Sunday, March 6, 2011

10 Things to Smile About in February

I'm late, I'm late!!  It's really March 6 already?  Damn, where did February go?  Well, better late than never so here are my 10 Things to Smile about in February...

A weekend in Big Bear with my sister and her family (somehow I have very few pictures from this).

A much needed eyebrow wax.

Watching Daniel perform at his preschool Chapel service.

A fun family birthday party for my little cousin (more like a nephew).
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Spending time with my friend Shannon and her adorable son.  We don't get to see each other as often as I'd like, but we were able to meet up twice in February!
The silver lining to cold season...lots of snuggle time under warm blankets.

A great parent/teacher conference with Daniel's preschool teacher -- not going to brag too much, but she had good things to say.

A tour of a fire station with Lauren's "mommy & me" class.  She wasn't too sure about the firemen at first, but she warmed up.
Hanging out with friends every Tuesday morning while our kids did sports class together.

Being asked to be a Godmother.  I'm still in shock and so honored that my wonderful friend Jen asked me to be her son's godmother.  I'm honored and humbled that she chose me!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekly Dinner Menu

Here we are again, ready for my week's worth of dinners.  I've heard from a lot of friends that they struggle with figuring out what to make each night for dinner, and I'm telling you -- make a plan!  It takes a little time upfront, but will save you time in the long run.

Monday - Stuffed bell peppers and pasta (I don't have a recipe for this because my wonderful mom made them and gave them to me to re-heat).  Kids menu - pasta, turkey meatballs, cantaloupe.

Tuesday - Free pancakes at IHOP!!  I know, I know... not much of a dinner, but you can't beat dinner with friends and free pancakes.

Wednesday - Baked ravioli, chicken sausage and salad.  Kids menu - baked ravioli, chicken sausage and baby carrots. 

Thursday - Pork tenderloin with salsa verde in crockpot (make tacos with it) and rice.  Kids menu - rice, chicken nuggets and cantaloupe.

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Pizza Night!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly Dinner Menu

I swear if I don't do a weekly dinner menu on Sunday we ate crap all week long.  For some reason I can't organize myself mid-week so it's either all or nothing with me.  This week I got really organized and planned out my week's menu and went shopping for it on Sunday afternoon.  I also added something new to my list, a kids menu.  I try really hard not to be a short-order cook with my kids and get them to eat a variety of foods.  But the reality is, they are 2 and 4 and I just can't expect them to try everything Joe and I like to eat.  My compromise is that they eat some of what Joe and I eat, but maybe a modified version.  For example, tonight I made chicken and cheese enchiladas, but I know there is no way they will eat them with spicy (ok mild!) red sauce.  So before I made the chicken mixture I separated out some chicken and mixed in seasonings and cheese, rolled the mixture in tortillas and baked them when I baked my enchiladas.  Easy, kid-friendly and not a lot of additional work.  

Sunday - Chicken enchiladas (no real recipe, just throw them together) and rice. kid menu - chicken and cheese tortilla rolls, rice, fruit

Monday - Farfalle Pasta with chicken, tomatoes and spinach.  The recipe doesn't include chicken but I boiled more chicken than I needed for enchiladas and will toss some in to the pasta. kid menu -  buttered pasta, chicken, baby carrots

Tuesday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes (from a box), grilled asparagus (season with EVOO, salt and pepper and grill in oven). kid menu - meatloaf, french fries (frozen ones, bake in oven when I put in asparugus) and peas.  For some odd reason my kids don't like mashed potatoes...I'm sure they will eventually.

Wednesday - Stir Fry Chicken Paprikash and noodles. kid menu - plain noodles, red bell pepper, plain chicken from our dinner

Thursday - Greek Chicken pitas and salad.  kid menu -  chicken in pitas and some fruit or veggie.

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Take out or go out!

So now you know what we will be eating this week.  If any of these dinners sounds good to you, stop on by!

Family Pictures

Back in November we had the opportunity to have some family pictures taken.  This was the first time we did this and I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out.  Several of these pictures will probably look familier to some of you -- the became our 2010 Christmas card.  The pictures were taken by two of my friends who have their own photography businesses.  We were fortunate enough to have two photogs who Daniel and Lauren know so our session was not just productive, but fun.  Check out Clickable Moments and LeilaPie Photography to see more of Ami and Lisa's beautiful images.
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A Pop of Color

I haven't been sewing much lately and I realized I missed it.  I decided to try out an easy, but practical project -- pillow covers!  I love the idea of making pillow covers for my throw pillows because it's a quick way to change the look of a room with just a pop of color.  The sofa in our family room is basic beige and came with four pillows.  Here is one of them...

I didn't love the pattern and I didn't like the fact that all four were the exact same.  So I looked up a tutorial for pillow covers (you can find anything online!) and made these...
I'm so happy with them!  I have some large pillows that I'm not using and am going to cover them and use them as floor pillows.  It's funny how I don't sew for a while and then when I do I have all kinds of projects on my list.  Better run, got lots of projects to work on.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Letter to Someone

Dear Amazon,
You are simply marvelous!  I can find anything and everything on your site.  The other day my Amazon order included:  a leather bench, a black slip, a Judo book, a new Wii controller and a new book directly loaded onto my Kindle.  That is awesome!  To run around town and buy all those things with my kids in tow would have been a nightmare.  Instead I made my order with a glass of Merlot in my hand while my kids slept.

Happy Shopper

Dear Lady at Ralphs,
Originally I thought the reason you didn't put all your cases of varied soda on the conveyor belt was because they were heavy.  So when the checker asked you to put them up and you said "no" I figured I'd offer to help.  Which I did.  But you shot down my gesture of kindness and told the cashier to just go against policy and scan one case several times.  She finally relented and did scan it.  You were rude, I tried to help, you didn't want my help...whatever.  But then after you already paid and had all your items back in your cart you remembered a coupon that you didn't give to the checker so you insisted she give you .84 cents in change.  OMG lady you already held up the line long enough and I have a two-year old in my cart and just want to be done.  Nope, you stayed firm until you got your nickels and dimes. Lucky for you my daughter was in a good mood and didn't get antsy because if she had started melting down I would have let her and then blamed you.

Your Fellow Ralphs customer

Dear Florida,
Joe and I will see you soon!  I'm very excited to buy myself a couple of beachy items to show you next month.  I'm sure you will appreciate them.  I'm thinking a bright colored dress, floppy hat and new bathing suit.  Which reminds me...
                     Dear 5 extra pounds, you guys are not joining me in Florida.  See ya!
Oh, and Florida I'm looking forward to the drinks, beach, Cuban-inspired side of you because I will be sans kids so I do NOT want to see anything related to Disney.

The girl in the coral colored dress

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Mirror of My Kids

As my kids grow I am learning more and more about myself.  Having children is like having a mirror placed right in front of us, whether we like it or not, it's the truth.  Sometimes funny, sometimes insightful, always true, here are a few things I have learned recently...
  • I say "actually" a lot.  I know this because Lauren has picked up on it and says it constantly.  It actually sounds really funny coming from my little girl.
  • Apparently I use my credit card a lot too.  Another thing Lauren has noticed.  When she is playing store she uses her credit cards to pay.  I better start showing her that I pay off my balance every month.
  • I get nervous before starting something new.  It took me a while to acknowledge that Daniel's timidness was from me, but it is.  I remember not sleeping the night before the first day of school (all the way through college) so why am I surprised that he is nervous before a new sports class?  
  • I like order.  Schedules, routines and everything in its place calms me down.  My kids have picked up on this and ask me each day what our plans are and know where their toys go (doesn't mean they always put them away, but they know).
  • I like to be doing something while watching tv.  It bewildered me for a while that Lauren has little interest in cartoons and only watches them if she is doing something else.  Then I realized, I never sit and JUST watch tv.  While watching tv I'm checking the internet, folding laundry, packing lunches, tidying up, etc.
  • I'm an observer first, joiner second.  If I'm in a new environment or meeting new people, I like to sit back and observe for a while before I really join in.  I take my time, but once I'm comfortable I jump in 100%.  I guess I like to evaluate first and make sure I'm up for giving my time and energy to the people, place, etc.  I see Daniel do this too.  He takes a little longer to warm up, but once he's there you can't get him to shut up or leave!
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