Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Newlyweds

Congratulations to
Janel and Heath!!!

On Saturday, we took a little road trip to celebrate the marriage of a close friend. I've known Janel for 11+ years now, I do believe. We met in the Fall of '98 through Elissa, whom I had met that fall in my theatre classes. Elissa introduced me to Janel and Natalie, then Natalie met Lisa at work, and the 5 of us hung out through the rest of our college days. After college, I also got to know Morgan and Erin who had known Elissa, Janel and Natalie since middle school. After college, Lisa and I met Tonya. The 8 of us make time whenever we can to get together - M&M parties (Movies & Margaritas), bridal/baby showers, weddings, craft nights, "I really need a girls night" nights, etc. I'm thrilled to see Janel so happy with her husband Heath!!

Here is Janel being walked down the isle by her dad.



Janel and Heath



The new Mr & Mrs



The extremely yummy cakes (lemon, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate) along with the irresistible mints (and the nuts that I didn't eat because I didn't want my nose to start itching).



Hooked 4 Life....awwww!



The cutting of the cake (when they fed each other a bite, they did give each other a little smoosh)



Lisa manned the guest book and programs before the wedding, Elissa, Morgan, Erin and Natalie were bridesmaids and after the ceremony, Tonya and I cut the cake (and even resisted licking our fingers!).





I didn't get a picture of Morgan or Lisa at the reception, or even a close up shot of the newlyweds! :(

Here is Elissa with her husband, Ramece, and two girls Quiana and Lola.



Tonya and her husband, Brian.



Erin with her husband, Casey.



Natalie and her husband, Willie, and two boys, Parker and Cooper.



Me and my husband, Biju, and two boys, Ajay and Alex.



Here are some of the kids - a little red faced from running around and playing so much!



And my favorite shot, "The Girls" !! (Me, Lisa, Elissa, Morgan, Janel, Natalie, Erin, Tonya)



Recipe Wednesday - Macaroni and Cheese and Tuna and Peas

If you're going to make this dish, you have to say it just like that. To be more exact:
Macaroni and Cheese and Tuna and Peas.
It just sounds more fun that way. My boys and I also like doing a little dancin' with it.
I also sometimes call this "Cheaters Tuna Casserole"

Cook a box of macaroni and cheese according to the directions on the package. (Or, if you like, make up your own homemade macaroni and cheese) Once you have your mac n cheese, open a can of tuna, drain it (give juice to a nearby cat, if one is available) and mix it into the mac n cheese. Get some peas, either from the garden, the freezer or a can and put it in with the tuna and noodles. (The peas might need a little bit of cooking before adding them to the rest of the mixture. Sometimes I add my frozen peas to my boiling noodles for a few minutes.)
All done. It isn't super healthy, but it sure is tasty.
I think my mom sometimes puts in some cream of mushroom soup, and/or some Lipton Onion Soup Mix, from a packet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Grad

Ajay's Pre-Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony took place this morning. We invited Aunt Shelly to come and to bring Kyleigh and Audrey.



The kids walked into the gym to Pomp and Circumstance...





sang two songs...

(Hello Neighbor)
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(Funky Chicken)
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got their diplomas...





sang another song...

(Tooty Ta....let me preface this by saying that before going to school this morning, Ajay told me he didn't want to do the Tooty Ta song. I had no idea what he was talking about. After seeing it, I don't blame him for not wanting to perform this in front of everyone!!)

video

then we all got cookies and lemonade...



The above picture is of Ajay acting silly with a close buddy of his, Skyler. Skyler and his family might be moving away this summer, but I can see that if they stay these two will likely cause a lot of trouble together!

Ajay wanted to get his photo taken with another teacher of his. This is the teacher he insisted on hugging every day before we could go home.



What a fun morning!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Waffles/Pancakes

I'm aware that most of you already have your own tried and true recipe for pancakes and waffles, but I thought I'd put another version out there for you to consider. There isn't anything truly special about this, but I like to think it's a tad healthier than some of the batters I've made. I made these (as waffles) on Sunday and they tasted pretty good!

Preheat your griddle or waffle iron.

In a mixing bowl, mix together:
1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
a dash or two of cinnamon

Then add in:
3/4 - 1 cup milk (depending on how runny/thick you like it.)
1 egg
1 Tbs melted coconut oil
1 Tbs honey

Brush the griddle/iron with melted coconut oil, put 3-4 spoonfuls of batter on for each waffle or pancake. For pancakes, when bubbles form and pop but don't fill themselves in, flip to the other side. For waffles, cook until crispy - 3-5 minutes or so.
Top with your favorite topping. (Jelly; Honey; Syrup; PB & Syrup is a tasty combo; whatever else you can think of.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Proud Moments

I thought I would entertain you today with a few photos and videos showing just why I'm so proud of our boys. These moments are in no particular order.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Ajay is a very determined little boy. Once he puts his mind to something, he usually gets it figured out - he's not the kind to really give up on a goal. He's figured out how to stand on his head:



He's figured out how to snap. He's figured out how to blow a bubble. He is now working on whistling!

Here, he figured out how to use his little arm muscles to make it across these "slide bars."

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Here, Ajay figured out how to hang like a monkey (did it really take much figuring?). I was a little nervous the first time I saw him do this - but at least I can rest easier knowing he's got this skill mastered before he goes off to Kindergarten next year!

video

Another proud moment came when Ajay came in to show me a project he had been working on. He had written up an invitation for his cousin to come for his birthday party. He didn't ask me how to spell Thomas' name, so I think he did a pretty good job of figuring out the phonetics.

(You can see Ajay on the left, then Thomas to the right of Ajay.)


As for Alex, I'm proud of him for figuring out how to put his own new sandals (sent from Amachee and Echachan). (Look closely at the way he put them on.)





Both boys have figured how to "beat box"

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Not necessarily a "proud" moment, but I thought it was cute - Alex pretending to sleep.

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Do any of you remember hearing Ajay talk to his food? He used to do it at just about every meal. Occasionally, he still does. Alex didn't start out talking to his food, but he has begun to. As you can imagine, it is quite cute :) But you don't need to imagine, as I got a bit on film!


video

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Field Trip to the Zoo!

Last Monday Ajay's pre-k class took a field trip to the always awesome zoo. Alex and I were allowed to come along and spend our morning with the 4-5 year old set. I had Alex in his stroller and Ajay alongside, plus we were assigned a friend. We walked around with Skyler and his younger sister, Rowan. Rowan, just 5 weeks or so younger than Alex, was pushed in her stroller by their mother, Shiloh. They were assigned a friend, also, so there were 6 kids and two mom's in our group. It was quite the adventure! The bigger kids loved running around so of course the little kids wanted out of their strollers. We were brave a couple of times and let them be free, too. 6 kids between 2 and 4 years old running wild. It was cute. In the photo below you'll find our 6 kids plus a couple of other boys from their class who were passing by.



We were trying to get to the gorillas when we realized it was time to head back to the other side of the zoo to meet up with the class for lunch. We hit the restrooms so the kids could wash up, then zoomed back to join the circle. The teachers had ordered cheese pizzas plus had a bottle of water and bag of chips for everyone. After lunch, there was a pack of Oreos for dessert ("we-zert" as Ajay calls it). As the kids were gathered, the adults acted as guards trying to keep the geese away. One sneaked in anyway. You can imagine the havoc it wreaked! It grabbed a pizza from someone's plate and one little girl took off screaming. Surprisingly, the rest of the kids remained calm for awhile, but then they realized what was happening. We had to get the goose to go away then corral the kids back into their circle and reassure them that everything was fine. Ajay came up to me a bit later and said his heart was beating fast because it was so scary! Poor kids.



Alex didn't eat his pizza. I figured he wouldn't, so I packed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Good ole PB&J to the rescue!



After lunch we had some more free time but had to be back within the hour to get the kids to story time. Shiloh and I hightailed it over to the gorilla exhibit (remember, on the other side of the zoo?). We took in the hippos and a few other sights then met up for their story. We were a little late.
The class went for their story and whatever else was planned while the smaller siblings were sent to the corner. I mean the play corner. There were some things for the kiddos to do and see and the parents all sat around saying "Wow, that time went by fast!" and "Whew, I'm beat!"
When the story time was over it was time to head home. Before everyone left, they got a class photo.



Ajay wanted to ride the bus back to the school instead of going home with Alex and I let him. Of course Alex fell asleep 2 minutes after we pulled away and I regretted not having Ajay with us. I took Alex home and put him into his crib, nabbed our neighbor to sit on our couch while he slept, then took off for the school to get Ajay.
It was a fun day, and I'm glad we have our zoo membership - I think the kids will get a lot of enjoyment out of it this year!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Recipe Wednesday (uh, Thursday) - Dinner

(This was started yesterday but didn't get posted, so I'll finish and post today...)
~~
WFD? In other words - What's For Dinner?

Today, we had planned on going to the Y so I wanted something really quick to make up when we got back. As it turns out, bad weather has rolled in and we're not going out. (Same thing happened to us on Monday night, and we weren't able to go work out then either. Phooey.)

I was still happy to have a quick and easy meal planned to make up.

BBQ Ground Beef Sandwiches, Broccoli and Sweet Potatoes.

Here's how it went down...

I grabbed a bag of the cooked/frozen ground beef, and thawed it a bit. Then I tossed it into a skillet, gave it a few glugs of K.C. Masterpiece, Original, onto it and stirred it up. I served the boys their meat plain, and mine went onto some whole wheat bread w/ a smear of Miracle Whip, Light. Yum!

I grabbed a bag of the blanched/frozen broccoli and thawed it a bit. Then I tossed it into a pan w/ a bit of water and boiled it a bit. Once it was soft enough, I drained the water, put in a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then tossed in some Parmesan cheese. Yum!

While the other two dishes were cooking, I chucked a couple of sweet potatoes into the microwave, set it for three potatoes, and let them "bake." I then removed the skins and mashed them up. I add to this mash a pat of butter, sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon, and even a drop or two of vanilla extract. Yum, yum!

I served the meal on a small plate so it looked like I was pigging out, when really, I think the serving size was decent.




Again, the boys enjoyed the broccoli and Alex even asked for seconds on the sweet potatoes.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day!

Did you all have a nice Mother's Day? Did you take some time to appreciate/remember your mother? I was actually able to spend some time with my mom and it was a nice day overall.
The day started like many others. Alex woke up too darned early so I got him and brought him back to bed with me. As we lay there, him nursing, me dozing, I heard the bedroom door squeak. I gave Biju a gentle nudge to give him a heads-up that he was about to get climbed upon by Ajay. That cute little brown eyed boy peeked over Mount Daddy and the first thing he said was "Happy Mother's Day." - How sweet of him to remember. Honestly, at 6:45am, it wasn't what I was thinking about!
Eventually, all male-folk vacated the bed and tried to let me doze a little bit longer. I think I did sleep a bit more but I was still out of bed by 7:30. I remember the days when I didn't have to get out of bed until 8:30 because I didn't need to be at work until 9:30!
As sorta mentioned before, my parents were in town - they'd spent Saturday with my sister and her family and were going to come to our place for lunch after church. Ajay was driving us batty with the "When are Nana and Papa going to get here?" Once they arrived and the boys were ecstatic and ran to get the door for them.
Biju fired up the grill and cooked up some brats and turkey burgers. To that, I added some roasted broccoli and some fruit with dip. Alas, I do believe I was the only one who enjoyed the broccoli. Mmm. That was yummy (soaked in a lemon juice/olive oil/salt/pepper mixture, then tossed with Parmesan cheese and roasted at 400 for about 20 min). After lunch, we put the boys down - by that I mean all the boys. Alex napped in his crib, Biju snoozed alongside Ajay in his bed, and Papa dozed on the couch. Mom and I looked at some seeds I had gotten in the mail then we headed out to peruse the garden. She had brought a fabulous book about gardening along with her. She hugged it closely to her chest and said "This is mine." Hmph. So much for trying to get her to leave it behind! When we got back inside, Biju and Dad were watching a basketball game. Yawn. So Mom dozed on the couch, and I went in to sleep a bit with Ajay before waking him up. Alex awoke right about the time we were cutting into the German Chocolate Cake - good timing kid! Ajay thought Alex needed his photo taken:



Then the rest of us posed for him:



Then it was my turn behind the camera and I got Nana and Papa with both the boys:



We gave our hugs and kisses as they headed out for their 3 hour drive back home.

They recently butchered a steer (nothing better than your own farm raised beef!) and brought us 4 one-pound containers of ground beef. They had thawed on the trip, so instead of risking it and putting them back into the freezer, I just cooked up all 4 bags. I kept them as 1 lb. servings when I put them into the Ziploc freezer bags so now I can easily grab a bag to throw into a dish for dinner. That will make dinners so easy! (I do have to say that one of the bags is less than one pound, as the boys kept stealing it as it cooled!) In addition to spending Sunday afternoon/evening cooking beef, I also blanched some broccoli. We had a big bag from Sam's and if don't use it, you lose it! (Trust me, our last big bag started looking furry and I was so sad to lose it all.) I tell ya, the boys didn't care for the roasted broccoli at lunch, but they devoured the blanched stuff!! I boiled it for three minutes then stuck it into an ice bath for three minutes, drained it and stuffed it all into freezer bags. The boys went to town stealing all of the broccoli! Not complaining, though. I'm thrilled they were eating so much healthy green stuff!

Ajay pretended he was a giraffe and at all the leaves off of the trees. Here is a tree about to meet its doom:



Alex saw me using a straw to suck out the extra air from the freezer bags. He figured he needed to do the same, so I gave him his own little baggie with some broccoli in it. I think he did more blowing in than sucking out.



And then he ate it all.




Another highlight of the evening was when we busted out this old arcade style game. I had bought this many years ago for a birthday of Biju's. It is 5 games (Pac Man included) in one box that has a joystick and a firing button. We weren't sure if it still worked, but after a fresh set of batteries, it did. I have taken to setting the timer so the boys don't sit there pestering each other with "its my turn" "its MY turn!"



Oh! And then Biju ran to Walgreens to pick up some cream for Alex's leg and brought home an A&W Root Beer for me. Yum!! All in all, it was a very good day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Chilly Cold One

Okay. I admit it. I almost forgot to put a recipe up for today. I've been thinking about it for a few days but haven't been able to think of a recipe. So I'm going to cheat.
This is a recipe my older brother sent me a few years back during an e-mail recipe exchange.

Chilly Cold One

Ingredients:
water, ice

Directions:
Get a large glass, walk to refrigerator/freezer, open freezer door, or just insert glass in door mounted ice dispenser, if so equipped, fill glass about 1/3 full of ice.

If refrigerator is equipped with water supply in the door, switch to water function and fill glass.

If refrigerator is NOT equipped with water supply, either walk to the sink faucet and fill glass, or open a bottle of water and fill the glass.

Once glass is full, commence to drinking glass of water.
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If you decide to try this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you!

REPEAT STEPS AS NECESSARY

Monday, May 3, 2010

Biju's Birthday + A Garden

Biju had another birthday. Funny how those things keep coming around. We didn't do anything too grand. We went to an Indian restaurant in town for lunch. We'd been to this place in the past but they changed buildings so wanted to see what they were like in their new digs. Turns out they were pretty much the same...but busier. It was nice to see them getting more business. I like having more than one Indian place to choose from. After lunch, we all took a nap. Ahhh. I love nap time. After nap, Biju made a trip to buy our plants for the garden (yay!!). Biju did most of the planting this year, but Ajay and Alex and I did get our hands a bit dirty. A little.



While B was out planting, the boys and I made up his birthday cake. I typically make the cake and icing from scratch, because it tastes so much better, but this year we just went with the boxed cake mix and tub of frosting. I had asked him to pick out the flavor he wanted - he came home with two cake mixes and two frostings. Ha! (Don't worry, we put the second pair away for another day.)

Ajay wanted to help with the frosting and sprinkles (what kid wouldn't??)



Alex figured he needed to "help" out by taste-testing the frosting.



When it came time for cake and ice cream, I didn't manage to get a still shot, I just got a video clip of the boys and I singing the Happy Birthday song. (Which, by the way, the boys had been singing to him all day long.)

Here is a quick rundown of our garden this year:

In this corner this year we have okra (on the left side) and watermelon (on the right).




In this section, starting on the left, we planted two rows of Peaches'n'Cream Corn, then two rows of green beans, then 4 tomato plants, 4 pepper plants and one hot pepper plant. We have since bought our zucchini plants, 2 sets, and they will get planted tomorrow, where that big open space is on the right.



We used a new space this year. It is up against the house, and we're hoping it works well for the STRAWBERRIES we planted. Sadly, we have to pop off every bloom that comes on this year, but it is only for the good of the plant. Hopefully next year we'll have more strawberries than we'll know what to do with! There are 10 starts in there.



I can't wait to put new photos of the garden on here, with lots of green growing everywhere - and I don't mean weeds!