Sunday, March 30, 2008

A weekend winds down

Well, the tostadas were a hit. There was a lot left over which was made into nachos on Saturday night. Nachos, a movie & a cold beer. Nice. This weekend was pretty lazy. We got out of the house a bit just for fun. No errands were ran, no hurried happenings. It has been very nice.
The photo above was taken for my SIL. She sent this little dress to Aidan (now 5 months) a few weeks back. Erika & Ainslee have similar dresses which they have worn the past two winters and which will be retired this winter. Their legs are just too long now and the buttons cannot be lowered any more. The dresses are very cute and come from Chocolate Soup in Memphis, TN. Cute store. Thanks so much Aunt Ann! We are leaving town on Wednesday to drive to Arkansas where both of my SILs and their families will be. It is my husbands grandmother's 90th birthday celebration. I love visiting his family & I wish we could stay a week or two, but it just can't be managed at this time. A long weekend will have to do. So, in honor of Ann and the rest of my husband's family I am sharing a recipe that they all love and have shared with me. It is tasty & coincidentally, I am serving it to my family tonight! I hope you give it a try & enjoy it.
Creamy Chicken Cordon Blue
3 large chicken breasts pounded flat
3 slices of ham
3 slices of Swiss cheese
1 can cream of mushroom/chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
Paprika, salt & pepper
Pound Chicken and lay flat, place one piece of ham & cheese on each breast. Roll and secure with a toothpick or two. It doesn't have to look pretty. Lay in a deep, oven proof dish (any casserole dish should work). In a bowl mix soup, sour cream & wine (a Tbl. of Dijon can also be added at this point). Add paprika, salt & pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the chicken. Cook at 350 degrees for 1-1.5 hrs (it will be bubbly). Serve with rice.
Hope your weekend was great!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sew, what have I been up to?

This is what we (Mom & I) worked on her last day here. It was something we intended to start during afternoon nap time, but we never made it out of the house that morning to buy supplies. So we made a trip to the fabric store after nap time, bought what we needed & started the skirt after all three girls were in bed.
The pattern is loosely based on the twirly skirt here . My mom advised me along the way, so I didn't have to follow the pattern exactly to achieve the same look, but when I try it on my own, I will definitely rely on the pattern. I am happy with the way it turned out. The fabric could probably be heavier; I chose a cotton Batik. It reminds me of a trip to that Martin and I took a few years back. Close up, I really like the design and color variation. Far off it is a little Laura Ingalls-ish. It will be worn though.
This skirt above was longer and had an extra ruffle. It was kind of frumpy and hung in my closet too much. My mom helped me shorten it to knee length. Because we cut off the bottom ruffle the new bottom has a little flare to it. Very cute. I know this will be worn a lot this summer also. Love skirts!!

I received this is the mail yesterday. No clothes, which was a little disappointing, but I am sure I will enjoy it all the same. I am off to the couch to browse through it now. I am sure I will fall in love with something or three. Oh, and for dinner tonight? Pork tostadas. Yum, yum. The pork is crocking in the cooker now. I got the idea here and knew it would be up our alley. They sound pretty tasty. Fresh guac. is made and waiting also. Can you tell I am looking forward to dinner?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Would you like to sit for a bit? Or maybe take a virtual walk and see a little of what my family experienced this past weekend. We visited a local garden that has reopened after closing fifty years ago. Apparently there was a freakish snow storm that killed off much of the privately owned garden, the owner was distraught and overwhelmed and shut the doors. They have recently opened. This is Shangri La in Orange, TX. It is beautiful. It reminds me of Florida, which is home in my heart-of-hearts.
The weather was perfect, the children behaved, the conversation was nice. It could not have been better.
It also made me so homesick to return to Florida. I am pretty flexible when it comes to relocations and we have moved a fair bit, but both my husband and myself think of Florida as home. We have bought two homes there, one small & sweet after graduating from college, and a very pretty "family" home. When purchasing this last house I thought it would be our home for a while. It was ours for less than three years. We sold it to move here, but it was the house we brought our baby girls home to, there were egg hunts, Thanksgiving gatherings, birthday parties, football gatherings, sidewalk chalk art, dinners with friends, stoller walks through the neighborhood, which were replaced by walks with the wagon and eventually tricycle races, gardens, great neighbors. It remains very special to me.

So, to visit this garden and be reminded of so many things from home, well, the garden touched a soft spot. It was a perfect day. I loved it & I love thinking back on it. The sewing ceased for a few days, today is my mom's last day here before she returns to Florida. I think we will sit and sew a bit during nap time this afternoon. Seems like a nice way to wrap up her visit. I hope to be able to post a few photos of our handi-work soon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hip, hop

A couple of our Easter happenings this weekend

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stopping in & catching my breath

I have been trying to notice how toys are grouped from day to day. I have been taking random photos and will do a post on it - someday. I love the way each daughter groups toys in equally random ways. The little crawly scorpion staring up at you - he was a surprise my husband picked up at the Phoenix airport last week. It coincided with the little wind- up caterpillars my daughters acquired the very same weekend. Cute stuff.
So, my mom is visiting from Florida. She is here for another week. The time is flying by & I feel like we are getting a lot accomplished, but I am also wondering if we can get it all completed before she leaves. She has been a tremendous help and has made my day-to-day life less rushed. Her visit came about the same time I was beginning to feel completely & totally overwhelmed.
We have been sewing, talking, cooking, running the two oldest girls to pre-school & picking them up. It is so great having adult company here during the day. I love it.

(this photo has no relevance to the post - but I do love the combination especially when sauteed with a little butter. Yum!)

This has been consuming our time. She is doing most of the sewing & I the knitting. I am much further behind, but we are both getting there. It is fun and it is what I needed to broaden my understanding a little. My skill level doesn't reach the expectations of my ambition when sewing (one of many things) is involved, but she is teaching me many, many things. I hope to show off the finished products in a few days. We are still outnumbered by children, so we can't guarantee how long we can work on something before some little one asks for something or some even littler one needs to eat, but you all know how that goes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fun in the sun

Today Erika & Ainslee helped a friend celebrate his 4th birthday. My mom kept Aidan and E, A & myself drove to a neighboring town to play in the sun, visit with friends and have fun. The weather was hot today - it got into the 90's for a brief spell- so we spent some time in the shade too. It was a lot of fun but we all came home tired and ready to relax.
Can you see Erika's bubble? It is HUGE. There were lots of bubbles today, bubble wands, bubble blowers, . . . . A kid's dream. I honestly think my two girls came home with more than we took. They each received a bucked filled to the rim with trinkets & goodies. Seriously, a kid's dream.

On the way home we had the rear windows down and Ainslee had her pinwheel going at top speed. You can't see the pinwheel in the photo, but I love the look on her face in this photo. Peaceful, rosy cheeked, fascinated with the whirl and metallic spin of the pinwheel. So simple.
I myself am craving a little simplicity, but I find that when I choose simple in day to day life I feel like I have short changed my rowdy, eager toddlers. (By the way, at what age do you stop referring to children as toddlers???) So, lately I have been pressing forward, engaging them and keeping them busy. Kudos to you moms out there with children at various ages and stages. I am finding it a difficult transition. I am blessed with three beautiful children and I know the time is coming when life will be hectic in a whole other way, so I try not to dwell on the difficulties of raising small children. I haven't met a mom yet that hasn't had similar issues, so I know I am not the first. Anyway, blah, blah, right. Why am I still up at 10 pm if I am so tired? Reasonable question. I am waiting on my pillow cases to dry. Erika has something funny going on with her eyes (I am praying hard that it is allergies and NOT conjunctivitis. please God please!). She took a rest in my bed this afternoon so I am washing towels, linens etc just in case. Signing off & going to bed!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Just in time for Spring - a wool sweater

Hi All - project complete. I feel like I am on a roll lately. Pretty gratifying. I didn't mean to toot my own horn in my last post about making a gift and all, but considering I have sewn about 8 times in my 33 years (when I say "sew" I should actually say "patch" as in holes, hems . . .). I was feeling a little full of myself that I had completed something that was worthy of giving. Make sense? Anyway, I have finished my little knitting project, and it is little:

I first saw this and loved it so much that I wanted to try it. Then I went here and thus began my first knitted sweater.

Erin was very encouraging and sweet when I verbally drooled over Helen. I have yet to start the actual critter portion of the project (see note above re: sewing - this will require more sewing) but have enlisted my mom to help while she is visiting. The little sweater, while cute from a distance, is pretty crazy looking in spots. I think it will end up on Aidan's Raggedy Ann doll so that it will be put to use, but I am hoping the second sweater (and 3rd, and 4th) will go a little more smoothly. I'll let you know. Back to knitting. Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The return of Monday

Wow - it is here again. I am serious everytime I say this - but the time flies by. Good days & bad days alike. Yesterday was perfect weather - today is not so great. It is very rainy which means the next few days will be muddy. I was making some phone calls during a quiet moment when the house grew very dark. I had to turn on a few lamps for extra lighting and it reminded me of being in grade school. I can remember how cozy it felt on a dark, rainy day to be inside in the fluorescent-lit class room working away on assignments. I had that same feeling this afternoon. Anyway, this weekend was pretty productive. I made a gift for a friend's baby. That is huge for me -as an adult, I have never made a gift for someone other than knitting dish clothes. This particular gift was not a dish cloth. So, I got it wrapped up today and realized I didn't take a photo of it! So, I guess I can't share that, but I will tell you what it is once it has been received. I started my knitting project again. This is round 3 for me. I am having a heck of a time understanding a particular part of the pattern so I have enlisted the help of a friend. I am meeting with her tomorrow to have her explain what I am doing wrong. After tomorrow I should be able to complete the project in no time. Did I just jinx myself? I guess we will see.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sitting for a spell

There is a mellow mood in the house right now. There is some music in the background along with the washing machine's spin cycle, I have a fruity Italian soda (I wouldn't drink this unless the kids were asleep because they would ask for a sip, and another and so on). Oh, and the girls are sleeping, all three. It is nice. Erika still has pink eye but it is so much better today. I think she will be able to go to school tomorrow. I would hate for her to miss Texas week. Tomorrow is the party so she just can't miss it. This was her yesterday. I guess she got tired of asking me a gazillion questions and resolved to sit and "read". I love how she uses her finger to follow the words which she can't yet read. Ainslee does it too, but she follows right to left. That is a telling sign she really isn't reading!
This is my arsenal. It is still germ warfare around here and I am not slowing down until I know that the pink eye virus is gone. The linens and hard surfaces are incessantly getting washed. I thought I was careful last time pink eye hit, but I am trying so hard to keep it at bay this time.

So, last night after everything was cleaned, all girls were tucked in, and I had prepared for this morning I flopped into bed and started a new project (below). I love the yarn. It is a soft pink color. I threw the paper away that had the yarn's official color on it, so I am not even sure what it is, but I like it. It is a wool blend. I have never knit with this before and it is so much easier than cotton. There is more give. I am not very far along, but I have mentioned that I am not very quick yet. I don't want a bunch of do-overs (I have already started over once) so I am taking my time. I will post a photo and explain it all when I am further along. I think I will try to do some more knitting now while the house is still all quiet & mellow! See ya'.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sick day for one

This photo was taken a long time ago - more than three years. Erika and Ainslee have done pretty much everything together and have reached a majority of their milestones with a day or so of one another. The only time they spent the night apart was when one was hospitalized with croup, and then days later the other was diagnosed with croup and had to stay in the hospital over night.
This morning Erika woke up with a double-whammy of pink eye and is home bound. Ainslee is at school. It is a little sad, and Erika doesn't quiet understand why we can't go and get Ainslee. She keeps asking though. To perk Erika up after dropping of Ainslee I drove through and bought her a doughnut. She ate part of it and then said she was going to save the rest so Ainslee could have a treat too. Sigh. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a twin sister. I am so very grateful that I know what it is like to have twin daughters.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Rain, Rain, it's okay

What is the best thing to do on a rainy day? Cooking? Yep, me too. The weather didn't quite hold out for our park plans, so it was an indoor day instead. I made whoopie pies. Look good, huh? Want to make them yourself? Check out Philigry for the recipe. They are very tasty. Erika said they look funny, but I don't think she will mind after she tries one.
Whoopie pies, a big batch of Chicken Spaghetti, and chalk rainbows. That was pretty much our Monday up to this point.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sewing & stuff

Tuesday & Thursday are our school days around here. This week is Texas week and the kids are encouraged to dress in their best western wear. Since we don't have cowboy hats and stuff I sewed these on Saturday. They were fun, relatively easy (I still struggle to control the stitching with my machine), and I am happy with the result.
One of the best things? I had everything I needed - no quick trip to the store for anything! I don't have a "stash" so I was very happy that I was able to do it all in one attempt. I even made a Texas onesie for Aidan. I just couldn't leave her out.
The stitching is still pretty crazy looking close up, but it is am improvement over my first attempt months back! I did make a run to the store today for some new yarn. I am going to try and attempt something similar to this. I have already talked to my mom about having her help with with some of it on her next visit. I am hoping to get started on the little sweater this week. I have my fingers crossed for a successful, and not too lengthy, completion.

The light show above? That is the new solar powered sun catcher I purchased. I saw one in Arkansas during our Christmas vacation and thought it was pretty cool, but I didn't get it. Then I ran across one again and decided I should get it this time. It hung on the window for about three days with no "show". Then this morning while sitting at the table I saw a little something over my shoulder. I looked up and the kitchen, breakfast area, living room & hallway were awash in rainbows. Quiet a show. The girls had so much fun trying to catch them. It was great. My husband thinks his family and mine all need one. I agree. AND lastly, I made the blondies again with almond extract - I think I like them even better! Have a great week.