Monday, September 21

Topher is 9!


Topher is 9! I can't believe it! It's just not possible! Happy Birthday Super Topher!

A Few of My Favorite Things
By Topher

Favorite Color: yellow
Favorite Food: pasta
Favorite Musical Group: ??
Favorite Song: "Temperature" by Sean Paul
Favorite Movie: G-Force
Favorite Sport: baseball
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: strawberry
Favorite Subject in School: art!!
Favorite Number: 4
Favorite Holiday: Halloween
Favorite Game: Scategories
Favorite Hobby/Past Time: playing pretend
Favorite Book: Little House on the Prairie
Favorite Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Favorite Type of Book: pioneer stories and comic books
Favorite Toy: Legos and stuffed animals
Favorite Animal: lions

Sunday, March 29



The boys snuck in to the kitchen this morning to make breakfast. There were lots of whispers, a little banging around, and a few moments of panic when Chris or I came too close to the kitchen. Some time later, we were each served a tray with a lovely breakfast of cinnamon rolls, yogurt, strawberries and juice in a wine glass (because it's fancy!)

The cinnamon rolls came from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls. My dad had this cookbook when he was young and then my sister and I used his copy while we were growing up. My parents sent a copy to Charles for his birthday this year and I was so excited to see it! The cinnamon rolls were a favorite of my dad's, and I have such fond memories of him making them on weekends. Now my boys will carry on the tradition.

Saturday, March 28

It was his week

Birthday Boy

This week was all about Charles!

He celebrated his birthday! There was lasagna (that someone declared the best EVER!) and cake - chocolate with peanut butter cream. There was lots of singing and a little dancing, too. I think we had the most fun with this one: 1999 by Prince (Chaz was born March 25, 1999)

His gift this year was a camera. He loves to take pictures - lots and lots of pictures. He especially likes macro shots so a good zoom was important. He's been having loads of fun setting up Lego scenes and snapping all sorts of crazy pictures. I love downloading Charles' disk and seeing what caught his eye! This one is his Lego Power Miners, another birthday gift.

Friday, March 27

Friday Love


A few things that are making me happy today...

...lunch with a good friend

...fresh flowers on the table (this week, daffodils!)

...the clothesline on a windy day

...listening to this

...chatty emails with my sister

...Topher singing without reservation when he thinks no one can hear him (his current favorite: "Dirty Little Secret" by All-American Rejects)

...anticipating this movie! (I hope it's wonderful!)

...a weekend without "have to's"

and a few favorite links:

How do you start the day?

Tie-Dyed Eggs


Lost in a Moment

The Obamas plant a vegetable garden

Wednesday, March 25

He's 10!


Charles is 10 - double digits! Happy birthday, Chaz!!

A Few of My Favorite Things
By Chaz

Favorite Color: Red!
Favorite Food: Lasagna
Favorite Musical Group: Veggie Tales
Favorite Song: "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A" by John Mellencamp
Favorite Movie: The "Spiderwick Chronicles" and "Matilde"
Favorite Sport: Baseball
Favorite Season: Summer
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Vanilla or Cotton Candy
Favorite Subject in School: Social Studies
Favorite Number: 18
Favorite Holiday: Christmas (and my Birthday!)
Favorite Game: The Scrambles States of America
Favorite Hobby/Past Time: Making the "Chazo Newz" (my own newspaper)
Favorite Book: Geronimo Stilton books
Favorite Author: Roald Dahl
Favorite Type of Book: Adventure and sometimes a little mystery
Favorite Toy: Legos
Favorite Animal: Hippos and Monkeys

Monday, March 23

Menu Planning


This week looks like a busy one! If I really stop and think about it though, it isn't too bad but there a few things that I need to take in to consideration when planning our menus. We have Scouts 3 nights this week - one night really doesn't affect dinner, one night needs to be portable and one night needs to be a quick cook night. We also have a friends coming over for a (family) play date on Friday and they'll stay for dinner. It's lent, so we don't eat meat on Friday, I want something I can prepare ahead, and it needs to be very kid friendly. And the most important thing on our calendar this week is Chaz's birthday! He gets to pick the meal.


Ancho and Coffee Rubbed Cowboy Steaks
Baked Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus


Sausage and Pepper Style Pork Chops
Crusty Bread
Green Salad


Stuffed Pizza Bread
Raw Veggies

Wednesday: Chaz's Birthday!
Spinach Lasagna
Garlic Bread
3 P's Salad
Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting


Fish Tacos
Marinated Radishes
Romaine Salad with Corn and Pepitas


Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Peas with Mushrooms and Onions
Roast Carrots




I also read this post and had a bit of an epiphany. A little planning and my week can run a little more smoothly, too!

So Sunday I spent a little time in the kitchen. ...and I had some help.

Kitchen Helper

By the end of the day, we had made:

broccoli soup
lemony lentil salad
baked tofu
apple pie muffins
"jack and dill" spread for sandwiches
2 dozen hard boiled eggs
soaked seeds for sprouts
steel cut oats (in the crockpot)

Mornings are often hectic around here. I'm hoping this will help.

Sunday, March 22


Young artists at work.


Young Artist

Young Artist

Friday, March 20

It's Spring!

It's Spring!

We are jumping for joy on the first day of Spring!

It's Spring!It's Spring!It's Spring!

Thursday, March 19

Family Game Night


It was "game night". Tonight's game was Yahtzee which, of course, means Irish Nachos. Or maybe Irish Nachos means Yahtzee?? Topher had two Yahtzee's in one game and was declared the Grand Champion!

Wednesday, March 18

At the Library

At the library

I think I've mention before how much we all enjoy visiting the library. It's no surprise, then, that the first thing on the Spring Break wish list was to go to the library. The boys (+ a friend) and I headed over on Monday. We spent a very leisurely morning reading. Then we came home and spent the rest of the afternoon reading some more!

We came home with...
1 dvd (Mr. Bean)
5 magazines (Kids Discover)
and 22 books

Some of the books we checked out:
~The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries
~Who's Haunting the White House?
~several Far Side books
~a few drawing books including some by Ed Emberley that I'm surprised we didn't already own!
~ a couple by Mark Bittman

We also came home with quite a wish list for our next visit!

Tuesday, March 17

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

I love this recipe for Irish Soda Bread. It's so easy and so good, that I just can't bring myself to eat any other. It's nice and slightly crumbly with out being too dry. Sometimes Irish Soda Bread is too dry. It makes wonderful toast with raspberry jam, too.

I've been making this recipe for years. When the boys were all in preschool and kindergarden, I would make several loaves each year - one for home and a some for their classes. Now, however, I only need to make one loaf for home. (unless I am feeling generous and want to make some for friends!) This year I only made one loaf but I am feeling generous so instead of baking for everyone, I'll share the recipe!

Irish Soda Bread

3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2-1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375F. Grease a 8-9 inch round cake pan. Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt with pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so that dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6-1/2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet. Cut an X shape about 1/2-inch deep through loaf with floured knife. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

*Sometimes I brush the top with buttermilk and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar before baking. Gives it a little sparkle!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Oxalis or "False Shamrock", part of the wood sorrel family. Right now, on my table but later it will go in the garden. The boys and I love watching the leaves close up at night and open again in the morning.

Monday, March 16

A Recipe!

Dinner of Quinoa Citrus Salad, pan seared tofu (teriyaki chicken thighs for the tofu adverse) and apricots.

I made this wonderful quinoa salad last week for dinner. I really like quinoa - it's so good and so good for you. This salad was great slightly warm the night I made it and even better then next day for lunch. I like having salads like this in the fridge for a quick and filling lunch.

Quinoa Citrus Salad

1 cup quinoa (rinsed well)
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c raisins
1/3 c fresh orange juice
1 shallot finely chopped
3 Tbls fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbls fresh cilantro, chopped
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbls olive oil
2 oranges, suprêmed

Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and slat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered about 15 min, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Transfer to a large bowl and add the raisins.

Ina small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, shallot, parsley, cilantro, orange zest, cumin and coriander. Gradually add in the olive oil. whisking until well blended. Pour over the quinoa and toss to coat well. Gently fold in the orange sections.

What's for Dinner

A Quick Trip

It's St Patrick's Day this week so that means we will have the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner (which I know is actually an American thing and not really Irish but it's still a tradition!) The leftovers will go in the freezer for hash. I'm not sure which I like better, the corned beef and cabbage or the hash!

I also had a rather large turkey taking up space in the freezer so it was time to cook that. We had it last night and it was wonderful! The boys said "just like Thanksgiving!". The leftovers yielded enough meat for two more meals plus the carcass for soup. I just love double duty cooking!

Roast Turkey
Herbed New Potatoes
Green Beans with Shallots

Risotto di Zucca (Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto)
Asparagus Salad

Corned Beef and Cabbage
with Carrots and Potatoes
Irish Soda Bread
Rhubarb Crumble

Mexican Chicken Spaghetti
Green Salad

Irish Nachos
Raw Veggie Sticks

Crispy Gnocchi with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms
Brownies with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Leftovers (?)

Sunday, March 15

Edmund's Shoes

Edmund's Shoes

Edmund went camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend. Oh boy did they have fun!

Wednesday, March 11

Handy Man

Fixing the Oven

The replacement part for my oven came! It was a joyful day, for sure. I was so excited to get the package, I think I may have startled the poor mail carrier! Chris got right to work and in no time flat, he had that oven working perfectly, again! First order of business, clean the darn thing! Then I think, perhaps, cookies need to be made.

Tuesday, March 10


Full View
Topher recently brought home a family homework assignment.

We were supposed to decorate this 3 foot 'kid' cut out to represent him. We had a tough time at first (not everyone was on the same page with this) but once we got in to it, it was quite fun!

We cut the front off an old pair of jeans that were quite holey in the knees. We made a "shirt" out of some fabric from the stash and glued a few buttons on the front. A belt was made from ribbon and the buckle is cardboard and a piece of pasta covered in foil. Paper cowboy boots, yarn hair and pipe cleaner glasses complete the look!

Topher has asked for a matching shirt!


Monday, March 9

Menu + A Recipe


The lower heating element in my oven stopped working. It's an easy fix but the part had to be ordered. While I wait, my crock-pot is getting a real work out. I love using my crock-pot but I have a hard time finding a variety of recipes for it. It's seems there are a lot of soup or bean recipes (which I love but the kids start to complain) or 'chicken in a cream of something soup' recipes (which all taste the same to me). I'm on a mission to find some new recipes to add to my collection.

Lentil Soup
Crusty Bread
Chive Butter

Taco Soup
Tortilla Strips
Green Salad

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Sesame Teriyaki Chicken Thighs/Tofu
Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Pasta Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
White Bean Crostini

Shrimp and Grits
Green Salad



Taco Soup

This crock-pot recipe is a favorite of ours. I love it because it is so quick and easy, using things that I normally have on hand and the kids love it because it's like a taco in a bowl! It makes a lot and it freezes beautifully.

1 1/2 pounds ground meat (lean beef or turkey)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 envelope of taco seasoning (I use a Tbls of my own)
1 envelope of Ranch dressing mix (I use 1 Tbls of my own)
2 (15 oz) cans of whole kernel corn, undrained (I use frozen)
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, undrained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, undrained
2 (10 oz) cans of Rotel Chili Fixin's (I like this kind of Rotel for this recipe because of the extra seasonings)
12 oz light beer
1 1/2 cups of water

Cook the beef and the onions together in a medium skillet. Drain.
Combine meat mixture and the rest of the ingredients in a 5-6 quart crock-pot. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
Top with shredded cheese, diced avocado, chopped scallions, sour cream or what ever you prefer.

Makes 16 cups

Saturday, March 7

Date Night

Date Night

Chris and I were able to sneak away for a little while last night and go on a date. It's been too long since just the two of us went out. We had dessert and conversation with out lots of little interruptions. It was very nice and really needed. He had peach cobbler and I had blackberry.

Wednesday, March 4

Sick Day

Sick Day

Topher is home sick again today. Yesterday I kept him home - he was up all night coughing, sneezing and very stuffy. Today is pretty much the same. The flu has really been going around so I feel very blessed that we are just battling an icky cold.

Our days have been filled with things like:

-chicken noodle soup at 9:30am - eaten from the thermos because it's better that way
-many glasses of pulpy orange juice
-Curious George (the movie) - 3 times!
-drawing pictures of George
-Lara Croft
-several chapters of "Little House in the Big Woods"
-a floor littered with used tissues
-watching for the school bus to bring his brothers home (3 hours too early!)
-singing lots of made up songs
-playing secret agent and taking top secret pictures with my camera (him)
-wiping fingerprints off the camera lens when he forgets to be careful (me)
-finding Waldo
-building elaborate castles
-pretending to take a quick nap

Oh it's been fun having him home!

Tuesday, March 3

An Interview

1 ... 2 ... 3

I was sent this fun little meme recently and thought I would share it. If you decide to answer it, too, let me know. I'd love to see your answers!

Copy this note, ask your child the questions and write them down exactly how he or she responds.

Interviewed: Topher age 8

1. What is something mom always says to you?
"Go clean your room"

2. What makes mom happy?
"When I give her a bunch of hugs"

3. What makes mom sad?
"When I get hurt"

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
"When she tickles me, of course!"

5. What was your mom like as a child?
"I have no idea. I wasn't alive then"

6. How old is your mom?
"You know how old you are, Mom!"

7. How tall is your mom?
"I have no idea. 5 feet tall, maybe?"

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
"Be with me"

9. What does your mom do when you're not around
"I don't know, I'm not there."

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
"Having the best kids in the world"

11. What is your mom really good at?
"Cooking, of course!"

12. What is your mom not very good at?
"No way, nothing!"

13. What does your mom do for her job?
"She doesn't have one"

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
"She makes really good food"

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
"The mother from the Jetsons"

17. What do you and your mom do together?
"Snuggle up"

18. How are you and your mom the same?
"We are both in the same family and we both like lasagna"

19. How are you and your mom different?
"She's a girl and I'm a boy"

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
"Because she kisses me a lot!"

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go


Monday, March 2

A (New) Favorite Meal!

for my sister, Alison

I made a great Indian inspired dinner recently and I promised my sister I would share the recipes. I have finally gotten around to writing them up.

Easy Curried Beans
Potato and Pea Samosas
Roasted Cauliflower

I made the curried beans using Christmas Limas from Rancho Gordo. They are big (huge!) dark beans with a bit of a nutty flavor and they cooked up so nice and creamy. I think the beans were even better as leftovers, too. We had them over Basmati rice for lunch.

My grocery didn't have fresh cauliflower so I took a chance with frozen. I thawed a bag of flowerets and then tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I spread it on a sheet pan and roasted at 425º, stirring occasionally. I don't remember how long, though. Just until it started to get caramelized. The frozen cauliflower worked really well.

The boys loved the samosas the best. There were a few left over and they were gobbled up at breakfast.

Potato and Pea Samosas

1 cup mashed potatoes (either use left over or cook a potato and mash)
1/2 cup petite peas
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastery
1 egg

Mix together the potato, peas, cumin, and curry powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out the puff pastry sheet to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut in to 16 squares. Place about 1 Tbls of filling in the center of each square. Dampen the edges of the dough and then fold one corner over to the opposite side forming a triangle. Seal edges. Transfer to a baking sheet. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush across the tops of the samosas.

Bake at 350º for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

If you make them, let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 28

Thursday, February 26

Day 26

Edmund is 12!

Requested dinner:

Hamburgers with lettuce, tomato and bacon
Homemade onion rings
Tangy baked beans
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream


The Birthday Boy!

Edmund is 12! - nearly a teenager!

A Few of My Favorite Things
By Edmund

Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Food: Anything with bacon!
Favorite Musical Group: Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne
Favorite Song: "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne, "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, "TNT" by AC/DC, "Love in an Elevator" by Aerosmith
Favorite Movie: The Star Wars series
Favorite Sport: Skateboarding
Favorite Season: Summer
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Strawberry or Moosetracks
Favorite Subject in School: English
Favorite Number: 3
Favorite Holiday: 4th of July
Favorite Game: Monopoly
Favorite Hobby/Past Time: Drawing and Skateboarding
Favorite Book: "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George and "In Ned's Head" by Soren Olsson
Favorite Toy: Tech Deck
Favorite Animal: Elephant

Wednesday, February 25

Tuesday, February 24

Day 24

Day 24
Making our favorite salad dressing. Recipe originally found here.

Sunday, February 22

Friday, February 20

Tuesday, February 17

Day 17

Day 17
An after school snack of oatmeal and Curious George

Sunday, February 15

Friday, February 13

Thursday, February 12