Monday, March 29, 2010

Apples

Dustin: "Who do you think was the first person to ever put peanut butter on an apple?"
Me: "I don't know...Eve?"
Dustin: "No....I'm thinking....George Washington Carver. I'm thinking he's the kinda guy who wants a little more to his apple."

Ugh, do you see what I live with?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fairy Tale Exhibit

Crown Center is a mega center of fun for kids! Today Maggie, Marsha, Reese and I visited Fritz's inside Crown Center. It's a restaurant for kids that has trains running through the entire place. The trains bring the food right to your table and if you are a kid, it's the coolest thing EVER! Their faces just light up and they are mesmerized. Who wouldn't be? I would've loved something like that!
There are even trains for kids to climb all over, it's so much fun!

They also have tons of free exhibits. Every 2-3 months a new one arrives just as cool as the other. Maggie and I have been to 3 of them now but today's was pretty awesome. It was the Fairy Tale exhibit. There were castles and a drawbridge. Carriages and puppet shows. It was too cool! Here is Maggie trying out the Mama Bear's chair.

Reese had a blast too....can't you see the excitement in her eyes?

Reese and Maggie really did have a great time together. Here are a few of the highlights of some good cousin on cousin love.


Friday, March 26, 2010

A Nice Surprise

I got home today and saw this...my little chubby girl with a Zales bag. Let's just say, she had my attention.


So, I decided to look inside. Here's what I found there. Now I was REALLY interested.


Turns out, that was for me! Just because my family thinks I am a pretty amazing mom and a pretty amazing wife. I just might be the luckiest lady on earth. Thanks, D, you are the BEST!! So, I'll leave you with a little piece of my happy day....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Raising a Thumbsucker...

I was a thumbsucker, Lulu was a thumbsucker, and now....

But really, did you see that face? How could I make her quit?

When those eyes look at me like, "Mom, this thumb is just so great." How could I pull her away?

So, I guess I just have to let it happen. I guess I am raising a thumbsucker. Just please pray that I don't send her to kindergarten with it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Miller Time

Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones

Oh Miller, all he wants is a little love and we just don't give him near enough. Occassionally he gets a little scratching from me but not often. This weekend he was in hog (ahem, dog) heaven!





But sometimes he is really lucky and gets a little love from Reese too. His dad is rubbing him down and Reese is hanging out on his belly. Seriously, this is Miller's Heaven.....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Last night Dustin said he would do anything for some chocolate chip cookies. Normally, I would've said tough luck but because of my newfound confidence in the kitchen I jumped up and looked to see if I had all the stuff. And I did! So, after clearing the smoke in the oven from the cinnamon rolls, I set out to make some yummy chocolate chip cookies.

First I looked at the recipe and gathered the ingredients. All pretty basic.


I mixed up the batter. Cookie batter is quite a bit thicker and I didn't use my wooden spoon. I was sadly mistaken by doing that because I broke my favorite spatula. Bad idea, next time wooden spoon only!!
I portioned them out, put them in the oven and waited. Now here is the key; the batter is easy enough. No big crazy secrets just dump and mix. But the key is, you have to know the EXACT minute to bring them out of the oven. Too soon makes a pile of goo and too late makes a crunchy cookie, and in my house, NO ONE likes a crunchy cookie. But this is what we got and we were very pleased.

They were perfect. I made quite a few but decided to freeze the dough for another time when we decided late at night that we needed some cookies. These were probably the best thing I made this week!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls

Today's creation was one I thought would probably be the most difficult. I have never made cinnamon rolls before and I just couldn't imagine that this was for the faint of heart. I started with puff pastry (the frozen kind), cinnamon, melted butter, pecans, and brown sugar. I rolled out the dough, and slathered all the yummies on top.
Then, my lovely assistant smoothed it out and made sure it was just right.


Next I rolled up the dough and cut it into pieces which would later become the actual roll.

These were more of the sticky bun variety so I filled mini-muffin cups with cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans.


Then I put the rolls on top of the sticky stuff and put them in the oven.


They baked awhile (the recipe said 40 minutes) and about 30 minutes later, Dustin stepped out of the shower and asked if it was smoky in here....it was. My cinnamon rolls got done, really done. But I coated them in icing hoping no one would notice the "over carmelization."

They were still pretty good, just not quite as doughy as I like. This is definitely a recipe I would try again, I'd just keep a better eye on them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cheddar and Dill Scones

Today, in between tending to a needy family, I whipped up some scones. Ha, I whipped up some scones is hardly at all what I did. What I did do is make a gigantic mess for some scones that really weren't all that great. I was sorely disappointed in how these taste. Not because I did something wrong just that they were kind of blah tasting. They needed some cayenne pepper or garlic. Note to self: next time substitute chives for the dill and use some spice of some kind.

Here is how it went. First it's really important to work with everything while it is really cold so I worked in steps so I could keep stuff chilled. I'm not that quick because I had to keep checking the recipe so steps were good for me. I cut up butter, cheese, and dill. I broke eggs and beat them together with half and half and measured out flour into my mixer. I mixed them together in steps until a dough formed.


Then I rolled them out on to a floured surface. This is where the mess really began. The dough was a little wet still so I really had to flour everything up. Once I did that, I had no problem at all.

Next, I cut them into triangles and put them on a cookie sheet.

I baked them for 20 minutes and when there were about 3 minutes left I sprinkled the rest of the cheese on the top. It all melted to the bottom of the hot pan. Honestly, that was the best part, the crunchy cheese on the pan, mmmmmm.

These weren't too bad, but I was looking forward to something with a little more bang. And, the mess was horrid. I don't want to even look in my kitchen.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Roasted Chicken

For dinner tonight I made a roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots.
I started by making a compound butter with thyme, garlic, and pepper. I stuffed it under the chicken skin and salted the outside. I also added thyme and garlic to the chicken cavity so it could get the flavor from the inside out too.

Then I cut up some carrots and potatoes, coated them in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme. I put the chicken on top and popped them in the oven for an hour at 425.

This is the chicken when it came out.


And the carrots and potatoes.



And finally here is what it looked like all put together.


Next time, I think I would do them separately because we like crunchy potatoes. The butter under the skin made it so crunchy while the meat was juicy. It was really easy and now we have great leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Hip Dysplasia

Today we took the journey downtown to Children's Mercy for a sonogram on Reese's hips. She has hip dysplasia which caused her to be breech. We had our first sonogram at 6 weeks and it came up that she did in fact have hip dysplasia, no treatment was given at the time but we were in need of another sonogram around 4 months. So today we headed down to check it out again.

Let me sidetrack here and just say that Children's Mercy is one heck of a hospital. It is so nice and kid-friendly, it just makes me smile when I walk in there. I almost wish I would've had a problem when I was a kid so I could've stayed there. Is that weird?

We got inside and waited for a very long time but eventually a tech came out to get Reese, she told me to "Bring him on back." What?! Him? Him! But she caught her mistake and we headed back. She laid still for about 20 minutes while the looked and measured and took pictures. I finally asked what they saw, I didn't last time and I left feeling like I didn't know anything. This time the doctor came in so I asked a few questions.

It seems to me that she has some sort of problem in her right hip. He really didn't elaborate but she had this problem much worse in December and apparently has grown out of it now. She still has a tiny bit of a problem but they said she would grow out of that completely in a few weeks.

I am so glad this is something she will grow out of and maybe never even know about. I am also so glad for Children's Mercy. I felt so at ease and welcomed there, what a stellar hospital!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Peanut Butter/Cornflake No Bake Cookies

Well, Day 1 consisted of a trip to Hyvee for all my stuff. Last night I researched recipes and wrote down ingredients I needed. I was all psyched up to make cheddar dill scones so I made sure I bought everything for that one, well all things but cream. That really annoyed me because I wanted to make those dang scones so bad I could already taste them! But I had everything I needed for the no bake cookies so I thought I'd run to the store again later to get the cream.

I've never had these cookies before. My mom isn't much of a baker either so we really never made any homemade cookies or confections. So these cookies were a little foreign to me but Dustin loves them and requested them. He might as well get what he wants now because there will probably never be a chance for him to get stuff like this again. Anyway, I digress.....

First, you have to assemble all your ingredients (or you could be halfway through scones and realize you don't have cream). Here's what you need for these no bake cookies.

Then I boiled together corn syrup and sugar (not so healthy with this double whammy).


Next comes the whole stick of butter and a cup of peanut butter melted into the sugar mixture off the heat.


Pour out 6 cups of cornflakes.


Mix together and scoop out into clumps on wax paper.



This recipe called for 50 cookies. Why is it that the recipe always calls for WAY more than what ends up being made up? Do I just make gargantuan proportions or are they just being super conservative?



They turned out delicious and Dustin was thrilled.

**On a side note, Reese has taken 2 naps already today. The kid is a sleeper. I am hoping that the aftermath of these shots will quickly be over because she was a sick little girl all night long. Let's pray she falls into somewhat of a consistent routine by the end of the week.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cooking Week Part I

It's spring break. And every year I get so bored, this year probably won't be much different. I am planning on working with Reese to establish a nap schedule in the hope of eliminating some night wakings. That means I am going to be spending a lot of time cooped up in the house. That means a lot of time being bored. This year though, I have a plan.

I have decided that I am going to bake this spring break. I've said this a million times, but I am NOT a baker. I hate recipes. But I love yummy baked stuff like fresh bread, biscuits, or scones. I'd really like to be able to come up with some delicious stuff that ends up being easy enough not to use a recipe anymore. So this year, I am going to spend my days cooking. I might bake some scones, I might roast a chicken, I don't know. But I am going to create something new each day and I'll post my yummy recipes each day. And the best part is, I get to eat it!! (who cares if the baby gut is still sticking around, don't fresh cinnamon rolls sound better than carrot sticks and live active yogurt???)

4 Month Check Up

Today was Reese's 4 month check up. I was pretty nervous after the last one, you know when they told me to have her cry it out. But we saw a different doctor this time and it was great. She weighted 13.5 pounds and was in the 33rd percentile for her weight and the 6th for her height...she's gonna be a shorty, poor thing.

She is right on schedule for her age, not even her adjusted age. She is even ahead of the curve because she is rolling from front to back which is early. I think the doctor was impressed when she put her on her tummy. She said she got an A+ for a normal 4 month old and that was even better since she was early. I was so happy when we left today.

The bummer is that she had to have shots today too. She did so great last time that I never considered that today would be different. She is running a fever right now and is very grouchy. I feel so bad for her being in pain but I am glad to know that she is coming right along and doing fantastic overall!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lent

This Lent I gave up something a little untraditional. I decided to give up $1/day for a different charity each day. I thought it would be a good way to start giving more to other people. And since it was a small amount there wouldn't be any excuse as to why I wasn't giving. Every year I give up pop, or potatoes, or even red meat, it's hard work and I really don't feel any sense of accomplishment when Lent is over. I've just basically tortured myself for no gain whatsoever.

I do have to say that this year, I have not tortured myself at all. In fact, I love Lent this year. I love giving money to different charities. I love looking at their websites and helping someone else. I know a dollar isn't much, but to me it's more of the principle attached to it. My little way of helping helped another but it taught me an invaluable lesson in generosity; who can't spare a dollar here or there for someone else?

Also, it's been very fun to research different charities. I never tell anyone no at checkouts anymore and when I see a worthy cause I never hesitate to click on their site and give a couple bucks. I have lots of charities that are close to my heart of course, MS Society, American Heart Association, Humane Society, etc. But most of all I love giving to kids. March of Dimes, St. Jude's, and Ronald McDonald Houses are some of the best as far as I'm concerned. It's also lots of fun to put these in Reese's name, that way she can leave her sweet little legacy.

Anyway, Lent this year has not been all that self-sacrificing like it probably is meant to be. Sure I am sacrificing a little money but I am gaining so much that I would gladly give up my Pepsi to help someone else....thankfully though, I don't have to. (whew my blood pressure went up there for a minute!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Rodeo

Yesterday we went to the PBR Bull Riding Rodeo at the Sprint Center. We decided to get the cheap seats because there really isn't a bad seat to be had and we ended up right above the chutes where the bulls came out. That was a good place to be because we could see all the action and were right there in it all. Basically what the rider has to do is stay on for 8 seconds (just like the movie) and then they get a score based on how well they did that. That's the technical piece of it, for people that understand the bull riding, the cool part of it. For people like me, it's the scenery which is really fascinating. (And the beer.)


It's funny how you go to things like this and see a little bit of everything. Some people have on their boots.


Some people wear their zebra print flats. (That was me, I don't have cowgirl boots).

Some even wear their chaps, and gloves, and cowboy hats.

He made me want to give Reese a little brother. Well, him and the adorable little girl with the blonde pig tails, seriously, they were cute.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Lil Miss stayed at a babysitter. This was the first extended amount of time Dustin and I have spent without her that does not include going to work. It was hard, really hard. But I only cried once. Okay twice but that was all. When we left, we immediately sped to get her. It was fun, but I missed her more.



Now, despite all the sidebars, we were really there to watch some bullriding. And maybe to try to nab a free t-shirt, because there is nothing better than a free t-shirt. And a Miller Lite...did I mention that already?

Here are a few pictures of our day at the rodeo. They aren't that great but we did have nosebleed tickets.






Well, that's all folks, but if you get a chance to ride out to the rodeo sometime, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mean Girls

When I found out I was having a girl; I was thrilled! I wanted a girl so bad I could taste it. I wanted a girl as bad as Dustin wanted a boy. I wanted a girl like fat kids want cake. I dreamt of tea parties and frilly pink socks, big hair bows, and American Girl Dolls. I couldn't be happier that I have a girl.

Now that being said, I realize that there is a lot of responsibility that comes with girls. First you have to instill celibacy values from Day 1. (I once heard a Chris Rock set about his biggest wish to keep his daughter off the pole, seriously, it's true). I worry about creating positive self-esteem, but almost worse than that, I worry about too much positive self-esteem AKA "Mean Girls." What if my daughter is a mean girl? What do I do right this minute to make sure I never hear the words, "you are so not my friend anymore"? It's a big worry.

Just yesterday I overheard these exact words; "I'm your friend, but literally, everybody else hates you." OUCH! That was a hard hit to the ole self-esteem of one of my kiddos. I can't get it off my mind. Who says that? I think of another couple of people I know, how they are part of the elite, who make some people wonder if they wore a jeans too many times in one week or if they're allowed to sit at the cool table. Mean girls are everywhere, kids, teens, adults, it doesn't matter. So, the question is, how do I shield the sting of a mean girl while simultaneously preventing the growth of one? It's one that will cause many a sleepless night for sure, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So Sweet

I realize this is my second post today, usually I don't get one done, but this just caused me to stand back in wonder tonight.

I usually do bedtime, I have a special routine and I just love doing it. But tonight I thought it was Dustin's turn. I used the opportunity to do some laundry and clean up a few things. While I was working, I could hear him reading her a story. He read it like it was written just for her, which in his opinion, it probably was.

Once he was done, he picked her up and took her to bed. A second later he brought her back out to give me a kiss, just because he worried she wouldn't be able to sleep without one.

I count myself lucky to have found a best friend who is an even better father.

Rolling Over Part II

Reese has been rolling over here and there for the last week. Today I finally caught it on film. If you listen you can hear Friends in the background too!
video

Monday, March 1, 2010

I did it!!

I made the noodles, and they were fantastic! I cannot believe the first time I attempted such a feat that it was a success but it was. I wanted to make chicken and noodles but it ended up more like chicken noodle soup. So let me show you how it went down.

First I mixed up the flour, water, egg yolks and salt.


Then I kneaded and rolled out the dough.


Then I had to pause and give credit to my lovely assistant.


I cut it into thick noodles for a chicken and noodle dish.


Again, my assistant.


All of this hard work produced this. (I made chicken noodle soup the night before, but spaghetti was absolutely amazing with homemade noodles.)


Which in turn, produced this.


So, my dream may come true, I just might be the grandma with the best homemade noodle recipe ever.