Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Kind of Advent Calendar

I have wanted to make an advent calendar for a few years - there are some seriously cute DIY ones out there from all those super crafty type. This year, I even started checking out tutorials during the summer. But when it comes down to it, I just don't have the desire to   wrap and stuff 25 toilet paper rolls and hang them up like it's something amazing. and i just don't have the patience for sewing. and it is pretty common for my brain to have a great idea for a craft project and then my hands don't get the message and it turns out all wonky.

but...i still want to do an advent calendar for the boys for two reasons: to have a tangible countdown that they can see for themselves and more importantly, to keep the reason for the season.

so here is my advent calendar:





it is just holiday printing paper from walmart. on the front i listed numbers 1 -23 on the back is something to do each night leading up to christmas. Some of the days we will do something like make a treat and take it to the neighbors or going to our local christmas parade, visiting elderly, going as a family to buy gifts to donate, ect.  but most of the days we will read parts of luke chapter 2 (which is the christmas story in the bible) or watch a christmas movie at home, read christmas books, or make christmas cards, ect.

it is not pretty and not crafty, but it is something to help remind us of why we even celebrate christmas.

and this little boy turned 4 yesterday...







i have to say our time home together during the day is pretty fantastic. we mesh well until i tell him it is time to clean up. he hates picking up and usually i have to tell triston to stop picking up for him. he is pretty stubborn, too. triston and jackson were eager to learn and write their names and bryce wants nothing to do with it. i have to force him to write his name, which he can do if you can read chicken scratch. i am actually surprised he is pretty smart because working with this kid is not fun. and he tells me he is never going to school. happy birthday little brycer.

ps. he totally needs a haircut. actually all of the boys do.



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Magical Night.


rolling in at home depot at exactly 5:15 am, i was skeptical. we hadn't really found that many great deals in the 11 previous hours of black friday shopping. but i went anyway, because my husband wanted a bench for our front porch and i thought i could find it there. i was wrong. plum sold out of every last one since, like, labor day. but i happened upon this lonely little tree box and grabbed it up, really just to look at it and probably to put it right back. but it the size i was looking for - 7.5 and it had berries and pine cones on it - which i have always liked. it was not, however, pre-lit. so i started to put it back until i saw the sign...reg. price $150.00 black friday sale price $49.00. okay, i can totally get the lights!

and now we have a christmas tree. because ours was ruined in the flood.

and we put that tree together and it was the most magical night of any that we have ever had. we listened to christmas music and drank hot chocolate and helped each other put each ornament on the tree. and then we sat down together, as a family, underneath it and read the christmas story by tree light to prepare for the upcoming holiday.

okay, i am totally lying. it was hectic as usual and i may or may not have ended the night by saying, "everyone just get to bed right now". bryce was crying because jackson kept taking the ornaments that he wanted. triston was jumping around because he really likes to put up christmas trees, he said. and jackson just kept saying that he didn't do anything wrong every time i pressed him about why bryce was crying. lily was barking in the next room and nash just wouldn't hush because he is mobile now and heaven forbid we try to put him in a bouncer to keep him from picking up any of the pine needles and eating them. travis got a work-related call and was on the phone for like a bajillion hours and then i realized i didn't bring enough ornaments up from the basement to cover this tree. while i was gathering more...and let me just say here..thank goodness for my mom who has kept me in rich supply of her christmas rejects. because my house looks pretty darn festive right now and I'm pretty sure she owned almost all of it at one time. anyway, while i was gathering more in the basement all i can hear is lily still barking, nash still crying/screaming, the boys starting to run back and forth and laughing like wild animals - which gets me every time. not in a good way. when we they get that?! and travis, well, he was still on the phone. and laughing, which made me more pissed.

i tried to maintain some sanity throughout all of this but the kicker was when triston jumped on our love seat and into a pile of empty boxes that sent them scattering in every direction and a few bulbs fell off the tree. in hindsight, it really wasn't such a big deal, but all that noise makes me crazy. we were done anyway, i just had a mess that i wanted help with, but ultimately decided i would fare better on my own. so up to bed the boys went...and as punishment i told them they couldn't brush their teeth. i was only kidding but they sort of freaked out which made me happy because I was pretty sure before that they they would go to bed without doing it if i didn't make them. and then, just because triston is sneaky, while we are brushing he slyly asks, "but mom, aren't we going to say  a prayer?" he likes to point out when parents aren't being that nice by reminding us of the gospel. too bad for him, we had already had our family/night prayer before the whole christmas tree business because i knew something like that would happen.

so after everyone was in bed. i got the pleasure of cleaning up the mess. because suddenly travis was too sick to help do anything else. what? but it is true. he had a fever and everything so i really couldn't be mad and then he stayed home from work today and at one point asked if i really did hate him because i wasn't babying him enough? i just laughed.

so, the tree is up. there is no rhyme or reason to it, but the kids put the ornaments where they wanted and was really proud of that, so I left them alone.

mostly.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh, Yes.


Fall is rolling right on out of here. And I am assuming it is the unseasonably warm temps, but I am okay with that this year? So on with the Christmas decor. And speaking...how many glitter bulb ornaments is considered too many? I'm thinking you can probably never have enough because what you don't use for your tree can surely be used on perfect white platters just sitting on your table, or in beautiful glass dishes sitting on a side table or fireplace mantle. yes? i thought so.

BUT....before we move on with the glitter. I should get this one in. Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows. There is such a thing and the best thing to do with them besides just stuffing them in your mouth is plop them right down in your hot chocolate. They perk your chocolate right up.

Get them before they are gone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miss Lily-Pie Breaks Her Arm. Or, uh...leg?


I guess I don't know the proper usage of limbs on animals. In either case, she broke an appendage. And it was awful.

Last Tuesday, Election Day. I came home from dutifully working the polls for several candidates. I did my rounds in the house and tied Lily out on her tie-out, which she normally loves. Not too much later I heard yelping that sounded....not good? I ran downstairs only to find her sitting there staring at me with that look that only a bulldog can give.

That could not have been Lily, I thought to myself. But when I turned my back on her to get my shoes, she wents nutso crying a cry I had never heard before. I ran out there to un-hook her from her tie-out and like a shot she ran into the house (which was mystery clue #1...she usually waits for me to walk in first.) and mystery clue # 2, she ran....on three legs. I followed in behind her and watched her nearly collapse in the kitchen floor, I suspect from pain.

I called Travis and told him something was wrong with her. I thought dislocation and started prodding around on her arm and received a gentle bite and she started crying again. Which is interesting to me. When Travis came home he started prodding and squeezing and moving her arm back and forth and I didn't hear one peep out of her. I guess in her mind, he is the alpha around here and maybe she thought if he knew she was hurt she would be a goner?

Oh, the psychology of doggie brains.

Let's just get to the point: This little accident cost us a whopping $2,000.00.  The diagnosis was a spiral fracture to the femur, a result of getting tangled up in the tie-out.

$2,000.00 dollars. Can we talk about that for a second? When Jackson broke his arm it was about the same price to have it set and casted for 6 weeks and he is an actual human. I am still kind of in shock because...well, she is a dog. And I know a lot of people have high emotional attachment to their pets and a lot of people even treat their pets like children and that is wonderful, but I am not one of them, so I was pretty surprised and pretty pissed. I called several vets to see if they would just set the bone the best they could and she might have to limp a little...but apparently I am a scumbag for even insinuating that option. No one would touch it and just sent me on my way to an orthopedic surgeon to put a metal pin and wiring in her arm. And dole out a $2,000.00 vet bill.

So now she looks and acts like some rescue dog that has been abused her whole life. She has to wear a cone for the next 2 weeks. Half her body was shaved for a 6-inch incision and she has a pretty thick limp. And she is filthy. I can't give her a bath until the staples come out of her arm, so I've resulted to baby wipes. Of course, she doesn't realize any of this because all she wants to do is jump on us and run around and act crazy - which is prohibited until that bone is healed. Because as much as I love Miss Lily, and my husband, she isn't getting another $2,000.00 surgery.

I hope this post didn't make me sound like a dog hater, like my husband called me. Because seriously, I love her. I was just...surprised at the whole situation - including several people who acted like we maybe felt indifferent that Lily was hurt. And a vet that questioned our story of how she got hurt. But. Any reservations about puppyhood I did feel before this happened, are gone. I may not think of Lily as my child, but I do feel more compassion for her. And I feel happy to take care of her and make sure she gets better. We're happy to have her home!

Going private at the end of the month...don't forget to send me your e-mail if you still want to follow!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Christmas List.


Just take a look at these little cuties. I know. I could just eat them all up..which I usually do and sometimes they totally hate it but I'm pretty sure they secretly love it. Especially that little Brycer.
Anyway....

And now, my 2011 Christmas list. I'm not this greedy in real life.

Oh, the novelty. This.

One of these. Super cool or what?

And this.

And this, which I've wanted for like 50 years. But maybe this one instead? Hung horizontally, though, behind my dining room table? Yes? Yes.

And lastly, (but it's FIRST on my Christmas list, even though I will probably end up buying it for myself like 2 years from now)....is THIS. And yeah, I know I said I would NEVER buy in to this kind of thing, but I just got an elliptical and I can't read AND swing my arms back and forth with the handles now can I? Plus..it's just cool. And I really want it. Please?

And most definitely THIS. I mean, it's only $3,000.00 dollars. (but seriously, I would totally do this. The mommy flab would totally disappear!)

My little blog is going private at the end of the month, so get me your e-mail addresses if you'd still like to follow!

Peace out.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hey There.

I haven't posted in, like, a month. There is a reason. A few, actually.

The first one is that October is a crazy month for us. Lots to do and make. Lots of end of the season outside play and halloween/thanksgiving/christmas projects overload. Not to mention I always start Christmas shopping in October, too. AND every year I think I am going to make awesome hand-made gifts for everyone. I usually start that in October, too, and abandon it by mid-November.

The second is that I found and fell in LOVE with Pinterest. And I only have so much computer time in a day's time, you know. Fellow pinterest members will know what I mean, here. :)

The third and biggest reason is that I started getting some weird e-mails from a dude who wanted to flirt with me. Whhhhahtt. Yeah, I know. At first he posed as a fan of my blog (red flag right there) and would ask me questions about recipes and such but then he just got to the chase and flat out said he thought we could flirt back and forth since it is on-line and no one would find out. Yuck, yuck, and yuck. And then when I politely declined he sent another e-mail telling me about his "relationship" with his wife. More yuck. So I sent him back an email full of expletives and blocked that mother.

But, it made me hesitant about writing anything for fear of who is actually reading my blog. I have ads on this little blog of mine, and always have the idea in the back of my mind that I could one day be like PW and make like a bajillion dollars off of my blog. ha ha, not really. But because of the ads I am contractually not allowed to go private. Well guess what? I made a total of 49 cents off of those ads last quarter, so I am totally going private. In ya face Foodbuzz. (But I still totally love you)

I would love to keep anyone as readers - even if I don't know you. But you can't be creepy and you have to love my kids, because I am going to start posting more about them: they are growing up so fast! And recipes will still be a staple because hello! Last time I checked I am still 10 pounds overweight because I just can't stop eating.

So...send me an e-mail: clowers_1@hotmail.com OR leave a comment with your e-mail and I will add you to my private party.

And I will leave you with a link to the recipe for easiest, yet messy Chicken and Dumplings that I made last night and it was...well, pretty awesome. The only thing I am mad about is that there isn't any left over. :(





Courtney, I saw you had this pinned, too...go ahead and make it. You will love!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Snickor-Noodles

That little Jackson. He just cracks me up. When I made these cookies, and was forced to share, he asked me what they were called. "Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!" I exclaimed. Because really, they are freaking PUMPKIN SNICKERDOODLES for heaven's sake.

But Jackson's take? Pumpkin Snickor-Noodles. Isn't it just the cutest thing? I mean, he is about to turn 6 and just lost his first tooth and all, so any sign of little-ness still left in him I am going to take off and run with.

So, here is the recipe. For Pumpkin Snickor-Noodles. From Readable Eatables (which I should just say is an awesome food blog...I made something else recently from there, too. Creamy Chicken Vegetabe Soup. Yeah. It is as good as it sounds.)


Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's For Dinner



Doesn't this look amazing? Especially now that the days are gettting cooler. I am in love with this picture, so I am hoping I love the chili just as much! I'm making it right....now! You can find the recipe on a great little blog, Chemistry of Cooking.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seriously. No, Seriously .



i sat in the walmart checkout line and pretty much just drooled all over the place. i had picked up the new taste of home's fall baking magazine and when i opened it my eyes danced across this page. orange pumpkin cake it is called and after weeks of saying i was going to make it, i finally did and it was heaven in my mouth.

but first, let me just tell you about the fight that would have ensued if i would have spent the $12.99 taste of home was asking for this magazine. my husband would have been all "what the hell" and "save money save money save money" and i would have been all "but it is fall" and then he would shake his head at me and not talk to me for 2 hours, in which time i would come to my senses and remember all about the student loan debt we have up to our eyeballs and totally agree with him and then panic a little because what was i thinking?! we just want to get this crap paid off.

but that day was a good day and i remembered before i bought it and if memory serves me, we had a great night that night because of my good decision that he didn't even know about. (hi, honey.) and when i got home from the store i googled the recipe and what do you know? you don't have to spend $12.99 after all because every single recipe i wanted to try i just looked up and it is FREE on the internets. what a novel idea, yes?

so as i gathered all the ingredients yet another novel idea came to me: this cake would be even better as a cupcake. so i found pumpkin orange cupcake liners and invited one of my besties over and we made good cupcakes over good laughs over funny emails, watched a few inspiring videos, and filled up on cake.

it was a good day.

and then my kids came home and devoured them without even the slightest appreciation that these were orange pumpkin cupcakes with fancy pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting. cupcakes they were appreciative of, but yeah. i'm thinking the boys will probably never apprieciate the fall and fall baking like i do. it's a woman thing, yes? and i am glad they ate them so i didn't. seriously. i could have.

*here is the recipe. and as a bonus: the cupcakes are even better refrigerated overnight.

seriously. they are awesome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

a concoction: whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip! muffins


it's not often i come up with a recipe all of my own. i'm not the original type, you know. and this recipe isn't completely my own either because i did follow a guide that instructed me how to make my own recipe. but i am calling it a success.

whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. b. soda
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
3/4 c. milk
2 T. melted butter
1/2  bag of chocolate chips

i mixed all my wet stuff + the sugar. in a seperate bowl i mixed all the dry ingredients and combined the two just a little at a time. the batter was a little stiff. mix in the chocolate chips and fill baking cups to the rim with batter. bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

next time i am going to add some oats. what is it about oats in the fall? is it just me? it totally might be me.

anyway, they are best served warm with a glass of icy-cold milk

now let's get to the good stuff.

HOW CUTE IS THAT BABY?!

my mother-in-law took this picture of nash on friday while she was babysitting for us. i am in love with this picture and i am in love with that face.

this role i have been gifted with, mothering, wow. well, it's a hard one. some days i don't feel fit enough to be a mother at all. but these boys. sometimes i get these little flashes and can envision them as the young men they will become. it is a sacred thing, i think. little glimpses that the lord provides to help guide us, as parents. or maybe it is to prepare us. either way, i am grateful. and am looking forward to the glimpses of what that little face will become, too.

ps. i am reading the help and i am in love with that book, too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

review: 50 simple soups for the slow cooker


a book appeared in my mailbox that i didn't know was coming, which is alright by me because i love books, especially cookbooks and this one is titled, 50 simple soups for the slow cooker by lynn alley. score.

just a couple of weeks ago travis and i were discussing my weird prejudice about cooking soup during the summer months. i suppose it comes from my mom, that prejudice, because only 1 day after that discussion i heard her say, " i can't wait for fall....to cook soup". it's true. to me, fall is all about football games, chilly weather, crunchy leaves, fat orange pumpkins, big hardy mums sitting on my front porch, halloween...i could go on, but what i was leading up to is the culmination of the season: fall food. more particularly, fall baking & soups.

i've got my eye on the new taste of home fall baking edition as we speak, so it was only fitting that a soup cookbook show up at my door, too. and for the slow cooker?! yes, please.

what i like most about this book, as silly as it seems, is the format. it's a binder-type cookbook with beautiful pictures of...well, soup. out of the 50 recipes, there are at least 20 photos. that is something i really like in a cookbook.

now on to the important stuff. the author combines some interesting flavors to come up with some bold recipes for this book. take spiced apple pie soup or eggplant soup with cumin, yogurt, and dill. these don't sound particularly appetizing to me, but i can appreciate the endeavor. and maybe one day i will get an itch for something different and i will all ready know where to go.

what does sound appetizing, though, is the corn chowder with potatoes, poblanos, and smoked gouda. and the blue cheese potato soup. and the french onion soup. ...and there are quite a few more. the author chose quite a few ethnicities in her soup selections: hot and sour, minestrone, swedish rhubarb raspberry soup, spiced spinach dal with coconut milk, and many others. and all 50-recipes are vegan or vegetarian.

and i keep forgetting these are SLOW COOKER recipes. that means you do very little and you can leave and come home to a  yummy dinner and a yummy smell wafting through the air. i love slow cookers.

see for yourself. i believe this book will be a wonderful addition to my cookbook collection. it is being carried by select walmarts. or online here.

and just as a sneak peak, here is a recipe i want to try.

potato, broccoli, and cheese soup

2 T. ghee or butter (butter for me)
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 lg. potato, quartered
6 c. water
1 small head of broccoli, quartered
1 c. grated sharp cheddar
salt
1/2 c. cream or sour cream

in a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion until lightly browned. transfer the onion to a slow cooker and add the potato and water. cover and cook on LOW about 6 hours or until the potato is tender. add the broccoli during the last 30 minutes or cooking.

using a handheld immersion blender, puree the ingredients to the desired texture. stir in the cheese and add salt to taste.

ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cream.

Monday, September 12, 2011

the 9/11 post i just couldn't write on 9/11.

i think it is interesting that when something traumatic happens, people can remember their surroundings in great detail. i've read countless stories of "where were you on 9/11" magnitude and of course, i can remember the day well for me, too.

i was in my first semester of college. i didn't have class on tuesday so i stayed home and had planned to study for my first psych test that was scheduled for the following day. obviously, no studying took place and our kind professor actually moved the test to the following week.

my mom came downstairs and told me to turn on the tv, that a plane had hit the wtc. we watched in horror on live tv as the second plane hit. when i remember it, it is almost like there was background music during a horrific part in a movie....i'd never seen anything like it. well, most of us hadn't.

we watched the whole day and it was probably the first time i can remember of feeling that "bubble" of the world is a happy place everywhere...not POP, but just sort of...deflate. it was then that i gained perspective on politics and patriotism - two things that i still to this day have an interest and love for. it was also at that time that i became aware that people don't always have the best of intentions - something of which i have flip-flopped on because i do believe that people are inherently good and for the most part, want to have the best of intentions. but it led me to be cautious, in any case.

before we went to our local 9/11 memorial ceremony, i fought back tears as i explained to the boys what happened 10 years ago. in re-telling it to someone who had never been touched by that much animosity, it was hard to watch them struggle to understand how people can plan and carry out an attack on innocent people. but, i think it is important for them to know what happened. for history's sake, to honor the duty of first responders, and to honor our unity as americans. there are also thing to celebrate from that day.  because out of the saddest day in modern american history, there are wonderful stories of hope, kindness, and amazing acts of service - the american spirit at its best.

we will never forget.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

bbq chicken pizzz-SUHHHHH


that is totally to be said like how oprah talks when she gets really excited. got it? well, i suppose this isn't really diet food as i talked about it my last post, but here's the thing about diets - if you just don't eat a lot of whatever you are eating, you are okay.

wow. that's it? i wish i could remember that!

anyway, a couple of months ago i was laboring over the decision to make pizza or not. i usually make a whole-wheat crust which gets mixed reviews from my guys and with the whole dough rising thing...i just really wasn't into it.

but what i was in to was a powdery pizza dough mix that i only needed to add hot water to! on one of my healthy days i would have balked at such an idea, but that on that day, i probably had swiss cake rolls in my cart, too.

so i got the mix, which is made by great value and among all the pizza-type stuff and is only 47 cents per package, and it was really good. really good and simple = a keeper at my house.

i mixed the stuff, let it set for 5 minutes and then stretched it out and then i suppose you could bake it on anything you wanted. i like to make it in my stoneware casserole dish where everything is all snuggled together and the dough is thick and chewy. yes, please!

after stretching out my dough, i slathered bbq sauce all over, leaving a half-inch or so around the edges untouched for a thick crust.

then freshly minced garlic.

chopped purple onion.

chopped up tyson grilled and ready chicken

and mozzerella cheese.

on one half, i placed freshly sliced jalapenos...which is awesome if you like spicy food.

baked for 20 minutes and it was probably the best pizza i've made to date.

your welcome.

ps. nash starts baby food this week! and triston thanked me for being his mom because "firefighters rescue people, police officers make sure we obey laws, and moms, well...they just do everything else." love that kid.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Diet Food

okay, so i am on a diet. a real live freaking diet. i went and bought an actual scale and spent 50 bones on food just for me. i even cleaned out my own little drawer in the refrigerator...this is mostly because little hands will snag my goods and in one of our daily hectic moments,  i will get all crazy and stuff my face with chocolate chips. ...baby steps.

anyway, some of the things i bought included fresh arugula and spinach leaves and pre-cooked chicken. by tyson. i actually kind of love it. i've bought it a few times since mr. nash-man has been born and it is really great for quick salads, quesadillas, throw-together pizza, ect.

so i made this really good salad by accident. i tossed arugula and spinach leaves together and served the above chicken on top, sprinkled with shredded parmesan, salt and pepper, and drizzled with a salad dressing i just made up on the spot. guess what? that salad dressing rocked and my simple salad turned into an awesome salad, just. like. that.

i poured a little olive oil in my dressing shaker, smashed up a clove of garlic, squeezed lemon juice in and seasoned with salt and pepper. i mixed it all together and ate that mother up!

now, if only i can stay away from those chocolate chips...

ps. my sis-in-law, danielle, started a cake blog! she lives in st. louis and is the most talented cake decorator i know. all her cakes are amazing and taste unbelievably good. check her out...




Sunday, September 4, 2011

i totally pulled a macgyver




v i a

my parents came in town to hang out with the little clowers' boys last night. before they could get here, though, i made a last minute decision to hit the mall. hell-o, jcpenney's 80% off sale. but that turned out to be a total bust.

anyway, after over-staying our welcome in the mall (which is the easiest thing to do ever with four man-cubs in tow) we high-tailed it to the nearest eatery. nash must have smelled the prime rib, too, because he started yelping for his dinner. a few short minutes later he was grunting and red in the face. everyone knows what that means, yes?

i got up to change him and started digging in my diaper bag for the goods. except, the goods were no where to be found. read: i forgot to pack diapers.

i freaking forgot to pack diapers!

so i did the only thing i could do...i asked for linens.

now maybe it was because little nash-man is my fourth child, making me an experienced kind of mom (yeah right). or maybe it was because i feel a little ownership in that logan's roadhouse on the westside because i labored in that very store for over a year while in college and i feel like i know the ins and outs of that place. and travis and i met there. true story.

in either case, i wasn't worried. i asked for linens because the napkins that they wrap the silverware in are pretty big and would be perfect for a make-shift diaper. so that is what i asked for, but evidently, they don't call the linens "linens" anymore because when i asked for a few, the dear waiter brought me lemons, bless his heart, and then i had to ask for "napkins" to which he brought me little bitty paper napkins. not going to work.

so i hauled that baby to the front of the store and since the hostess was pregnant and i figured she could use a few pointers, i straight up told her what happened and that i needed the l-i-n-e-n-s from the back. and some tape, too.

nash and i headed to the bathroom and after i got him all cleaned up i started to feel a little silly. there were like 50 women in the bathroom at the exact same time as me and they were going to witness me wrapping my baby in huge cloth-like napkins. and to make matters worse they didn't seem as big as i once thought they were. a product of company downsizing? i will never know.

but the heavens parted for a few seconds and i found myself alone in the bathroom with a giggly baby so i quickly turned those square-shaped napkins around so that nash was laying on a diamond and then i did some tucking and pulling and holding it down with one hand while i ripped tape off the roll with my teeth. after it was all said and done i snapped up his onesis, slipped his shorts on, and no one ever even knew.

except when he peed and it came through.

but only a little bit and it was right when we were leaving so i just let him go bare-bottomed all the way home. and i'm pretty sure he loved it.

the point is: i rock.

no, just kidding. the point is...well, there really isn't a point except for to make sure you pack all the necessities for your baby before leaving the house. that would be a good rule to follow.

ps. a little while ago i posted about the kodak point and shoot that i wanted.  it has turned out to be...just crappy. the camera has malfunctioned and i am getting the run around from kodak and walmart about replacing it. and i even bought an extended warranty. tsk tsk. anyway, any good reccomendations on a not hugely expensive pocket-size camera? you know, it would have been good to take a picture of nash's linen-diaper at logan's roadhouse just for memory's sake....but yeah. no camera.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Taco Friday, Revisited


a few months ago, i posted about taco friday. you know, my good friend mentioned the other day that when you have kids (and you stay home 24/7) friday is just friday. it's true! friday doesn't have the same excitement that it once had, say, when i was in college or high school. (even though we have been remedying it with friday night football games, which i adore. after 10 years and living in a bazillion different places, i don't even feel like a hatchet anymore. besides, maroon and gray look better on me, anyway. ;) )

ANYway, taco friday has been a hit with our family. i think i am the only one who actually remembers it, though, so maybe this is just a sad last effort to keep friday nights exciting. for me? i don't know. but what i do know is that instead of just tacos every friday, we have been branching out.

last week, we did a southwest chipotle salad. i put each ingredient in little bowls on the table and the boys, plus their father and i, got to choose what they wanted. and this serves a double purpose as i wasn't in the kitchen making everyone's plate. that italics included travis, which sometimes i am happy to do and other times i am like, "wth, husband, you are a grown person". this is a whole other post, though.


we started with the basics: chopped romaine and spinach. and we added on from there: black beans, stir-fry corn, tomatoes, cheese, purple onion, chopped egg, and fritos as a garnish. we topped it with this:


which i am actually not a fan of. the walmart was out of the regular chipotle dressing....uh, i think it is like farmview or something like that. kind of a bummer. but this wasn't terrible.

so there you go. another addition to taco friday. go make friday exciting again...because surely i am not the only, RIGHT???


ps. i started painting the boys' rooms and can i just say....i hate painting!?

pictures to come...of course, if i ever get it done.





Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Killing at the Dollar Tree


can you BELIEVE it is september already? i can not. but it is september 1st and that is as good as the official first day of fall. i spent the last two days pulling fall decor out of the basement and pulling most of it out of my dog's teeth. have to love that little lily-pie. or not. we have a love-hate relationship, her and i.



anyway, in honor of almost-fall i took myself to the dollar tree and killed it. even though party city hails itself as 'halloween central', i beg to differ. the dollar tree has the cutest stuff for fall and halloween and it is only a buck. my cart was full of pumpkins, tombstones, crows, halloween ribbon, stuff for homemade halloween costumes, ect. it's my first halloween in a house that i actually own, and with a fire place mantel, no less....so you know it is going down come october.

and fyi, if you are looking for good lip gloss (courtney owens), get it at the dollar tree. it is home to my most favorite lip gloss ever, which is a big deal. i am kind of a lip gloss connoisseur. if you've known me at all anytime in the last 15 years, you will know this. anyway, the lip gloss is called kiss and the best flavor is cherry love. who knew awesome lip gloss would be $1 at the dollar tree? take my word for it. (and i got a smokin leopard print headband there today, too. i know, right?)

so then we headed to walmart where i drooled over all the holiday magazines. especially the taste of home fall baking. fall baking! i'm going to kick it off with these. and yes, i know. i post them every year.

happy fall!

almost!



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

walk-amolie


yum. yum.

the other night i made fish tacos and had picked up some avocados earlier that day at the store. i knew right then it would be a good night. fish tacos and guacamole will do that for you.

it {the guacamole} is really easy to make. scoop out your avocados into a bowl. or if you are fancy, like me, you have a mortar & pestle set. just kidding...i'm not fancy. i didn't even know what it was until i received it as a gift and then had to read about what to do with it. but, it is a handy gift - especially if you love guacamole.

anyway, scoop out your avocados and mash it up with a fork or pestle until they are the consistency you want. i like a little chunk. add lots of salt.

in a seperate bowl, dice the same ratio of onion and tomato, add a little bit of cilantro and a squirt of lime juice. this is actually called pico de gallo. well, my pico de gallo. you can make it any which way, but i've been making it this way for years without complaint. dump it in with your avocado, moosh it all around and you have guacamole!

i didn't like the lime chips, though. regular for me, please.

and while we are at it...take a look at that picture again. see the pink tile in the background?

it surrounds my kitchen!

suggestions? can i paint it? help.

ps. if you were wondering about the title, that is how my little brycer pronounces it.

i know, it is adorable.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Everyday Laundry.

doing laundry sucks. right?

especially when you do like 4 loads every day.



at least i have a good little helper.


but, even a 4 month old knows it. is. not. fun. for very long.






Thursday, August 11, 2011

make my mouth sing


have i mentioned how much i love the pioneer woman? i do! i do! she is amazing, no? my momma brought me nearly 100 jalapenos and i just didn't know what to do with them until i remembered about this recipe from 2008, i think.

bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers

so i scrolled through my 2010 PW cookbook and they were there, too, only with a new twist - bbq bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. 

seriously. freakin' bbq bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers!

anyway, they are super easy to make and just about the best thing on earth - they will make your mouth sing.

but, don't do like i did and scarf down about 8 and then try to run 3 miles. i could barely get to 2 and then i'm pretty sure something on the inside just dissolved out of shear jumbled-up spiciness.

anyway, here's the deets.

8 oz. cream cheese
shredded cheddar
snipped green onion

mix all together, very well. i used my stand and just let it beat for 5-6 minutes so it whipped the green onion around in all the cream cheese glory. have i also mentioned how much i love cream cheese? yeah.

while that is mixing, slice your jalapenos, length-wise, right down the middle. carefully scrape out all the white fleshy stuff and all the seeds. i like mine to be spicy so i leave in some of the seeds, but do whatever you like.

next fill each jalapeno boat with the cream cheese mixture and lay each on a rimmed baking sheet (or glass dish). after each one is filled, start your bacon wrapping.

i slice a pound of bacon in half and used one 1/2 slice for each popper. it really depends on your bacon, but i was able to have enough to wrap 30 poppers (also about how much the cream cheese mixture will fill unless you double the recipe)

wrap each one loosely. if you wrap them too tight the cream cheese doesn't have room to expand and it oozes out anywhere it can find and you end up having poppers that taste good, but look a mess. and all the lady-folk know how much presentation, counts, yes?

anyway, wrap your poppers and slather a little bbq sauce on each one before putting them in the oven. sweet baby ray's is our go-to sauce. and i haven't found anything as good. wait, i take that back. when we lived in jacksonville, you could buy pat's ho-made sauce at the local publix. pat's ho-made sauce, isn't that awesome? i bought it for the title, alone, but it turned out to be really good,t oo.
bake in the oven at 300 for an hour.

eat. up. ...and if you like challenges, try to eat just one.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ohmygosh.

it's been a long week. (since i last posted) 
actually, a short week with days that seem to only last 2 hours. (or less)
i don't know what i'm saying, but school freaking starts on thursday.

so before we get to all the cute baby pictures, our new cute dog pictures, and all kinds of recipes...

we had a back-to-school-campout



city-style s'mores



good lookin' boys...and my little girl puppy



tent-dwelling story telling



"the moon is here!!" - bryce


checking out who was making the scary noises...it was triston, who high-tailed it after i casually mentioned bigfoot. oops.

...and to top it off...

j-man learned how to tie his shoes!

and because of that, all my summer goals are complete

score!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

i. love. summer.

cucumbers from our garden
right now, my countertops are full of home-grown peaches, watermelon, blackberries, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, squash, zuchinni, and sweet corn. and these little weird peppers that are growing in our garden that are not good. we don't even know what they are because somebody forgot what he planted. that would be travis.

we've been living off of summer fruits and vegetables for the past two weeks. plus a little bacon here and there (hello! B. L. T.'s) and homemade wheat bread. i don't even have any posts for all of this because we've been eating it too quickly. but i am making coconut zuchinni bread this week.

i can't help but feel gratitude for all the yummy and healthy fruits and vegetables the lord provides.

we are blessed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

a real-life fight

two of the culprits

boy, howdy. i was in for it. last night, i experienced a real fight. like, a real face-punching, wrestling-to-the-ground and into furniture, feet-kicking fight.

it all started by play wrestling. surprise surprise. we have somewhat of a circle that connects our dining room, living room, family room, and kitchen and triston and jackson were chasing each other around and around and of course i was busy doing something domestic and sometimes i just kind of check out. when i came too, and they were running in circles, i interceded and told them we don't do that. so they took it in the family room and started wrestling around. someone got hurt and the fight was on.

usually when someone gets hurt, the afflicted comes running to me and i give them the bit "that is why we shouldn't play like that" and "if you want to wrestle you've got to be more careful", but this time no one came. all i heard was grunts and yelps and "thuds" which is making my stomach hurt as i type this.

i ran into the family room and broke it up. they were screaming about who did what and who started it and i being the wise mother that i am didn't ask for details and didn't take sides but instead reminded them that we are a loving family who doesn't fight, unless we are going after liberals, and even then violence is not the answer. ha ha, just joking (or am i?)(i totally did not say that to the kids). i made them hug, which elicited lots of complaining, but mothers know how to make their kids do it anyway (by issuing threats, of course). i came back to the kitchen to finish up cleaning and it started all over again, except the little-er one was chasing after the bigger one right up the stairs into dark territory, which doesn't happen around here because like their mother, they are afraid of the dark. but it happened anyway and i knew this was some serious shiz taking place.

i followed up the stairs and broke it up again only after seeing jackson throw a right into triston's chin and triston kick-slamming j right into the wall (aunt danielle, style). i made the guys apologize to each other and hug-it-out once more and to even throw an "i love you" in there, too. the weirdest thing about it all was that jackson had on this stupid electronic spider-man glove (just on one hand) during the whole fight, and every time he moved there was this whole array of noises like "huh!" "pow" "scat!" and the like. it was kind of surreal.

there were no tears, only breathless anger and above all: my threats of house-hold peace were being ignored. i grabbed jackson and took him to the bathroom for teeth-brushing (and a good talking to) and triston busted through the door with wild eyes, not unlike a crazed meth addict. only, he is seven and is most definitely NOT a crazy meth addict. jackson bolts off the counter and gets in some ridiculous stance and then this is where i got pissed. after throwing triston out of the bathroom and locking the door, i started yelling about how "triston is supposed to be your best friend" "who are you going to sit with on the school bus the very first day?" "he will always have your back, and here you are fighting with him" "he is your brother!" blah blah blah. although mostly very sweet, jackson has a tendency to look right though you and completely not care what you are saying. it's the second biggest reason why i got rid of the wii. anyway, i sent jackson off and yelled for triston to come into the bathroom  pretty much for me to do and say the same things to him. except i added the part about "you are older, you set the example".

triston, god bless him, he is a reason-er. he'll think about things and over think them and if he feels his very core has been wronged, will give 250 bazillion reasons why he did what he did and he just can't let it go. and that is exactly what he started doing...which ultimately lead me to offer him a candy bar of his choice if he would just go apologize and see what happens.

also like his mother, he can't resist candy bars, so he did it and the contention that was palpable just minutes before suddenly vanished and jackson, without hesitation and a simple shoulder shrug, said "me, too" and it was all over.

20 seconds later (literally 20 seconds later) they were talking about a couple of army guys triston had and jackson asked if he could borrow it. triston said, "sure, but i have two of the same and we could just play with them both - together- if you want". and then they went to bed with no further problems.

if you are like me, you are thinking "wth" only i was thinking more like "wtf", except i am a christian and don't use words like that.

honestly, i was sad to see these two fighting. and you better believe i broke out the "jesus doesn't like it" speech. if all of that failed, and they do it again, i have a really great scary "mean mommy voice" in my arsenal that i only pull out on special occasions. we'll see what happens.

but, the most important thing everyone should pick up on, though, is that peace was instilled in our home by a candy bar. a freaking candy bar was all it took. the power of chocolate is quite persuasive and i'm thinking all the president needs to do for a bi-partisan vote on this debt debacle up on capitol hill is start passing around the chocolate. dark for me, please. seriously...contention vanished just. like. that.

let's pray for peace....all around.


PS my baby has two little "toofers" trying to pop through and last time i checked he is just 3 months old. what is going on, here?

PPS did you know that e.t. still scares the crap out of little kids? it does. and elliott also says "penis-breath" to his brother and my kids thought it was hilarious. awesome.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Honey-Sesame Salmon



i've been really in to broiling fish lately. i don't know, it is just easier than the grill, maybe? anyway,  this doesn't look nearly as good as it tasted. it's a recipe from the dinnerRevolution cookbook, that I blogged about last week. if you like salmon it's just another way to prepare it. and it really was a quick and easy meal with few ingredients. in fact, 30 minutes prior, i was kind of freaking out about what to cook for dinner and suddenly i remembered i had all the ingredients on hand, thanks to my new asian friend. bonus: the kids liked it, too!

honey-sesame salmon

salt and pepper
1/4 c. sliced green onion
1 T sesame oil (i used olive)
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar (i used rice vinegar)
1 T sesame seeds
5 salmon fillets

place salmon on aluminum foil over a broiling pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper; to taste. next, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and pour over each salmon fillet. let marinate for 15-20 minutes. broil for 10 minutes or until fish is flaky and just a little golden around the edges.

that's it! i served with sauteed zucchini, squash, and onion...throw together in a pan, add olive oil and garlic (and just a little red pepper flakes) and saute until soft (or slightly crunchy). and also, let it be known that my kids hate this side dish, but in the summer have a lot of squash and zucchini. and this year we even have our own, so we are really making it a lot. and if you were wondering, we totally make the kids eat it anyway because we are cruel like that.





Monday, July 25, 2011

the ac follow-up


i sat down and tried to write this a couple of times, but re-living it was quite tiresome. tuesday night our air stopped working somewhere between 7p - 3a. i awoke and wrote the banana bread post and went back to bed. by morning, though, it. was. hot. we stayed around until 11, when everyone was sweating just by watching a movie with all the blinds closed and fans running. we decided to go to the mall - have lunch, ride the carousel, play in the kid's area, and do some walking - the usual. i actually had to borrow a stroller because we haven't gotten that far in our baby buying just yet...which will be corrected this week, i forgot how awesome strollers are - even if they are big and clunky and take up way to much room.

the mall was better than we expected. there is a new trackless train in the mall that actually drives around different areas and after you pay for a stamp, it is unlimited rides. needless to say, the kids had a blast. they played, argument/fighting free, for a few hours, we had lunch, and i actually tried on clothes and picked up a few things for myself. what?! i'm still wondering how that happened. the kids were being so good, i took advantage and they did just fine in the dressing room. a modern day miracle, if you ask me. don't get me wrong, though, i wouldn't even attempt it again.

we, of course, came home to a house that rivaled the heat of hades. i got the kids dressed as quickly as possible for their baseball game and we were out the door again, no reprieve from the heat, though, because it might have been hotter inside than out. the heat index was 115.

after the game we had to go back to our house to pack an overnight bag for everyone to stay at my in-laws. i am making this sound like no big deal, but packing for 4 with sweat pouring down your face and all the boys pretty much crying because they are hot really isn't an ideal situation. it could have been worse, but it wasn't fun.

the next day our repairman didn't show up so we packed another bag as quickly as possible for a hotel. first, let me just say that i hate hotels, so i wasn't thrilled to be going there. we knew the kids would have fun swimming, though. i packed everyone up and we headed there.

at one point i wanted to cry because of all the questions. i was on edge anyway and nash was fussy and there was just a endless stream of "where are we going?" "is it far?" "can we swim right away?" "what are we going to eat for dinner?" "how long do we get to stay here?" ect. ect. ect. it's to be expected, but holey moley...

we got to the hotel and with careful maneuvering i got everyone and our bags into the hotel room in one piece. we got ready for the pool and realized we had forgotten triston's earplugs (he has tubes)...so back down to the car we go to run to the drug store. 

we run in, which is never just "running in" when you have four little kids. nash was in his car seat on my arm, and the other three were walking with little hands touching just about everything in site. we find the earplugs and head for the cashier, as i have to say "come on boys, let's go." twice. those creative marketing types are a mother's worst nightmare - there was just too much to see and they got distracted. but, then bryce starts opening up candy at the counter and eating it....so throw that in, too. they are usually really good in stores, but this was just a weird trip, i guess.

let's not forget how hot it is outside...

we get back to the hotel and in to the pool and bryce starts jumping up and down to go pee, while the other two have already jumped in. in my desperation, i knelt down to bryce and just whispered for him to discretely pee in the pool. (and just so you know, that is not normally something i would do) bryce, in the loudest voice possible says, "what?! you want me to pee in the pool?!) to save face i say just as loudly, "no! i DON"T want you to pee in the pool!" so we all get out, two of which are soaked and dripping, and with nash's car seat back on my arm, we make our way to the bathroom, which for some reason is really far away: past the lobby and down a hallway. 

i made sure everyone went, even though triston argued with me about it before finally conceding, and he really did have to go so i don't even know why he made an issue out of it. we get back to the pool and have a great time. nash fell asleep and i got in with the boys and we swam for a couple of hours.

time for dinner, though, so we go to our room and everyone gets ready. travis has been mia this whole time, which is fine bc he was working, but we're waiting for him to arrive and he calls me and says he decided to just stay home because he has so much work to do. what?! i am going to have to do this completely alone?  i said a few expletives and hung up on him - it was his idea to come in the first place.  but just as i threw the phone on the bed, there was a knock on the door and there he stood. oops. i apologized and off we went.

dinner was great, but hectic as usual. rest of the night went just fine. travis took the kids swimming and i sat in the hotel room and of all things turned the channel to disney. i swear, i have no life outside of being a mother. that was proof, right there.

 in the morning it started all over again. we got up and everyone got ready for breakfast. our hotel had a really great spread and the boys were very excited. ( i am realizing we get way too excited about food). we ran into a couple of problems, though. first, i had nash strapped to me in the bjorn. and second, there was absolutely no where to sit. every single table and chair and couch in the lobby was packed. so not only did i have the issue of preparing food for them with a baby strapped on front, we also had no where to go...and the kids didn't want easy things like a bagel, they wanted cereal and waffles from the waffle iron that you had to make yourself.

i told the kids we needed to go back upstairs for just a little while longer. the older boys were fine with that, but little bryce wanted to eat right then and thought we were just going to skip it all together. so the tears started. it was awesome and i really did want to cry because it took a lot of effort to get everyone down there and we had to go right back up and bryce was upset and i just wanted to go home.

but no tears for mom. we came down an hour later and everyone had cleared out so the boys picked what they wanted and i maneuvered with nash strapped to me and we were just fine. untttttiiiil, the hotel clerk tried to be funny and knocked on this hidden wooden door in the front desk and it came down and hit bryce in the face. in typical 3 year old fashion, he started crying and jumping up and down.  the lady made a huge deal out of it and everyone was staring at us. it really wasn't a big deal, worse things happen at home, but she insisted of "treating" the scratch and was dramatic about it. afterwards, we did more swimming. and then i got the call i was waiting for: the ac got fixed and we could head home!

so that is what we did, but not before the kids got a healthy dose of bed jumping...




i and i'm pretty sure everyone else were relieved to be home. so, i learned a couple of things from all of this. one, that baby carrier is invaluable (i already knew that one) two, i never would have made it before ac with children. three, four kids is a lot to pack around. when is school starting again?! four, even though it was hard we really did have an alright time. and five, even though i try to fight it, these little guys really are my whole world (as evidenced by the disney channel deal). and six, there is always someone with a worse situation, so just suck it up and do what you have to do.

...but the very next night my parents came to town and got a hotel room with a pool and wanted us to come swimming. i said no.

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