Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Reveal

New Curtains I made last week to replace the ratty nasty old ones that had dog claw marks and stains.  They are better looking than this picture shows.  Notice the new floor.

We bought this pre-flood.  It has been sitting the garage waiting to be put together since our house was a wreck.
So the house is coming along.  We finally finished all of the big renovations and now I must try to somehow get myself to move everything back where it goes and try and make it a house again.  So here is the only part that is totally finished.  The entry way.  Notice that it had blond floors before and you can kind of see the old carpet vs. the new darker carpet.  I still need to hang something above the sideboard that won't cover my alarm system.  I also want to put books on the bottom but will need bookends and I don't shop that often, so it may take awhile.

New Fish The Three Year Old

 Just a few things that I want to remember about my little New Fish.

• She loves books and usually falls asleep with a book open across her legs.  She sleeps curled around another huge pile.  We spend a lot of time looking at books and her favorite place to go is the library.  She recently stopped calling it the "yi-bee-o" and can say library correctly now.  Sob.
• She adores her sister and follows her around copying her.  She also adores Red Fish's friends who always include her. It's sweet.
• She loves having her back scratched.
• She is a little snuggler.  She climbs in bed with me for a snuggle almost every morning.
• She doesn't sleep.  It kills me.
• She has a MASSIVE vocabulary and tells me funniest things on a daily basis.  I'm not sure where she gets most of her information.  She told me today that "real diamonds are the prettiest of the sparklies.  Fake diamonds aren't as pretty."
• She is really really loving the co-op preschool. She loves to learn new things.
• This child has a will of steel.  I think she inherited both mine and Two Fish's stubbornness.
• After a bumpy start she is totally potty trained now.  We just had to wait until she did it all by herself.  She wouldn't let us help her.  She even makes it through the night 95% of the time although I haven't stopped buying pullups because I hate changing sheets more than once a week.  
• She is constantly reminding me that she is 3!!!!! (insert serious attitude) and is NOT a baby anymore.  She is a big girl now. The ultimate insult in her mind is to be called "little."  Red Fish uses this to her advantage when she really wants to make New Fish mad.
• She loves to sing and listen to music.
• She loves to dance.
• When she has two items and one is larger (spoons, toys, whatever) she always calls one the mommy and one the honey.  Kids and babies are all honeys.
• She always says "Guess what Mom?  I love you."  It may be my favorite thing ever.
• She is becoming quite the little swimmer.  When I take her swimming I have to keep her life jacket on or she will fight me the whole time and think she can swim totally on her own.
• She is madly in love with all things princess.
• She still wants me to carry her everyplace.  Good thing she does not weigh much.
• She is a sugar addict but doesn't eat much.  I've started cooking breakfast specifically because her favorite foods are breakfast foods like eggs and pancakes.  She is still totally addicted to "Daddy cereal", Quaker Oat Squares.
• She likes getting her way.
• She can use a tablet and computer by herself.  It's scary.  I was playing Rusty and Rosy with her on the computer a few weeks ago and got up to answer the phone and came back and she was using the mouse and keys by herself with no problem.  I guess she didn't really need me.
• She is very attached to her family.
• She loves to call people on the phone and knows how to call many of her family members on my cell phone by herself and steals it every chance she gets.
• She is starting to understand the consequences of her actions.  This is a relief.
• She tries to steal pepperoni off of people's pizza.
• She loves making artwork almost as much as Red Fish does.
• She LOVES her ballet class and talks about it constantly.  She can't hear music without dancing.
•She loves Barbies and little princess figurines with a passion.
• Her favorite color is pink.
• She has to pick out her own outfits and shoes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Three Peas In A Pod

They just wouldn't be the same without each other.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Demonstrating their moves
Our activities have kept us very busy lately.  The girls are loving their dance class and Red Fish is starting to like soccer.  I was worried soccer was a mistake for awhile but now that she is starting to understand the game better, she likes it.

Red Fish gives more hugs to the other players more than any other player on the planet.  If you do something great or just look like you might need a hug- she is right there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

S is for Spider And Spot

 Today little Buddy was sick so we just had mommy and New Fish school.  I couldn't cancel on her.  She has been waiting all morning.  She even dressed herself.  It matches- see?  We were talking about the letter S and our nursery rhyme of the week is Eensy Weensy Spider.  We reviewed all of our songs from the month.  Elephants on a Spider Web was especially apropos.  We read "Are You A Spider" and "The Very Busy Spider" as well as a couple of other spider stories.  Then we talked more about our sense of touch.
 We talked about how we can feel the weight of things with our sense of touch.  We used weights to demonstrate heavy, heavier and heaviest.  Then we used little boards of different weights to do a sorting game with light, lighter and lightest.  We also talked about temperature.  My friend C made three little rice bags.  One was cold out of the freezer, one I put in the microwave and left the other room temperature. 
Next we went through a stack of cards to sort by things we ride, things we eat, things we play with and things we wear.  I thought she would be sick of it after the first twenty cards or so but she loved it and went through the whole stack for about 30 minutes.

 Next we nade spider webs with marbles and white tempera on black construction paper. We put them in a 9x12" pan and shook them around. The first time we used too much paint and had to start again.  It takes a very small blob of paint.  We glued a plastic spider on it.

 Next we did a fine motor skill and picked up puff ball "bugs" with our tweezer "spider legs" and put them on our "sticky web" contact paper to eat later.  We also had the tops of plastic spider rings to add to our webs with the tweezers.
 Then we did spots on a letter S.  I feel like I'm not doing a great job introducing letters.  I'm going to have to think of some new ideas besides decorating them and cutting them out. 
 I am quickly learning that Red Fish wants to know exactly what we learned and did while she was gone as soon as she walks in the door from preschool.  I just leave everything we explored out for her and have the projects ready for her to do.  She doesn't really need much help or explanation. She just doesn't want to be left out of anything.  Good day of "School".

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's For Dinner This Month?

This month I chose too many complicated meals with too many ingredients.   I really should have taken a picture of the results of the day.  It was impressive. I was an extra long cooking day and I was exhausted. (It has been a long month anyway so that's nothing new.)  The major upside is that the meals will probably be better and I will be happier with them all month.  Never make too many different packs of chicken in just a sauce.  It makes for a long month.  I'm still in love with freezer meals.  My family (especially Two Fish) are as well because it means a month of happy dinners.  This month I ended up with 23 meals.  Yay.

The repeats that are loved-
Taquitos-  cream cheese, green salsa, lime, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro, green onions, chicken, pepperjack cheese, corn tortillas, kosher salt

Baked Chicken Alfredo - This pasta (Lee Lee's was made with Quinoa pasta to make it gluten free) - With this alfredo sauce
Taco Soup- 1 lb ground beef, 1 medium onion, 1 Pk Taco Seasoning, 1 16 oz can corn, 1 16 oz can black beans (drained), 1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes, 1 14oz can diced green chilis, 1 8 oz can tomato sauce/paste- Bown meat and onion, drain - stir in taco seasoing, corn, black bean, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green chilis.
Add tortilla chips and other taco topping (cheese, sour cream, avacado)

BBQ Chicken Salad- BBQ Sauce INGREDIENTS: 1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed, 1-1/4 cups Ketchup, 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar, 1/2 cup Water, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, 2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard, 2 teaspoons Paprika, 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, DIRECTIONS: Measure and add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are thoroughly distributed. Add to chicken.  Freeze.  Cook chicken in crockpot in crock pot on low for 4-6 hours. Shred. For BBQ chicken salad:lettuce, corn, avocado, mozzarella cheese, tortilla strips, diced tomatoes, black beans and add a little of BBQ sauce to ranch for the dressing!

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli- Ingredients, 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips, 1 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sauce from the crock pot after being cooked, Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)- Directions 1. Place beef in a crock pot.
2. In a small bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 3. In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the crock pot until smooth. Add to crock pot. Stir well to combine. 4. Add broccoli to the crock pot. Stir to combine. 5. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high (the sauce has to boil for it to thicken). 6. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Beef & Broccoli Calzone- (We made two batches of this.) 1 lb. cooked ground beef, Frozen bread dough, 10 oz. frozen broccoli, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, onion, 3.4 cup sour cream, 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp. salt.  Wrap in bread dough.  Thaw and bake.

Lemon Garlic Chicken- salt, pepper, garlic powder, a lemon, chicken

White Bean Chilli-(2 dinners worth for my family)  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 medium onion, diced 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 2 cups cooked shredded chicken, (32 oz) chicken broth, 2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed.  Salt (to taste), 1 can corn, drained, Pepper (to taste), 1 can (4 oz) green chilies, 1 lime, juice

Fajitas- Leave chicken raw for freezing, McCormick Fajita Packet, sliced bell peppers and onion.  Thaw and cook in pan and put in tortillas.

Hawaiian Haystacks-  2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1 cup broth, 12 oz. evaporated milk, 10-12 Chicken tenders chunked.  Crock pot for 6-8 hours on low.  Serve over rice with the following topping options:  onion, celery, carrots, olives, pineapples, cheese, almonds, tomatoes, chow mein noodles, cheese, coconut, green peppers.
 New Things we are trying this month-
Tin Foil Dinners- 2-4 hamburger patties, White or red online, Carrots, Potatoes, Salt and pepper

Southwestern Chicken Roll-Ups- 6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, 6 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, 6 tablespoons picante sauce, 6 cilantro sprigs, 6 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, pound each chicken breast half to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Top each breast half with 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 tablespoon picante sauce, and 1 cilantro sprig. Roll up chicken beginning at narrow end.  Roll chicken in breadcrumbs. Place rolls, seam sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Chicken Parmesan- 4 chicken breasts, ½ C dried breadcrumbs, 1 C shredded parmesan cheese, I Tbl oregano, 1 egg, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 2 tbl olive oil, ¾ C shredded mozzarella cheese, ½ C marinara sauce- In one bowl combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and oregano. In another bowl, lightly beat egg and salt. Brush both side of chicken with egg then lightly coat with crumb mixture. Cook chicken in skillet - 3 min each side. Add marinara sauce.

Honey Garlic Pork Chops - Ingredients: 1/8 cup honey, 1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tsp  minced garlic, 2 pork loin chops, boneless, trimmed of excess fat- In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chops in mixture. Reserve left over honey mixture for basting. Place chops on greased grill over med high heat, close lid and cook.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin- Ingredients: 1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin), 1 teaspoon ground sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water, Glaze- 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce- Directions: Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

Lasagna Roll Ups- Lasagna noodles (6 per family), Spaghetti sauce, 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese, 1 large egg, 1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (aka Italian Parsley, its about 1 small handful), chopped, 2 1/4 cups freshly grated Mozzarella Cheese, divided, 3/4 cup freshly, finely grated Parmesan Cheese, divided, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper- Once noodles are cooked, drain and immediately line noodles in a single layer on waxed paper or cookie sheets.  Prepare cheese mixture (I do this while pasta is cooking) by stirring together Ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper with a fork in a large mixing bowl until well combine.  Stir in chopped fresh parsley.  Add in 1 3/4 cups grated Mozzarella Cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese and 1/3 cup Romano Cheese, stir mixture until well combine. Stir meat sauce and spread 1/3 cup evenly into a 13x9 inch baking dish by tilting pan back and forth.  Spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto each cooked lasagna noodle, then spread 1 heaping tablespoon meat sauce along the top of cheese covered noodle.  Roll noodles up jellyroll style and arrange seam side down in baking dish Place rolled noodles in baking dish and cover with remaining meat sauce (about a heaping 1/8 cup over each) then sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese evenly over roll ups.  Tent lasagna roll ups with foil (don't allow foil to rest on cheese or it will stick you just want to loosely tent to prevent the cheese from browning) and bake in preheated oven. 30 min if thaw and 60 min if frozen.

Red Stew- Stew meat,2 potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 can cream of mushroom, 1 can tomato soup, ½ pkg onion soup mix, 1 can of water- cube beef into bite sized pieces. Place in crockpot. Peel and cube potatoes and carrots. Place veggies on top of meat. Add soup and water. Cook 8hrs on high. Stir and serve.

Breakfast Burritos- Eggs, Sausage, Cheese, Salsa, Tortillas 

Boneless crockpot ribs- onion, ketchup, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce. 

Applesauce pork chops- sage, applesauce, simply apple juice, garlic salt, pepper. 

 Garlic Pork Roast- Garlic cloves, pepper, garlic salt and roast. It's heavenly. We like it plain or we make taquitos with a white cheese (mozzarella) avocado, lime, tomato or fresh salsa.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It has been a crazy and busy weekend.  I did an all day cooking session to get the next month's dinners done on Friday.  Who knew cooking could be so totally physically exhausting?  We have been painting our house all week trying to beat the carpet layers.  We are in the middle of recarpeting the whole house.  It's basically like moving.  We have had to pack the entire house up and move everything.  I've decided I'm not a fan of redecorating.  I always thought I liked it- I just never had time to worry much about it.  Turns out- I hate it.  This carpeting is the last step of repairing all of the flood damage.  We had to recarpet so much of the house from the flood damage that we just went ahead and did it all.  While we were replacing the flooring in 90% of the house- we needed to make sure everything was painted.  So now we are in the process of painting the entire thing.  I had help for some of it but we are doing a ton ourselves.  Two bathrooms and a laundry room to go and the whole house will be painted.   There are other things I'm going to end up finishing because now I just want the house to be finished looking.  I hate quitting more than I hate all of this renovation business.  

The only times I've really gone crazy and painted a bunch and super organized my house is when we've been expecting a baby.  Maybe it will work in reverse?  Nest like crazy and a baby will appear?  That would make this insane amount of work worth it.  My house is going to look good when all of this is done but I'm not sure that makes it worth it enough for me.

We had to stay out of the house a lot this weekend in between marathon painting sessions. We ran a lot of errands together and hung out at the park.  We ate lunch at the mall and round on the merry-go-round.  We went to the library and picked out a stack of new books.  The girls spent 1.5 hours pouring over the children's section and deciding which ones to take home.  Books are serious business around here.

I'm not sure what the fascination with this baby headband is but New Fish has started wearing it everyday.
 We went on a hike to a nearby waterfall and gathered "rainbow leaves."  I love living in the mountains- especially during the Fall.  This hike was only a few miles away from my house.  We baked cookies.  We made collages out of the fall leaves and contact paper.  We spent a lot of time together this weekend.  We did a lot of work- paint, deep cleaning, moving things- and we played together.  I'm totally in love with my little family.

Red Fish did some leave rubbings.  New Fish wasn't interested because she already did them in school at the Buddy's house this week. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

L Is For Leaf And Lamb

Music Time
 Today we talked about the letter L is preschool.  We started off with our calendar and talked about how Fall is beginning and the leaves are starting to fall off of trees etc.  Our nursery rhyme today was Mary Had A Little Lamb so we sang it several times while we danced around with two stuffed lambs.  We made leaf crowns (they would have been cooler with colored leaves but I didn't have time to get any ahead of time and my yard is still green.) We did leaf songs and movement activities from Seasons of Joy- Autumn.  We danced with leaf cut outs and pretended to be trees and falling leaves.  We danced with tissue paper to sound like the wind.
 Next we learned about our sense of touch.  We compared rough vs. smooth on boards with increasingly rough sandpaper.  We matched up swatches of material by touch and tried to think of as many descriptive words as they could to describe them.  They did a little game/puzzle made of different materials that can be matched by touch.
Cutest little best buddies ever.  I love that they hold hands.
 We went on a "leaf hunt" walk and touched the grass, rocks etc. on our way to compare how they felt.  We did actually have to hunt for colored leaves since the leaves in our neighborhood are just beginning to turn.  Then we made collages out of the leaves onto the letter L.
Down, down, yellow and brown.  Leaves are falling all over town.
 Next we watercolored leaf cutouts with liquid watercolors in fall colors.  We used eye droppers again to work on their small motor skills.

When Red Fish came home from school she painted a bunch of leaves as well.  I'm excited to string them up around the house.  They turned out really beautiful.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New Fish's Third Birthday

Baking her birthday cupcakes
Today was New Fish's third birthday.  I can't believe my baby is three.  First thing she wanted this morning was a family hug.  Red Fish immediately jumped out of bed to sing to her.  It was very sweet.  She wore a birthday crown I made for her to nursery at church.  This afternoon she helped me bake cupcakes and we had a family party for her and my grandpa- Bockum.  New Fish has been spoiled beyond belief this birthday and she got to have many of the people who love her come celebrate with her.  I think she has a pretty fabulous birthday.  I will post more about what she is like at age 3 later this week.
Opening presents while wearing the birthday crown I made her.

Brothers, Mimi and Cousin D
New Fish already changed into her new bathing suit and hat with her cupcake

Three great grandparents with three great grandbabies

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In The Heights

I had a fabulous night at the theater with a darling friend.  Our husbands were busy watching football and we went to see In The Heights.  It was so fun.  The music was fun and vibrant. There were raps and salsa numbers interspersed with hip hop.  I have always enjoyed musicals but I think I love them more all the time. The dancing was energetic and fresh and the story line was light and humorous.  In The Heights is the story of a neighborhood of mostly Latino immigrants and their daily struggles to find employment, relationships and happiness without abandoning their roots.  Aside from one very flat soprano it was a fabulous show.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Fish's Birthday Party

Today was New Fish's first "friend party."  She invited all of her little friends from the neighborhood to a princess carnival.  We rented a bouncy house princess castle and a snow cone machine and borrowed my brother's popcorn machine. We made little crowns with foam stickers.  We played a few games and there was a lot of screaming and laughing.  I can't believe my little baby is going to be three!
All week New Fish has been saying: "I will have a party and wear a purple princess dress."  I just happened to have already bought her a purple princess dress for her birthday so I was pretty excited that was her birthday wish.  Two Fish and I let her open it this morning so she could wear it to her party.  When it was time for her to open presents she said: "Now everyone will open their present because I already opened mine and it was a dress."  She didn't understand that the presents were for her.  She was confused with everyone watching her open them. 
We had pink lemonade cupcakes and ended up making our snowcones in a blender because the machine didn't work.  It was pretty much chaos with all of the little kids.  Good thing my Mom and Two Fish's Mom were here to help me.