Monday, January 30, 2012

things to try...

Not the biggest Rice Krispies fan, but these seem like they would be fun to make with kids...

Inside Out Rice Krispie Chocolate Chip Cookies:



This is from a healthy dessert blog I like and these look like a fun and healthy kid treat:

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cookies



I've always wanted Ramekins because I think it's fun to serve people in individual dishes. I've never made pot pie so this recipe is actually on our menu plan for Wednesday this week. I'm going to omit the crust around the bottom and just put it on top as well as try and cut down a little more on the butter to make it even more healthy (this is a lower fat version as it is).


Mini Chicken Pot Pies




Several food blogs that I like to check out have made yummy things with this Biscoff Spread stuff. I just saw it at WinCo yesterday, but didn't purchase any. At some point I would like to try it as it sounds really yummy...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

our saturday

For Christmas I bought Chris the fee to a golf tournament with a friend of his. I had to pat myself on the back for a good gift (normally it's so hard for me to think of things to get him) because he was super excited. While he was gone today to the tournament, the kids and I didn't do anything extra special but we still had fun...

Breakfast at Panera



Park




Working on homework from speech class



Watching those little capsules that turn into sponge animals in hot water...very exciting for them!



Baked these little gems. Very unique and the perfect salty/sweet combo



Right now they are up doing "special upstairs time" to be followed by movie, dinner, and bed. Fun and low-key day :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

meals for the week

Monday: Tacos, veggies
(Costco has great pork that amounts to about $2.75 per whole family meal + the cost of tortillas, toppings, etc. I just plop the loin in the crockpot with a packet of onion soup mix)

Tuesday: Chicken Apple Gouda Hot Dogs, roasted potatoes (a.k.a. french fries for the kids!), veggies

Wednesday: Adults: Claim Jumper to-go (we have these gift cards that have to be used by Feb. 1) :)

Kids: Homemade pizza (I even snuck flaxseed in the dough and none were the wiser!), veggies

Thursday: Leftover tacos from Monday, veggies

Friday: Orange Chicken, brown rice, veggies

*I'm still looking for a good homemade granola bar recipe. I want it chewy (like those soft Quaker Oat ones), but not fall apart. I find it very hard to get just the right consistency.

*I found a snack that Chris just LOVES. Target has individual fat free yogurt that is very tasty. I buy the Honey Almond and combine it with 1/2 a banana and 1/4 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal. It's a good sized snack and quite yummy.

*Need to get to Staters because Ambrosia apples (my new favorite over Fuji) are 99 cents a pound.

*This is how I now make oatmeal

Monday, January 23, 2012

movie review


One of the nights Kendall and I stayed at Chris' aunt's house I rented, "I Don't Know How She Does It". I think Sara Jessica Parker is a cute actress and overall it was fun to watch. Any mom could relate to a number of things in the movie and there were several really endearing parts to it.

I have one pretty big beef, but let me first give my disclaimer. There are moms that choose to work for a variety of reasons, need to work for financial reasons, or simply want to. There are moms that choose to stay home. Every family is different and every mom does what she feels is right for her family. Enough said. What was frustrating about the movie was that there was NOT ONE stay at home mom in the movie who was portrayed other than a snotty, lazy, judgmental, and condescending person. Not one.

What is interesting to me is that if the roles were reversed and the working moms were the ones who were portrayed as judgmental, prudish, etc., all hell would break loose. But for some reason it's okay to dump on stay at home moms. Granted, there are stay at home moms who probably typify what they portrayed in the movie. But to not have ANY character represent a normal, compassionate, non-judgmental stay at home mom who doesn't look down on others? Really???

Just my two cents.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

*Yesterday the rain was BEGGING Chris and I to stay in all day in the nice warm house. But we knew the kiddos wouldn't last so we made ourselves venture out to the mall play area and Costco for lunch/groceries. While the kids played, I was very excited to finally find a purse and officially retire my mommy backpack. The best part? It was only $10 at JC Penny's!!! :)

It's not quite this bright of green in person :)


*Thanks for your advice on the grocery shopping. I think I've come up with a starting amount that I'm going to try and stick to weekly. I'll let you know when I've got a few weeks under my belt as to how it's going. :) Seeing as I'm a little sweet potato obsessed lately, I decided to factor in a bag of Sweet Potato Chips into our budget. I had a sample yesterday at Costco and FELL IN LOVE. :)



*I'm taking Cam on Thursday to the speech pathologist (who teaches his weekly class) for her to administer a whole battery of tests specifically designed for kids with Autism. I'm SO excited about this because we have never had this done, not to mention ever had an "official" diagnosis given to us. I'm anxious just to hear where he falls on the spectrum and her thoughts about our little guy.

*Right now my entire body aches. Please don't get sick...please don't get sick...please...

Friday, January 20, 2012

groceries


I'm trying to purge our freezer and use up some stuff so I'm not spending money on groceries when I don't have to this week. So far we've polished off some take out pizza from New Years (that I froze) and Chalupa. I've tried a grocery budget in the past and let it slide after a couple of months. I REALLY want to try it again. I remember how free it felt to not feel like I as spending too much at one time because I knew that there was set total amount I couldn't go over. Not sure how that "free" feeling faded to the point that I gave up doing it.

I also want to try meal planning. Again, I tried it before and gave up after a couple lame attempts. I think my excuse was, "Well, but sometimes we go to Costco spare of the moment for dinner...or sometimes I have more leftovers than I thought so I don't need to use the ingredients I bought for Wednesday's meal". I know these are stupid excuses and that good planning would only help me spend less.

I've tried googleing the average that a family of four spends per month, but have yet to find it. I know this number varies as some families go organic (which would obviously up the overall bills). I know I could probably track our spending for a month, then go from there, but I'm a little impatient and want to start something NOW. :)

Any advice? Tips on how you do it????

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weekend getaway

Kendall and I had the best time together this past weekend at the coast. While Chris, Cam, and Chris' aunt trained it up to the Fresno area, we went for walks, went to coffee shops in the mornings, played at parks, went shopping, and just had fun together. She's quite the easy little travel companion. :) I missed my boys, but thouroughly enjoyed my time with Kendall all weekend.

One of my favorite times was our first morning there. We walked to a coffee shop and sat for a while, then took our time walking back, stopping at a cute park along the way. It was so relaxing and fun. :)


Favorite game at the beach? Having mommy hold her in the frigid water while she laughed at the waves rolling in and out at my feet. :)



Here we are at the kids museum. I found it just through google and it was such a hit with her. She was very into talking to the shipmates on board her boat. She also enjoyed serenading them... ( LOVE this video)


Cameron really enjoyed the train ride. It was a long travel day but he was quite a champ. But he was rewarded at the end with a fun weekend at his grandparents. :)

Hiking with dad and his favorite girl, Sam...



Waving goodbye to grandma and grandpa...



Thanks, Noonie, for organizing such a fun trip for Cam and for letting Kendall and I crash at your place!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

99 cent store

I rarely go to 99 cent stores, but when I do, I wonder why I don't visit them more often!!! Yesterday I went to get a little trinket for the tooth fairy to leave under Cam's pillow last night. I also wanted to find some things for the kids for this weekend (train ride for Cam and hanging out with me at Chris' aunt's house for Kendall). I found the greatest activity books (they had a ton!) and some fun little things for Kendall. Plus I walked out with spending only $8! Here are a few things I bought:



They had tons of Valentine stuff so I will definitely be returning for Cam's school cards and some trinkets for he and Kendall. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

conversation


Today we had a playdate with a little guy from Cam's class. I really enjoy his mom and we actually were able to talk quite a bit amidst watching the four kids. When I got home Chris asked what made me enjoy her so much. Besides the fact that we have several small things in common (you know, things that aren't huge deals but that just help you connect a little and have things to talk about...i.e. both morning people, into eating healthy...for the most part :), have kids the same age, etc.), she is also great at asking questions. This is HUGE for me.

This sounds silly, but many times after I'm together with a friend, I'll tally up the questions I asked her to make sure I didn't talk too much. I think asking questions shows interest and that you REALLY care about their thoughts about things. I don't mind talking with friends who do most of the talking. I love hearing about other people (especially because my conversations during the day mostly take place with a 5 and 2 year old). However the girls that I TRULY connect with are those that I feel care about me and my life...and ask me questions to display that.

With that said, there does come a point in friendships where I know them so well that I don't need them to ask me a question and I can just talk and share as much as I want. That's a nice and comfortable point to get to. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

some food stuff

*Last night Chris and I dropped off the kids for a couple hours at my parents' and went to Claim Jumper for dinner (gift card...woohoo!). We both ordered probably our favorite dish there, the Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwich. I know it seems rather dull, like something you could just order at Subway. However it is soooo wonderful!!! The bread is out of this world and the chicken salad is loaded with cashews. And if I could snap my fingers and make REAL mayo good for you, you can bet I would. :)

This is just a random picture and is not NEARLY the tasty bread that you get with the Claim Jumper one.


*Almost every single day I have the same thing for lunch. I basically heat up a bowl of veggies mixed with onions, potatoes, feta cheese and some sort of bean (usually garbonzo beans). Lately I've been taking the extra time of roasting them all in the oven. I've even been doing tomatoes because I actually like them roasted. I love this meal because I can have a huge bowl of it and it's sooo flavorful :)

I tried sweet potatoes today and it was wonderful!!!


*Every morning Cam watches me make his lunch while he eats breakfast. And every morning I get the same question:

"Mamma, is that almond peanut butter or ordinary?"

He does not like almond, but I continue to use it only because I want to vary the nut butters since he eats about 5 lbs a day! :) So lately I'm started doing 1/2 and 1/2 and that seems to suffice for him :)

*Chris has started taking Power Bars when he golfs. He says the Cookies and Cream flavor is "pretty much like a candy bar". Wow! High praise for a protein bar!

*I still eat a Skinny Cow EVERY single night after dinner. It's mashed up, smeared with a spoonful of peanut butter, topped with a crushed graham cracker and whipped cream, and microwaved for a few seconds (nice and melty!) :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nothing TOO exciting to blog about, so here is some more randoms. :)

*Cameron and Chris are taking Amtrak with Chris' aunt next weekend up to my in-laws' (I'm going to stay at his aunt's house with Kendall for a girls' weekend...very excited!). Cam is REALLY looking forward to it and loved watching a video of an Amtrak train I found on Youtube.

*Yesterday was a daddy/Cameron afternoon which included Barnes and Noble for reading, a toy store for using some of Cam's Christmas money, and dinner at Claim Jumper (happy hour specials there are GREAT). Cam LOVES their pretzel bread sticks.

*I feel like I'm almost to the point where I can graduate from my frumpy backpack and actually carry a purse. I just love having a whole package of wipes, plenty of room for snacks, sippy cups, etc. that my backpack offers. I like this one from Target:



*Right now I'm finishing up my last Christmas movie. Sad :(

*I was telling Chris tonight how much I love the fact that our kids REALLY enjoy each other. We went to the park and McDonald's today and despite there being other kids, they chose to play with each other. :)

Ok, must go. I'm about to research another trail in Palm Springs for a family hike tomorrow. :) Have a good weekend!

Monday, January 2, 2012

--I've been making protein shakes for Chris lately. Kendall is a fan and likes for me to pour her the last few drops from the blender into a little cup.

Shake (recipe thanks to Jessica!)
*water/ice
*protein powder
*1/2 frozen banana
*1 tsp. sugar free banana jello powder (I think this helps makes it kind of foamy)
*1/8 cups raw oats
*5 walnuts (Chris really likes the flavor these gives)



--Reason #456 why we like Palm Springs: hiking. We took a really fun hike yesterday with the kids. The views were beautiful and the weather perfect.





--Almost spent $20 on a pair of jeans today for Cam (at Target). That is a little pricey for me for kids' jeans. Luckily I found a cute (sadly not AS cute) pair on clearance or $11.99. :)

--Dinner tonight: Brown rice topped with chicken and Costco pot stickers

--Rented "Margin Call" the other night and really enjoyed it. The language got a little much at times (nothing dirty, just cussing), but otherwise it was pretty fascinating.

--Kendall has been my sleeping champ lately! 6:30pm-6:30am and 2+ hour naps!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

bus

The other day Chris was walking with the kids. As they passed the bus stop, a bus pulled up and the driver got out and handed him a schedule, telling him that bus rides were free for the remainder of the year. Sign them up!! We knew the kids would love to ride a "big, ginormous bus"!!

So yesterday Saturday breakfast with dad was made all the more special by riding to McDonald's in style. :)



Fun even in waiting for the bus :)