You can tell it's the busy time of year when I haven't blogged since September! Yikes. I don't have time to write much now, but I am still alive and kicking (just in case you were wondering). :) I hope to back to blogging after Christmas.
We seem to be very into video blogging recently, but with kids it is a great way to capture their cuteness! Recently Delanie has started cooing and singing all the time. She is very vocal, especially to her daddy - they are the sweetest moments and I had to capture it on film.
Sorry for the crick in your neck since the video is crooked. :) Anyone know how to rotate a video?
As if you haven't already seen enough of our kiddos, here is another video of Delanie and I "talking". It's not all that exciting, but still adorable, if you ask me. :)
I can't believe that by the end of this week my second born will be half way to double digits! That's right, Ethan turns 5 on Saturday. My how the years fly by! I am so blessed that I am able to spend so much time with my children since their childhood years seem to be passing so quickly. Wasn't it just yesterday that Ethan was born - wait a minute, on that note - wasn't it just yesterday that I turned 5?!?! I still remember many fond childhood memories from those early years. I don't want to miss out on these important and fun years with my own children! I hope Kevin and I are able to give the boys a fun, loving and encouraging atmosphere to remember when they are grown.
Well, our school year has officially begun . . . although it has been a very slow start. Many thanks go to my mom for taking the time last week to work on science and social studies with the boys so that I could complete a few work assignments. After studying with Mimi, the boys even got to go to the dinosaur exhibit at the zoo to reinforce what they learned about those "terrible lizards"! They had a great time and really enjoyed the fun subject. I hope the whole year can be this fun and inter-active for them.
Ok folks, it's Monday and that means it's meal planning time. Here is our menu for the week of August 31st - September 6th:
MONDAY - Grab a bite after viewing a house in Milford
TUESDAY - Tomato & Spinach Pesto Pizza (gotta use up the little bit of pesto sauce left over from last week's meal), Mini-pizza's for the boys, Raspberry-Pineapple Jello
Camping was a great success and I hope the boys had a great time building solid family memories! I love these together times of life. Now, we are back to the routine busyness of life as we face starting school, selling our house, business commitments and responsibilities, as well as enjoying much needed family time and the daily family responsibilities.
Feeding my family in an efficient, healthy, low-stress, cost-conscious way is a top priority. With that said, here is our menu for the week of August 24th - August 30th:
MONDAY - Amish Potatoes and Green Beans, Crescent Rolls, Applesauce
Both two weeks ago and last week I wasn't able to make one of the dishes on the weekly menu (Baked Ham and BBQ Chicken Pizza) due to a last minute change of plans. Since I still have the ingredients on hand, I am putting them back on this week's menu. Hopefully this week will go more as planned, but spontenaity is always good too.
Here is our menu for the week of August 17th - 23rd:
MONDAY - Baked Ham, AuGratin Potatoes, Garden Fresh Green Beans
The Gryzcan Family was kind enough to invite us over to swim again this last Sunday and Delanie had her first experience swimming with Daddy! It was 94 degrees and basically 100% humidity, so even she didn't mind getting int he pool. She is such an easy-going baby that the cool water hardly even seemed to phase her at all. Enjoy this short video of Daddy-Daughter time!
August 2nd is always a fun and exciting day in our family because we get to celebrate multiple birthdays in one. Kevin's Mom is a twin and she and her sister were born on August 2. Kevin was the ultimate birthday present for Kevin's Mom 33 years ago when he decided to also show up on August 2nd.
This year, we celebrated by having the Autry's and the Wingerter's (Kevin's grandparents) over for dinner, cake, ice cream and conversation. Afterward we all went out to watch the boys play on the trampoline. Kevin and I even joined in the fun!
Enjoy these random pictures of our special time together!
Yummmmm - ice cream!
It's so fun to laugh and love with family.
Politics and news are frequently the name of the game when the Wingerter's are over.
The cake was delicious - homemade German Chocolate, Kevin's request.
Mom made Delanie two adorable tutu's with matching head bands. She was just so stinking cute!
A princess and her Daddy.
Physical family fun!
Wrestling with the bro's.
Good times, great memories!
Even Grammy was feeling adventurous!
It's just so nice to have a granddaughter to squeeze! Lanie loves her Grammy.
The tutu looked good on the boys too!
I just loved this shot so I had to include it! I love this man! Happy birthday, Babe.
This looks like it is going to be a fairly active week of editing, photo shoots, homeschool activities, schoolwork and family commitments - not to mention the fulfillment of my civil responsibility (yes, that's right, I got summoned to jury duty). I can't believe we only have 3 more weeks until we start homeschooling again! Boy, have I got to get busy planning the upcoming year as well as finish a few things to officially conclude last year's school work. I know I've got my work cut out for me!
Here is the menu for the week of August 3 -August 9:
MONDAY - Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit, Chips
TUESDAY - Hobo Dinners on the Grill, 90 Minute Dinner Rolls
Our friend Krista Gryzcan invited us over recently for an afternoon of summertime fun at her house. The boys really enjoyed playing with her children in their pool. I didn't get a chance to take pictures of everyone because I only had my phone's camera and it started raining shortly after I recorded these videos and pictures. Here is a quick (and I do mean quick!) snapshot of the fun we had! Thanks, Krista, for such a great afternoon of fun and friendship!
Last week I took off from menu planning because I was working up at Camp Fa-Ho-Lo each day and didn't get home until late each afternoon. As you can imagine, it was a week full of leftovers, pizza and dinner with my parent's.
Below is the menu for the week of July 20 - July 25, 2009. We might be heading out of town to go camping this weekend, so our dinner plans for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all TBD.
MONDAY - Hamburgers on the Grill, French Fries, Green Beans, Watermelon
This recipe can be a great appetizer or a fun, simple dinner. I love the fact that it can be made in advance and then just popped in the oven for a quick and delicious meal.
1/2 lb. ground beef (or pork)
2 Tbs. pizza seasoning, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
8 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the beef and pizza seasoning. Brown over medium-high heat; drain. Toss onion, tomatoes and jalapenos with olive oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano; let stand at least 10 minutes to allow flavor to develop. Lay 4 tortillas on two baking sheets. Sprinkle evenly with cooked beef, vegetables, cheese and remaining pizza seasoning. (Don't pile up cheese in the center or it won't melt properly) Top with remaining tortillas. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until tortillas start to brown. While hot, remove tortillas from baking sheets and cut into pizza-shaped wedges.
The savory and somewhat tangy flavor of this dish is so yummy. Plus, I love the fact that it's all cooked in one skillet - less dishes for Kevin! :)
2 tsp. olive oil
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup Italian dressing
3 Tbs. tomato paste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb)
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, dressing and tomato paste. Add chicken; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Kevin loves the authentic soy and ginger flavor of this dish, and I love that it's pretty straight forward and easy to make. Whenever fresh broccoli is on sale I like to make it, but frozen broccoli can easily be substituted as well. I usually serve this dish over hot Jasmine rice - yum!
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 (10.5 oz) can beef broth
1 Tbs. white sugar
4 Tbs soy sauce
1 lb. boneless round steak, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chopped fresh (or frozen) broccoli
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, broth, sugar and soy sauce. Stir until dissolved. In a large skillet or wok, cook and stir beef about 3 minutes, or until browned. Add broth mixture, ginger, garlic and broccoli. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer 5-10 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
This is one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes (second only to the original Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, of course) and the cookies are extremely hard to resist while still warm from the oven. Enjoy!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt. In a separate bowl cream sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into batter. Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes.
The exciting milestones in Delanie's life are beginning and it has been so fun capturing the moments on film and on video (courtesy of my uber-sophisticated Palm Centro)! Lanie is now six and a half weeks old and has been smiling and cooing for the last week. I was so excited the first time that I witnessed a huge toothless grin that I immediately called Kevin at work to share in my excitement. Kevin laughed and said, "I thought that was old news, she was smiling at me last night!" Oh sure, fine - thanks for sharing the moment with me!
Alright, I guess I can be happy about Kevin being the recipient of the first smile - there is something special about that Father-Daughter bond after all.
A few days later, however, after a good long nap and a full tummy, Lanie and I were cuddling together and she started cooing and "talking" to me. I was ecstatic! Kevin was in the kitchen and I immediately called him in to share with me in this new milestone. You can imagine how shocked and (a wee bit) annoyed I was when Kevin sheepishly looked at me and asked, "she hasn't cooed for you before?" What?!?! You mean to tell me that once again I was not the first to witness such a momentous moment?
Man alive! It's a good thing that both Kevin and Lanie are cute - I guess I can forgive such grievous behavior . . . but it is challenging . . . I'll get back with you on how well I manage . . .
In the meantime, enjoy this quick video of Lanie's smile (and please disregard the super-high pitched voice in the background - it's a given pre-requisite for getting babies to smile, or so I've been told). :))
This week's menu was delayed due to a very busy start to the week - our church had it's annual VBS (Vacation Bible School). I am the coordinator for the worship choreography team and had to be at church 4 or more hours each night (Sunday through Wednesday). One BIG perk to all of the hard work was that all of the workers and volunteers were fed at the church each night - I didn't have to cook. The rest of this week is back to business as usual, however. Here is the menu for the remainder of the week:
THURSDAY - Glorious Smorgasbord of Leftovers (LOL), Fresh Strawberry Almond Salad with Poppyseed Dressing (thanks Hoy family for all of the garden-fresh lettuce!)
The Homeschool Regatta was a great hit with the boys! They loved building their boats with Daddy and highly anticipated the moment they could set them loose on the Huron River. Fortunately, the weather was sunny and somewhat warm (low 70s) for the race because as soon as the boys got to the river, they waded fully in up to their armpits and splashed around before the races even began. I'm not sure they would have even needed the race to entertain them - the water was a tempting distraction in and of itself.
The boys were super enthusiastic about the whole event and keeping track of all of them while holding Delanie proved to be quite a trick. I was certainly glad that Kevin's parents and grandparents came along to cheer the boys on - I'm sure I would have lost a boy down the river if my mother-in-law hadn't kept such a good eye on them all!The first race was held in a deeper tributary of the Huron River and was exclusively for all non-propelled boats that were made by the children themselves (no store-bought or parent-made boats). Only Elijah and Ethan were tall enough to stand at the waist-deep starting line, so they launched Kaden's boat for him.
Unfortunately, both boys got stuck nearer to the shore and toward the back of the starting line because of the confusion and because of the depth of the water. Still, when the race started, all three boats floated well and although none of them won, their designs seemed solid.
It was very interesting to see all of the different ship designs as they raced down the river. There were some elaborate ships with masts and sails, quite a few boats made out of pop bottles and plastic storage containers, and there was even one "ship" that looked suspiciously a lot like a flip flop! I believe the boat that ended up winning the first race was a wooden boat cut in a speed-boat design - simple, classic and apparently fast!
A second race was also held in this location for all of the kit boats, store-bought boats and parent-made boats. We weren't involved in that race so the boys just enjoyed swimming along the edge a little bit longer.
The next race was held at a more preschool-friendly location and Kaden was able to be directly involved this time. However, the starting line was even more packed here since the river was narrower and the age-span more diverse.
I felt bad for Elijah and Kaden this round because some of the bigger kids stepped right in front of them at the starting line, but Ethan made up for their disadvantage. Right at the beginning of the race he stepped out in front of the line of kids and walked behind his boat (even though the kids were told not to), guarding it. He wasn't the only child to do so, but I'm not sure he didn't get some sort of advantage because he did.
We all cheered for Ethan when his boat ended up winning the second race! Yay! I think the boys actually had more fun once the official races were over with just playing in the shallow, rocky stream. The river runs very swiftly at this point and the older kids created a little waterfall out of a bunch of rocks by the mouth of a culvert. Kaden gave me a few scares climbing up and down the steep rocks at the edge of the stream, but that child is fearless and virtually indestructible so he just couldn't understand why his Grammy and I kept calling him and yelling at him.
We spent about another half an hour playing in the water and having fun swimming in both streams. However, our time came to an abrupt end when upstream from the boys we witnessed a deer "dropping its business" in the water. You can imagine how fast the boys booked it out of the water! I don't know that they'll be interested in swimming in that river ever again . . . but then again, they're boys - I'm sure they'll be waist deep before I can stop them next time we're at the park. LOL!
The Homeschool Regatta was a great experience and the boys are already looking forward to the boats they will build next year.
Two weeks ago our homeschool support group held it's annual Homeschool Regatta in Milford Central Park. This was our first year to be involved in this fun, challenging and slightly crazy event and it was great watching the boys work together with Kevin to build the best boats for the races. They agreed that they wanted as lightweight and buoyant a craft they could create, so the material of choice was Styrofoam. Kevin allowed the boys to draw the shape they wanted in the foam and then he cut it out and handed them over for decorating. Each boy painted his ship a rainbow of colors and Kevin had to resort to a blow dryer to get the paint to dry on the surface of the foam.
The finishing touch to each of the boy's ships was the "sail". We tried to think through all the advantages and disadvantages to the stereotypical sail design and decided that since we couldn't easily lower the sails if the wind was against us, we'd needed something that could accept the push from the wind in any direction OR be removed completely. Our solution? A balloon. We figured that since it was round it would catch the wind no matter which direction it was coming from and if the wind was counter-productive to our forward progress we could remove the balloon by popping it easily enough.
Our results? I will post pictures and a video from the actual race as soon as I am able!