Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Savory Saturday

Oh, so good pork chops!  I found this recipe in the spice aisle at the grocery store! It was on a packet of that had all the spices needed to make it.  I am not a huge pork chop fan, but you better believe I will be making these again! 

Apple & Sage Pork Chops

1 1/2 t   rubbed sage
1 t   minced garlic
1 t   thyme leaves
1/2 t   ground allspice
1/2 t   paprika
1 T   flour
1 t   salt
4 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 T  olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 red apples, thinly sliced
1/2 C   apple juice
1 T   brown sugar

1. Mix spices, flour, and salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the seasoned flour.

2. Cook pork chops in hot oil in large skillet on medium-high heat until browned on both sides.  Remove from skillet.  Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender.  Add apples; cook and stir 2 minutes.

3. Stir in juice, sugar and remaining seasoned flour until well mixed.  Return pork chops to skillet.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until desired doneness.

I forgot to buy apple juice so I improvised by adding 1/2 C or chicken broth and about a tablespoon of apple sauce.

We ate the pork chops over white rice with a side of broccoli.  A little sauce from the pork chop pan over the rice=delicious!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Right now....




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(I think Gracelyn fell out of bed!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cherished Moments

We had a prayer/blessing for Benjamin at church a couple of weeks ago.  It was a special morning when our entire church family prayed for this special baby and for our entire family.  We are indescribably blessed by our church!  I think Ben knew he was the center of attention and he ate it up.  He was talking at the top of his lungs (which is pretty close to screeching) almost the entire time we were up there! 

I am still putting Ellie and Gracelyn in separate rooms during naptime.  Gracelyn tends to sleep quite a bit longer than Ellie so having them in different rooms allows Ellie the freedom to do this:
when she wakes up.  If you look closely, you can see that she had covered the bunny with her beloved blankie.  I went in there because I heard her talking, but she wasn't very loud or calling for me.  She was just reading to her stuffed animals. 

Ben LOVES his toes!  I guess this is pretty common, but his sisters never played with or chewed on their toes.  This little guy can't get enough of them!

Gracelyn, Ellie and I sat down to dinner the other night.  We were eating pork chops, rice and broccoli.  I was getting forks out of the drawer when Gracelyn said, " I need chops  sticks!"  We had eaten at Pei Wei a few days earlier and we let the girls try chopsticks.  I guess Gracelyn just figured anytime we ate rice we need chopsticks.  She was thoroughly disappointed when I told her we didn't have any chopsticks.

I think I have an aspiring chef in the house.  I am pretty sure this was Gracelyn!  I did have a talk with both girls about how dangerous the stove is and how it can be really hot sometimes.  I am afraid that warning might not be enough to keep two curious little girls away so I have increased my awareness anytime I am cooking!  I look forward to the day when they can help me in the kitchen, though!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fishing, Ducks, and Flowers

My parents came up for a visit a couple of weekends ago. Pop brought a fishing pole and took Ellie and Gracelyn to the little pond in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, the fish weren't biting, but it was a good time with their Pop anyway.

We gave up on the fish and decided to just feed the ducks....

Gracelyn was so excited about the ducks!

Ellie, not scared a bit!

And, they picked some flowers....

And ran around....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

So Glad I'm Here

Yesterday was a rough day around our house.  Ellie and Gracelyn were into EVERYTHING!  I know, I know, they are 2, they are going to get into everything, but this was more than usual.  I couldn't leave them alone for 30 seconds.  First it was wet red chalk all over the front of their clothes.  Second was play doh in the carpet, Third was syrup ALL OVER Ellie, AND the kitchen table & chairs!  All that by 10 in the morning.  My attitude was in the dumps by the time Dave got home.  Being the supportive husband that he is, he took the girls to Home Depot for a while so I could get myself cleaned up.  Some good friends gave us an mp3, You are my Sunshine by Elizabeth Mitchell, when Ben was born.  I just figured out yesterday how to download it onto our computer and listened to the first song right after Dave and the girls left.  Here are the lyrics to the first song:

I'm so glad I'm here, so glad I'm here, so glad I'm here everyday
So glad I'm here, you know I'm so glad I'm here, I'm so glad I'm here everyday
I'm gonna sing while I'm here, sing while I'm here, sing while I'm here everyday
Sing while I'm here, gonna sing while I 'm here, sing while I'm here everyday
You know joy brought me here, joy brought me here, joy brought me here here today
Joy brought me here, joy brought me here, joy brought me here here today
And love brought me here, love brought me here, love brought me here here today
Love brought me here, you know love brought me here, love brought me here here today
I'm so glad I'm here, so glad I'm here, so glad I'm here everyday
So glad I'm here, you know I'm so glad I'm here, I'm so glad I'm here everyday
I'm so glad I'm here here today
You know I'm so glad I'm here here today
I'm so glad I'm here everyday
I'm so glad I'm here everyday

Instead of keeping track of all the things that went wrong yesterday, I need to remember how glad (blessed, thankful, joyful) I am to be right here with these precious children!

Savory Saturday

Oh, Paula Deen!  That should be enough to tell you that you HAVE to try this!

Easy Blueberry Skillet Cake

Preheat oven to 375

Streusel Topping:
1/4 C slivered almonds
1/4 C granulated sugar
2  T  unsalted butter
2  1/2  T  all-purpose flour
1  t  ground cinnamon

Combine all streusal ingredients in food processor and pulse until large crumbs form

Coffee Cake:
2  T  unsalted butter
1  T  light brown sugar
1  (12 oz) tube buttermilk biscuits
1 C blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed

In a 9 inch oven-proof skillet, cook butter and brown sugar until melted.  Place biscuits in a single layer in the skillet.  Blueberries on top of biscuits, streusal on top of blueberries.  Bake until biscuits are golden--about 30 minutes.

Gracelyn, Ellie, and I just had this for breakfast and it was delicious!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Broken Heart?

We took Ellie to the cardiologist a couple of weeks ago so they could check her PDA.  Her last appointment was in December of 2009.  At that time, they said the PDA was still there but it was tiny.  This time was even better.  The Dr. told us it is still present, but it is so small they really can't do anything to fix it.  She actually said that it is, "tinier than tiny!"  The PDA could still heal on its own, but there is no concern of it causing her any problems even if it doesn't go away completely.  The tech who did the ultrasound said he would never have seen it if he didn't know to be looking for it.  We will continue to monitor everything, just in case, but the Dr. didn't even tell us any symptoms to watch for.  Our next appointment won't be until summer of 2013.

Just in Case You Were Wondering...

rubbing alcohol will remove permanent marker from the wall.  AND from littler girls' faces!! 

I have the BEST picture of their remorseful faces covered in black permanent marker, but it is on my phone and I am not technology savvy enough to get it on this blog!!  I will work on it....If you have any suggestions, let me know!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cherished Moments

Gracelyn is such a wonderful big sister!  If Ben is crying on his playmat or bouncy seat she will drop whatever she is doing and run to wherever he is and try to make him feel better.  Sometimes she just puts his pacifier back in his mouth, but sometimes she will sit next to him and make faces or silly sounds trying to get him to smile.

Pigtails are my absolute FAVORITE!! (Even when they are a little lopsided! )

Pigtails AND Chick-fil-A.  It doesn't get any better than that!

Naptime has been a struggle with Ben, and I don't remember having these issues with Ellie and Gracelyn when they were his age.  He just has not gotten into a routine, yet.  He has been sleeping through the night, about 8 hours, since he was about a month old and 10-12 hours since about a month and a half.  But, naps are crazy!  In the last week he has napped at around 1 pm for about 2 hours.  Before he started that he would take 3 naps that only lasted about 45 minutes.  He usually sleeps between 9 and 10 in the morning and between 4 and 5 in the afternoon, but he is not consistent.  Maybe this is normal and Ellie and Gracelyn were just good sleepers, but I just feel like he should be sleeping more.  Thankfully, he is a complete sweetie even though he doesn't sleep a whole lot!

Gracelyn and Ellie sure do love each other!  Don't get me wrong, they bicker a LOT, but before you know it, they are back playing together like nothing ever happened.  I pray that their relationship stays close through high school, college, marriage, children, and beyond.  I know what a special bond sisters have, but I can't even imagine what it is like having a twin sister!  I caught this special moment on the way to church last weekend.

I don't think I have bragged on my husband lately.  Seriously, he is the absolute BEST!  Things have been crazy (busy, disorganized, lonely, exhausting) around here the last several months.  1. new baby  2. moved for the second time in less than a year  3. Dave taking summer school classes 4 mornings a week and working 6 days a week  4. Did I mentioned we moved, again, less than 3 months after having a new baby???  Most of the unpacking and organizing has been my responsibility.  For some reason:

it is going very slowly!!  A couple weekends ago Dave got off work a little bit earlier than usual on Saturday and he kicked me out of the house.  I got to eat lunch with a good friend, go shopping all by myself, and just relax!  That's just what I needed to get myself pulled back together!  Dave tries to take the girls to breakfast one morning a week.  It is good daddy/daughter time, but it also gives me a slow morning.  Ben doesn't let me sleep in, but a 4 month old is a lot less demanding than two 2 year olds!  ;)  They usually come home with a special treat for me, too!

That's all I have this Monday afternoon.  It is a random hodge podge, but these are such special times I don't want to forget the little things!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Savory Saturday

I LOVE using my crockpot!!  Trying to cook at the end of the day when Ellie and Gracelyn need the most attention usually ends in a house that looks like a tornado came through.  The kitchen will be a mess.  The playroom will be a mess.  The girls' room will be a mess.  Ben's room will be a mess.  The living room will be a mess.  I think you get the idea.  They have to stay busy doing something when I am cooking so they like to take every toy from where it belongs and put it on the floor in another room.  Seriously, it is almost like they do it on purpose!  Whenever I plan ahead and can get something in the crockpot in the morning, though, the afternoon/evening goes much easier.  And, by easier I mean neater, quieter, happier....

Pot Roast is probably my favorite thing to make in the crockpot.  Unfortunately, Ellie and Gracelyn don't eat pot roast, but that doesn't stop me from making it from time to time and at least trying to get them to eat it.  My favorite roast so far is this easy pot roast.  I didn't even make gravy. 

Easy Pot Roast
Makes 6 servings

6 potatoes, quartered
6 carrots, sliced
3-3 1/2 lb. chuck roast
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
2-3 T flour (for gravy)
1/4 C cold water (for gravy)

1. Place potatoes and carrots in crockpot.  Add meat. Top with soups.

2. Cover and cook 8-9 hours

3. Gravy--Pour juices from crockpot into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Mix flour with water until smooth.  Stir into juices in pan until thickened.

Nothing too "special" about this roast, but it is good and it is easy.  And, that is exactly what I like!

What is your favorite crockpot recipe?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Date With Daddy

About a week before Father's Day I was driving through Chick-fil-A and saw a sign for Daddy Daughter Date night on the Saturday before Father's Day.  I thought it was a neat idea so I told Dave he should take the girls.  The sign said something about making a reservation but I didn't pay much attention because I didn't really think too many people would go.  When I finally got online to make a reservation our local Chick-fil-A was booked!  I found the closest one that still had reservations available and signed Dave and the girls up.  Unfortunately, their reservations were for a restaurant in the mall.  The manager told Dave that they aren't able to go all out like the normal restaurants, but the girls didn't notice! 

I started talking to them Saturday morning about their date.  We picked out their clothes and talked about what they would do.  To say they were excited is a terrible understatement!  They could not wait for Dave to get home from work.  

Daddy helping Ellie put on her shoes.

Ellie waving bye-bye to Mommy.

Gracelyn and her "cheese" face.

All ready to go!

After they ate there wasn't much left for them to do, but no one (including me) wanted the date to be over, so Dave took the girls to Barnes and Noble.  They had fun playing on the stage in the children's area.
Singing and dancing to their own made up songs.

They also went up to TCU to play outside.  Dave knew it would not be too crowded and it is close to the mall, so they went to say hello to everyone.  I had to include all 4 of these next pictures.  They are almost all the same, but you can tell they are singing a song to their Daddy.  In the last picture, Gracelyn is, apparently, telling him how old she is at the end of the song.  That is how she shows you with her fingers that she is 2.

These girls sure do love their Daddy!  They (we) are blessed to have him!  What a special night that we hope to repeat every year!  I was a little sad when Dave came home and showed me all the pictures.  They had such a good time and I missed it all, but it was so much fun for them because I wasn't there.  It was just the girls and Dave, no nagging momma, and they need that sometimes.  I just wish I could have been stalking them from a nearby table!!  ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Savory Saturday

I made this recipe Wednesday night.  It came from Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals cookbook.  Took a little longer than 30 minutes, but not much.

Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Tortellini
4 servings

1   10-ounce box frozen spinach
2   T extra virgin olive oil
3   garlic cloves, chopped
1   small onion
2   T all-purpose flour
1   C chicken stock
1   C heavy cream
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
1   14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
A couple of handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
1   lb cheese tortellini or flavored tortellini

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta.  Microwave the spinach on high for 6 minutes to defrost.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the olive oil and butter.  When the butter melts and is hot, add the garlic.  Using a box grater, grate the onion directly into the skillet.  (I didn't like doing this.  Next time, I will mince the onion.) Saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the stock, then the cream, and bring the sauce to a bubble.  Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce the heat to low. 

Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry.  Separate it as you add it to the sauce.  Stir in the chopped artichokes and a couple handfuls of cheese, then season the spinach-artichoke sauce with salt and pepper.

Salt the boiling water and cook the tortellini according to package directions, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain it well and toss with the spinach-artichoke sauce.  Serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011