Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Today has been a good one.

Audrey had a fall festival at her pre-school this morning and Christian had a field trip to Southern Belle Farm today.  It's days like this when I am super thankful that Chris and I are both able to be available during the day!
I went on the field trip and Chris went to the fall festival.


It was way too windy to be able to enjoy being outside for that long.  Although it was a fun trip, Christian kept telling me he wished we were inside somewhere. :)  He's not quite over the bug he had over the weekend, but he's doing better so we went anyway.  

Immediately after Halloween last year Christian told me that the next time it came around, he wanted to be Peter Pan.  I thought for sure that would pass.  I expected he would want to be someone more current.  Wrong.  When the holiday began to get closer this year, I asked him again.  Still Peter Pan.  Thank you Party City for having a Peter Pan costume small enough for my child...and only sale for $10.  
Audrey had two hand-me-down costumes.  One of those was Little Red Riding Hood, but it had no hood.  I looked to buy one, but I had one of those I-could-probably-make-that type moments.  Unfortunately I didn't follow through with that until Friday afternoon.
On Friday night we had the Fall Festival at church.  I may or may not have whipped up a riding cloak for my Little Red on Friday between lunch and dinner.  Not store quality, but totally a win for a costume!

This year we decided to trick-or-treat at just a few houses in our new neighborhood and then let our kiddos hand out candy to the other trick-or-treaters.  So much fun!  
We trailed after our babies tonight encouraging them to "say trick-or-treat and thank you" (over and over).   We taught them about houses with lights on or off and that some families don't celebrate some holidays.  We saw some friends from school.  We met some new folks.
My heart is full.  

They were so sweet tonight. It was a great first holiday in our new home!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


It sounds like a nursing home at my house.  Sneezing, snotting, coughing all over the place.  I don't have it, but it's a thousand wonders.
Saturday we had a yard sale and the kids both played outside all day, so I thought we were in the clear.  Not so much.  Audrey is snotty, but still (mostly) her normal self.  Christian is pitiful.  Sunday we went to church but he laid down a lot while we were there and fell asleep too- totally out-of-character for him.  He didn't eat anything.  All day.  Also, very strange.  Some time in the afternoon he started running a fever.  He stayed in bed from noon on.  He napped and then that night he slept for 12 hours.  Thankfully there hasn't been anything really disgusting to go along with it.  Monday was better, but still not quite back to normal.  I'm thankful things are looking up for Wednesday!  In case you don't remember, they were sick last Halloween too.  Boo to that.


I'm a scaredy cat, so I'm not a huge Halloween fan.  Having cute little people who have such fun dressing up and trick-or-treating makes it better.  

Tomorrow we have a field trip for Christian, a fall festival for Audrey, and then trick-or-treating tomorrow night.  Updates to follow!

Have a great Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Orlando: Take #2

Have I mentioned how I love vacation?  It is so vital for me to recharge my batteries!
Say what you will about children and vacations, but I can tell you that a trip without our babies is so good for our marriage!  We love our kids, and we really are so thankful that we get to be their parents, but holy wow do we enjoy a day or two to just be ourselves!!

Two years ago we took a trip with Andrea and Dusty to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando that after we got back was referred to as "the best trip ever."  Going again this year exceeded my expectations.
It.was.amazing.  I seriously think this trip was even better!

The first night we had dinner at Emeril's.  The highlight of my meal was braised short rib mac and cheese.  I felt like I could've eaten my weight in it.  Ridiculously delicious.

Knowing that I'm a little bit old-ladyish in my sleep habits, I made sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour so as to rest up for day one at the park.  Glad I did.  Plenty of rest and some precautionary ibuprofen made for a great day!!  

When we were there I had not yet been convinced to start watching The Walking I had I no idea what this whole set up was about.

Side note:  I'm totally enjoying reliving this trip while going through these pictures!:) 

We saw a Blues Brothers show in the street.  We rode lots of roller coasters, both indoor and outdoor ones.  Indoor roller coasters are especially mind- boggling to me.  We ate and drank delicious and not-so-nutritious park delights. 
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is totally spectacular...even the second time!  It's so fun.  I swear, it's like being inside the books. :)  I felt like a kid! We had a fantastic time!  

Gearing up for day 2!

If you've never been, you should totally go (without small children)!

Some random vacationing facts:
1.  I am normally not a good (I would probably say terrible) long-distance car rider.  I have discovered that a couple doses of Dramamine can make for much easier traveling.
2.  I do not let my bare feet touch the floor when I travel.  I realize this is a tad OCD.  Oh well.  It makes me feel less like I might wind up with some nasty something on my feet.
3.  People watching at these parks is equally as good as the airport.
4.  Good traveling companions will change your life.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Weekend Update

It's been such a nice weekend.  The weather alone played a huge part in that.  Another part is probably just that we weren't crazy busy.  We had some stuff to do, but since the last six weeks have been something akin to a whirlwind the last couple of days have seemed pretty breezy.

Friday afternoon after school I took Christian to his first appointment at the new pediatrician.  This was a scary move for us.  He has taken daily medication for his allergies and asthma for several years now and I wasn't so sure that another doctor would be willing to keep prescribing those meds for him.  It took awhile, but we talked things through with the new doctor and not only did he keep him on prescriptions that will help him deal with that mess, but he also gave us something called a "respiratory care plan" for which I am so grateful!  I am such a visual learner.  Having something on paper that basically says, here's what you do when everything's fine, or getting a little yuck, or terrible works really well for my brain. 

Saturday the kids got along blissfully well.  Maybe other people's children always do that.  Good for you (omitted swear words here).  Well, at least I'm being honest.  Sometimes they act like wild hooligans whose only goal is to drive someone crazy: me, each other, anyone will do.  Other times I get this.

They laughed.  They played (quietly in each other's rooms, I might add).  They ran across the yard hand-in-hand.  They rode in the racecar grocery cart together.  And all that without a single attempt at annoying the crap out of each other.  It was so nice.
Today after church and lunch the kids took naps and I got caught up on some more of The Walking Dead.  What a weekend, right?!

Hope yours was equally as lovely.
I'll be back soon with a vacation post. 

He looked so proud that first day I let him ride the bus!  

Helping sis with her letters.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Freezer Meals

Back before we moved I mentioned (on FB) that I had made some casseroles and put them in the freezer to help us not eat a ton of fast food during the moving process.  It was a hit!  Since several of you asked, I thought I'd let you know what I made and how they turned out.
I actually only made three recipes, but got five meals out of it.  Two of these normally fill a 9x13 baking dish, but there's always a bunch left over so I split them into two 8x8 dishes.  Also, I used the foil containers so that I could just toss them when we were done.  That worked out great!
If you know my cooking skills, then you know these are not gourmet meals but they are good and they work for us.

Let me know if you have any deliciousness to add to my short list of freezer meals!

#1:  Chicken Casserole
This is a regular around here and the recipe can be found here (just scroll down to the bottom of that post).  I've made that casserole approximately one bo-jillion times and have only ever boiled the chicken...this time I baked it and it was way better!  If you have the time to bake the chicken, it's the way to go. I almost always use frozen chicken.  It's more cost efficient to buy meat in bulk and freeze it rather than just in the pack that you need for that night, so that's what we do.  A lot of times I'm not thinking ahead enough to thaw the chicken so I'd just boil it.  This time I was on top of things, so I thawed it, drizzled it with EVOO and seasoned with- you guessed it- Nature's Seasons.  Since I didn't know what I was doing I texted my sister. :)  Then I set the chicken to bake on 375 for about 40 minutes.
When this casserole was done, it was a little juicier than normal.  I'm not sure if that's because it was frozen or because I baked the chicken.  Either way, it's one I'll do again.

#2:  Mexican Casserole
When I was given this recipe from one of my gal pals, it was intended to be a vegetarian dish.  I've made it without meat, with chicken, and with ground beef.  All are good, but our favorite is with ground beef.  
The only thing you have to prepare ahead is the meat.  I browned, seasoned, and drained the meat before adding it to my mixing bowl.  Everything else is tossed in and stirred together.  Then, just spoon it into the baking dish.  

15.5 oz can whole corn, drained 
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
10 oz can whole diced tomatoes with green chiles (I use Rotel.)
8 oz sour cream
8 oz salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups cooked white rice
I usually sprinkle additional shredded cheese on top, either before I bake it or when I'm serving it.
You could also add chopped green onions, black olives, or whatever other toppings you dig on.  
Bake on 350 for 45 or 50 minutes.  
*When I was ready for this one, I thawed it out but it still took a little longer to warm all the way through than it does if I don't freeze it.  
As with all Mexican dishes, we eat this with chips and salsa.

#3:  Baked Penne with Sausage & Creamy Ricotta
I had never made this dish before (it was a Pinterest find), but it looked awesome and was "in the freezes beautifully section of my cookbook."  If you're not familiar with the quote, you should watch Steel Magnolias!
Anyway, I was a little nervous about this because I've never bought or cooked Italian sausage before.  I did it.  It was fine.  
The recipe calls for ground fennel, but I didn't have that or feel the need to buy it.  It also says to use Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but mostly I had Mozzarella and Parmesan so that's what I used. 
It was good, and I've added this one to my regular rotation cookbook.

We're loving the new digs!
We've already met some of the neighbors (which is a little out of my comfort zone, but is going well) and the kiddos are having a great time finding new places to play and ride their bikes!
I'm thankful that God blesses me instead of giving me what I deserve.

They were talking to Daddy on the phone.  I love to see those happy faces!

He's fascinated with the leaves.

Have a great Monday!

Now, I'd better get to packing since we're leaving for Orlando in less than 48 hours!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


...listening to:  Brandi Carlile's Give Up the Ghost album.  It's not new, but it's new to me and it's awesome!

...looking forward to:  Orlando!!  We leave on Wednesday for what I know will be another amazing vacation with our peeps (and without our babies)!  We went to Universal in 2010 and I am so. stinkin'. pumped to go again!!

...really thankful:  that everyone at our house is well again!  First Christian was on an antibiotic, then Chris and I started ours, and a few days later Audrey needed one too.  Boo to all that snot!  We're done with breathing treatments and the like for now.  That's a lot all by itself, but add it to moving and you do not get anything nice.  

...watching:  some of our new shows that have come back on, which include but are not limited to: Grey's, CSI, and New Girl.  And I'm always watching General Hospital, but it's worth mentioning because it is so good right now!

...exhausted with:  all that there's left to do to make it feel like we're not just moving in.  We bought a mailbox, but haven't been able to find a post that matches the others in our subdivision.  There are still windows without blinds or window treatments. There are still stacks of pictures and mirrors to be hung.  There are some new things I'd still like to get (like a very petite-looking desk for our bedroom), but a few days ago I decided we probably needed to chill out a little on trying to buy every single thing we wanted to make our house look the way we want it to!  Pump the brakes.  There's no house-warming police.  Instead of being bogged down with all that's not done, I'm thinking how awesome it is that we bought a house!  Priorities, people.

...fascinated by:  the fact that what seems normal in your own house is what you think is normal for everyone else too.  In the midst of moving I realized that although shelf paper is a necessity for me, not everybody uses it.  I mean like, when we move in, the cleaning happens and the shelf paper comes next.  It's a pill, but it sure makes for easier cleaning after it's done.  That made me think about cheese slicers.  :)  My whole growing up I just assumed that everyone had one.  Little did I know, most folks don't.  How do you people survive?!

We really are actually getting settled in at the new place.  Moving is so overwhelming, and even though you'd think with as many times as we've done it we'd be old pros by now, it wipes me out!  It's not even just the actual moving your stuff out of one place and into another one, but all that comes after that.  Like finding which boxes have what in them- even though they're labeled!  Like getting curtains hung and pictures on the walls.  Thank God that Chris is so handy!  He has installed ceiling fans, built shelves, hung tvs, and a ton of other stuff.  Saturday morning I went to work with Chris and when we got home, Dad had managed to make the living room and dining room look like we'd been here for ages.  Something about pictures hanging on the walls and "sit around stuff" being out on display makes it feel like you're really moved in.  

These are mostly the same books we had before we moved, but Christian was so excited about his new "library!"

And for those of you who stalk my blog solely to see pictures of my kiddos, these are for you! :)

Happy Thursday to you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Day- October's been pretty stinkin' busy for us lately!  
I have a regular post in the works, but in the mean time here's First Day for ya.  I'm linking up with my friend Nicole who has a bunch of great ladies that all get together for this First Day bloggy goodness.
Happy Tuesday!

New home, new school.  Scary business!

Happy birthday to my girl!!