Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekly Menu with a Fun in the Sun Bonus

We love our family, old friends, and our Pacific Northwest roots
we also love Winters in the South.
Sunny and January and 60+ degrees = Perfect

***Fun in the Sun***

Weekly Menu
Sunday:  La Parrilla's Charro Beans and tacos (browned ground turkey w/ taco seasoning, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cilantro & salsa wrapped in a flour tortilla.)  We ate these tonight...Delish!
Lunches for me this week:  Double Mushroom Soup  This is still simmering in my slow cooker and smells great.
Monday:  Sweet Potato and Chickpea Shepherd's Pie
Tuesday:  pantry meal
Wednesday:  Meyer Lemon Chicken & green beans & brown rice
Thursday:  Pizza Margherita
Friday:  Shrimp with Bok Choy and brown rice
Saturday:  Pie-Style Spanakopita (scroll down for recipe,) pita bread & store bought hummus dip
Sunday:  Super Bowl (FINALLY!!) and Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip  (I pinned this to my Recipe board on Pinterest.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am blessed

I am blessed.
Sometimes I get frustrated, sad, angry, and jealous but never do I take for granted all that I have.  I am truly blessed.  My children are healthy and happy.  My husband is a loving and caring father/spouse.  He's a proud provider for our family which allows me to stay home to take care of our children and make our home a warm and happy one.
I need to appreciate all that I have today because tomorrow it could all be taken away.

It almost was 2 years ago.

I have been reminded recently to appreciate all that I have.

A friend of a friend's 6-year-old daughter died last week due to a pellet gun accident.

Another friend recently told me about her friend from college who has a terminally ill 2-year-old child.  Her story breaks my heart.

And to top it off, while watching the Atlanta news today I recognized the building where Matt works (and shares office space with the Israeli consulate.)  It was surrounded by yellow tape and officers in full bio-hazard protective gear.  Full story here.  Although nothing came of it, I'm thankful Matt is working out of town this week.

Life can change in an instant so today and everyday I'm going to try my best to consciously love on and appreciate my family.  (And my friends as well.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Adventures of a Room Mom: Valentine's Day Craft Idea

Lauren's school Valentine's Day party is just 3 weeks away and I need to come up with a craft.

My idea:  A Chalkboard Valentine for Someone Special
I'm on a chalkboard spray-paint kick plus I have some on hand.
What do you think?

I went to Lowes and bought a 10 cent 4x4 inch tile to try it out.

I painted it with the chalkboard spray paint.
(3 coats, let dry in between, wait 24 hours after final coat)

additional supplies:
chalk, glue,

squares of tissue paper, and the flat end of a pencil eraser

For my demo I used blue squares of tissue paper for my heart
(yes, it's a heart (like this heart)...when the glue dried I shaped it into a more defined heart)

I added a personal message and we have a
Chalkboard Valentine for Someone Special
(and I believe it's at the 2nd grade level too)

I hope it is because I went ahead and bought enough 10 cent tiles for the whole class.
The chalkboard paint is drying in the basement as I type.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

CamWow Fun

At Bunco on Friday (Mom's Club Bunco) us ladies had fun with the CamWow app on our iPhones.  I knew my kids would love it so I downloaded it and we had a CamWow party last night.  We laughed so hard our sides ached.  Please enjoy...

(CamWow tried its best but I just do not take a bad photo.  lol)

(3-eyed, 4-legged Lauren and what if Jay Leno were her father)

(T as a 2-headed peg-leg and what if a Vampire were his father)

(my faves:  cyclops Lauren and a hilarious pic of Tyler in the middle)

(the Matt's looked on from the sofa while Lauren asked for a pregnant picture)
(When I have "the talk" with her I'm going to show her this scary picture.)

With the CamWow app L and T were happy to have their picture taken.  I guess I'll start telling them I'm using CamWow whenever I need a photo.  That might work for awhile once.

Go download the app.  It's free side-splitting entertainment for the young ones...and also for the old ones playing Bunco.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Exercise or Social Time?

This morning, like most mornings, I went to the gym.  Normally I take a group fitness class (i.e. Step, Kick- Boxing, Cycle etc.) but today I didn't feel like taking the class that was offered (a weight lifting class) so I did a solid hour of cardio on the treadmill.  5.5 miles in 60 minutes  I felt great physically, but afterwards on the drive home I felt something was off.  Although I had a great workout I really missed getting to chat with my workout buddies and I felt a bit lonely.  Weird huh?  The daily exercise is vital for a healthy lifestyle but so is the social interaction.  

Luckily I was able to get some social interaction with my family after they were done with school and work.  

Here's what happens after L and T use up their two "segments" of screen time.
(Not sure if I've already mentioned the current screen time guidelines but on school days they are allowed two 20-minute segments.)

Lauren plays (animatedly) with her Barbies.

 Tyler (creatively) builds a castle with his blocks.
In the future when they whine and complain that there's nothing to do (other than screen time) I will show them these pictures.

While they played I prepped our dinner.

The ingredients for Thai Shrimp Curry

base for Egg Flower Soup
I brought the broth to a boil, added 1 1/2 t. soy sauce then took it off the heat and drizzled in one egg slightly beaten.  Easy Peasy.

Ignore the lighting, but the final product tasted pretty darn good.
Ask anyone but Tyler
(he's still working on liking other dishes besides Mac-n-Cheese.)

Speaking of Tyler...
He may, one day have problems in English class which will be completely my fault.
For example:
Today he said he needed a piece of "destruction paper" (construction paper) and I didn't correct him.  How cute is that?!  He's also mentioned in the past he wants to be a "destruction worker" when he grows up.  Ahhh...
He also pronounces the past tense of almost every word.  examples:  I laugh-ED.  I bounce-ED. I run-ED.
I'm going to keep that boy 5 years old as long as I can.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthdays!

Happy Birthday Brian!
My littlest brother turns 26 today.
Here he is on his high-school graduation day.
--Class of 2004--
(Brian: 18, Me: 26, Lauren: 3 mos., Matt: 30)
wow, time sure flies!

How cool is this?!
 My brother shares a birthday with some pretty awesome and influential people.
The one and only Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (would be 83) and also Dr. Laura (65)!

Have I mentioned that I listen to Dr. Laura's radio program every single day?

In honor of her birthday I thought I'd link to an essay she recently spoke about on her radio program.  
This essay really resonated with me (as a parent) and I wanted to share.  

I sincerely hope my daughter will grow up wanting to be "PRETTY" (inside and out) versus "HOT."
And I hope my son will grow up to recognize the value of a "pretty" girl over a "hot" one.

Happy Birthday Y'All!

Moving Upward and Onward

I've been in a funk lately.  It may be the weather (although it's been quite mild so far this winter) or it may be the length of the NFL football season...and me being jealous of it because it gets to see my husband more than I do.  Or maybe both.
Either way I've decided to get over it this weekend.  Positive thoughts from here on out.

So...Moving Upward:
I took great pride in watching both Lauren and Tyler play their Upward basketball games this weekend.  They both surprised me with their aggressiveness on offense and defense.  I was one proud Mama.
(L is #1)

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of Tyler's game.  I wish I had because it was a very interesting game.  One of the referees obviously wasn't used to the kindergarten game level.  He called multiple personal fouls (on the 5 year olds!) and even let the clock tick down while he had all the kids tuck in their jerseys.  Matt, as the coach, kept his cool.  The half time show made it all worth while though.  Matt Stinchcomb (who formerly played football for UGA, the Raiders and Tampa Bay) gave the devotional.

Moving Onward:
Sunday we had a house full of kids.  It's the NFL playoffs and while the Dad's watched football in the basement the kids all trashed the played upstairs.  I love that they chose to play school.  I printed out some Mad Libs for "the teacher" (in the blue shirt) to do with the kids.  They got a kick out of that.

Dinner last night was Slow Cooker Turkey Chili and green salad.  Since we had such a full house I made this for the adults and then some chicken nuggets and raviolis for the kids.  Mr. Mike said it tasted healthy (it was) but that didn't stop him from eating two servings and taking the left-overs home.

According to the weekly menu I was supposed to make corn bread to go along but I was feeling adventurous and decided to make bread bowls for the chili instead.  This was my first attempt at bread bowls but they turned out GREAT!  I didn't apply the egg-white wash until a crust formed (after baking for 5 minutes.)  Other that that I followed the recipe exactly.  (I only made the bread bowls not the vegetable soup.)

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  And for those of you ladies who are lukewarm NFL football fans like myself......there are only a few weeks to go (20 days exactly) until we get our husbands back.  =)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weekly Menu

It's been awhile since I've posted a Weekly Menu.

It's also been awhile since my two angels have played nicely together.  
(Not really but that sounded like a good intro.  My two usually play very well together)

Photo evidence of L and T having fun with a Lego Spaceship:

Weekly Menu:  (focus is using up the large amount of condiments I have in my refrigerator door)

Friday (Today:)  left-overs for Matt and the kids...delicious neighborhood Bunco dinner for me

Saturday:  Subway (the restaurant)  Tyler has basketball pics at 4pm and a game at 6pm.  Dinner will be on the run in between.  I have Subway coupons.

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Turkey Chili & GG's sweet corn bread (secret family recipe which also happens to be on the back of the cornmeal container I bought at the grocery store)

Monday:  Chicken and Sausage Gumbo & fruit  (condiments:  Worcestershire, minced garlic)

Tuesday:  Boca burgers from the freezer & salad  (condiments:  ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish etc.)

Wednesday:  Thai Shrimp Curry & chicken broth soup from freezer  (condiment: red curry paste)

Thursday:  left-overs, buttery noodles, green beans  (condiments:  ??)

Friday:  mom's club Bunco,  Matt and kids on their own

Saturday:  Heinz 57 Meatloaf, mashed potatoes & corn  (condiments:  Heinz 57, Worcestershire)

Sunday:  Sofrito Marinated Chicken sandwiches & tater tots from freezer (condiment:  Sofrito, lime concentrate)

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Today:  Matt went to work (he had a good day...finally, he got caught up,) the kids went to school, and I took a Kick Boxing class at the gym.

Today:  I went to lunch with some good friends.  We ate at Athenas (obviously a Greek restaurant) and I had a Chicken Gyro.  Yumm!
L and T both had school lunch and I'm not sure but I think Matt went out to lunch with his co-worker.

Today:  I tried the Diet Dr. Pete flavor for my SodaStream.  It was pretty good...a little more vanilla-y than Dr. Pepper.  I added a half pull of carbonation beyond the recommended amount and loved the extra bubbles.

Today:  While Lauren was making clay figures at Art Club, Tyler finished up his 100 Days of School "quilt piece" project.  The Kindergartners are making a 100-piece quilt out of paper and Tyler was in charge of number 43.  He used colorful bendy straws to make his number and a cotton ball, 2 stars and markers to complete his square.

He's pretty proud of his work (as you can tell by his stoic smile.)

Today:  I made a tasty dinner.  Matt, Lauren and Tyler all approved.
(originally posted on the Closet Cooking blog...this dude only posts delicious recipes...seriously)

Today:  I finally remembered where I found the recipes for the fantastic dinner we had last Friday.

(from the Weight Watchers Kitchen Companion iPad App)
(not sure if you have to be a paying member to access the recipes...if so message me if you're interested)

Today:  I'm writing this post in peaceful quiet because Matt took Lauren to basketball practice and Tyler wanted to go too because he's made friends with one of L's teammate's little brother.

Tonight:  It's super windy.  The walls sound like they are taking a beating.  (the weather radio didn't go off so I'm not worried)  The Arctic Air is finally here.  Maybe I'll change out of my tank top and into some winter PJs.

I hope you all had a good day TODAY.

move over Martha

 I always said "when I grow up I want to be artsy fartsy."  In fact I said that just last week.  And looky loo I must have done growed up because I did something artsy.  And I came up with the idea all by myself.  Well, strike that last incomplete sentence because I copied it completely from my friend Nicole.  She's the genius behind the BEAN Blog and, next to Martha, the queen of artsy-fartsy-ness.

Chalkboard Wine Glasses

I bought some chalkboard spray paint from Walmart 
and dusted off 2 wine glasses from the back of my cupboard.
Then I taped the heck out of them.
(of course Nicole only taped a teeny area but I knew I would go overboard on the spray paint)

I sprayed 3 coats and let dry for 24 hours.

Today I took the tape off and...

had some fun with chalk.

Our friends are getting married in Key West in March.
Maybe this will be a part of their wedding gift.

Easy, Simple and what a gosh darn great idea.

Thanks Nicole (via Pinterest!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SODA (or Pop if you prefer)

I love Soda.
(I grew up calling it "pop" but somewhere in my teens I decided "soda" sounded more sophisticated.) 
(I'm sure you care)

With the price of soda going up
(I refuse to spend more than $2.99 for a 12-pack)
I was delighted to receive a SodaStream for Christmas.
(thanks Mom!)

Unfortunately, when I opened the box it was missing the 12-pack Taste Sampler (the soda flavoring.)

I thought about returning it to the store but decided to e-mail the company to ask if they would just send me the Taste Sampler instead.  I e-mailed SodaStream on Christmas Day and received this reply just a few days later.
Dear Christine,

         We apologize for the inconvenience. We went ahead and shipped out a new Sodamix Variety 12 sample pack and a MyWater 3 pack to you. Your order number is XXXXX, we would like to inform you that this order will not be delivered until the week of January 16th due to our year-end inventory. Once this order leaves our warehouse you will be notified with tracking information. If you have any questions please contact our customer support line at 1-800.XXX.XXXX, representatives are available to assist you 24/7.

Thank you
"K" (I changed the name)
SodaStream Customer Support

I LOVE customer service such as this!  (It makes me want to tell the world...or at least post about it.)

Today, January 11th (ahead of schedule) I received this package on my doorstep:

 It included the 12-pack Taste Sampler...

and also the bonus mywater 3-pack

Immediately, I got out my SodaStream and easily followed the directions...
(try not to focus on the folded clothes and junk in the background...the kitchen table is my catch all during the day)

and made my first batch of Soda Water!

I added 1/2 t. of the raspberry flavor "mywater" sample to my soda and it turned out great.
It was just what I wanted.  Bubbly soda water with a light but not too sweet raspberry flavoring.
Tomorrow I'll try one of the actual soda flavors.

(SodaStream did not influence this blog post in any way other than by their spectacular customer service. I had a great experience with them and simply wanted to share.)

Back to School

Back to School and Back to Structure

I didn't go to the gym ONCE during winter break.  Why?  Because I like to sleep in when I can.  However, if I don't make the 8:30 or 9:30 class at the gym then I simply don't go.

Although I don't particularly enjoy waking up at 6am to get everyone ready for school I do like being up early and ready to start my day (at the gym.)

With that said I've been back at the gym in full force and the children have really hit the books.

Tyler read his first book to me. "Hot Dog"  He did great sounding out the the words.  He was so excited to read his first book he even took it to bed so he could read it again before he fell asleep.

Lauren had her first REACH day on Monday.  After "specials" (either library, PE, music, art or computer) she went to a different class for the remainder of the day.  She learned about Medieval Times.  Her homework is to study and be able to locate Iceland, Norway and Sweden on a map and also learn and be able to spell their capitals.  Reykjavik (wreck-ya-vick,) Oslo and Stockholm.  She also needs to write a letter to the admissions office to join (the fictional) King Arthur's Academy.  She has a week to complete her homework since REACH is only on Mondays.

I love being Back to School and Back to Structure.

Here are a couple of "by the ways" for you:

BTW:  Today I had a meeting with the speech pathologist at L's school.  I always thought she wasn't pronouncing her "r"s correctly and was happy her teacher referred her for extra help.  The speech pathologist, Mrs. C said gave Lauren the standard test and said she does have a slight problem with her "s" and "z" (not sharp enough) and also some difficulty pronouncing the "r" but only the "er" "r" sound.  (I guess there are more than one "r" sounds.)  However, she did not feel it was enough of a problem to give her speech lessons.  Instead she gave me a handout to help Lauren enunciate the "r" correctly and if she still has a problem in 3rd grade then we'll address it then.  I was actually hoping L would get the extra help this year but hopefully it will work itself out.

BTW:  Last night was a long night...
I went to bed at 9:45pm, woke up when Tyler came in at 1am saying his PJs were wet (poor guy wet the bed.)  Luckily he has a top bunk with clean sheets so up he went and I just stripped his bed, used some cleaner on the mattress and went back to sleep.  Then at 4:45am I woke up again to house shaking thunder followed shortly by the arrival of two whimpering kids who were "afraid of the lightening."  The four of us pretended to sleep side by side until the alarm went off at 6:00.
Last night reminded me of my nursing days.  =)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Break Recap: Monday

Monday, 1/2/2012
(yes, I know you're bored with the day by day but the grandparents enjoy it)

Glow in the Dark Miniature Golf
(again thanks to free passes handed out at school)

L and T had more fun climbing on the scenery than actually golfing.
Lauren went ahead of us and just putted her way through 18 holes on her own agenda.


Tyler did pause so I could snap a photo of his first ever Hole in One!

The whole 18 holes took us just under an hour so we hit up Five Guys for lunch to prolong our outing.
Lauren ate a "cheeseburger" while the rest of us had "little cheeseburgers."  
She's a cheeseburger eating machine.

Winter Break Recap: Saturday

Saturday, New Year's Eve 2011

We spent New Year's Eve at a friend's house.  (Nelson and Julie's house if you were wondering.)  I met Julie through the Mom's club as I did a lot of my friends and have to say she's pretty cool.  She kind of reminds me of Snooki.  (just kidding Julie!)

 Tyler and Lauren are dressed down and ready to go.
(I decided we'd sport the PJs to save time when we got home.)

I made Coke Cake and used real peanuts (ewww.)
(the jar said Pecans but c'mon now all nuts taste the same)
(but let it be known I actually Baked! and used Nuts!)
(for some reason I thought I should clarify that the Coke in the cake is Coca-Cola)

We all had a good time.  The guys chilled (froze) around the fire-pit on the patio, us ladies chatted and snacked in the kitchen and the kids ran wild all over the place.

Tyler partied so hard he was out by 9pm.

Someone needs to tell him he should NEVER be the first one to fall asleep at a party.

Finally the moment we've been waiting for.

Happy 2012!!
(check out the date stamp)
At New Year's thirty (12:30am) we headed home.  Matt and I slept in until 9am but the kiddos woke up at 7am as usual.  Luckily! they are old enough to entertain themselves in the mornings.