Friday, October 28, 2011

18 Years and Counting.

 Like the annoying teenager "in love" that I was in 1993, I kept a scrapbook.  Therefore, I remember the exact day of my first date with my husband.  It was exactly 18 years ago today.  I was 16, he was 17.  We watched Aladdin in my best friend, Stacey's, basement.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

I wrote a post about him a year ago - check it out.  You can see how different we looked in high school!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I'm still in love with my fage yogurt.  I typically eat it every morning for breakfast.  Last week I whipped up some granola to give my breakfast some crunch.  It was super, super easy and tastes great!

Granola is extremely versatile - I used pecans, pumpkin seeds, raisins, almonds, cinnamon, unsweetened coconut, butter, and honey.  I put all of the ingredients except the softened butter and honey into my food processor.  After a few pulses, I added the butter and honey.  Baking at 275 degrees for about 25 minutes finishes the granola and toasts the nuts.  I store mine in a plastic container and it should last quite a long time. 

You could certainly add oats and any kinds of dried fruits or nuts. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

For the Iowa Crew....

Rob has lots of extended family out-of-state, mostly in Iowa.  We only get to see them once a year or less - so I thought maybe they'd enjoy some family pictures.  Maybe Grandma Teague would enjoy seeing these, Sally - if she's feeling up to it!  

Yesterday Rob's family came to visit!  Josh had a soccer game and then we all stayed at the park, played, and had pizza together.  Even though we only live about 30 minutes away, we only get to see each other every couple of months or so.  I thought I'd share some pictures - the cousins sure are growing up!

Kate and Natalie

our soccer star :)

Angie and Wesley

pretty girl


Rob and Malachi

"Robbie" and his Dad

she is crazy photogenic

Angie and Travis

Josh and Wesley


watching the soccer game

Malachi and his big brother, Jacob

Jacob, Jeremy, Nicole, and Malachi
us :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What do you think?

I just read an article today about the Center for Science and the Public Interest - who recently published the "terrible ten" and "terrific ten" list describing food in America.  Included in the terrible ten: McDonalds value meals, coca-cola, and Kellogg's Froot Loops.  The terrific ten includes:  water, Michelle Obama, and farmers markets. 

I've watched Food, Inc., I like a healthy diet, and we rarely eat out - but I think this is annoying.  We live in a market-driven society. Period. 

Where is the personal responsibility?  It's like saying that the tobacco companies are to blame for people smoking.  Um, you bought the cigarettes.  No one is forcing people to eat unhealthily.  I understand that marketing is a powerful tool - but so is educating your own children.  If you don't realize that froot loops don't contain fruit - look at the spelling, people. 

I do have a point here. 

School lunches - what do you think about them?  Our school, I believe, is doing their best to offer healthier choices.  I just don't really want my kids eating them.  I allow the girls to buy one day a week and Josh has a budget for the middle school. 

It would be really easy for me to just write a check and let the kids buy every day.  Granted, it would be quite a large check every month, but it would make our daily schedule a lot less hectic.  But, I feel better knowing what my kids are eating.  And, that's the point, isn't it?  If you simply take a little time to prepare foods for your family, you are not a statistic.  That is way more effective [in telling McDonald's how you feel] than publishing some list. 

I totally bribe my kids.  We literally have a "bribe refrigerator".  I have special treats, snacks, and foods in our downstairs refrigerator specifically for lunches.  And it's not all healthy.  I also make things easy for myself.  Every morning I go downstairs to grab what I'll need for the lunches that day. 

Here is a typical lunch for the girls:  peanut butter and peach butter sandwich, chips, no-sugar applesauce, clementines, string cheese, water, and a small candy bar. 

What do you think?  How do you feel about school lunches?  What is the answer to America's obesity epidemic? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza Pie

I think I may have cracked the code to organization.  For me, it has been a two-fold process:  the fact that my kids are older and my day planner.  I can remember my mom asking me if I thought I had ADD [when the kids were much younger].  I think my exact answer was, "no, I have three children".   Young children always need something.  When you increase the odds and try to raise three, you can count on the fact that your life will be in constant motion.

I can still remember sending Kate to school and thinking it was pajama day - it wasn't.  I vividly remember our preschool teachers shaking their heads at my lack of "togetherness" - forgetting snacks, lunches, picture day, etc.  It was bad.  

Our current stage in life continues to be hectic, but in a different way.  We are still "enjoying" the fact (read: sarcasm) that we have three different school schedules to manage, but I have the luxury of staying home full-time.  I can complete my work while the house is empty and then prepare for the barrage of chaos when we begin our evening. 

My day planner contains all of our sports practices, Rob's schedule, game times and locations, my cooking jobs, school reminders, and our meals.  The kids even look at it - but mostly to see what we're having for dinner!  I never thought I'd plan my meals, but it is nice to be able to plan out my grocery trips and not be running to the store every other day.

And now to the point of this whole story - the kids were excited to discover we were having deep-dish pizzas last night.  This is a repeat recipe - but one that bears repeating.  They are awesome.  Here is my original post, complete with recipe. 

I did tweak things a little from the original - I made the pizzas in two 9-inch cake pans instead of the mini dishes.  And, I made a pepperoni version and then one with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

front pizza layers: crust, pepperoni, provolone, mozzarella, Williams-Sonoma pizza seasonings

front pizza layers:  sauteed veggies, provolone, mozzarella, sliced ham, seasonings, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

next step is to add sauce

fold the extra dough over and add parmesan

bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes
utter deliciousness

I'm not saying that I'm totally organized.  But, I'm getting there.  It's just nice not to forget everything.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Heckuva Year

Rob and I have been laughing a lot lately.  We literally said to one another this morning that we can't wait for next year because we have nothing left that can break.

In the past year we have had to replace:

our water heater
central air conditioning
all the wiring in our house

Last week the clutch on Rob's car broke and we noticed the starter was lagging on our truck.  Yesterday while we were getting ready for church we tried to start our truck and realized that the battery had died. We do not have one working car at this point today. 

I say this with a good spirit  because I realize how much we've been blessed.  We have our health - except when Rob scraped all of the skin off of his leg on a dirtbike incident, or when he had a tree branch stuck in his head (and we have the $1000 bill from the emergency room visit to prove it).  Did I mention we pay out of pocket for all of our medical and dental expenses?

But seriously, we are all healthy, and we have everything we need.  It has been a hectic year, but we have each other.  Rob has a great job (or three), our kids are doing well in school, and we're happy - we really are. 

I am looking forward to next year, though - here's hoping it's a cheaper one!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Favourite Thing Friday

I'm linking up with Shay over at Quilting in my Pyjamas today for Favourite Thing Friday.  Today's favourite is not mine - it's my husband's favorite meal, meatloaf.

When I make a meatloaf meal, I made the traditional version for him, and a different one for the kids and I.  Ours is filled with sauteed veggies, marinara sauce, and two different kinds of cheese. 

before baking

after baking

Traditional-style meatloaf

1 lb ground beef
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
4 slices bacon
1 T dijon mustard
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2t parsley, fresh or dried

1. Layer bacon slices on plate, top with carrots, onion, and garlic and microwave (covered) until bacon is crisp and veggies are cooked and browned slightly. Crumble bacon.
2. Mix vegetables and crisped bacon with the remaining ingredients. Top with more ketchup.
3. Place into a loaf pan or create a loaf in baking pan.
4. Bake, covered, at 375 for 40 minutes. Drain. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 15-20 minutes. Let meat loaf rest 5 minutes before serving.

Our meatloaf tastes a little like a noodle-less lasagna.  

before baking

after baking

Italian-style meatloaf

Italian-Style Meatloaf
1 pound ground beef
1 small zucchini
10 small button mushrooms
1/2 red pepper
1 small onion, chopped coarsely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 bag of spinach, frozen, completely thawed and drained
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3/4 jar of marinara sauce (I use Barilla)

1. In a large saute pan, brown veggies in olive oil (zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, pepper). The vegetables should be cut into similarly sized pieces to ensure even cooking time. Remove from heat and set aside when browned.
2. Mix meats, spinach, parmesan, bread crumbs, and eggs until well blended. Add veggies.
3. Put half of meat and veggie mixture on bottom of large loaf pan. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and half of the marinara sauce and repeat the procedure.
4. Cover the loaf with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until cooked through and browned on top (at least 25 more minutes). 

Happy Favourite Thing Friday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can't Help Myself

We spent some time as a family at our cabin this past weekend.  We traveled about 30 minutes to the Sherman Valley Heritage Days. 

I'll share more pictures later, but I just had to show you this one.  I had asked Rob to take a few pictures of the quilt display for my quilting friends. After he showed me the pictures, I realized that most of them had Amish families in them.  I'm pretty sure that they really don't like having their pictures taken. 

I really wanted to show you the cutest one - it's such a great picture.  If these children never actually see this picture, does that make it ok?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Discontent (apparently)

I have been absent in my blog posting. 

Rob keeps asking me why I haven't posted anything recently.  I think part of the reason is that I tend to live a groundhog day.  Every Day.  I'm certainly not complaining.  I fully consider it a luxury and privilege that I can stay home full-time. 

My days always include: laundry, running the dishwasher at least three times, helping with homework, carpooling to sports, packing lunches, making dinners, the usual.  I'm not sure I have much to share that's worth sharing. 

Plus, I've been introduced to Pinterest.  I'm fully blaming my sister-in-law.  She introduced me to this complete time-absorbing activity.  And, it's made me discontent.  All of a sudden I've decided that Rob needs a hobby room, I need a first-floor laundry, our closets need organized, and I need to decorate seasonally. 

So, for the past few weeks, I've been dreaming.  Dreaming of a new kitchen.  Dreaming of organized closets. 

For now, I'll continue to plan.  To steal pinecones from my neighbor's yard.  To spend the minimum amount of money to organize and beautify our house.  And, I'm continuing to cook.  Tonight is this luscious pork roast [and some yukon golds that are begging to become mashed potatoes]. 

the very simple marinade of: honey, beer, onions, and mustard

my front window "tablescape"

the pilfered pinecones, shhhhh.....

the closet where I'd like my washer and dryer to live

the coat closet that desperately needs organization
 So, there you have it.  I'll keep you posted if/when I actually accomplish any beautifying or organizing. 

I'll also take pictures of the finished pork and mashed potatoes - it's gonna be good.