Sunday, July 31, 2011

The End is Nigh

The end of the world as we know it is near!  The end of summer, that is - oh, we will still have this heat I am sure, but the kids are going back to school, fall sports will be getting prepared for, and schedules will be much fuller.  For the kids that is.  I, for one, have a list of things that I am looking forward to getting done once school starts again!  I will be able to get back to my poor, neglected sewing machine for one.  I had plans of fitting it into my weekly summer routine, but then a certain baby started crawling 3 MONTHS before his siblings ever did so that idea flew out the window!  That isn't the only thing that stopped me though, my work schedule has been nuts the past few weeks as well.  I have talked to my boss (dad) and he has agreed that after I finish up this last project, that he will let me do the minimum that I can for a couple of weeks so that I can make sure the kids have a rockin' last 2 weeks of summer!  I have really LOVED this summer - it is the first summer in 4 years that I have been at home and able to do fun things with the kids.  Well, I was home last summer but was pregnant and sick all the time so don't really count that....  Also, this summer, we took our first family vacation without my parents - wow, I feel like a real adult now!  I love vacationing with all of my family so much but it was a nice bonding time for me, Mike, David and Ally - especially with how much time and energy was devoted to Wyatt with me on bedrest the last couple of months of pregnancy and then the whole having a new baby - those kids really deserved the extra attention!  Wyatt had his first sleepover at my parent's house so he was pretty happy as well.  I will miss all the fun until next summer but boy am I looking forward to having the house to myself again (well, except for Wyatt, of course).

So, what am I going to do with all of my newfound free time?  Number 1 - have more time with God.  Then, sew, organize, and clean out!  I also want to get more organized with my couponing and see if can can figure out a way to stop my desk from looking hurricane-hit within hours of cleaning it off!  I am an orderly person - I have no idea what happens!!!  Maybe I can sweet talk the hubby into putting some shelves up for me hmmm...

What about you?  Are you sad or happy that summer is ending?  Why?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Last week's meal plan worked well - the only exception is that we ended up going out to eat on night so that night's meal got pushed to this week.  Not bad!  Here is what this week looks like:

Tuesday:  dinner out, at Chili's (hoping to get an email coupon today for kid's eat free like I have the last 3 months)

Wednesday(Mike):  Hamburger Casserole

Thursday:  Steph's Southwestern Chicken and Rice Casserole, salad, chips and salsa

Friday:  Breakfast for dinner!  Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit salad

Saturday (Mike):  Turkey spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad

Sunday:  Fajitas, refried beans, rice, salad

Monday:  Chicken Lollipops, stir-fry veggies

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On My Counter

Italian Sausage Lasagna
From The Betty Crocker Cookbook


1 lb bulk Italian pork sausage
1medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes (from 28-oz can), undrained
1 can (15 oz) Muir Glen® organic tomato sauce
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (12 oz)
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese or small-curd cottage cheese (2 cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.
2.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, sugar, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered about 45 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3.  Heat oven to 350ºF. Cook and drain noodles as directed on package.
4.  In medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and the oregano.
5.  Spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Top with 4 noodles. Spread 1 cup of the cheese mixture over noodles; spread with 1 cup of the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 4 noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, 1 cup of the sauce mixture and 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining noodles and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
6.  Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake about 15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
Serves 8 - add salad and garlic bread and it is ready for everyone to enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Yeah, I know it is Tuesday but yesterday was a holiday so I am counting today as Monday ;-)  This week, I am starting meal planning and sticking to it!  I will post my plans on Mondays as Tuesday is grocery day.  This, in correllation with "On My Counter" will help me keep track of some of the meals that I have made in the past as well as help me not repeat too often, hopefully.  I hope others will join me because I really don't have too many meal ideas :-)

Tuesday:  small group, dinner provided
Wednesday: Pork chops, spinach, mac 'n' cheese
Thursday: lasagna, salad, garlic bread, apple pie
Friday: soft tacos, rice, beans, salad
Saturday: hamburger casserole
Sunday: eat out
Monday: homemade pizzas

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On My Counter

Hello friends!  I am joing my cousin Krystal in her "On MY Counter" venture and hope that you will join me too!  A couple of times a week, I will post what is on my counter, what we are having for dinner, along with the ingredients and directions to make it.  Hopefully enough of us will get in on this that we will get some new dinner ideas going!

Tonight, we had steak and baked potatoes - easy, breezy.

I used GrillMates Marinade, with 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup water, put it in a large ziploc baggie with 3 ribeye steaks and shook them around until they were all covered.  I cooked them on the stove and just cooked them on medium high for about 20 minutes flipping them over every few minutes.

The potatoes I covered in "I can't Believe It's Not Butter" and wrapped them in foil, then cooked them in a 400 degree oven for 1 hr 20 minutes.
And yes, this would have been healthier with a salad but the kids and I had been snacking on fruits and veggies all afternoon so I didn't :-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Monkeys are back!

Finally, my two oldest monkeys are home and my zoo is complete, once again.  I love how well my monkeys love each other - when we got to their grandparents to pick up David and Allison, the bypassed mommy and daddy to go straight to Wyatt to give him cuddles!  It makes my heart glad that they are so bonded.  Wyatt was jabbering at them most of the way home and giggling at their antics.  Of course, Mike and I finally got our hugs and kisses after they greeted their brother :-)

Ally with her "baby"

David, looking so grown up

This was the first year that the kids made it the whole trip without getting sad every time they talked to me.  It tugs on my heart a bit that they are growing up, but more so makes me proud of the fact that they are becoming more independent.  That means that Mike and I are doing our jobs well, in my opinion.  They did end up coming home a few days early but they were gone for 12 days and that is pretty long for a 5 and just barely 7 year old.

I am so grateful to Rosa, my ex-mother-in-law, for the love and attention she bestows on David and Ally, even though her son is no longer their (legal) dad.  She is an amazing woman who has so much patience - she took 4 grandkids total to visit family in Brownsville and she was by herself the last week of it (Jim, her husband, and Mimi, the kids aunt, had to go back after a week for work)!  It was a huge blessing to Mike and I to have the time alone together and with Wyatt and now it is wonderful to have all of my mokeys in one place.

My little monkeys

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Things Learned Thursday

This month, Wyatt has mastered creeping around like a grub worm!  It is completely awkward looking but hey, whatever works!

Yesterday, our sweet boy surprised me by pulling the blanket off of his face all by himself during our daily peek-a-boo game.  He has repeated it over and over since then and we both get such a kick out of it every time!

Today, he finally figured out how to put a piece of food in his mouth and let it go - the "let it go" part is new :-)

 He has also mastered sitting up without leaning on his hands or any object!  Here he is watching "So You Think You Can Dance"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Children's Museum

A couple of weeks ago, the kids, Gramma Bay and I went to College Station to meet up with my cousin Megan and her 2 year old, Cole.  I can't believe that we haven't gone over to hang out before - naughty, naught Mandy. 
The HEB "grocery store" was a big hit to the 3 older kids...
A little team work cam in handy at checkout time
They had a baby/toddler play area that Wyatt got to enjoy.
And a crafts area for the kids to paint a tie for Father's Day.
Upstairs was a gigantic chess board!
What do you think guys, was it fun??? (and again with no up close shots of David - that kid is constantly on the move!)

Yep, I would say so!

Blueberry picking

A few weeks ago, we went with some of our friends to King's Orchard to pick blueberries.  It was hot but we had a lot of fun, ending the day with a picnic.  Here are some of the pics from that day!

That's David in his "farmer gear" on the left and Ally in her soccer shirt in the front.  This is the only picture I got of David that day - he was too busy playing in the blueberry bushes...
Ally took her blueberry picking job VERY seriously.
Even the babies got in on the action with the help of their (crazy) mommas.
By the end of the day, we had plenty of blueberries to eat as well as to make baby food with!  I also picked up some squash, zucchini, and nectarines to make Wyatt some food with - here it is!

What mommy does while the older kids are gone....

David and Allison have been gone with their grandma for a week now and the house is eerily quiet.  I miss them SO much as do Mike and Wyatt, but I am taking advantage of this time to do some things I have been thinking about....

First, I made a blankie for Wyatt....

Then, I made a blankie for Ally.  I also made her a pillow out of her old (WAY too small) pajamas that she didn't want to part with.
Then, I made David a blanket, per his request, and a pillow out of some extra fabric I had from making burp cloths.

Last, but not least, I made an apple pie from scratch, crust and all!

I am planning on continuing this streak of sewing and cooking when the kids get home, it is a lot of fun and very rewarding to me!

This has also been a great time for Wyatt to get some unheard of one-on-one time and for Michael and I to have great gobs of time together and it is just fantastic!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My baby boy...

I guess that you aren't really such a baby anymore - you are growing into such a wonderful little man. It is hard to believe that you made me a mommy 7 years ago today! This year you declared Jesus as your savior and joined my family in yet another, awesome way through baptism! You are still cuddly and so full of love. You enjoy building and drawing and have quite the budding artistic talent. You are a great helper with Wyatt and are so patient and loving to him and (90% of the time) to Ally. You are so smart and funny and I am so proud that you are mine - I thank God for you all of the time! Here are some of my favorite pics of you from when you were 4 months old (mommy is sorry - I can't find the pics from before then right now - I will by next year!) until the week before your 7th birthday!!

6 Months Old!!!

Okay, so I just realized that I didn't post for months 4 and 5 - let's pretend that I did it on purpose and am planning a quarterly update....not that I am just busy and not great at keeping up with my blog ;-)

So, in the past few months, Wyatt has gotten himself a girlfriend...who else but the girl next door!
Started solids...yes, it is always this messy
Started creeping and is doing a kind of half crawl...sometimes he gets himself stuck
Mastered the art of falling asleep wherever we are (poor third child)
He can also sit up for a little bit at a time, roll over both ways, and jabbers his little head off :-)
You've come a long way baby!

Wyatt Christopher - a couple of days old

6 months old - yes, he is ALWAYS this happy

Baby boy, you are LOVED!