Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Busy, busy...

We had a busy afternoon in our house today!  Since I had to leave work early for Grayson's IEP meeting I ended up home earlier than usual.  The boys were very excited to see me come in the door early.  It really does make you feel pretty loved :)      
After much running around the house - up the stairs, down the stairs - I really needed to start working on dinner.  I tried to set the boys up in the living room but they would have nothing to do with it.  They both insisted that they be in the kitchen since that is where I was.   So we got out the workbooks and did some "tracing work" first.  It involved lots of cute noises as they went zoooooppp! from one spot to the next.

When that got old we moved on to "magic coloring."  Not that I worry so much about the mess - I actually bought them for the car ride - but they wanted to use markers (instead of crayons) and since I was trying to make dinner at the same time I figured it was a better choice.  
Once dinner was ready we picked up all the coloring stuff and they had dinner.  I am feeling pretty crappy these days, so dinner ended up being pretty lame (bacon, grits, eggs, and toast.)  I felt bad it wasn't something better, but they gobbled it up and proclaimed it to be really good.  You have to love 3 year olds.

After dinner there was more play to be accomplished.  Gabe was very interesting in building a tower out of random things.  I wish I had gotten the camera sooner - at one point he had bridges, trucks, cars, a ladder, and a crayon weeble thing, and a little man all balanced.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meal Planning Monday : November 29

We survived another 1000miles in 72 hours and we are ready to be back at home and in our our beds and our own kitchen!  I seem to have picked up a nasty cold, so dinners are a little uninspired this week.  We are in a rut, so I am looking to make some new dishes next week.

I'll work on posting recipes as soon as I have a free minute or two.

Monday: Stir Fry - Tofu and Veggies with Peanut Sauce
Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan (made with left over sauce from the weekend) on pasta
Wednesday: not sure...I think I am freezer diving today!
Thursday: Polenta with Mushrooms
Friday: Grilled Steak (on sale for $4.99 pound) w/ roasted potatoes and steamed veggies

Saturday: Chicken w/ sage dressing and sauteed brussel sprouts

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Shameless plug for my students:  Donor's Choose

Saturday, November 26, 2011

That's BIG Ornange!!!

"That's a big ornange!"
 OK, well really it's a peach - but the boys are convinced it's an "ornange."  It has become the thing they associate the drive to with.  As we were pulling out onto I-81 in northern VA Gabe was SURE he could see it already - since we were, after all, on our way to SC. 

We stopped at the big peach  and let them run around both coming and going.  On the way down when we stopped we learned that they actually have picnic tables around the base of the Gaffney Peach - so we planned accordingly and packed a picnic lunch for our drive back up.

There was a downhill slope Reece just couldn't escape!

Setting out our picnic.
We had a really nice weather day on the drive back, so we let them play and run for about an hour.  While the food wasn't exactly great - we figured it was kind of cruel to keep them locked in car seats for 10 hours and the few times get out to ask them to sit quietly in a restaurant. 

Friday, November 25, 2011


What makes going to Granny's house so much fun?  

The monster sized piles of leaves that get raked up under the pecan trees!
Look!  I found one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Ready...

Is it even possible to "really" get ready for a 10 hour car trip with 3 year old twins and a 1 year old?  I mean, really?  I decided to try - so we will see if it was worth the effort.  Last night I hit the Target store and was on a search for car friendly things to help entertain the little ones as we chug down the road.  I ended up with MagnaDoodles, new books, dry erase boards, and little computer type letter games.  I also bought some activities books for once we hit SC - some tracing, stickering, crayon type of things.  After I bought them and was unpacking everything I came to the conclusion that I don't think they could handle the activity books while IN the car.  I envision things falling on the floor and not being able to retrieve them and screaming kids.

Today I am packing finger sized snacks, drinks, and blankets.  The plan is to stop for meals at parks or the like so they can get out and run around.  

Wish us luck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meal Planning Monday : Nov 21

It is going to be a crazy week - half a week of school for the me and the boys, then another 500 mile drive to SC - and back - with 3 year old twins and a 1 year old.  Maybe I'll pack some wine in my water bottle...

Because we are going to SC for the holiday I actually don't have to cook this Thanksgiving - but I think I would rather cook a turkey than spend almost 24 hours in the car over the next week!

So our short week looks like this:

Monday: Cuban Black Bean Soup (made in crock pot overnight)
Tuesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole
Wednesday: Clean out the fridge night.
Thursday: Travel day - we'll be in the car all day
Friday:  Delayed Turkey Day in SC.
Saturday: Minimal cooking in SC...Probably a quick pasta
Sunday: Travel day - trekking back to VA

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Morning : Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

This Sunday I decided to do a little baking (not like me) so we would have some quick easy snacks this week as we start planning to make that 10 hour drive to SC again.  After much internet searching, I had some ideas and some starting points.  I was trying to make these not too sweet and without a stick of butter - which apparently makes me the odd man out - because that seemed to be the theme of most of the recipes I found! 

It took three batches before I was completely happy with the results, but these are pretty darn good - and I don't feel guilty eating them. 

1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup canned, solid pack pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water / juice -- see instructions
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dried cranberries
a juicy orange

Some raw sugar from sprinkling the tops.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and give them a little spray of oil.

Put the dried cranberries in a small bowl and zest the orange into the bowl with them (I used a microplane to keep it really fine), then squeeze the juice of the orange over the cranberries. Let sit while you do everything else.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Put aside.

Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, eggs and oil until smooth.

Now back to the cranberries - drain the cranberries over a measuring cup and keep 1/4 c of the juice.  If you don't have 1/4 cup - just top it off with water.  Stir this liquid into the pumpkin liquid.  Any extra juice should be discarded.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until the batter is just combined, then stir in the drained cranberries.
Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one almost to the top. Sprinkle the top of each with some raw sugar and bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set to cool on a wire rack.

This made 12 regular muffins and about 9 mini muffins.  My muffin tins are over 30 years old, so they are a bit smaller than the monster size muffins you get now - but I think if you had the newer/bigger size tins it would make a dozen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mmmm...toasted marshmallows!

Today the boys toasted marshmallows on a fire for the first time.  Clearly there was gooey, sugary happiness all around.

I'm not tired...

I just want to sit in your lap a little bit, Mommy...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meal Planning Monday (or Tuesday, as the case may be)

So I am a day behind on the meal planning because I didn't make it to the grocery store this weekend like I needed to.  It was just too pretty outside to pass up - and with winter slowly creeping up on us, the boys needed to run and play, not putter through the store.  So - now that I have gone to the store Monday after work and loaded up on sale items, I am ready to plan.

Monday: Gyoza with dipping sauce
Tuesday: Baked Ham w/ Mac and Cheese (this never happened before bcs the ham I was certain was in the freezer was actually a turkey breast) and a simple winter salad
Wednesday: Some kind of chicken and polenta - I know I have a recipe somewhere I like for this sort of dish - I just have to find it
Thursday: Crock Pot Lima Bean Soup with corn bread
Friday: Roasted Potatoes, grilled strip steak, and veggies 

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trampoline Time

It was such a nice weekend!  After having snow a few weeks ago, this weekend was sunny and near 70! So we tossed out all plans for anything productive on Saturday and spent the day playing outside with the boys.

I was hoping to get a few shots of them with the maple tree as a background - but they were too drawn to the trampoline to even begin to consider holding still for me.  They were pulling off their shoes and climbing in as fast as they could go.

It was covered with leaves, which made it extra fun.  They immediately started bouncing around in them, running and sliding in them, and throwing them up in the air.

Gabe has figured out if he tosses the ball straight up in the air he can sometimes get it to bounce off his head - which makes him cackle, which is entertaining all on its' own.  Grayson was seen making "leaf angels," right before Gabe scooped up and piled leaves on him. 

Of course, when this was over everyone had leaves in their hair, all over their clothes, IN their clothes, and stuck to their socks.  This meant that soon there after my house was full of crunched up leave debris.  Messy - yes, but worth it it? Absolutely.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mealing Planning Monday : Nov 7

I've been slow to get this up this week - I am still recovering from the weekend and the on again off again ear infection I am battling.  So, better late than never, here it is -

Monday: Stir Fried Tofu and Veggies with Spicy Korean  Sesame Sauce
Tuesday: Chips with Salsa and Avocado (I know, it's lame, but I like it...)
Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff  over egg noodles
Thursday: Probably eating out or take out since we have an afternoon of doctors appointments
Friday: Quiche - I'm thinking spinach, mushrooms, and cheese - with a salad

For the weekend, we are canning green and red tomato salsa.   We'll see how it goes :)

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Morning

This Sunday morning activity - Play Doh. 

I'm not sure why Gabe insists on making weird faces when-ever he sees a camera.  Not sure if this is a "boy thing", an "age thing," or maybe it's just a "Gabe thing.

This continues to be a hit in our house - even though I am a complete OCD Mommy when it comes to it and make them sit locked in their chairs!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Reece!

I don't know where the time has gone.  Reece's first year has really been a blur.  As I started planning for his cake and little birthday party get together I started to get really sad thinking how this is it.  I'm 40 - and we are not rich people.  No more babies :(  I can't believe I feel this way - so not what I expected.

Reece has been an absolutely lovely little boy.  He is hardly ever fussy.  He smiles and laughs all the time.  He clearly love, love, loves his brothers.  He has been super easy to put down for naps and bed at night from the very beginning - which is such a gift after the horrid time we had with the boys never napping for real and the hours and hours trying to get them in bed and not screaming.  He never had latch issues, so breastfeeding has been much easier - aside from the constant battle with thrush - which was probably a result of me being so tired and worn down.  (I'll admit it, I am jealous of all the people who have help when they have babies.  People that come and stay with them, give them an hour to take a nap, help them when they are exhausted...I can't even imagine how different that must be than what Doug and I have experienced.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Black Toilet and Sink. Ugh...

We are still in renovation land at the Hupp House.  Our most recent project has been the horrid hall bathroom.  It is the only bathroom on the main floor, so it has to be dealt with. Short of replacing the black toilet and black sink - we figured there had to be something we could do to make it at least not soo ugly.

There were several false starts and poor color choices, but in the end this is what we ended up with:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Green Tomato Relish

An annual favorite that everyone wants me to share!  This recipe makes 9 pints of relish, which is super yummy piled up on top of a some steaming hot collards, kale, spinach, or other greens.  (Throw in some homemade cornbread and you have a tasty meat free meal!)

Coarsely grind (a food processor works fine:)
  • 4 cups of onions (this takes 3-5 onions)
  • 4 cups of cabbage (1 small head should do it)
  • 4 cups of green tomatoes (use what ever kind you have)
  • 4 cups of green bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups of red bell peppers
Put all of this is a large bowl and stir.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of pickling salt on it, cover, and let it sit overnight.  The next day, drain in a colander and rinse well.

In a large pot, combine:
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 2 Tbs mustard seed
  • 1 Tbs celery seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add in your drained veggie mixture and bring to a boil, then allow to gently boil for 5-7 minutes.  Fill your prepped/hot canning jar, adjust lids, and leave to cool.  Check to make sure they sealed.

If you have any jars that didn't seal, put them in the fridge and use them first.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Fest

It's time for Fall Fest at the Montessori school again.  This time last year I was about 48 hours (or less) away from having Reece - so I was pretty uncomfortable as I waddled around campus with the boys.  So in last year's pictures, Reece is still in my huge belly, but this year he is walking down the hall with Gabe!  (Man, he is growing soo fast!)

This year I couldn't take the day off, so I didn't get to go - which is a real bummer because it looks like it was a lot better than last year!  We are lucky that Doug can go to all these things - so at least I get to see some pictures.  As you can see, there was face painting.  During the Spring Fling last year Gabe would not let anyone paint his face, so I was pretty pleased to see he had been willing to do it this time around.  Grayson, on the other hand, loves having his face done.  He is a cat - "see my whiskers?"  He was sure he had whiskers for at least two days.  Once he realized they were gone he wanted to know "why people no have whiskers?"  I think he felt slighted by the whole thing!

Doug got some nice shots of both boys by themselves on the hay - as well as some really cute class pictures.  I think he is quickly becoming the school photographer!  Doug also noted the Reece has decided he likes Grayson's class and very much just joined right in to the activities.  He is still too young for the class, but don't tell him - he is sure he's just one of the gang.