Thursday, June 30, 2011

i might have listened to this 5 times in a row..

Do you have a "go to" song when your day has been kinda a bummer? Well, i think i found mine. It's five minutes long, which is just about the perfect amount of time needed to choose a different attitude or perspective. You can't really help but be happy hearing it. So, have a listen or 5, if that's what it takes. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

a party

This last weekend was my mom's birthday so of course, a party was called for. Since we got to host the happy event i also got to pick the menu. My natural inclination is unimaginative, simple, easy and fast like hamburgers or pasta salad- and that's even kinda branching out for me! However, i happened to flip through an old martha stewart "FOOD" magazine and came across a 4 page "Tex-Mex" dinner party spread featuring menu, timeline, gorgeous pictures, recipes etc. It looked so beautiful and fun i decided we just had to be a little adventurous and go for it. And thanks to Handy Andy, I'd say it was a success! 
hey ben! thanks for looking at the camera, buddy! :)

sophie and nana- joined at the hip
Handy Andy very nicely headed up the Watermelon Margarita task. Mind you this included cubing huge watermelon, pureeing huge watermelon, straining all of the pulp, making an orange sugar syrup, juicing tons of limes, and then making a tequila run 30 min. before the party. how did that not make it on my grocery list? Anyway, the end result was festive, fun and pretty but to give you a little inside scoop; in my opinion, it wasn't worth it. A plain ol' original mix would have been just great. ;)

Will- showing off his new toothless smile

It's amazing how awful great food can look if its not "plated' nicely. My sis and i looked over everyone's plate (including our own) for one that was picture-worthy and i'm sorry to say it, but Handy Andy's was the only one that fit the bill. So glad at least one of us has an aesthetically organized brain. :)

Here was the MENU:
Pineapple Marinated Skirt Steak
Poblano and cilantro relish
Pinto Beans with bacon and green onion
Lime cabbage and Spinach
Spanish brown rice
Birthday girl with her adoring crowd

Friday, June 24, 2011

we planted a garden

In between painting our house, handy andy flying a TON, kids with strep throat, getting ready for my mom's wedding and keeping the 4 children fed and alive, Handy Andy and i realized we had an unfulfilled dream to take care of... So off to Lowes we went, bought some of these dandy-already-well-established veggie plants and stuck them in a dirt patch on the side of our house that we weren't (and still aren't 100%) sure will sustain life...

Veggie life that is, as we are positively sure it can happily sustain the life of digger bees. Andy and i first discovered several of their little hole/nest things and then started noticing lots of these green little guys flying around and disappearing in the dirt. We persistently attacked them with our shovels, spray bottle, rocks, flip flops all the while nervously ducking (and running, in my case) until we went inside looked them up, found out they were harmless and went about our "gardening" business and left them to dig, i guess.
Here's one of the little holes they dig. cool eh?
So, anyway, back to our garden. We bought 3 bags of dirt to give our little patch a head start. then we got 2 cherry tomato plants, 1 grape tomato plant, 3 zucchini plants and 1 pumpkin plant.
Here's the "squash patch". Kinda concerned that once they really start growing we'll realize they might be planted a little close? maybe? nah.
And i'm happy to report that:
1) they have been watered consistently
2) therefore they are still alive
3) signs of fruit are starting to appear! big, big yay. 

Don't worry, we'll keep ya updated.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Hair Clips part 4

Here's the 4th Clip in this series: "5 minute Circles" I first made this clip one sunday morning when we were about to head out the door to church. I happened to notice Sophie, my girl least favorable to hair accessories, with her hair all in her eyes. I knew she would tolerate these plain metal clips but it needed just a little something to dress it up. I quickly plugged my hot glue gun in, cut out a few circles of felt that matched her dress, glued them on in a hurry and ran out the door. Later i decided a little paint might make it even cuter without adding a bunch of extra time. 
Materials Needed: Clips, Spray Paint, Felt, Hot glue
1. Spray paint the clip
2. Plug in hot glue gun to heat up
3. Cut out circles of felt
4. Create some color combinations
5. Glue circles together, then glue metal clip onto the circles.
6. DONE! 

i used a gloss yellow and satin dove white "fusion" spray paint. The satin "fusion" coated the best in one coat. The yellow gloss was more runny and took a couple coats to cover. If you want this done in 5 minutes, i suggest a satin finish and the "fusion" kind worked the best!)

Mix and match the circles to make some cute combinations
Glue the layers and the metal clip

here's what my Sophie looks most days without a hair clippy

And here's her clip in action; keeping her hair out of her cute little face.

Friday, June 17, 2011

father's day ideas

Here's what our card looks like this year. If only you could see the outtakes...

And here's a book i ordered that i think will be super fun. I mean, how could it get any better- the title alone was meant for Handy Andy! :)

 The kids also painted some big cards for Dad.

Do you have any favorite father's day traditions?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

thrifty thursday: sweeet kid finds

I Scored some sweet deals at ARC last week:
1) Candy Land- still wrapped in original plastic for $2.99
2) TWO pairs of Stride Rite shoes- one for baby ben in a few years and the other will be "camping shoes" for one of the girls. $5.00 for both
3) TWO fabulous kid books $4.00 for both
4) Canning jars $0.69 each

I can't believe we didn't already have these two books...oh well, these were in brand new condition and getting lots of enjoyment now.

Monday, June 13, 2011

how to stay cheerful when 3 out of 4 are sick

 Look at pictures of cute Baby between running back and forth between the 3 who are still awake due to fevers, soreness, body aches and ....barfing. Yes, my worst nightmare (literally) came true once again. Only this time there were three who all needed me at the same time...Thankfully only one was barfing but still,  all 3 were moaning and groaning and that fear of all 3 doing it at the same time is fairly miserable.
 Anyway,  praying the munchkin doesn't catch whatever his brother and sisters have caught. ugh. sickness in the summer should be outlawed. In other news, I'm hoping Happy Hair Clips #4 will be posted this week. So just hold onto your seats. ;)

one more thing, i was never so glad to find a bottle of 409 still in the back of my cleaning cabinet. We've gone pretty natural with all the cleaning supplies which is great....until there's barf. Then all i want around is a high-powered cleaner full of antibacterial chemicals. ahhh.

yummy domestic outburst

We've been enjoying jam every morning for the last 5 days. raspberry jam. raspberry jam that I canned. 9 jars! How much more domestic can a gal get than canning her own jam?! I guess if i had all the laundry done and my floors cleaned and bread in the oven i'd be a little more of a domestic queen but anyway, i'm pretty happy with my 9 little jars and the gooey, red sweetness inside of them. 
Now, to be honest, i can't really take much credit for this outburst. i recently met a very sweet, very domestic gal and she invited me to participate in one of her many canning days that she organizes each summer. She and her husband really have the whole homesteading thing down and even have a blog that chronicles it all. You can visit her  HERE. So, thanks Courtney, i feel so proud that i have 9jars 
8 jars "put up" :)

This is a picture of Courtney's vintage juice squeezy machine. It was quite the brilliant little contraption that crushed the berries and removed the perfect amount of seeds.

 mmmm mmmmm

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Ten on Ten"

I just recently found Rebekah's site "A bit of Sunshine" and just really love everything about it and her (without actually having the pleasure of really knowing her, of course) Anyway, her photography is beautiful and she's just real and fun, creative and sweet. Anyway, she also hosts this monthly event called Ten on Ten that encourages everyone to appreciate the little things on an average day and then to take a picture of something every hour for 10 hours on the 10th day of every month...which happened to be yesterday. Then everyone shares their "Ten on Ten" on her site. This is my first time and it so fun and did actually help me appreciate the simple sweetness and beauty in my mostly "mundane" day. 
thanks, Rebekah. :)

ten on ten button small

My pictures started around 7:00am yesterday

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

my favorite tacos

So, i don't usually post recipes because creativity in the kitchen is often lacking. in a big way. My sister and i used to be nearly obsessed with planning and cooking new and exciting recipes each week when we were still living at home but now with 4 kiddos and a Handy Andy who is out of town several days a week, food tends to get a little boring and predictable.  However that doesn't prevent me from dreaming about good food and when summer comes i especially get in the mood for new/fresh ideas. A couple of months ago i challenged myself to make at least one meal a week that was out of the norm. I have't completely stuck with it but i found myself  flipping through magazines at the  Dr. office this week and got TWO new recipe ideas to try.  I made the pasta dish yesterday and it was alittle "blech". It might have helped if i actually had the recipe written down. (My memory has severely suffered with each pregnancy and has never recovered)
 However, for this Taco recipe i still didn't follow the exact directions or ingredient list but it was amazing nonetheless. i think i ate 3...maybe 4. whew, all that to say, here's the recipe. The overall theme is borrowed from "Martha Stewart Living." (i think) or maybe it was "Real Simple"??

Meg's Favorite Tacos
serves: about 4-6, makes about 10 tacos

a few T. of olive oil
1  small red onion, sliced thinly
3  garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1  can great northern beans or cannellini (is there a difference?)
Coarse Salt and ground pepper
3 Chicken Tenders, cut up into bite-size pieces (Opptional- i was going to leave it out but happened to have some in the fridge, defrosted)
2ish Cups of Spinach, Cut in strips
10  yellow corn tortillas
Maybe 2 cups Montery Jack Cheese
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Sour Cream

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over med. heat
Cook onions and garlic until soft, maybe 5ish minutes
Stir in Chicken Tenders (opptional) until opaque
Stir in Beans, 1 cup of the Spinach
Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
2.Using tongs, carefully hold each tortilla over a gas burner until nicely toasted and heated, or heat in oven, wrapped in foil. Sprinkle cheese into the tortilla to melt, Spoon filling onto tortillas. Top with cilantro, a little extra fresh spinach and sour cream on the side