Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Name Game

When playing school or make believe with her friends Lauren most often chooses to be called "Erin."

Today she was Mommy "Erin" with two baby daughters who needed to be named.

In the process of coming up with names she asked me what her name was going to be if I didn't name her Lauren Taylor.  I told her she was always going to be named Lauren Taylor.  However, if her brother had been a girl he would have been named Maya Reese (or Reese Maya, we hadn't quite decided.)
I also told her my name history.
My Mom (Grammy) liked the name Christina but my Dad (Grandpa Bob) thought Christina sounded too much like a "girls" name.  hmmm.
hence, "Christine"

I don't think she was too impressed with my girl name stories because she immediately asked how to spell the names "Katie" and "Mia."
(I have to say I like an independent thinker!)

Meet Baby "Katie," her sister "Mia" is just out of the picture.

In the background you'll find Lauren's "Map of Europe" Quiz.
Yes, you read that right:  98%! Way to Go!!
Thanks to the REACH program,
She knows the European countries, capitals and their location on a map.

Not to Name Names but I love Tyler's goofy school picture.
Can you find him?
(he's wearing red)
(my apologies for the blurry picture of a picture)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

deja ZOO

This Winter Break from school has seen its fair share of screen time.

These two below have played hours upon hours of Mario Kart on the Wii this week.

So much so they have actually shown signs of delirium.

 When I overheard a friend at the gym say she was taking her kids to the ZOO the next day I seriously invited myself and the kiddos to tag along.

There ended up being three of us Mom friends and our two kids each enjoying the day together.  Both of my Mom friends had children of stroller age.  Seeing all the fancy and functional strollers at the ZOO gave me a sense of deja Vu/ZOO.   It's been awhile since my 5 and 7 year-old have needed a stroller and I honestly miss the stroller days (and also my monsters being little babies.)  But...let me tell you how nice it was to hold the doors open for the stroller pushers instead of using all of my body parts to open, and hold open, the doors for my own stroller.

and now without further adieu
Pictures from the deja-ZOO

Tyler watches the elephant.

 L and A pose as meerkats.

My favorite pic of the day!
(everyone seems to be telling their own special story )

 L and T about to fly the coop

 L and T "monkey around" while A poses sweetly for the picture.

The Petting Zoo

Lauren assumes her roll as the goat whisperer.

and Tyler admires this particular goat's "GOAT-tee."

And too cute not to include:
L and T's friend A sure does take a great impromptu picture!

Friday, February 24, 2012

No Husbands Allowed

Do not let your husband read this!
Especially Mine!!

Let me start off by saying, "I'ts NOT MY FAULT!"

You may have heard that Matt bought a fancy shmancy yet much needed new car.
Somehow he got it into his head that he'd be able to park in the garage next to my vehicle.
He even moved some things around (i.e. the Traeger grill under the grey cover) to give the Mazda some space.

However, he did not move my "hanging down string" which tells me where and how far to park in the garage without hitting the wall. Unfortunately, (not my fault of course) I bumped into the grill which then bumped into the wall.

I checked the playroom (the indoor opposing wall) and luckily it did not go through.

(remember...It Wasn't My Fault!)

Artwork at the Y

This morning like most mornings this week (Winter Break from school) the kids and I went to the YMCA.

I took the 3-2-1 class.
(3 min. cardio - 2 min. strength - 1 min. abs and repeat for an hour)

Lauren joined the over-6 crowd for a game of tag in the gymnasium.

And Tyler did some painting in the under-6 room.

When I picked him up from childwatch the director asked if she should be concerned for Tyler.
She handed me the picture Tyler painted.

Yes, it kind of looks like the person on the colorful platform brutally wounded and pushed the other guy off the platform.
At home Tyler told me the guy actually dove off the platform to go for a swim and the guy on top is going to take a running dive as well.
(no worries DFCS)

This is the other painting he made.
It looked interesting so I asked him what it was.
My third child (9-year-old Joshua from across the street) said the red and black thing looks like a "Poke Ball" and then named a couple of other Pokemon in his painting.

#644 Zekrom (the black dude with blue hair)
#497 Serperior (the green and yellow snake)

I don't understand this Pokemon craze myself but I like that it provides artistic inspiration for Tyler.
(as well as plenty of DS entertainment)

It looks like we have two artistic kiddos in the family.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekly Menu - winter break

This kids are out of school this week for Winter Break.  Matt is very busy at work so we aren't going anywhere and will be eating deliciously healthy dinners as usual.

Weekly Menu:
Today/Sunday:  Matt requested Pho (a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) (my adaptation is below)
Monday:  Boca(Cheese)Burgers and Oven Fries
Tuesday:  Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole and fruit
Wednesday:  Bloody Mary Vegetable Stew and grilled cheese sandwiches
Thursday:  Smoky Pan-Grilled Pork Chops and green beans and mashed potatoes
Friday:  Jenny's Pasta with Sofrito, Garlic and Oil (scroll down) and Italian bread  (my go-to quick and easy bread recipe)
Saturday:  Pizza-Stuffed Chicken and Olive Garden Bread Sticks
Sunday:  l/o or pantry meal

Tonight's Dinner:
Tonight's Pho was Pho-ntastic!  Great flavor and very filling.  I served it with Chung's all natural Spring Rolls.  Matt, Lauren and I loved it.  Tyler, however, is still learning to enjoy healthy food other than the Mac-n-Cheese.  =)

Crockpot Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
-adapted from the WW recipe linked to above-

2 onions, chopped
4 t. minced garlic
cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds beef strip sirloin (2 steaks)
3 c. water
4 c. beef broth
3 c. chicken broth
4 T. fish sauce
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
2 T. lemongrass (in a tube)
2 t. anise seed
6 whole cloves
8 oz. stir-fry rice noodles
1 c. mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add contents to slow cooker.  Add steaks, water, beef broth, chicken broth, fish sauce, soy sauce and lemongrass.  Stir well.  Put the anise seed and cloves in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag and add to crockpot.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours.  (or low for 8-9 hours, until meat is tender and easy to shred)  Remove spices and shred beef.  Add shredded beef and rice noodles, cover and cook 20 minutes or until noodles are tender.  Serve into soup bowls and top with mung bean sprouts, scallions, jalapenos, cilantro, and basil.  Slurp and Enjoy.

Zoom Zoom

If you missed my post yesterday then you may not know Matt bought a New Car!

He's been doing his research...
(Matt insists you watch the video above)

 ...and saving his money.

Dave Ramsey would be proud because he paid cash for this 2012 MazdaSpeed3.

sleek in silver

Today Matt's been volunteering all sorts of errands.

He took us all to Starbucks to get coffee and hot chocolates this morning
and then he offered to pick up Subway sandwiches for lunch.
(let me tell you this car has some power!)

Since he doesn't turn 40 until next year he's already telling me this does not count as his "mid-life crisis" vehicle.  He still thinks there's a flashy Corvette in his future.  We'll see about that.
His "mid-life crisis" vehicle just may be a Lexus (for me.)

Car For Sale:
1992 Honda Civic, 155,000 miles, brand spankin' new breaks
make an offer
(hopefully we can get a hold of this guy)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

good eats this week

 A ridiculous recipe crossed my path recently via Pinterest.
It looked so ridiculously rich I knew I had to make it but I needed a good excuse.
Much to Matt's chagrin I don't bake for him...not so much.
(I'm working on my issues with baking though.)

However, I hosted Bunco yesterday and that provided the perfect excuse.

chocolate chip cookie dough, topped with double stuffed oreos
 topped with a family size Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
all baked together at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.


Oh My YUMM...especially with a side of vanilla ice-cream & chocolate syrup

Here are some other 'good eats' we enjoyed this week
(recipes can be found HERE)

(these were so good they deserve some more blog time)
puff pastry stuffed full of YUMM

softball zoom zoom

Lauren had her first softball practice this morning.
I was up late (1am!) with my Bunco friends last night so Matt took her while T and I stayed home.

Matt said Lauren did GREAT and once again we lucked out with AWESOME coaches.
Even though Lauren was the only player on her U8 team who hadn't played before 
(really?! who are these kids?!)
she came running into the house all smiles saying she loved it.
I love that!

Oh, and Matt bought a car.
(zoom zoom)

Be Mine, Valentine

I heart Valentine's Day.  I know most people think it is simply a corporate conspiracy to sell chocolates, cards and flowers but I'm not one of them.  February pretty much stinks...cold, wet, dormant, dark, lasts forever despite it being the shortest month... so I'm happy for a little holiday cheerfulness in the form of materialistic tokens of love.
(Stepping off of my soap box now to upload some Valentine's Day pictures)

Valentine's Day started off with school parties for Lauren and Tyler.  Tyler's was first but for some reason I didn't take out my camera.  His class opened their Valentine's Day cards and then had an ice-cream sundae party.  His Valentine was a hit.  I did fess up that I copied the idea from Pinterest.

Lauren's party was next.  My job as Room Mom was to coordinate it.  Due to a family emergency Lauren's teacher wasn't there so Mrs. A (the sub) and I were on our own.

 We had four stations to complete and only an hour to do it. (clockwise starting top left)
1. ice-cream sundae:  They were given a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice-cream and then topped it with their choice of toppings...syrups, marshmallows, strawberries, chocolate chips etc. etc. 
2. Mail Room:  they read the Valentine's from their classmates.
3. decorate (and eat) a sugar cookie: as if they weren't sugared up enough.  
4. Chalkboard Tile Craft:  The kids really enjoyed the craft.  One of my parent helpers lightly applied Elmer's glue in the shape of a heart on the tile.  The children then wrapped the tissue paper squares around the pencil eraser and stuck it onto the tile.  They did a great job.  

Luckily (for Mrs. A) the end of the V-day party also marked the end of the school day so the kids could crash from all the sugar at home.

Lauren's completed craft.
(I suggested she write "I Love Mommy")

Back home the Valentine's Day party continued.
Lauren got a new t-shirt and some clip-on earrings.
She has decided she likes the UGA Bulldogs (as opposed to the GA Tech Yellow Jackets) and has been wanting a t-shirt.
(She likes the Bulldogs because a boy in the class who thinks she's cute likes Tech...go figure.)
 Tyler got a lantern (which was on his Christmas list along with a "bomb" remember?) and also a UGA t-shirt.  He likes the Bulldogs because Lauren does.

Valentine's Day was a big success and to top it Matt and I exchanged gifts (shoes for him, sunglasses for me) and went out on a dinner date.  Maybe I will survive this *bleak and bleary winter month after all.

*knocking on wood/a disclaimer:  This has actually been one of the mildest winters I've ever experienced but I still can't wait for the new life of Spring...blossoms, leaves and green grass.

Monday, February 13, 2012

this and that

I'm watching (the train wreck that is ) The Bachelor so this post is going to be more of a list of this and that.  Be forewarned...I'm distracted.

*Lauren had her softball tryouts last Saturday.  (It was more of a placement than a tryout, in that, every girl makes a team.)
It was freezing out as Winter has finally arrived in the South.  There were about 25 girls being evaluated for the U8 softball teams.  Five girls at a time took the field to hit, catch and run the bases in front of about 10 coaches.  When it was Lauren's turn she got pretty nervous and ended up shedding a few tears.  After being comforted by all the female coaches she got out there and whacked a coach pitched ball.  I was proud of her and I hope my enthusiasm made up for her the time she spent crying and she'll still enjoy playing softball.

 Daddy and Lauren warmed up before try-outs 
*After softball we did some shopping at Dillards.  Out of every single item in the whole entire store Tyler only found one T-shirt and one pair of shorts he liked.  (see the pic below)  I, on the other hand, found plenty for myself.
Unleash the Beast

*Tyler came home from school today with his first LOOSE TOOTH!!!! 
He said it was my fault because I made the PB&J sandwich that caused his tooth to make a "cracking sound" when he bit into it.  To be honest...I don't want my baby to lose his baby teeth....EVER. 

the loose tooth is on the bottom left

*Valentine's Day
The school parties are tomorrow and the personal cards have been pouring in via the USPS.  Homemade and Heartfelt cards from all the loving Grandparents.
Even I received a Valentine today (from my Mom.)  Although the card was addressed to Matt and Me somehow there were some presents inside for Lauren and Tyler as well.  The Thank You is in their smile.

*MUSIC...We love MUSIC.
Today I was happy to come across a Whitney Houston tribute channel on Sirius XM.  I was excited because for the life of me I could not find a cassette player to play my favorite Whitney Houston tapes (which I still have and in mint condition.) Where is my Walkman now that I need it?! 

The kids love music as well.
Kids Place Live on Sirius XM is a favorite but they seem to be slowly growing out of it...despite my protests.

We also enjoy some Pandora:

Children's Indie Radio

Kidz Bop

One day Kidz Bop played the Chipmunks Remix of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" song
(click the link below to hear it)
[Chipmunks Remix]
When he heard the song Tyler told me, "This is the song Shae sings (fellow Kindergarten classmate) when he pretends to smoke a cigarette."  T then laughed hysterically.
I bet Shae's parents will laugh when I share that with them at the Valentine's Day party tomorrow.  ...Or Will They?  =)

OK...enough of This and That...it's time to get back to the Bachelor...the train wreck that it is.  The Rose Ceremony is almost here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Menu

Saturday:  Halibut Street Tacos, fruit, & green salad
I forgot to buy fresh halibut at the grocery store so I used some frozen salmon fillets instead. These were DELISH.  I'll include the recipe with my changes below.
Sunday:  left-overs
Monday:  Chicken with Balsamic Cherry Tomato Sauce, Chipotle Focaccia with Garlic-Onion Topping, & salad
Tuesday:  Conga Lime Pork & Corn Bread (GG's secret recipe...also found on the back of the corn meal container)
Wednesday:  Easy Southwestern Veggie Wraps, oven fries (I don't add the Parmesan cheese,) & fruit
Thursday:  Chicken Cordon Bleu Calzones & Broccoli Mushroom Salad
Friday:  Bunco for me and left-overs for the family
Saturday:  pantry meal

Halibut Salmon Street Tacos
adapted from Shape Magazine, August 2011
(my changes in red)

1 jalapeno, stem removed, chopped
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced chopped
3 tomatillos, husks removed  1/2 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch sea salt, divided 
olive canola oil cooking spray
1 pound fresh halibut frozen salmon fillets, thawed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 6-inch corn flour tortillas
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream fat free Greek yogurt (Matt used tartar sauce)
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup chopped scallion omitted 
2 radishes, sliced

1. Place jalapeno, onion, and tomatillos over high heat
on an outdoor grill. Roast turning occasionally, for 10
minutes or Saute chopped jalapeno, onion, and green pepper over medium high heat until soft 8-10 minutes, until soft. Set aside to cool.
2. Chop the grilled ingredients. Toss with cilantro,
lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and a pinch of salt
to make a salsa.
3. Coat a small foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray, then spread
fish on it, making sure no pieces overlap; season with
pepper and remaining salt. Put baking sheet on the grill,
close the lid, and cook fish for 6 to 9 minutes or until white.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 min. (18 min.)
4. Remove pan from heat and place tortillas on the grill for
1 minute per side or until warm. Remove tortillas from grill
and wrap in a cloth napkin to keep them warm
while you assemble tacos.  Right before assembling tacos heat each tortilla in microwave for 12 seconds.
5. Top each tortilla with a dab of sour cream Greek yogurt, a piece
of fish, a dollop of salsa, and a handful of cabbage;
sprinkle with scallions and radishes. Fold tortillas
in half and serve.
These were great and I think the salmon probably added more of a flavor boost than the halibut would.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Cards

It's time for a new post.  I'm over my Silent Migraine and Silent Panic Attack.  Everything is okay but I will mention it to my doctor the next time I go in for my annual check-up.  Thanks for your comments, e-mails, and phone calls.  (both of you Moms!)

So let's move on to something Sweeter.  

It is fast approaching and both L and T have their V-day school parties on Tuesday.
Since we are doing fancy schmancy (Pinterest inspired) Valentine's cards...
we started the project early.

Last week, I took a picture of both L and T with an outstretched fist...and focused on the fist.
I decorated them via Picnik and printed them out into 3x5 inch photos.

Today, Tyler and Lauren both filled out their envelopes with their classmates' names.

 Matt used a box knife to add a couple of slits to the outstretched fist in the photo.
Insert a Sucker and Out Comes...
a Pretty Awesome Valentine!

P.S.  While I was typing this post, ABC news interrupted the children's "Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown" TV show to break the devastating news that Whitney Houston died today at age 48.  Although I wasn't a big fan of hers recently I find myself really upset by this news.  She was my first record and cassette tape and my first ever singer/songwriter crush.  What the heck?!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Silent Panic Attack

I see this blog as a family diary of sorts.  I have no problem recording the kids' significant/embarrassing/scary/gross/"omg they'll kill me for posting this" moments
but I rarely write about mine.  (of course they rarely happen...of course...rarely)

Today, however,  I seriously (yet silently) freaked the heck out and for some reason feel compelled to share.  

This morning Matt and I were watching Good Morning America after the kids went to school.  All of a sudden in the middle of "pop news" it sounded like Lara Spencer started speaking through a voice distorter.  Her voice became muffled and I had a hard time understanding what she was saying.  I looked to Matt to see if he noticed but he had dozed off.  I'm not normally a crazy person but I just couldn't find a way to justify what I was hearing.  So then I FREAKED OUT.  Heart rate sky-rocketed, blood pressure went through the roof, and I seriously thought I could be having a stroke.  (I was also embarrassed and still trying to justify it so I kept this little panic attack to myself.)  I started reciting nursery rhymes to convince myself that my cognitive function was still there and this wasn't a stroke (silently in my head of course so as not to alarm Matt.)  Finally I got up to walk it off and while walking it off I saw the "aura" and knew exactly what it (probably) was.  A Silent Migraine.  

I get these about once a month.  I don't have any pain but I see flashing lights and "sun spots" which in the time span of about an hour move across my vision from left to right.

The following pictures pretty accurately describe what I see (and can't see) during a silent migraine.

Once I was able to justify what was going on I searched the internet for "silent migraine" and lo and behold another symptom is "disruptions in hearing."  I just never had that happen before.  I eventually told Matt what had happened.  (partially to vent and partially so he knew what was going on if it was a stroke after all, and he had to talk to the paramedics...lol)

An hour later, I was just fine but I hope to never have reason for another panic attack again.  It really freaked me out.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sporty Weekend

 The kids had their LAST basketball game of the season on Saturday.

Unfortunately, both Lauren and Tyler played at the same time.
I tried to sit in the middle but since Matt was coaching Tyler's team I made sure to sit on Lauren's side.
I love Tyler's coach (my husband) but I need to say I really loved Lauren's coach too.
He was always positive and full of enthusiasm.  He would jump up and down in excitement no matter what the girls did.
And he was exactly the type of coach Lauren needed.
She always said she had fun after every practice and every game.
World's Best Coaches

Proud Basketball Mom

Tyler's End of Season Celebration

The Upward LIONS

Immediately from the basketball game we went to the tee-ball and softball registration.
We're all about the baseball now.

Today, we are enjoying the gorgeous weather and playing with friends while we wait for the 
Super Bowl.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!