Thursday, July 31, 2008

july pictures

Here are our pictures from July. And it's not even the middle of August yet! Aren't you impressed?

Don't be...I'm doing this instead of the cleaning and packing I need to be doing for our Summer Tour of the Midwest!

So posting will be light for the next few weeks, but then we'll be back to fill you in on all the crazy from our trip and Ainsley's surgery.

By the way, if you ever want to annoy me, here's what you can do...Fax my son's medical records to the new doctor's office, but leave the immunization record blank, so that while we're in the office waiting for shots that I had to practically drag him in for, we can be told that we can't get the shots until the office can verify his records to make sure he's getting all the shots he needs. And then when I call to let you know that the page you faxed over was blank, you can tell me that since it's been a year since he was a patient, all of his records are in "storage" and therefore not able to be faxed over while we're waiting. So then I have to drive home and get my copy of the records and then drive back again for the shots (all 4 of them!) so that he can start middle school. Seriously.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

new friend

Jackson has a new friend. His name is Kirby. I've not had much experience with imaginary friends...I don't ever remember Ryan or Emily having one. So I was happy to oblige when Jack asked if Emily could sit somewhere else in the car so I could buckle Kirby in next to him on our way to Target. I held the door open as Kirby got out of the car, and we even waited once we got inside for Kirby to catch up. But when Jack walked over to the Starbucks counter and grabbed 2 vanillas (One for me and one for Kirby!), I had to put my foot down. I told him he and Kirby would have to share. And they did. Jack would take a drink and then squat down and hold the milk next to him so Kirby could take a drink. It was really quite sweet.

Anyway, I like Kirby a lot better than Jack's other brother, Emile. I met him the other day when I was giving Jack his bath. "Mom," he said, "my brother, Emile, is in the bath too. He's a rat." I tried to remain calm. After his bath, Jack made a little bed on the floor next to his for his rat brother, Emile, and I'm sure they talked and laughed and played cars into the night. We haven't seen much of Emile since Kirby showed up. And I'm okay with that. Because, really, I just don't like rats. Especially the ones I can't see.

Monday, July 28, 2008

i heart spam

Okay, seriously. If you're going to try to scam someone, you should at least make yourself seem a little credible by using proper grammar and not be like these ridiculous jokers posing as the IRS.

The following is an actual message I got today. Ridiculous.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Internal Revenue Service"
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 4:44 PM
Subject: You have get a Tax Refund on your Visa or MasterCard

You have get a Tax Refund on your Visa or MasterCard.

Complete the formular, and get your Tax Refund. (Your Refund Amount Is $620.50)

(Inserted here was a link I was supposed to click on to "complete the formular" and no doubt, actually give these morons my Visa or MasterCard number.)

Copyright © 2008 - Internal Revenue Service. All rights reserved. (Nice touch here, the little copyright thing. Wow, I almost fell for that one!!)

And the sad thing is that some people will probably actually fall for this. Please don't fall for this!

mama's little helper

We have to keep the pantry door closed all the time, because if we don't, Ainsley is right there, helping herself to all sorts of little treasures. Usually when this happens, I will find our paper plates strewn all over the kitchen floor. On more than one occasion I've had to clean half boxes of cereal from the floor (Grape Nuts & Berber carpet...not fun!) Sometimes she'll even help herself to the potatoes. But one day last week I watched as she walked in, looked around for a minute and came back out with a couple of napkins. Intrigued, I watched as she walked into the family room and began cleaning the ottoman and the coffee table.

She doesn't have my eyes, my hair or my nose, but my OCD? Check.

making them earn their keep

Doug was out of town for a couple of nights last week and usually when he's gone I make things for dinner that I know he won't really mind missing, like breakfast or macaroni and cheese. But last week, I thought it would be fun to put Ryan and Emily in charge of dinner. I told them they had to come up with an entree and side dish and then they were responsible for making a grocery list to get any of the things we didn't already have in the pantry. Then while we were at the grocery store, they were responsible for finding all the items they needed. No, I didn't make them buy the groceries themselves. Geez!

So they spent a good hour pouring over cookbooks and came up with Sloppy Dogs and Oven Cheese Fries.

Now, the Sloppy Dogs are a variation of the Sloppy Joe, served in a hot dog bun. Also, not as sweet...more of an Italian Sloppy Joe (and in fact, the leftovers were very good on some leftover pasta!) The recipe called for ground beef, but we decided to substitute ground turkey instead. Then once the meat has browned you add some tomato sauce, onion, basil and oregano and let it simmer for about 15 minutes and then you end up with this:

Then you load the meat into a whole wheat hot dog bun and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

The method for cooking the fries was a little different than anything I'd seen before. The recipe called for the kids to dip the potatoes in egg white, bake for 10 minutes, flip, and then bake for an additional 20 minutes. The egg white made them extra crispy! Then you load them up with cheese (and Emily's addition of crumbled bacon) and then they go back into the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted.

Then you add a little watermelon:

And dinner is served:

It was really very tasty. And all I had to do was buy the groceries and clean up!
Oven Crispy Cheese Fries from There's a Chef in My Family by Emeril Lagasse.

new kicks

I love baby shoes.

And preschool shoes. (Don't these look like Ryan's skinny ankles and big feet?)

These even light up. Go Speed Racer!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

for those of you who may have missed his 10th birthday

I had just finished washing Ainsley's hair with her special Nature's Baby Organics shampoo/body wash that we have to keep her eczema under control...and because the Vanilla Tangerine scent makes her smell like a dreamsicle.

Jack: Yesterday Dad used that kind of baby shampoo for my hair.

Me: Oh yeah? Well that's okay. (Really, it's more than okay, because sometimes there is just too much fun going on during bath time that washing with soap/shampoo can get overlooked!)

Jack: No! It's not okay!

Me: Why not?

Jack: Because that shampoo is designed for babies. Not kids.

Monday, July 21, 2008

perhaps why he avoids vegetables

Jack came into the office with Ainsley close on his heels.

Jack: Mom, is that poop Ainsley has in her hands?

Me: (breathing a sigh of relief) No, sweetie. That's a potato.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

what happens when i have to take all 4 kids to the grocery store

This ends up in my cart...


I don't really know how it happened. I mean, one minute Ainsley was screaming and I was opening a box of Nilla Wafers so I could give her a few with the hope of keeping her quiet for 10 minutes, because really, I just wanted to be able to make dinner for the next couple of nights. And then Ryan started freaking out because he was sure I was going to get arrested for opening a box of Nilla Wafers without yet paying for them, even though I assured him I would pay for them when we checked out and Jack kept asking if he could get a car (Hot Wheels - although I'm sure discussions about a real automobile are not far behind) and I think somewhere in the chaos, Emily sneaked in the, "Remember last time we were here and you said maybe we could try these crackers someday?" And the next thing I know, these are on the conveyor belt.

These kids are good. I'm quite sure they were giving each other high-5's in the car while I finished loading all the groceries.

And I could tell you that these really do taste like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but then I would be admitting that I tried them. Which I'm not going to do. And so instead, I will change the subject...

Hey, this is my 100th post!! Yay me!! (And you, of course, for reading! Yay you!!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

fun with food

We had such a fabulous time when the Quandt family visited...the weather cooperated (for the most part), the kids got along (for the most part) and Jenny and I made some yummy treats in the kitchen!

When they were here last Christmas, the favorite dessert - by far - among the Quandt kids was our family's famous peppermint bark. I think I just heard a collective "Uuhhgg!" from some of you, but just try to remember your first taste many, many moons ago, before you ate enough in one sitting to feed a small country. Remember how you loved it? I told Jenny how easy it was to make and she asked if I could show her while they were here. Now, back in the old days, the kids would have been sent outside with hammers to crush the peppermints, but the thought of this crew with hammers was just a little scary to me...

(thanks for the picture, Jean!)

So, I cheated and used a food processor to pulverize the peppermints. Done in about a minute with no mess and no broken fingers!

After the candy had cooled, it was ready to be broken into pieces and Gavin and Megan got in on that action:

It was a bit like Christmas in July.

The next fun thing we made were these adorable Corn-on-the-Cobcakes, courtesy of Family Fun Magazine. You decorate vanilla frosted cupcakes with yellow and white jelly beans, sprinkle with decorator sugar (for the salt), put three together with corn holders on the ends and a semi-melted Starburst (for the butter) on top and voila!

I had to promise to make them again once Ryan and Emily get their braces off since they could only have the cupcakes (no jelly beans, no Starbursts!). Again, very easy and tons of fun!

And last, but certainly not least, the perfect dessert for the Fourth of July - Flag Cake. There are lots of recipes for this kind of dessert, but this particular one comes from my culinary hero, The Barefoot Contessa. Her recipe actually calls for raspberries, but I had many requests to use strawberries instead. And the frosting...oh my goodness. One pound of butter, one and a half pounds of cream cheese, one pound of powdered sugar and a little vanilla. As Ina herself would say, "Now, how bad can that be?"

Not bad at all...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

mama got back

I think it's safe to say that I fell in love with this house at first sight. I loved the floorplan, the beautiful deck and wooded back yard, the enormous master bath, the beautiful kitchen with the island and gorgeous cherry cabinets. But it wasn't until the first time we stepped into this house as the new owners that I discovered two things I hadn't noticed before that I absolutely hated. The first being the insane amount of brass (all cabinet knobs in kitchen and bathrooms, switchplates, outlet covers, light fixtures, door knobs, and so on...) and the second being the wooden toilet seat in the downstairs half bath. I mean no disrespect to any of you who may have wooden toilet seats in your own homes, but they're just not my cup of tea. So I have always hated this toilet seat, but any time I've mentioned that I'd like to get a new one, I've been met with that look. You know, the one that says, "It's just a toilet seat...get over it." And then a couple of months ago, I noticed it was getting a crack down the middle of it, no doubt from being slammed around and such, and this only made me despise it more. And so you would think I would have been thrilled the other day when it finally split into two pieces. (I mean after I dug the splinters out of my behind.) Still, I should have been thrilled and yet all that was running through my mind was the conversation I had with Jackson a few days ago. I was folding a load of his laundry and he came over to watch me.

Jackson: Oh, is that my Spiderman underwear?

Me: Nope, it's my underwear.

Jackson: No it's not!

Me: Sure it is!

Jackson: You don't have Spiderman underwear!

Me: I don't? Well, what kind of underwear do I have?

Jackson: Uh, big ones!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

self-incriminating evidence

Emily asked me to download some pictures from her new camera and I found these great ones from this past week...

I think I may have solved the "mystery" of how the Aerobed has so many holes in it.