Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekly Menu 8/27/2012

While having margaritas with the ladies tonight (it was $2 Tuesday) my blog was brought into the conversation and how it's a place to find a bunch of dinner ideas.  So I thought I better get my rear in gear and post some of those sought after recipes.

Without further adieu, here is this week's Menu:

Monday:  Risotto with Shrimp and Spinach  (scroll down to find the recipe and don't burn your hand when handling the pot out of the oven)
Tuesday:  Soft Tacos (the only thing I know how to make without a recipe)
Wednesday:  Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Fritters, celery, and fruit
Thursday:  Baked Corn and Crab Cakes and green salad  (I'll be using imitation crab meat so we'll see how they turn out.)
Friday:  left-overs and Soy Cilantro Roasted Potatoes (I can't wait to try the combination of flavors.)
Saturday: possible Labor Day trip to Tennessee??

It was suggested tonight at the restaurant that I come up with a business plan to provide people with a Weekly Menu and a matching Grocery List for a small fee.  I said I would think about it.  Any ideas, advice or suggestions?

Monday, August 27, 2012


The other day I looked out my window and saw some WILDLIFE.
I did not like the way they flanked my Tomato Plants.

Check out the nerve of "Bambi!"
(I have some netting thrown over the tomatoes and that seemed to ward her off.)
Her and her family did, however, eat all of the mushrooms that popped up with the overnight rain.

Back in the house Chloe lives the WILD LIFE herself.
She spends the mornings on the sofa...
(Her and I watch the first hour of GMA together.)

When I head to the gym she makes her way to the sunny spot in the playroom.
(Her nights are spent sleeping on my side of the bed)

I also have a few WILD moments myself.
Namely, Thursday morning's at the Pool.
I meet up with a bunch of friends and we go WILD? swimming and chatting with each other.

And of course, Tyler and Lauren are still WILD about Minecraft.
They like to spend their screen time watching Minecraft videos on YouTube.
Tyler showed me a video today about Minecraft at School.

This evening I went silently WILD when I full-fledgedly grabbed the handle of a pot that just came out of a 450 degree oven...(with my Bare Hand.)  I've got blisters folks.
Before grabbing the handle of said pot I told myself NOT TO because it was HOT.
At least the Risotto With Shrimp and Spinach turned out okay when I was finally able to serve it up.

We're just living the WILD LIFE lately.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I've mentioned Minecraft before back in June and how my kids are in love with the game.  Well things haven't changed nor have they died down.  Minecraft is still a huge part of our lives.  (Pretty much all of our daily "screen time" is devoted to playing it on the iPADs or Computer.  (Remember screen time?)

Tyler was delighted to find a Minecraft Creeper for sale on eBay and had to have it.  ...even if it had to be shipped from China...

The Creeper finally arrived today (after a long 3-week journey across the globe) accompanied by a sweet note.

(we'll be sure to give the seller a 9-10 score)  =)

Once Tyler freed the Creeper from its packaging ("parcel") it did not leave his sight.
It played Legos.

It ate dinner with us.
(grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers and tomato soup)

It helped Tyler read his book, Sam and the Firefly.
(love that book!)

We interrupt this Creeper show (because Lauren demanded a picture too) to bring you a photo of Yoshi reading Charlotte's Web to two baby Yoshis.
(We are all about the video game stuffed animals in this house!)

Now back to more (Tyler requested) Creeper pictures.
its backside

its legs

a close-up

with a hammer and a shield

now with a pickaxe
(I've never been able to get the boy to pose for so many pictures!)

Surprisingly, he opted not to take the Creeper to bed with him.
Instead, he tucked the green guy in with Pikachu, a red Angry Bird, a Super Mario mystery box and Toad, a Fruit Ninja bomb and a build-a-bear-dog-from-Canada.

(I wasn't lying when I said we were all about the video game stuffed animals!!)
Good Night All

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Big Boy, Big New Smile

Tyler lost his first top tooth this evening.
(his third tooth ever)

The tooth has been beyond loose for weeks now and he's been begging Matt and I to pull it out for him.
I refused to do it for two reasons:  #1. Ewww  #2. I don't want his little boy smile to change. (EVER)
However, his Daddy felt it was time.

After a couple of tearful yanks the loose tooth was OUT.
(Did you hear that tooth fairy?)

Way to go "tough-guy" Tyler!

(I know the grown-up teeth are coming but just remember, you will always be my little boy!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekly Menu 8-13-2012

Monday:  Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Corn, cornbread, green salad & strawberries
Tuesday:  Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich (from the Cook This, Not That cookbook,) steamed broccoli, & sauteed mushrooms

(pineapple chicken sandwich ready to serve)

Wednesday:  Zesty Taco Salad, left-over cornbread, chips & salsa
Thursday:  Chicken Pasta Fagioli, (from the latest Weight Watchers magazine...on-line links to WW recipes are hard to find thanks to their copyright police) and the last of the left-over cornbread
Friday:  Matt's football draft & pot-luck
Saturday:  Meatballs with Sweet and Sassy Sauce over egg noodles (The recipe calls for Equal but I will use regular sugar.)
Sunday:  left-overs or pantry meal

Monday, August 13, 2012

Neighborhood Bunco

Sometimes we play three rounds of Bunco
and other times we play on the Zip Line for two of those rounds.

Love my Bunco Gals!

These Days and Times

I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for new blogging material.  It's been a few days and there hasn't been much to blab about.  However, I know our family (especially my brother Brian) won't wait long before they start calling, texting, e-mailing and posting on former blog posts that 'It's About Time!' I blogged again.

So, I was delighted this afternoon when Lauren and Tyler brought home some interesting information about school in These Days and Times.

But first I need to share that I'm writing this post on our brand new computer.  Last Friday and Saturday were "Sales Tax FREE" days in Georgia so we bought a (very much needed) new computer and also a new fancy printer/scanner.  This is my first post on the 27" screen.

The kids were beyond excited over the new computer once they saw the size and durability of the BOX.
Lauren is trapped inside.

So...this afternoon after we did our monstrous amount of Monday homework I asked the kids about their school day.  They both said their teachers went over the different Codes.  Apparently in These Days and Times school wide Codes are needed for safety.  They told me there are FOUR different codes that if needed will be announced over the loud speaker.

(all codes were explained by Lauren)

Code RED:  "If a crazy person comes in the school everybody has to shut the blinds, windows, and lock the doors and turn the lights off and hide in the classroom.  If someone is in the hallway during a Code RED they have to go to the closest class."
(How sad that in These Days and Times this needs to be discussed in Elementary School. ...but we know from watching the news that it does....)

Code YELLOW:  "Just to make sure everyone is still there."  I asked Lauren more questions and it seems this code is used if a child is thought to be missing from the school campus.

Code BLUE:  "It means someone is hurt and it includes the ambulance bus."  Lauren said a Code Blue was called last year when a classmate of hers had to get stitches after an accident on the playground.

Code GREEN:  "Everything is fine."  This is probably announced after a previous Code has been neutralized.

I was very surprised and slightly saddened that the school had these various codes.  I wonder if this is a Georgia thing or if this is more of a national warning system.  Either way it's a sign of These Days and Times.  I may just be getting old but it seems things sure have changed since I was in school...back in the good old days....
Now get off my lawn.

Oh WAIT!  Lauren had more to tell me than just the Codes.  She jumped right into the following conversation which was too awesome not to post.
L:  Remember Uncle Brian from Oregon?
Me: Yes.
L:  Does he have a girlfriend yet?
Me: I don't think so.
L:  When is he going to get married?
Me:  I'm not sure.
L:  How old is he?
Me: 26
L:  How old were you when you got married?
Me: 24
L:  He should really get married.

Ha Ha Ha.  You can't make this stuff up.
Let's go Brian...Lauren's obviously waiting.  =)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School!

 While I've been working on my Canadian Vacation posts...
We've been getting back to real life...Real Quick.

Can you believe school started on Monday?!
August 6th was the first day of school.

Even though I was reminiscing about my childhood school year starting after Labor day I was filling these book bags with $$supplies$$.

First Day of School Photos:
Hair freshly cut and ready for the 1st grade.

3rd grade here she comes!

My sweeties

Good Morning Miss Linda! 
(the best bus driver ever)
On the bus and off to school.

After the kids went to school I headed off to the gym to start my school year routine.  After the gym I showered, went grocery shopping and tidied up the house.  I was in a daze.  A lot of Moms are happy when their kids head back to school but not me.  I love our summers home together.

Soon enough though I spotted the bus heading back to the house.
Woo Hoo!

There they come.
Uh Oh...Lauren doesn't look so happy.

Despite their looks getting off the bus they had a good first day.
Tyler had stories to tell about his day and teacher but Lauren was a little peeved that she had homework already.  Welcome to third grade Missy.
(*After three days in school now she's coming home happier than ever.  She likes her teacher and is very excited for the school year.*)

I guess it is good the kids are back in school because I've developed an obsession.
Ever since I found this HUGE, 'give me the heebie jeebies', Tomato Worm sucking the life out of a green tomato in my garden I am on a mission to rid the earth of them.  (Not really because I can't bring myself to harm them but I do clip them from my tomato plant and toss them out in the front yard for the birds.)

After I removed this tomato-sucker from my plant I Instagrammed him.
You may have seen him on Facebook.

The next day I found this smaller "creeper" (not to be confused with Minecraft lingo) feasting on my plant.
I now check my tomato plants MULTIPLE times a day.  It's become a true obsession!   

My ultimate goal is to harvest this reddening tomato and also let his green younger brother ripen.

I was able to put my hornworm obsession aside today to watch this cute little guy for a few hours.
Little Man is approaching two and he was a lot of fun.
He really likes blocks, balls, destroying block towers and throwing balls.
He was great and he makes me miss the toddler stage. 

I predict he will be some sort of Engineer.
He likes to organize the blocks into a neat even line and he even prefers the seem side of the block to be facing up.
(He and Matt would get along great!)

With all my distractions of late I'm still cooking in the kitchen most nights.
This week's meal plan comes from my Cook This Not That cookbook.

Today was a Tofu Stir-fry with red bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli and carrots
mixed with a hoisin, soy sauce, chili sauce, thai chili paste, rice wine vinegar concoction I threw together.

 It was yummy.
(Matt is obviously out of town. (because I used TOFU!))
Lauren ate her whole entire serving and Tyler ate all the Tofu and zucchini.  
(See Matt, Tofu is good)

I will close this post with Tyler demonstrating the proper position to hold when there is a tornado drill at school.
He tells me a tornado drill is coming up next week since they had their fire drill today.

Be safe!
And be on the lookout for the evil tomato worms!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Canadian Vacation: Quebec, Quebec

Note:  With this post we'll conclude our Canadian Vacation.
I'm sort of rushing things but I have a First Day of School post which needs to go up
(especially since today was the second day of school!)

After visiting the Boldt castle we drove across the border again back into Canada.
After driving for awhile we drove across the border from Ontario to Quebec.
The highway signs in Ontario were in both English and French but once we drove into Quebec it was French and only French.
We had our work cut out for us.
(read: We don't speak French.)

Matt's business meeting was in Sherbrooke, QB (2 hours East of Montreal.)
Sherbrooke is not a touristy town so we had a hard time communicating...especially at dinner.  I used some Spanish language knowledge to translate but we mostly pointed at pictures and hoped they could understand a little bit of English.
The kids LOVED the language barrier, especially Lauren.  She would get giddy when people were speaking French.  I think it amazed her and unbeknownst to her, broadened her horizons.  She now really wants to learn a second language and I told her Aunt Mili should be the one to teach her.
(for those who do not know, Aunt Mili speaks Spanish as her first language)

Our Hotel in Sherbrooke

The pool was freezing cold but we had to check it out.

Sherbrooke was a charming little town.  We stayed right in the downtown area but were also walking distance to many restaurants, a lake, walking paths and playgrounds.  All just steps from our hotel.

After two nights in Sherbrooke we drove NE for 2 hours to Quebec City.

We stayed at the Hilton just outside the  wall of Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec.)

We immediately took to exploring this awesome walled city.

 a side street we took to avoid the crowds

Meals in Quebec take a long time.
We found out they don't bring the check until we request it because they don't want to rush the customer.
The wait didn't bother Tyler.

The next day we really put on our walking shoes and explored the walled city all day.
We walked down a number of quaint little streets...

and rested on benches in many cute little garden parks.

We also did some people watching along the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence River.)

Looking back into Old Quebec on our way to the hotel.

Tyler enjoyed more than one piggy-back ride during our trek through Old Quebec.

On the third day of our trip to Quebec City we finally ventured away from Old Quebec.

 This was an amazing park with hiking trails, sky-lifts, playgrounds, bridges, picnic areas and amazing views of the falls and everything around them.

We took advantage of everything.
Here  Lauren and Tyler play on one of the many playgrounds.

Looking over the Falls from the bridge.

 his view

The view after hiking Up and Over and half-way Down

At the bottom of the falls Matt took Lauren and Tyler to get even closer.

Before we left the kids took their turns "holding up the bridge."

Bright and early the next day we packed up and left Quebec, Canada for the United States.  We were flying out of Burlington, Vermont so we decided to take a day to explore the city.
 It was hippy and happy; full of bike trails, bike lanes and bikes.  It was a total college town with street-side charging stations for electric cars, and it totally reminded me of Eugene, Oregon.  (Where I grew up and went to college.)

 Playing in a fountain downtown.

Burlington, Vermont was great and I'm glad we decided to include it as party of our vacation.

We all really enjoyed this family vacation.
I had hoped to get us all a stamp on our passport but that just doesn't happen if you drive into Canada.
The kids' passports are good for 5 years so we'll have to plan another international trip soon.