Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

After all of our travels last week, I'm ready to get back to normal! However, with Christmas fast approaching, I feel like I'm already in survival mode! Time to slow it back down and at least eat normally!

Monday: Ramen noodles. Don't judge me. Kevin was sick. Owen was sick. The girls love it. I had somewhere to be at 7:00. To make it super healthy, they also had apple slices.

Tuesday: Garlic-Mustard Grilled Beef Skewers, Corn, Roasted Potatoes - This was on my last menu, but we didn't get around to making it. Tonight it is!

Wednesday: Chicken Stir-Fry, Rice

Thursday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Zuchini & Carots

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Salad

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Six Years. Gone.

How did that happen? One minute, I had a tiny little girl, and the next, a budding tween! My Hannah-belle is 6 years old today! I think I'm in a state of shock.
Here's a look through the past six years...

She was an adorable newborn, with a big sister who wasn't quite sure about her.
She had attitude from the day she was born!She got bigger, and into lots of things.

She took pictures in the bluebonnets with Megan, like all Texas kids do at some point.
She hung out with a purple monkey.She played ballerina with Megan.She looked beautiful in the Iowa sunshine!She had Pantene commercial-worthy hair (and loved on Owen).
She was all smiles when she turned 4.
She indulged mom in an in-house "photo shoot".She was a sassy 5-year-old.She modeled some accessories from India.
She rang in the new year in style!
...and she became even sweeter and more beautiful that before!
WE LOVE YOU, HANNAH JOY! We are so proud of the sweet young lady that you're turning out to be!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

I'm not feeling very inspired this week, and my boring menu reflects that!

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup - Several years ago, my cousin Monica had an arts and crafts store. She also sold little packets of dip and soup mixes. This is from a mix, but is the most flavorful tortilla soup ever! I add chicken and frozen corn to it, and top my bowl with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese. Yum!

Tuesday: Hamburgers, Baked Beans, Chips

Wednesday: Happy birthday to Hannah! We'll be going out to the restaurant of her choice. Most likely, it will be O'Hana Steakhouse and that is A-OK with me! Yummy!

Thursday: Garlic-Mustard Grilled Beef Skewers, Rice, Green Beans

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Salad

Sometime this weekend, I'm planning to make Game Day Chili (I leave out the beans, but otherwise make it pretty close to the recipe) . Kevin just asked me about chili this weekend. I guess he's hungry for it, too! Corn bread and fritos on the side!

Conversations with Owen

I did a similar "survey" with the girls a year or so ago. My friend, Kara, just re-posted this on her blog and thought it would be funny to ask Owen these questions. Here's his survey, at 3 1/2 years old!

1. What is something mom always says to you? Keep out! - not sure I've said that exactly, but I have told him to leave my room before...
2. What makes mom happy? kisses
3. What makes mom sad? crying
4. How does your mom make you laugh? when she tickles me
5. What was your mom like as a child? 8-years-old (not sure he understood)
6. How old is your mom? 7 - 8 - 9
7. How tall is your mom? 3 inches long
8. What is her favorite thing to do? read a book
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? draws (?)
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Hannah (hmmm...maybe I'll be a stage mom?)
11. What is your mom really good at? playing soccer (?)
12. What is your mom not very good at? playing other sports
13. What does your mom do for a job? work at home
14.What is your mom's favorite food? chicken salad (it's one of them!)
15. What makes you proud of your mom? when you're happy
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Princess Peach (this kid has Mario Kart on his brain 24/7!)
17. What do you and your mom do together? go to the grocery store and you push the biggest cart of all and I push the tiny cart
18. How are you and your mom the same? We both like Phineas and Ferb.
19. How are you and your mom different? Your shirt is black and mine is white, Mama. And your hair is white and mine is short. Yours is long.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? hugs
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? to dance with him
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? home

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Monday: Beef with Snow Peas, Rice - Another Pioneer Woman recipe (what did I do before her?). The picture alone has my mouth watering!

Tuesday: Garlic Chicken, Roasted Asparagus, Pan Fried Potatoes

Wednesday: Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Thursday: Broccoli Cheese Soup - I have a recipe from a friend, and can't wait to try it! I've heard great things about her soup!

Friday: ??? - My in-laws are coming, so I'm not sure if we'll go out, or if I'll have to plan on something. I'm thinking, I'm thinking...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Hello, all! The past few weeks have been strange. Way too much fast food/take-out and running around. This week should finally slow back down to normal, and I'm happy to be back to a regular meal plan!

Monday: Homemade Chicken Strips, Creamed Corn, Fries

Tuesday: Spaghetti, Roasted Broccoli, Cheesy Garlic Bread

Wednesday: Pioneer Woman's Braised Short Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus - I saw this on her site a couple of weeks ago, and had it in my mind ever since! I can't wait to try this one!

Thursday: Breakfast Burritos - Kevin will be gone overnight on Thursday, so, as usual, we're having breakfast!

Friday: Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit, Chips

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pizza Party

Tonight was pizza night here! I made the dough early in the day, so putting it all together in the evening was quick and easy. My dough recipe follows. It is super simple, but very tasty! I like to stretch it out thin and pile the toppings on!

For the kids, I normally make small, mini pizzas, so they can all have their favorite kind. Hannah likes everything, Owen likes nothing, and Megan doesn't like sauce, so it's an easy way to let them each have their way.
As for me, I like my pizza with prosciutto and spinach. When we lived in West Des Moines, there was an AWESOME little pizza place that specialized in wood-fired pizzas (Red Rossa). It was divine! Kevin, the kids and I all loved it and ate there frequently. Sadly, there isn't anything nearly as good here. Through trial and error, this is pretty darn close!

Pizza Dough (originally from my friend Angela)
2 Tbls. olive oil (separated)
1 tsp. honey
1 cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast
3 cups flour (divided)
1 tsp. salt

Put 1 Tbls. olive oil and honey in a bowl; add in 1 cup of very warm water and stir. Add in 1 pkg. of yeast. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in 1 1/2 cups flour and salt. Stir to form a soft dough. Add in an additional 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Turn onto a clean surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes. Put 1 Tbls. olive oil in a large clean bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and roll it gently in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish towel and place in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
My Sauce
(I've never written it down before, so bear with me). I like pizza sauce to be unfussy. Only a handful of ingredients. Pour a Tbls of olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add 4 or 5 cloves of minced garlic and cook until just browned (you can obviously use less, but I'm a garlic addict). Add a jar/can of strained tomatoes (any brand) and cook on low, until bubbly. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste (about a Tbls. of salt). Chop a small handful of fresh basil. Wilt into the sauce and continue cooking for 5-10 more minutes.

That's it.

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly grease your pizza pan. Stretch/press your dough into a thin layer. Top with lots of sauce (don't be skimpy)!
Course chop a few slices of proscuitto (I use about 3) and layer over the pizza. Top with fresh, soft mozzarella and then pile high with fresh spinach (it wilts a lot in the oven). It is so, so good! You'll most definitely be ruined for Pizza Hut and the rest of the greasy pizza chains for life!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meal Plan Monday (on Tuesday)

Columbus Day put me a day behind! The girls were off from school yesterday, and we were all tired from the weekend. Slowly, I'm getting into the groove of the week!

Monday: Corn dogs, Grapes, Cheese (don't you wish you were invited over for this one?) ;-)

Tuesday: Chicken Stir-Fry, Rice - We didn't have this last week, and I had prepared for it!

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza, Salad - When I was young, and "should" have loved pizza, it was never my favorite. Now that I make it myself, I find that I could eat it all of the time! When you use good ingredients, pizza can be fabulous!

Thursday: Waffles, Bacon, Fresh Fruit - Kevin will be out-of-town, so we normally have breakfast for dinner at least once!

Friday: Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Chips & Queso

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

15 Years!

Wow. This weekend was my 15th high school reunion. A bunch of us class of '95ers met up and had a great time! On one hand, it seems like I hadn't seen many of them in ages. On the other, I can remember our time in high school like yesterday (aside from the "fight" that Lori swears her brother got into with Quintin our sophomore year)! Stories were swapped, kids were introduced and a lot of new memories were made!

My BFF Cathy, and Kevin:All of my former classmates who made it for dinner (a few more showed up later in the evening):
Lori and I:We were lucky that my cousin, Sara, and her daughter Elizabeth were able to come home for the weekend, too! I can't remember when we saw them last (Christmas maybe?)! Both of my sisters came out to my mom and dad's, too, and we had a fun day of hanging out and eating yummy food (Sara made a pecan pie, and Lisa brought a s'mores maker). The kids thought that was awesome (and I'll admit to eating a roasted marshmallow or two myself). A sticky, sweet mess, but so much fun!
My nephew Tyler, Megan and my sister, Lisa:

All of the s'more makers:Hannah with a sticky bite:Tyler helps Owen roast a marshmallow:Elizabeth (2 1/2) and Owen (3 1/2):She was wearing the perfect shirt for the occasion, "Napkins are for babies!" So true!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

With the cooler weather, I thought I'd start the week with a soup. I'm most definitely a warm-weather gal myself, but I do like when I can start making soups, stews and chili again!

Monday: My mom's vegetable beef soup. So, so yummy! Someday, I'll put the recipe up, but it's so "mom" like (a handful of rice, enough water to cover - no real measurements). Crackers alongside, but no other veggies or anything. It's all in there!

Tuesday: Chicken stir-fry, rice

Wednesday: Comfort meatballs (the link says BBQ meatballs, but the cookbook has a different name), mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli

Thursday: Leftover soup. We'll eat it all up, and won't have more leftovers since we'll be gone for the weekend!

Friday: Eating on the road! We're heading to my parents' house for the weekend. It's my (YIKES!) 15th high school reunion!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

So true!

Ha ha! I saw this on my friend, Jayme's, blog and had to steal it for my own! You think it was embarrassing for your mom to tell stories about you around your friends? To pull out baby pictures with a new boy/girlfriend? That's nothing compared to what our kids will go through!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When I grow up...

Do you remember what you wanted to "be" when you grew up? I remember desperately wanting to be a Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleader. My sister, Karen, and I had these awesome blue satin jackets with the big star on the front. I thought I was hot stuff. Sadly, that dream went away, but was replaced by an even bigger, better dream: to be a mom.

I love, love, love to hear my kiddos talk about what they want to be when they grow up. They have all decided to go to Texas A&M (although Meg is sad that they don't have cheerleaders - taking after her Mama)! After that, who knows?

This is college/career week at Megan & Hannah's school. Today, the kids all got to dress up as what they want to be. Megan has (for quite some time) debated between being a chef and a teacher. Casually, I told her that maybe she could go to culinary school and then be an instuctor there. She latched onto that for a while, but recently changed her mind. Instead of teaching other chefs at school, she's decided that she wants "to be a TV chef, just like Paula Deen, and teach everyone"! I knew she was a smart one!Hannah is constantly changing her mind, which, at 5, is totally expected and encouraged! She's always asking me things like "can you be a mommy and a ballerina?" or "can you be a mommy and a vet?" With her sweet nature and love for babies, it's no wonder that she always makes sure that moms can do anything! For career day, she decided that she wanted to be a doctor. Not just any doctor, but a doctor who takes care of babies and kids (notice a pattern here?). As we were getting her outfit together from our dress-up closet, she said, "I wanted to be either a doctor, or a pop star. We just don't have a pop star suit, so I guess I'll go with doctor!" Cute little stinker!With the girls' sweetness and big hearts, I know that they'll excel at anything that they decide to do - even if it is being a pop star! ;-) Love, love, love them!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

I know that it's been forever since I've done a meal plan! I'm finding it hard to get everything done, now that we're back in the swing of school! I've got school, preschool, work, piano lessons, soccer starting up - busy, busy, busy! We have been eating, just nothing very exciting! ;-)

Here's what's up for this week!

Monday: Beef Rouladen, Spatzel (it was a happy day when I found that you can buy this at World Market!), Sourkraut, Green Beans

Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp with Garlic Butter, Roasted Asparagus, Rice

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza, Salad

Thursday: Chicken Spaghetti, Corn

Friday: Eating on the road! We're heading to my in-laws' house for the weekend after Owen's first soccer practice!

Off to buy teeny-tiny cleats and shin guards!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Beginnings

Today was Owen's first day back at preschool. He has felt a little left out, with the girls getting their backpacks and lunch boxes. He couldn't WAIT for his little program to begin again!
I'm back to school, too! For those that don't know, I'm working at the Parents' Day Out (where Owen goes) at our church. It's only twice a week, so I think that's a good start to ease me back into the working world. My co-teacher is wonderful and experienced with the 4-year-old class (she' been teaching it for several years) so I'm really having a lot of fun! However, I slept like the dead last night. Who knew that a room full of 4-year-olds could wear me out so much? Go figure! ;-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


If you have access to this:
And have this:
You can make this. Pioneer Woman's Peach Crisp with Maple Cream:
I promise you won't be disappointed! I mean seriously? This is good stuff, man! Crack through that sweet, crunchy topping to the juicy peaches below. Yum!

Top it off with Ree's maple cream and you'll be in heaven!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - on Tuesday

Shhh...pretend that it's actually Monday (I was going to post date this, but since I actually had another blog post today, I've changed my mind)! I've fallen behind on my meal planning. We've had houseguests two weekends in a row and I had to get ready for our garage sale, so we've been kind of throwing meals together. We are finally back to normal (or, as normal as our family gets!) so I'm back to meal planning!

Monday - Leftover Bacon-Wrapped Maple Pork Loin, roasted potatoes and corn (I've linked the recipe before, and it's divine!)

Tuesday - Make-your-own pizzas, salad & peach crisp for dessert.

Wednesday - Spaghetti (Hannah's request), garlic bread and roasted broccoli

Thursday - Chicken Fried Rice

Friday - Garlic-Rosemary Balsamic Chicken, Champagne Risotto (a recipe from my sister that is so, so, so yummy) and Chive Biscuits (another from my sister)

Going, Going, Gone! more ways than one!

Last weekend, my mom, sister Lisa, nephew Tyler and cousin Kelli all came to help me have a garage sale. We got rid of so much stuff, and have a ton left over to take to Goodwill! It was a little sad, seeing all of our baby items go! We've had the high chair for over 8 years now - it's a part of my kids' childhood! It did make it better that I got a little cash, and that I know new babies will love our stuff! One soon-to-be first time grandma cleaned me out! She left our house with a bouncer, 2 exersaucers, a baby swing and various toys. Hope her new baby enjoys it!

Speaking of "going, going, gone", so is Megan! While my family was here, my sister decided that it was high time that Meg learned to ride her bike without training wheels. Truthfully, it probably was (she is 8, after all) but we never really pushed it. Megan is pretty timid, and she doesn't ride her bike all that often, so when she turned us down last summer (to try and teach her) she was scared and said no. Lisa wasn't taking no for an answer, and within one afternoon (and a couple of bruised up legs), Meg was off!
Thanks for helping us out, guys! With Kevin out of town that week, I couldn't have done it without you!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Right Now...

Borrowed from Well-Mannered Frivolity:

Outside my window… it's frickin HOT!
I am thinking… of all the laundry I have to do (but the rest of my house is clean)!
I am thankful for… my loving family and good friends.
From the kitchen… Owen just dragged his potty chair in front of the fridge - again. :-(
I am wearing… grubby, house cleaning clothes.
I am creating… a brine for tomorrow night's dinner (bacon-wrapped maple pork loin).
I am going… to jump in the shower before heading to the grocery store (after Kev gets home).
I am readingAmerican On Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by late-night host, Craig Ferguson. He's hilarious!
I am hoping… to start (another) diet after the weekend and get back into the habit of going to the gym.
I am hearing… all three kiddos actually getting along and playing together! Trying to hide out so I don't spoil it!
Around the house… my basil plant is wilting in the heat. I think it needs mucho agua.
One of my favorite things… is the first cup of hot coffee in the morning!
I don’t understand… too many things to name! ;-)
I wish… my nephew lots of luck! He's moving into his college dorm next week!
A few plans for the rest of the week… we have our sweet, former next-door-neighbors from Iowa coming to visit this weekend! We haven't seen them (aside from "seeing" them on Facebook) since we moved a year ago! Can't wait until the Hill's arrive!
A picture to share... my sisters (Lisa & Karen) and I many, many, MANY years ago!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

I put a link to the Bon Jovi/Jennifer Nettles song, because it sums up so much of what I'm feeling! "Who says you can't go home? There's only one place they call me one of their own!" Kevin had to work late on Friday and early on Monday, so the kids and I made a solo trip to my parents' house last weekend. Both of my sisters were around, and 3 of my 4 nephews (well, 4 on that side). I always love being home!

It felt so much like old times! We made homemade ice cream, which we haven't done in many, many years. We used to do it every Sunday in the summer at my grandparents' house. Back then, all they had was an old crank ice cream maker. They would have us little kids take turns sitting on top of the ice cream maker bucket (on top of a million towels to protect our tushies) while the men took turns cranking the ice cream. Then, for our "hard work", they'd let us have the first taste of the ice cream, by scraping off the ribs (the beaters inside). Ahh, memories!
Times have changed a bit, and we now have electric ice cream makers. The intent was still there, though, and it was fabulous! My nephew, Tyler (who is 16) doesn't remember ever having homemade ice cream before, and that made me sad! I think he's a convert, though! We made chocolate, and my cousins, John and Kelli, brought over Big Red ice cream (tastes just like a Big Red float in a bowl)! We decided to make the impromptu gathering feel just like a day from many years ago at my grandparents' house, and also made my grandma's ground meat sandwiches. I even got out the old pickle plate that means so much to me and the table was complete!In keeping with the nostalgia of the weekend, my mom got out a bunch of my old cheerleading uniforms for me to bring home. I don't know what she needs the extra storage space for (seriously, 2 people in a 4 bedroom house, should have at least a little space for the things that I DON'T have space for!) but I brought them home anyway. My best friend, Cathy, was there with her girls, and they all decided to use the uniforms to play dress up. Talk about a blast from the past! I already had 2 uniforms at my house, but now come 4 more! They looked so cute, making up cheers for the Cougars, that we couldn't resist a few pictures!All in all, it was a great trip down memory lane, and it makes me so glad that even though we don't live super close, we're close enough that I can give my kids these kinds of memories that I cherish so much!

This weekend was so much fun! Whoever originally said that "you could never go home again" was mistaken, or they weren't from a place with as much love as I am.