Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We've all had the "snuffles" - allergies of some kind - something must have started flying. Andrew has been snuffling a lot and is hard to get to sleep. Like today he just wouldn't sleep at naptime and was only happy when being held. Hard to get anything done that way. Overall, he's fine, just having some issues with sleep at the moment - but just during the day (knock on wood), so we can deal with that. It was very hot today - we went to the park and Adam barely lasted 20 minutes. Otherwise, we are just working on adjusting to the fall term and a new schedule - wish us luck!
Adam was having fun pushing his brother around in the little stroller! While I LOVE our double stroller, if we just have one kid with us, it is a lot easier to use this one as it is a LOT smaller and lighter.

Rocks are hard to push on!

I'm stuck!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't say it unless you mean it....

So Adam was eating dinner and kept saying "down" even though he'd only eaten like 2 bites. So I wasn't letting him down - I was telling him to eat more of his dinner. I turn to Ray and joke that if he'd eat one piece of corn I'd let him down (because he still doesn't eat much in the way of veggies). Adam hears, processes....he eats ONE piece of corn, makes a terrible face, but swallows it and then looks at me and says "down?" So I was stuck - he got to get down as I'd said it...not meant it, but he doesn't get the distinction! But he did eat a piece of corn.....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's Up?

It's been crazy here with the start of school. The Randolph fair is also been going on and I spent two days there for the prolife group. We went out on Saturday to get some clothes for school. Really we've just been trying to get it all done before school plus then with Andrew's pox (all better now), we were under quarantee, per se, so I just got caught up for that!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick Update

We start fall term (classes for me, reporting to work for Ray) next week. This summer has flown by. We've been hectic trying to finish things up here - prep work, work on the house, etc. The upstairs is still a mess, but I'm making progress on cleaning/culling. I think we are down two bookshelves of books, which for us is amazing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bread and Butter Pickles

These are my homemade pickles from this weekend! I was quite impressed with myself (for some reasons making pickles seems like something that make me accomplished!) for these.

Bread and Butter Pickles
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

4 quarts of medium cucumbers, sliced
8 medium onions, sliced [they say white, I used yellow...I also didn't use quite this many]
1/3 cup pickling salt
3 cloves of garlic, halved
Ice [they said cracked, I use cubed from my freezer]
4 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 tbsp mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp tumeric [I used ground, not sure if I was supposed to, but it worked]
1 1/2 tsp celery seed

Combine cucumbers, onions, pickling salt and garlic. Add 2 inches of ice. Refridgerate for 3 hours, drain well. Remove garlic.
In a large kettle, combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, tumeric, and celery seed. Heat to boiling. Add cucumber mixture. Return to boiling. Pack cucumber mixture and liquid into hot, sterlized, pint jars, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids.

Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when water boils).

Makes 7 pints.

Chicken Divan and Broccoli Casserole

This was dinner a few days ago - nice and yummy! Very comforting as well. Ray even didn't mind it and he isn't big on cream sauces.

Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole

Modified from Rachael Ray via For the Love of Food

For the cream sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil [they used olive oil (EVOO)]
4 tbsp butter [they also used to coat the pan, I just used Pam on the pan]
1 small onion, diced [they used shallots]
4 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock [I used bouillion cubes]
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 (15oz can) cream of mushroom soup [okay, so I'm used to condensed, so bought it without thinking about it, so I mixed in the water and then measured]
1/2 cup dry white wine [I used extra chicken broth]

1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound extra wide egg noodles
3 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
2 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups fresh Parmesan cheese, grated [I just bought the bagged shredded stuff my store sells]

Bring a large pot of water (or two) to a boil for the broccoli and egg noodles. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make the mushroom sauce, heat a medium-size sauce pot over medium heat. Add EVOO and the butter. When butter melts, add in onions and cook 3 minutes, until just tender. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock (and wine if you use it), bring up to a bubble, then stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles and broccoli. They cooked them together in the same pot, just starting the egg noodles first and then adding broccoli with 5 minutes left. I cooked them separately as I like my broccoli actually cooked - I'm not a fan of this "barely" cooking trend. I actually steamed the broccoli while I boiled the noodles. In any case, just get them cooked.

Add the creamy mushroom sauce, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan, and the chicken to the pot and toss the noodles & broccoli to coat in the sauce mixing well. To prepare the casserole, lightly coat a 9x13 casserole dish with Pam (or butter) then transfer the cream-of-mushroom noodles to the dish and top with the reserved shredded cheeses. Bake for about 15 minute or until bubbly. They broiled it at the end, but honestly it was browned enough for me without that.

Serves 8-10.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matching Shirts

Aren't the boys cute in their matching shirts?
I think Andrew is thinking, "what is my big brother doing?"

What's wrong with this picture?

Adam put these on himself - can you see what is wrong?

Chicken Pox Thoughts

Andrew (knock on wood) seems to be improving - hopefully he'll be in the 2 week, not 3 week group. Kids didn't really change where we went because we didn't go places that kids can't go and we just take them wherever we go. But this chicken pox is getting to us! We can't take Andrew out, so we are all of sudden very "stifled." Its also been hard on Adam - its much harder to take him to the park or the library since Andrew can't go.

I also think its kind of strange that there now is a shot for chicken pox. For me, chicken pox is just part of childhood...but no longer, I guess! The doctors were all a bit confused - they hardly see chicken pox anymore and the doctor actually called in a second opinion! It just seems strange to me.....

More Pool Fun


These are Adam's new skills - naming planets and relativity.:) You can imagine who "helped" with these!

Making Cookies

Adam was helping me make cookies for Grandpa, which involved crushing nuts - fun for a 2 year old!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicken Pox

Yep, seriously - Andrew has the chicken pox. Adam was immunized at age 1, but Andrew (three months today) hasn't been. We weren't sure what it was - we originally thought heat rash as it started where he sweats the most, but it spread over the course of 24 hours and the spots started scabbing, so into the doctor's we went. They actually aren't used to chicken pox much now that kids are being immunized so the doctor had another concur, but they both agreed it was chicken pox. The thing is that Andrew doesn't have any other symptoms - he looks miserable and seems uncomfortable (he has a harder time falling asleep, but he's fine once he's asleep), but no fever or anything like that. One good thing - he's too young to be able to scratch! Ray and I have both had the chicken pox, so hopefully no one else in the household will be miserable.

We think Andrew got this at story hour - that's really the only place where he's around a lot of unknown kids. So he's "quaranteed" for now. Hopefully he'll heal in 2, versus 3, weeks!

Oh, we'll know for sure at a year if he really has the chicken pox (of course, if anything changes now to the worse, we'll go back to the doctor's) - they do a routine blood draw then and can check to see if he has the immunity so they know whether to give him the vaccine or not!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Taco Pasta Toss

This was dinner tonight. It was good, but not spectular. Honestly, I'd just rather have tacos. But I think it could be a fun kids party item - tacos and spaghetti together! Anyway, it is a good staple meal if you are looking for a way to change up tacos. It is also very easy.

Taco Pasta Toss
Modified from Rachael Ray

Salt and pepper
1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta [I used rigatoni which I had in the cupboard and about 1/2 lb because Adam just eats the meat.]
1 pound hamburger [they used ground sirloin and added some olive oil - I just used regular hamburger and so had enough fat, I even drained some]
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder [I used ancho chili powder, the stuff from the mole chili that I really liked]
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 cup tomato paste [my frozen stuff frome earlier!]
One 12-ounce bottle beer or 1 1/2 cups chicken stock [I actually used vegetable broth here]
2 cups shredded cheddar, monterey jack or any Mexican semisoft cheese [I used the shredded Mexican store blend]

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, brown the beef, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, the jalapeño, garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the broth.

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Spoon into a serving dish, top with the cheese and tent with foil to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. You can top this with extra onion, tomatoes and lettuce like tacos if you like - we didn't.

Serves 4 [as usually with RR more than that]

Painting + Two Year Old

What a Mess!

Spring cleaning didn't happen (no big shock), so its fall cleaning. This is my sorting of the boys clothes - what a mess!

Adam's New Favorite Mode of Transportation!

He likes to try to convince Daddy to run...as you can imagine that is hard work on Ray!

Oat-Bottom Brownies

I just mailed cookies overseas and this was my new recipe of the month. I'm a terrible brownie baker (ask Andrea about our first attempt....) - even out of the box, but decided to try again. These actually turned out, but honestly they weren't "for" me. I like more "cakey" brownies. I think the reason I have so much trouble with brownies is that I can't figure out how to make ones I like. But these are good if you like a fudgy brownie.

Oat-Bottom Brownies

Modified from For the Love of Food, who got it from Julie Andersen
Oat Bottom:
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Light brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
14 oz. bittersweet chocolate [I used a bag of bittersweet chips plus enough shares to finish it out - I think I needed 2 more oz - chips mean no cutting, which I like and they were cheaper]
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate [this seems like a lot of types, but that adds to the taste and honestly I had it all but bittersweet]
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 eggs [they specified large, but I always use extra large when baking so I just used that]
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 13 baking dish. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder & salt. Add butter and stir until thoroughly combined. Press mixture evenly into bottom of dish. Bake 12 minutes & cool.
Okay, they used a food processor to deal with the chocolate and the mixing - that seemed like a pain to me as I hate cleaning the food processor. So what I did was start the butter meleting and then chop the chocolate with a knife and add it and 1/2 cup of sugar and melted it in the microwave. That worked for him. Then I put this all in the stand mixer (after finishing, I think you could do this by hand pretty easily) and added cocoa powder, rest of the sugars and combined. Then I added eggs and vanilla and mixed. Then you add in flour adn salt and mix.
***They added nuts (which they toasted) at this point. I hate nuts, hence I didn't put any in.
Pour batter over baked bottom, spread evenly. Bake about 40-45 minutes until tester in center comes out slightly moist. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares!

Sunday, August 08, 2010


We were finishing up with painting now.
Back awning
Stairs to our basement - we put on this door last year, but just now got to painting!
Adam helping paint (that's water by the way, not paint)

Playing the Harmonica

Adam is so musical - we so aren't! We'll invest in music lessons later! He's really into the Little Einsteins right now! Its so cute to hear him try to say "Einsteins!"

Thursday, August 05, 2010


These took forever to get!

Dancing with the Kids

We were making a "summer" CD today and so listening to a lot of fun songs and ended up dancing with the kids (and each other!). We were also trying to get Andrew to smile FOR the camera and the dancing was making him laugh!


Its been a bit crazy around here. My classes at LRSC are finished for the summer, so I down to just one class right now - what a nice break! So now its just prep work. I'm also working on "spring" cleaning since I didn't get any done in the actual spring. I've been going through kids' clothes and "found" Adam some new shorts...they are actually 12 month shorts, but he's so skinny they fit fine. He probably never wore them when they were his "size," because it was so much easier to keep him in onsies or one pieces.

Work has also been keeping Ray busy as the grants and proposals he's been working on get near their due date. So really that's it for us!



This was on our table outside.

Grading Exams

Andrew wanted to be outside, so I set up grading outside for him!

Finishing Up

Ray doing a little sanding to finish this up - we are painting this weekend!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Why not do all three at once? My Adam is so smart!

Horsie Ride!

Isn't that a great grin?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Andrew Update

Andrew has moved up to 6 month clothes already!