Monday, January 31, 2011


UH-OH, I've reached my photo limit on blogger. I had no idea there was a limit. So...I just extended my storage space. I may have to wait 24 hours it says. But I am prepared to post some cute photos of the boys (and be more regular about it) once blogger registers I have space to do so!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Parent Mobile

A few days ago I took our car in to the dealer because the check engine light had come on. I asked what the trade in value was...just for info, getting our ducks in a row. If we have a third baby we'll need a van, so we'd like to plan ahead. They just happened to have a 2010 Town and Country on the lot super loaded with great incentives. It was determined we could get a great deal. We hashed it out and decided we weren't ready. I called the salesman and let him know we weren't coming in to test drive. We'd be back later in the year. So he called us back with another option. So into the dealership we went. Test drove an awesome van that was a super deal, but still way out of our price range. Our guy had another customer so we got to deal straight with his manager. We told him this was just too much car for us. We needed to stay cheaper, but of course now we really liked the goodies on the car we drove. We decided what goodies we needed and what we could pay. Off he went to see what he could find.

Reese and Gus really enjoyed the free popcorn and bottled water while we waited to see what was available. He came back with a silver 2011 Grand Caravan Crew. Adjustable pedals, telescoping leather wrapped (luxuriously smooth) steering wheel, stow and go seats (they fold down into the floor when you don't want to use them), BACK UP CAMERA (so we can parallel park!), 30gigs of hard drive to store music so we don't need to have cds or ipods in the car (though it has a cd player and ipod jack), sirus radio, fancy schmancy dash board stuff, roof racks, 12 oil changes/tire rotations/car washes/vacuums. It is very cool! And super cheap payments! Woo Hoo!!

It was dark by the time we got home so this isn't the best photo, but this is our new parent-mobile.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Well, last week I failed to notice a key ingredient in 2 of my meals. we did not have shrimp quesadillas or navy bean gratin. In an effort to elongate my coffee date i went grocery shopping with my friend who suggested potatoes instead of rice with the sausage and peppers. It was a HUGE hit!

Sausage and Peppers
1 pound sweet italian sausage (I used breakfast links)
1 big onion, 2 bell peppers sliced
1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 2 tsp minced garlic
2 TBLS tomato paste, 1/2 cup marsala wine, 1.2 cup chicken stock, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Heat oil in skillet over medium, brown sausage, cut into bite sized pieces, set aside.
Cook peppers, onions, salt and pepper.  Add tomato paste, wine, stock, pepper flakes, stir. Add sausage back in cook until sauce is thickened.
Serve over rice or on rolls. OR my new way...I diced potatoes and cooked them in the sausage grease like breakfast potatoes and set them aside with the sausage. Then added the sausage and potatoes back at the end. We served them just like that, no rice or rolls.

We also subbed in PW's Chicken Tortilla Soup instead of the quesadilla. Everyone loved it.  Reese says he wants to eat it a whole bunch of times! On to this week: 
Monday: Soba noodle stir fry...hunting for a recipe
Tuesday: Ham, homemade Macaroni and Cheese, Peas
Wednesday: Stubbs pork chops, baked seasoned red potatoes, green beans
Thursday: Jambalaya
Friday: Green Enchiladas (Old El Paso recipe), spanish rice
Saturday: Butternut Squash Ravioli
Sunday: Homemade Soup

You can find a ton of menu ideas at Organizing Junkie.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

better than football

The high hopes we had for the Seahawks today turned out to be a huge letdown. We went to Kyle's parents to watch them make know the team with the losing record winning during the playoffs to make it to the superbowl...yeah.  The game was so hideous Kyle didn't even make us finish watching it.
Since that game was such a bust Reese and Gus went back to their tried and true, always good for endless fun, climb in the tv stand game. Note that the LOST series box is removed. It had to find a new home because this game has become so popular they can no longer take turns. They have to both fit in at once.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Real Snow Day!

 We had a REAL snow day! This was last night about 10:30pm out the front door.
This was out the back door. Looks like about 4 inches. It continued snowing after we went to bed so I'm not sure how much we actually ended up getting. Kyle's work only had a 2 hour delay, but our school district was completely closed.
 Gus had so much fun having Reese home all day.
 We played with play-doh...
 ...and a bucket of beans.
We also spent a significant amount of time dancing. Not always at the table but this was during lunch. I turned from the sink to see Gus swaying back and forth to The Goo Goo Dolls in Reese's high-at-the-table chair.  Of course, reese joined in.  At the end he's saying he wants to see the picture on the camera's screen.  Gus finds all music equally danceable.  From Eleanor Rigby to Dirty Deeds he is jamming. 
It was a great snow day!! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Snow Day That Wasn't

 Yesterday we woke up to snow flurries. I thought we might get enough to cancel preschool by 12:15pm.  The car seats were not in the car though, so I figured I get them in before it was too snowy.
Gus came outside with me to check it out. He was very cute. He kind of ooeh ad aahhed like it was fireworks, but he wasn't quite sure what to do.
 I got busy on the car seats and he wandered around the yard investigating the swings and sliding board and picnic table.
 Right before school it started coming down alarmingly heavy.  I called the school's weather number to verify we 'd be open and we headed out. This is Reese on his was to school. When we got there the teacher was collecting everyone's cell phone numbers so they could call us to come do pick up when school closed.
Then about 2pm I looked out the window and the snow had stopped. By the time we left to go get Reese there was none at all. This is Gus on his way to the car. He was looking for the snow. 
What a disappointment that snow day turned out to be.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

We have several food related goals for 2011. Menu Planning will definitely be required to keep on track. We went to Costco last Thursday and have vowed we will NOT return until the last week of the month. Hopefully this will help in our quest to save some money because we spend a ridiculous amount of money food. I have actually plotted the full month in an effort to avoid the grocery store as long as possible too. This week we'll be enjoying:

MONDAY: Chicken tetrazini, brussels sprouts gratin
TUESDAY: monday's leftovers
WEDNESDAY: red beans and quinoa chili (beans and meatless!)
THURSDAY: sausage and peppers over rice
FRIDAY: PW's Shrimp Quesadilla
SATURDAY: Food Matters Cookbook (Christmas Gift) Navy Bean Gratin
SUNDAY: Fajitas and Spanish Rice

To get a ton of other ideas check out MPM at OrganizingJunkie.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 Organizing Resolution

 Oh yeah I am so all over this New Year's Resolution stuff! I discovered on Thursday that Organizing Junkie was hosting a 52 weeks of organizing challenge and decided to do it. Which spurred me to get posting in the new year with our other resolutions too. I printed the form she created and filled in 26 of the 52 weeks with goals. Goal #1: deal with the Christmas toys.
 There are no before photos as these toys issues did not exist before except as gift wrapped boxes under our tree. That bin shelf is now where the bookcase used to be.  It holds top row: Transformers, Superheroes, Playfood, Ironman stuff (yeah he's been a favorite long enough to need his own bin). 2nd row: Toy Story, lacers, animals, Pixar legos. 3rd row: Cars 18 wheelers, hodge podge, monster bowling, dinosaur puppets. bottom row: soft squeaky blocks, foam  blocks, view finder, vehicles. The basket holds our newest books right now, but after the Christmas new wears off it will be our featured reading for the week or so. There's a green bucket behind Gus that holds the drum sticks and mallets. When not in use the drums get stacked.
 That bin used to be here where this eye sore black shelf now sits. Eventually we'd like Land of Nod shelves, but for now this will do. Almost everything on this shelf was a Christmas present...lots of big stuff. That aircraft carrier and batcave on the bottom were our biggest problems and this style shelf really fits them. The game situation on the top will probably change because it interferes with the wall decor. The bookshelf moved over to the far right on the wall and the riding toys fit in between.
Reese's bed is the race car that is to the immediate left of the drums from the first photo. That cube thing is not really great for our current phase. I don't like having the pig and the bead thing smashed in the same hole, but...for now this is what we're doing.  I didn't get a photo of the living room toys, but Gus now has his younger aged stuff in a big square Longaberger in the living room. None of the little people stuff (big barn for example) has to be out there uncontained now because it's on the shelf.

I am very happy to have completed challenge week #1. Woo hoo! We are not behind. As I write this Kyle is at Lowe's getting supplies for one of his projects which I assigned weeks 19 and 20.  He's so excited about this challenge he's jumping ahead.
See how other people are solving their organizing challenges at Organizing Junkie.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Finally I am getting around to posting! We enjoyed a lovely Christmas break. Reese had off from school starting 12/21/10 and Kyle had off of work starting the 24th. Over the break the boys and I joined some friends at the Hands on Museum. We enjoyed Christmas Eve with Gigi and Grandad. We spent Christmas day with Mimi, Poppop, Uncle Travis and Uncle Dylan. Kyle painted the kitchen ceiling and changed our light fixture. It is an unattractive fluorescent rectangle, but finally I can see!!! The boys and I went to an indoor playplace with my friend and her boys. Kyle and I went with my friend and her husband to the shooting range.  We went with Kyle's parents to see True Grit at the theater. We had a Twilight Saga movie fest. 
Then Kyle got sick and missed the first 3 days back to work, but Reese returned to school. Poor Gus' sleeping schedule is all messed up! But due to the sickness I made a number of homemade soups and we discovered we really like it. Which is so helpful towards one of our new year's goals.

2011 Goals 
  • Don't eat out less
  • Do not go to Walmart/Target/Costco every single week. Normally we go every Tuesday so we can buy the blu-rays we want, since we're out we eat out and we browse the store spending WAY more than we normally would
  • Build our emergency fund to have at least $5000 at any given moment
  • Pay off at least half of our heat pump-we currently owe $14,000
  • Cut grocery bill by utilizing batch cooking/freezer meals instead of throwing away leftovers or eating out. 
  • Cut grocery bill by eating homemade soup for at least 3 meals per month
  • Cut grocery bill by eating at least 3 bean dishes per month
  • Eat at least one meatless meal per week (not including soup/bean meals)
  • Exercise at least twice a week
  • Join a bookclub (this is for Heather only)
  • Get family photos at least quarterly---last year's monthly goal did not happen at all!!! The above Christmas photo was the only one since January that we got in 2010. 
  • Participate in Organizing Junkie's 52 weeks of Organizing
  • Get all photos properly stored
 I am really hoping to stick to the plan for the new year. For some reason time always seems way to short for everything we want to do.