Wednesday, July 29, 2009

today's latest pics

During our quest to become true Resort-ies we sported Shingle Creek robes while playing various games in our room.
Tyler's mad at me in this pic because he needs to go to the bathroom
but I told him to smile at me first.

and here he's not mad anymore!
(these aren't child-size robes either...I had to tie them up)
and finally after turning on Hanna Montana for 15 minutes we have
Sweet Slumber Time.

G'Night Y'all

Greetings from Florida

The past two days we were in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
(the NE corner of Florida)
We swam in the Hampton Inn's swimming pool, ate their free breakfasts, walked around the very cute, very artsy and increasingly touristy downtown Fernandina Beach and for some reason we never made it to the beach.
During our stay we ate at four local restaurants but by far the best and the only one I care to mention was Espana Restaurant & Tapas.
This place was truly authentic (I'm allowed to judge all things Spanish, not because I've been to Spain (I have not) but because I took 8 years of Spanish in school) and delicious.
The "topping on the pastel/cake" was a picture on the wall of FERGIE and Josh Duhamel posing with the chef inside the restaurant.
I swear the girl is stalking me.
After dinner we walked around a bit to let our PAELLAS digest.
We saw some gi-normous fish which Lauren and Tyler loudly claimed were whales.
We dared Tyler to stick his hand in the mouth of a plastic hanging shark.
He wouldn't do it.
On our way back to the hotel we saw a rainbow and palm trees.
Matt told me you ALWAYS take a picture if you see a rainbow and palm trees.
who knew?
This morning after I worked out in the Hampton's gym (3 miles on the treadmill)
we packed up and headed South(West.) Matt gave into my pleading that we drive down the coast for awhile on our way to Orlando. I was thinking we'd take A1A to Daytona Beach and then head West to Orlando. We made it as far as St. Augustine before Matt had had it with my beloved 2 lane 40 mph highway and hopped onto I-95 to drive 80mph to Orlando.
We arrived safe and sound at the Rosen Shingle Creek where Matt is attending the
Farm to Fuel conference and the kids and I are going to act like sophisticated resort-ies and order room service and play in one of the 4 swimming pools to our heart's content.
When we checked in Matt asked (like he always does when we travel with him) if there is an available suite we could have ...for no extra charge.
They had a suite for us and Boy Oh Boy what a suite it is!
(too bad we didn't ask for this last year when Kevin and Mili came with us...which totaled 6 including the kiddos in a standard double queen room)
This time around we have one of the Hospitality Suites.
This room is bigger than my first two, maybe three, apartments...put together!
While I'm writing this post the kids are running in every direction, jumping onto any of 8 different sofas or chairs and with any luck Tiring Themselves Out.
Check out the pics and I apologize for being so excited about something so silly
(I do that a lot don't I?)

the kitchenette and part of the fold down bed
there's only one queen bed so although the room is huge, the kids still get to sleep in their sleeping bags...but they're KIDS and they Don't Care. =)

looking towards the entrance from the far end of the room

I don't know why this pic is camera was not when I took the pic.
This is the TV area and bathroom at the bottom/far right

another view of the TV area...I am next to the TV and Matt is near the kitchenette.
another mysterious sideways picture...
and right inside the front door of the room is this sign.
Matt better lookout because I just may throw a party while he's working this week.
Seriously?...83 people can fit in here?!?!
This evening, while Matt has been doing work stuff (aka open-bar reception and expensive & tasty dinner out with co-conference attendees,) the kids and I have explored the inside and outside of the hotel, spent a ton of money on dinner (this place is mega-expensive) and played hide-and-seek, Wipeout (based on the TV show) and tackle football in our room. Finally we are settling down and starting to think about bed. I think.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

the weekend re-cap

was my bi-weekly trip to Trader Joe's
I invited Ms. Maria to tag along with me but she had already finished her grocery shopping. She did, however, offer to watch L and T so I could go alone and not have to worry about anything except how loud I wanted to play my music in the car. What a doll! So Lauren and Tyler got to have TWO play-dates with Lea.

After I came back from TJs and after Ms. Maria fed the kids lunch (did I mention she's a doll!?) the 3 musketeers came over to our house for an afternoon of continued fun. At one point they all became quiet...and stayed quiet for an alarming period of time. Of course I ran upstairs to check on them and they were playing "sleeping in the water." Lauren's bedroom was the swimming pool and they were all sleeping. What an awesome game! I will definitely encourage more of that!! lol.
Friday night
Matt and I had Morgan come over to sit with the kids while we went out on a date. I thought it was going to be just a date but it turned into a double date with another couple. Even though Matt is a stellar single date to have the double date turned out to be a lot of fun too.

Matt worked hard to gain "favorite parent" points with the kids. He played airplane, horsey, took the kids to the pool and then let them lunch at CFA (local speak for Chick-Fil-A.) He even let them eat inside and play in the playland. While he was being the perfect Daddy I got my hair done.

Saturday Night
we went to our friends' house for a grill-out. I offered to bring ground-turkey burgers to cook-up but of course I left the prepared burgers in my fridge. We only live about 4 miles apart from each other so I could have gone back home to get them but due to some damage to water pipes caused by *OSU* beavers (*well the OSU part was omitted but I blame them anyway*) the road between our houses is torn up and there is a "way out of our way" detour set up. So I didn't go get them and luckily our non-ground-turkey eating hosts had enough ground beef patties for all of us.

We all had a fun time...especially the kiddos. One of the coolest parts of the night was finding out that D & S went to high-school with RONNIE from the current season of Big Brother!! He was a couple years younger but was still in one of their HS yearbooks. They showed me his 10th grade photo and OMGosh it was so ...Ronnie. (I get excited over the STUPIDEST stuff apologies.)

The tastiest part of the evening was this Decadent Peanut Butter Pie Susan made. I consider that tasty pie a challange to me to make something comparable when we have them over for the next grill-out.
Matt proved that he's addicted to his remote-control race car. He loaded up his lean green little racing machine ...and the kids with their Tonka's and headed back down to his home away from home. The VRP racing track.
He says he's getting pretty good at navigating the track. (which he tells me is difficult because when the car is coming toward you the controls are seemingly reversed...or something like that.)
Judging by how dirty the kids were when they came home I'm going to say they had a ton of fun too.

While the kids were gone I started packing for our trip to Florida next week. We leave tomorrow for Fernandina Beach (Amelia Island) for 2 days and then head down for the Farm to Fuel Conference in Orlando. This is the same conference/resort we went to last year when Uncle Kevin and Aunt Mili accompanyied us. I'm looking forward to this little vacation because in 2 weeks Lauren starts school as a big Kindergartener and Tyler begins his 2 day a week 3-year-old pre-school...and then all (or most of) my little vacays are over for the school year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kids Incorporated

You all remember that show, right?!! Well, I do at least and I especially remember my favorite character was Stacy...I think at one point in my young life I wanted to "be" her!
After deciding to title my post "Kids Incorporated" I did a google search on the show and found out that my favorite (BFF) Stacy is Stacy Ferguson who is better known today as FERGIE!! Have I been in the dark all these years...or is this a surprise to you too?

Ok, I'll calm down.

Wednesday was a kid day for sure. We had our weekly playgroup in the morning and then in the afternoon Lea came over to play and awhile later Tera joined the group. These kids were all over the place.
poor quality picture but it shows their goofiness
(and no, it's not bedtime but the middle of the afternoon)

See & Speak no Evil, Hear no Evil, Duck from Evil and Tongue-out to Evil
(I suppose)
Tyler probably weighs as much as Lea but she doesn't seem to mind.

after the house was thoroughly played in they set their eyes on the back yard
Lea had no interest walking in the forest so she stayed with me.
That's an impromptu hug by Tyler!!
and they're off

Dinner was a 2 meal dinner. I don't normally make a 2nd dinner when I don't think my kids will eat the first. However, since we had a guest (Tera) I decided to be nice and make the kids Mac 'n Cheese.
Matt and I lucked out though because the Rotini with Sausage, Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach I made for us was de-LISH.
It was based on the following recipe....(my changes are in red.)
Whole-Wheat Shells with Chickpeas and Arugula
8 ounces uncooked wholewheat shells (multi-color rotini instead)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¾ cups cooked chickpeas (about one 15-ounce can) (no chickpeas so used a can of black-eyed peas instead....oooh another Fergie reference!!)
4 packed cups arugula, chopped (spinach instead)
1/3 cup packed golden raisins (omitted)
3 links sweet Italian chicken sausage, cooked and sliced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
4 ounces crumbled feta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add shells (rotini) and cook about 8 minutes, or until tender but still al dente. Drain and transfer to a medium-large bowl. Immediately drizzle with olive oil and toss to distribute.
While pasta is still hot, add chickpeas (black-eyed peas,) arugula (spinach,) raisins (sliced sausage,) and tomatoes and toss gently. Cool to room temperature, then stir in feta. Taste and add salt (feta tends to be salty, so go easy) and black pepper, if desired. Top with toasted walnuts, if using, and serve.
Boom Boom Pow that was a great and easy dinner!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

things that amuse me

*dialogue with my son*
Me: So Tyler, why are you on the naughty chair?
Tyler: Because I hit her with this hand...and then this hand [showing me both his hands.]

*dialogue with my dentist at today's check-up*
My dentist: So Christine, you're teeth look great but how often do you floss?
Me: Not as much as I should but always before I come in for a visit. (ba-da-ching)

*Little Ponies reading books* *Daddy and Tyler building SnapTite trucks*

*remote-control race-cars and serious competition*

*remote-control racers racing their cars*

*Tyler and Lauren eating Cheetos and watching remote-control race-cars*

*husbands who can finish an entire basement...including applying a chair rail to the basement bathroom*

*fresh cherries being boiled down into a yummy cherry syrup*
*Banana and Sour Cream Muffins*
*Caramel Macchiato Ice-Cream and its Little Brother the 6 ouncer*

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekly Menu

This week I went through my ever-expanding manila folder full of torn-out/printed-out recipes that struck my fancy (do people still say that?) and made me think I'd want to make them someday.

(Monday: Due to a spontaneous dinner out on Saturday, I still have the stuff to make Baked Bean & Corn Chimichangas from last week's menu)
Tuesday: Marinated Chicken with Toasted Tomato Topping and Mozzarella Cheese (I tore this out of the AJC awhile ago) & Deviled Ham and Egg Potato Salad
Wednesday: Whole Wheat Shells with Chickpeas and Arugula & Bizkits
Thursday: Turkey Cheeseburgers with Rosemary Onions & Summer's Best BBQ Beans
Friday: Farmstand Gazpacho & Edamame Dip with pita bread
Saturday: Chinese Roast Pork, Noodle-Veggie Stir Fry (I got this from a blog I follow...a yummy foodie blog if you're interested!!)
Sunday: Chicken Fajita Pizza (also torn out of the AJC)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

an American Adventure

Today we joined the Mom's Club for a field trip to American Adventures up in Marietta (NW of Atlanta.) I thought it would be cool to check out the country/side roads on our way so I had our navigation avoid all Interstates on the way there. (note to all y'all are not allowed to say "freeways" here in the South...they are Interstates...Lesson Learned.) So my avoiding all Interstates didn't do much for us at all except allow us to breathe semi-truck diesel fumes and make the trip almost twice as long (say one hour and 40 minutes as opposed to just one hour) So yeah...won't do that again when I go to American Adventures. (but we most likely WILL go again...the kids had a lot of fun.) I'd say the target age range is 3-8 years old and just perfect for us.

Lauren, Tyler and Ella on the tea-cups
Ella was trying to tell them how to turn themselves in circles.
Tyler and Lauren riding on the big trucks.
Lauren, Tyler and I rode the Hot Air Balloons.

I took a picture of the three of us in the mirror. Can you see us?!
Ahh the swings. That was always one of my favorites. Both Lauren and Tyler took a ride.
In the picture Tyler is sitting in front of their friend Madison.

And of course there was a train...and of course they had to ride it. You can see Lauren's pony-tail just behind Tyler.
One of the last rides....The Chuck-Wagon
what fun, what fun
They are riding with their friend Emma
Here is a group shot (attempted group shot may be more appropriate) of the gang.
Tyler and Lauren are the 2nd and 3rd from the left.
(and yes, Tyler insisted on wearing his Boots because "they light up when I walk")
We headed home soon after the above picture was taken. It was an awesomely fun trip and I can't wait to go back.

Somehow, Lauren and Tyler had some saved up energy which they used up while waiting for Daddy to come home from his out of town work trip. They called this game "Tummy Airplane" and the Tummy would bounce the Airplane off or something like that.

Dinner tonight was Pesto Chicken Pilaf and Sugar Snap Peas. It was good but nothing to write home about. So I'm not including the recipe. However, if you just cook some chicken, top with pesto sauce and parm. cheese, boil up a box of Whole Grain rice pilaf, and serve with (cooked) frozen Sugar Snap Peas you've got this meal made.

And this brings us to the end of this American Adventure.