Saturday, August 22, 2009

weekend fun

It's been a great weekend for us so far.  Last night we had a chick flick night at the church with the ladies.  I brought a few movies to choose from and we ended up picking Diary of A Mad Black Woman.  Love it.  Some of us brought delicious salads and others brought delicious desserts.  It was a great time fellowshipping with other women from church.  Afterwards, some of us went to Buffalo Wild Wings to hang out a little more, so I didn't get home until 11:30 or so.  It's been a while since I have been out that late! We had a great time watching karaoke.  I didn't partake... non of us did.  I sing often at church, in front of people, by myself...  but i, for some odd reason, have a fear of karaoke.  Give me a million bucks and i'll do it!  I love the women at elevation!  This morning we all slept in.  Noah woke up around 8, so that's when John and I got up (8 is sleeping in for us these days.) and Joe woke up a little after 9!  I think this first week of school wore him out!  It's funny to think that two days for four hours each day, can wear him out like that.  Or maybe, just maybe, he has decided he likes to sleep that long.  I can't complain though.  He usually wakes up around 7:45 or 8 which is great.  Especially when he goes down at 7:30.  We took it easy for about an hour this morning, and then we headed to the Helena outdoor Market.  They have one every saturday from 8-12.  We had a great time there.  I made one delicious purchase from Nana's Herbs.  I bought a beautiful glass jar of redwine vinaigrette infused with Nana's italian herbs and garlic.  I had to taste it as soon as i got home.  YUMMO! You should visit her website!!  Click HERE.  There is a park right behind the market so we played there for a while and when we got hungry we went to The Depot in Helena for lunch.  I got a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwhich.  Oh so good.  I've decided that on the weekends I will allow myself to eat whatever i want...@ meal times....i don't eat all day long :).  We got home and gave Joe a bath and fed Noah, and now both of the boys are asleep.  John just went to see a movie with a couple of friends.  He will be back in a couple of hours and we will probably just hang out and relax as a family.  I think John and I are going to get Chinese take out after Joe Joe goes down tonight.  It's usually our Friday night ritual, but I was out last night, so we will do it tonight!  I hope you all are having just as great of a weekend!!!  Just think...this time, two Saturdays from now, it will be college football galore!  RRRROOOOOOOOOOLLLLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

what's cookin

I love cooking, so I thought I would post about it more often.  We had a great super easy meal last night.  Sometimes John and I like to eat together after Joe goes down for the night because it can be a little more relaxing and almost date like :)  (and Joe is down by 7:30 so its really not very late.)  Last night i used ingredients that I had sitting around the kitchen.  It wasn't a planned ahead meal, because, well, I don't have time to plan most of the time.  So, we had baked chicken served on a mound of roasted garlic and parmesan cous cous with a side of John's slaw ( John's being the restaurant not my husband!)
For the chicken marinade...
I mixed about 2 table spoons of pesto sauce with 2 table spoons of roasted garlic and parmesan dressing (Publix brand)... but any olive oil based dressing with somewhat simple flavors would work... then I added a dash of salt and some red pepper flakes.  
I thawed out my chicken breasts with my zip lock bags and bowl of warm water method.  So fast and easy!  
I seasoned the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then added the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes.  You don't have to let it marinade for nearly that long especially if you are baking your chicken.  I just did it ahead of time so I could just pop it in the oven closer to eating time!
I preheated the oven to 350 and when it was ready I popped in my chicken, uncovered, for about 28 - 30 minutes.  
Meanwhile, i made my quick cooking cous cous.  It took 5 minutes to cook! super!  I had a box of roasted garlic cous cous, so i cooked it according to package directions but adding a little salt.  (Im a salt lover.) When it was finished cooking, I fluffed it up and added some grated parmesan cheese.  It was yummmmmy!
For the slaw, i just took a packaged of cole slaw mix and dressed it with John's dressing (of John's city diner in Bham)  All the grocery stores in Bham have it...not sure about other states?
It was delicious....and a great date in our living room!

Tonight..can you believe it.. dinner is already made (pretty much!)  That's right.. dinner was put together by 2:45 pm today.  All I have to do is pop it in the oven closer to dinner time.  When Joe went down for his nap this afternoon, I fed Noah and put him on the floor on his over head gym thing and went to work in the kitchen.  It was great inspiration having Top Chef on as I cooked! LOVE that show! 
 What's for dinner tonight??  I'll just call it Misty's Mexican Casserole.  (I'm not a huge casserole girl, but I'm expanding my horizons in an attempt to make cooking quicker and easier!)  I also had most of these ingredients in my kitchen... I just picked up a couple things at the grocery store this morning while Joe was at school :)  I had to make a quick shopping trip for a cous cous salad that I'm making for a ladies get together at church tomorrow night! (We're watching a chick flick and everyone is bringing a salad or dessert to share...I thought it would be a good idea to mix the healthy with the deliciously unhealthy :) )
Ok, so for the casserole...
Brown some ground turkey (or beef, or sautee some cut up chicken) in a pan.  Add taco seasoning and chopped green chiles.  
In a casserole dish or baking pan, place a whole tortilla on bottom (or flour or corn).  
Layer black beans, meat mixture, salsa, guacamole, and shredded cheese (or any number of other toppings you like!...olives, sour cream, rice etc) continue layering as high as you would like, and top with shredded cheese.  
Bake at 375 or so until cheese is bubbly and casserole (or mexican lasagna or whatever you want to call it!) is heated through.  
Serve with a mexican salad or chips and dip, or whatever side you'd like!  
Easy enough, right?!?

school is cool

YAAAAY!!!! Joe made it through his first week of school! (week = Tues and Thurs from 8-12) He did so well and absolutely loved it.  John and I were a little nervous how he would do.. He has only been in the church nursery for just over an hour on Sundays and his babysitters are always people he knows very well, so we werent quite sure how he would do with new teachers for four whole hours!  He didn't cry at all when John dropped him off Tuesday.  He was eager to enter his class room and play.  When we picked him up that day he was having a great time!  Today when John dropped him off, Joe ran off waving at John as if to say "Bye Dad! Get out of here! I'm good to go!"  He was having a great time again today when we picked him up.  His teachers said he is doing great, having a great time, and is well behaved.  Yay Joe!!!  I am so very proud of him.  Words can not express my emotions when I see him playing and enjoying himself at a big boy.  I was telling John today, I didnt really notice what a big boy he was until I saw him playing with other kids his age.  When i look at him, I see my little baby...but when I saw him with those other kiddos they looked like little people running around.  He really isn't a baby anymore :(   
Joe, your daddy and I are so very proud of you.  You are so sweet, fun, smart, and well behaved. We are blessed to be your parents.  You are going to do great in school for many years to come.  We pray for you every day...that you would love your teachers and the kids around you, that you would learn a lot, that you would experience Christ's love and that you would learn about Him, and that you would know how much your daddy and I love you and miss you while you are away.   You are the best, buddy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

menu planning monday...sort of...

so, i know lots of people post a menu planning monday post.  I have a hard time right now being able to think that far ahead.  instead, i'll just share with you what's for dinner tonight.  After all, I can think that far ahead :)  I love, love, love to cook and would spend hours in the kitchen if i could.  I don't follow recipes...I like to do my own thing.  But, I do get inspiration from other recipes, and I love to read cook books.  I'm on a quest to make delicious meals without spending much time in the kitchen, because I seem to have little time to cook these days.  I want to be somewhat healthy and I don't want to do the whole boxed meals because that takes the joy out of cooking for me.  Cooking is my creative outlet.  Another obstacle...going to the grocery store.  It is nearly impossible for me to take both of mine to the grocery store at the same time.  Their ages are tough ones.  So, I usually go once a week, if that, by myself when John can watch them.  So, frozen meats and fish have become my friends.  I didn't know if they would taste as good and fresh...but so far, so good.  So, I won't leave you hanging any longer...tonights meal is.....
Pan seared, then baked Alaskan salmon and whole wheat three cheese torellini in a pesto sauce.  Normally I would have a vegetable or salad with it, but I don't have them in my house right now, so we will go without!  
To make things easy, the salmon was bought frozen in fillets and the tortellini is premade found in the refrigerated section.  Also, the pesto sauce was pre made.  
If you are interested in how i plan on cooking the salmon, i will gladly inform you!  
I find that the best way to thaw fish, shrimp, and chicken is to put them in zip lock bags and then place those bags in a big bowl of warm water.  It's quick, and doesnt toughen the meat like I find that the microwave does.  Preheat your over to 375.  After thawing, heat some olive oil in a pan.  Season the salmon, both sides, with salt and whatever seasonings you prefer.  I think I am going to use greek seasoning tonight, and maybe a little garlic powder as well.  Then sear your salmon on both sides (skin side first) for a quick minute or so.   Transfer your pan to the oven for about 15 minutes or until your salmon is as well done as you like it.  From my cooking experiments, this method allows for the best flavor and tenderness.  Cook the tortellini according to package directions, then add pesto sauce and parmesan cheese.  I like to add chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, or pine nuts as well.  Dinner should be yummy, quick, and easy!  Just like I need it to be right now :)  If you have any ideas for yummy easy dinners, let me know!

woe is me

my goodness.  Joe starts "school" tomorrow.  I am so excited for him, and I know this will be great for him, but I am kinda sad.  A month ago I was looking forward to him starting school, knowing that he would have so much fun and I would have two days to actually take care of my house and get some things done...but now that school time is here, I don't want him to go!!  That's 8 hours less a week that I get to spend with my precious Joe Joe.  I bought him a little back pack at Target yesterday, and I got him a few new clothes.  He is a size 2T now.  Big Boy!!!  So, he is ready to go.  He's going to school at the same church where John works, so John will be taking him to school when he goes to work.  They will have some great guy time together on those mornings.  It's also nice to know that John is in the same building as him.   What am I going to do when he goes to school 5 days a week all day long?!?  Time is flying by!  
Anyways, both of the boys have been sick the last few days.  Colds.  Thankfully no ear infections or fevers.  It's Noah's first time to be sick, and of course, he is only sick because Joe passed on his germs.  Poor guy.  He has been a trooper through all the snot and stuffiness.  I think he is feeling much better today, though.  I hate when they don't feel well.  
Despite the colds, our family had a great weekend!  John and I got to go on a date with another couple Saturday night.  We had a BLAST!  We love Sara Beth and Gabe.  My parents watched the boys at our house.  Everyone had a great time except for Noah.  He wasnt feeling all that well.  Poor guy.  He got lots of love from his Honey and Pops though, and I'm sure that made him feel a lot better.  John and I were supposed to work in the nursery yesterday at church, but both of the boys were sick and i didnt feel too well either, so I stayed home with the boys and John went and ended up running the computer because something came up for the guy that was supposed to run it.  I'm sad that we missed church, but no need to spread germs!  
John had a very busy week last week...working his normal job at Briarwood, but also working on a few freelance projects.  I am so proud of him and his talent and his heart for ministry.  If you haven't seen his website, you should check it out.  CLICK HERE  So I think he really appreciated the weekend.  He has another busy week again this week with more freelance work.
I'm going to take some pictures of the boys this week as soon as I remember to charge the camera! :)  I'll post them when I do.  Hope you all have a great week!!  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Family Lake Trip 2009

We went to the lake with my entire family a couple of weekends ago.  Most of my family lives around Birmingham and we get to see each other a good bit, but I have an Aunt that lives in Colorado and she has 4 kids (adults now!), so it was so awesome to get to spend time with them for a few days.  We had so much fun together.  As you can see, there are a lot of us!  We swam in the pool and the lake, played on floats, jumped off the top deck of the dock, went down the water slide, got in the hot tub, ate a lot, hung out, played in the game room (super awesome i must say!), relaxed, watched an air show (definitely thought the pilots were going to die), and enjoyed each others company.  We also celebrated my grandmother's birthday...4 times.  We had a cake with every dinner.  What an awesome way to celebrate her, with the whole family, away together.  Joe and Noah had a blast.  Most importantly, Joe didn't mind wearing his super cool life jacket. :)  He had so much fun playing with his older cousins, especially Maggie.  She's 6 and super fun (and the best frog catcher ever!) John had to come a day late because of work, and I took the boys on an hour and a half journey to a place I had never been before all by myself.  I was quite proud.  Well, here are some pictures for you to enjoy.  Not quite in order.

Joe playing in a grocery buggy.  Of course he didn't play shop with it or push it around...he did things the Joe way and climbed in it. 
He found a great cubby hole to play in.  Can you find him?!
Yep, there he is!
Joe had lots of fun with his Pops! I believe my dad was wearing my grandmothers sun hat here.  Haha
Noah was held, fed, and loved on by lots of family.  He loved it!
Maggie and her frog prince.

Where lots of eatin' took place....
Playing guitar hero on the wii...
The game room!

My grandmother (Bibby) playing a game
My Mom on the motorcycle
As you can see we had so much fun... and now for more lake pictures...

More Lake!

The House....Stunning.  It held 32 of us and 2 babies.
Joe playing with Honey in the lake.
The dock.  Complete with a water slide.
Joe playing with Aunt Wanda and my mom.

Joe and Daddy kayaking.

Family having fun in the lake!

The Schluchters :)

The Schluchters and the Teate's.
My big wonderful family.  I love them. Funny pic.
Serious and sweet.
We had a great time! The boys did awesome.  Joe slept great, Noah even slept through the night.  They were loved on by 32 people.  Can't get any better than that!  I love my family.  We are so blessed to have a huge family where everyone gets a long and has so much fun together. 

There are more pictures in an album on my facebook page.  Check them out!