Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy B-day Babe

A few things we and our friends have figured out. We know how to eat. We know how to laugh. We know how to party. Friday, August 28th was Kenny's birthday and we celebrated with a bang! Thank you so much to all of our great friends who made the day so much fun.
We love you all so much and look forward to Kenny's 90th b-day when we're all sitting around the dinner table laughing even harder. (LOL! ;)

And to Kenny - last year when you turned 33 I made a list of 33 things I love about you. Let me just say "ditto" to all of that, and since you're 34 I'll add one more: I love that you are such a fun dining companion. Thanks for making me laugh every day since I've known you (even though most of the time it's at my expense). Happy Birthday Babe! Love you the most.

p.s. Thanks again Shari for making that delicious banana cake...he hasn't stopped raving about it! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Salad

So since I felt a bit of success with my Tri-Color Pasta recipe I thought I'd go out on a limb and post another one. This is just an easy salad I threw together with stuff I had on hand and it has turned out to be a minor hit this summer for BBQ's and get togethers. It is SO easy. All you need is lettuce, apples, Craisins (dried cranberries), oven roasted almond accents, feta cheese, strawberries, an onion, cooked cut up chicken (optional) and my favorite salad dressing - Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing (the one with the peach on the front).

First thing you need to do is spin your lettuce with a salad spinner. Why? Because it's fun. Especially if you have extremely talented spinners on hand to do the spinning for you.

Next I like to combine the apples, feta cheese, almonds, and Craisins in a bowl. You don't have to do this, I just love the feta cheese all over everything...and I love to snack on this yummy mixture before I eat the salad. Snacking along the way is the only redeeming quality I've found in cooking.

Add the diced onion and strawberries (if you like onion and strawberries) and wa-la! If the salad is a side dish, I don't add the chicken. The chicken is for when I want to pass my salad off as a meal. Many people who live in San Diego eat only salads for meals and are super skinny. It's rather annoying.

If you want to be super skinny (like many annoying people in San Diego), eat the salad w/o the dressing, but if you want the salad to be really yummy, eat it like I do - smothered in my favorite Brianna's dressing.

Now to really impress you I'm going to go one step further and give you my favorite BBQ chicken marinade (the one I used for my chicken in the above picture with the corn on the cob).

Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Chili powder

Whisk all ingredients together. Store in the refrigerator. Place meat in large Ziploc bag and pour in desired amount of sauce. Marinate 4 hours or overnight.

Good stuff!

I know. I'm a regular Martha. ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jack Bauer Power Hour

So what do you do when summer rolls around and you are a major TV junkie and there is NOTHING on TV? Clearly it's time for JACK BAUER POWER HOUR! Kenny and I started watching the 24 DVD's last summer and quickly decided it would be our new summer flick. Once again this summer they've kept us more than entertained. Right now we're knee deep in Season 4 and it's time to "Contact Jack Bauer or we're looking at a Nuclear Holocaust!" I'm so in love with Jack Bauer (and it's all good because my husband is too). The way he saves our country from complete and utter disaster time and time again. No crisis is too big, no situation too dangerous, no enemy too threatening. Every time he averts one catastrophe, a new and more ominous plot is uncovered. It's compelling, never ending, mind boggling, thrill seeking action and we can't get enough!

I have to go...Jack is dealing with a national security crisis and he needs my help. Jack Bauer Power Hour - Bring it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Missing Kenny

The sign says it all..."NO BOYS ALLOWED...DADDY ONLY." Except daddy wasn't here. Kenny was out of town this weekend so the girls and I had a party. A "girls only" party. Except Ellie felt sad when making the sign that daddy wasn't included. He is, after all, the only cool and acceptable boy. Kenny left Friday morning and a few hours later Ellie told a random lady she doesn't know that "my daddy is in another world and I miss him." Despite the fun girls weekend ahead, she was already missing Kenny.

Friday night the girls and I ate suckers and played "movie quotes" - I repeat a line from a movie (Disney or Barbie related) and they guess which movie it's from. I've been known to break out into song during this game as well (I can be pretty entertaining when my audience consists of a 3 year old, a 5 year old, and fifteen or so stuffed animals). A line I quoted from Swan Princess sparked an interesting conversation about arranged marriages. The conversation ended with the girls both agreeing they would marry daddy and daddy only. They were both really missing Kenny.

Saturday morning the girls woke up anxious for pancakes. Pancakes are Kenny's thing. The last time I made pancakes...hmm...let's just say things didn't go too well. I promised the girls we'd have pancakes Sunday afternoon when Kenny got home. They were not happy with me, but I knew if I made the pancakes, they would not be happy with the pancakes either. I poured the cereal. We were all three missing Kenny.

After breakfast we headed to the gym and then Target. I gave the girls fishy crackers in Target and figured I had at least fifteen minutes. I found some cute clothes for them and was holding some pants up to Addison to see if they would fit. She decided she wanted to try them on, so I let her. Then she took the pants off and ran away from me in the store in her underwear. Ellie was laughing her head off which only encouraged Addison more. I finally caught her and put her in a time out right in the middle of the towel isle. She screamed. People looked. I ducked. And oh how I was missing Kenny.

After Target we had some down time at home, but before long the girls were getting restless. I threw them in the car and we headed to the park. I was feeling like a pretty good mom to take them to play, but as soon as we got to the swings, all I heard about was how "daddy is the best swing pusher and he is so funny at the park and he even swings with us and is so silly and we love daddy and when will he be back?" The girls were once again missing Kenny.

After the park it was time for baths, dinner, teeth brushing and bed. Sounds simple enough, but before we even made it to dinner both girls had broken out in tears (Ellie because her p.j's suddenly felt too small and Addison because she bumped her lip and it was puffy and she wanted it to be flat again). I made dinner and then took a phone call. I got off the phone only to see that dinner had been suddenly relocated to the staircase and the girls had hauled down all of their "friends" to dine with them.

I moved them back into the kitchen and they both decided they just wanted yogurt. I was too tired to argue so yogurt it was. That lasted two seconds until Ellie (reaching for a "friend") knocked over her yogurt and it flew into the back of my living room couch and all over the kitchen floor. I started cleaning it up all the while screaming about how "NO MORE "FRIENDS" WOULD BE ALLOWED AT THE TABLE EVER AGAIN!" Ellie's response: "mom, are you mad or just really frustrated?" We finished yogurt and I got the girls upstairs only to begin the battle with Addison over getting her teeth brushed. I usually turn her over to Kenny for bedtime, but with him gone it was all me. I was tired. I was weak. And she knew it. She finally let me brush her teeth as long as I agreed to let her brush mine at the same time. I endured several painful pokes to the gums and then got her to bed. I was so missing Kenny.

30 minutes later, both girls were in bed. Exhausted, I fell onto the couch and turned on the TV. And what do you think popped up on the screen? "Replacements." A cheesy feel good movie about football where the underdog wins again. A favorite of my husband's. I've had to watch it, along with "Armageddon", more times than I care to admit. And once again...I found myself missing Kenny.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Christmas in August?

I was cleaning yesterday and walked into the living room to find this scene above. The girls snuck into my Christmas trunk and pulled out all the holiday "friends." I was about to make them put everything away (after all - it is August!) but then thought...why not? What's wrong with a little Christmas cheer to end the Summer and kick off Fall. And I have to admit that seeing this little kissing duo made me get a bit excited for Christmas myself. It also got me thinking...what holiday projects/gifts could I get a jump start on? Last year we were so busy with December activities that I felt stressed trying to fit everything in. I SWORE to myself (as I do every year) that I would start earlier the next year. So thanks girls. Thanks for the reminder that it's never to early to get excited and thinking about Christmas. Even if it is August! Eggnog anyone?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Making me (and Ellie) happy

Do I really have a child old enough to go "school shopping" for!? I'm so excited to have a Kindergartner! I've had a blast getting Ellie clothes, school supplies, lunch box, back pack...all the necessary supplies to get her off on the right foot. Ellie was trying on some of her clothes so I could see how they fit and Addison said "Ellie, you look like a fashion show!" (Now if I can just hide from Kenny how much money I spent on this fashion show) Ellie and I had fun shopping together but definitely had different tastes in clothes. I was drawn to everything cute and stylish...while she was drawn to...

this hideous pink monkey shirt. It was the only thing she really wanted for Kindergarten. So we have a deal. If she wears the above clothes that I picked out, I'll allow her to wear the monkey shirt (maybe on short field trip days or something...). We both left the mall happy.

Also making us happy is the art adorning my kitchen counter. Ellie learned how to draw various animals at Kindergarten camp a couple of weeks ago so we've been enjoying fun little pictures of birds, pigs, and chickens sprucing up our home. Her drawings always make me smile.

I'm also loving my new striped red rug from Target. On sale for a whopping 20 bucks! I've gone through so many red rugs in the 7 years I've lived in this house and I've spent way too much money on overpriced rugs that stain easily and are hard to clean. This cheap rug is easy to clean and a breeze to shake. And for the killer price...I was able to buy an extra rug for back-up! Makes me happy every time I walk into my kitchen. It's all about the little things.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Too much summer fun?

This summer has been one party after another. Dates with my husband...

dates with my husband and friends...

and dates with just my friends.

In fact, come to think of it, my friends and I have been partying quite a bit this summer and I have been really busy. Busy with the beach. Busy with the pool. Busy with lunch get togethers and dinner get togethers and every other excuse for a get together we can come up with. I have NOT been, however, busy with housework. Not busy with laundry. Not busy with normal wifely duties. My husband noticed the change in my schedule. He noticed the dirty floors. He noticed the dishes piling up (so much so that the sink started to emit a strange odor). He noticed that he was out of clean clothes. He noticed that there wasn't dinner on the table. ( dinner is the norm, but the dishes, sink smell, and laundry...NOT the norm) This husband of mine who works hard at his job every day started giving me a bit of grief about the "rough life I lead." And while we both know that being a stay at home mom isn't always a has appeared to be just that this summer. I was feeling a bit guilty so last Friday morning I went straight to work. And then I sent Kenny this e-mail:


Just wanted to let you know that this morning I did the following:

- Got the oil changed
- Cleaned the spots out of the carpet
- Did the dishes
- Scrubbed the kitchen sink (it is smelling oh so nice)
- Put away all the laundry that has been blocking every walk way upstairs
- Cleaned the kitchen but didn’t “stack” any of your precious papers anywhere
- Worked on reading/letters with Ellie
- Didn’t call to tell you this because I didn’t want to interrupt an important client call
- Didn’t text to tell you this since you think texting is completely overrated

No beach. No gym. No pool. No parties with friends. No “butterflies and flowers” for this stay at home mom.

Have I scored major points with my hardworking husband yet??? :)

Love, Cinderella

p.s. If you take the receipt from the oil change in with you sometime in the next two weeks you can get a great deal on a car wash. No I won’t “stack” and lose the receipt.
{side note*** Kenny thinks I "stack" his stuff when really I organize}

Kenny came home from work to a clean house and I felt my guilt wash away. In fact, I'm feeling so good that I think it's time to head to the beach! :)

Enjoy the last few carefree days of summer....guilt free!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Beach Bums

These two faces say it all...we are loving the beach this summer!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Addison's first day

My baby started pre-school last week. She couldn't wait to start, but cried when I left. She wanted to wear her "Belle" dress. At the end of the day she told me she had fun, but they had a snack and it was cheese and it wasn't as yummy as our cheese.

It was so weird doing our usual morning routine with the girls, but dropping off Addison instead of Ellie. Ellie was so excited to show her the ropes... where to go, how to "sit like a singer" at singing time, where her cubby is (in Ellie's old location), and of course, the best way to spin on the spinner. (Ellie is having major spinner withdrawls)

They were so adorable all morning - Addison excited and nervous, sitting so still and paying such close attention to the teacher...and Ellie with her every step of the way. I couldn't help feeling a bit emotional and proud watching them both... I sure love my girls.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Star Behavior Charts

While summer is carefree and fun, lately I've been feeling like most of my days are not so carefree. Or so fun. I've been spending most of my days yelling things like: "Enough fighting! Pick up those toys! Let go of your sister's hair! Yes you ARE wearing that! Addison can "be" that princess if she wants to! Just put it on! Don't make me ask you again! I thought I said to let go of her haaaaaiiirrrrrrr!!!" You get the point. We needed a little extra motivation around here. So...I made these fun Star Behavior Charts for the girls. There is a pocket for goals the girls are working on (these change weekly) and a pocket for rewards they get at the end of each week if they have most of their stars. I decided they get a pass on two stars since perfection is a bit much for a 3 & 5 year old.

I made two charts because sometimes the girls will be working on different goals and... well... because a fight over the one star chart would have completely defeated the purpose. :) The stars I cut from a bulletin board border I had from my teacher days and then I just drew a grid, laminated everything (I so love to laminate), and then cut the laminate to make a pocket for goals and rewards. The great thing with the rewards is that they are things we would have done anyway...a trip to SeaWorld, movie night with popcorn, the park, ice cream, etc. The girls decide what they want and then work for it all week. It's nice each time I feel like screaming to simply state "if you keep this up you won't get a star on your chart." Kids calm down and I don't worry about losing my vocal cords.

These are their charts after the first week (you can see that on Tuesday the fighting continued despite the charts...). Overall though, things went well and at the end of the week we had a fun family movie night with popcorn. They got all of their stars on week two so we spent last Saturday at SeaWorld. This week the girls are working towards a toy (a green monkey stuffed animal Ellie has had her eye on - to be exact). :)

A few days after enjoying their star charts, the girls decided they wanted to make one for me. I drew them a grid and they got to work decorating the chart. I asked Ellie what I needed to work on and she just said "it's going to be REALLY hard mom."

Guess I'll have to be on my best behavior.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Opposites Day

It's another miserable day in San Diego.

Kenny couldn't wait to go to work this morning.

I'm counting down the hours until I get to cook dinner.

Addison doesn't want to sleep with her blanket tonight.

Ellie doesn't think she'll play with any of her "friends" (stuffed animals) anymore.

Our local grocery store is always so nice and warm.

Matt Damon is such a tool.

The playroom is spotless right now.

Ellie is Addison, Addison is Ellie, Mommy is Daddy, and Daddy is Mommy.

I always remember to charge my cell phone.

Kenny always remembers to wear his seatbelt.

Addison doesn't want yogurt for breakfast again- it's too yucky.

I'm all caught up on my scrapbooking.

Ellie is not excited to go swimming today and especially hates the beach.

The girls are running around in their winter p.j's right now because it's just so cold.

I'm so over 'So You Think You Can Dance' and could care less who wins tonight.

Ellie hopes she never goes to Disneyland again.

Kenny won't be watching much football this fall.

I'm in the mood for some good meatloaf.

The princesses are so ugly. Especially Snow White.

Bummer that school will be starting soon...I really hate schedules and structure.

Ever seen the cartoon Little Bear? Well we watch a lot of it at our house and a favorite episode is titled 'Opposites Day.' Little Bear, Duck, Owl, Cat and Hen all walk around saying and doing everything opposite from the norm.
So...we've been having 'Opposites Day' at our house too. It's loads of fun. You really should try it. If you have a minute, leave me an 'opposite' comment (because every blogger hates comments). Hope you have a crappy Thursday! ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tri-Color Pasta

So I thought I'd share a favorite recipe. Yes. It's me. Erin. I promise. Are you over the shock of it all? It's no secret that I hate to cook. The kids eat early, Kenny's home late, and as for me...well...tonight I ate my kids' leftover corn on the cob and store bought cookie dough for dinner. BUT, I have been trying to be better and for weeks now have met my goal which is to cook two times a week (baby steps people). So this is one of my favorite recipes because it meets my recipe criteria: it's easy, yummy, and feeds the whole family. My girls won't eat the finished product, but I can set aside some plain pasta with sauce and broccoli for them. (I'm SO getting back everything I put my parents through with picky eating). Anyway - I know the suspense is killing you so here's my recipe:

{Tri-Color Pasta}

Brown one pkg Jimmy Dean pork sausage w/ chopped onion
In a separate pan, cook 1 pkg. penne pasta
When the pasta is mostly done, drain it and put it back in the pan
Add to the pasta:
the cooked sausage and onion
2 pkg frozen broccoli - cooked (the recipe says to cook the broccoli with the sausage, but I can't do this without over or under cooking the I cook my broccoli separate) :) The recipe also says one pkg of broccoli, but I love broccoli so I do two or just lots of fresh broccoli.
2 cans stewed Italian tomatoes (I usually cut these up a bit)
1 or 2 cans of tomato sauce (depends on how saucy you want it)
Sprinkle with garlic, oregano, and parmesan cheese (I just LOVE cheese)
Combine everything and warm it a bit and serve! Kenny and I are watching TV right now and I told him I'm posting a recipe and he is LAUGHING his head off. He asked which one and I told him one of our family favorites, Tri-Color Pasta. His response: "It's a family favorite by default... it's one of the only three recipes you cook!" Then he smugly added "You might as well be posting legal advice."

Hmmm... I'll show him. Tune in tomorrow for a complete run down on setting up your own corporation, the steps to ensure proper funding for said corporation, and potential exit scenarios, including reverse mergers and IPOs. And maybe if you're really lucky... I'll throw in another recipe.

Happy Monday

{A scene from the breakfast table last Monday}

Here's Ellie - happily munching away at her toast...

and here's Addison. Take a guess which of my daughters is NOT a morning person??!!

Happy Monday. Happy August!