Saturday, December 31, 2011

good book


We heard about this book a while back so I requested it for Christmas. It's a GREAT book in teaching kids about telling their parents if they were ever to be touched inappropriately by someone else. It's very simple, not wordy, and drives the point home in a fun, kid-friendly way. I would highly recommend it if you have a young child. :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

back to life

We have had such a fun 2 week break. Yesterday we got back from several days with my in-laws and had a wonderful time. I even got a pedicure and some kid-free Christmas movie watching during the daytime. :) Some highlights:

*Playdate with my friend Jana, and her kids

*Date night with Chris to see Mission Impossible (SOOO good. Better than Sherlock Holmes)

*Lots of good food

*Watching the kids have waaaay too much fun playing outside on their property. There is just so much space for them to play :)



*Bonfire with hot dogs and smores




*Fun park visits

*Great car rides to and from

*Discovering a new little Oak Glen'ish type place with an amazing tree house and shops



But now we are back to reality, which is sad but welcome. I'm ready to get back into the school routine again, and so is Cam :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

christmas

Chris' side of the family celebrated with us on Thursday. We had a fun time together and the kids enjoyed seeing their cousins. The weather was wicked (by our wimpy California standards) so we stayed in all day. :)

Cookie decorating:




Friday we took his parents and grandmother up to Oak Glen for breakfast. That night I had a fun catering job with two friends. We didn't cook the food, but we prepared and served it to a wedding of about 150 people. It was really fun and I'm hoping to be able to do it again with the woman who runs the business. It was nice to be able to earn a little extra cash, especially this time of year. I also enjoyed working outside the "mom" role for an evening. :)

Yesterday and today we spent with my parents. This morning we opened presents just the four of us, then my parents and a friend of theirs' arrived. Chris is sick, so he stayed home while we went up to Oak Glen for a hike. It was perfect weather and we had a great time.


We came back to a yummy lunch and a Happy Birthday Jesus cake for dessert. Such a fun Christmas. Tomorrow we head up to Chris' parents until Thursday. We are taking as much advantage of Cam's time off from school as possible! Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!!!

p.s. Remember my "goal" of starting to exercise? I just ordered this...we'll see how motivated I am come 5:30 in the morning January 1st!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

pumpkin crunch cake


I posted this recipe a while back in the hopes that I would someday try it. Well, try it I did and it was wonderful. Wonderful. :) We celebrated Christmas yesterday with Chris' side of the family and my SIL requested I make it after seeing it on my blog. It was...

*VERY dense
*VERY rich
*VERY unique in the texture aspect
*VERY, VERY yummy

I would highly recommend trying it for a Holiday gathering because it's so pretty to look at and pumpkin is obviously festive to serve.

Sidenote: If you make it, maybe telling people that it requires 6 1/2 sticks of butter isn't a good idea. It might make it less appealing. I know...can you believe that???? :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

*Very nice date night last night. Went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie (great!) and dinner at Cheesecake. Unfortunately Cheesecake Factory has REALLY raised their prices. Our selection of what we order has been decreased quite a bit. We were still able to get out of there with a bill of $23, but it's a bummer that many of the things we used to enjoy are no longer an option. :(

*While Kendall took a fever induced loooong nap today, I took Cam to Pharaoh's for a couple of hours. We then came home to a family movie night (Kung Fu Panda II) and made homemade french bread pizzas. We used to have these all the time when I was a kid. They are so easy, cheap, and fun for the kids to make.

*Right now Kendall is REALLY into volcano videos. For some reason one day we talked about what volcanos were and I showed the kids some videos on Youtube. Now it's, "Can we watch "mallcanos" on computer? See "ba-lava" please???" I'll admit that at first it was rather fascinating watching the footage. However I'm a little over watching hot lava rivers. :)

*I'm thinking about making a new year's goal (that seems less threatening than a "resolution") of starting to exercise. I've determined that the easiest way would be to do a DVD before the kids wake up. I'd like to do one with some exercises with weights. I read all the time about how this is so important for your bones and keeping them strong, especially as you age.

*I was given a little grief last year for not sending a Christmas letter. I'm almost done with ours this year, but I can't guarantee it will be out by Christmas. :)

*I'm making an appetizer dip for Christmas. My mom introduced it me and it is one of Chris and my favorites!! It's just a block of cream cheese covered in whole cranberry sauce and pine nuts. So good.

Friday, December 16, 2011

our days

I've been having a difficult time the past few days with Cam's attitude. What he does is very hard to even put into words, so I won't try, but I have found myself using the exasperated tone of voice that I have never liked. I try to be firm, but calm in what I say, but sometimes the "at the end of my rope" tone can squeak out.

Anyway, despite some struggles, we have had a fun couple of days. Yesterday afternoon we were supposed to meet my parents at Disneyland, however with our car packed and already 30 minutes down the road, it started raining and so we called it off. But we made a fun evening out of it and took the kids to the mall, Chuck E Cheese (thanks to some coins I found in the glove compartment!), and Red Robin for dinner.

Today Kendall and I tagged along on a field trip with Cam's class to a convalescent home to sing Christmas songs. Cam got to sit on Santa's lap (a first!) and tell him what he wanted. Later this evening some friends came over for dinner and we had the kids decorate Christmas cookies. Both kids were very into it and I was pleasantly surprised that they actually listened and didn't eat as they went along (for the most part!). :) I made BBQ beef sandwiches, using Chris' mom's homemade dinner roll recipe. I just am not a very good bread maker. They were good, but not "I literally could live off of these every single meal" good, like I think his mom's are.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

un-crafty Kelly

I've never been one to enjoy making crafts. Unless I find one that I'll actually use (other than sitting on a shelf as a nicknack), doesn't cost a lot for the materials, or would make a great gift, I'd rather spend my free time baking/cooking. Anyway, I thought I had found a GREAT craft idea. The key word is "thought".

I stumbled across a blog that taught you how to make homemade snowglobes. I thought this was such a cute idea and decided to make them for my kids and two of my nieces for Christmas. Well, after several trips to the store for materials (not finding what I wanted, getting the wrong stuff, etc.), more money than I thought spent on the materials, I realized why I don't craft. :(

If you look at the blog, (*see bottom of post), you'll see how they are supposed to look. What they aren't supposed to look like is this...



Lovely how Lauren's little body is all faded and bleary and the glitter is stuck all over. Even more lovely is how my carefully colored flowers bled all over and looked like tie-dye. I'll admit I had REALLY high expectations and I was excited to give these on Christmas. (sigh) I guess I'll stick to cooking.

Speaking of cooking, tonight we had meatloaf and I needed to use the oven for something else. I put it into two little loaf pans and set them in the crock pot. They cooked perfectly and even had more of the crunchy outsides (which I love) than they would have had in one big loaf. :)



*http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/12/how-to-make-a-homemade-snow-globe/

Sunday, December 11, 2011

story time

Earlier I had Chris snap this pic because it represents a pretty big breakthrough for us. The reason we are all snuggled together is because Cam is telling us a story...FROM SCRATCH! I'm sure you've told your kids made up stories before. It actually is kind of hard to think of original plots you haven't told before. Anyway, making up stories uses LOTS of imagination, something which Cam and many kids on the spectrum struggle with. Cam is very literal. However it is good to stretch his little brain in this way. There has been a lot of research that shows the huge impact pretend/imagination play has on brain development. So all that to say we are SO excited for Cam to enter this phase. His stories are cute, creative and quite long. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

*I still have not gotten Kendall's laxative intake right. It's either too much or too little. Secretly I'm not distraught over this because it's a good excuse to put off potty training! :)

*Yesterday my mom watched Kendall during Cam's school so I could do some Christmas shopping. I was SO productive! My time mainly consisted of many stops to get gift cards. These types of errands are so much more of a hassle if you are unbuckling/buckling at each stop!

*This past week we went with my parents to Thoroughbred Lane in Rancho Cucamonga. The Christmas lights were absolutely incredible. The kids enjoyed it, but I think it was a little too long for Cam. He loves Christmas lights, but in shorts spurts. :) it was also hard because there was no sidewalk and there were lots of cars around. But it sure was amazing to see some of those houses. :)



*Checked out a few cook books from the library. I flagged several recipes but decided I would run them by Chris before attempting them...lest I have a repeat performance of my zucchini boat debacle. :)

*Today Cam and I baked some cookies to give to his school friends for Christmas. I made a normal chocolate cookie recipe, then dumped in A LOT of butterscotch chips and peanut butter M&M's. VERY yummy. :)



*I know Kendall loving Disney princesses is not unique to little girls, but that doesn't stop me from thinking it's the absolute cutest thing in the world when she demands to wear her princess dress to pick up Cam from school. :)

*The other day:
Cam: What happens if everyone toots?
Me: Well, everyone DOES toot.
Cam: Well, what happens if everyone toots at the same time?
Me: Well...it would be very stinky!
Cam: Yes! And we would all live in a tooter world!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

bombed again

So today I tried another recipe that bombed. This was the next bomb after my veggie burgers I posted a while back. Basically you hallow out zucchinis and stuff them with a combo of sausage, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini flesh, and tomatoes. While I really liked them, no one else did (although Chris said the insides tasted good...just not the "boats") and I found myself really frustrated. I wasn't frustrated with Chris and the kids, just the situation. It's hard to spend a lot of time (they were really labor intensive) on a meal and be the only one to like it. Moms really need to have a tough skin, don't they? :)



p.s. I'm not going to give up experimenting with meals, but I will say I'm not super motivated after watching my son spit out his first bite and say that his "mouth hurt" and could therefore not finish his meal. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

*Last night we met some friends for dinner and then to see some Christmas lights down in Long Beach. It was a really fun evening and the kids loved seeing the lights, running, looking at the boats in the canal, running, and running. They were all over the place, but luckily it wasn't very crowded. The funny part was that despite enjoying the lights, all four kids might very well say their highlight was playing with the dogs of a guy we ran into at the end of our walk. I guess we could have just met at a dog park. :)



*I made my monthly batch of waffles this morning and I thought I would share the recipe. I make the waffles, package two per bag, then freeze (this recipe lasts me about a month with Cam having them almost every morning). I simply pop a couple out onto Cam's plate each morning (don't even heat them up). I put about a tablespoon of syrup in a bowl and he dips away.

Healthified Waffles :)

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oats
2 tbls. baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls. flaxseed
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup olive oil
1 can garbanzo beans (pureed with about 1/8 cup water)
1/4 cup honey

Mixed together and make your waffles!

Here's Cam's breakfast mid-way through :)



*Over the past month and a half, Chris has been having major computer problems. He has probably spent 50+ hours on trying to fix it, bringing it in to have someone else look at it, etc. I have never seen him so discouraged and frustrated. He FINALLY had a break through yesterday with a visit to the Mac store out in Palm Springs. With some great advice, he bought the parts needed and it now works. What a load off. For someone whose entire family's livelihood depends on a computer, this has been a huge stress and an equally huge load off to have it fixed! Woohoo!!

Here he is with his office torn apart amidst the fixing:

Friday, December 2, 2011

thoughts on health

Sometimes I get frustrated with the new information that seems to constantly be presented to us about this food or that food being bad. Dairy is bad according to some. Meat is bad according to some. Non-organic fruits/veggies are bad...and the list goes on. We try to eat healthy. We try not to eat foods that are more chemicals than actual food. I don't buy white bread. I know some disagree, but I honestly feel in my gut that SOOO many of our diseases (even Autism) have been caused through numerous indirect links of the chemicals in our food, environment, etc. But sometimes I get overwhelmed with it all. For instance, while Cam rarely drinks Juice, Kendall drinks it every single day so I can dilute her laxative in something yummy. So when I watch this, I get frustrated that me buying 100% juice might not even be safe. Ugh...

Sometimes I really think living back in Little House on the Prairie days would be so nice. We would grow the food we eat. Period. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

*My new food concoction has to do with yogurt. Both my kids love yogurt but it's full of sugar. I decided to puree some cottage cheese (because they wouldn't dig the cottage chunks) and mix it with the yogurt. That way they are getting the yogurt flavor, but with less sugar and equal protein. I did get a, "Is this the regular yogurt, mama??", but I think they'll get used to it. :)



*Sometimes I feel guilty at how much Kendall has to be toted around for the sake of Cameron. In addition to the trips back and forth to school, she also comes to speech 4x a week. I'm so fortunate that she is such an easy companion (and just so fun to be with ) and enjoys most anything we do, whether it's killing time at Fresh and Easy (I let her bring her own toy shopping cart from home), or playing outside Cam's class on the little playground.

Here she is at speech at the University of Redlands. They have a large toy room that I grab several things from. She then plays on the floor while I watch Cam through a two-way mirror during his session.


*Every day during Kendall's nap, I carve out some time to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and catch up on some Tivo. I love this time. :) I really enjoy Quints By Surprise. I like watching how they handle quintuplets, but I really like their marriage and how healthy they are in the way they relate. It's always refreshing to watch a couple talk to each other without sarcasm, nagging, etc.

*I LOVE 103.5's continuous Christmas music!

*I'm behind on Christmas shopping. I would do a lot more online if it weren't for the stinking shipping and handling.

Monday, November 28, 2011

thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend at my in-laws. The kids enjoyed being outside (Cam almost the entire time), going to see The Muppets, going to the Christmas tree farm, having a bonfire in the backyard, and spending time with their cousins. Highlights for us included everything I just mentioned, plus getting to sleep in each morning. Since there is not enough room for all of us to sleep at their house, Chris' parents put us up in a hotel. So each morning we got to wake up on our own, which was especially nice seeing as Cam's average wake up back at the house was 4:30am (sorry Debbie and Wayne!!).

At the Christmas tree farm:



Chris' mom had bought the kids Christmas clothes and we were lucky enough to get some great shots:



While we had a great time away, it was nice to get back to our regular routine. I had promised the kids we would decorate for Christmas after Cam got home from school today. They were very excited and we had such a fun afternoon together. Both kids absolutely adored helping me and it was so neat for me to see. We have come such a long way with Cameron, but sometimes afternoons like this, filled with "typical" things like Christmas decorating, are that much more meaningful to me. Family activities which are considered "normal" by most families, still are never taken for granted with us, and today was no exception. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

victoria gardens at christmas

I've often commented to my friends from OC that I'm envious of all the fun things they have to do with kids around there. It's not that we don't have fun things around here, it's just that there is a little more driving involved. Victoria Gardens is always well worth the 40 minutes for us. This morning we met my friend Jen and her kids there and had an awesome time.

We started out at the Bass Pro Shop which was decorated for Christmas, complete with a little mini Santa's Village, including a free carousel!!

We then headed over to the actual shopping area and let the kids play on the playground. After going to see the huge Christmas tree, we ended the trip at the candy store, where Jen and I tried our best to keep our littlest ones from opening all the candy bins (or eating the candy). :) It was a really fun morning for me to see Jen as well as our kids, who thoroughly enjoyed one another. :)

I thought this was such a cute picture. The elevator looks through to the huge fish tank.


We got there right when it opened so we were practically the only ones. The kids got to play with all the toys without lines. Very nice!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

cinnamon rolls and christmas swap

This morning it was just Cam and I for a while. He randomly requested cinnamon rolls, to which I obliged. We haven't been able to do much the past few days because of Kendall's sick state, so I thought it would be a fun treat for him. I have an awesome recipe from a friend that is very quick (no yeast) and makes just a few (5 to be exact). I altered it to make them a little more healthy and they came out great!





Quick and Semi-healthy Cinnamon Rolls

2 tbls. butter
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
butter, brown sugar and cinnamon

Mix all ingredients except brown sugar and cinnamon. Once it comes together, use your hands to finish mixing and form a ball. Roll ball out on floured surface (I leave it kind of thick but you can roll it as thin as you want). Spread with very small amount of butter. Sprinkle as much brown sugar/cinnamon as you like. Roll up and slice them into about 2 inch slices. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Glaze with a little milk/powdered sugar mix.

My friend had a great idea of a Christmas toy swap. We both went through our toys and collected the ones that the kids either don't play with or have outgrown. We will then get together and go through each others' basket and pick out the ones we want. Presto! Wrap them up and they are Christmas gifts for our own kids!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

4 sweet things

1. I am TERRIBLE about remembering my calcium in the morning. For some reason, I always think about it when I'm not eating, which is when you are supposed to take it. To help me remember, I bought these. Yes, they are more expensive than regular pills, but if the fact that they are little chocolates will help me remember to take them, then I think it's worth a little more. :)



2. I had a rough morning with Cam. He was in a sour mood off and on, just letting little things bug him (i.e. I brought out some toys...he decided he didn't want to play with them...I started putting them away...he got upset). Anyway, I was frustrated a lot. However on our way to school, Kendall was feeling horrible as she is currently running a fever. I looked back and Cam was gently rubbing her forehead and apologizing for giving her his cough. Ahhh...so sweet.

3. Because of her sickness, Kendall has had two rough nights. I like to be the one to help her during the night. I slept in the guest room so I could be up and down. However unbeknownst to me, Chris set his alarm for 4:00am, came in and closed my door, turned on my noise machine, and let me sleep in while he took Kendall duty. What a husband. I won't go on, but this isn't even anything out of the ordinary for him. Such a thoughtful guy...especially when it comes to the kids. :)

4. I bought some almond butter in the hopes of inserting it into some of Cam's diet. Because he eats peanut butter ALL THE TIME, I figured a different nut spread would be good. I tried it before and it didn't go over well. However I have successfully fooled him this time as long as I add sweet jelly (usually he just has PB on the sandwich). Not a bad trade off!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nothing big to report, so I'll do another random blog post :)

*Saturday morning I needed to drive out to OC. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the 1.5 hour drive. I was by myself, had my mug filled with hot chocolate I made, the sun came up on my drive, and I was listening to MY music. :) I brought along my CD's from years past and had nice playlist of:

-Celine Dion
-U2
-Rat Pack Christmas
-Shania Twain
-Taylor Swift

*Tonight we went to some friends' house for dinner. She joked a few days ago that she was trying to find a recipe friendly to our family. That means she was trying to find one that fit our pickiness :) What does that mean? No spicy. No fish. No beans. We joked that our family wins the award for the highest maintenance company. As a disclaimer, these are good friends. I would NEVER give a list of our preferences to someone who invited us over unless they asked. :)

*During Cam's sick-lay-low-stay in the house more-weekend we watched Polar Express. It sounds cheesy, but I think that movie is so magical. Kendall was GLUED to the TV, which is rare for her to last that long.

*We have Cam's parent/teacher conference tomorrow. I'm not nervous, more excited to hear her thoughts on our little guy and what her take is on him. :)

*It's made for TV movie Christmas season!!! Woohoo!! Already recorded three. Haven't watched them all yet, but excited to start!

*I tend to overuse commas. I HATE run-on sentences, so I'm always paranoid about it and would rather err on the side of using too many.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

*Found a good veggie strategy for Kendall. She is eating broccoli as long as she can dip it in honey! I've also started adding about 1 tbls. of pureed sweet potato to her morning oatmeal. :)

*I hate wind (meaning the kind you probably don't have unless you live where we do)

*But I hate rain more...so I should be thankful :)

*After attending weddings since I've been married, I wish I had had two things at my reception. A chocolate fountain and a candy bar (lots of candy bowls where the guests can fill up their own personal bags)

*Poor Cam is sick today. And it just happens to be the Fall Festival with his speech class. Bummer. But I consoled him with the idea of renting Cars 2 this afternoon. :)

*I know I've mentioned these before, but I really think they are just too good to be true...meaning too good to be 110 calories. If you have not tried these Apple and Gouda Cheese Chicken Sausages from Costco (although you can find them at the store...just not as cheap), you must! They are SOOO flavorful and yummy. Kendall downed them last night. Wow.



*Toying with the idea of cutting my hair like this. Why? Because I've again resorted to ponytails almost everyday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My little dolly and her new haircut. Is she not the cutest? :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

*Yesterday was such a fun day. We dropped the kids off at my parents' in the morning, then headed out to a wedding in OC. It was fun to see friends from our old church and hang out during the reception.



*Afterward we killed some time at Target, then met some friends for dinner. We were there almost 3 hours, which lets you know there was plenty of great conversation. :)



The kids spent the night at my parents'. We felt badly doing this on Daylight Savings night. :( While I wish I could say I took advantage and slept in, the earlier daylight woke me up right at 6:00. But it was still wonderful to stay in bed and not have to get up.

*Here is our menu for this week:

Monday: Mexican lasagna, squash
Tuesday: Costco pot stickers, rice
Wednesday: Costco chicken sausages, baked fries
Thursday: spaghetti, veggies
Friday: leftovers

*Yesterday we browsed DSW for a while before dinner. I'm a person that doesn't typically spend more than $15 on shoes. I quickly learned that this was not the place for me. My exception to this rule are tennis shoes and Sketchers, which I'll admit I have a weak spot for because they are sooo comfortable and cute at the same time. But even Sketchers you can find at the outlets for pretty reasonable.

*I find that when we are out without kids and I see a baby, I miss Kendall.

*One of my favorite things is to browse food blogs. I found a site that lists blogs who have been nominated for awards, so you know they are good. Feel free to browse them if you have some free time. :)

*I sure love my kiddos. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

*Yesterday Chris asked me if I would mind if he grew a beard. I'm not a big fan of them, but I relented. :)

I told him I don't want this...



to turn into this...because he needs to still be a little hip, right? :)



*Made a double batch of pancakes last night to freeze. They work great for PB sandwiches in Cam's lunches. Secret additions? Flaxseed, pureed kidney beans, pureed broccoli. :)hehe



*Kendall loves Tinkerbell and the Disney princesses now. I got two hand-me-down shirts with these characters and she about dies when she gets to wear them to bed. I just want to eat her she's so cute. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

pumpkin stuff

I think my sister and I have similar tastes in food. She started raving about this pumpkin soup she made a few weeks ago. I purchased the ingredients and spent the majority of nap time today making the soup (quite labor intensive). I trust my sister and I'm sure the batch she made would have been delicious to me as well, but my soup was not good AT ALL. I'm sure it was recipe user error, but I must say it has been a while since I've botched a recipe THAT much. :) Sadly it also made me lose confidence in trying other pureed soups from scratch.

Here I am right before I dumped the whole pot down the drain...



Speaking of pumpkins, we had a great Halloween last night. We took the kids to Cam's speech center at the University of Redlands. They held their own small carnival for their students and siblings. It was nice, not crowded, and done in the afternoon.



After dinner we took the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. This was probably my highlight seeing both of them so excited running up to each house. Here they are in their costumes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

weekend

Saturday we had a picnic with Chris' brothers' family and his parents (who were visiting them). I've said before that while we love where we live, I am jealous of the plethora of great parks out in OC. This was one of them. :)

Rousing game of football.



Since we've been having a few acting up issues at school (being silly, not sitting on his bottom, laughing during carpet time, etc.) with Cam, we decided to reward him if he went one straight week without "getting on red." He did and was very excited to find his reward to be a trip to Pharaoh's with mom today. Kendall is still a little young for the bounce houses (they are enormous), so she and dad braved Costco, which Chris said was a mistake as it proved to be the busiest day he has ever been. :)



Thought this was cute as we drove to Pharaoh's (he learned about Noah today at church):

Me: Why did God send the flood?
Cam: The people were very bad so God sent rain to died them to heaven.
Me: Why did God send the rainbow?
Cam: Noah listened and obeyed'ed what God commanded'ed. God sent a rainbow for his promise and if you sat on your bottom you got a stamp...and I sat on my bottom!! (I love how he flowed right into the stamp thing in the same sentence)