Monday, June 28, 2010

Happy birthday Kelly!

Today is my friend Kelly's ("Aunt Kelly" to the kids) birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLY!!!!!

I ♥ my toaster oven

Like most people, I hate to turn the oven on when it's this hot. We've come to rely on the toaster oven for things like frozen pizzas, fish sticks, cookies (wow, I feed my family a lot of frozen junk), but I recently started making things like breakfast casseroles and main dishes (now we're getting healthier) in it, too.

Last night I made a stacked enchilada in a springform pan, and it turned out really well. So well, in fact, that I had to take a picture of it to show you:




This is such a versatile dish, and the recipe combinations are limitless. This is what I used in mine:

4 flour tortillas
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, drained & rinsed
Salsa (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded cheese

Brown ground beef with taco seasoning. Add beans and corn to beef. Place a flour tortilla in the bottom of a springform pan. Top with 1/4 of the meat mixture and spread a thin layer of salsa over meat. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas/meat/cheese, ending with a layer of meat and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350, then let rest 10 minutes on cooling rack before removing sides of pan.

Next time I'm going to try shredded pork roast/fat free cream cheese/green chiles. So many options!


Now, on a non-toaster oven related food topic, we had a play date here this weekend and these are the sandwiches I made:
Ha! Aren't they cute?? There were turkey/cheese and PB&Js in each shape. After lunch we turned on the sprinklers, and the kids loved it! (I completely forgot to take pictures of the kids with their little friends...)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GratiTuesday (late again?!)

Late again! Things we're grateful for this week:

  1. My friend Laura loaned us two potty chairs so we could get started on potty training the boys. I'm seriously thinking about starting tomorrow with one of the boys, but we haven't decided which one should be first yet. (Which reminds me...I'd better stop at the store for a bottle of wine...)
  2. VBS was a success! Sophie loved it, and loved coming to work with Mommy in the mornings before heading to the church.
  3. Having a boss that's understanding of juggling a career and small children, so he didn't mind #2 above.
  4. My friend Christy is on a road trip, and we've gotten two postcards from her! The kids love carrying them around and talking about mountains and snow. Fun mail rocks!
  5. Brent's friend and his wife came over for dinner last weekend, and it was a really fun night. The guys haven't seen each other in over 15 years! They had a great time catching up, and his wife and I had a chance to visit. SUPER nice couple!
  6. Air conditioning--in the car and in the house. I can't imagine living without them!

Monday, June 21, 2010

End of VBS week

Vacation Bible School ended with a grand finale singing performance and family night at the zoo. All of the kids wore their VBS shirts and sat on bleachers to sing. Sophie lasted about 30 seconds before she came and sat on my lap (who knew she could be such a shy thing??), so I'm glad I got a couple of good pictures early in the performance.


Sophie's buddy, Ryan, stayed up there for the whole performance, though. Their teacher (Ryan's mom) Caryn said she had to separate them during story time each day at VBS because they'd talk and giggle, taking each other's shoes off and having a fun time with each other. Cute!!

Sophie's already looking forward to next year, and the boys will be able to go with her!
Speaking of the boys, Sophie and Blake have found a way to get on top of Sophie's dresser. Check out their "stepstool"...a trash can turned upside down with a play drum balancing on top. Oy...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

GratiTuesday (...a little late...)

Graham still hasn't been sleeping well this week, so our schedule is a little off kilter around here. I slept in his bed one night, and my back is still recovering. :-) Here's a picture from the other night when all 3 were in our bed!

Here's our GratiTuesday list for the week (...a little late...)!

  1. Our church is having Vacation Bible School this week, and Sophie is LOVING it! Our friend Caryn is the teacher in her room, so that makes it even better. It's AMAZING how cool the church looks right now--it's a safari theme and they've gone all out with decorating. Every time Sophie walks in to the church, she says "It's a party!", and there really is a festive feel!
  2. The sump pump in our yard (called a "French drain") went out this past weekend, but Brent's super handyman skills saved us. He had to replace the pump and this one is working perfectly.
  3. Our friend Josh came through with awesome Tostito's coupons this week--the kids are in heaven!
  4. Our newest sitter started this week, and she seems to be handling everything well. I can feel my stress level going down a few notches...

Now for a few pictures...first is the cute view I had when they were sitting on the side of the bathtub:

Sophie getting her toes and nails painted in preparation for VBS:

First day of VBS!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weather

Graham suddenly has storm phobia...and since wherever Graham goes, Blake goes, I have two 2-year-old bedfellows tonight. Sophie was fearful and joined us for a little while, but it was too much for her and she asked to go back to her own bed. That child's smart beyond her years, I tell you. More tomorrow, since I'm laying here in semi-darkness with Graham practically burrowed into my ribcage and listening to Blake talk non-stop while I peck this out on my iTouch's tiny screen. Wish us luck. (Won't Brent be surprised by this sight when he gets home from work??) Oh mercy, I spoke too soon--Sophie decided it was safer with me & brothers...now the entire trio is in here...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

GratiTuesday

Happy GratiTuesday! Things we're grateful for this week:

  1. We had a fun day on my birthday--a bike ride with the kids, lunch at McD's (kids' pick), and dinner at Kobe for Brent and I. I didn't make it to Borders, but I'm determined to get there next weekend! Brent PROMISED I could. :-)
  2. The internet! Brent found two buddies that he hasn't seen in years--I sense a couple of fun reunions in our future!
  3. Facebook--it was nice to open my e-mails and see birthday wishes from family and friends. It made me feel warm and fuzzy. :-)
  4. My boss took our office to lunch yesterday--to Gobi Grill, my favorite!
  5. Our first weekend using our new babysitter went great. She watched them Saturday night (Brent and I went to see "Letters to Juliet") and Sunday night (dinner at Kobe), and the kids seemed very relaxed and comfortable when we got home. That puts Mommy's mind at ease!!
  6. Kelly came over for some much-needed "margaritas on the patio" time after I put the kids to bed. I need to schedule "patio" dates with friends more often!!
  7. "Miss Jennifer", Graham's speech therapist. We had our first real lesson time with her last week and Graham LOVED it. He's not very far behind, which is great since he spent so much of his first years not hearing. She doesn't think we'll have to do therapy for very long before he catches up.
  8. The garden is looking great--amazing how well plants do when rabbits aren't eating all of their leaves. Hmmmm.... :-)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy birthday to meeeee!!

I'm 37 today! I'm celebrating on the blog with you today, because it's a fairly hush-hush event around here. Every time Brent or I mention my birthday, the kids determinedly argue that it's THEIR birthday, not Mommy's. What a bunch of ego-maniacs. :-)

The kids have a play birthday cake set, so the morning started with us "making" a cake for Mommy (...or themselves...). The only good picture I could get is this one of Graham. Inches outside of the frame of this picture, Sophie and Blake are in a full-fledged (kicking, biting, I'll-scratch-your-eyes-out) cat fight over whose cake it is. NOT Mommy's, I assure you. Ahhhhh, motherhood.

On the bright side, Brent picked up doughnuts from Lamar's for breakfast! I had a glazed one--5 Weight Watchers points for anyone counting. :-) Tonight we're going to a hibachi grill for dinner (sans children). Now...what to do between breakfast and dinner?? Maybe I'll see if I can get an hour away to browse around the bookstore...I'll run it by Brent and report back tomorrow...
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UPDATE!! Apparently loading the kids full of a sugary breakfast makes them more agreeable! Sophie insisted on "making" Mommy a cake and singing Happy Birthday...to her "friends"...THEN to "Mommy"... :-) This day is looking up!
video

Friday, June 4, 2010

Brent's outdoor projects & Graham's drum solo

As I've mentioned before, Brent is the handiest husband! Here are a couple of his latest projects.

He had put up the walls to house the trash carts last year, but we wanted something to enclose the air conditioner to keep "little hands" from dropping sticks, rocks, etc. into it and getting hurt. This fence works perfectly! He placed the landscape bricks, mulched the fenced area in and sodded around it.

His next project was putting "rabbit guard" fencing around the garden. We've had bunnies eating the plants--some of them are pretty abused right now, so I'm not sure if they'll produce any veggies or not. You can't see the fence very well, but it looks awesome and will hopefully serve its purpose!


(Side note: We didn't want to put a fence around the garden because we were afraid it would look tacky--think chicken wire here--so I looked for alternatives. One that I read about was taking human or pet hair and placing it around the perimeter of the garden. Apparently rabbits get fearful from the scent of possible predators so they steer clear of that area. Fast forward to the next day where I'm standing in the salon with a sack asking for hair from a slightly startled hairdresser. I took it home and donned rubber gloves to put it around the garden. The whole thing gives me the heebie-jeebies and I will NEVER do that again...)

This morning Graham performed a drum solo for me. His new thing is saying "thank you, thank you" after his performances. Ha!! Where do kids get this stuff?? He's not drumming with his usual vigor in this video, because he's holding a banana in the other hand...
video

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fun with Grandma, Grandpa & Joshua

We gave Joshua a remote-controlled car for his birthday while they were here Sunday, and he was a gracious cousin who let the little ones have a chance controlling it. They loved watching it zoom up and down the street.

Sophie taking a break in the flowerbed:
Dad and Louise brought waterguns, so the water fun began:

When we came in and dried off, the adults were having coffee and the kids wanted some too. Here they are drinking their "kiddie coffee" (lots of milk and a few drops of coffee):
Sitting with Grandma and Grandpa:
It was a fun day! We were sad to see them leave!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

GratiTuesday

Happy GratiTuesday! I feel like I should apologize to our faithful handful of readers who check in for pictures of the kids on a regular basis. You wouldn't BELIEVE the amount of grief Brent has been giving me about my pathetic upkeep of the blog, so I've been challenged to update on a more regular basis again. That starts now.

Things we're grateful for this week:

  1. Last Thursday I had a very special treat of dinner out with my friend Patti at Jose' Peppers. It was SO much fun, and the food was great. I had forgotten what it was like to have dinner, drinks and conversation sans-children! She spoiled me. :-)
  2. While I was at dinner, Roger and Kelly watched the kids for me (Brent was working). Kelly had a meeting, and Roger didn't bat an eye when he found out he'd be alone with the wild trio for part of the evening. How great is that?! Kelly said she got home to find them all sitting at the table eating watermelon, fresh from watching a movie (on Kelly and Roger's FABulous TV) and eating popcorn. We are lucky, lucky, lucky to have them.
  3. Dad, Louise and Joshua came to visit on Sunday! The kids had SO much fun chasing Joshua around, and he wore them out. Dad and Louise brought the kids some water guns, so we turned on the hose and let all the kids run around in the water. It was a great day!
  4. Caryn and Ryan met us for lunch on Memorial Day, and she brought us almost 3 dozen farm fresh eggs! She's been petsitting for a family who has ducks and chickens, and she was told to keep all of the eggs that were laid this week. (Apparently this client's 12-year old son has a business of selling eggs--with his own client list and everything! He's a budding entrepreneur!) I'm planning on fixing some for dinner tonight, but had to snap a picture of them because they're so pretty. Awesome!!