Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- Nov 29th

Logically I know that we start preparations for Christmas right after Thanksgiving, and yet this year somehow it feels too soon. I'm not ready for December. I'm not ready for Advent. And I'm certainly not ready for Christmas. (Although the anticipation of seeing friends and family in Kansas is building.) I want to go back to Thanksgiving. I want more days with my father. More time spent in the kitchen cooking, sharing, smiling. More time around the table eating, laughing and enjoying each other. Sure I spend my days in the kitchen, and every night around the dinner table with family. Somehow it's just not the same. I wish I had a slow down button. Cause time just keeps slipping away faster than I would like. On the bright side, with the start of Advent I get to play Christmas music to my little hearts content without Mark glaring at me. :)
So last weeks meals went well. I did finally make the Pizza Braid Mark had been asking for for weeks. We enjoyed it with my Dad and stepmom. My dad made me my grandmother's chicken noodle and corn soup. :) It's one of my favorite dishes. I made sure to pay attention so I can make it in the future. Not that it's hard to make, just now I know exactly what's in it. Dad also made his green bean casserole for our big family dinner on Saturday. And I successfully made my first pumpkin pie! So this week I'm trying to clean out my fridge again. Here is the menu.

Monday: Peanut Butter noodles with broccoli (Ian's request)
Tuesday: Baked chicken with leftover green bean casserole and stuffing. (Maybe turkey if my mother-in-law has any leftover that she doesn't want)
Wednesday: Autumn Vegetable Soup
Thursday: Leftover buffet
Friday: Homemade pizza
Saturday: Sweet Potato Soup
Sunday: Leftovers or Breakfast

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menus.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Enjoying Purple Cauliflower

So last week we enjoyed my purple cauliflower I got from our local Farmer's Market in two meals. On Monday we had Broccoli Soup. This is a potato soup with broccoli and cauliflower. It is perfect for a cold day. Very warm and thick. My recipe from Simply in Season had me steam my potatoes, broccoli, onion and cauliflower until soft. I also added a leek cause I had some that needed to be used. Than you add your milk, broth (veg or chicken), Worcestershire sauce and simmer. Finally add some flour smoothed with milk to thicken and cheese. It's a great recipe, and yummy. The thick milk base covered up most of the color of my veggies. Oh well.

On Tuesday we ate Green Spaghetti and steamed cauliflower. The cauliflower turned really dark, almost indigo in color when steamed. It was very pretty.
I changed up my Green Spaghetti recipe too. The original comes from La Leche League's Whole Foods for the Whole Family cookbook.
My boys liked this recipe. But everyone seemed to enjoy the new one even better. So I thought I would share.

Green Spaghetti
Steam 1/4lbs spinach- set aside
Steam 1/4lbs kale- add to spinach
Blend together (in blender or food processor) the spinach, kale, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cloves garlic, salt, 1/4-1/2 cup milk
Toss mixture with cooked spaghetti and serve!

The Kale and garlic are my additions. And I was really pleased with the results. Even Mark seemed to enjoy it more.

1st Hair Cuts!

I'm a week late posting this event. But it still seems important enough to document, even if late. A week ago we cut the boys' hair. Ian was in desperate need of a hair cut and poor Cai had hair in his eyes on days his front curl decided not to curl as much. So Mark cut all three boys' hair. Which meant that both Cai and Aiden had their very FIRST hair cut on the same day. It still cracks me up that poor Cai doesn't have much more hair than his little brother. I still remember bringing Aiden home from the hospital and discovering that as a newborn he had almost as much hair as Cai who was 15 months. :) I have to remind myself that I too took longer to grow hair as a toddler and now it is indeed thick. In fact the scary resemblance between Cai and my own brother's baby photos makes me wonder if he will be graced with Josh's think curl. One can hope! Truth be told the hair cuts occurred without much fuse or trouble. Cai had trouble keeping still cause he wanted to watch what Dad was doing. Even Aiden did really well. Must easier than I remember Ian's first hair cut being. I didn't let Mark cut much off of either boy. I love Cai's curls so much that it was hard to watch them be cut even a quarter of an inch. But I'm sure both boys are grateful that they no longer have hair in their eyes. And now I have a clipping of all three of my boys baby hair. Gosh how they grow.

Menu Plan Monday- Nov 22nd

One more day till my father arrives! I'm so excited. It makes the fact that it is Monday seem so much better. :) Last week went as smooth as I could ask. Mark was home late twice which made things interesting. Luckily for me my in-laws helped out alot with the kids. I seemed to have caught some bug on Friday and spend most of the day sleeping. But today I feel almost normal again. And so far only Ian seems to have a cold. I'm crossing my fingers the other two remain healthy. The Autumn Vegetable Soup from my Simply in Season cookbook was a big hit. I'm going to have to make it again soon. It was just so yummy and warm! And my lovely purple cauliflower got enjoyed to the fullest in soup and seamed in a side dish. It was just so striking that if almost didn't seem like I was eating cauliflower. :) Well this weeks menu is going to be patchy. With my dad coming to visit I don't want to plan the whole week cause I want his input (and if I'm honest his help. Dad is a great cook). So forgive the holes in the menu. Here it is.

Monday: Sweet Potato Burritos and stir-fry broccoli
Tuesday: Pizza Braid and spinach salad
Wednesday: ????
Thursday: Grandma Drennen's chicken noodles????
Friday: ????
Saturday: Family Thanksgiving Meal at Mark's folks'
Sunday: Cousin Josiah's 3rd b-day party :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends and good food! :)

Visit Organizing Junkie for this week's menus.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- Nov 15th

It's Monday! Aren't we all so happy? Really it's not been too bad thus far. Despite the struggle to get everyone in the car (Aiden was having a hard morning and let me know about), once I got Ian off to school things have been pretty smooth. Had a great Parent/Teacher conference with Ian's teacher. Looks like Ian is his shy, sweet self at school. And his teacher assures us he is paying attention and very bright even if he doesn't talk much in the larger group. Truthfully I'm not that worried. As long as he is having fun and not causing problems I'm happy. In other news, Aiden is taking up to 5 steps before falling or losing balance. :) I think I'm happy about this. As I told my father yesterday I won't be surprised if he is walking all over the house by the time he gets here next week. And speaking of my father this week is sure to be a wirlwind as I try to clean house in preparation for my dad and stepmom to come visit for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited to see them and show off our new home. It should be fun. Ok here is this weeks menu. I got some beautiful veggies at the farmer's market on Saturday that I'm excited to enjoy this week.

Monday: Hearty Broccoli Soup
Tuesday: Green Spaghetti, cauliflower and bread
Wednesday: Autumn Vegetable Soup
Thursday: Broccoli Salmon Casserole
Friday: Pizza Braid (carry over from last week)
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Chicken and Rice Casserole, veggie side

For more menus visit Organizing Junkie

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A birthday cake for Mark

Yesterday was Mark's birthday. In celebration he and I went out for dinner and than had drinks with friends at A Constant Spring. So since the boys wouldn't be around for dinner with Dad, we decided to make him a cake for snack. As it happened the cake mix requires 3 eggs, and I only had 2. So I had a recipe for apple spice cake from scratch and I had a brownie mix. When I asked Ian what he wanted to make (as Mark said either would be great) he said he wanted to make the brownies. So we made brownies.
Now if you've cooked with little kids you know how crazy it can be. I'm proud to say I had 3, yes 3, little helpers in my kitchen while making brownies. And somehow I didn't lose my mind. Only misstep was in clean up. Aiden is certainly entering toddlerhood. He is starting to throw tantrums when things get taken from him. Not sure I'm ready for this. But I think its here either way. After the brownies came out of the oven I made the boys wait for them to cool before we sat down to eat them. This was another hard reality for the older two. But once we sat down, sang Happy Birthday (which only I sang, despite the fact that both Cai and Ian know how), both boys devoured two pieces. Aiden's still not sure he likes chocolate. And after brownies, what do my boys eat cause they are "STILL Hungry" (said in whiny voice) Purple cauliflower picked up from the farmer's market. It is so beautiful!
Happy Birthday Mark! I love you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

October Activities: Apple picking

Early in October the local apple orchard had a Harvest Festival, with apple picking, pumpkin picking, a corn maze, hay rack rides, food and music. U-pick apples were red delicious and golden delicious. The boys picked over 20 pounds. And believe me we used them all up. We made apple pie, apple crisp, 2 1/2 jars of apple sauce. Plus we ate apples for weeks as snacks and with lunch. It was an activity I was not only glad we did, but one I would have liked to repeat. Spending the day at the orchard reminded me why I love my boys. I love their curiosity, their energy, and their smiles.

Quick note: More pictures are on our Picasa web-page. I know this post is short but the pictures are so much better than any words I could write.

October Activities: Leaves Leaves

While we had plenty of leaves for jumping in back in Kansas, it does not come close to the amount of leaves around our house here. It made playing in the leaves a simple activity, hardly any work for mom.
Well until the boys were done and I had to rake them to the curb to be picked up by the city. We've gone out several time to rake leaves. And each time the boys enjoy jumping, hiding and throwing balls into the big pile I/we create. And while Mark is probably beyond down with raking, I've enjoyed the time I got to spend outside with the boys raking and playing. That being said, Mark worked much harder than I did this last outing working on getting as many to the curb as possible. There were alot too, as we are talking care of our neighbor/landlady's yard as well as our own. Left raking parties are the best. And their will be more at our family's houses as we repay their kindness for helping us. Some of the leaf games my boys came up with this last month are hiding and go seek with shoes, throw a football into the pile, turning our bodies and/or feet into diggersand of course jumping in ourselves.
Got to love leaves! If you don't, you're doing it wrong.

Aiden turned ONE!

I'm having trouble seeing my youngest baby as a 12 month old. Even harder is watching him take a few steps here and there. Has a year really past? Saturday we celebrated Aiden's 1st birthday (his actually b-day was Friday the 5th). My aunt and uncle who live in Ohio drove in. Mark's folks and sister and family were here. And a college friend who was visiting her sister came with said sister. It was marvelous.
We ate lasagna rolls, garlic bread, salad and stir fry broccoli. And of course we had chocolate cake for dessert. It's so much fun watching babies have their first taste of chocolate (or any other sweet for that matter). Unlike his brothers, Aiden never really did devour his cupcake. He had a few bits, but most of it ended up on him, smashed on his tray or in his lap. Strange, strange child. I'm not sure if he just didn't know about the taste or if there were just too many distractions surrounding him. But it was fun watching him. And the rest of us enjoyed our cupcakes. All in all it was a great celebration. Still hard to believe that it's been a year since he was born. I've told him as the last baby (or presumably the last as we aren't planning on more) that he is suppose to stay little longer. So far no luck. He is growing in leaps and bounds before my very eyes. Reminds me that I needed to breath and enjoy this time while he is still little. All too soon it will pass.

For more 1st birthday pictures and videos visit our Picasa site

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- Nov 8th

Happy Monday everyone! While the waking up part of my day didn't go great (my boys were playing with my glasses case and I couldn't find it, thus couldn't see), the rest of the morning is shaping up to be pretty good. Got a large box+ of winter clothes for Aiden from my sister-in-law. I love being able to share clothes. I, in turn, brought her a box for my youngest nephew. Due to their close ages we will only be able to trade clothes for so long. And I for one am enjoying the ability to share clothes while it lasts. Ok back to topic. This weeks meals are going to be using what we have in my pantry or freezer. After buying meat last week I only have about $6 left in my grocery fund for the week. My goal is not to have to even use that. I'm certain we have enough to last us till pay day. So here is our menu this week.

Monday: Lasagna rolls, garlic bread, and leftover veggies (I made two 9x13 pans plus an 8x8 pan of lasagna rolls for Aiden's b-day party. We have a 9x13 leftover to enjoy!)
Tuesday: Enchilada Casserole with corn bread
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Homemade hamburger helper
Friday: Pizza Braid (carry over from last week)
Saturday: Chicken and rice casserole, broccoli
Sunday: Leftovers or breakfast

Now go visit Organizing Junkie. I'm sure others have much more exciting menus

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Part 3: Jack O'lanterns

Carving pumpkins was an activity I was not sure I wanted to undertake. But I decided to go ahead and see how it went. I'm glad I did.
The boys enjoyed it. Although I did most of the work.
It's a good thing I like carving pumpkins. With Cai's I did almost all the work including deciding on the design. He did put his hand in to help clean the pumpkin out. But was not very successful in actually getting any of the seeds and such out.
Ian choose his design. I drew it for him but he dictated what he wanted. He even tried cutting out the face but didn't get very far before he was complaining it was too hard and asking me to take over.
The end results turned out great though. And while we never did candles in them, they have been sitting on our porch ever since their creation. I think next year we'll carve jack o'lanterns again. Cause it hardly feels like Halloween without that fun activity. Maybe next year I'll even save the seeds for roasting. :)

Halloween Part 2: Trick or Treat

In past years we have driving to Wichita to trick or treat at my mother's church. West Heights United Methodist Church has a Trunk or Treat every year in there parking lots. Lots of fun!
And it was a great way for us to both have the experience of trick or treating without alot of walking and show grandma and grandpa our costumes.
This year we decided to walk long my sister-in-law's street. We started from her house and walked up one side of the street about 3 or 4 blocks and then back down the other side.
We ended up at a friends house that was hosting a Halloween party and spent the rest of the night their. Well the adults did at least.

After about an hour we took the kids to Mark's folks house to sleep while we got to hang out with adult friends. It was a much needed night to friends and fun. All and all it was a great night. The boys enjoyed trick or treating.
The walk being just long enough to fill their bags but not so long that anyone complained about walking. Everyone got to enjoy one at least one piece of their yummy treasure.
We all had fun!