Friday, November 12, 2010

Kids say the darndest things!

I overheard Avery talking with Kate the other day: "When I grow up, I'm going to have five children . . . and one child."
I also overheard Avery playing with her friend Emily outside our house, so I called over to her, "Avery, don't be bossy." She replied, "I'm not - I'm being the mom." Uh oh.

Kate said to me recently, "Mom, sometimes I tell you things and you don't listen to what I say because you'll say, 'Oh, that's good'. I asked her how she knew I wasn't listening. "Because sometimes what I tell you isn't something good, it's bad." As Mac said to me when I told him the story: Busted!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baby Boy

I traded my pregnant belly and consolidated sleep for this little 8 pound, 14 oz miracle:

Don't you just want to kiss him?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tortoise Sighting

It's not everyday that you see someone walking a giant tortoise at the park, so I just had to stop and take some pictures with my girls.
This lovely fellow is enjoying a snack at the park near our house, just around the corner actually. His owner lives nearby and was more than happy to let me snap some pictures and ask some questions, like - What's the difference between a tortoise and a turtle? Do you know?

Apparently, turtles live in water, and tortoises live on land. This handsome guy can live 300 years, so if you want one for a pet, you better make him part of your will!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lemon Zucchini Bread w/ Glaze

I finally found a zucchini bread recipe that I LOVE! I devoured half the loaf when I cooked this on Sunday. And because I'm such a generous person, I thought I'd pass it on to the few of you who read this! Ha! This is the original recipe. I doubled it and made a few changes to it, which I think made it just amazing. And here it is:

Lemon Zucchini Bread w/ Glaze.

2-1/2 c finely shredded zucchini (no need to peel the zucchini)

1-3/4 c sugar

2 eggs

1 c vegetable oil (I used Canola)

3-1/4 c flour (I used one cup of whole wheat flour, the rest all-purpose)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder (I use Rumford's - it's the best baking powder)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 tsp. lemon zest

2 tsp vanilla

4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Yummy, Yummy Glaze! (which I found here, another recipe that sounds great and is really similar to this one).

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 c. granulated sugar

1 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans.

In a bowl, stir together the zucchini, sugar, egg, oil, vanilla, and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake 45-50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (I baked mine for 47 minutes.) Remove from heat and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. You can brush on the glaze while it's in the pan or after you take it out, while the bread it still warm. If you put the glaze on while the bread is still in the pans (like I did), it's a little tricky taking the bread out of the pans without making the glaze look messy. I think next time I'll brush the glaze on after I remove the bread from the pans.

If you try this, let me know what you think! The original recipe didn't call for a glaze, but I think the glaze is what really makes this bread so yummy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

San Xavier Mission

Eight miles from our house in Sahuarita, AZ is the beautiful San Xavier Mission. It was originally built in the 1700s when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. Our family had a lot of fun visiting the mission on Saturday. The girls call it "the castle". We can see it from the freeway, and they always call out when they see it. It truly was beautiful! Just another reason for you to visit us here in Arizona!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Freecycle Magic

A while back, while I was still living in Idaho, I heard of an organization called freecycle. The concept of giving away your stuff for free so it can be recycled and stay out of landfills sounded amazing, not because I'm that environmentally conscious, but because I'm inherently cheap. I signed up right away, dreaming of getting awesome stuff, like dressers, toys, books, and clothes all for free. What I ended up getting instead, was about 20 emails every hour, notifying me of something being given away or being asked for. People in Idaho Falls have a lot of "needs" and even though you weren't supposed to ask for charity, people still did, along with a sob story to explain why the person is asking for a handout. When there was something being offered for free that did sound like something I could use, I would email back right away, only to find out that I was too late - someone else had already contacted the offerer. This happened 99% of the time. All those "needy" people signed up for freecycle must have had a blackberry attached to their hip with the fastest fingers in the West.

For all the months I was signed up for the local freecycle group in Idaho, the only things I acquired that weren't junk was a child's desk, a dozen paperback learn-to-read Spongebob Squarepants books, and fresh artichokes. The constant emails were annoying, and always being too late on getting the good stuff was frustrating. So when our family moved to the Tucson area, I very gladly cut my ties to the Idaho Falls freecycle group and, with a bit of hesitancy, signed up for the local Greenvalley freecycle group. At first I thought something was wrong. They must not have added me to the list, because my email inbox did not receive any emails from freecycle for weeks! Oh well, I thought. I'm not going to worry about whether they added me to the group or not. It's probably just as well that I don't get a ton of annoying emails. But then, a strange thing happened. One week, there was a freecycle posting. And then the next week, another posting. I couldn't believe the difference from Idaho Falls to Green Valley. Instead of 20 emails an hour, I was receiving one to three emails a week! It was great!

And then on Monday, I responded to a freecycle posting saying I wanted some of the things that were bring offered. I noticed the email was a couple of hours old, so I didn't hold out any hope of actually getting these items, because in Idaho Falls, to be successful you had to respond within minutes. Much to my surprise, I was contacted by the offerer and we arranged a time and place for me to pick up the items. I couldn't believe my luck! So what did I get from this fortuitous exchange?
Essentially some vintage (aka "junky") jewelry boxes and some Christmas tins (not pictured because they are stored in the garage with the future purpose of holding sweets that I can then give away). But as you can see from the photos above, what I really received was hours and hours of children using their imagination and self-entertaining, which for a mom, is priceless.
Here's to many more happy months on the GreenValley freecycle group!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Piano Recital

I'm probably way too behind to catch up properly on the last couple months, but these photos were too cute not to post. So in a catching-up effort, here they are.
Back in May, Kate had her piano recital. Sort of. I got the date wrong, and we went to the Piano Gallery one date after her scheduled recital. So we were the only ones there, but the two people working at the store allowed us to hold a solo recital, and here are a few pictures from that night. Kate did great. She has been able to pick up on her lessons very well, and we are delighted with her progress. Now I just have to find a teacher in Arizona so she can continue her lessons.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Some Catching Up To Do

A lot has happened since my last post. Beside moving 1000 miles, we celebrated two birthdays and other milestones.

Avery turned four - here is the cake I made, using one of those giant cupcake pans. I didn't like how one side cooked faster than the other.
Here is he family enjoying one of Avery's new toys, the bubble machine!
Lilly turned two!

Not related to Lilly's birthday in anyway, but this dress Ave is wearing is something I made in sewing class!

The happy birthday girl, looking a little beat up with a cold sore and a cut on the cheek.

Lilly loves cats, so I made her a cat cake.

Our other milestones include me learning how to sew (yay!), Kate's piano recital (photos to come), Kate & Avery's dance recital (photos to come), Mac starting grad school, and registering Kate for Kindergarten (yikes!)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thank you gift for Teachers

My own kids aren't in school yet, but they do have dance and piano teachers. I found this idea at and am thinking about using it to say thank you to these teachers. I figured the girls would enjoy making them with me, too. What things have you done in the past to say thank you to teachers?

Monday, April 5, 2010

What 3 and 5 year-olds think is funny

Lately, when the girls are supposed to be getting their pajamas on at night, we hear a lot of giggling and noises that don't inspire a lot of confidence in their actions. This is what they had to show us after we sent them to get ready for bed one night:

And of course, they thought they were so hilarious, that these costumes were repeated night after night after night for a while. The one thing I do have confidence in my girls- their silliness!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When a 5-year old shoots the camera

Our five-year old really likes to play photographer. Here are a few samples of her recent work:

Sister being silly . . .
A close-up of sister . . .And lastly, me with the trash!

I grabbed the trash and began to walk from the kitchen towards the front door to throw it away when I heard, "Smile Mom!" So I did. Is it sad to say that my pose with the garbage is one of my favorite photos of me this year?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gourmet Cooking

On Saturday, Mac and I were inspired by all the yummy new recipes I collected, and we decided to try three new recipes. I'd like to share them with you here and let you know how they went over. For the most part, they turned out pretty good, although there are a couple of changes I would make for the next time we make these recipes.

The main dish was decadent and indulgent, like nothing we ever make! It's called Creamy Lemon Wine Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes from the Hungry Housewife blog. The flavors were like fireworks in your mouth! I loved it, but Mac thought it was a little overwhelming. The lemon in the recipe was a little too powerful. I used the juice from two small lemons. Next time, I think I'll only use one lemon. We served it over bow tie pasta.

I also made these scrumptious Buttermilke Refrigerator Rolls. They were light and fluffy and delicious. The nice thing is, the dough makes a lot, so I have at least two more batches in my fridge that I can use this week.

For dessert, I tried this Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cake recipe from The Pioneer Woman. The end result actually reminded me a lot of Texas Sheetcake. I would change a couple things about this recipe. First, I had to bake it longer than the recipe said, and I think I could have baked it even longer, although I did wait just until a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean. It's a very moist cake, so when you add the frosting to it, it became too moist, even mushy, because the frosting soaks into the cake. I would cut the frosting recipe in half, because it made way too much, and maybe then the cake wouldn't get too mushy.

Mac and I love trying new recipes, and this week we're planning on trying a few more. I'll pass on the successes to you so you can try them too, if you want.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slumber Party

Sometimes when Mac is traveling for work and is gone for several days at a time, the girls and I like to live it up and have a slumber party. We've done this a couple of times, and the girls absolutely love it. We pull out the couch bed, eat popcorn and some other treat, like cookies or fruit snacks, and watch a movie. Then we fall asleep together, all except Lilly, who gets to sleep in her own bed. I usually wake up in the night and move to my own bed for the night too. It's not a lot of work for me to put on this slumber party, but the kids think it's something great.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas Memories

So I'm not going to even mention my long break from blogging, or promise that it will never happen again. Suffice it to say, we moved to a new home, and that event really knocked me out of my routine. I still don't feel like I'm back to normal yet, but I had to get caught up sometime. The following is just a brief telling of my favorite Christmas memories and photos.
Here are my three girls in their Christmas Eve pajamas. Kate and Avery were especially excited for the next day. My favorite memory of Christmas 2009 is the morning of Christmas, we all kind of slept in (past 7:00 PM is sleeping in for us). Usually Lilly is the first to wake up, and then the other girls jump up once they hear her. Lilly was sick, though, and ended up sleeping in. So Kate work up first and crept quietly to our bedroom, where she stood in the doorway choking back sobs. I sleepily asked, "Kate, what are you doing?" She just sobbed louder, so I asked her what was wrong. She began to speak through her tears, but she was so upset that I couldn't understand her. Finally I interrupted and said, "Kate, you're not in trouble. Now calm down and tell me what's wrong." She finally was able to spit out her concern: "Did I miss Christmas?"
Between chuckles, Mac and I assured Kate that she hadn't slept too long and missed Christmas. She cheered up pretty quickly once she understood. Here is Kate wearing one of her Christmas presents: a hat, scarf, and mitten combo. This was the only present, she told me a couple of days after Christmas, that she didn't like.
All the girls acted really grateful on Christmas morning for all the gifs they received. This made me grateful, too. For some reason, I was worried that they would act like spoiled brats and complain about not getting the right stuff or saying they didn't like their presents. But they were really good and happy about everything, and that made me happy. And I will always love looking back and remembering this cute face. These are some great memories! What is your favorite memory from Christmas 2009?