Thursday, March 31, 2011


just a little update:

so I posted at the end of january about my “33 pound waif” and her new tiny person accommodating car seat. well, I picked her up one day last week and thought she felt REALLY heavy. so I thought I’d put her on the scale, just for curiosity’s sake…

38.2 pounds.

yes, that’s right, she’s gained 5 pounds in less than 2 months.


dave, of course, suggested that in not very long, we’d be able to SELL the carseat while it’s still in really good shape and get some good money for it.

I gave him a dirty look.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

bacon-potato chowder recipe

dave found this recipe at some point when we were living in ohio. he apparently had a hankering for some chowder of some kind. so I have no idea where the credit goes in this case. but we’ve been making it ever since, so it was definitely a winner!

  • 1 lb. bacon cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt (and some pepper)
  • 2 cans cream of something soup (chicken or celery)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups milk

**edited to add: apparently, dave says he adds a clove or two of garlic as well. chop them up with them up and add them with the onions.**

in a big pot, cook bacon over medium heat. add onion and cook until tender. drain off grease. add water, potatoes, salt and pepper. cook 15 minutes. stir in soup, sour cream, and milk. cook until heated through.

easy, but best to do all you’re chopping, dicing, and measuring ahead of time. if you like it thick, simmer a little longer…

don’t make this if you are dairy intolerant or on a diet! lol. although we do use light sour cream and nonfat milk (mostly to help us feel better about ourselves!)…


meal plan(s) monday! even though it’s wednesday…

normally, a tardy post of this nature would just get backlogged to the monday it was supposed to have been published. but I’m freely admitting today, that I’m late. oh well. I have successfully made a meal plan and, dagnabit, I’m going to post it! and you’re going to read it. and enjoy it. or I’m gonna come over there and… wait. sorry. moving along…

I am going to backlog the menu, though, because I always start my meal plans on monday, and I really don’t care that it’s wednesday, I’m still going to post what we ate on monday. and tuesday. and as you will soon see, it’s SO exciting, how could I not post it?!

  • monday: leftover chicken soup
  • tuesday: leftover tacos
  • wednesday: dinner at church
  • thursday: creamy italian chicken; noodles; broccoli
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: hamburgers; tots; fresh veggies
  • sunday: waffles; sausages

but wait! there’s more! while I was at it, I decided to go ahead and plan the next week as well!

  • next monday: leftovers
  • next tuesday: chicken caesar salad
  • next wednesday: dinner at church
  • next thursday: tater tot casserole
  • next friday: pizza; green beans
  • next saturday: bacon-potato chowder; sourdough
  • next sunday: scrambles; toast

I had an offer sitting in my inbox from amazon fresh. I have wanted to get groceries delivered from them… but every time I sit down and start to, I get frustrated because I know that I can get most of it cheaper at the grocery store by shopping sales or buying the store brand. but the offer was for $100 worth of groceries for $50. hard to pass up saving 50 bucks! and it meant I didn’t have to go to the grocery store!

I have some things I’ll have to pick up at costco today, but I have to go there anyway, so it may as well be today!

at any rate, I’m happy to not have to go shopping this week, and I’m really happy to have saved money. and I’m even happier to know that my meals are planned for two weeks! yay!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

project life–week 12

PL-TuesdaySMeek! another week, flown past!

shane was mysteriously absent from this week’s POTDs. he makes an appearance in the collage of ‘extra’ pictures, though. I must try to hunt him down so he can get in the book a few times, at least!

first part of the week:015

layla completed her first scrapbook album of her very own this week and was very proud of it. it was a lot of fun to help her with it too.

the sheet of this week’s extra pictures:016

only one side this week. some layla artwork:017

some more layla artwork, the ‘sheep’ card she made in sunday school, and an assignment she brought home from school:018

and the latter half of the week:021

we have a couple ‘dog’ appearances, as usual. wednesday, she made them tails. saturday, she turned plastic plates into frisbees and they ‘fought’ over it. kind of wondering how long this phase is going to last!

and that’s week 12.

I’m starting to rethink the adding of too many pieces of art and such… I can see that it’s going to get really full really fast… hmmm.. well, I’ll worry about that later, I guess.

week 12 in pictures

sunday’s POTD: 001micah is apparently in training for when he loses use of his arms or something. we’ll just hope he doesn’t need to use that ability. ever.

monday’s POTD:005layla has been bugging me to let her choose and print some pictures. we finally did it and she was SO excited to get them put in her album.

an extra pic:006I think this was some sort of rocket. he was running around like a crazy person, making whooshing sounds. and it’s blurry because he was going so fast, NOT because I take bad pictures.

tuesday’s POTD:002layla is well versed in proper scrapbooking. the album isn’t done until you’ve done the ‘writing about the pictures’. I love it. I asked if she wanted to write or if she wanted me to. she said “you write, and I’ll tell you what I want to say.” sounds good to me. I was actually really impressed with her ability to express herself about what was going on and how she felt about each of the pictures. I had her ‘inscribe’ the inside cover of the album herself. she wrote her first and last name, the date on which it was completed: “MRACH 22 2011”, and then she added, “I LOVE MI FRES AND FAMLEE”. I cannot even begin to express how in love with that I am! adorable.

another extra:001

wednesday’s POTD:004in her all-consuming quest to be a dog, the one thing that is always eluding layla is a TAIL! so, in true layla fashion, she made one out of paper. I swear that child could solve any problem by making something out of paper. I’m not sure how, but I’m pretty sure she would even be able to solve the problem of deforestation with… paper? okay, maybe not. but almost any problem. of course, she didn’t want to be a dog alone, so she made one for micah as well.

this one’s an extra pic:005I just thought it was really cute, so I had to include it.

another extra:031layla likes to steal the camera on a regular basis. I never know what I’m going to find when I upload. I thought this was pretty cute though.

another extra that you’ve seen before, but still cute: 047I love the sucked-in cheeks!

thursday’s POTD:049this one made an appearance on facebook. we had shockingly nice weather and they wanted to have a picnic. layla made us all peanut butter sandwiches while I moved the little table outside. she insisted we needed a tablecloth (LOVE this!), so I found a baby blanket that was the right size. side note: the weather has since turned icky again, but the table and stools remain in their spot outside. I can see a big fat slug on the leg of one of the stools. blech…

a random extra:052I really don’t know what this is about. I think she just wanted me to take her picture. this is so classic layla. POSER!

another extra:007I’m really glad I remembered to take my camera with me to my parents’ house this week. micah likes to go outside and ‘work with grandpa’. it’s shane all over again. love it. love my dad. he’s so patient. and you can sorta see their big, beautiful thundercloud that’s on their patio. all pink right now and gorgeous!

friday’s POTD: 008

this picture almost didn’t happen this week. kept forgetting to bring my camera to the bus stop! major yellowness now! not sure what the crazy poser is doing here, but I guess you never really know…

another extra:009I love it when my kids can play outside! love it!\

hey look! it’s shane:010and a cat on the trampoline! yup. shane decided the usual forms of feline torture were not sufficient, so he had to share this little experience with him…013as usual, toby was surprisingly tolerant of the whole experience, but the poor cat WAS a little wigged out:022

saturday’s POTD: 026more of the being dogs thing. layla turned the plastic plates from her play kitchen into frisbees. she even made labels for them. they were taking turns being the human and throwing them for each other (no, nothing was broken in this exercise.), but apparently they reached a point where neither wanted to be the human. there was much growling and tugging going on here. sheesh.

and the final extra picture of the week, and a good one to leave you with:027this is layla, dressed like a super hero. how can you tell? well, duh! she’s wearing her underwear on the outside!

she slept like this, btw.

Friday, March 25, 2011

shorts guy

so, this is a little bit odd, and just a tad random, but I find it amusing and felt like writing about it.

the kids and I have a little bit of an inside joke. it’s about “shorts guy”, and we look forward to seeing him every ‘band’ morning. shane is in first year band over at the junior high. it is before school for the elementary kids, but at the same time that school starts for the junior high kids. so on tuesday, thursday, and friday mornings, we get to drive him there amid all the other band students and junior high kids. a few blocks from the school, we always pass this one kid. he lives in the neighborhood and walks to school. we call him “shorts guy” because he ALWAYS is wearing basketball shorts. dead of winter, wearing shorts.

anyway, we started looking for him in the mornings, wondering if he was running late or home sick, if we didn’t see him. one morning, after dropping shane off, the rest of us saw him running down the road toward the school, obviously late. Then we started proposing ideas for why he never wore pants. shane thinks they’re all in the laundry and his mom doesn’t wash them. layla thinks it’s because his pants are all hidden in the back of his closet, so he doesn’t see them. or that they’re all stinky. I really hope it’s not that. we’ve also started wagering guesses as to which pair of shorts he would be wearing. micah always guesses green. we’ve never seen him in green shorts, but you never know, I guess.

at any rate, this morning, we started doing all of our usual discussion about ‘shorts guy’, and looking for him walking down the road. when we finally saw him, what a shock! PANTS! I had to get a good look at him, to make sure it was really him, and it was. but he was also wearing a white shirt and a tie! whoa! must be something significant going on today at school. but it gave us all a really good laugh.

I don’t know anything about this kid, other than that he’s in junior high, he lives near the school, and he likes to wear shorts. layla thinks his name is justin, but we have no reason for that. I think she just thought it was a good name. but lately, I’ve taken to praying for him. that he’ll have a good day, that he’ll be successful in his studies, that he’s happy… just simple stuff, but I figure, what the heck. can’t hurt. besides, he makes us smile.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I’ve always been into smoothies. but I kind of go in phases with them. there will be times that I have the ALL THE TIME, and then other times when I’ve forgotten about them and don’t have them at all. right now, I’m on a major smoothie kick. I was reminded of their sweet, wonderful yumminess a while back when I read a post on the pioneer woman’s site about smoothies. of course, she’s all photography-savvy and has a clean kitchen and whatnot, and I don’t, but this is my take on smoothies. actually, it’s just today’s take on smoothies. it changes daily, depending on what I have on hand or what I’m in the mood for. as you’ll notice, it’s also a shameless plug for my 3rd favorite kitchen appliance. (the first being my coffeemaker, obviously, and the second being my coffee grinder.)

so today’s smoothie consisted of the segments of 1 clementine (I have a 5 lb. box that I need to use up before they are not so good… plus, I figure the vitamin c will not hurt me any.), a BUNCH of frozen raspberries (these are from my garden last year. my freezer has been FULL of them all year. I’m now down to my last two containers of them. can’t wait for this year’s!), some frozen blueberries (I’m out of my stash that came from my dad’s bushes, so now I have to buy them.), and some frozen blackberries. I was going to throw in a couple frozen strawberries, but I ran out of room due to my excitement about the raspberries… it happens. you should see me make a taco.032

you can use whatever fruit you like and/or have on hand. if your fruit is all fresh, you may want to throw in a few ice cubes to get that frozen thing going on, but you don’t have to.

then I pour in some milk. as you can see from this picture, I am SO NOT the pioneer woman. oh well. you get the point…033

about this much:


actually, it probably should have been a little more. just a tad on the thick side. but I’d rather have it too thick than too thin. I’m so picky! sometimes I use orange juice instead of milk, and I’ve also been known to use soy milk if I’ve got any of that. whatever you like!

and then I spoon in some yogurt. I grabbed a strawberry today – to make up for the strawberries I didn’t have room for. as you can see, I barely have room for the yogurt, but it’s all good. only once have I had this overfilling thing backfire on me… usually, I use vanilla, and usually I buy it in the big containers to save on $$ and packaging… but I’m out of that.035

now, at this point, you could add any number of ‘additives’ that you’d like. vitamin or protein powder, milled flax seed, what have you. I usually just keep it straight up fruit and yogurt, plus some liquid.

now here’s where the plug starts: I’m using my magic bullet to make this. I used to use a blender. I have a great blender. it’s red. (no, that’s not why it’s great, it’s just a bonus.) my blender has been in a cupboard since the day I got the magic bullet, 3 years ago. I should probably just get rid of it. but it’s red. I got the bullet to make baby food. it was awesome for that. now I use it to make mommy food! and the occasional margarita… oh wait…

anyway, you screw the mixer onto the top of your cup:037

you stick it on the bullet:


you press down, turn slightly to get it to lock into position, freeing your hands to take a picture of your cluttered, not very clean kitchen:039

and watch your smoothie mix!


when it’s mixed satisfactorily (because this one was kind a thick, I pulled it off and gave it a shake once or twice before mixing some more), you take it off, flip it over:041

and unscrew the mixer:042

then you lick the mixer to get all the yummy smoothie off rinse off the mixer:043

and (here’s the best part) PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER!044

*intermission for blatant plugging*

this is the main reason I LOVE the magic bullet so much. yes, I can put my blender in the dishwasher too, but it’s just a huge (literally) deal to use. big, heavy, clunky, etc. all good signs of a quality blender… but a pain in the butt for every day, personal use. I tried making baby food in my blender a few times and I hated it. it worked okay, but unless you’re making a whole blender-full, it just seemed to be not really worth the effort. when you’re just making a little, it seemed like more of it was stuck to the sides and bottom of the blender than you got out of it. and trying to scrape it all out from under and around the blades is a pain. washing it is a pain too. my SIL, mary, the fountain from which all good ideas seem to spring, turned me on to the magic bullet. my first reaction was, “are you serious?” I mean, hello? they sell them on infomercials! stuff they sell on infomercials is crap, isn’t it? but then she told me about the baby food aspect and I checked it out a little. yes, I watched the infomercials. and you know what? I was intrigued. I wanted one. so I got one. and you know what else? I LOVE IT! it’s so awesome. I have no idea if it is everything they claim it is. I don’t use it to mix my eggs and grind my coffee and make my salsa. but I do use it almost every day and it has not let me down yet. here is a little run-down of why I love it so much:

  • it is small. it makes personal-sized servings.
  • the mixing blades are not stuck down at the bottom of a narrow tube, where they are hard to get at to clean.
  • it goes in the dishwasher.
  • you can serve your concoction directly out of the thing you mixed it in, not having to dirty another cup or bowl.
  • it is awesome for making baby food – either small amounts or more (to then freeze in ice cube trays).
  • it comes with multiple cups so you can make a bunch of drinks or just one.

*you may now continue with your regularly scheduled blog post reading*

then, because I have a smoothie-loving young one, I pour a little into a straw cup to share with him:


get myself a big, fat straw:


and enjoy! smoothies are SO ideal for non-breakfast eaters like me who don’t want food in the morning (just coffee), but get a little shaky because, let’s face it, you need a little more sustenance than the creamer in your coffee can provide.

oh, and fyi (in case this is a concern of yours), it is possible to ingest your smoothie and play mario kart at the same time:047


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

what I was trying to say!

almost two weeks ago, I posted a link to a guest post that I wrote over at my friend, louise’s blog about scrapbooking. of course, I mentioned project life, and of course, I probably didn’t do an adequate job of explaining myself…

and then today, becky higgins (creator of PL) posts this video explaining (way more eloquently) EXACTLY what I was trying to say. check it out.

week 11 in pictures…

so it occurred to me that the pictures I post of my project life weeks are kinda replacing my updating and reporting what is actually going on around here. my bad. so I will try to do better about posting the ACTUAL pictures and explaining what we’ve been up to. (if you don’t care, that’s fine, but I know of a certain SIL and niece who like to see, so this is for them! )

Winking smile

sunday’s POTD – we did a kid swap with some friends. layla went with her age/gender counterpart to her birthday party, and shane’s age/gender counterpart came home from church with us. they spent most of the day shooting each other with nerf guns, recovering darts, and building elaborate stands for their guns with tinkertoys.001015

Also on sunday (because micah was obsessing about certain nerf guns that he was claiming were HIS), I made good on a ‘date’ I owed him and took him out to ice cream at dairy queen. 002

something I learned about micah that day: he doesn’t think cones are edible. he refused to eat it, yet was determined to get every bit of ice cream out of it. it was quite amusing. and messy.011

this is just in here because it was cute. micah backed up and fell backwards into his open tinkertoy barrel and got stuck. he wasn’t very happy about it and all we did was laugh and take pictures. he was not amused.019

monday’s POTD – the big shelf we have in our dining room is all divided up in various cubbies and smaller sections. layla (in keeping with her current dog obsession) considers them to be cages in her imaginary pet shop. when an actual pet gets into one, it’s just a bonus.050

tuesday’s POTD – the continuation. the blossoms on the forsythia bush are opening more and more. I love that this week, layla has her umbrella in the picture.055

I thought it would be cute to photograph our ‘rainy day waiting for the bus’ situation. micah likes to bring his thomas umbrella, but as I’ve learned in the past, he cannot walk while holding it. well, he can’t walk fast. or forward. so I’ve taken to having him hop in the stroller when it’s raining, so he can use his umbrella AND we can actually get to the bus stop in less than a century.054

and I decided to photograph some other ‘signs of spring’ I found in our yard. I love crocuses, and I’m very thankful to the squirrel that stole them from my neighbor’s yard for me! 052057

this is how micah fell asleep on tuesday night. 001

wednesday’s POTD – the back of my van after an average sized costco run. with coupons, this is just shy of $200. I thought it might be fun in about 50 years to look back at the stuff we bought, what the packages looked like (think about how funny it is to see a picture of a vintage bottle of windex or a box of crackers), and what stuff costs now.003

thursday, we have no official st. patrick’s day photo, but lots that have people decked out in green. in this one, toby was chasing layla around in circles because she was dragging some yarn. it’s such a cliché, and she thought it was great!001

she’s been trying out shane’s skateboard lately. she’s amazingly (scarily) good at it. she was giving her stuffed dog, scuffy, a ride.028

I took a load of clothes out of the dryer, set it down to do something, came back and found this:029

micah has a weird obsession with his underwear. he likes to take it all out of his drawer and ‘play’ with it in one way or another (more on that in a minute). this time, he was digging through it, looking for buried treasure. why he chose to do this on the dog’s bed, I have no idea. nor do I have any idea if he found what he was looking for…046

thursday’s POTD – dave had some work to finish up at home. he had his CAD program open, and one by one, the kids walked by and asked him what kind of computer game he was playing. by the time the 3rd one asked, he was a little short with the “it’s not a game! this is what I do at work all day!!!” micah was unconvinced, so he climbed up on his lap to watch. he lost interest very quickly…047

friday’s POTD – micah is following in layla’s footsteps, it seems. more often now, I’m finding him busy with paper and some kind of writing utensil.003

saturday, dave made good on the date that layla earned with him (part of our chore system). she had chosen to go to chuck e. cheese. lucky him.040041

after surviving the (up)chuck, they stopped by target to pick up some cards so we can mail out our family pictures (yeah, yeah, I’m getting to it!). when I saw this picture, I knew which target they went to because of the big red balls. layla always likes to climb on them before we go in. and be sure to notice the fabulous bracelet she’s wearing… she traded her hard-earned tickets in at the prize counter for that, a box of nerds, and a couple tattoos.054

okay, here we go again with the underwear… what he’s sitting in, in case you can’t tell, is a swimming pool. the blocks are apparently the water. who builds a pool using UNDERWEAR??? oh, and apparently he ran out of underwear, because the far side is completed with several matchbox cars and a small percy…  I never claimed to have normal children. LOL.057

friday’s POTD – actually, it’s a collage of these (and a few more) pictures from our dinner out. we went to this fabulously fun japanese steakhouse where they cook the food in front of you, with all the appropriate theatrics and silly jokes. 068

layla loved the soup. I love those spoons. why do more cultures not use those? it’s so logical!066

the onion volcano. there was a lot of fire involved in this dinner. very exciting!070

although, micah was not so much a fan of the fire. (or the food, but that was a given, which is why we didn’t bother ordering him anything.)072

part of the dinner preparation involves flipping pieces of shrimp into people’s mouths. I actually caught one! I impressed myself! shane caught one, so did dave, but layla gave a look that indicated she thought the chef was nuts if he thought he was going to flip food at her face.080

but she was all about using the ‘trainer chopsticks’.082

as was shane, although he’s probably old enough to use the regular ones.085

dave used a fork to eat, but still made good use of his chopsticks…091

so there you go. I hope you enjoyed our week! we did.


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