Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wiggles Galore

The boys love to watch The Wiggles. Since it's the only show they get to watch, we have about 15 or 20 episodes saved on our DVR. We just replay the same ones over and over. Eric and I prefer the old yellow Wiggle Greg to the newer yellow Wiggle Sam, but the boys don't care either way. Both boys can name all of the Wiggles, including Captain, Wags, Dorothy and Henry, and Connor is pretty good at telling you their name and color. When you ask either boy what kind of animal is Henry...they say...Ocpus. He's an Octopus. They have started interacting with the show now and answering the silly questions. Here is a really cute video of Connor doing the Boot Scoot. This video is a typical night at our house after bath time. Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nothing New...

There's not a lot going on right now, but I felt the need to post a couple pictures of the boys. I tell you what, they are SO much fun right now!!!! They are both saying 3 word sentences, Connor knows all of his colors, Brandon knows a few of his colors, they are both asking to sit on the potty (YAY), and they are just down right hilarious. We are officially DONE with the pacies. I don't think they even asked for them yesterday. I was dreading the day I would have to get rid of them, but they didn't shed 1 tear about it. We'll hit potty training with full force in about another month or 2, but for now they are sitting on it before bed. I'll start putting them on the potty in the morning soon, but I'm not going to push it. One day at a time!

The boys were watching their show before nap time, but Brandon couldn't make it :( Such a sweet boy...I wouldn't trade my boys for anything!

It was a rainy day yesterday, so we had arts and crafts time.

I also started some serious spring cleaning. I took a bunch of stuff to the consignment store, and have much more to take to Catholic Charities today. I valued all of my items for tax purposes using the Thrift Shop Value chart from the Salvation Army, and it all valued at almost $600. Trust's A LOT! Hopefully all of my clothes and kitchen stuff will help a family who is struggling right now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Egg/Nut free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made the boys their first chocolate chip cookie today! My friend noticed that Hersheys Brand chocolate chips ARE NOT processed with nuts!!! I called Hersheys and talked to them and they confirmed that their chocolate chips are processed in a nut free facility. Thank goodness!!! I used Mrs. Fields Double Rick Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup salted butter, softened
3 large eggs (I used my EnerG egg replacer)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and cocoa powder well with a wire whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer at a medium speed. Add butter and beat to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add eggs and vanilla. Beat at a medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at a low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 21-23 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool surface.

I increased the oven temp to 350 and baked the cookies for about 12-15 minutes. All of Mrs Fields recipes tend to "slow bake" cookies. I don't have time to "slow bake"

Here's the finished product topped with some "too whip" as Connor calls it.

The boys LOVED the cookies! They both ate really well at dinner tonight, and definitely earned a treat. They ate these warm and loved them. Connor ate 4 and Brandon ate 2. It felt good to give them a somewhat normal dessert.

I ran to church this morning and then to work for a few hours. It was boys day today! Here are a few cute pictures of them watching the Wiggles before their nap.

Now, here are some cute videos from the past couple of days.

Connor showing off his verbal skills

The way my days have been the last week or so...lots of crying for no reason...gotta love 2 year olds

Connor telling me about his day...and Brandon just being cute

Our future sports players. I'm betting Connor will play soccer and football and play on the defense in both sports. Brandon, on the other hand will be a baseball (pitcher) player and on the offensive side of football. We also think Brandon is going to be a lefty. He throws, eats, and kicks with his left side. Wonder where he got that...neither of us are left handed...hmmmm...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Big boys eat in big chairs

It was another beautiful day, so the boys and I ate lunch outside after Speech Therapy and Mother's Day Out. I'm not sure what's up with Connor, but I'm thinking he might have an ear infection. He's been really fussy lately, not eating as much, and wanting to cuddle a lot. His ear infections manifest themselves in different ways every time. We have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday so I'll have him looked at then. He doesn't have a fever, so I'm thinking he might just be acting like a traditional 2 year old. Nevertheless, we're maintaining status quo around here.

Oh yeah...more BIG news....WE HAVE BEEN "BABA" FREE FOR 2 WHOLE DAYS. I spend more time gathering the boys' pacies from behind their cribs that I figured they just didn't need them anymore. They asked for them at nap time on Wednesday and I just said, "BABAs are all gone" and they BOUGHT IT! Bedtime has been a little rough, but they usually settle down within about 30 minutes. I miss the babas because it means they aren't babies anymore :( It was time though. I was dreading the day when I would have to take them away, but I'm glad I waited until they were ready for it. They still ask for them, but now they tell me "baby has babas" which is what I tell them!!! I have them in a ziploc bag in the office...just in case...but I don't forsee myself giving in anytime soon. It's time to be big boys...this is the last picture we have with them and their beloved BABAs.

Kate Burgers

These aren't actually called Kate Burgers, but that's what my friend calls them since I passed the recipe on to her. They are actually called Steakhouse Sliders thanks to Rachael Ray. Well, most of the appreciation should go to my friend Jessica since she told me about them. THANKS JESS!!! She's my go-to person when it comes to meal ideas. Want to know why???? Check out her blog...Johnstone Vin Blanc on my favorite links section and you'll see why.

I made these for the boys' birthday party and for a baby shower. They are very easy, very delicious, and can make enough to feed an army...or hungry Army Man! Eric had a very long day trying to jump out of a plane yesterday and didn't get home until 7. Of course, they didn't feed my hungry hubby all day. I think he was very happy to see these burgers, fresh spinach and egg salad, and some teddy bear shaped pasta salad waiting for him when he got home!

I cut the recipe in half to feed just my family...12 mini burgers will do it...I didn't need 24.


  • 2 tablespoons grill seasoning, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon
  • 3 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 24 mini burger rolls, such as small dinner rolls, split

Coat a 9 by 12-inch rimmed baking sheet (they sell disposable pans this size if you do not have one) with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the meat with Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons grill seasoning and parsley. Spread meat into pan in 1/2-inch layer all the way to corners of pan. Coat the top of meat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until firm but a little pink at center. Rest meat 5 minutes then cut into 24 square mini burgers.

I toasted my buns for 5 minutes right after the meat came out. Since you have to let the meat rest, it was the perfect time to toast the bread a little.

This is my favorite yummy spinach salad. I buy Girards brand Spinach Dressing. That's the name...Spinach Dressing. I put about 1 tbsp in a saucepan with a little red onion, heat it up a little. Next, I toss in a TON of spinach and turn the burner off. I toss the spinach enough to coat it with the dressing. I add some mushrooms and tomatoes and EAT UP! It's very low calorie, low fat, and packed with all of the awesome vitamins from the spinach.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We Lied...this one is cuter

Eric is trying to teach the boys to answer questions with YES and NO. Of course, the know the word NO, but they haven't picked up on YES yet. If you ask them, "Do you want more milk?" They say, "more milk." Now, Brandon has started saying's proof! How did we get so lucky to have such cute kiddos?????? What a blessing.

2 EASY and one MEDIUM

I made a Jambalaya recipe I found in the coupon section of the newspaper. It is supposed to feed a family for under $10. Well...IT DID! I actually only spent 3.29 to make this meal. I had butter and garlic at home already. I purchased the rest of the ingredients at the commissary...including 2 coupons. NOT BAD!

2 tbsp butter
Rice a Roni Spanich Rice
garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 pkg Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices. I bought the turkey kind

In large saucepan, over high heat, saute for 5 minutes..
rice only from Rice a Roni box
1 minced garlic clove
chopped onion
chopped bell pepper

Mix in and bring to a boil
2 cups water
diced tomatoes
Rice a Roni seasoning packet

Lowver heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Remove from heat, stir, and serve with hot sauce to taste.

This was very yummy, very easy, and very quick! The boys weren't big fans of this, but that's ok. I doubt many kids like Jambalaya! They had PB & J with some fruit.

Now for the recipe with MEDIUM difficulty. This meal cost me less than $20, and this was a very healthy, well balanced absolutley delicious meal. That $20 includes a whole bottle of wine when I only needed 1 1/2 cups. I have a lot of staple items since I cook so much...including EVOO, butter, garlic etc. The $20 doesn't include those, but you get my point!

Turkey Cutlet with Tart Cherry Sauce and Garlicky Green Beans...courtesy of Sandra Lee - Semi-homemade!

1 1/2 pounds turkey cutlets cut in 1/2 inch slices
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp EVOO
1 1/2 cups Merlot or other red wine
1 cal (15 oz) tart cherries, drained
2 tbsp frozen OJ concentrate
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cold butter cut into pieces

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Season turkey with salt and pepper.

In a large ziploc bag, combine turkey and flour. Seal bag and shake to coat turkey. Remove turkey from bag and shake off excess flour.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey to hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through, adding additional oil as necessary. Transfer turkey to prepared baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.

Add wine to skillet, scraping up any brown bits in pan. Add drained cherries, frozen OJ, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat, swirl in cold butter, one piece at a time until incorporated.

I let that simmer while I finished up the green beans.

1 pkg frozen green beans, 16 oz
1 tbsp EVOO
4 strips precooked bacon, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter

I started steaming the green beans while the turkey was cooking. She says to microwave them, but I prefer to steam them on the stove top. After they are steamed, drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon, garlic, and butter to hot oil. Cook until garlic is a light golden brown, do not let garlic burn!

Add beans to skillet, toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.


In a nutshell, I was able to feed my family of four 2 dinners for under $25. The meals were very hearty, healthy, delicious, and well balanced. Can't beat that!!!!!

Total Cuteness

Here is a really cute video of the boys playing with each other. They are such a joy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wine Poached Tilapia with Herb Sauce

I have to say that I really don't like fish mainly because of the way it smells. However, I vowed to try new things in 2009 and I've been doing pretty well! Today, I made a Wine Poached Tilapia with Herb Sauce (Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade recipe) along with some risotto, and steamed green beans. All of us chowed it down. Connor ate almost a whole fillet himself while Brandon only took one bite. At least he tried it. Connor ate a ton of the risotto too and earned a treat! Brandon, on the other hand, did not eat very well so he didn't earn his treat. It's hard to give a treat to one and not the other, but that's only way they will learn, right? I did give Brandon some raisins though and he seemed perfectly happy with that. Here's the recipe

2 cups white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 rib of celery cut into four pieces
1 carrot, shaved and cut into 4 pieces (I just used some frozen carrtos!!!!)
1 thick onion slice, peeled
6 tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry (I only made 3 since leftover fish isn't very good)
2 tsp Old Bay seafood seasoning
1 packet (1.6 oz) garlic herb sauce mix, Knorr brand
1 tbsp butter

1. In a large skillet, combine win, broth, celery, carrot, and onion. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a low simmer

2. Season both sides of fillets with Old Bay. Carefully slide fillets into poaching liquid, and poach for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove fillets, cover and set aside. Ladle 1 1/2 cups poaching liquid into small saucepan. Stir in Knorr packet mix and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

Serve tilapia hot with sauce drizzled over the top.

The fish was very delicious and tender. I think it was a little salty, so I might lay off the Old Bay and make sure to buy low sodium broth. My Old Bay was the low sodium kind, but something made it taste a little too salty.

I started the risotto first since it takes a while to cook. It's delicious in the end, and worth the 20 minutes of stirring to get there. I just used a recipe on the back of the arborio rice container.

1 cup uncooked arborio rice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter (I use trans fat free kind)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups broth...chicken or vegetable

Saute onion in oil and butter for about 3 minutes

Add rice, stirring for about 2 minutes

Stir in 1 cup of broth. Continue cooking and stirring unti liquid is absorbed

Gradually stir in remaining broth 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more

Yields about 3 cups

You can see the steam coming yummy!

I started the green beans when the rice was done. They don't take long to steam...I don't think I need to explain how to steam a veggie!!!

The finished product. Like I said, this was very delicious and I will definitely make it again...soon! Thank you Sandra Lee!!!!

Daddy's Home

Eric made it home safe and sound just after 9 last night. He asked me to keep the boys up...and boy were they excited to see Daddy. He walked in the front door and I said, "Connor..who is that?" he said "DADDY" They wrestled, gave Daddy lots of hugs and sweet boy kisses on the cheek, and played for about 30 minutes before I had to step in and say BEDTIME. Eric thinks they grew since he was home a month ago. I put their jammies on last night and thought the exact same thing. Those particular jammies were really big when I bought them in December, and now they fit. They have been eating so much food lately, and a growth spurt would explain why.

Brandon's cough is really bad, but the treatments have been helping. He must have felt really awful at lunch yesterday because he just sat in his chair and cried. After I got him calmed down, I decided to let him have a popsicle...and that did the trick. Here they are eating their first popsicles!!!

I gave them each a different flavor. They realized that and actually passed the popsicles back and forth to share. That's kinda gross, but sweet at the same time. Brandon ate almost all of avocado or turkey roll up, but at least he ate something. I know my throat was very sore, so I can't blame him for not wanting to eat.

Here's a cute picture of Connor sitting in the office chair with his "ulator" aka calculator!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One More Day

Eric is on his way home and hopes to be here around 9 Thursday night. This is the very last time he'll be gone for an extended period of time for at least 2 more years. He has a few conferences here and there but nothing major. We bought this house 5 years ago and he's been gone for 2 of those years. Those 2 years consist of a 6 month deployment, 14 month deployment, airborne school, EFMB course, and this 10 week career course he just finished. The boys are 25 months old and he's been gone for almost 17 of those months. It'll be nice to have him around!!!!! He's still on track to start the residency this summer which will be like dental school all over again, but at least he's here and will be a part of the family as studying permits.

We've all had a really nasty head cold the last few days. It hit me really hard on Sunday night, and I was forced to plow through Monday. I haven't felt that bad in years :( Brandon has it now, and is coughing A LOT! Time to get that nebulizer back out. Any time he gets a cold, it goes right to his little lungs and gets infected. The neb treatments help keep his airways open and keeps him from getting a respiratory infection. He woke up really early this morning...right in the middle of my morning workout of course. I grabbed him and snuggled him into my bed while I continued to work out. Then Connor woke I grabbed him and snuggled him into my bed as well. I tell you what, that worked out pretty well. They watched the Today Show and sipped on some milk while I did my strength training!!!!

Here's a cute video of the boys playing with the dump trucks they got from one of their little playgroup friends!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beautiful Day

The last few days have been beautiful. The boys and I ate lunch on the deck yesterday!!!

After lunch, we played in the sandbox and then they took their nap. When I got the boys up, I asked Connor what he wanted for dinner. He looked me straight in the eyes and said "pantakes" So, we had Brinner (Breakfast for dinner) They both chowed down on some homemade pancakes with "too whi" (cool whip) and some homemade blackberry glaze. Yumm-o.

We spent 3 hours at the park this morning and it was SO beautiful outside. I'm glad there's some spring weather heading our way. They are waking up from their nap now...back outside we go. Enjoy this cute video from last night.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Cake

We had a little surprise baby shower for a really good of the moms in my playgroup. She and her husband are expecting baby #2 and are moving to Germany next month. Life is going to get really hectic for her over the next few weeks, so we needed to have a small shower for her before that happens. We all had a really nice time and all of the kiddos played really well together. The boys just crashed, and I'm going to follow them and crash on the couch. I loved this cake!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will absolutely make it again. It took 2 hours start to finish...including clean up! Not too bad! I used a boxed cake mix, but made buttercream from scratch. Even though the baby is's a joyful cry!!!

I had some left over buttercream so I made these...

Brandon discovered the bouncy seat and wanted to test drive it! He was so cute sitting in that seat...makes me remember when they were little enough to sit in it.

Here's a picture of the twindles!!!!

Cute Boys

Here are a few cute videos of the boys from last night.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Beginning of the Last

Today is the beginning of the last year of my life in my 20's. Thanks to everyone who sent, emailed, called, and facebooked me birthday wishes. Theresa made me a rockin' good Orange Cream cake for my birthday. All I had to eat was half of a grapefruit for breakfast and some veggie for lunch so I could PLOW into the cake and not feel totally guilty. It was sinfully delicious. Dinner is some soup...nothing else!!!!

Connor's jacket zipper busted on Sunday at church. I'm not sure how, but I wasn't able to repair it. Try finding a winter jacket this time of year. All I found were shorts and tank tops! I finally found some at Sears for 40% off and ended up buying them both one...and one size big so they will still fit next year. I found 2 on clearance at as well and will probably go ahead and keep them since they were only $11 each. Here are some pictures of the boys sporting their new threads.