Monday, October 31, 2011

Meal Planning Monday: Oct 31, 2011

Another crazy week is on tap at our house this week, so I think our meals are probably going to stuff a little.  We have Reece's birthday (he's 1!) on Wednesday - but we aren't celebrating until Saturday afternoon.  I also have a faculty meeting on Wednesday and an appointment at the allergist on Friday to try and sort out the ridiculousness that has become my allergies.  In fact, just this afternoon I spent over an hour in the local walk in clinic for what I was sure was an ear infection.  Nope - just "fluid behind your eardrum, I'm sure it hurts."  Not infected yet, she says - "but that isn't to say it won't be in 5-10 days," and then she sends me on my merry way.  Great...anyway, I digress.  Meal planning, yeah, that is what we were talking about!

Green Tomato Relish Prep!
Monday: Smoked Sausage and 'Kraut with steamed carrots and cauliflower
Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Tofu
     also tonight - chop, chop, chop to get the green tomato relish in the fridge to pickle overnight
Wednesday: Something from the crock pot, not sure what yet!
     also tonight -  cook and can/jar the green tomato relish (yeah!)
Thursday: Skillet Gnocchi with Blue Cheese
Friday: Probably just pizza, too much planning and set up has to happen to cook tonight.

Saturday: Left overs from the party - and cake!
Sunday: Clean out the fridge day.

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

All the Boys

One of the rare moments everyone is almost still enough get a picture.  I continue to try and get everyone to look at me at the same time, but it never happens. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning...

I totally stole this idea from one of my dear twin mommy friends.  What a great, simple idea.  The boys were getting a little antsy so I pulled the colander out of the pot draw (see previous post about my pot head children) and swiped a handful of pipe cleaners from the stash I have to clean sippie cup straws and the coffee machine's milk hose.

I showed them how to put both ends of the pipe cleaner in random holes and walked away.  This entertained them for about 20-30 minutes!  And added bonus, it really turned out to be a great OT type activity for Grayson.  He had to really concentrate on getting the ends of the pipe cleaner lined up and then in the tiny holes.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's going to do what???

So they are calling for some sort of 'major' winter weather event on Saturday.  In October.  In VA.  This is not acceptable.  I still have mountains of basil, plants loaded with eggplant, peppers in the garden, etc.

Maybe some of it will survive, but we all know the basil is a tender, temperamental plant.  I think it is best to just rip it out of the ground and let it go ahead and fulfill it's Pesto Destiny.   So that is what I did.

Bowls of pesto became ice cube trays of pesto, which are now tucked away in my freezer. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'll do it myself...

Reece has decided ONLY food he has man-handled himself with ultimately be allowed in his mouth.  Gone are the days of relative clean meal times where you could feed him one spoonful at a time of the messy stuff while he was content to pick at little finger foods like peas and toast. 

This is what mango and Greek yogurt can do to an otherwise harmless meal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bath Time!

Bath Time at our house is a bit of a free for all.  The plan was to actually give Reece a bath first, since he goes to bed earlier.  THEN the twins would get their bath after Reece was in bed.  Tonight, however, things didn't work that way.  The boys heard the water running in the tub upstairs for Reece and took off running for the stairs.  By the time I made it up they were already naked and climbing in.  

I tried really hard to get all three of them to look at me (and hold at least a little still) all at the same time, but it never happened.  I snapped out 10 shots.  This might be the only one where they are all at least holding still enough that they are all in focus. 

We decided to just go with it -- Reece is doing a pretty good job of holding his own these days.  We are pretty sure he'll be the one in charge in the near future - as he is huge compared to them!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meal Planning Monday : October 24

It's that time again!  After a long weekend away and an empty fridge I have three major tasks to accomplish today.  1- wash clothes from the trip, 2- go to the grocery store, and 3- plan the meals for the week.

Monday - Cincinnati 5 way chili
Tuesday - Deconstructed Tuna Nicose  (grilled fish, steamed green beans and potatoes, Greek olives)
Wednesday - spiral ham, homemade mac and cheese, and steamed broccoli
Thursday - Left overs night (I have a late meeting)
Friday - Green Curry Chicken (because it never got made a few weeks ago)

Crock pot: Lima Bean soup (using left over ham bone) with cornbread (recipe coming)
Home made pizza (Field of Greens) with caramelized onions, goat cheese and prosciutto

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1000 miles in 72 hours

We made it home.  We just ventured all the way from VA to SC and back - 1000 miles - in about 72 hours with all three kiddos.  Chronicles of a looonnnggggg road trip (pictures to follow when I find the cord to upload them):

Friday morning - the plan: leave the house by 8:00.  The reality - left the house about 10:15.

We loaded up the car and started the long trip to SC.  Everyone was in pretty good spirits by the time we got in the car.  We did have a bit of a pre-car meltdown from Gabe over putting on "sleepy-pants" (diaper), as he is pretty much potty trained.  We explained it was a really long trip, but he did not care.  He was peeved.

First stop about 2.5 hours in - lunch.  We found an unbelievable good Korean Diner right outside of Natural Bridge, VA. (I think it was called Fancy Hill Korean Diner)  We all really enjoyed our food and the couple that runs the place was absolutely wonderful.  The food was delicious and the hospitality was outstanding.    Everybody took a potty break and everybody was still dry! 

Second stop - NC line.  Another potty break.  Gabe is still dry!

Third stop - dinner.  BBQ.  Not really very good, but the place was really clean and the lady running it was super nice.  Kids ate a good bit, which is what really matters. 

Fourth stop - potty break.

Finally arrived - 12 hours later.  Gabe stayed dry the entire way.  Unbelievable.  Grayson didn't make it the whole way.  He had one accident.

Once we got into the house and unloaded everyone we worked at getting Reece in bed.  He was sooo tired and desperate to be asleep.  Gabe continued to amaze us by picking out a bedroom for himself, climbing up on the bed and telling us to turn out the light, he was going to sleep.  He has never slept in his own room before, and certainly not in a strange house - but he did both!  Grayson, however, fought sleep for hours, woke up often, and would not stay in his room.  Needless to say, we ended up tired.

Saturday Morning.  The plan - Meet with college president at 8:00am at the Hall, parade at noon, lunch, home for naps, Philo cook out at 6:00.

So Doug made it to the meeting.  I didn't.  Kids just were not up in time and there was no way to get them ready and make the meeting.  So while Doug was at the Hall strong arming the president, I was at the house with the boys.  Everyone got up and eventually got fed and dressed.  Reece was ready to go back down for his nap at 9:15.  While I was putting him down for a nap, Gabe found scissors and cut Grayson's hair.

Doug made it home around 11:00.  Reece slept an unprecedented 3 hours - so we barely made it back to Due West in time for the parade.  The floats were throwing candy and my boys didn't understand why people were throwing things at them.  Since they really never get candy, they didn't even know what the stuff was that was being thrown.  Then a handful of college girls gathered up fistfuls and crossed the street and gave it to them.  Needless to say, they know about candy now.  (Sigh...)

After parade the kids played in the bouncy houses, then we had lunch, then headed back for naps.  Reece and Grayson took naps, Gabe refused - so he and Doug went on a walk together.  Found all kinds of cool stuff in the woods - mushrooms, caterpillars, sweet gum seeds, etc.

We did make it to the cookout and the kids ran around and played for hours.  It was great to reconnect with old friends from school.  Back at the house Gabe again went to bed on his own without a hitch - and Grayson, not so much.  After everyone was asleep I packed up the car so we could try and get out faster in the morning because I have to go to work on Monday morning and cannot be getting in so late.

AND - Gabe woke up dry!  He went all night and stayed dry!  Woo Hoo!!

Sunday: plan, get up and GO!

Well, we didn't get out by 8:00, but we did get out by 9:00.  We loaded up and headed home.  We had a plan to stop at Michele's in Spartanburg for a late breakfast/brunch.  We got there about 11:00 and the kids got out and ran around and had some breakfast.  After they ate, Doug took all the kids (except Reece) out for a walk through the woods.  They came back and jumped on the trampoline then eventually made it back inside.  Once more we took potty breaks and loaded them back up and got back on the road.

Stop two - potty break.

Stop three - dinner at Shoney's, not that we really like Shoney's - but kids eat free and we have 3 of them.  So we ate and went to the potty (again.)  Everybody ate pretty well and we were ready to load up again.

After Shoney's we really pushed through the rest of the drive without stopping.  Reece got fussy at one point, but we figured out that it was mostly due to needing a snack.  Once he got some apple slices, graham crackers, and milk he was fine.  We got home about 7:30 - so we made much better time.

Gabe stayed dry the whole drive again :)  This is monumental, really, it is!

At home Reece went to bed, the boys played a while then jammied-up and went to bed.  The house was dark by 10:30 for everyone.  We survived.

Now we are doing it all over again in November for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

All night long

Reece slept all night long last night.  Of course, Grayson did not.  He rarely, if ever, does.  The boy wakes up 1-2 times a night almost every night.  Well, maybe that is not entirely true - sometimes he doesn't wake up but we do - because he is in the throws of a night terror.  Ugh.

HOWEVER, we are focusing on Reece here - ALL NIGHT LONG.  From 6:45pm until 6:30am without a peep.  I am thrilled to actually sleep, but I also found myself feeling a little sad this morning.  The bed felt kind of empty.  He usually joins us around 4:00am and then snuggles back to sleep until I put him back in his bed when I get up at 5:45. 

So I am not 100% sure how I feel about it.  Happy?  Sad?  Not sure.   Better rested - yes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love my new shoes

I'm normally not a "shoe person," but I do love my new clogs.  I'm wearing them for the first time today. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meal Planning Monday : Oct 17

So we have a short week in the Bowen house this week because we are taking our first ever road trip with ALL THE BOYS.  We are loading up and heading some 8-9 hours south to go to our college homecoming.  Actually, we are going to help raise money for our society's historical hall that has been sorely neglected AND to raise Holy h3!! about the recent turn of events at our alma mater.  So with that said, here is the plan for the week:

Monday: Grilled fish, roasted baby red, white, and purple potatoes, and steamed brussel sprouts
Tuesday: Pasta with homemade pesto and grilled chicken
Wednesday: Freezer Soup - Navy Bean soup and homemade cornbread
Thursday: Clean out the fridge / left overs night
Friday: leaving early, early in the AM and driving.  I will be packing a picnic lunch for us to eat at a rest stop so the boys can get out and run around.
Saturday: Fundraising BBQ dinner for the Philo's
Sunday: Drive home and probably just order something - because we will be exhausted!

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Paint, plaster, paint some more...

No more ugly center line yellow!
We keep on plugging away on the never ending project that is the Hupp Mansion.  (How ridiculous is that name for a house?)  We decided to tackle rooms one at a time, starting downstairs.  First, we painted over the horrid center-line yellow in the den.  It was sooo ugly.  I don;t know that we are in love with the color it ended up - so more paint may be in its' future, but it IS better than the color it started out.

Looking back the other way, in the distance you can see the scaffolding in the dining room...

The dining room is our current project.  We've been working on it a few weeks.  The center part of the house really was all just kind of beige - and not well painted in the first place.  We found that before we can even begin painting, we have to remove about 20-30 nails PER ROOM from the plaster walls.  (Some places had 6-8 nails being used to hold up ONE frame.)  Of course, this means holes that have to be patched.  Also, the house is over 200 years old.  Plaster cracks.  So there has been a right substantial amount of plaster repair going on.  We also had that pesky 5.4 earthquake a month or so ago.  Yep.  New cracks.

The dining room has been painted, plastered, patched, painted some more - sanded, trimmed out, and did I mention painted?  We are getting close.  Of course, we haven't touched the windows or the doors yet.  That is something that is just going to have to wait until spring.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My children are pot heads

I don't know what the fascination is, but all my boys like to wear pots on their heads.
  • Big soup pots - check.  
  • Little pots with handles - check.  
  • Colanders (ok, not really a pot, but they live in the pot drawer) - check.
I think it is my husband's Y chromosome.  This is just not the sort of thing girls go around doing.

All it takes is one of them to go get a pot and the other ones tear off to the kitchen to get their own. I wish I had gotten a video of Gabe with the pot. (Alas, on the picture was snapped.)  He was walking around with this pasta pot on his head - totally unable to see where he was going - and running into walls, door frames, etc. Laughing. 

And more recently, they have taken to wanting their parents to be pot heads with them.  (Here Mommy, put this on!) Today Gabe put this pot right on Doug's head with out even asking (that will teach him to lay on the floor where they can reach him!)  He walked right up, plopped the pot over Doug's head and proceeded to "play" Doug's head like a drum.  (I'm making music, Mommy!  Hear it? Hear it?!)

Yep.  My kids are pot heads.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Pizza Dough Recipe EVER


We have been making pizza in out house for 20 years. I have over 100 cookbooks in my kitchen alone. This is THE BEST pizza dough recipe I have encountered. We have been using it in our house for over a decade. It always works and always is delicious. Buy a tiny bag of rye flour and keep it just for this pizza dough. You'll be glad you did :)

It comes from the Fields of Greens vegetarian cookbook.

Makes One 15-Inch Pizza Or Two 9-Inch Pizzas (It always makes two good sized pizzas in our house)
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons warm (110°F) water
6 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fine cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rye flour
About 1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 to 3 tablespoons additional flour for rolling the dough
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside in a warm place for 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the milk, oil, and cornmeal in a 1-quart bowl. Add the yeast mixture, then the salt and rye flour; mix well. Gradually add the white flour, making a soft, workable dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, sprinkling in a little flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the surface. Put the dough into an oiled bowl and turn it once so the surface is coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Prepare the topping. (This pizza cooks in about 5 minutes, so you might want to saute/cook any toppings you would like to not be raw.)
Preheat the oven to 500°F and heat the pizza stone, if you're using one, for 20 minutes.
To shape the pizza, first form the dough into 1 round ball or 2 equal-size smaller balls. Roll out on a floured surface, turning it regularly to keep a round shape. It should be about 1/8 inch thick, slightly thicker at the edges. Lay the dough on an oiled pizza pan or a well-floured wooden peel. Cover with the topping you have chosen. Bake the pizza on its pan or slide it onto the heated pizza stone.
It takes about 5-7 minutes in a screaming hot oven. A minute or so less on a screaming hot grill.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Planning Monday : Oct 10

So groceries have gotten out of control in terms of $$ spent. These little boys are eating us out of house and home (hello, 4 gallons of milk a week and 2 dozen eggs!) and they are only 3 and not quite 1! We are going to have to get a cow, and some chickens, and win the lottery if they are going to continue to eat into their teenage years.

With this reality sinking in, along with a clear need for some help in terms of getting my house, life, laundry, etc back under control now that school is in session - I have committed to menu planning every week. Since school started back in August I have been pretty good about it - but it had started to slide, so I am recommitting and making it official by putting out for the world to see.

I bought a nifty book that is really helping on many fronts: Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life, by Stephanie O'Dea. It was in this book (in October week2) I was sent to : OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives. Ahh...the universe telling me to get it together.

So this week looks like this:

Monday: Chicken Souvlaki
Tuesday: Veggie Soup w/ Cornmeal Dumplings, Apple and Fennel Salad, and toasted baguette
Wednesday: Flank Steak w/ Chimichurri sauce and Portuguese Cornbread (Sept 2001 Cooking Light)
Thursday: Green Curry Chicken
Friday: Tacos
Saturday: Home made pizzas (Field of Greens has the BEST dough recipe, hands down.)
Sunday: Cincinnati 5 way chili

Prep for next week - make lots of pesto with the mountain of basil growing out the back door.

I don't have links to all the recipes, as some have no recipes, and others are from the mountain of books on my shelf. I'm working on getting them all posted.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rainy Day Fun

Today turned out to be a rainy, cold mess. Which is a bummer.

HOWEVER, luck for us our kids don't seem to care one little bit. Doug took the twins to the 'big house' to paint and clean the carpet while Reece took a nap.

Then Reece woke up and enjoyed making the rounds of all the toys with no competition.

Once everyone was back home we had lunch and then got bundled up in our jeans and sweaters to head down the hill to Strasburg's "Octoberfest."

Yes, it was lame. But again - three year olds can enjoy pretty much anything. Case in point, once we got home (because of said cold rain) the blue helium balloons were a source of entertainment for all three for at least two hours.