Thursday, June 28, 2012

What a Day....

So I am trying to take tomorrow off (it is our 10th wedding anniversary!), so that means I'm trying to make sure everything is current in my classes, etc.  So I really needed the boys to nap today. So, of course, they didn't.  Now I did get my work done (amid much interruptions....and for no reason other than to be an interruption...all parents will get that type!) and am currently letting the boys have a treat (eating in the living room) before we'll all go downstairs (coolest place in the house....).  It is also like 95 here today, so the boys don't want to be outside (I get that....), but I also don't want them watching too much TV....agh!  We did go to lunch with Daddy today (which is why Andrew didn't nap...he fell asleep in the car, which is a very bad thing....) and went to the library (I wanted somewhere they could play in AC).  But then coming home to try to work....seriously, been a long afternoon!  But I am on track for tomorrow....I'll check in once more tonight to make sure all that can be answered is (my students have been informed I'm unavailable tomorrow) and then hopefully all goes well and I don't have TOO much email on Saturday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Adam and I made this butterfly for Great-Gram Stannard's birthday (she'll be 88 in about a week or so!)


Adam likes to sit in the water table! 
Andrew vaccuuming for him - his coverage needs work, but I'll take what I can get!


I love this article because I'm so glad fathers are finally getting the attention they deserve.  I hate that fathers are often overlooked by the system.  Fathers should be given the same benefits that mothers are.  The system should try to help both parents, with the goal of as much support to kids and families as possible.


So this article is about how House Hunters is staged....and who didn't know this?  Of course it is staged! Duh! All these shows are!

Rare Election Photos

This are great! I just love the ones of JFK on top of cars and on the kitchen stool!  Just fun! Enjoy!

Some Videos

Some recent videos of the kids:

Swim Lessons

We put the boys in swim lessons.  Adam is doing Beginnig Floater, so in a regular class with a teacher while Andrew is doing parent/toddler.

Adam did really well, I was afraid he would freak out, but he did awesome!  He's not afraid of water, but can be weird, but he did great!

Saffron Rice

My friend, Mo, brought me back saffron from the Middle East (she was deployed there).  You can get it cheap there.  So I've been wanting to use it.  I tried this, but I have to say I couldn't really taste saffron, but then I don't know what it should taste like....I think I need to try something else. Maybe I didn't use enough saffron? I just don't know...rice was good, but honestly I mostly tasted the chicken stock.

Saffron Rice
Modified from Paula Deen
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock (I used bouillon)
pinch saffron threads
salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, melt butter then add onions and rice to coat with butter. Pour in stock, saffron and S&P. Raise to high and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid and fluff.
Serves 4-6.

Random Pictures

Playing games - Small World
Taking a lunch break inside from the pool!
Playing in the sandbox with his friend, Niles
This is why we love our car dealership - they really try to cater to kids! It really helps as it is NEVER a short trip with cars. I have to say VanDevere is a great company, I've been impressed, as much as a car place can! The Traverse was the second car we bought from them.

Goggle Boys

Someone at work was throwing these goggles out and so Ray brought some home to use when doing work - like running the saw.  The boys are in love though!


So I just finished this scarf....but I actually started it when I was pregnant with Adam in 2007!  Adam would go crazy and jab my lungs when I tried working on it, so I put it aside...and it kept getting put aside! I finally finished it!
So this is Pat working on it, Christmas 2007.        
So yes, I started this when I was pregnant with him.....

Optimus Andrew

So Adam got out his Halloween costume for some unknown reason.  So then Andrew wanted to wear it - looks good on him!


Adam continues his obsession with inators, thanks to Phineas and Ferb.  Everything is an "inator!"

Red Velvet Brownies

This is a new recipe I made recently.  It turned out well!

2 (4 oz each) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped - okay this said "bittersweet" - you can see I found a lot of variety and really I can't tell the difference. Maybe a Chopped judge could...not me!  Especially the various bars...they were only about 2% difference, just not a big change.  Now the dark chocolate chips (the cheapest choice) are about 10% off and you have to measure them.  You can see I used my PO scale!  So the other stuff is easier to measure.  But really - go with what you want!

1 1/2 cup butter
4 cups sugar
8 large eggs
3 cups flour
1 (1 oz) bottle red food coloring (I think you can actually do less wanted one per pan (this is for 2), and I think you can do even less...I'm hoping to do a quadruple batch (so double this one) on one bottle as I figured out one bottle is $3.38....I'm cheap!)

3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of a 2 (9 inch) pans with foil. Lightly grease.
Melt chocolate with butter in microwave at high for 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals.
Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Whisk just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients (I did all the dry in one bowl first before adding them in as a lump). Pour mixture into prepared pans.
Bake at 350 for 44-48 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool for about 30 minutes, pull out of foil and cool completely on wire racks before removing foil and cutting into squares.
Makes 32 servings (2 pans).

So in my quest to figure out the coloring issue, I did one "plain" so the brown one...the red one is what it looked like with 1/2 bottle, so quite red (that's the cut up at the top as well), so that's why I think I can make it go even further.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Southwest Chicken Wontons

I made these for Ray and Jason a week or so ago as a test for our game night - as I said earlier, I'm working on app recipes that are more "hearty."  Well, as I'm making these, I'm thinking I have way too many....nope. The boys literally gobbled them!  I had to hide a few to toss in the freezer to see how they freeze!

Modified from Picky Palate

2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup finely diced white onion (I used the dicer)
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper (same here)

2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) chicken, diced (she used canned chicken....I'm not a fan....I used leftover baked chcken, just diced up finely)

palmful dried cilantro (she used 1/4 cup fresh)
1/4 cup salsa verde (so the green stuff...I used Herdez as she did)

2 tbsp ranch dressing
1/2 package wonton wrappers (I used about 3/4 the package)
1 egg white with 2 tbsp water
Heat oil and saute oil and pepper for 5 minutes or until soften. Stir in garlic and suate for another minute.
In large bowl, mix onion mixture, chicken, cilantro, sals, ranch and S&P to taste. Mix until well combined.
Place small amout of chicken mixture onto wonton wrapper, fold over and use egg wash to seal, making a triangle.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through the cooking. Make sure to put some cooking spray on the pan, by the way.

***You could fry these if you wanted.....not as good for you.

These were a total hit and I will definitely be taking them to the next game night!

Good Zoo

On our last day (Monday) in WV, Ray had to actually present, so the boys and I went to the Good Zoo. It was small and enjoyable.  It was spitting (not even raining) and almost empty, which was great for us! We spent a long, enjoyable time here!

Train ride around the park! 
Up close to the zebras! 
Lunch - french fry sandwich which Adam DID eat!

Mining for gems

Checking out the spectulated bear!

Hotel Fun

So travelling with kids means trying to make hotels fun and getting them to SLEEP in a weird situation. Our solution? Technology!  The Kindle Fire, our laptops, portable DVD player - it worked!

Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum

I have to give this musuem a HUGE thumb-up for kid friendliness!  So we had planned to do a different museum, but parking turned out to be a mess, so we went here.  We were both worried that it would all be look, no touch, which with kids would be a problem. What toys I can touch?  But they had the "good" stuff on the walls (behind glass), then in the middle of every room, toys to PLAY with (the rejects pretty much, but the kids didn't care!).  Awesome!
They had robots set up to run!

Slot cars - the boys LOVED running these!

Olgebay Park, West Virginia

We recently went to WV (Wheeling area) for a conference for Ray.  The area is VERY kid-friendly, only about a 2 hour drive and very pretty.  There is even a HUGE Cabela's there, so we will be taking my father back next time he comes!
 Running around!
Playground that was walking distance from our hotel

The deer weren't scared of anything!