Tuesday, January 29, 2013

these tacos will change your life!

Pinned Image
as found on pinterest.
 oven tacos. who knew?

one day i was perusing on pinterest and happened upon a picture. ^^^ there it is. and we love the tacos around here so i got busy making them. only the link on pinterest didn't work and don't you hate that?! i figured the picture was pretty self-explanatory so i got busy making them and i will bore you my testimony on this: these tacos will change the way you make them forever!

here's the thing about tacos and small children - it can be a mess. soft shell, hard shell - it doesn't matter. somehow boys will find a way to loose all their cheese or get it all over everything. and that is okay, for like, half the day, but by dinnertime, i am over it.

well anyway,  i made these last week. all you have to do is make up the taco meat however you like it, and stuff it in the shells all nice and happy. add some shredded cheese, and put as many as you can fit into 9 x 13 oven dishes and slide into a pre-heated 350 degree oven. the 9 x 13 dish holds about 12 tacos.

let warm for about 8-10 minutes, or until the shells are warmed and the cheese has melted. now, add whatever you like on top - we added diced tomato, chopped lettuce, green onion, and fresh cilantro, with a little baby-spoon sized dollop of sour cream on top.

the taco shells literally warm themselves around the meat and melted cheese, so everything stays put when you crunch into it. there isn't nearly as much mess and i don't know: they just tasted better!

so, there you go.

what ever we would do now without pinterest?!

go make some tacos!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

if you've ever wondered...

in case you ever wondered what it is like shopping with four little boys all just 7 years apart - let me paint you a picture.

first, it is just constant noise. from the time we all jump in the car - constant. noise. singing, talking to each other, talking to me, banging on the window, laughing, arguing with each other, playing the evil witch, me saying a bajillion times, "boys, stay with me" or "sorry, you can't have that today" or "don't hit your brother", ect. and it isn't all bad noise - it is just not quiet. like, at all.

second, it is constant motion. i don't know why my kids can't keep their hands to themselves. do other mothers have this problem? not only do they constantly touch each other and try out some spin moves in the middle of an aisle while someone is coming in the other lane, but, -usually bryce- can't help but touch everything on the shelves. there's also the jumping off and on to the cart, sliding underneath the cart for a ride, wrangling little nash trying to escape from the safety of the belt in the front of the cart, and so on.

and then from time to time things like this happen: i do most of my shopping at aldi's, an awesome discount grocery chain that requires that you "rent" your shopping cart for a quarter and bag your own groceries. i am totally cool with that beCAUSE the savings for our family usually exceeds $50 a week. how awesome is that? so i had a cart load of groceries and just as i was pulling into the bagging station, nash decided to throw a fit about staying in the front seat of the cart. the buckle was broken so there was no way for me to make him stay there and bag my groceries at the same time. and since i am not really into head trauma on a toddler who just won't sit still and might fall out of the cart, i just decided it would be better to strap him into his car seat and then bag my groceries at the back of my van. i heaved the loaded shopping cart to the door and threw my re-usable groceries bags right on top. holding a squirming nash, and three littles jumping and skipping at my side, we set out to make our way to the van.

but this day had below average temps and a whipping wind, so when we walked out my re-usable bags all flew across the parking lot. i tried to grab them but they flew out of range as quick as could be. my older two boys screamed as loud as they could and took off after them, arms flailing. i panicked because all i could think of was they were going to run out in front of a car but i couldn't get the words out in that few seconds so i just started yelling, too. the three of us sounded like this: "aaaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHH". bryce started jumping up and down and laughing this weird high pitched laugh/scream. "AHHH ha AHHH ha ha ha AHHH" and nash, whom i was still holding, thought it was a funny game so he starts jumping up and down in my arms and just shrieked "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH" banshee style.

every single person in that parking lot turned to look at us and when they saw what was happening, those good samaritans came to our aid and chased down my kids who were chasing down all the bags. any prospect of a car hitting one of my kids came to a halt because the scene would have stopped the most oblivious driver to wonder what the heck was going on.

by the time all the bags were retrieved, i was cracking up nearly to tears. nash was still laughing and jumping and being all silly, and the boys were walking back to the van with all the bags, feeling triumphant. the nice patrons were laughing and shaking their heads at how funny the scene was and waving and nodding at my generous shouts of thanks.

i detained nash by strapping him in his seat, made all the boys get buckled and then borrowed triston's gloves (that barely fit over my whole hands) to load all the groceries into their rebellious bags and then set out for walmart to pick up a few items my discount store doesn't carry.

the other thing that you can count on with a car-full of boys is competitions on who is the strongest or who can carry the most bags in. so when we got home, i just sat back and let them do all the hard work, adding my two cents to motivate them to get every single bag. little nash was ready for a nap after all that excitement and after putting in a movie downstairs for my little helpers, i finally got a chance at some peace and quiet while i put all the groceries away.

just until they were ready for snacks, though, which was all of like, 20 minutes. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

untold stories: the watermelon

half-way through the clean-up
true story.
july 2010 - it had been a long exhasting day that included the grocery store. the boys were 6, 4, and 2 then, so they were just about the right age to drive me completely batty when in public. we were living in travis' parents rental home while anxiously planning out a hopeful near future: a campaign for county prosecutor and a fourth baby. so, tensions were high. and let me just tell you a thing about that place: although that house is beautiful and the land is gorgeous (like, magazine-pretty), it is not really set up for children. The floor plan is kind of wonky since it was built in three seperate sections, the first, a rustic room built entirely of logs, rumored to be posey county's very first post office. there are no hallways, just rooms that lead into the next. the kitchen and eat-in dining area, right off the log room, is big: tall ceilings and a built in corner pantry, it is actually quite lovely, or will be when renovations are done.  inside the kitchen is a  crazy-steep open wood staircase that descends into a tile floor in the basement that has cedar woods walls, which served as the boys playroom.

and that is really where the heart of this story takes place.

july, in the midwest, is synonomous with: THE BEST WATERMELON ON EARTH. and on my way home from the grocery store, i had stopped at a road-side market and paid $5 for a monster watermelon that had me and the boys licking our lips all the way home and me answering questions about it: "yes, we will cut it up before dinner. yes, you can have some. no, triston doesn't get the whole thing"

when we finally arrived, i lugged all the groceries in the house while the boys played in the front. as i started putting stuff away, i rolled that watermelon to where the pantry is and let it settle right there on the cold tile floor. mistake # 1 - it was right in front of the staircase.

after my job was done, i yelled for the boys and they came inside for an afternoon movie while i caught up on some laundry (which is also located in the basement) and got some peace and quite. mistake # 2 - i left them unchaperoned. mistake # 3 - i actually thought i could have peace and quite with young boys in my house.

as i was busy sorting and folding, i heard something hard bouncing down the wood steps. i started for the door to reprimand the culprit because we had told them to be careful on the new hardwood floors that were only a couple years old.

but....there was no reprimanding. i watched our giant watermelon flop out onto the tile floor and literally explode before my eyes. it was on the ceiling. it was on the walls. some part of that watermelon covered every square tile on that floor. i stood there, shocked, not believing what my eyes were actually seeing and THEN i saw a little head peek around the corner of the doorway, just the top of his head and his eyes.

"jjjjjaaaaaaccccCCCCKKKSSSSSOOOOONNNN!" i started in, but couldn't even finish it. i had no words. my mishievious child had struck again and there was nothing i could do except start cleaning it up. and cry. i actually started crying!

"mom. i'm sorry. mom, i didn't do it on purpose. mom. mom, are you mad at me?" with wide eyes he  peppered me with questions that i didn't even answer. bryce and jackson came to see what had happened and started hooting and hollering. i think triston even tried to chase jackson down because he saw that i was upset. i secured all the boys in the living room upstairs, got a broom and paper towels and every cleaner i had in the house and started the massive clean-up. half-way through, i thought to grab my camera. i needed proof that this actually happened.

the clean-up actually only took about an hour. i picked up all the big pieces and put them in a trashbag, then swept up everything else. i picked pieces off the walls and wiped down all the toys that were covered in juice and watermelon matter. once only the juice was left on the floor, i used a whole roll of paper towels to soak it all up. then i had to just mop it - 3 times.

i am pretty sure this event shaped my current chocolate addiction. once it was completely cleaned up and things were back to normal, like my freaking blood pressure, i was able to actually look at my kids again.

but i didn't buy another watermelon for the rest of the summer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

yum called cavatini

one of the best things about my hometown is this little locally owned pizza place called bobe's. I even worked there for quite a while in my teens: in fact, it was my first job and when i visit, it the always the place i meet up with my girlfriends.While they have since expanded into other kinds of food they offer and seriously - it is all delicious, their pizza/pasta choices are just, like, awesome.

one of the dishes they serve there is cavatini. i don't even know why i thought it would be good to make this: i never eat this. but whateves. glad i did. now, maybe there is certain criteria for making this dish but one afternoon i decided to make it and here's what i did. and oh man, i was so glad because it was so good. EVEN THOUGH my husband just said it was, "okay". but he doesn't get things like i do (art, movies, literature, clothes, and anything else cool) so he doesn't count. plus, my kids loved it and asked for more. so, it's good.

box of penne pasta
green pepper*
ground beef, cooked and drained*
black olives
just about anything else you want or like on a pizza
spaghetti sauce

cook the pasta until done, drain, and place into a 9x13. dice up any of the toppings you want (pepperoni, too) and mix into the pasta. sprinkle some shredded moz in, too, and mix well. once everything is all mixed up and awesome, pour the sauce over the top, no need to mix in. and then top it off with mozzerella to cover and put in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

**what i actually used.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

boy joys

There are a lot of things that come with kids that leaves me exasperated. Like, my little Jackson who wakes up every morning with a scowl on his face insisting that he will not be going to school and that he is not getting dressed and he is not eating that oatmeal, and he is not... sigh. That one is a work in progress. I get it. I hate mornings, too, and otherwise he is a happy kid, so what do you do?

Or all the messes. There is always a mess somewhere in this house. The best is when I have devoted my entire day to cleaning and putting away and organizing the play-room, AGAIN, and by the time Travis gets home, i can only imagine that he is wondering what the heck i have done all day.

But there are certain things in life that make you feel nothing but pure joy (like the beach!) among the day-to-day craziness and there are a few consistent things that each of the boys do almost every day that I can always count on. They're the best part of my day.

Triston: his creativeness. whether it is a design in paper, play-doh, legos, or on the piano - he has a little something extra. and his Independence & initiative to get things done. 1st-born kind of things.

Jackson:  his ideas. his sense of humor. his persuasion. oh, this boy is full of it. He is fun and comes up with the best ideas. Plus, he is a lover at heart. always has a hug waiting for you. (except in the morning.)

Bryce: he is no non-sense. what you see is what you get. He is at my most favorite age, the 4-5 range, and gets such a kick out of dressing up as his favorite character or beating me in a game of chutes & ladders. It's hilarious.

Nash: The way he laughs when you retrieve the chocolate syrup from the fridge to pour into his cup of milk. it's the best. You'd think you had presented him with a puppy or something. Simple pleasures, I guess?

kids are awesome.

Monday, January 7, 2013

if i have a monument in this world, it is my son.*

*as quoted by maya angelou.

i was sitting on the couch reading on my kindle. travis was next to me barking out orders and the boys...well, they were doing them: squats, jumps, sit ups, pull ups, and my fav - the monster walk, which is code for calisthenics. the boys were relishing every last second: watching each other's form and encouraging one another, luring nash away from whichever brother was doing his reps, and keeping count with dad. and always - ALWAYS - there was some healthy competition, too. (no, WATCH THIS!) and even nash was trying his darndest to do whatever his big bros were doing, which is like, the cutest thing EVER.

and this is what you call fun in my house. the boys love it. LOVE IT.

as i sit there watching these little guys (because the mom never gets to read when there are four man-cubs in the same room, c'mon!) my thoughts drifted to 'what if' scenarios. what if we had had four girls instead of four boys? 

all i can tell you is there would be a whole lot of little mermaid going on around here. and i wouldn't get looked at all crazy when i randomly belt out, "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat..."

so, these girls...

would they have been jumping around like little heathen children before bed tonight and jumping around saying absurdities like "all up in ya face, man!" ? (wait, they may have gotten that one from me.) (and by witnessing some of the girls i know in action, i think this one is a, yes?)

would i have to explain to them nearly. every. morning. why they can't wear the sweatpants with holes in them to school?  and explain that if they don't brush their hair right, I WILL DO IT FOR THEM.

would i get pictures of houses and dolls and flowers instead of sharks, and trucks, and fire? what is up with boys & fire anyway? everything always has fire.

would their father be a big bowl of mush-type instead of a gym coach-type (with just a little mush on the side)?

and i'm guessing their bathroom wouldn't smell like pee and the body wash they like to use wouldn't smell like a man? ha...love that.

but i snapped back to reality by a karate chop that was a littletooclose up in my personal space and like, a flying toy or two that got flung across the room by a silly baby boy.

i am a mother of boys. future men. what is the saying: a mother of boys works from son up until son down? and oh, it is true.

i hope this post isn't coming off as wishing i had had a girl. quite the opposite actually: i was made to have little boys. these boys were gifted to me for a reason; a purpose. and sometimes i have to remind myself of that when all hell brakes loose up in our house: four boys will do that to you,  but they will be my legacy; my work & my glory.

and don't forget about all the COOL stuff that comes along with little boys: we're going to a freaking monster truck rally this coming weekend!

 plus, i can't do girl hair anyway, so it probably worked out for the best. :)

a lovely little quote

a lovely little quote from one of my favorite hymns. i coped the look from a friend after she posted it on her blog a few years ago. she lives in georgia so i figured it would be okay to snag her idea. :) i bought the vinyl from here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


nash wants to say happy new year!
i love the new year. there is something about having the opportunity to make a new start - a re-set button, if you will - that drums up motivation. right now {most people} are on their best behavior. hopes are high for whatever the new year will bring and it seems as though everyone is putting their best foot forward in this little game we call life.  in 2012, my resolution was to be more organized.  given how i ransacked the house just this morning to find my keys...probably not doing so great at that one...but you keep on doing it anyway. as for 2013, i've got two. the first one i started in november and it went well until my husband went out of town in december for a week long conference and all hell broke loose: giving up soda. i gave it up long enough to stop getting headaches when i didn't drink it. now, i am giving it up because it's gross. (but it's so good...)  so no soda. and the second? to be more present. like, when my kids say, "mom, can you help me with this" and i say, "i can't right now because i am doing ______" or not putting off something until later that i can do right now, especially little things like putting the laundry away, so i will have more time when they want to play a game or read a book or whatever. and i guess one more - to just be the better version of me; to just do better.
in other news, i ate something amazing and wanted to share:

via life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.com

i found it on pinterest and it's awesome and you will make a huge mess in your kitchen but you won't even care. your welcome. happy new year!

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