About Me

Texas, United States
I am a stay at home Mom from Oregon who has landed in Texas.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On my trip to crazy town

Pretty sure I am going crazy in my old age. I am completely touched out, except it isn't people, it's things. Misplaced things. Things that are in my way or under my feet, but shouldn't be. When these things (ie. a sock, or a stray bathing suit, or any manner of toy) touch me or I step on them, it's enough to send me around the bend. This even happens when my clothes are too baggy (sweats and dresses)! My body literally cringes and I want to hit something. This can't be good. My solution is that I am constantly picking these things up, but then I am still having to touch them, and then I cringe! Ack! It's a deadly cycle. My only solution is that the children pick up their own things. Maybe I need a maid to help cure my craziness? Think Keith would go for that? Doubt it.

Oh and my ears are...listened out? Is that a thing? It should be. If someone talks too loud or too close to my ears it feels like an icepick down to my ear drum. Literally painful. Wyatt and I have lots of quiet time at home. I feel badly because I don't talk to him too much, I like to think we talk with our eyes. It's nice and quiet and everyone is happy, especially my (crazy) ears.

Told you. Cuckoo!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

chicken pesto stuffed shells {yum!}

I have been very proud of myself lately in regards to my actions in the kitchen. I have been cooking "from scratch" a lot more, and trying new things instead of the same old enchiladas/tacos/nachos/spaghetti/whatever-else-I-make-but-could-never-name-even-under-gunpoint meals. Pinterest has helped peaked my taste buds in many of my cooking endeavors (jalapeno popper dip, stuffed bell peppers, cheesecake lemon squares, s'mores bars) and the other day I saw a picture of stuffed shells. Checked out the recipe, but it was too complex, or at least for this hectic Mama! So I made my own version, crossed my fingers, and prayed that the kids would like it (they hated the stuffed bells, of course).

Much to my surprise, they gobbled it up. I am talking dinner was over in 10 minutes, max. I call that a success, and they were relatively easy, I will definitely be making them again! I had to share my recipe here just in case you are looking for another easy, healthy-ish meal to serve your family. It also makes a lot, I made an 8x8 and put another 8x8 in the freezer, and I still have a bowl of the stuffing left, I just ran out of shells! Here is the recipe, I tried to write measurements, but when I cook as I go I mainly wing it. You can tailor it to your families tastes if you try this out!

Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells
Makes 3-8x8 pans, or 1-9x13 and 1-8x8 (great for freezer meals!)
Prep time: 30-45 mins (or less, I am just a slow cook)
Bake time: 30 mins @ 350*

1 box large pasta shells
1 jar (or batch) of your favorite smooth spaghetti sauce (I think the absence of chunks in the sauce made the kids love it more)
16 oz grated mozzarella (use the block and grate your own, makes a WORLD of difference in taste)
1 small jar pesto (or make your own, but seriously? Who has the time?)
16 oz ricotta
1 1/2 C. (more or less depending how "meaty" you want it) cooked and shredded chicken (I did this step before hand, earlier in the day and it made the meal prep so much faster)

First step, cook and shred your chicken. Set aside. Set a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. In a large bowl combine ricotta, jar of pesto, 1/2 of the mozzarella. Mix well. Add the chicken and stir till all mixed together. Taste and make sure it's how you like it, you can add salt and pepper here if you so desire. I felt the pesto added enough flavor. Set this aside and finish cooking your shells, cook until tender, but not soggy, you want a bit of firmness to them. When noodles are done, drain and rinse with cold water. This helps them stop cooking and makes them manageable for stuffing (you don't want to burn you flesh off on boiling hot noodles!)

Set out your pans of choice. In the bottom of each pan pour a small amount of sauce and spread around to make a thin layer (I did one pan at a time so that I didn't have a sauced pan that I didn't use). Begin stuffing shells, each shell takes a heaping tablespoon or so of filling, you have a lot, so you can afford to be generous. Lay shells touching in your pan. (I got 15 shells in one 8x8). Top stuffed shells with a small layer (1/3 C?) of sauce and then top with 1/3 of the remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered. Devour!

Of course the putting it together part is all how you like it! Your family likes sauce? add more! Cheese is your thing? Pile it on. It's the pesto in the filling that makes the dish! I hope you try this out and let me know what you think! Oh, and when I freeze mine, I completely assemble, cheese and all, and then freeze in your preferred method.

Not a great picture, but yeah, we dug in before I got the camera out! Yum, yum, yum! (If I do say so myself)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Celebrate freedom!

The fourth of July is my MOST favorite holiday. I love everything it stands for. I love seeing crowds dressed in red, white, and blue. I love seeing all the waving flags. I love singing our National Anthem, and getting teary eyed every time. I love the food, and the friends, and if the opportunity arises, the family. And I LOVE the fireworks! Here are some pictures from our morning at the parade! It's become a yearly tradition and even the high temps couldn't keep us home!

 Doesn't this smile just melt your heart?
 Let's address this chunkiness. As soon as we unleashed the chub he fell right asleep.
 Love this big boy! And his crazy sunburn on his forehead. You can see where he missed a few spots with the sunscreen, so funny!
The rest of the day we spent at home relaxing and preparing for our trip out to the country to see fireworks with some friends. We were able to do this same thing last year, and we were so excited to be invited for a second time. Great food and great friends, and a spectacular fireworks display right in front of us. So close it was scary a few times! It was a long and fabulous day, and one I want to remember!

Picture dump...

Natalie with her 1st Grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, on the last day of school. (6/3)

Sanaa, Emma, and Natalie at the last day of school.
Brady at his first T Ball game! So cute! (6/4)
He is such a big boy!
Wyatt's blessing day! (6/5)
Natalie at her Girl Scout camp.
Family dessert surprise! We had been watching a lot of Man v. Food and the kids really wanted to do a challenge so we made this monster cookie sundae. Told them to close their eyes....and....
They couldn't believe it! And we had so much fun eating ALMOST all of it!
Way late, but finally took pictures of Wyatt in his blessing outfit. He looks so dapper! (6/26)
The kids wanted to have their pictures taken too. Posers!

tiny dancer

Just a few pictures from Natalie's dance competitions this Spring. She did a wonderful job and each time I saw her up there on the stage it brought tears to my eyes! Some of those competitions were hard core, tons of people in the audience and she just got up there under those bright lights and danced her heart out! She has grown into a most beautiful young girl and I couldn't be prouder!

 A real wild child! This is her in her jazz getup, they were so cute with their wild hair and animal leotards!
 Before recital. I think I was more nervous than she was, but she did fantastic!

Turning seven

Tonight is picture dump day! Here are some pictures from Natalie's special day (way back in March!!)

A special breakfast! We had just had Shipley's for Brady so we decided on cinnamon rolls and cuties. Look at her with that long hair! And her new birthday headband (which is lost now...). Love that girl!
 Opening presents that night in her Mama made birthday shirt! She was so excited, and everyone pitched in to get her some fun gifts!
 "Girly" Legos just for her! And Brady got her sparkly nail polish.
This girl sure gives me a run for my money, but I couldn't imagine my life without her. She is my heart and soul and pretty much a mini (cuter) version of myself. I love my sassafras girl. A few things about her that March:

* She was gearing up to compete in her very first dance competitions, she put a lot of work into her dance and it showed. She has the drive to be good, and it's fun to see her find something that she loves to do.
* She loves to sing (to Taylor Swift) and write songs. If I let her have the iPod all day long, she would listen to it all. day. long. She loves her music!
* She is very bright, she ended the year with straight A's and she was very consistent all year. She makes her Mama and Daddy very proud!
* She couldn't have been more excited to get ready for baby Wyatt to make his appearance, and to move into our new house!

4 months (ish)

4 months

um, it's sideways, but I love this one bc he is smiling at Natalie. (4 months)
3 months
2 months (still so tiny and SLEEPY at this age)
1 month (how was he ever this tiny?)

Friday, August 5, 2011

summer means

...being grateful that my kids are old enough to let me sleep in. (Which I took full advantage of today, didn't come out fully till 9:30. thankyouverymuch!)

...an embarrassing amount of large/rt 44 sonic cups littered about the kitchen/car. All from ice waters of course! (RIP Diet DP)

...Friday becoming the worst and best day of the week. Worst because by the end of the week I am sick of the kids and they are surely sick of me. Best because of the obvious reasons, it means we get Daddy for two whole days!

...too much boredom eating. I have the munchies all. day. long. And I can't seem to shake this urge to bake. Which isn't good because Keith has given up sweets. Punk.

...too much TV/movies/Angry Birds/computer time or "screens" as I like to call them. I can't help it! Some of my favorite trashy shows are summer shows (Big Brother, So You Think You Can Dance, and lots of Real Housewives!)

...lots of playing hard, which means BIG messes. But it's worth it to see the kids using their creativity to turn Brady's room into a pet store, or Natalie's room into an apartment in NY, or the playroom into the city streets (using folded blankets as cars).

...lots of swimming. Not as much as I want, since we have Mr. Wyatt and all, but still plenty to go around. Enough that Natalie is turning a nice shade of brown. She has the cutest tan line on her bum!

...Texas heat. Seriously. One of the hottest summers ever, and surely the hottest I have ever lived through. 30 something days so far of 100+ temps and counting. Give me a break Texas, one can only take so much sunshine!

...settling in to our new place. Though it has it's flaws (a few too many if you ask us), we still feel truly blessed to be in this house. So much space to live in, and I can see us growing here! I love this house!

...play dates galore! For Mama and for the kids. We are lucky to have some of the best friends in the whole world and we have been able to play so much this summer! There have been sleepovers, girls nights, guys nights, play dates, swimming dates, dinner dates. Just tons of fun! I will miss this most of all when summer is over.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cards for Daddy

Today Wyatt was being super needy due to his baby cold (and probably a bit from the shots he got yesterday) so the big kids had to fend for themselves a little more than normal today. Every so often I ask out what they are all up to. This afternoon Nat was in the craft area making a card for Keith. She put all of our ages on there, our favorite colors, a few games (cross word and mazes) and some math problems. She made him a little book. And on it she wrote "Dear Dad, I made you a book over sckool and work so you can remeber us! P.S. bring it to your office!" For some reason that made me so sad! The kids don't get to see Keith very often and she wants to make sure he doesn't forget us!

Of course, then Brady wanted to make a card too. He came up to me and asked if I could spell "once upon a time..." uh. No. I could see that route would take an eternity so I wrote down his story for him. "Once upon a time there was a little kingdom. And the King was named, Dad. And his family names was Brady, Natalie, and Mom, and Wyatt. They were having so much fun. They were doing a dance. First Natalie and Brady then Mom and Dad. They were having so much fun doing dances. The End" He even illustrated it. So cute.

I am grateful that my kids have a Dad that loves them and plays with them and provides for them. And I am grateful that my children love their Daddy so dang much!

In other news, Wyatt sounds like a baby Wookie when he cries now because of all the  gurgly wetness in his throat. Makes his crying extra pathetic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A checkup

Today was Wyatt's four month check up (can you believe it??!). It went as well as can be expected. He has a bit of a sniffle and is congested, but Dr. Bishop said all will be well, as long as I watch for warning signs of something more serious. He had to get shots and since he was already down in the dumps the shots didn't go over well. He cried so durn pathetically I thought my heart was gonna break. I had the big kids with me too and they hated that he was sad!

As we were leaving the nurse let the big kids pick out a sticker (they were SO good for me) and after digging through the bucket full of transformer stickers and Spiderman stickers Brady picked out a big needle that says "I was Brave" for Wyatt. Kill me with sweetness why dontcha! That boy is constantly thinking of others, well, when he isn't crying or rolling his eyes at me!

I love my kids! Oh, and Wyatt's stats today were 25" long (25-50th percentile) and 14.1 lbs (25th percentile). She said he is growing great and to keep doing what I am doing! By the next appointment he will be trying solids! Eeek!