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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's been a while....

since I've been on here. Things have been busier than ever around here. Lots of trips, family visiting and Birthdays have engulfed our summer. I can't complain though. It's been a really fun Summer! I'll be back soon :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks and a Pot Pie...

We started our day off pretty easy and slow yesterday. We hung around the house doing yard work while the kids played in the pool and raced in the yard on their power wheels. At one point the kids and I snuck over to my mom's and baked a chocolate bunt cake. I refuse to bake cakes in my oven anymore. It just doesn't work. Oh ya....The bunt cake....Yum!

We ended up at a friends block party around 5. It ended up being allot of fun. The kids jumped in the bounce house for hours. We ate the regular Ol' BBQ food. Then laid on the lawn to watch a really nice show of fireworks. During the finale one of the fireworks tried to take M and I out. There was a boom then a big ball of fire shooting right at us. It hit my hand landed on our blanket, which caught on fire, then bounced up into my friends hair! Fortunately for us only the blanket was left with a scar. Over all it was a pretty successful 4th of July! The 5th on the other hand started us out with 2 sick and throwing up boys. Hopefully whatever they've got going on will pass soon without destroying our home!

We've been on Summer break for about 3 weeks now and have taken 2 trips to the beach already. The weather there hasn't quite gotten to the "nice" point but we've still had alot of fun flying kites and building sand castles.

Our last trip left me in a Fall feeling mood. So I decided to make a Chicken Pot Pie with some leftover rotisserie chicken. It was the first one I have ever made and was super delicious! I found the recipe on one of my new favorite food blogs. http://www.perrysplate.com/ She cooks alot of my kind of food. I made just a few tweaks to it to make up for the things I had and didn't have on hand. Im pretty sure this will become a family favorite during the Fall and Winter monthes. Enjoy :)

Roasted Chicken Pot Pie
adapted from Perrysplate.com

1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded roasted chicken meat
1 cup leftover pan drippings from chicken (fat skimmed from the top)
4 T butter
3 T flour
2 clove garlic, minced
2 cups frozen small vegetables (like peas, carrots, corn mix)
4 cups chicken broth
1 T chopped fresh (or 1 tsp dried) herbs (see note)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
single pie crust, unbaked
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.In a large skillet or saute pan, melt butter over medium heat, then add flour and chopped garlic. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to bubble and turn slightly brown. Add 3 cups chicken broth, pan drippings, shredded chicken, vegetables, herbs, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper. (The mixture will become more flavorful as it thickens, so don't add too much salt at this point.) Cook over medium heat until it becomes bubbly, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-8 minutes until mixture thickens. Add more chicken broth if it gets too thick, 1/4 cup at a time. Remove from heat and stir in the cream, if using. Pour filling into a 9-inch pie plate and let it cool for a few minutes.Roll out pie crust a bit so it's about an inch bigger than the pie plate, then place over the top of the filling. Tuck edges underneath themselves to form a smooth edge and crimp, if desired, using your finger. Cut 2 or 3 small slits in the top of the crust, toward the center. Place egg in a small bowl with 1 T water and beat with a fork. Brush some egg wash over top of the crust. (You'll have some leftover.)Place pie plate on top of a rimmed cookie sheet (in case it spills over while baking) and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

( I didn't have fresh herbs so I used about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. I also didn't reserve any of the pan drippings so I added 2 chicken boulion cubes.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New York Crumb Cake...

I love Cake. I also really like crumbs. So eating the two together just seemed natural to me :) This crumb cake is a Martha Stewart recipe and happens to be the first Martha recipe I have ever made. This seems really odd to me that up until now I hadn't even looked at one of her recipes. You would think, being the domestic diva that she is, I would have at least rummaged through her extensive recipe box! Do you think I could find a way to squeeze one more "recipe" into this paragraph?

Anyways back to the Crumb Cake. I am not a native New Yorker nor have I ever been to New York. So I am in no way an expert on judging a real New York Crumb Cake. However I figured Martha had to know what she was talking about. Right? Well I was not disappointed! It wasn't too sweet and had the perfect amount of Crumb on top for me. The only thing I will do different next time is add a little more cinnamon. I like my crumbs to be extra cinnamony :) This would pair nicely with a cup of black coffee and would also be a nice a.m. treat for overnight guests.

New York Crumb Cake

2 Tablespoons canola oil

4 cups flour ; divided

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 sticks butter, melted and cooled

confectioners’ sugar

Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and set aside. In a large bowl wish together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until it just comes together. Grease a 9x13 pan. Spread battler evenly and set aside. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a bowl and whisk. Add the melted butter and mix until it forms large crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the batter. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. When the cake has cooled all the way sprinkle with confectioners sugar. YUM

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To My Father's....

I have a Dad. A pretty great Dad! A Dad who took me to Handy Andy's on the way home every weekend he had me, and let me pick out a squeeze-it and a toy off the rack. A Dad who ALWAYS wanted to take me along with him on hunting and fishing trips. A Dad who was crazy enough to let me shoot his guns and drive his truck on the mountain roads. A Dad who gave me 2 amazing and gentle Brothers whom I love and love me dearly. A Dad who always made me feel like I was the most special little girl in the world!

I have another Dad. One I was blessed with when I married T. He's only been in my life for 8 years but has gone above and beyond to help out our family in any way he can. He is a true Man's man with a kind heart. I can't say enough kind words about him.

I also have a "Friend Dad". I think that's a good way to describe him. He's not so much in my life in the physical anymore but he does a heck of a job being there for me in voice. Someone I can ALWAYS count on to be there to listen to me. When I need to cry, or vent, or just want to talk to someone. He gives the best " makes most sense for me" advice and he always makes me smile. In fact just seeing his name on my phone makes me happy!

Last but certainly not least. I have a Husband. One I am incredibly proud of. He works so hard for our family and doesn't get nearly as much thanks as he deserves. He gets up with the kids in morning 99% of the time. Not because he wants to but because he knows that I am s l o w going in the A.M. . I don't know too many Dad's that do that! ( The 1% that I get up with them is on "his" holidays and when he has to work overnight at the beach. Pathetic I know! )He is the perfect Father to our 3 babes. He always takes time to just be in the moment with them. Whether its playing outside, or laying on the floor picking teams with K. That is something I admire about him and need to do some work on :) I don't think I could put into words all the great things about him but I thank God for him every day!

These are just a few of the Great "Father's" in my life. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing men. I hope you all had the best day ever!

Friday, June 11, 2010

An Apple A Day....

....Keeps the Doctor away. If only it were true for these "Apples"! Thursday was the last day of preschool this year for K and also his "Under the Sea" party. We spent most of the day on Wednesday making "Apple" Cupcakes for his Awesome Teachers. I was really surprised at how well they turned out. They were also really easy. I got the idea from this book> http://www.hellocupcakebook.com/. The one I have is actually the second book, "Whats New Cupcake". I absolutely adore every single page in this book. For anyone who loves cupcakes, it's a must have!

We went with the apples because, well, they just seemed appropriate. J the bus driver also got a box of them.

We went to Michael's and bought cupcake boxes and some red ribbon with white polka dots to finish them off.
I have to say...I think when all was said and done they turned out purty darn cute. In a homemade amateur sorta way ;)
The Theme for the preschool party was "Under the Sea". We watched a slide show. Then the kids sang "water inspired" songs in there cap and gowns that they made themselves. Oh so very cute!

After that they gave out awards and farewells to the little ones moving on to kindergarten. K got the "Bravo" award for his new found Independence and improved motor skills.

Even though he still has one more year of preschool, before moving on to the real deal, it was bittersweet. He is growing up so quickly and it makes me sad and happy at the same time. I remember when he was a baby and I would wonder what he would be like at 5 years old. It seemed so far away at the time. Well were there now and I love the little almost 5 year old that he's become! He amazes me everyday and I am proud to be able to call myself his Mom :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

May The Force Be With You....

Today is Memorial Day. First I want to say a "thank you" to all of the brave men and women who have served us and are still serving us. You all are Amazing!

I thought I'd give you all a glimpse of what we do in our spare time here. This is something that occurs on a daily basis. Most of the time it happens more than once a day. In fact it's in motion right this very moment. You have to be ready at any given minute to join in on the fun. This activity, and little boy, does not care if you are in the middle of a poopy diaper change, moping the floor, or trying to write a blog post. When there's a battle to be fought you must drop what you are doing and fight!

First you need to set up the "Dark Side". A few of the key Characters needed are Darth Vader, Darth Sidious ( aka Senator Palpatine), and Darth Maul ( as seen below).

You also need bounty hunters. I'm not sure who the first 2 are but Bobba Fett is on the end.

Darth Sidious & Darth Vader ( K's Favorite sith's)
Next you need to set up your "good side". Which usually consists of Jedi knights Yoda, Obi-Wan, Luke Skywalker, and a few droids. A few of the favorites around here are Anakin Skywalker ( Anakin with a pony tail) Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ben Kenobi.

All there is left to do now is to let the battle begin. You pick a guy from the Dark side, and then a guy from the good side. Then comes the tough decision of deciding which guy is stronger. At the end of the battle, whoever has the most guys standing wins! Then we do it all over again!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Growing roots......

Since that's the name of this blog I figure a little talk about "growing" would be appropriate. Over the past couple of years I have been doing a lot of work on me. Trying to really get to know my self and be the person that I want to be. Not the person everyone else wants me to be. But just like in gardening if you are trying to grow as a person, family, or friend you need to take care of yourself and your crops. It takes a lot of hard work. Tilling the soil, watering, pruning, and weeding. First you need to pick a good environment for your garden. A spot where it can get a lot of sun. Next comes the soil. You need to surround your plants with good, healthy, nutritious loamy soil. Then comes the watering. Your plants can't grow with out those 3 key ingredients. Once you're garden has started to grow then comes the hard stuff. Do you let the weeds take over and settle for a smaller crop? Or do you pick through the weeds and have a happy healthy garden? Do you let those cute, bouncy, and sneaky little bunnies eat your greens? Or do you find a way to happily coexist while keeping your greens for yourself? There are always going to be "weeds" and "bunnies"in life . There is no way to avoid them but you do have a choice in how you deal with them. Do you let them control your garden? Bringing it down with them. Or do you take control and make your garden what you want?

For a while now I have been growing my garden. It wasn't until the past couple of weeks that I opened my eyes and saw what was going on in there. I have been letting the "weeds" and "bunnies" run the show. Letting them dictate how things are going to go. That is a huge problem when you are trying to grow. Now that I have realized what is going on I have to make some changes. Fortunately for me, T and I are both the type of people who deal with change easily. Once we realize there is a problem we HAVE to fix it. It's just our nature.

I thought I had been picking the weeds but now I realize I haven't. They have absolutely no place or right to be in my garden reeking havoc. We will have extra "weed patrol's" on duty from here on out. ;) .The bunnies on the other hand. I love the bunnies. My kids love the bunnies. The bunnies make me and my kids happy. (Except when they are nibbling on my lettuce) I enjoy watching the bunnies hopping around with there babies, Eating the grass in my yard and chasing each other. They don't know that by nibbling on my plants they are causing upset. They are just doing what they know. The last thing I want to do is hurt the bunnies but it's time they hopped their cute little cotton tails out of my garden and back into the yard. I guess the best way to live happily with them is to put up a little fence. That way we can still enjoy each other without the loss of their home here or my lettuce.

Tending to the garden isn't always going to be fun or easy. I do know that if I take good care of it we will have a happier, healthier, more fruit full crop when its time to harvest. That my friends, I think is worth the hard work!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How does your garden grow?

I've never been much of the gardening type but I've always thought it looked like fun. The whole idea just really intimidated me. I know NOTHING about growing things and NOTHING about keeping them alive. I never wanted to put the time into it and then watch everything die. So instead I have avoided the whole thing. Not planting anything in my yard that required any work other than maybe the occasional water. Oh and nothing that flowered. I didn't want the embarrassment if my flowering plant didn't flower. I have been happy with my blah bland yards up until this year. Once spring hit I found my self craving color. I started admiring all the pretty flowering trees and the cute yellow and orange tulips. That's when I realized that I'm bored with my boring yard. I needed to do something about it!

I went out and bought a few flowering plants. Just a couple to start with. I didn't want to get in over my head. Two of my favorites, Hydrangea's and Lavender. I am pleased to say that they are still alive and thriving. My Hydrangeas are popping up with new blooms all the time. I love it!

These are the rhodies that were here before we moved in. They didn't bloom last year. I'm not sure why but they didn't . I'm happy to see them coming out right now!

After I got a little color color going on I started thinking about a vegetable garden. It's something I've always wanted to do, but like I said before, was intimidated by. With the encouragement of a few family members. I decided to go ahead and dive into the world of vegetable gardening. T bought and built the raised bed. Then went out and got the soil. I took the kids and picked out the seeds. Like with the flowers I wanted to start small. We planted a row of romaine lettuce. Then waited. 7 days later we had action. To my surprise the seeds actually grew into little teeny tiny lettuce starts! Since then the kids and I have planted our bed with Onions, Zuchini, Bell Peppers, Snap Peas, Green Beans, and more lettuce. I get so excited to go out to the garden every day and see the new growth. Its incredibly rewarding! Nothing like I thought it would be but better. Its fun for K and M too. They got to plant their own rows and like checking on the progress. I cant wait untill we can actually eat what we've grown!

"Peppers after enjoying a bath"

"Onions making their debut"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Loving the Sun...

What an amazing week this has been so far! Nothing but nice sunny weather. It's actually supposed to get up to 80 degrees today and tomorrow! We started off the week with a great Mother's day. I woke up to cards from the kids and dad. Then made my way over to my Seesters house for coffee and breakfast with her and Mom.

I don't remember the last time the 3 of us were able to just sit, and talk without the distraction of kids or husbands. It was the PERFECT way to spend the morning. I hope we can make time to do it more often.

We rounded off the day with a trip to Costco ( one of my most favorite places in the world!) to get a few things for the yard. We snagged a few pics of the kids and I on the way out the door. K and L weren't in much of a picture taking mood. M took the job seriously and we managed to get a couple of really cute pics of her.

"M and Mom"

"M, K, and Mom"

The rest of the week has been shaping up to be a pretty good. Happy. Sunny. Low Stress. My kinda week. T is on his way home from the Beach. All inspections passed which is great! Swim school in a couple of hours. Then tomorrow morning K has his first play date with his friend from preschool! He has been looking forward to this for a very long time! I hope everyone else's week goes as smoothly as ours!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo.

Today is Cinco De Mayo. We will be celebrating by making a large batch of chocolate chip cookies. Not because they have anything to do with Cinco De Mayo. I just want some! I had really high hopes of eating a good homemade chocolate cake this week. Since that didn't work out as planned I will have to make do with cookies.

We will also be making a trip to find a plate holder/hanger. Yesterday K came home from preschool with a Plate that he made me for Mothers Day. It is really cute. At least Dad and I think so. That is one of the things that I love about his preschool. They Celebrate EVERYTHING, and he brings home some sort of crafty project almost every day. They also have the little ones help make things like, banana bread, butter, and pies during Thanksgiving. Oh ya, and the Teachers are great too! I think he is in the best preschool out there! I will post a picture of the plate later. I just realized T has my camera at the beach. I hope you all have a good Cinco De Mayo!

Update!! Picture of my Mother's day Plate:

Friday, April 30, 2010


Most of you that know me well, know that I LOVE to cook! I'm obsessed with trying new recipes and I'm always searching for that one amazing meal. You know the one everyone in the house likes? The one that you want to make over and over again? The one when your kids are grown and think of Mom's food this is what they think of? Well, I think I'm getting close.
Since it was exceptionally gloomy last week, and the "Man of the house" was away. I decided it would be a good time to make Chili. Now for the most part I am the only one in my little family that actually LIKES to eat Chili. However...With this new recipe I feel "a change gon' come". It was really really good, and like most Chili's, really really easy! When the words "MMM...This is really yummy" come out of my 4 year olds mouth. I know I have done my job well. Here is the recipe for Nacho Cheesy Chili. I found it on this blog http://http://cookingventures.blogspot.com/ . I made some changes to suite what my family likes. I didn't think about this until after the fact but some corn in it would have been really good too!

Nacho Cheesy Chili

  • 1 TBSP Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 1/2LB Ground Beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 1/2 TBSP Chili Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 2 cans Chili Beans
  • 2 1/2 cups V8 Juice
  • 1/3 cup finely crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos.
  • 1-4 oz can Green Chilis (optional)
  • 2 cups freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra Doritos at serving time and Freshly Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese for topping

Heat a large pot over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook the onions until tender, 2-3 min. Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper. Cook until brown and then drain. To the browned meat, add the chili seasoning, garlic, and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Next add the V8 Juice, chili beans, crushed Doritos, and green chilis. Do NOT add the cheeses yet. Stir, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer (around medium-low). Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cheese and stir to combine. Allow the cheese to melt for about a minute then stir again. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as needed. The chili should be rich and thick and the ground beef should be very tender. If it is too thick for your liking add more V-8 Juice or water. YUM!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Starting Over....

A little over 2 years ago I started a blog to keep family updated on our life while living in our "Castle on the Rock". I made a whopping 5 posts then got lost in life and forgot all about it. Whoops. I guess the whole "keeping people updated" thing didn't quite work out!

Since my last post in March of 2008 alot of stuff has happened.

1. We welcomed little L into our lifes in August. He's a pretty amazing boy and is now 19mo old!

2. We no longer live in our Castle. Since then we have moved back home where we are much more comfortable and happy :) Being gone really made us realize how important our family is and how much we love being close to them.

3. The "Man of the House" has taken on a new business venture that we are both enjoying.

4. K and M have grown so much, K is in preschool, and M is in Tumbling. Also both are taking swimming lessons which they really love.

The list could go on but most of you should know the rest ;) I am planning on keeping up with THIS blog. Obviously not to update you all on our life in Castle Rock but as a place to write about Life, My Loves, and my pursuit of the Perfect Meal! I hope you all will stop by often :)

Until next time....Jamie