Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Family Update

Big loves to Nana in London & Papa in Dubai--
we miss you, you crazy world travelers!

Hurry home safe!

Apparently I've been "gone" for a long time, since just in the last week I've had multiple people call/email me and say, "Where have you been? Is everything alright? We need an update!" Strange, since it didn't seem to me like I was out of the loop...just going about our days as usual. :-) So for everyone who's been wondering, here's a bit of what we've been up to:

Guys Weekend
Keith had a fantastic time here with his buddies from Ohio. Scott, Troy and Brent were here for 5 days full of specialty beer & wine, cookouts on the grill, cigars out on the deck, movies and many hours of board/card games. I only got a couple pictures of the group, but I'm pretty sure it looked just like this...repeated many times over...throughout their whole stay. :-)

Keith & Scott

Troy & Brent

This past Saturday night I got to spend a wonderful couple of hours with my "Bible Study Girls", as I call them. Allison, Katy, Anna, Heather, Heidi, Kari and I were in a Bible study together for 8+ years and became great friends. Although we don't meet often anymore, it's always such a blessing when we can come together and share about our lives and tons of laughter. We've all been through so much...lots of babies (me-2, Alli-2, Katy-4, Anna-5, Heather-2, Heidi-4, Kari-3...whew!), deaths of loved ones, financial woes, health troubles, you name it. Over the years our questions have blossomed from "How do you know if he's The One?" and "How in the heck do you break your baby's Nursing Strike?" to now "What's your best discipline trick for such-and-such?" and "What age should a kid start wearing deodorant/training bras/shaving, etc." Our kids now range in age from 15 down to 3 months, so we have quite the range of conversation! It's so wonderful to be around friends who know your heart, who see you as you really are and never judge you for it!

Maddie has been her usual energetic self, although all of us are feeling the effects of being cooped up in the house with all the rain (and hail!) around here. We need a sunny day so we can get to the park! I feel badly because I lose my cool with her at least a couple times a day...the non-stop questions and WHY??? {especially when the questions are so ridiculous or she already knows the answer, but she asks anyway just to hear herself talk} drives me INSANE and I become one short-fused Mama. Just had to admit that I have my moments {Maddie will probably cut-and-paste this part of the blog for her I Hate Mommy journal when she turns 13.}
Anyway, she often comes up with really creative ways to entertain herself...

{today she came up with these "ice skating cups"
and skated all over the house with great balance!}

and we've done a few projects together...

and practiced some math and reading...
{I'm so proud of her--she now knows most letter sounds
and can phonetically read and spell some short words!}

{some new learning games I've been coloring/cutting out/laminating for Maddie}

But mostly it seems I've been on a cooking-baking-finding new recipes marathon.
In addition to my regular weeknight cooking,

over the past week I've been stocking the freezer {in preparation for our week in the hospital for James' surgery and the 3 weeks Grandma Frank will be staying with us--yay!} with:
(click on the linked recipes if you're interested!)

roasted {whole} chicken, cooked meat shredded & cubed before freezing

Barefoot Contessa's outrageous brownies {these freeze well for many months}

Martha Stewart's crepes and lemon curd {seriously, the best crepes ever!}

Greek burgers/meatballs

my friend Christine's chicken enchiladas {a family favorite}

quick omega-3 granola {in the fridge}
*my new go-to breakfast: Yoplait Greek yogurt, ground flaxseed, this granola & fresh berries*
Note: If you make this granola, the baking time is way off--bake for 7 min, then 7 min, then check after 6 min...or else you'll end up with charcoal!

chocolate cookie dough truffles {Keith eats these straight from the freezer}

Barefoot Contessa's lentil soup with sausage

garbanzo bean-corn patties

Oh, and tonight I made chicken burgers and the.best.steak.fries.EVER. Yes, I think they even top Red Robin's! I usually just roast them, but they never get crispy on the outside. This recipe from Annie's Eats is perfect! Crispy outside, tender inside. All-around goodness. They take a bit more time, but TRY THEM--they'll be on your menu for all those summer BBQ's! I bet they'd be great with sweet potatoes, too--that's my next round {all for me, since Keith won't touch 'em!}

I also have a few new favorite food blogs, which I've been shamelessly stalking,
digging through their archives, and printing like a mad-woman:

And last, but not least, our resident Cutie Pie James, who is doing great.
{I'll do another post all about his health/surgery tomorrow
so that people can put him on their prayer list!}

FYI: James' surgery will be Tuesday, May 18th...coming up soon!

{Doesn't it look like he's beginning to turn a bit blonde?}

{Flashback: Maddie @ 5 months}

{Maddie @ 5 months. Apparently it's in the genes that this elephant
is destined to be the favorite toy!}



Nana said...

Thank you, babe, for the adorable pics and funny commentary. I laughed out loud @ the homemade skates:)! That was my "Nana" fix for a few days till I can get home and cuddle with my adorable grandkids...Missing and loving you all, Mom/Nana

Christine said...

Yay, finally! :) Yes, I know I was one of the ones who emailed. So good to hear a bit of the daily stuff going on, and amazing to hear about surgery coming up so soon! James looks adorable in the puppy sleeper. :) Now you make me want to go make enchiladas. Yummy! Love you, c

Heather Elizabeth said...

I love how you can TOTALLY see the similarities between your beauties. Can I help with anything during the surgery. I would love to bring another meal. Let me know.