Monday, April 30, 2012

Green Beans, Three Ways!

Everyone has their favorite vegetable. My favorite is green beans! I'll eat green beans every day but my family likes more variety. Evie does not like green beans. She likes broccoli best and Henry likes peas. Carl likes silver queen corn but is happy to eat anything that I prepare for him.

Here are my three favorite recipes for green beans. Fresh green beans are best but they are a lot of work. I generally use frozen whole green beans in all three of these recipes.

Roasted Green Beans:

Toss frozen or fresh green beans with olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Bake at 425 for about 40 minutes. Broil for a few minutes at the end if you like them crispy!

Lemon Green Beans:

Steam about a pound of green beans. Drain any remaining water. Add two tablespoons of butter and a heavy sprinkle of fresh thyme. Keep on stove until melted then remove from heat. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon on top. DELICIOUS!

You can find other amazing recipes like this one at Faithful Provisions.

Sweet and Sour Green Beans:

6 bacon slices, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 16oz packages of frozen, whole green beans
2 Tablespoons of cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1) Cook bacon and onion in a Dutch oven, stirring often.  Transfer mixture to a plate, reserving drippings in the pan.

2) Cook beans in hot drippings, stirring often for 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in vinegar, sugar and bacon mixture.  Cook, continuing to stir often, for about 3 minutes or until heated. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: You can triple this recipe and freeze leftovers in quart size freezer bags. This is our favorite!

Pictures were added to my Week in Review post from yesterday.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week in Review!

Monday: Henry slept until 9 which made us all so happy! Evie and I decided to take advantage of not being home for morning nap so we ran errands. We went to get a few odds and ends for some learning activities around the house. Television is getting out of control in our house. Evie is constantly asking to watch "a show" which then leads to another show. It might be time to go cold turkey for a few days but that seems a bit drastic. Evie needed a hair cut so we did a big girl haircut. She had 3.5 inches cut off and it looks just darling! Everyone tells us that she looks older and it's true.

Tuesday: Evie had school and Henry did not want to nap. So, we made a grocery run and then did some cleaning around the house. I just cannot keep up with laundry, meals, and the clutter that comes with two kids. Carl had a late meeting at work so I was able to skip cooking dinner.

Wednesday: We went to see Cinderella. It was fun but goodness it was so long. Cinderella read two books, then applied tattoo's to each child and then posed for pictures. I am not a fan of tattoos but Evie sure was impressed with her purple sparkly flower. Evie napped all afternoon and then we headed to the park to play with Molly. Most of Evie's friends are second children and I have noticed that parents become much more relaxed with their parenting after the first child. Evie went off with the other girls and played perfectly fine without me hovering. She was covered from head to toe in dirt and soaking wet from playing in the water fountain. It started raining so we made a beeline out of there. Evie does not like rain and the bathroom was "too soundy" there. Evie is not a fan of public restrooms at all! We came home and made french toast for dinner. Henry loved it and Evie requested pancakes instead.

Thursday: Henry was up all night long so morning seemed to come earlier than necessary. He woke up with two new teeth. Evie grew her teeth much more slowly so teething did not really bother her too much. Evie woke up happy and ready to go to school to see Molly. Henry had his sitter and I went to the dentist. Then, met some friends for lunch at Wild Iris. Lots of bloggers have been posting about Chick Fil A's new chocolate chip cookies so I decided to treat myself to one or two or maybe even 6 cookies. Evie and I shared a cookie with milk after school. Bloggers were correct, those cookies are fabulous - soft and chewy yet crunchy too. Carl arrived home earlier than anticipated from St. Louis so we enjoyed a tea party with Evie and then Henry went for a jog with Carl.

Friday: Our day began at 5:45 with Henry waking up first then Evie was awake by 6:30. By 9:30, Henry had already finished his morning nap and Evie polished off breakfast two different times. We needed a day at home after our busy week. I try to leave one day a week free so that we can stay home without rushing to the next place. However, it felt like 3:00 and it was only mid-morning so we did scoot into the library for just a few minutes to get some new DVD's and a few books. I LOVE living so close to the library! We played outside for a bit before lunch. I put Henry in the stroller and was spraying the other stroller with the hose. Little Houdini managed to get himself out of the stroller and was standing next to the stroller when I looked up. Scary! Thankfully, he managed to maneuver onto his feet instead of his head on the concrete driveway. Henry is definitely a lot busier than Evie yet his personality is so much more laid-back. Evie took a super long nap and Henry destroyed the kitchen. It's so funny to me to see how my children change from being easy to more demanding depending on the day. Evie has changed so much in the last few months. She is so independent! Henry is now the one that has to be watched like a hawk as he traverses the downstairs in two seconds flat. It was a rough day with Henry but Evie was a delight so it all balanced out. I had planned to take the kids to the park but decided that seemed like too much adventure for one day. Evie wanted to see her boys so we walked across the street and had a ball with them. We sure are glad they are our neighbors! Carl mowed the grass and I fed the kids. Then, we made shrimp and grits for dinner. That's one of my favorite meals but this version was divine. Bacon makes everything taste better!

Saturday: Henry was still out of sorts but got better as the day progressed. He took a super long morning nap because I was not here. I left Carl with both kids so that meant Henry decided to sleep the entire time that I was gone. Poor little guy! I needed a break and it did me a world of good to get away for a bit. Henry literally woke up the second that I walked in the door. It's like he senses my presence! Both kids napped well and then we set up Evie's big girl bed. Yes, she finally has a bed! We were not in a rush at all since she is such a good sleeper but decided it'd make our vacation easier if she was already accustomed to sleeping in a bed. The C's came over for dinner. It was such a treat to have them over. Our kids played and played. Henry is mesmerized by all the activity. I'd love to know what he is thinking. He tried artichoke dip and chicken tetrazinni - both disappeared off his tray so that counts as a success. Henry eats very little baby food. Maybe 1 or 2 jars per week which is the opposite of Evie as a baby. Evie was very sad for her boys to leave. Bedtime routine commenced soon after they left because we knew it would take a bit since she was in her new bed. That's a whole different post, the transition to the big girl bed!

Sunday: Imagine our surprise when both of our kids slept through the night! It was wonderful especially for Evie's first night in her new bed. They did wake up early but that's manageable when they sleep all night. Henry woke up with a cold. Evie woke up and was already talking about taking a nap in her bed. Let's see how long the enthusiasm for sleeping lasts. It's my Dad's birthday so we called Ipop to wish him Happy Birthday. Evie is getting better about talking on the phone but it is still hit or miss. We did a few things around the house and went to Home Depot for some flowers. It was a total mad house in there! Carl grilled burgers for lunch and we enjoyed dining alfresco. After naps, we headed outside to plant the flowers. Henry went to bed early and I took Evie out for ice cream. My favorite place was closed so we ended up just going to Baskin Robbins. Evie branched out and tried something besides pink ice-cream. She had vanilla with M&M's. It was a fun weekend. They sure do go by too quickly!

NOTE: My card is not loading pictures on my computer so I will add more later!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pinterest Project Perfection

Maybe not perfection, exactly but it did entertain Evie for about 20 minutes, which is pretty close to perfection in my book. Everyone who has tried this with their kids posted rave reviews. Evie is always tired after school and needs an activity besides TV.

Everything was ready to go after school. Evie's attention span has not quite developed into waiting patiently while Mama prepares things. She moves on to new things pretty fast these days.

I poured the entire box of baking soda in the dish and let Evie drop food coloring into the vinegar.

She had a ball mixing colors and loved the sizzle of the vinegar hitting the baking soda. I did something similar with my first graders but with one large cup of baking soda which caused a "volcano" to errupt. That's more impressive but it's over in two seconds flat. Evie was able to make lots of baby erruptions!

Lots of moms had mentioned that this occupied their children for 45 minutes to an hour at age 4. We are not quite there yet but twenty minutes was great. Sometimes activities require more preparation time than project time which often defeats the purpose of the project. This is how it looked after she finished and moved on to her dress-ups.

I'll definitely do this one again. Lots of bang for your buck with this project.  Mess is contained in the bin and supplies are already in your pantry!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wanted: Hungry Goat

Kids sure are messy! Evie keeps her food contained for the most part. Now, sweet Henry has discovered the joys of tossing food off the highchair onto the floor. Some might call it testing gravity!

I can remember that my mom always talked about getting a goat to clean up after dinner. That seemed pretty crazy to me back then but it seems like a fabulous idea to me now that I am the mother of two kids. Sweeping is a necessity after every.single.meal! One day, I might missing having a baby but I will not miss sweeping the kitchen so much. Maybe, I will find a goat to help me out!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up!

It worked so well to post about all 7 days at once so that's my new plan. Henry started sleeping so much better which makes Mama much happier!

Monday:  Our day started off great with a board meeting for the MOMS club. I was the only one with children though so it got kinda crazy at the end. Everyone else has their kids in school on Monday so they are not a frazzled mess trying to take notes and pay attention to the agenda. Evie wanted to ride her tricycle after we got home so I helped push her along while Henry was in the stroller. Needless to say, we did not make it very far because she kept running off the road. It might be better to stick with our driveway until she gets the hang of it when both kids are with me. Henry did not nap well at all which always causes me to get frustrated because sleep is my "hot topic" as a mother. I am a firm believer that sleep is important for everyone and work really hard to make it happen at my house. Everyone was up from their naps early so we delivered dinner to a new mom. I made Bow Tie Fiesta from Blue Eyed Bride. Oh, my goodness, it was delicious! I was not convinced from reading the recipe that it would be something that I'd like but I ate several helpings. Carl liked it too but it was too spicy for the kids. Maybe less chili powder? Carl got home late and went for a run. Everything went crazy at this point! Dinner time, bed time and bath time gets pretty wild at our house.

Tuesday: Henry was up most of the night. I cannot figure him out. Evie had school and I just hung out at home with Henry. He "helped" me clean the bathroom and straighten up the bedrooms. His idea of helping is putting his hands in the toilet, unrolling the toilet paper, pulling clothes off the hangers in the closet and climbing into the bathtub. He is one content baby but he sure can make a mess in two seconds flat. I do not remember Evie getting into so much mischief quite this early but it's easy to forget since everything changes so quickly. Evie was exhausted after school and tried to convince me that she did not need a nap. She took a nap! Carl was in Nashville for the night for work. I am still not sure why he had to stay there but it's better than driving home super late after spending the night on Broadway! Evie and I made pancakes for dinner. Henry was entertained by the measuring spoons. I was out of Bisquick so I just followed a recipe and missed my Bisquick pancakes. They just were not the same although the kids did not seem to notice.

Henry loved his popsicle. Sister even gave him a purple one.

Wednesday: Henry went back to the doctor because his fever was high again. Dr. B was not positive about the cause of the week-long fever but he is much better now!  I babysat my two favorite boys while their parents went on a date. We had so much fun! Campbell can work a puzzle in two seconds flat and Christian can recall the coolest facts. It always makes me excited about seeing Henry grow up to be around two big boys. Evie was sad that she did not get to go too.

Taking pictures of them both is not easy at all!

Thursday: Evie had school and I just hung out with Henry at home. We picked up Evie and headed to Trader Joe's because Henry was asleep. I laughed all the way because there is no way I would have skipped out to Trader Joe's on a random Thursday at 2 with Evie but things are so different with two kiddos. Of course, both kids were fine. Evie was hungry but that's easy to fix in a grocery store. We came home to put up our groceries and feed Henry. Then, it was off to the fire station for our tour. It was an easy outing since it's so close to our house. Carl got home in time for a jog with Henry while I took Evie to ride her bike. We met up at the playground. Evie was a mess when it was time to leave because she was so exhausted from not napping at school.

Friday: We met up with the Porter's for a picnic and playtime at the park. Evie and Jacob had a ball running around chasing butterflies and swinging. Kristin and I actually were able to complete a conversation. Henry just hung out in the stroller and watched the action. Anna is such a big girl now and keeps up with the big kids. Carl had to mow the grass when he got home. I love having a large lot except on grass cutting day. AHHH, it takes forever. I am even thinking about learning to mow it myself because it would be a nice break from my childcare duties. Courtney looks so cute out there mowing the grass! Evie stayed up late since she napped late. It's a good thing because it took over an hour and a half for our pizza to arrive.

Saturday: It was rainy, yucky day so we just hung out at home. I love having the chance to spend alone time with each child and that happens much easier on weekends. Evie and I built a castle, played with play dough and made soup in her kitchen while Carl ran with Evie. Then, Henry and I had some snuggle time with books and played with his dump truck. Campbell and Christian came over for a little bit which thrilled Evie's little heart! Everyone has been sick for the last few weeks so we have not had the kids together to play. They played ball, bugs and then watched The Little Engine that Could. We are going to need some more masculine movies once Henry begins viewing movies.
Carl and I had a date night! We went to Franklin Mercantile for dinner. I had been there for breakfast and lunch but not dinner. It was really good! They had live music, a great menu and fantastic service. We will go back again soon. Carl really wanted to hear some live music so we went to the Franklin Theatre to hear Buzz Cason. Who is Buzz Cason? I asked the same question! He is famous for "Everlasting Love" which we considered for our first dance at our wedding. He has had a long career and is super-talented. Sugarcane Jane opened for them and they were awesome! I really enjoyed it and Buzz Cason had some really catchy tunes too. Carl and I were the youngest people there by a couple of decades. HA! It was a late night for us.

Sunday: Evie and Henry slept until 8 which got out day off to a fabulous start. I took Evie out for doughnuts and groceries. She loves doughnuts  . . . brown ones! I have heard all about brown doughnuts since Friday. Chocolate doughnuts are pretty yummy! It was so easy to just have Evie. I am always amazed at how pleasant and fun it is to just have one kid with me. Evie was just a joy to be with and we had a wonderful morning together. We hung out with our favorite neighbors for a bit before nap time. Carl took Evie to REI after nap. She was not too thrilled when I told her they were going to get Daddy a new bathing suit not one for Evie. I am pretty sure that REI is not quite her style for swimwear. It's raining again and Henry is still snoozing. Gotta go catch up on my laundry. Hope y'all had a great weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner - Stella & Dot Bracelet!

And the winner is . . . Carrie Howie! Congratulations, Carrie - you will love your new orange bracelet!

 Carrie has motivated and inspired me on so many of her posts. Check out this excerpt from her blog that I have thought about when I am struggling with motherhood.

"I consider Motherhood such a high calling, and I'm so thankful to be able to do this everyday. It definitely is not always fun, but that's not the point. David are I were discussing that a while back in regards to our next child (yes, we're already talking and praying about our next child.... but more on that later ;). Having a lot of [very young] children is hard. It can be monotonous. But I'm not put on this earth to have a fun or even an easy life. I believe I'm put on this earth to glorify God and serve Him. Right now, I feel like I'm called to do that at home with my children. And I can bring God glory by how I respond to the hard days. The fits. The sleepless nights. The lack of routine and normalcy in my life right now. I fail to remain patient and loving so often. But thankfully, there is forgiveness and grace. And hopefully through this Motherhood thing, I'm learning to die to myself. I'm learning to love sacrificially. I'm learning to be more like Christ. And that makes being home-bound and frazzled pale in comparison :) "

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Evie has been talking non-stop about going to the fire station or "fireation" as she calls it. Today, was the big day! On the way, she asked me if it was going to be "too soundy" because Evie does not like loud noises unless they are her own loud noises. Fire stations are not known for being quiet but I kept that part to myself.

We had a great time climbing into the fire truck, checking out the living quarters of the firefighters and running around with all of our friends. It was a really easy outing and it was free. Those are the best kind! Firefighters have really good schedules at our local station. They work two shifts of 24 hours and then are off four days. That's a major perk according to the firefighter.

Evie looked pretty cute in her fire hat. Henry had fun too with his friend Andrew. He LOVES Andrew! I am thinking Andrew might be a terrific babysitter for Henry in a few years.

Be sure to enter the Stella & Dot Giveaway before tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update on Giving it Up!

Neatly folded towels lasted about two seconds!
I survived my week without paper towels! Believe it or not, my kitchen was much cleaner using dish clothes to clean up the spills and grime. It's just a difficult habit to break especially if the paper towels are sitting out on the counter. I am using paper towels again for little messes but am still using my micro-fiber clothes for wiping the floors after meals and cleaning off the counter tops. Habit's are easier to break if you replace the bad habit with something better. I decided that it'd be better to spend a few dollars a week on beautiful, colorful flowers than waste money on paper towels. Think about it, if you use a roll of paper towels per day, that is about $10 per week or $40 per month or almost $500 per year on something that goes straight into the trashcan.

Lots of people asked if it added to my laundry! Of course it added to my laundry. Since, I am already washing several loads per day. It's easy to throw the towels in with the other clothes and then I just throw them in a bin in my closet. They look much better folded in the drawer but that only lasted a day or two.

I bought pink and white towels which made it easy for laundry. White towels are used for floors and big spills. It's easy to bleach them too which is an added bonus. Pink towels are used for hands, faces and things that are not that dirty so that I can use the pink towel a few times.

Try a few days without paper towels, you might be surprised at the results! Plus, the added bonus is showing your children that it is important to be a good steward of the Earth. That's something, I could do a little more often!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up!

I am a little behind in my blogging and since this is our family record too, here goes a quick snapshot of what we have been up to for the past week.

Sunday: We spent Easter with my parents and brother. It was a gorgeous day and church was wonderful. Evie enjoyed the Easter egg hunt after church along with lots of sweet treats. My grandmother and aunt came over for lunch and we had to leave to drive back to Nashville. 400 miles with two kids is not easy but our kids sure are good travelers. Evie occupies herself with her toys and movies. Henry was mostly content except when he was hunrgry but that was easy to fix. Everyone passed out when we arrived home.

Monday: After our busy weekend, we decided to stay put at home trying to get back on track with our schedule. Evie and Henry both napped all afternoon which is almost never happens at the same time. Someone always seems to be awake!  We took a family walk to the park and noticed a woman in distress. It turns out that she was diabetic and her sugar was low from excervising. She needed something sweet and all had to offer her was a half eaten Fruit Roll-up! I felt horrible but she did not seem to mind that Evie had muchned on it.

Tuesday: Alleulia! Evie went back to school. We were both thrilled and Evie even took a nap at school. That is rare these days at school but it makes for an early bedtime. Henry had his 9 month check up. He weighs 19 pounds and some change which puts him in the 45% and is 28.5 inches long which is the 70%.  Some of the baby fat has melted away with all his crawling and cruising. Henry does not make a habit of staying in one place for too long. That boy is a mover!

Wednesday: We had a PJ day and got a few things done around the house. Traveling wears me out between packing for the trip, going on the trip and then getting everything back in it's place. Carl came home for lunch before going to Atlanta for the night. Evie was not thrilled that her Daddy was with her cousins. Promises of watching Cinderella with Mama made it all better. I love that her problems are so easy to fix these days because that will not always be the case. Henry was a fuss bucket all day and woke up from his nap with a fever of 103. It was his first fever so of course it made me worry.

Thursday: Henry woke up fever free and went down for his nap. I took Evie to school and then went to our Stella and Dot party. Be sure to enter our giveaway if you have not already! I walked across the street to get my wallet and Henry was not happy at all with Karen. So, I decided to take him to the doctor after we picked up Evie from school. We spend more time at the pediatricians office than anywhere else in town. Evie stayed calm and content with her princess markers. Henry was not too sure about why we were back at the doctor again. We found out that Henry had hand, foot and mouth disease which sounds a lot worse than it really is but it's not a walk in the park either. He has been fussy, not sleeping and has blisters on his hands, feet and throat.

Friday: We stayed home to keep our germs away from our friends! Evie slept until 5:00 which made me think that she was getting sick too. She woke up in the best little mood so we just kept her up until 8. Carl took her to the park and to pick up a pizza while I tackled our mountain of laundry.

Saturday: Evie woke up with a fever and was so irritable. She starting feeling a little better after she had some medicine. It's sad to see her so sick but she sure is extra snuggly. Evie told me that she wanted to snuggle me all day and that's exactly what she did. She fell asleep on Carl's lap and then took a nap with me in my bed. That's never happened, she's too wild for that on a normal day but it sure was sweet. Henry took two good naps so we thought that he was feeling better.

Sunday: Lots of crying and awake time in the night for Henry and Mama. Evie slept fine and woke up mostly back to normal. We skipped church since neither kid could go to the nursery. I felt badly because on Facebook, our minister wrote that the Sunday after Easter is 'low' Sunday because the attendance is always down after Easter. Henry napped and then we went to Target for our big outing of the weekend. The Easter Bunny was unable to find a tricycle for Evie but we found one this morning. It was on sale for almost nothing and it was pink! Of course, Evie was thrilled and has had a ball riding it all day. I took her on a long ride and then Carl took her for another one. Best part, is that it wears her out which makes naptime and bedtime a piece of cake.