Monday, May 23, 2011

Pretty Food {Black Beans Topped With Avocado Pico De Gallo}

Black Beans:
In a saucepan, heat up a can of black beans.  Add chopped tomatoes, red onions, cilantro & salt. 

Avocado Pico De Gallo:
Rough chop & mix in bowl:
red onion
squirt of fresh lime
pinch of salt

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bedouin Soundclash {Featuring Coeur De Pirate} ~ Brutal Hearts

When Life Gives You Bad Bread, Make Croutons

I recently had my first bad batch of bread.  I think I got distracted in the kitchen, left what I was doing and when I came back, I could not remember if I had added the salt yet.  Well, it was a 50/50 chance and I guessed wrong.  A loaf of bread without salt does not taste that great.  But I hate throwing away organic ingredients that I spent some time on.  So I tried turning the bad loaf into croutons and it worked! 

I just cut the bread up into small chunks, put on a cookie sheet, tossed them in extra virgin olive oil & garlic salt,  and baked at 400 until browned.

You could also turn old, stale bread into croutons.  Making breadcrumbs is another great option.  Just put bread in food processor with some seasoning of your choice & pulse until you have fine breadcrumbs.

PS ~ That lovely lettuce is from our garden. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Marley & Me

I am living out my very own Marley & Me story.

Meet Hershey:

Hershey was a stray dog that showed up at our neighbor's house 1 year ago.  After no luck at finding her owner, we decided to adopt her.  Okay, I decided to adopt her.  Allen absolutely did not want a dog.  Ever.  But I spent my entire childhood rolling in the dirt with my dog.  {who looked a lot like Hershey, mind you} I was a huge dog lover my entire life.  Until I became a Mother.  Then dogs became, well...dogs to me. 

So when my neighbor called and said do you want this dog, my initial reaction was no!  However, when I saw Hershey walking down the street, I melted into a mushy version of my 12 year old self and completely caved in.  She was the cutest, sweetest little dog!  She's very smart, only barks if there's a reason, easy to train, loving, etc.  So what's the problem you ask?

Well, apparently, my family is not made up of dog lovers.  Allen: absolutely not.  Sydney: sorta, but seems to be nervous around dogs.  Garrett: too busy digging in the dirt and does not want a helper.  Me: not interested in playing with a dog since I sit and play Barbies, monster trucks, etc.  I like to feel like a grown up at some point in the day. 

And lets face it, a dog is like having another child.  And Allen had a vasectomy for a reason.  Two kids was enough!  I have enough mouths to feed, toes to wash, bottoms to wipe, poop issues to deal with, messes to clean, toys to fix, games to play...

So after a year of listening to my family gripe about Hershey a whole lot.  A year of tripping and falling in the holes she digs.  A year of her chewing up anything that gets left out.  {She once chewed up, swallowed & digested an entire plastic frisbee}  She has decided to kick it up a notch and has began digging out of the yard.  At first, she just ran to our neighbor's house, so at least we weren't worried about something bad happening.  But in the last week she has started running away.  I spent one afternoon calling the pound, the vet and driving around with the windows down calling her name, while Garrett echoed me in the back seat.  This circus that is our family plus a dog has just moved to the next level.  She even digs out when we are outside with her!  Talk about a slap in the face. 

So I just keep holding on to the dream, that my family and Hershey will suddenly just all get along.  But I'm starting to give up on the dream.  I don't want to be a quitter.  But I'm running out of patience and hope.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Martin Park Nature Center

We recently spent a day at Martin Park Nature Center in Edmond, OK. Okay, it wasn't very recent...more like 1 1/2 months ago. I'm a little behind in blog world!

The kids loved feeding the turtles.

The kids & I wore flip flops, which turned out not to be the best idea.  Note to self:  wear tennis shoes when going hiking through the woods.

Another thing I learned ~ bring bathing suits for the kids to play in the water.  Or at least bring an extra change of clothes just in case.

Allen took a picture of me just to prove I was on this adventure with my family.  Since I'm always taking the pics, there's never any pictures of me.  I'm sure all moms have this issue.

Garrett collected walking sticks the whole day.  He'd set one down, forget about it, then yell "where's my walking stick!?!?"  Ahhh, the joys of two year olds!

We've been wanting to go camping & after this adventure, Sydney decided camping sounded awesome.  So we are desperately hoping to have a little camping getaway soon.  Allen & I used to camp a lot before we had kids and we absolutely love it.  There's nothing like waking up to nature, cooking your dinner on a camp fire, napping when you're tired, eating when you're hungry, having no concept of time.  It's so relaxing.  I can't wait to show my kids this world soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bon Iver ~ "Calgary"

This is the new single from Bon Iver's upcoming album.  I can't wait to hear the rest.  Beautiful music!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Avett Brothers ~ "I'll Fly Away"

The church choir sang "I'll Fly Away" this morning and it reminded me of this version by The Avett Brothers.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Avett Brothers ~ "Head Full Of Doubt, Road Full Of Promise"

I'm loving this song lately.  The lyrics are great.  I especially like "decide what to be and go be it." Unfortunately, I'm still trying to decide. ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Potty Training Success

I learned the first time around that you can lead a kid to the toilet, but you can make him use it.  As soon as Sydney turned 2, I spent the next year trying to convince her it was a good idea to use the toilet.  I also spent a year trying not to lose my mind over the fact that she simply did not care to use the toilet. 

So I decided to take a more relaxed approach with Garrett.  My approach was simple.  No potty training until he seemed ready.  I was starting to wonder if he would ever be ready and was picturing my 13 year old son wearing Depends.  Then, out of nowhere...on Easter...he decided it was a good idea to put his poop in the potty for the first time! {with some m&m bribery} I was so excited...but didn't get my hopes up too much.  However, to my surprise, from then on, he used the potty.  By himself.  Very independently.  Wow!  That was easy!  So Moms, it's true what they say...if you wait until they are ready, potty training is very easy.  I'm happy to report that Garrett was potty trained by his 3rd birthday and it only took 3 days.  Yep, that's it.  After 3 days, I no longer had to remind or bribe him.  He would go do it by himself without even letting me know until after the fact. 

Potty training a boy has been pretty comical around here.  Logistically, it's a whole new world for me.  And there's not much cuter to me in this world than his hiney in big boy underwear.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Alexander ~ "A Million Years"

One of my favorite songs.

Fleet Foxes ~ "Montezuma"

I have been playing Fleet Foxes' album Helplessness Blues non-stop.  This song is becoming one of my favorite Fleet Foxes songs.

The Avett Brothers ~ "Down With The Shine"

Cutting The Cord

We've been contemplating getting rid of cable for a while now.  Our biggest fear was losing our dvr box, which we have become so addicted too.  We never watch anything in "real" time & are spoiled to the record, rewind, fast forward & pause options. However, once I added up how much money we were wasting on a perk we didn't use very often, we knew what we needed to do.  It's amazing how many services we pay for because we are told we need them.  Guess what...we don't really need them.

We rarely have our tv on.  We learned a long time ago, the vibe is much better in the house if we turn the tv off & turn the music on.  It never fails, if the kids are getting irritable & whiney, we turn the tv off and all chaos goes away.  I believe it's too stimulating for them & makes them irritable.  Honestly, it makes me irritable.  Also, I cannot stand all the commercials telling us to buy stuff & telling our kids "look what you don't have...tell Mommy to go buy it".  I especially hate the car commercials lately, that are showing the "cool" parents in the new car & the "nerdy" parents in the old car.  Seriously, what is happening to our society?  We're living in a time when car manufacturers are mocking parents and marketing to kids.

So we took the plunge and got rid of our cable & dvr boxes.  We were on a money saving roll & decided to get rid of our home phone too.  We are now saving $120 a month.  With the rising cost of EVERYTHING, that $120 will be much better spent in other areas. There is an initial investment of buying an antenna.  We bought a really good antenna and installed it in our attic.  The picture is great & I was surprised at how many free channels are available.  We also bought an hdmi cord to run from the computer to the tv so that I can watch my sitcoms on the tv.

We are now using Netflix for $10 a month.  It is great!  There are tons of instant streaming options and we always have a dvd to watch.  I was sick & tired of On Demand charging $5 for a movie & Redbox never had anything good available.  So we are loving everything about Netflix. 

The kids are happy about the cartoon & movie options {commercial free & on our own schedule}.  Allen & I are happy about saving money & still being able to watch our tv shows.  We have also been getting better sleep because we go to bed earlier!  We used to stay up trying to watch everything we recorded, but now we just turn off the tv and go to sleep. 

Once again, simplifying has made our life better.  With every day that goes by, I'm more and more convinced that taking it "old school" is the life for me. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes new album, Helplessness Blues, is out today!  I could really use some new Fleet Foxes in my life right about now.  Love their music.

Pretty Food {Cheese Toasted Buns}

I work hard making all our bread products from scratch.  So you can bet your bottom dollar I'm not about to let any of it go to waste!  I turned these leftover hamburger buns into cheese toast.  Just butter, sprinkle with garlic & parmesan cheese & broil on low for a few minutes.  Just be sure to keep a close eye on them so they do not burn.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vroom Vroom!

Garrett loved every minute of his race car party!

Allen and I take great pride in making the cakes for Sydney & Garrett's birthdays.  I'm the baker & he puts great detail into the decorating.  Hopefully, they will look back one day and remember all the fun cakes they had.   

For the take home goodie bags, I just packaged up hot wheels in a cute way.  Allen bought them for .50 each at the swap meet.  You can't beat new hot wheels in the package for .50!

Sydney picked out a Curious George movie & stuffed animal for him.  She also got him a Buzz Light Year gun that shoots out foam darts.  I can't tell you how many times I've had a dart to my face in the last 12 hours.  Those darts may get "lost" soon.

Garrett got lots of fun presents from all our family & friends.  We got him this cool big wheel.  He loves his new "motorcycle".  We also got him a fun sand & water table for outside. 

Happy 3rd Birthday Garrett!