Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some days, being a stay at home mom is just pure joy.

Really, it's the simple things:

Like today, I stayed in this all.day.long.


The boys and I drove out to the church to watch the big diggers.
They were "diggin' a big 'ol hole for the church's poop!"
(The scene as described by McClain.)
Someone had given him all the dirty little details!


Next we made treats for the Drake Bible Study kids.
Sometimes my treats look like I have too much time on my hands...
Who doesn't like to sort their Reese's Pieces and color coordinate the rows?!?

Blonde Brownies

2/3 c. butter (softened)
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chocolate chips (or Reese's Pieces when you're in the mood for fall!)

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

*This time I lined the pan with parchment paper so I could easily lift the bars out and cut them with my big pizza*rocker*cutter*thingy*ma*jiggy.

Voila!

Who wouldn't enjoy watching these two little nakies slurp up platefuls of spaghetti?
Mmm.mmm.good!

Wouldn't trade this life for the world!

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Muffins!

You may have noticed the influx of muffin recipes lately. Little Miss Cloe gets to take a healthy snack to school everyday this year. She's probably the one child in the world who hears the words healthy snack and takes it as law, her law. Don't get me wrong, I love that she enjoys and asks for healthy snacks. However, it presents a little conundrum when healthy snacks, in her definition, only include homemade healthy muffins. She has all sorts of criteria for the healthy snack: must not be bruised or browning fruit (I think that just naturally happens the moment the fruit hits her backpack!), must not require refrigeration, must not be room temperature vegetables, must not be a pre-packaged granola bar unless it's Kashi and can absolutely not be junk food. These sound snotty or picky, and really they're not. They are well-meaning requests from my most appreciative, oober healthy snack conscious little girl. I giggle when I hear her tell how bad the boys at school smell after eating those "cheesy chips" or how they get "black stuff" all over their teeth from oreos. I wonder how long that will last! Now, if the letter to parents hadn't said healthy snack, she'd probably be begging for those things, too! I'll take the extra work for now!


Tomorrow's healthy snack: Banana Flax Mini Muffins! I tried one, and they are the tastiest banana muffins I've ever tasted...if I can say so myself!

Try them...you won't regret it!

Banana Flax Muffins

MIX
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. ground flaxseed
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

ADD
1 mashed banana
1 egg
1/4 c. honey
2 T. butter (softened)
2 T. milk

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Stir until moistened. Spray muffin pan or pour batter into muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 8-9 minutes for mini-muffins or 18-20 minutes for regular muffins.

Yields: 16 mini muffins or 6 regular muffins

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Super Saturday!


Saturday was a beautiful day!

Best of all, we got to spend the whole day together as a family!

Now that school has started,
this little lady *loves* family days!
She also loves "dip eggs".

Breakfast at Baby Boomer's Cafe was the perfect start to our day!

It happened to be the Grand Re-opening at the Baby Boomer's Cafe's new location. There was even a camera crew from channel 8 news. They taped forever on the kids, but we didn't make a claim to fame in the 30 second news clip. Better luck next time!
Baby Boomer's is "famous" for a campaign visit from Barack Obama. The boys are enjoying their newfound knowledge of things that Cloe "teaches" them from school. Carson was very excited to share that our President is Barack O'buddha. Close, little man, but no cigar.
We walked around the East Village and enjoyed a little window shopping.

Next, we headed toward the interstate only to be lurred in by an OPEN sign in the most anticipate coffee shop in Des Moines...ever.
We have been waiting for this Smokey Row to open since I was prego with the boys! (three.and.a.half.long.non.smokey.years.)
They were having a "soft opening" during the Sherman Hills Tour of Homes.
This meant free coffee drinks!
Yippee!
The three year wait quickly was forgiven!

Love the layout and roominess!
Perfect to hang out...with kids!


Sioux City Cream Soda
just brings out the charm in this little girl!

For a brief moment, I pretended I was alone on a hot date just with this handsome guy. It was nice.

Then I remembered I was sharing a bench with these little goobers.
My spot in sharing the *complimentary* vanilla malt was taken by some little ice cream loving schmoozer! It was so stinkin' cute, I got over it pretty quickly!

We headed home for some quick naps to re-engergize for the Light the Night Walk for Lymphoma/Leukemia.
It was a super exciting night to support Uncle Cory.

Cancer free Uncle Cory, that is!


We joined up with another gal from church who is cancer free now, too.
I think I had a constant lump in my throat for at least as hour as I looked at all the people carrying white balloons--signifying "Cancer Survivor". It was also sobering to see the yellow balloons in memory of those who had lost the fight to cancer. We all carried red balloons as supporters. A pretty spectactular sight of thousands of sparkly, lit up balloons--each with a story of a family that has walked or is currently walking down the road of cancer. I think it choked me up because I realized how grateful I am for the sustaining grace, mercy, and love of my Savior! I know there were days Cory felt completely awful and could have chosen to question the Savior's plan for His life. Yet, JESUS CHRIST sustained him, carried him, and delivered him from the cancer. I'm so proud of Cory's testimony through his cancer!

As we walked with our flickering balloons, there were at least a dozen hot air balloons lining the way that would fire up and light the sky with their beautiful balloons! It was amazing...and slightly hot! I'm glad I wasn't sitting in one of the baskets!

We ended the night with the funniest thing I think I've ever seen Cory do...it still makes me giggle and smile...he's our cancer survivor!


video

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Do you ever wish your words were like a breath that you could just suck back in? You know, when good intentioned words start going bad, you could just quickly gasp and they would all be gone.nope.nadah.nah.

Last week, I was talking to a kind man at church who always says the phrase "love it" in a really funny monotone deep voice. We've latched on to that phrase at our house, and our kids are always saying "love it" to whatever it is they like at the moment. We think it's pretty funny. I thought it would be nice to tell this man at church that we love his catch phrase and even our kids say it all the time. As I'm telling him this, he replies, "Hmmm. Do I say love it a lot? I never noticed that. So I have a phrase...ok." Awkward! I really wanted to dig a hole at that specific moment! Suck those words right back in. "No, no, it's really a good thing. We think it's really cool." Back pedal.faster.faster.faster.

So, Cody was talking to this man on Wednesday, and he started to tell Cody about something cool and where he normally would have said love it, he said, "Yeah, I (pause) like that a lot." Ahhh! I think I've ruined him from ever using his phrase again!

Does this ever happen to you?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Smells like FALL!

What smells does this new season bring to your mind? For me, it's all the foodie things: pumpkins, apples, cinnamon... I'm sure Cody would say burning leaves. Cloe said dead leaves. Carson said it smells like cake. McClain said it smells like a stinky diaper. (So, the kids didn't really get my little game.)

I baked these muffins for an outdoor get together tonight with some great church friends. The recipe is from one of Cody's mom's best friends who passed away a few years ago. Her daughter actually introduced me to Cody! Making these muffins made me think about my friend who is so young and already without her mom. I thought I should call my mom and tell her, "I love you." She answered all giddy, "We're in Silver Dollar City and just got off the train. Havin' a great time. Love ya! Bye!" So, maybe the sentimental conversation just wasn't meant to be today.

Anywhooo...here's the recipe. I decided not to go oober healthy with this since no one would probably eat them except my brainwashed family. Next time, though, watch out...I'll put my healthy swaps in parentheses.



Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 2/3 c. flour (use whole wheat flour)
3/4 c. sugar (1/2 generous c. agave nectar)
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. bakings soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. softened margarine (use unsweetened applesauce+2 T. ground flaxseed)
1 c. chocolate chips (mini are the best!)

Mix together egg, sugar, pumpkin. Add dry ingredients. Stir well. Add chocolate chips. Fill muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
*I doubled this since a can of pumkin is 15 oz. It was a little short, so I added a little less flour. I also only used 1 c. of chocolate chips in the doubled recipe. It's almost too much with a whole bag of chocolate chips.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

On Sunday, a very generous family brought a huge bucket of tomatoes to share. After everyone had left the building, the bucket was still quite full, so the family sent us home with the tomatoes! Yay! I love having fresh tomatoes that can be saved for use during the fall and winter months! I usually just simmer them down and make crushed tomatoes for spaghetti or pizza sauce. I wanted to try something new, so I found the directions for making fire-roasted tomatoes. It's quite easy and these will be perfect to add into soups and stews!


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half, toss with a 1/3 c. olive oil, and line up cut-side-down on a large jelly roll pan.


Roast for 1 1/2 hours, until the tomatoes are soft and have just begun to exude their juices. (okay, I totally copied that phrase from a tomato site...who says "exude their juices" with a straight face?)
Let the tomatoes cool slightly and remove the skins.
Pour into a large freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible.

Freeze for later or refrigerate and use within a few days.
I think these tomatoes are going add a lot of delicious flavor to our soups!

And the winner is...

...this number may be "unlucky" for some but not today! With a little help from random.org, the winning comment is #13: Peter Marie! I think I may just start calling this friend Peter Marie in public. It just sort of sticks with me!
Congratulations, Peter Marie! I'm going to need a full report of all the fun bargains you find!

By the way, thank you all for your kindness in delurking! I'm glad you're here!

My deepest sympathy goes out to Bea O'Problem for not winning. You do win the prize as my favorite "delurked" person! Love you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

*Trying to make a few changes and obviously it's going to take longer than I planned!

Monday, September 21, 2009

National De-lurker Day

According to google (which of course makes anything pretty official and true) today is National De-lurker Day. (Yes, along with several other days during the year, too!)
I know I have a few lovely faithful friends who humor me by reading my recipes and sharing smiles at my children's silliness (I really appreciate you girls)! However, the other day, I noticed that my super high-tech tracking device said six-thousand and some views... So, I'm assuming that there are some readers who just haven't revealed themselves (or maybe can't figure out the comment thing). Today's your day!

WHO'S READING THIS?
I took this *special* picture just for this question!

Please leave a comment if you're a reader (click on comment below, write your comment, choose an identity like your name, and click on publish). It's pretty easy!

Just so your hard work won't go unappreciated, I'm going to have a special drawing....drum roll....

A name will be randomly chosen on WEDNESDAY at NOON and the lucky recipient will receive a $10 Jordan Creek Town Center Giftcard! (Yes, it's the one I claimed for free with an email, but that's why I'm the Sneaky Mommy...do you want the gift or not!)

Have a great De-lurker Day! Check back to see if you won!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Loose Tooth!

Today I got to enjoy a very blissful hour of solitary errand running. It was so refreshing! Don't get me wrong, my kids are all great shoppers, but the territory you can cover without tag-alongs is quite impressive! (I got the last $4 pair of Target lime green sandals...sorry for being a copy-cat, Willow girls!)
Just as I was heading home, I got a phone call:
Cloe: Mom???

Yes, Cloe.

Cloe: I have a loose tooth! You know how I had that tooth on the top I thought was loose so I was biting into a carrot like you told me to to make it more loose and now I have a real loose tooth. It's on the bottom. It really is loose! It wiggles!!!! (Squeal!!!)

That's great Cloe! I'm almost
...click...home.




Sure enough, that bottom center left tooth is seriously wiggly. The conversations about this tooth have just been cracking us up all afternoon.

*Mom, if the tooth fairy can't find us, can you just go ahead and give me the money?
*S0, how much do teeth cost? Am I getting like quarters or dollars? (like quarters, sweetheart!)
*Oooo, if I lose this tooth at school, I get to wear a plastic tooth necklace to hold the tooth until I get home! (ew!)
*Do I have to use the money from the tooth fairy to buy my new tooth? (Why, yes indeed. That's a fabulous idea!)
*After telling Cloe that having her lose a tooth would make me feel so old and she is just growing up too quickly, she assured me, "I'll visit you yearly, mom!" (Wow, so generous with your time there, little girl!)
*Mom, I'm sorry I'm out of bed. I was just drawing a picture of myself without a tooth so I'll be ready for what I'll look like. (Nice excuse, drama queen!)

I am feeling quite sentimental about having a child old enough to be losing teeth! However, the comedy of it all is bringing enough smiles to make this all worth letting her grow up...just a little bit!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Did you see the weather forecast today?
Cooler weather ahead.
You know what that means...soup's on!
Here are a few new recipes I'm hoping to try next week:

Sausage Ratatouille

3 to 4 links Italian sausage
4 1/2 T. olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled & cut into 3/4 in. dice
2 small zucchini, halved & sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, halved, seeded, & sliced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. canned diced tomatoes
1 T. plus 1 tsp. tomato paste
Salt and pepper
2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 T. chopped fresh basil

Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Puncture the sausage links in several places, then cook them at a low boil until they're no longer pink in the center, about 14 minutes. Transfer links to a plate to cool, then slice them into 1/4 inch-thick rounds.
Over medium-high heat, warm 3 T. of the olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add the eggplant and zucchini and saute them, stirring often, until they are lightly browned but not soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.
In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute them for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sliced sausage and saute, stirring often, for 3 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini.
Partially cover the skillet and gently simmer the ratatouille for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, along with the salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and half of the basil. Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining basil.
*This recipe is from the October 2009 issue of Family Fun.

Chicken Soup with Lentils and Barley


1/2 cup dried brown lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced leeks
1/2 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken (about 1/2 pound), chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1 can (16 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1. Rinse lentils under cold running water; drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over high heat; add leeks, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until tender.
3. Stir in chicken broth, basil, oregano, rosemary, black pepper, and lentils. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Stir in chicken, carrots, and barley. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes more, or until carrots are tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes; heat thoroughly and serve.

Curried Vegetable Stew with Couscous
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 zucchini, diced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch diagonal pieces
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
Cooked couscous
1. Stir spices, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the water together in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and spice mixture. Cook, stirring, 1 minute, or until onion begins to soften.
3. Add cauliflower, zucchini, and green beans; cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water; bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender.
4. Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes; simmer 5 minutes more. Serve with couscous, if desired.


Creole Chicken Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices turkey bacon, chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added whole tomatoes in puree, chopped
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooked rice
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion; cook, stirring, 4 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add chicken to skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add bacon, if using, and garlic; cook until browned.
3. Pour in wine; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper mixture, water, oregano, cumin, thyme, and hot sauce; bring to a boil.
4. Add green beans; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice, if desired.
*These recipes are from Fitness Magazine October 2009 Issue.
Don't these souper heart healthy recipes get you in the mood for fall?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We had a special milestone in our family on Sunday.
Cloe found her memory verse in her Bible and read it aloud with no help!
I love it!
video

I also had a super humbling moment this week...
All three kids started AWANA! As I was registering them, I realized that we were going to have quite a hefty charge just for the books, dues, and vests. Hefty to the tune of $82.50. Yes, eighty-two dollars and fifty cents for three kids to participate in AWANA. It was one of those "well, we'll just figure this out" moments on Sunday. Cody and I talked and then made arrangements to pay it at the next payday (just the end of this week).
On Wednesday, as I checked the kids into their classes, one of the AWANA gals said, "Go ahead on in. Everything's been taken care of." Whoa...i was completely stunned, humbled, grateful, and had to just freeze that lump in my throat from turning into tears. In the past, someone had taken care of Cloe's AWANA expenses, but with three kids we thought it would probably end (yes, we of little faith!). How humbling to know that someone cares for my family and looks out for us in such a great tangible way. My heart is completely filled with gratitude! It's hard not knowing who this generous person is--I want to give them a huge hug! Yet--it motivates me to look for ways be sneaky generous to someone else!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today, this lovely friend showed up in a super cute new shirt.
She got it using this coupon.
Aren't you glad she's my friend?
I am!


*So this might be too good to be true...my sister said Sears is "not taking the coupon at this time". Bummer.

Some Good Eats!

Our family is loving this loooooong stretch of sunshiny days!
Sunny days just make everything seem brighter...even our dinner!
Here are a few of my favorites that we've been enjoying:

Toasted Egg, Ham, and Cheese on a Multi-grain Roll

There's a precise science to making these sandwiches *the best*! Fry your eggs until yolk is firm. Split roll. Layer on cheese, ham, egg, and cheese. Top sandwich and place in hot pan. Toast each side until heated through. Sneak in a couple of thick slices of garden fresh tomatoes. Cut and share...these are so filling they feed an army!
Watch for Target coupons on artisan bread--it's free after coupon!


Yogurt-Granola-Berry-Parfaits
Layer plain yogurt, blueberries, honey, granola in a parfait glass. Top with more berries! This is my all time favorite treat for any meal! You can find the great granola recipe I use here. I did use agave nectar instead of the brown sugar. This makes a huge batch, so share some with friends--they'll love you!

Caramel Apple Cake
I made this last treat for some super swell MOPS moms that I love to death!
They are going to make this an awesome MOPS year!
(If you aren't in a MOPS group, then you MUST come to our group this Friday from 9:30 to 11:15 at Willow Creek Baptist Church! How's that for a shameless plug?)
As I was looking at this recipe, it dawned on me that dumping a cup and a half of oil into anything is just not cool. 1 tablespoon of oil has 14 grams of fat, so this cake would have 336 grams of fat just in oil and 28 grams per piece! Yuck! Who would want to eat that? It seriously made me gag a little thinking about the cakes I have blindly made in the past! Ug!!! SO, this is Caramel Apple Cake redone! You won't even notice the changes, but your heart will thank you!

Caramel Apple Cake
1 1/2 c. applesauce
1 1/2 c. sugar (I used dehydrated cane juice at a one-to-one ratio)
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 1/2 c. diced peeled apples

Mix applesauce and sugars together. Add eggs. Mix in vanilla and add dry ingredients. Fold in apples. Pour into greased tube pan. (I used an angel food cake pan.)
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Frosting:
1/4 stick butter (couldn't come up with a substitute for this!)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter and brown sugar together. Cool and add powdered sugar. Stir well and drizzle over cake. This makes a large amount of frosting--I only used about 1/2 of it.

Slice and enjoy an almost guiltless piece of cake! With the eggs being the only fat, each piece has just over 1 gram of fat (minus frosting)! I feel much better about serving this to my friends!

What good eats have you enjoyed lately?

Monday, September 14, 2009

A sneak peek...


You should all come to Willow Creek MOPS.
Seriously. No excuses.
It's going to be...out of this world!

THIS Friday
9:30-11:15

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 11

This is an image that will probably forever be seared in many of our minds. Most people can tell you exactly where they were when they received news of these horrible attacks on America.
For me, I was teaching second grade. We had just finished up with our calendar math when the phone in my classroom rang. I answered it and heard a very intense husband say, "The twin towers have just been hit by two planes. They think it's terrorists. You need to get to a tv when the kids go out for recess. I love you." .click.
Now, I've never been one to really be able to keep a secret or really know when to keep quiet...so, slightly frazzled by this news, I called all my students back to story time area and bluntly told then what had just happened. (Yes, I now realize how young seven years old is. I hadn't quite learned everything about child development yet.) There were many looks of fear and concern and questions if they were flying to Iowa. Then one sweet, sweet little boy said, "Mrs. C, can I pray for our county?" He went on to pray the most beautiful, wise, sensitive, older-than-his-years prayer. It brought tears to my eyes to think he would one day be a godly leader.
The students then went back to their desks, and we began to continue with our day.
Not even five minutes later, the principal came to the door and called me into the hallway. "Mrs.
C, there has just been a terrible attack upon our country...we don't know very many details at this time. Please do not say a word about this to your students."
WHAT? My not-able-to-stopped mouth had just spewed all the gory facts to seven year olds. I called the students back to the story area and said, "Sometimes we need to protect our friends from sad or scary things that happen. When you go out to recess, you need to keep what I just told you a complete secret. We need to protect our friends. Please keep quiet about it and I'll let the whole class chew bubble gum for the rest of the day."
Yes, bribery at it's most finest moment. It worked, thankfully! As time has passed, it's turned into a story that brings a smile to my face. I see my former students and they'll say, "Hey Mrs. C, remember that day we got to chew bubble gum all day for not telling the secret! That was awesome!"
Well, it was a not-so-awesome lesson for me. I'm just thankful we made it through the day and that I learned a most important lesson about discretion with children!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Announcing:

Yes, that's my new self-given title.

I got a letter from Cloe's school yesterday: "Thank you for volunteering to be the Classroom Coordinator for Mrs. W's first grade class. You will be responsible for planning and running all classroom parties..."

Last year, Cloe's room had a team of six moms planning the parties, so I shot an email off to Mrs. W to see who all I would get to work with. Um...me. No other parents volunteered. I guess school parties lose some thrill after kindergarten.

So, time to get my creativity flowing...that just means I'll be lurking around all sorts of blogs and websites. I'm a copycat at heart. Nothing new here, I just do what others do!

Stay tuned: I'll be sharing all my party ideas in the next few months! I think this is going to be a lot of work, but with a tiara on, I can accomplish this. Right?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I didn't realize how busy life has been the last week until I loaded the recent pictures tonight.
Whew!
I sort of feel like I have my own rendition of
"I've Been Everywhere, Man" going on!
I'll catch you up...it's a little lengthy today!

Cloe was the Star Student last week, so she had to make a little "All About Me" board. I love watching her concentrate and be creative! It was fun to see pictures of all of her favorite things!

Next we grabbed Grandma and Grandpa N. and our cousins from the hospital for a little breather. (Joy was resting!)
The zoo was a great place to let the kids run and have fun together!
I think Grandma and Grandpa had a pretty good time, too!
Somehow I missed getting pictures of the Great Rivalry Football Game on Friday night. The boys loved the game; Cloe loved the cheerleaders; I loved the marching band.
Yes, I'm still a band geek at heart!

Next we found our little family wandering around the new Bass Pro Shop. It is quite the place, but I am not super outdoorsy, evidently! There were a lot of things in that store that made me a little squeamish: guns, bow and arrows, fishing poles...I could try out a boat, though!

A quick stop to see friends at Diamond Head Lake was the perfect way to end a busy Sunday!
The view of the lake was so beautiful, the kids loved playing and getting wet, and I loved the marshmallow treats provided by a very sweet friend!
Why not take the gator for a spin in pj's? The kids love riding Grandma and Grandpa C.'s gator. The boys did have a little crash into the big pine tree, but it all ended well! Hang on!

Bright and early the next day we were knocked on the door of the Henry Doorley Zoo.

McClain got right to work figuring out where we should go.Carson took an interest in the map, too.
His eye was on the Train Depot.Found it!Two happy little boys on the train and one miserable mom whose head felt like it looks...a ragweed bomb literally went off it my head that day! Not so cool!I think that these little eyes were a pretty big factor in getting the sherbet treat! Sweet Grandpa!
Daddy and his girl!
That stingray seems to have caught Grandpa a little off guard! We loved the aquariums!Ouch! Don't sit on a cactus!The giraffes were so fun to watch!This is how I felt after our busy holiday weekend, too!

All this business has left me with no ambition to try new recipes or creations. So our family had the great All-American Sandwich: BLT!McClain was doing his BACON dance!
Doesn't everyone need a bacon mustache?A new loyal fan of the BLT!
Mmmm...fresh bacon, homegrown tomatoes, crisp lettuce, fresh whole-wheat bread...
Perfect meal for a summer day!