Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's back! I think it has been close to a year since I did a menu plan Monday post. I've still been cooking and pulling things together, but formal menu planning has been tough. I've kind of been in a rut.

I've found a new meal planning website that I am trying out for a little help. This nice thing about this meal plan is that I prepare 5 meals at one time in one hour. Then, during the week, I just take the prepared meals out and cook them. The meals from the sample menu look good and should make enough for our 5 eaters plus leftovers for a couple of lunches for me. (I'm getting tired of eating sandwiches now that I am home everyday.) A lot of these meals are freezable too.

Monday: black bean and corn quesadillas, chips & salsa

Tuesday: chick-fil-a kids' night after soccer

Wednesday: slow cooked Asian beef & broccoli, brown rice, egg rolls

Thursday: spaghetti & meatball casserole, salad, garlic bread

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: plans out

Sunday: leftovers

Visit Laura @ Organizing Junkie for more great menu plans.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Well, Hello Fall!

It was a cool 49 degrees here this morning when we left at 8 am for Claire's soccer game. Will was headed to Tuscaloosa to watch Bama take on Arkansas. In addition to college football, colorful leaves, cooler weather and pumpkins, one of my favorite things about fall is eating soup.

Even though it ended up warming up to 70 degrees today, I threw together some soup for lunch. And I mean I literally threw it together with a bunch of random stuff from our pantry and freezer. It was really yummy so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Southwest Chicken Soup
3 cups shredded chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. salsa
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. frozen corn
1T. dried onions
1t. chili powder
1/2-1t. cumin
1/2t. garlic powder

Bring to boil. Lower to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Some of my other favorite fall/tailgate recipes are:

Buffalo chicken dip (serve with fritos, celery sticks and/or chicken crackers)

Feta black bean dip (serve with tortilla scoops)

Enjoy! Happy Saturday! Roll Tide!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sew What: Summer Edition

I've kept my mom's embroidery machine HOT this summer. Here are some completed projects.

"C" tee for Claire. (The C is much better for hand-me-downs, although my neighbor's niece is Claire so she gets a lot of our stuff.) This is the petal patch from AC. Not sure about the applique C.

"Lil' Firecracker" onesie for Luke. This was a free design I got somewhere. And he is definitely a firecracker.

I cut this outfit out a while ago. It's a size 4. It's almost too small. I LOVE this fabric. The pattern is the Mod Kid Ava. I love her patterns. I think they run pretty true to size. I should have made a 5. Will definitely make again.

This is another easy pattern. I made this entire dress in about 3 hours (while C & D were at gymnastics camp and L was napping). I found Carrie's sewing blog and started borrowing ideas from her about the same time she started selling patterns. This is the Addison dress.

Super-cute bow in the back.

A girl bib, burp cloth and romper baby gift. Note the elephant in pink.

Another baby girl bib and burp cloth. Note the elephant in brown. I'm not sure if I like it better in pink or brown.

I bought these shorts from Zulily for $10 each. I made these cutes tees to match for David.

Another pair of outfits for David. These cute plaid shorts came from Wal-Mart for $3.50.

A white terry swimsuit cover-up for Claire.

I made this dress ages ago and I finally got the buttons on. It looks so cute on Miss C. It's the round-neck top/dress pattern from this Etsy store.

My mom made this cute dress for Claire. Too much cutting and piecing for me!

Cute tees for Claire (birdhouse design from AC) and skorts bought on clearance at Hanna Andersson.

White knit dress for Claire. I love this peacock design from AC.

Lastly, a seahorse tee for Claire (design also from AC). Love the pink and aqua!

That's it! Now it's time to get busy sewing footballs, pumpkins and turkeys!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011 Reading List ... so far

I usually do a mid-year reading list, but this year hasn't exactly been "the year of the book" at our house. When I started making my list, I actually have read much more than I thought. Most of them were book club selections, but I read a few "my choice" books too.

Choosing to See by Marybeth Chapman. Wife of my all-time favorite CCM artist, Steven Curtis, this book chronicles their life together, including the tragic loss of their adopted daughter, Maria. This book is kind of depressing, but it also very real and touching. I cried many times while reading this book and read several passages aloud to Will because they rang so true about how Christians struggle and deal with loss and tragedies (whether great or small). I highly recommend it. But keep the Kleenexes close by. (On a side note, this was the first book I read on my iPad/Kindle app.)

Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Wells. I read this book upon the recommendation of one of my all-time favorites blogger picking it for her online book club of sorts. See discussion here. I really liked this book a lot. The Glass Castle, Wells' own memoir is one of my favorites, not only because she has an awesome life story, but because she tells it so well. HBH is an autobiography of sorts about Wells' cowgirl grandmother (kind of a prequel to her own life story). I highly recommend this book for a quick, easy and entertaining read

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Now that I think about it, I think I read this last year, but we discussed it in our book club this year. I'm right. I did.

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. This book is still in progress. I'll keep you posted.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. This one is still in progress too.

The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. I love all things Emily Giffin. Her books are typically quick, fun reads. I read this one quickly because I borrowed it from a friend and wanted to return it before it got buried in the deep, dark depths of books known as my "reading list". This one hit a little more close to home with the husband of a seemingly perfect couple (with two small children) having an affair and almost destroying his family. It did have Dex and Rachel (from the famed "Something Borrowed" and "Something Blue" books that are my favorites by Giffin) as minor characters in the story, which was fun.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I read this book in one full day at the beach. The weather was cloudy and iffy so I sat inside on the balcony and read while Luke took his morning nap and then David took his afternoon nap. I did not like how the story ended and did not buy the modern day comparison between Sarah's life and the life of the narrator (whose name escapes me at the moment), but I thought the true historical story of the German Nazi occupation of France and rounding up of thousands of French Jews was interesting and something you don't typically learn about in your high school history lesson on WWII.

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner. This book was just okay. I've read too many stories about childhood best friends who have a major tiff only to reconnect many years later at some drunken high school reunion. But, it was an easy read and the story kept me interested enough to keep the pages turning.

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. Everyone should read this book. I read it in two hours while we were driving to the beach. As a christian, this book solidifies what I hope heaven to truly be ... a place of splendor to spend eternity with God the Father and God the Son and a reunion with our loved ones who have gone on before us.

Radical by David Platt. I love how simply Platt lays out his "radical" ideas about the true calling of a christian. And I agree. Over the past year, our Sunday School class has really tried to convert our thinking to a global worldview and focus on spreading the gospel to those who have never heard it. This is a radical idea in our present-day culture where the focus is always on me, me, me.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I started reading this book back in January and it was really good. The store is about an American soldier in WWII, who survived a plane crash over the ocean only to be captured/rescued by the Japanese.) I read it avidly. I remember sitting at the table feeding Luke in his high chair and reading it on my ipad it was so good. It was a page turner. And then it kept going and going and going and I had to put it down. I thought if this poor guy gets sent to one more POW camp ... I had forgotten about finishing it until a friend asked me about it last night at church. I really need to pick it back up.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Will's father's day wish every year is to watch the U.S. Open on Sunday afternoon. Remember last year when he had to watch a ballet recital instead? This year, he got to do exactly what he wanted.

A photo with Daddy after church. Not the best time. Silly kids.

Better pics ... Will and his boys showing their muscles.

Will and his sweet girl!

Happy Father's Day to the best Daddy and hubby in the world!

July 4, 2011

I am almost finished catching up from the summer ... I think! I have two beach trips and VBS to blog about and then I'm done.

Here are my three kiddos sporting their red, white & blue on July 4th. The kids spent the entire weekend in North Alabama with their grandparents, while Will and I had some adult alone time. We headed down on Sunday after church and went to a July 4th celebration with Will's parents' church on Sunday night and celebrated the 4th with his family on Monday. We came home on Tuesday morning. (Will's work gave him Monday and Tuesday off for the 4th. Nice!)

Baby Luke on his first July 4th. (Sporting a patriotic hand-me-down from his big brother.)

Will and his dad and brother.

Didi cooks a mean steak. He loves to grill!

Doug and Brandi.

A rare family photo where everybody is looking at the camera.

Water fun on a hot day. The hose was a big hit. I love the smile on David's face ... pure joy!

Luke enjoyed playing in the frog pool.

Claire with friends Mattie and Anna Kate at the church function.

My friend Kaisha. We love seeing long-time friends at Will's parents' church.

Claire and Didi.

The diving board was a big hit. Claire went off without any flotation device.

Me and my boy David.

The kids ready to watch the fireworks display.

Mattie and Claire.

What a fun weekend!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good friends, good neighbors

What is more fun than 5 kids on a water slide?

Everybody coming down at the same times of course!

We had our annual backyard BBQ with our next door neighbors in July this year (when the temps were inching near triple digits) instead of our usual Memorial Day soiree.

Will and Luke keeping cool under the porch.

Lovely ladies ... my friends Beth & Heather.

Little miss HJ was patiently awaiting her dinner. Love that face!

Kevin cooking up a bunch of burgers and dogs.

Until next year ...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Speech x2

Claire finished up speech with Ms. Linda back in August. This was her second year of speech and Ms. Linda had big shoes to fill.

We loved spending the year with her and hate to leave her, but we are switching back to speech services through the county where we live (instead of the neighboring county where we were enrolled in private preschool). Confusing much?

Anyway, Ms. Linda was great and Claire progressed a lot in her speech this year. So much so that we feared she would not qualify for free services if she was reevaluated. (She definitely still needs speech, I'm just not sure if its bad enough to qualify for free services.) Thankfully, she will not be reevaluated until 2013 and we will continue receiving free speech services through the school system another year (with a new therapist).

I titled this post "speech x2" because David has also recently qualified for speech services through the school system for articulation delay (just like Claire). I suspected that he would even though he is much more intelligible to me than Claire was at his same age. Maybe I'm just used to listening to it by now. And apparently, he is too.

Our history of speech problems certainly doesn't bode well for this little guy ...

Especially since his tongue is constantly sticking out of his mouth. (Claire and David both do something called "fronting" which has something to do with their tongue being positioned more in the front of their mouth which makes it difficult for them to make sounds in the back of their mouth ... SLP friends ... correct me if I am wrong.)

I really can get down sometimes about all of our speech woes, but I was constantly reminded this year (twice a week when Claire went in for therapy) that there are kids MUCH worse off than mine and I am very thankful that our problems are only with articulation and not any type of developmental problems.

And, I am very thankful that we do not have to bear the financial burden of paying for private therapy since we have qualified for services through the school system.

So here's to another year of speech ... times 2.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Luke is ONE!

Happy birthday to my sweet boy. Your first year has flown by. I can't believe how much you have grown! You are truly a bonus and blessing to our family. You are a joy to parent. Love you much!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Luke: 11 months old

Whew! I finished this one up just in the nick of time. Luke's first birthday is tomorrow!

This was a pretty eventful month for the Lukester (as David lovingly calls him).

This little lime green outfit was one I made for David and it is one of my favorites on Luke.

We started "practicing" with our sippy cup this month. Initially, he was not a fan, but he will now drink milk out of it. He is quite messy with it though as he will not swallow all the milk before he opens his mouth and lets it run all down his chin.

He loves to play in the garbage can. If it's full enough for him to reach, he will pull stuff out of there. I've even caught him trying to snack there a couple of times. He is such a mess!

Notice the sticker on his back (compliments of Target)? David is constantly putting stickers on him. We have a sticker check almost every night before bath/bed.

Luke loves to sneak into the office and play some tunes on the piano. He thinks he is BIG STUFF because he can reach the keys.

I love this picture of his little hands on the keys. (It looks like somebody ... probably David ... has been coloring on the piano keys ... don't judge me.) He sticks his little tongue out all the time when he is in deep concentration.

When he gets real excited, he waves his arms up and down and makes this face. Clearly, pulling a whole bunch of garbage bags out from under the sink is cause for excitement. Can you tell this boy keeps me on my toes??

Luke loves to play more than either of my other two children did at his age. He will sit and play with his toys for a long time. He loves to watch cartoons too. His favorite toys are the shape sorter, the ring stacker (both originally Claire's) and the pound-a-peg toy (David's).

The little green outfit he is wearing below is also a fave hand-me-down from my friend Amy. I wish he could wear it everyday. This boy can rock some hand-me-downs!

Luke got his first haircut/trim this month compliments of Meme. He was starting to look a little mullet-ish.

He was not a fan of Meme's salon.

We made many trips to the doctor's office this month as Luke had two different ear infections and a case of hives! Yikes!! I'm pretty laid back, but this kind of freaked me out. The picture below is from the second day and it was actually much worse on the third day and even spread to his face. The doctor thought it was probably viral and after we started a prescription antihistamine, the "bee hives" (as Claire called them), finally started to clear up.

Ok ... I hate to end the post on this picture, but that's all I've got!

A few bullets points from the 11th month:

-weight: 20 lbs., 7 oz.

-wearing size 3 diapers and size 12 months clothing

-crawling, climbing up the stairs, pulling up, cruising and standing alone

-eating all table food

-saying "mama", "dada", "uh-oh", and "baba" (for bottle)

-we have 4 teeth! two front teeth on the top and bottom (I seriously cannot get a picture of the teeth because his tongue is always in the way)