Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Catching Up

So there is no way I can catch up on the past few months - I still hope to, but man, blogging just has fallen off the radar for me a bit. I still really enjoy reading yours though!! I think the hardest post is the welcome back post after an unintentional hiatus. So this is it, the put on your shoes and get out the door post....using a running metaphor!


This fall flew by at warp speed. We started school. We went to Disney and the week of our lives. We coached and played soccer. Each of these events deserves its own detailed post. I'd like to think that will happen some day. Didn't say it will.

I lead a Bible study, organized a nonprofit event and taught Sunday school. Matt ran around like crazy, trying to keep his many many plates spinning. He started building our outdoor kitchen area (you know, in all his free time). We had our big annual fall
fest, biggest one yet, and people got to admire the half finished outdoor kitchen area.

Ella excelled in reading and grew frustrated in math. Catherine loves Kindergarten and her prereading skills are taking off!

We went trick or treating with the girls as Princess Leia and Queen Amidala from Star Wars. Thank you Disney World for turning my girls into Star Wars fans!

The teachers and parents knew who they were more than the students.
Someone even called "I love you Princess Leia!"
I still read tons of books and have become a bit of Young Adult junkie! It's just so fun and easy to read, but every now and then I mix it up and read something matur
e and somber like Still Alice.

Catherine lost her first two teeth with no drama at all. We weren't expecting this because it creates such fear in Ella. Catherine pulled one out on her own and popped the other one out opening a water bottle at school. She was quite pleased with herself - Ella agreed that losing a tooth at school would be a big no no for her. Ahhh my two unique girls!

toothless Catherine

We had our second big church community Christmas celebration (called Joy) and then the day after Ella turned eight! How is it possible that she is eight years old? She had a fashion/makeover party that was so much fun, especially because I had a group of friends there helping with the makeovers. That definitely deserves a post because there are so many fun pictures.

We enjoyed a wonderful month celebrating Advent. Every morning the kids beg to go open the Advent calendar and Catherine kindly suggested that I put in the activity the night before. Imagine that!! I think my favorite activity was family game night when we played Christmas charades. The kids chose hard things like "Santa Baby, Hurry down the chimney tonight" (Ella) and "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas "(Catherine). For local friends, can you tell we listen to a lot of B101? And Mariah Carey Christmas Pandora station.

The hardest part is ending a very disjointed and random post. There's no real way to tie it up. So I'll post some pictures!

random October snowstorm - that's all Catherine wants right now
and she keeps wishing we could have pushed this snowstorm back a few months
getting ready to dance at Joy - love her beautiful smile!

look closely, can you tell I'm a Star Wars fan too....


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Prelude....

The girls knew that they were going to Disney World. It was a trip with my whole family to celebrate my parent's 40th Anniversary. I know, quite the celebration, huh?! But I decided awhile ago that all the details about the trip were going to be a surprise. Most specifically - when we were actually going!


They asked a number of times in September when we were going to Disney and I said later this fall. I kept having them believe that it was still a long ways away. Unfortunately the hard part about this was that everyone knew we were going and everyone I talked to knew it was a surprise but I still was paranoid that they would say something about Disney and someone would respond with "oh, your parents told you, aren't you so excited?!" or something like that and totally give it away.

I was right and wrong to be worried.

Right because I know of at least three times people said things about "Disney" and "this weekend when you leave" right in front of them.

One of those times it was Matt! Can you imagine how paranoid I was that we wouldn't pull off the surprise if their own dad was almost giving it away?!

Wrong because as clued in and somewhat suspicious the girls usually are (especially Ella) they didn't catch on.

The funniest/worst-at-the-time was the night before we left and we were having dinner with our friends Jon and Renee. They kept throwing little hints on purpose to drive me crazy, like telling the girls, that no, they couldn't do a sleepover that night, but they promised them they wouldn't sleep at home the next night, and after Renee painted their nails she told them looked as pretty as a princess. Not so bad. But Jon followed up with "you look pretty enough to meet a princess!"

I was kind of freaking out - it seemed so obvious to me - but the girls never picked up on it. I was so relieved when they went to bed that night, knowing that we would get to surprise them in the morning.

I knew that the best decision for our girls would be to tell them as close to the actual trip as possible. We told them three hours before we left. At one point in the morning Ella said "why did you tell us so early, I want to leave NOW!"

Ahhh....momma loves being right!

Coming up - Day 1!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Amazing

We are recovering from an amazing trip to Disney. I have been neglecting the blog these past few months but this trip is one I must record!!! (I can't forget back to school and birthday posts as well)

This week I'm gonna start with a Disney post...promise!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Catch Up

I have badly neglected my blog this summer. It has been a busy summer, but that's no excuse! We really have had a lot of fun and I can't let the summer pass by without sharing some of it!

Starting with....Vacation!

I know I did a mini post on our beach vacation with my family but I added a few more pictures because everyone knows that's where the real fun is!


It was a great week. The weather was great, we were right on the ocean, close enough for the older kids to walk to and from the beach by themselves (assuming people from our group were already there - I'm not that low key), the cousins all played together wonderfully - no fighting all week.

It was very relaxed - we stayed late at the beach, ate late dinners, watched World Cup soccer, went for ice cream, went to the boardwalk, drank wine, watched the sun set, watched the full moon over the ocean, dug holes in the sand complete with steps for the kids to walk down, snuggled babies, watched fashion shows (bottom right is an example), flew kites (no that is not a giant bird attaching Matt, that is our super cool dragon kite) and much more.

To sum it up, it was a treasured week of time with my whole family. So thankful!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back to the Beach!

For some reason I couldn't post this at the beach, the laptop kept giving me an error code. So it is a bit depressing to publish a post that was written early in your vacation when you are home and unpacked. But oh well...here it is!

We're on vacation for the week, enjoying time with family and fun in the sun.

I'm getting time with my nieces and nephews
The kids are enjoying story time with Nama
Much much water fun
Lots of cousin time - this is the first picture of all four girl cousins together...
Posted by Picasa
And it's only Tuesday! More great times to come - currently I'm sitting at the beach house with a great view of the ocean, enjoying some time before I head out into the 90+ degree heat. Four of the kids are out on dates with grandparents or dads and the rest are quietly playing.
It's a good day!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

1st Book Review


My love of reading is finally being put to use as I am now a part of BlogHer's Book Club! (Check out my new little badge on the lower left of my blog - click on it to go the book club and see other reviews) I get to read and review a book for you all, which is basically combining two things I love the most, reading and sharing stuff I love with people.

The book I reviewed was called Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok.


Curious what I thought of it? Then please go check out my review - leave a comment and let me know you think and maybe I'll get to do more of these!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Fun

I hope you all are enjoying this lovely Memorial Day weekend. We've had many hot sunny days in a row and the girls have enjoyed many days of swimming.

This was on Friday...
By Saturday she was swimming around with no vest on at all! Can't believe we have two swimmers now. Another big milestone for us as parents :)

Matt and Ella swam up to the edge of the pool so I could get a picture (mostly to document Matt's hairiness)...

And then this guy joined them....

It was pretty hilarious because they weren't expecting it and the dog was right on the edge angling down towards the water. Matt was trying to stay really still so they didn't knock him off while also turning the tube so the dog was facing the deck and could jump off. Eventually he just climbed over Ella to get back to dry land. Imagine how much she enjoyed that!

We really had a wonderful weekend - plenty of time just the four of us and plenty of time with friends. Now it's Tuesday morning and back to the grind with school and work...but we're counting down the days until school's out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Special Days

For a few days last week Blogger was down. You couldn't create posts or edit posts. I didn't know this because I had a blog full of pictures sitting on my desk top and hadn't gotten around to doing anything to them to know that I wouldn't have been able to anyway. When I went to close it down and realized it wasn't saving I realized "oh....that's why I've been seeing grumbling messages about blogger on facebook and twitter". I was pleasantly surprised to see that a few days later my post had been restored (seriously though, how hard would it be to add the pictures again....apparently for me it would have been tough!) and I didn't have to start over.

I just wanted to highlight a few special things from the past week (now two weeks ago). Note: This is not in chronological order. I know that's annoying but so is rearranging the pictures!

On Mother's Day I had the most wonderful gift of watching Ella and Catherine dance in church. They performed a beautiful dance, choreographed by Renee, to David Crowder's version of "How He Loves". It is such a beautiful song and watching my girls dance to it on Mother's Day definitely resulted in some tears! I love watching them grow as they get old and more comfortable performing. They are both so different on stage. Ella gets a little nervous and is very focused on getting the moves right. She loves it so much and I am so proud of her for doing it and not letting that little nervousness hold her back! Catherine doesn't mind being on stage at all - in fact she'll make eye contact with you if she can (if it's me, I'm usually mouthing back to her, watch Nay Nay, watch Nay Nay) and flash a big smile and just dance her heart out, even if she's not always going in the right direction!

Here are two sweet pictures of them waiting to perform....


A few days before I got to attend a Mother's Day Tea in Ella's classroom. Her teacher did an amazing job organizing this and the kids worked so hard preparing all the activities.
I love any chance I get to be in Ella's class (and man it's been a lot this year!). It's great to see how she's doing and have her show me all her "stuff". I love getting a sense of the class "dynamic".
The kids did a poem, a song, and a book. They made a little book about their moms and a card with their picture and handprint on it. We also did a little craft together and the teacher came around a took a picture of each kid and their mother (it's not the one above, but it's one of my favs of Ella and me. I'll have to scan it in and post it)
Then the kids served us tea, little sandwiches, fruit and chocolate. Pretty nice tea party if I say so myself!

Finally, but not really, because it too place earlier that day. That morning on the same day Catherine's class had an open house. She got to show us all around her class and point out all her favorite things.
I was glad Matt was able to zip over from work and join us.

Then we made a craft together (crafty day for me!) and the kids performed some of their favorite songs.
I love that picture because everyone is getting situated but Catherine saw Matt with the his phone up and went into camera mode! Love it :)

Then the kids all served us drinks, doughnut hole and other treats.

It was a busy day but such a special day to see both girls in their school environments and enjoy some extra time with them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Smooches

Thank you all for your great feedback on my last post - last week I sat down and wrote about all of them! There were 18 photos and it actually took awhile. When I finally hit publish all I saw afterwards was a blank screen. The post vanished! I tried to retrieve but for some reason it was gone for good. So....at some point I hope to go back and redo it but for now I needed to do something else...something that made me happy!


It's recipe sharing time! These cookies look like your standard peanut butter blossoms, right? But no, there is a big big difference and it's a difference big enough to make this one of the yummiest cookies I've made in awhile.
Instead of peanut butter, the dough has....Nutella in it!

I love Nutella! It is basically it's own food group in our family because my love for it is echoed in each of family member's heart.

We put it on a banana for breakfast, on toast, on a ritz cracker (perfection when you add a slice of banana to go with it), in crepes and for special occasion we use it to make one of my husband's favorite dessert, Bomboloni de Nutella - which are super good and yummy but the process is a bit involved and not something we make when it's just the four of us. This cookie recipe is really easy and absolutely delicious. I actually think I'll make them at Christmas time since my kids aren't fans of the peanut butter blossom.


Chocolate-Hazelnut Smooches
Original recipe here, courtesy of Giada

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella) - can use more - I used a heaping 1/2 cup, maybe closer to 3/4 cup
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies in
1 (9-ounce) package of chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped (recommended: Hershey's)
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, place the chocolate hazelnut spread, butter, and both sugars. Using a hand mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and blend until incorporated. Stir in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.

Shape the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls. Rolls the balls in the sugar. Place the cookies on a heavy cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. Quickly place a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Be careful with the cookie time - it's better to undercook them slightly and allow them to continue cooking on the pan afterwards. They are best when soft!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Take your pick!

So what do you think? This is a pretty random collection of pictures taken from my iPhone over the last month (click on it to see them larger). Which ones do you want to know more about? Come on, the Barbie is begging to be explained!!! Let me know in the comments and I'll start posting!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Are you watching?

Yesterday afternoon a friend sent me a link to streaming video of a Bald Eagle's nest. Two little eaglets (yes I knew that without looking it up, but yes I did look it up because I wasn't 100% sure) had already hatched and number three is due any day now.

Here's a picture from my computer...


It is super fascinating. The kids and I have it up on the screen all the time and Catherine was singing a song about Eagles being our best friends. The bird...not the football team! At one point last night we saw the eagles about to dine on some fresh food....Ella thought it was a rat but Catherine figured out quickly that it was a fish. The eaglets are soooo soft and fluffy (looking that is, I haven't been out to Iowa where the nest is located to confirm they really are) and so cute.

It's been like having our own little science lesson here at home, which is especially nice since Ella has been home all week with yet another bout of bronchitis.

Here's the link. Just a warning, it's fascinating AND super addicting! Don't say I didn't warn you if you find yourself stuck in front of a computer for hours on end tomorrow.

Let me know if you check in and if you get to see baby #3 hatching.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hellooooo

Man, when you don't blog for a month it's really hard to decide what to start with when you get back into the swing of things...


As usual I have so many posts swirling around in my head and it's been so long so it's hard to know what to share first...

I guess I'll start with some good old randomness!

-One significant thing for me the past two weeks has been my commitment to drastically limit my Facebook usage to checking once in the morning and then not again until after the kids are in bed. For someone who has an iPhone and can basically check Facebook anytime, anywhere as often as she wants - this is pretty major! I originally started it as part of Lent, sacrificing something that I knew was a source of a lot wasted time in hopes that I would use that time more productively and be more diligent about spending time with God, whether through prayer, worship, time in the Word or all of the above.

It has been soooo good for me! Wasted time aside I realized I was really addicted to just mindless checking and scrolling around on Facebook. I love to connect and be connected with people and Facebook really is a fun way of doing that, especially with family and friends who aren't near by. But I don't need to know everything that's going on with people right at the moment it happens, or is posted. I can wait until my kids are tucked up in bed to check and see what's new! Sometimes it's good to know things quickly, which is why I love that when Rachel posts news about Trey in their Facebook group it gets sent right to my email and I know how to be praying. But the vast majority of things can wait and I'm finding that so can I.

The thing I miss most is posting things my kids say or do when it happens because it really is a fun to get feedback and comments. Today Catherine said to me "What happens if there is no more coffee in the tri-state area? What will all the adults have to wake them up?" After recovering from the initial shock at the very thought of there being no coffee within reach I got quite a laugh out of that - definitely would have been a facebook post!

-We enjoyed a few days of gorgeous spring weather last week and now are more ready than ever for Spring weather to be here.

But I do know that Spring is here. We enjoyed our free Rita's on Sunday in honor of Spring, now we're just waiting for some warmer weather!

-I'm a reading fool these days. I put a ton of stuff on hold and it all came at once! I really need to keep an up to date list so I can follow up with authors I really like. So although I really don't need to know for now since I am set for awhile, any good recommendations?

-Oh yeah, a recipe! I've been wanting to post this for a long time and if I don't do it know I might not get a chance until next fall/winter. It's just too good for you to wait that long. This week is still supposed to be chilly, potential for snow in various areas of the state - why not make this easy, inexpensive meal before the switch to grills and summer food!

From Mels Kitchen Cafe (who else?!) bold italics my comments/notes

4 bone-in pork loin chops (at least 1/2-inch thick) I don't bother with bone in chops and I usually try and fit as many as possible in the pan.
2-3 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick I have used one or two (max) apples
1-2 yellow onions, sliced
only use one onion
1/3 cup brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the onion slices in an even layer over the bottom of the dish. Top the onion slices with the apples. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the apples and onions. Season the pork chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the pork chops in a single layer on top of the apples and onions. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for three hours. Do not open the oven and lift the foil – the pork chops, apples and onions need to be tightly covered the whole time to work their magic (and not dry out).

Serve each pork chop with your favorite side dish and top with the apples and onions.

Seriously, this is so good! The pork is basically falling apart, so tender you don't need a knife. And did you see that list of ingredients - it doesn't get much simpler than that! As always let me know if you try it out and what you think.

Thanks for checking in even though it's been forever.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fine Dining

We have a tradition with our good friends the Kovaliks (Hanging with your Naybor). Renee and I both enjoy cooking and trying new food so we use Valentine's Day as an excuse to have a gourmet dinner of sorts. We say it's our Valentine's Day gift to the guys, but I think it's just as much a reason for us to have fun planning and cooking some super yummy food.


Last year we chose recipes from Julia Childs' cookbook and while we enjoyed a wonderful tasty meal it was a lot of work. At the culmination of all our labor, we actually light our dish on fire - per instructions by the great Julia. The thing is when you cook one of her recipes you don't really know what is ok to adapt and what steps you might be able to shorten or even skip. Until afterwards when you go "ooohhh, that's what that was, I could have totally done that quicker!"

This year we planned our meal using the good old world wide web. Overall it was a great success and I thought it would be fun to share our menu with you should you ever need some gourmet recipes for yourself!


Appetizer: Crostini with Proscuitto and Fig - This was really a perfect appetizer for this type of meal. Not too heavy and not too labor intensive - just some wonderful flavors that really complemented one another. I am not a big fan of mint outside of dessert or drinks, but I didn't mind the mint with this. But I would have been without it as well. (bottom left pic - after we'd devoured all but one of them...)

Salad: Mixed greens with caramelized pears and pecans. Here is a link to the original recipe but we changed things up a bit. Instead of romaine we used spring mix, we used pecans instead of walnuts, because...well pecans are just better, instead of proscuitto (already in the appetizer) we added feta cheese. Yum! (top right picture)

The main course was Filet Mignons with Spiced Butter, Caramelized Shallot Mashed Potatoes and steamed fresh green beans with lemon zest. All three were delish and worked perfectly together. I don't have a recipe for the beans because are a recipe Renee makes, lemon zest and lemon juice added to the beans after steaming them - for some reason they never turn out as good when I make them so there may be some secret trick to it!

Cooking filet had me nervous because it is such a pricey piece of meat that you really don't want to get it wrong! Renee and I were funny, I would take it out of the oven and we'd look at it and then look at each other, trying to guess if it was to that magic medium rare point, not bloody, but still nice and pink. After searing it in a pan, cooking it in the oven, you topped each piece with the spiced butter (only thing changed on that was no carraway seeds) and then tented it with foil while you worked on the sauce (we didn't use the veal demi glace that the recipe called for. No clue how it would have been different). It was a success - I don't think I've ever cooked something that made Matt as happy as that filet mignon did!

Dessert Raspberry and Chocolate Ganache Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream. Take a few minutes to take that all in. Then click on it to look at the picture. Yes it as good as it looks. Kind of rendered me speechless! If you have an occasion to make a fancy cake, give this one a try. We split up the leftovers and our half is taunting me from across the room! I think the only change was in the raspberry layer, Renee cooked and strained the raspberries according to the directions then we just added it to a raspberry fruit spread instead of making it into a curd.

I don't know if you noticed in the pictures but there are only four place settings at the table. We fed the kids pizza earlier and they were downstairs in the basement watching a movie while we enjoyed our fine dining!

I hope you all have wonderful Valentine's Day and somehow someway enjoy some fine dining of your own!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Days

We've enjoyed a number of fun snowy outings to nearby hill that is perfect for sled riding. It's fast enough to be super fun for the kids but not steep enough to be really dangerous. I'm still a bit scarred from watching a kid smack into a tree at a really big hill a few winters ago.
I love the snow, but not so much this icy slushy rain stuff we've had this week. And I don't love how quickly our school district cancels school without building any snow days into the schedule. But I do love a good snow and I love having a hill nearby that is our go to place.

Yay for snow and sled riding!

Ok, now I'm ready for Spring!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You give me fever

It's a been a long few weeks.


Remember that last post when I was all excited about my meals?! Yeah, I think I made one of those meals. By the end of the week my husband, who has never ever complained about dinner occasionally being grilled cheese, or sometimes nothing (because we all have those days) said "I need real food".

Instead of being about new and yummy meals, my week became all about fevers, motrin, tylenol, coughs, fever, motrin, tylenol, exhaustion, crankiness, snow days, fevers, bronchitis, ear infection, sick stomach, another ear infection, crankiness, exhaustion.

In case you you didn't catch that, both kids got sick with fevers that resulted in me not leaving the house for four days straight and watching so much Hannah Montana, The Suite Life and Phineas and Ferb that I thought my brain would melt away.

Isn't it nice that my beloved children were sick and miserable and somehow I made it all about me?!

Ella got the worst of it with a fever for three or four days straight and a cough that became bronchitis as well as an ear infection. She was up every night coughing or dealing with being uncomfortable. I knew she turned the corner when she asked to go to bed at 6:30 and proceeded to sleep for 13 hours straight. On the whole, she is not a good patient. The entire time she was home she was exhausted, more miserable than I have ever seen her. BUT - she would NOT sleep. She would lay on the couch in tears because she was so exhausted but she said that sleeping was boring.

For real. Sleeping, the one thing that would make you feel better, was boring.

One time I forced her to lay down in a dark room and I proceeded to sing her to sleep for at least twenty minutes. Her eyes were closed and she was perfectly still. I was so relieved, finally I would be able to sneak away, give Catherine a little attention, try and straighten up the house....when Ella's eyes popped open and she said "Can I be done resting now?"

Groan.

Then there's Catherine. Wednesday morning she woke up not feeling well and proceeded to sleep until noon! That's right, she slept until noon. She was definitely sick with a fever spiking close to 103, but she never got bronchitis, never was as miserable as her sister.

In the midst of this we had a snow day and then the following week we had Martin Luther King Day off and then the next day another snow day. At one point I realized that out of 10 days Ella had been in two of them (2 snow days and a holiday included helped her not have as many sick days)!

We've started off this week on a good note and both kids went to school as usual Monday and Tuesday. But as I am writing this I'm also listening to the weather forecast and wondering if they school district will cancel school out of fear of the upcoming storm. Then what about Thursday when we deal with the aftermath of this "potential" snowstorm? Because guess what - Friday is an inservice day so we know we're staying home!

In all seriousness, I am thankful for the kids' health and realize that I have no reason to complain about a week or so of illnesses. But can I have free reign to complain about the weather or do I have to wait to February to officially have Spring Fever?!! (cuz it's all about the fevers over here!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Monday

I was so excited about this week's hearty and comforting meals that I had to share them!


Snow is in the forecast and that had me craving warm hearty meals that would warm us up after braving the cold outdoors.

Tonight I was all set to cook but Matt's going to be away until bedtime getting a snow plow attached to his truck. No, there's not that much snow coming, it's a work thing, but let me tell you I am even less excited about driving the truck around. I am already nervous about parking it as it is but now I will have a nice plow in the front and an extended bed in the back. Yay. So tonight will be whatever I scrounge up for the kids and myself. (I'm curious if anyone else skips cooking (and by cooking I mean, a real meal that you've planned, not like breakfast for dinner or spaghetti which are two standard fill ins when it's just me and the kids) when their spouse is gone? It might just be me but knowing that the one other person who will really enjoy the meal is gone takes a ton of my motivation away.)

Tuesday - Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Soup I dare you to click on the link and not want to make this soup right away. It looks incredibly delicious and healthy. Perfect perfect for a snowy day!!! I can't wait for the way this makes the house smell :)

Wednesday - Kalua Pork - This is one of my favorite ways to cook pork. So easy and so yummy. I plan on serving it plain accompanied by broccoli and some sort of red potato (mashed, roasted, any suggestions?)
Thursday - Classic Italian Lasagna - In case you haven't noticed all three recipes are from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I know I say it all the time, but I LOVE her recipes! Anyway, this lasagna looks so yummy and is different from a traditional lasagna because it doesn't use ricotta cheese. I am a ricotta cheese fan, but I have to admit it's not my favorite part of a lasagna so I am super excited - I am hoping to have found my go-to-lasagna (I tend to rotate a few different recipes, or make a combination of a veggie/traditional meat one).

Friday -Sunday - I never plan real well for the weekends because, well, it's the weekend! But too often that leads to last minute dinners that end up costing more money and aren't as healthy or yummy. My plans for those nights include leftover pork in the form of BBQ sandwiches, Spinach Ricotta Pie, a family favorite growing up and a relatively inexpensive vegetarian dish, and most likely pizza, because who I am kidding, it's not a weekend without pizza at least one night!
What are your favorite meals to make during these cold winter months? Let me know if you post any recipes so I can come check them out!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Christmas singing

We had a very lovely Christmas that was full of family, fun, food, Barbies and last but not least...songs.


My kids love to hear stories about me and my brothers growing up. Catherine went through a phase where she would ask me to tell a story from when I was little every single night. They know them so well that they often request certain ones. For instance Catherine will say "Mom tell me the story about when you were little and your bigger brother would make you do songs Christmas and put a towel under the door so no one could hear you practice."

Why thank you Catherine, now there's no need for me to actually tell the story!

But yes, when I was younger my brothers and I would put on a little Christmas Eve show that involved us singing various Christmas carols. And yes, my older brother was a bit of a slave driver and would make us practice upstairs in his room, and in order to keep our program a complete secret from my parents, he would put a towel along the bottom of the door to keep any sound from escaping.

You know in case my mom was trying to listen.

Because thinking back on it now it cracks me up because I know if my kids were upstairs playing (assuming happily) my first reaction would not be try and listen in. I would definitely be using my time more wisely, like cooking dinner, cleaning, doing laundry....or reading blogs, playing Words With Friends, scrolling through facebook. Hmmmm which seems more likely?!

Anyway - we've come full circle because after hearing that story for years now the cousins (fueled by Catherine and Ella) decided this was the year to put on their own little show.

I took some video that isn't the greatest quality but it's better than nothing.

Same house, Same fireplace, different giggling girl (Ella = me 25 years ago) and different little squeaky kid voices that I imagine bring the same joy to my heart as to my parent's many years ago.

video
This next one is a few songs later. Just keep your eye on Norah, it's priceless...
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Seconds later and we're all good!

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There are many more I hope to post - some great rock and roll clips with Caleb leading the way with his drum and some sweet dance moves during a little dance party. But I couldn't pass up sharing with you an event that was 25 years in the making!

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