, I am again going to try NaNoWriMo. For those of you that don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel within the month of November. You don't win anything monetary, it's basically just an accomplishment for yourself. After never having written a thing in my life, I decided to do this last year, and finished in 20 days!! I love the novel I wrote, and I think I'm going to expand on that one this year. I started plotting and planning today, to gear up for Nov. So, I might not be so posty in November!! Plus, I was promoted to a Moderator on MotheringDotCommune which is an online community based on the Mothering magazine, which is a natural family living magazine. This is quite an honor for me, being that we have over 100,000 members from all over the world! The training right now is pretty intense, but I will soon get the hang of that too.

Alright, I am off to enjoy a lovely glass of Rosemount Shiraz and watch the debates, argh....

Oct 5, 2008

Rainy Sunday



It's a yucky rainy Sunday, although I love this weather. Makes you wanna keep your jammies on all day and snuggle up with a good book:)


The girls and I had Sunday School this morning. I really enjoy teaching this year, I think last year I was still trying to learn the ropes and trying to get to know all the kids. This year I know them, and they all know me, so it's much less "work". We started a new Sunday School curriculum called Bible Song last year. Basically, the program is all set up each week, so there isn't a lot of prep work for the teachers. For the first half of the hour we are in the main fellowship hall in the Sunday School area. We learn the story, a Bible verse, and a song. Then we head back to the rooms for "Art Attack". There is a different craft each week. I have been recruited this year for helping plan the craft activities. I should really start that soon...


We came home and I made our usual Sunday brunch, eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, toast. Then I set out to can the tomatoes. I got four beautiful jars canned and will probably forbid anyone to use them! Haha!! I remember the last time I canned tomatoes Brad would go into the pantry to grab a jar and I would stop him. Seriously, do you have any idea how LONG that took me??!!! I look forward to having a garden next year, so many things I want.


Rachel asked me this morning what my favorite supper was when I was a kid. It took me about two seconds to say, STRETCHERS!!!!. She thought it was a little odd, but I am determined now to make them within the next couple weeks. All it was was frozen bread dough that mom thawed, let rise, and cut into pieces about the size of a sandwich, maybe? She then fried it in oil until done, and then we would eat them with grape jelly. YUMMM!! She would also serve cold hotdogs (Brad thinks that's really weird, but he's also the one who doesn't like orange jello with carrots and celery. I mean, come on, who DOESN'T like that jello salad??!!) and cheese chunks. My favorite breakfast would be fried donuts, like the ones at Chinese buffets. Tube biscuits with the center cut out, fried and rolled in sugar. I have made those before.


I am off to Barnes and Noble now, but I will post our menu for this week...


Monday- Spaghetti Carbonara, homemade bread

Tuesday- Pork Chop Cheddar Bake

Wednesday- Split Pea and Ham Chowder

Thursday- Savory Steak- done in the slow cooker, we have conference that night

Friday- We're going to see the band Hairball in Sauk Center- for those of you who don't know who they are, they are an 80's cover band that plays all the good hair band songs. They dress up as the artist they are singing. It's a RIOT! We saw them in Andover a few weeks back, and this time we rented a bus to take us there and bring us back. Should be a great time!
P.S. I included my four fab jars of tomatoes along with the Joy of Cooking Canning book where I get my canning recipes. I love the photographs as much as the recipes! And of course, my three squirts with their pumpkin tie-dyed shirts!

Oct 4, 2008

Tie-dye Party!

Forgive me for not posting pics, I'll do that tomorrow, but being that everyone in my house is sleeping and I can actually be on here, I'm posting now!

Our tie-dye party went great! This:http://jas.familyfun.go.com/crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=12054 is what we did. We had four adults and nine kids in the house! While we (the adults) tie-dyed, my SIL had the kids doing a Halloween door hanger craft. I've never tie dyed before, so this was new for me. We still have to put the faces on, and then I'll have the girls pose for a pic with their pumpkin shirts on. After that, we went to the Kids Expo in town, which was fun. They had a couple big inflatables for the kids to play on, and lots of vendors to check out. It was fun, although Alayna wasn't. Grrrrr. She didn't have a nap and was very cranky. She decided it would be fun to try and do somersaults on the concrete floor, right in front of everyone. And of course when I said no, she flung herself onto the floor and screamed. We were there for maybe five minutes when that happened. Double grrrrrrr.

I'll post the recipe for the Cinnamon Ripple muffins, they were fantastic! I *think* the recipe is from Family Fun magazine, but not positive. I also made two big homemade pizza's for lunch. I was up at 6:30 making muffins, frying sausage and making pizza sauce. I'm tarrred. (tired for those of you who don't speak Kentucky. And I'm not making fun of KY, it's a funny little story of when we first moved there, I was 8. We stayed a couple nights at the pastor's house, and they were watching the show 60 Minutes. It was about a little girl who got run over by a car, but when I asked their teenage daughter what happened she said the girl got run over by a tar. I was confuzzled. There was no TAR on the child. So I asked again what happened she says, "She got run over by a TAR." I think either mom or dad finally whispered to me that she was saying TIRE. Sheesh.)

Tonight we went over to the inlaws to get some pumpkins, they had a large patch this year and got a ton of beautiful pumpkins. They are the best looking ones I've seen in awhile. We got 4 of them, and I also raided her tomato plants, I got a plastic bag full, plus another smaller bag full of grape tomatoes. Those grape tomatoes are the BEST tasting ones I have ever had! Between Rachel and I we almost ate them all! My plan is to can the tomatoes tomorrow, we'll see if that happens.

Tomorrow I teach Sunday School, and Rachel is going duck hunting with Brad, as long as it doesn't rain. (Which it's supposed to) In the afternoon I'm going to take off to Barnes and Noble for a much needed break:) I have a book waiting for me that I ordered, it's called "Seasons Under Heaven". My girlfriend Jona asked me if I wanted to join her book club as they were just starting up again. Umm, YEAH!!! I'm so excited to be in a book club! I also want to pick up another one of those Fairy books for Rachel. She started a chapter book on the first day of school, and already finished it! It's one of those Fairy animal books.

Well, now that I have written a novel, I am going to sign off, here is the recipe for the muffins and the Broccoli hotdish!

P.S. Dad, I ran into Mike Ness?? the manager at LKAG at the Kids Expo. I introduced myself and we chatted for a bit, nice guy. I didn't know he has been there for so long?

Cinnamon Ripple Muffins

Cinnamon Ripple

1/2 c packed light brown sugar
4 Tbl butter cut up into small pieces
1/4 c flour
2 tsp. cinnamon

Muffin Batter

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, room temp
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all cinnamon ripple ingredients in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to blend them. Heat oven to 400 and grease muffin tins

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In large bowl beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until mixture is pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients just until batter is blended. Then sprinkle the cinnamon ripple over the batter and use a flexible spatula to fold into it a couple times.

Bake muffins for about 13 minutes.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Fry up 1lb of hamburger with onions and green pepper.
Make a cream sauce with 4Tbl butter and 4 Tbl flour, add a clove of minced garlic, and some fresh mushrooms. then add milk to the right consistency.
I had about 1.5 cups of rice in the fridge which I added, and then cut up some fresh broccoli and shredded carrots (which you could certainly eliminate if you prefer) Add some cheese, and voila! Very easy, and the kids actually ate it!

Oct 3, 2008

Good Morning, It's FRIDAY!!!!!

Woohoo! I think us daycare providers have to be the most excited people on earth when Friday rolls around! Don't get me wrong, I really do love my job, but weekends are heaven, even if Brad is gone. Three kids is so easy instead of my usual 8-10! Although this week the weather has been so darn nice, I'm really lovin this fall weather.

We have a busy weekend planned. Tomorrow morning I have three of my girlfriends and their kids coming over for a tie-dye party. Yes, that's right, tie-dye. In my house. Hmm, should be interesting. I get the magazine Family Fun, and they had this adorable pumpkin t-shirt that you make with tie-dye that I thought would be fun to have people over and do. I'm going to make cinnamon ripple muffins (new recipe!) and have hot apple cider. After that we are going to a Kids Expo in St.Cloud at the Civic Center. They have a ton of stuff for kids to do, and we've gone a couple years now. Sunday I teach Sunday School, and then mama is leaving for the afternoon!! Don't know what I'm doing, but I don't care!!!

Of course as most of you I'm sure know, that this weekend is opening duck hunting. Yay. I'm excited for Brad, because he LIVES for this time of year, and work has been extremely stressful for him. But it makes me crazy to have my freezer full of ducks that we'll never eat. And I don't just mean cut of ducks either, I have two whole frozen ducks wrapped in newspaper. *rolls eyes* I think we're going on at least 2 years of having these things in the freezer. I told him there will be no more ducks allowed until he mounts these. (Do you mount ducks, or stuff??) But then that means they go up in my house somewhere then. Hmm, have to think about that one for a bit...

School is going great for the girls. Emma is getting better at reading, I bought them a Summer Bridge workbook at the beginning of summer and we worked on those for awhile. Emma still works on hers, and she amazes me at the stuff she knows already! And Rachel comes home talking about metamorphosis of butterflies (are you kidding me??) and some other big word I didn't even know how to spell. This year must be the year of science, and she loves that kind of stuff!! They are both in gymnastics and love that. I love it too, I really enjoyed being in gymnastics, and wish now that I would have stuck it out. Now I can live vicariously through them... Alayna is great, still potty trained, woohoo!!!! And she can now write an A for Alayna, she's pretty proud! We have circle time every morning, and then practice writing our names. I always say I feel like a homeschoolin mom, as I plan mini curriculum's for the daycare. It's fun though. Here is a link to CNN money that did a feature on our new Kennedy school. http://money.cnn.com/video/?/video/news/2008/09/23/news.greenschool.harlow.cnnmoneyIn the search video area, put "Lights Off at School". I did have a hard time finding, but didn't know where to look, so hopefully it won't be as hard for you.

Alright, time to get ready for the day. I'm so glad that many of you enjoy this blog, my Grandma (Hi Gram!) sent me a note yesterday saying how much she enjoys reading it, and that makes my day! I originally started it as a way for me to journal about the things I love, I really didn't think anyone would read it! Pretty cool.

Oh, and as promised, here is my fave dish........

Fricken Chicken

2 c. sour cream
(7 oz.) long spaghetti
(4 oz.) mushrooms
1/2 c. butter
4 double breast chicken
2 cans cream mushroom soup
(16 oz.) mozzarella cheese

Break spaghetti into pieces (I broke them once, I still like longer spaghetti), and cook as directed on package. Fry mushrooms in butter (I would actually cut back on the butter, I ended up dumping out some butter as it was waaay too much.) Cut chicken into pieces and fry with the mushrooms/butter until brown. (I also added minced garlic once the chicken was browned and cooked for a minute or so) Mix 1/2 c of the cheese, sour cream, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup and chicken together. Put in a greased 9x13 pan. Add the remaining cheese on top. bake at 300 for 40 minutes, or 350 for 1/2 hour.

This is a really gooood dish. I made some crusty bread to go with it, and was a divine meal. Now, if your counting calories, just close your eyes while adding the ingredients. If you don't what your adding, you won't know how many calories are in it!!!

Have a great weekend!!!

Sep 30, 2008

It's Tuesday...

You know I just realized that Tuesday totally gets jipped. Really, Monday sucks because it means the weekends over with, Wednesday is the all important "hump" day, Thursday is just a good fricken TV night, and well, Friday speaks for itself. Poor Tuesday, nothing to look forward to. Now that I'm over that....

What a busy week and a half it's been! Last Saturday was our local LLL groups Walk for World Breastfeeding Week. We met at the Lake George Sunroom, ate some snacks, did some raffling, the kids got their faces painted, and then walked around the surrounding area of Lake George. The weather wasn't the greatest, it was cool, breezy and cloudy. We had a pretty good turnout, 35 people, and we raised $100!!! That is so great! I really enjoyed putting it all together, and now I have a billion ideas of what I want to do for next year.

After the walk, the girls and I went to the new library in town. That place is AWESOME!! It's huge, and the whole first floor is kids stuff. They had a little play area with legos, and big train track, puzzles, games, etc. The girls had a great time. I look forward to going there by myself and sitting for hours...

In food news, I have a new favorite dish, and it really might be my signature dish, mainly because of it's name: Fricken Chicken. I'm so not kidding!! Mom (thanks mom!!) gave me a new cookbook that the Breast Center put out, and I found this recipe. It's very much like a chicken Aafredo. It's sooooo not good for you, but dang is it GOOD!!!!!!! I will try and post the recipe tonight. I also made a batch of bread dough that is sitting in my fridge from my "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" book. I also came up with a great broccoli and rice hamburger hotdish with stuff I had leftover in my fridge, I'll post that one tonight too.

Rachel likes eating pancakes for breakfast, so I started making a bunch on the weekends and freezing them. I also grate about 2 apples into the mix, you can't even taste it, and at least I feel like she's getting some more nutrients!! Emma loves oatmeal, muffins, and this morning she even had a sunbutter sandwich!

I shall post more tonight, it's bowling night for Brad, which means a quiet evening for me:)

Sep 23, 2008

Fall Has Arrived

You know that Fall has arrived when you see a big bag of apples on the counter. Unfortunately they are not from our tree, it didn't produce much this year. A co worker of Brad's sent home a big bag of apples from the trees. I have made two pies from them, and they are wonderful! I would like to make a couple more and then make some applesauce from the rest. The pie recipe I came up with a couple years ago by adding ingredients from different recipes. I really like the result, the crust is super flaky, and the pumpkin pie spice adds just enough *something* to the pie!

While I was making the pie, I gave the kids their own dough to play with. Kept them happy for at least an hour! I remember when my mom would make pies, my brother and I would get to make our own crust from the leftovers, I still have those little pie pans and now my kids get to do the same! I tried twice to get a picture, but for whatever reason my taped up camera isn't working. Grrrr.

For lunch I made homemade pizza. I used a half white/half wheat flour in my bread machine, and I had some leftover pizza sauce in the freezer from the last pizza I made. I just used hamburger and cheese, forgot to brown some sausage. The kids didn't mind, I only have two small pieces left! Tonight I'm not sure what we're having yet, as Brad is bowling, and we have an ice cream social at school tonight.

Ok, here is my apple pie recipe...

Crust: This is for an 8 or 9 inch double crust
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. shortening (I use lard)
6 Tbl water

Combine the flour and salt, cut in lard until crumbly. Add water as little bit at a time. divide in half

Filling:
Apples. Honestly, I'm not sure how many, I like to have a nice pile in the crust.
Over the apples pour 1/4 c honey
Mix together 1/2 c sugar, 1 Tbl. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice- sprinkle this over apples and honey.
Add 1/2 c water (or so) to the apples, spread crust over top, and cut slits. bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Sep 22, 2008

Oatmeal Muffins

This recipe I got from one of my daycare moms, and it is soooo good! The only thing I did differently was that being I did not have buttermilk, I used a cup of whole milk, and added 1Tbl of lemon juice to sour it. I let that sit for about 20 minutes or so. And, I like to soak my grains, so I mixed up the batter the night before I baked them. Soaking grains makes it easier for your body to digest them, and it brings out more nutrients. Ok, here's the recipe...

Oatmeal Muffins

1 c. oats
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. shortening (I use lard for everything) or butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Soak oats in buttermilk for 1 hour. Cream shortening/butter, brown sugar and egg in bowl. Mix dry ingredients together. Stir into shortening mixture alternately with oats/buttermilk until just moistened. Fill sprayed or lined muffin cups 2/3 full. bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

I have an apple pie in the oven right now, a co-worker of Brad's sent home a huge bag of apples from their apple tree. Hope it's good!!

Sep 21, 2008

Another Week


What a fantastic weekend we had! We went to the lake, our last "hurrah" for the year. It was beautiful, warm, sunny, just what you want when you go to the lake. I made a batch of potato salad, a pasta salad, and some oatmeal muffins (I promise to post the recipe). For lunch on Saturday, we had cheddar brats, and for supper Brad made T-bones on the grill, and no not for the kids!! There is nothing better that food on a charcoal grill. We were able to take the pontoon out for awhile yesterday, but today was too windy, and I didn't much feel like hurling off the side of the boat in the middle of the lake.

We had a campfire last night, which is the girls' favorite thing about camping. And yes, mom and dad had to endure an hour of telephone (seriously, there was only 4 of us to play), and "I'm going on a camping trip, and I'm going to bring".... *sigh*. I was exhausted just trying to think of what to say. Although I must say that I was proud that my girls always were bringing their favorite food I make!!

I had to laugh this morning because Rachel informed us that while were out by the campfire (the girls sleep in the back bedroom, and had gone to bed), Emma woke up screaming. Rachel sat up in bed and asked her why she was screaming and Emma said, "it was dark". Too which Rachel replied, "ya, Emma, it's called NIGHT! Now go to bed and don't scream anymore!" I laughed so hard, poor Emma never gets any sympathy from Rachel.

Today, albeit windy, was another gorgeous day. we basically sat on the beach all afternoon and let the kids play. The resort we stay at has an awesome water trampoline, and other play equipment. Rachel is always Miss daredevil, and Emma was pretty daring herself today! Emma had her life jacket on while she swam, and I always tell her she looks like a bobblehead when she swims, she does it so fast!!!

And last but not least, the little half-pint (or should I say quarter pint) is still potty trained! It's amazing, and wonderful! Her favorite part is screaming "POOPS COMIN OUT MY BUTTS" everytime she goes #2. It's hilarious.

I'm including my favorite picture from the lake, taken in the evening. This summer I have been much more into photography than I usually am. We're looking at getting a new camera. Although I think ours works just fine, and I don't car that people laugh when they see it taped up. hey man, it works!!

Sep 17, 2008

We.Have.Poop.

Yes, that is correct, Miss A pooped in the toilet today!!!!!!!!! I laughed so hard, because she had just peed in her training pants, so I put a diaper on her. I'm eating lunch in the living room, and she comes running in holding her bottom saying, "mama, I got to potty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" So I tell her to go in the bathroom. She sits down and screams at the top of her lungs, "mama! Poops comin out my butt!!!!" I laughed so hard I cried. So there ya have it, poop.

In cooking news, I came up with a great dish today! I'm calling it Chicken Curry Stew. here's the ingredients:

1-2 cups cubed chicken
1-2 cups white sauce (I use 4Tbl butter, melt and add 4 Tbl flour, add some minced garlic and cook for a minute or so, then add milk to the right consistency) or you could use a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
Chopped potatoes (I always leave the skins on)
Chopped carrots
Pureed zucchini- ok, I know that sounds odd, but I love to puree veggies and add them to casseroles, I had just pureed a huge zucchini, so I added it, about 1 cup or so.
1/4 tsp curry
1/4 tsp Poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

I mixed everything up and baked it at 400 degrees for about an hour or so. The kids LOVED it! Next time I am going to put a lattice type crust on top.

Sep 16, 2008

"Mama, I bush da toiyet"

When I get to heaven, one of the first questions I will ask God is why could he not have made kids to be completely potty trained at 2. As in, no help from the parents. In all honesty though, have you ever thought for a moment how our bodies work, without much help from us? To me it seems like a highly unlooked part of how our bodies work. I think God thought it might be one of those "extra perks" things for parents. *sigh*

Alayna has decided to potty train. Yesterday. She strips down completely, and hauls her skinny little butt on the "toiyet". How she doesn't fall in, is beyond me. She will sit on that darn toilet for 20 minutes. And, mind you, she does this 15 TIMES A DAY. Does she actually GO on the toilet? Until tonight, I had not heard her actually potty. I am all for this, if she follows through with it, I'll give her a couple days to see what she does. If nothing comes of it, I'm locking all the bathroom doors.

P.S. If you can't read two year old speak, the title says, "mama, I flush the toilet".

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day




I am in love. Really. I am head over heels, butterflies in my stomach, in love. With whom, you say? This book. I loooove homemade bread, but it really takes a bit of time to mix, knead, rise, punch, and bake the dough. I bought this book last week, and have already made 4 loaves of bread!! The concept is simple, they give you several "master" recipes, which you mix up, and keep in a 5 quart container. After the initial rise, (no kneading required!!!!) you store the dough in the fridge. When you are ready to bake some bread, you cut a hunk of the dough off, let it rest for 40 minutes, and bake for 30 minutes. Last week I made the "Boule" recipe, which is more of your typical artisan bread dough. This week I have the "light whole wheat" recipe in the fridge. I made a couple loaves to take to "gourmet club" last weekend, and everyone couldn't believe it was homemade! I can't wait to try all the recipes. There is a bagel recipe, french bread, sweet rolls, flat breads, you name it! I think I should be paid for my advertising, I've already gotten three people to buy the book!!!

Sep 11, 2008

No, I do not condone this behavior...

Just to clarify, I do not allow my cat to sit on the counter. But this just cracked me up, because I could NOT keep her off! She so wanted to see what I was doing, so I finally let her be, and she sat there the whole time I was mixing up these muffins!!!

Being it's "apple" week in daycare, I found a recipe for apple/oat muffins. I mixed them up when the kids were in bed, and baked them this morning. They were fabulous! It called for whole wheat flour, so they were really dense and heavy, but I love things like that! The kids gobbled them up too. This afternoon we are going to make apple trees with our thumbprints as the apples. I was hoping to be able to go pick some apples today with the kids, but it's been a rainy day.

This morning I happened to turn it to MSNBC to see what coverage they would have for 9/11. They actually were re-broadcasting the entire morning show from NBC on that morning. I was working that day, and missed all of the coverage. I watched it most of the morning completely dumbfounded that this ever happened. I said a prayer for everyone directly impacted by this tragedy, and continue to pray that this never happens again.

Tonight Brad is coming home, yay!! The older two have gymnastics from 6-7, and that is always a nice break for me:)

Sep 9, 2008

Just Another Day...



Blah. Today has been such an "off" day. I'm anxious for it to be over:) Brad is going to be gone a lot the next couple weeks, so it means some long days for mama. This weekend we are heading up to some friend's of ours for our annual "Gourmet Club" night! There are five couples that get together once/twice a year and we each take turns planning a gourmet meal. Everyone is assigned something to bring, and we just eat, relax, and drink a lot of wine! I will soooo need some wine this weekend!!!


This week we are learning the letter A, and also apples. So for breakfast this morning, I made apple pancakes. I just used my normal pancake batter, and grated a whole apple into the batter. Next time I will grate two apples, because you couldn't even taste the apples! We have a huge apple tree down in our front yard, although this year there isn't much for apples. Bummer. However, back in our woods, we have an apple tree that has a TON of apples on it. I'm hoping to get back there one of these nights with the kids to pick apples. Wish me luck, hopefully I'll find my way back:)
Last night was the Monday Night Football opener with the Vivkings and Greenbay. (We won't talk about how they did...) We had the inlaws over for chili and grilled cheese sandwiches. The chili was sooo good! My SIL gave me the recipe, and it really is the best chili I've had! Today I added some great northern beans, ketchup and a bit of brown sugar, and turned it into "calico beans". If I would have called it chili, the kids wouldn't have eaten. Silly little things.
I'm also including a pic of Alayna with her doll in a sling. She had that baby in her sling all night! I thought it was pretty adorable, especially being that she lived in a sling the first 5 months of her life!!

Sep 6, 2008

Ahhh, the weekend!


I am so glad it's the weekend! It was a great week, as I only had daycare kids Wednesday-Friday. Short week for me, which was wonderful! The girls survived their first week, and honestly, it was such an easy week for me. I am down to only 5-6 kids here during the day, and it really feels like I'm on vacation! I love having the little ones at home, because they LOVE to learn. We've been back to doing circle time, and last week we worked on the letter A, and writing our names. I am very happy to be on a better schedule!

It's also been a busy week of cooking. Monday I whipped up a big batch of smoothies so the girls can have them for breakfast. I blend frozen strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, chopped spinach, yogurt and milk. They love these for breakfast. I'm also going to make a batch of waffles to freeze and pop in the toaster. I also made a batch of spaghetti sauce, (still needs some tweaking, I think leaving out the Bay Leaf will help), two loaves of honey wheat bread, and two dozen cinnamon rolls for this weekend. Rachel came up to me yesterday and said, "mama, I love your homemade food!"

I started setting out a fruit/veggie/cheese platter for when the kids get home from school. It's not quite snack time yet when they come home, but they're always starving, so I figured this was a great way to get more healthy snacks into them! Then they usually will have some crackers, applesauce, yogurt or cereal bars.

Tonight we are having tacos, per Rachel's request. I'm not sure what we'll have tomorrow. This is what's on board for this week:

Monday- Lunch- Grilled cheese pie with ham, raw veggies, homemade bread

Supper- Camper's Hash- which is like an egg skillet with cheese, hashbrowns,

and sausage links

Tuesday- Lunch- Hamburger hotdish, raw veggies, homemade bread

Supper- Beef Roast with potatoes and carrots

Wednesday- Lunch- Tuna sandwiches, potato wedges, veggies

Supper- Homemade pizza, probably sausage

Thursday- Lunch- Sloppy joes, brown rice with veggies, homemade bread

Supper- Beef stroganoff- I'm going to try a crockpot recipe this time, we'll see how it goes!

Friday- Lunch- Calico beans, grilled cheese, veggies

Supper- Not sure, maybe venison sausage?

Next weekend we will be a friend's of ours overnight for our "Gourmet Club". We get together about once/twice a year to make a yummy gourmet meal together, it's a blast!

Sep 2, 2008

First Day of School!!


Well, the girls are off to school, *sob* *sob*. I did really well this morning, I didn't even cry! The weekend, however, was rough. I was nervous, and felt sick all weekend, thinking about Emma going to school. I think it's just because she is not as outgoing as Rachel is, and is so tender-hearted. But I know she will do fantastic, and she is so ready for school!! I made them both banana pancakes (which neither of them ate) and strawberries for breakfast.

Rachel finished her first chapter book, Junie B. Jones last night!! I have a hard time getting her to read, so I am so proud of her finishing it! And Emma is half way done reading her first "Dick and Jane" book! Amazing. I had a fantastic summer with the girls, and am a bit sad to have it end. We spent a lot of time at the lake, and it was so fun to watch the girls swim, and see how much they have learned!

So now my house is quiet, Alayna is still sleeping, and I took the day off. Mom is going to come over for coffee, and Emma will be home by 10:30. I cannot wait to hear how much fun she had!!!!!!

Spa LeZimm




Since it was the day before school started, I figured we would have a spa day at home, hence the name "Spa LeZimm"!!! I made a special bath for the girls, and we did oatmeal and banana facial masks, and used a scrub for a body wash. The girls got to use their wine goblets with water and lemons. After their baths, I gave them manicures and pedicures! They thought it was a blast, and it was a good way for us to spend some time just the girls, before the craziness of school starts!!