Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chicken Broccoli Ring and a story

I'm working up to the pre-school post.  In the mean time here's something easy.

Dinner last night was a win, so I decided to share.  

Before I get to the recipe, let me just tell you why I was so thrilled with dinner (other than the fact that it came out so pretty).
My kids are not terrible eaters.  We do not cater to them in such a way that they only have to eat what they like.  This is not a fast food restaurant and unless I ask you what you'd like to have to eat, I'm not really interested in you telling me that you'd really rather have  a bowl of cereal or a cheese sandwich instead of what we just prepared.  
We're also not in the habit (not anymore anyway) of making them eat what we give them.  When Christian was two, that is most certainly what we did and it really is just exhausting.  We may do a eat-three-more-bites-and-you-may-have-a-snack thing, but otherwise if you don't eat a respectable amount of your dinner, you are not getting anything else.  I guess if you're hungry enough you'll eat what I put in front of you.  
If you think this makes me the Mean Mama, that's alright with me.  I'm the one who has to live with my choices.

Two weeks ago I tried a new recipe: cubed steak and gravy in the crock pot served over bow tie pasta.  It was not a culinary masterpiece.  In fact, I doubt I'll make it again, but it wasn't terrible.  
Audrey ate her fruit first (as she almost always does).  She started in on the pasta.  I put some meat on her fork.  After protesting that she doesn't like meat, she did try a bite.  This was followed by such intense gagging that not only did she gag-out what was currently in her mouth, but she also threw up everything else she had already eaten.  I don't mean spit up or spit out chewed up food.  I mean the child actually vomited.  We were so shocked that we're both trying to help her, clean her up, etc.  She says politely, "I think I just don't like that meat."  We laugh.  We give her buttered pasta and more fruit.  Oh, no problem.  I get it.  There are just some foods you can't eat- believe me when I say I get that.  
I have no intention of putting green beans in my mouth.  Ever.  

Sunday, I go to Krystal and pick up some Krystal chicks with cheese.  I think this will be a treat- that it will go over well.  Christian did just fine and got some fries to boot.  
Audrey.  That girl.  She threw up again.  
I can tell you that this time there was no laughing.  There was no giving her something else.  

So, last night I make dinner.  I get plates on the table.  I'm putting Audrey's hair back so she can eat.  I get down on her level and say, "if you make yourself throw up again...," and I'll let you figure out the rest.

Bottom line:  they both ate it up!  They both got snack before bed.  Happy people all around.

Now, this is the recipe straight out of my Pampered Chef All The Best recipe book, but I didn't follow it to the letter.
I used a food processor to finely chop the chicken, broccoli, and bell pepper and found that to be more my speed than the "coarse chop" they suggest.  I used green bell pepper because that's what's still growing in our garden.  I didn't use any almonds this time, but I have before and I like it either way.  I usually add a little more mayo than it calls for so that it holds together a little better.  Best of all, I threw in some bacon...maybe three pieces, cooked and chopped.  

Chicken & Broccoli Ring/Wreath/Braid

2 8-ounce packages refrigerated crescent rolls
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
1.5 cups coarsely chopped broccoli (I use less.  Just depends on your taste.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dill weed (I only use 1 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine chicken, broccoli, cheese, bell pepper, mayonnaise, dill, salt, and garlic.  Mix well.

Scoop filling over desired shape.  Finish shape as directed.  Brush with egg white.  Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

*The one I made is more of a wreath but mostly however you lay those crescent rolls out, they are still going to taste delicious.  So, just go with it.  Experiment.  Search YouTube.  There are some tutorials out there.

Finally, if you have any other delicious fillings you use for wreaths, rings, or braids please let me know!  I love these!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Before I dive into the post...
This week marks my blog's one year birthday!!  How crazy is that?!  When I started, I wasn't sure if it would stick but I gotta say I'm diggin' it.  It's good for me.  The actual therapy of writing (which I've always said I hated doing) and the sweet things so many of you guys have said to me.  It's a little bit of a surprise that my immediate family is not my only audience!
Hey, thanks for reading.  And for commenting!
If you haven't already, scroll on down to the bottom and follow me!

Now down to business.

I told you that I was really pretty nervous about Christian starting school.  He's had two years of pre-school, but let me just go ahead and say it's nothing like actual school.  Maybe some of you disagree, and that's okay.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great idea for many kids.  Audrey started today!!  They figure out the whole being-away-from-home thing with just a couple of hours before they have to launch into the whole day experience.  They (hopefully) learn how to line up and understand the idea of sitting with everyone, whether that be at the table, on the rug, outside.  The actual content varies, but  I believe it's a valuable learning experience.  It's just not the same as kindergarten.

Christian was super pumped about starting school.  My boy thrives in a task-oriented setting, in particular one that has a routine.  I was thrilled to find out who his teacher is!  She is a fabulous teacher and she means business.  That is definitely what he needs.  On the second day of school, I got a call.  It' sad, but my first instinct was to think he was in trouble!  He wasn't...they were calling to tell me about a meeting.  During the second week, I walked him in one day and last week Chris did one day.  Both of us asked how he was doing and got good reports.  At the end of last week we even got a note home that said,
     "I just want you to know how kind and thoughtful Christian is to the other students in our class.  He always makes sure that everyone is included when playing on the playground.  I am very impressed by his thoughtfulness.  I enjoy having Christian in my class."
You can only imagine how our hearts swelled with pride and joy at those words!  Now, if you know me at all you know that I have a realistic view of my kids.  I know when they are being awesome, and I know when they are being turds.  It is a big, fat relief to know that, even though I'm sure he's not being a gem everyday all the time, he's doing pretty good!  Since he started that brief period of day care when he was two, we have been in the habit of praying with him just before he gets out of the car.  Often, part of that is praying that he would shine the love of Jesus to those around him.  Knowing that he's in the habit of including everyone during playtime sounds like a great way for him to do that.  

His writing practice is coming along well, and last week they started getting sight words too.  He was given five color words on Monday and by Wednesday (when he was tested on them) he got five new words.  He tested Friday and got five more words!  He's excited to practice them at home and I'm pleased as punch that he's getting it!  It's just a small piece of the learning puzzle, but exciting all the same.

Oh, how I love that boy!

I can't wait to see how he continues to grow!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pre-school Open House

Thursday night was open house for Audrey's pre-school.  It's her first time with I couldn't help but get some pictures. :)  She was pretty excited.  I'm interested to see how that goes when it's time for her to stay there and me to leave.  Since Christian has been in school she has been asking when it was time for her to go.  

I know she's old enough to be doing this...
Knowing she'll absolutely thrive in this environment doesn't make it easier to think about how this is the beginning of the end of her being home with me.  They tell you how quickly time passes when your kids are small.  Even knowing that, it feels crazy to think that she's walking and talking.  Misbehaving and charming.  Wanting to pick out her own clothes.  She's the baby.  And I've always hated to see how people baby their baby once it's time to move on to the next stage.  I haven't tried to hold on to bottles, diapers, or pacifiers just to satisfy some bizarre need to still have a baby.  We enjoy and encourage independence in our home.  I know how blessed I am to have had these littles in my life- to have been allowed to be such a part of all this.  I have enjoyed them getting to this point.  Okay, maybe not the potty training part so much, but I knew it was all part of it.  Maybe I'm being a little dramatic.  I know she's not moving out, but I know and feel the need to acknowledge this is the end of a pretty big stage.  God help me when she starts real school!  
I've got her papers all filled out and her first day outfit ready to go.  I know this is going to be great for her...and for me.  It may just take a little while for me to remember that once she's there.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Currently" and the weekend update

I saw this idea for "currently" posts here and decided to go with it.

Currently I'm:

Listening to...The Civil Wars.  They are fantastic!  You should most definitely go to iTunes and give a listen.  A couple times in the last week I've also done a John Mayer station on Pandora, and that's always good.  I seriously could listen to that on the regular.  

Reading... a series by Karen Kingsbury.  She's a Christian author, and this is the tenth book I've read by her in the last few months.  It's not my norm.  Usually I go for sappy love stories (just not anything with naked people on the front...'cause I can't help but make fun of those) or mysteries.  When I read the first one, I was a little unsure.  These are church people that are a little churchier than the folks in my circles.  All that said, they really are good stories!  I've really enjoyed reading them.

Watching...So You Think You Can Dance since it's one of my favorite summer shows.  Chris and I have also recently gotten into How I Met Your Mother and I gotta say, it is a scream!!  We've been watching it on Netflix and we're only into the second season, but it's a new fave!

Anticipating...closing on our new house.  We're set to close on at the end of September and are super pumped about it!
...cooler weather and all things pumpkin!  I got some pumpkin k-cups at DD today and will for sure be having that happiness in my cup tomorrow morning! baby girl starting pre-school this week.  Eek!  Apparently she's old enough to do that now.  I'll be back with more on that after her first day, which is on Wednesday.  

Loving...seeing my boy thrive in kindergarten!  I was pretty nervous about him starting school.  He's a busy boy and he's a talker, so I was just kind of expecting a call by the end of the first week with a, "hey, can you come handle your kid?!"  What I've gotten instead are lots of smiley faces.  More on that in another post this week too.

It's been a nice weekend.  Cut and color Saturday morning, and in addition to the way-past-due freshening up that gave, the best part is that it also means time to hang out with my sis!  Go see her!  As Ouiser would say, "have your roots done."
Then Chris and I had lunch on the square and did some shopping.  We were really in need of a date! :)  Sometimes I'm amazed that we still have so much to talk about!  We had several hours to just be together...talking about the kids and the new house and just dreaming about our future.  I love that guy.  
Church this morning and then had some small group fellowship tonight.  Fun times!  

I'm ready to call in a night!  
What's a post without pictures of the kids, right?
Have a great week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fall Is Coming

Oh man...
Winter is coming.
Fall is coming.
Sorry... I started with "fall is coming" and couldn't resist the Game of Thrones link. :)

Anyway, for the last few days I've been getting into that mode.
I'm ready for long sleeves and boots.
I'm ready for pumpkin bread (or just pumpkin anything, really).
The weather isn't quite with me yet, but it's coming.  The heat of the day hasn't been quite so sweltering, and the early mornings are downright lovely.  Toss in the fact that you can already buy Octoberfest, and I'm nearly over the moon.

 These silly little people sure do make me happy.  They've taken turns being a little under the weather.  It's been sounding a bit like a nursing home at our house, what with all the sneezing, coughing, and nose blowing, but they're doing alright.  

Christian got some new kicks for school.  He told me he's pretty sure they make him run faster and jump higher.  :)

With Christian gone to school, I'm getting a lot of one-on-one time with Audrey.    This new time we're sharing means getting to know even more things about who she is without Christian by her side.
It's hard to believe she's almost three!
She is just about the silliest girl I know.
She loves to watch tv...after all she is Chris's child.
In the last two weeks I've discovered that she's not quite got the hang of playing in her room by herself.  We've been trying to teach her to spend some time alone, and explain that being told to go to her room to play is not the equivalent of being in trouble.  This is new territory for her, but I'm sure she'll get it.

Some random Monday bits to close the day:
1.  Except and accept are not the same word and should not be used interchangeably.
2.  Christian thinks all flowers are roses and that seems hilarious to me.
3.  I'm really enjoying my hair being a bit longer...all the while hoping I'm not recreating the look I had in my senior pictures. 

We've got a busy week this week, but busy's pretty normal around here.  
I'm looking forward to a date with the husband on Saturday. 
What are you looking forward to?

Friday, August 17, 2012


Today I am reminded that life is short and so precious.  
Hold your people.  Hug them.  Tell them you love them.
Appreciate each moment that you're given.  


Friday, August 10, 2012


This week has been a little chaotic.  

Christian being in "real" school has meant a change in bed times, waking times, the speed with which we move in the morning, napping for Audrey, and just in general the way the day flows.  Although I had thought a lot about school starting, I didn't really take into account all that it would mean outside of the fact that he would be there for seven hours a day, five days a week.
All that said, it's been a week of adjusting...for all of us.  
I feel like I'm in the car a lot more.
Audrey wants more of my attention because "Chrisshen" is not around to play with her.
There are days where I need Chris to either pick Christian up from school or take him to school, depending on what else is happening that day.
At the end of this week I can tell you that the adjustment period is not quite over and done with.
I guess it will just be a learning process for us all.

In other news...

I worked with Chris on Wednesday.  This is the first time I've worked with him all day in a long time.
There was a time when I was relatively accustomed to using the weedeater, edger, and blower for six or eight hours at a time.  Gah.  I can tell it's been too long!  I met him and started work at around 8:45 and left to go get in the car rider line at about 2:15.  I am still feeling the effects of that work!  I guess I'm just hoping my body works out the kinks by next Wednesday since I've already committed to working again that day!
Lawn care is not what I would call mindless work, since that could mean missing things or getting hurt, but it definitely lends itself to a lot of time for thinking and praying.  Sometimes that's just what this Mama needs.  Also, there's just something about leaving a property knowing that it looks better than it did when you got there... a nice sense of completion, maybe.
I am so thankful for our business.  Thankful that it means I'm able to be with my babies so much!  I never would've guessed how much I'd need or want that.

I seriously do not know how regular working parents do it!  I can tell you that even when my work has consisted of making jellies, cleaning house, running errands, and/or taking care of kids I am generally pretty exhausted by 5:00.  
As a result of this busyness of late, I haven't been doing so well with our meal planning.  Please don't be confused.  When I say "meal planning" I do not in any way mean something extravagant or fantastic.  I mean writing out what we're going to make for dinner at least 3 or 4 times in a given week and then making sure we have the ingredients necessary to make those things.  When I don't write down that list and shop from it, we tend to wind up with take-out or sandwiches or cereal.  Not that there's anything wrong with any of those meals individually, but when that's what happens all week at my house I just don't feel very good about it.  
I've learned that I prefer meals that can be made ahead of time.  So today after lunch was done I went ahead and made our spaghetti sauce for tonight and stuck it in the crockpot.  This way I know we'll be eating a homemade meal...even if I'm too busy/tired/ornery to cook at dinner time. :)  
Again with that adjusting-to-change business.  

It's Friday.  Soon it will be five o'clock.  Raise your glass.  Here's to better planning for next week! 

Monday, August 6, 2012


It took me longer than usual to go to sleep last night.
I was up early this morning.
Today is the first day of Kindergarten!

I've done a lot of first-day-of-school experiences...but this was my first one where I was the parent. :)

I knew Christian would be excited.
I knew I would be weepy.


The dropping him off part was what I expected.  He was fine.  I was taking deep breaths trying not to let the tears escape.  Having a certain pj-wearing little girl with me helped too!

It seemed like a pretty long day without him.  Audrey definitely told me she was ready to go get him from school, and they have just been happy as larks to be playing together this afternoon.

When I picked him up he was all, yeah yeah.  Good day.  Like that was going to satisfy my how-was-your-day question!
After a little digging, I got some more details.  He made sure to tell me he was good and that he ate his lunch and snack. :)
When we got home and went through his bag, he looks at me and says, "I go to school tomorrow too, right?"
I'm so glad it went so well!
I'm pretty sure he won't put up at fight at bedtime tonight!

What a big day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Open House

Last night was open house for my boy.  He had been so excited all day...all week really.  He just kept reminding me that it was almost time for him to meet his teacher.  He wanted to know if we were going with him.  He wanted to know if we would all stay there.  He was seriously not able to contain his excitement!  If you know him at all, you know that if he's super excited he tends to jump around while he's talking.  We talked at great length about what was going to happen at open house, but I can tell you that no amount of talking could have prepared him for what actually went down.
It was pouring down rain by the time we got to the school, so we were all a little off kilter just walking in the door.  When you add to that the number of people who were all so excited to see us and talk to us, it made for an unexpected result.  

My super-talkative, easily-exciteable, loud-talking son was withdrawn, still, and quiet.  It was strange.  Thankfully Chris was able to go with us, so each of us was able to be in charge of a kid.  He kept hold of Audrey's hand so that I could walk with Christian and help him relax.  He did great as we walked around talking to his teachers sneaking a peek of art, music, and the library.  He held tightly to my hand, asking me a quiet question now and then.  I very nearly got choked up just watching the wonder in his eyes, thinking that in just a couple of days he'll be here without me.
As soon as we left, he wanted to know how those people already knew his name.  I couldn't help but smile. 

Today I've been filling out paperwork to put in his book bag and send with him on Monday, putting his milk money in a bag with his name on it, and making a list of the few things we still need to pick up.  It's a little bit surreal.  I thought him going to pre-school would better prepare us both for starting kindergarten...but maybe it has only helped him. 
I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to hold it together Monday.  Hopefully I can make it back to my car before I lose it.  

Please don't be confused: I'm not sad that he's going to school.  I'm really very excited!  I think he'll love it!  Add in that Audrey starts two-day pre-k in a few weeks and that means a few hours a week to myself!  That sounds glorious!
It's just a little overwhelming.  

This doesn't seem like that long ago!

Through Christian's behavior chart, he has earned a special date just the two of us.  This afternoon we're going out to Cherry Berry and then to buy his lunch box.  
I'm taking in every moment.
As a girl who wanted so badly to be a mama, and then to think maybe that couldn't happen, I am keenly aware of how blessed I am by these little people. They truly are gifts from God.

More about his first day to come.  That is, when I can stop blubbering long enough to see my computer screen. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

what a day

Sometimes life just plunks along day after day, nice as you please.  Not bothering anyone, just doing its thing.  Other seasons of life (like right now) seem like, "seriously? What else?" only I try not to say, "what else?!" because I'm seriously all full up right now.  I'm gonna need whatever else life is about to slam in my face to just give me a second to take a breath.
Deep breath.
Alright, so school starts next week and I wanted to take Christian to the zoo again one more time before that happened.  Not so much.  He asked if we could go to "the park with the green train" so I figured I could make that happen.  We headed over there this morning and had a really nice time, just the three of us.
*Pardon the rant...
Except that sometimes there are these people who won't stop talking to you.  Yes, you and I are both adults who happen to have our children at the same park.  Guess what?  I don't know you and I didn't come here to make friends with you.  I came here to let my kids play, and maybe read a book (which by the way, never even came out of my bag).  These are they same people in waiting rooms and at bars who will not just make a passing comment and then let you be.  Let's be real- I don't have a face that says, "hey why don't you sit down and talk my ear off."  One comment on the weather, maybe.  A compliment on my children, sure.  Otherwise, please stop talking to me like you know me.
I warned you.  Sometimes that stuff just has to get out.

Tonight is open house for Christian's school.  He is SO PUMPED to go meet his teacher.  Let's hope I can get my attitude adjusted before then.  Otherwise I may end up frightening someone.

First Day- August