Photo by Chunky Monkey Photography

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicken Sandwiches and Brownies

I just ate possible the best chicken sandwich.  Ever.  I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman, HERE.  It was tender and juicy.  The crunch and tang from the slaw was a perfect compliment.  My only complaint? I overloaded my sandwich and had to use a fork to eat it.  But that's really not a complaint.  James' was bigger and he ate it just fine... he doesn't mind juice running down his elbows.   Doesn't this look good! 

I made something I saw a picture of on pinterest a few days ago.  We had leftovers of that for dessert today.  I don't know what the actual recipe is but based on the picture I saw, I just bought a package of cookie dough already portioned out.  Lined a pan with those, then layered oreos on top of that, then poured brownie batter on top of that.  I baked it according to the brownie directions.  Add a glass of cold whole milk and you have a pretty awesome dessert.  All 6 of us really enjoyed it! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Menu Monday 5/28/12

I finally did a menu plan! 

Pizza Bites and a green salad
Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (I think I'll top it with cilantro since I have some on hand for another recipe) **EDIT 6/3:  I used enough boneless skinless chicken breast strips to cover the bottom of the crockpot plus a couple more.  I only cooked it in the crockpot on low for 4 hours.  About half an hour before it was done, I added a diced avocado.  Then we served it with tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro, and more avocado.  It was a HUGE hit. 
Asian Flat Iron Steak w/ rice and steamed broccoli
BBQ Chicken sandwiches w/ cilantro slaw
BLA (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado sandwiches... James will probably have the T, too.)

Feel free to tell me what's on your menu.  I am always looking for new ideas!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Creamy Pasta Salad

I haven't been diligent with my menu planning but I did make a list of meals last week that we did use some of.  The hits were:

Stove Top Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake - everyone loved it, even the baby.  The only thing I do differently is add seasoning to the chicken.

Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry, Fried Rice, and Chung's All Natural Vegetable Spring Rolls - I made the everything but the spring rolls homemade and it was good!  James and I were surprised at how delicious the spring rolls were but I think it was because it was made out of real stuff and not a long list of crazy things we couldn't pronounce.  They were very light and tasty.  We tried their chicken egg rolls too but they weren't great and they are loaded with mystery ingredients. 

I know I cooked more than that last week but I can't for the life of me remember what.  We did eat a lot of sandwiches on fresh bread from the bakery at Fresh. My favorite is the rosemary olive oil bread with salami, chicken, lettuce, and a little creole mustard.  Delish! 

Today James is smoking ribs and I am cooking purple hull peas and made up a tangy, creamy pasta salad to go with it.  I found the recipe for the pasta salad on All-Recipes but altered it based on preference and what I had on hand.  Click the link above for the original recipe and I'll post my version below.

1 bag of whacky spirals cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
15 baby carrots thinly sliced
Mix up 1/2 c mayonnaise, 1/4 c prepared ranch dressing (I used HV this time but you should definitely try the pioneer woman's homemade version), 3 T milk, 2 T rice vinegar, 1 T onion powder, 1/2 tsp Tony Cachere's, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes, 1/2 tsp Zatarains creole mustard.

Stir dressing into spirals and veggies.  Chil until ready to serve. 

I plan on putting shredded cheddar and sliced almonds in just before serving.  If we weren't having it with ribs, I would add bacon bits.  If I had fresh broccoli I'd add that too.... the possibilities are endless!  :) 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sweet Conversations

Jack has really turned in to a talker lately.  Besides the typical "What's that?" that we hear all day, he is making good conversation and will even start some on his own.  My favorite from this week went like this:

"I lub you Momma."
"I love you, too, Jack."
"Ready for my sugars?" (followed by a great big kiss!)
"You give great sugar, Jack."
"I give great hug, too, Momma. Want Jack's hug?"
"Yes, please!" 

Sooooo sweet!  Moments like this completely melt my heart and remind me again how blessed I am.  These moments are also very needed after a day full of moodiness and tantrums!  Haha!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Grand Finale

Our sweet sweet Kash... You were suppose to be the easiest labor and delivery.  I went in for an induction a week early and things were going smooth. I thought I might actually do this without the pain meds this time. James was with me as well as my Aunt Pam and dear friend Heather.  We were all so excited to welcome this sweet boy in to the world! 

I don't remember the time but sometime in the evening hours after an all day labor, I had a crazy long contraction.  The peak lasted for over 5 minutes. Literally. And it was bad.  Suddenly we couldn't hear Kash's heartbeat.  They adjusted all the monitors. They applied an internal monitor.  They adjusted it.  Put a new one in thinking the first was faulty.  Still nothing.  I was crying, begging for help.. for them to just get him out!  Pam & Heather were praying.  James was trying to comfort me and make sure the staff (several nurses came in) was on top of things.  I don't know how long it lasted but it felt like an eternity that they were trying to get his heart beat back.  They mashed, shook, poked and prodded at my abdomen... violently.  Still nothing.  They poked and prodded and mashed internally... the most pain and fear I have EVER felt.  I was still begging them to get him out and don't let him die.  Sorry. I know that is dramatic.  But that's the way the story goes.  I really thought that is what was happening.  Finally.... finally we hear his heart beat again.  Hallelujah!  I was paranoid at this point. Constantly watching and listening to it.  I was also in extreme pain and they wouldn't let me have an epidural for fear that it would cause his heart rate to dip.  After an hour of observation they kicked the pitocin back on and let the contraction start slowly back up.  After another hour I did get my epidural.  It was great.  Then his heart rate started dipping and staying down after the contractions.  I quit dilating & he wasn't descending.  After 17 hours of labor we went in for a c-section and this baby boy was definitely not going to come out any other way with his cord wrapped around his stomach twice, his neck, and both legs!  No wonder he was having so much trouble. I remembered feeling  him do a lot of flip flopping the couple of days leading up to the induction so I'm sure that's what he was doing!  Little stinker!  Anyway, he was beautiful!  And chubby. :)  8lbs and 6 oz just like his youngest big brother.  He looked great!

We moved into the recovery room where I got to nurse him for the first time.  The little trouble maker decided to stop breathing... like completely.  Turned blue.  I was so out of it that it didn't register with me right away. Thank God for our nurse.  She was so calm and asked if she could see him for a minute without alarming me at all.  James was right on top of it though and followed her to the table where she resuscitated him.  He had to go to the special care nursery for a while then but a few hours later rejoined me in our room.   We got to bathe and dress him.. well, Aunt Pam and the nurse did while I watched and James slept. :)  A little while later he started turning colors again and went back to the special care nursery.  He remained there until he was transported to the NICU in another hospital.

Again with the scaring us!  We prayed. Our family prayed. Our friends prayed. Our church prayed. Even our doctor prayed with us.  I'm sure there were strangers praying for him too.  It was torture.  James was back and forth between the two of us.  I was emotional.  I wanted him in my arms, in the room with me at least in the same hospital so I could walk down the hall and see him.  I finally got released, 1 day early, so I could go be with him. 

After a week of care in the NICU and a good bill of health he was released and came home.  What a joyous day!  We never got a real diagnosis or found any big cause for his struggle during labor and recovery or for a couple of other minor problems he had that week.... the diagnosis was trauma.  He just couldn't recover from all the trauma of his labor like he should have.  Praise the Lord it was nothing lasting or more serious!! 
Fast forward a year.  Really, it has felt like fast forward... someone give me the remote so I can slow this show down!!  He is a happy, healthy 1 year old.  Soon to be toddler if he'll ever start taking steps. I'm not rushing him though.  He is busy enough with crawling and once he starts walking, I know my cuddles will decrease in length and frequency. 

Happy Birthday Kash!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Party, Minute Maid Park, and the Beach

We had an awesome weekend celebrating Kash's first birthday.  We had a small party at the park here and then drove down to Houston with friends and went swimming and caught a Rangers game (they played the Astros at Minute Maid Park) and then made a spontaneous trip to Galveston for supper at Joe's Crab Shack on the beach and some play time. 

It was our first trip to Minute Maid Park and we loved it!  It makes me wish the Ballpark in Arlington was air conditioned! 

It was also Jack & Kash's first trip to the beach.  Jack was very cautious and took him nearly the entire time we were there to warm up to getting in the water.  Kash had no fear and took right off into it.  We kept getting him out and setting him away.  He would crawl back to the water as fast as he could laughing with each splash.  He loved it!  Nelson and Henry loved the ocean too and were a little too fearless. I felt the need to call them back to me several times.  Nelson ended up being stung by jellyfish so we headed to the pharmacy then our long drive home.  Besides that little incident, it was a pretty perfect weekend! 

I realize more and more each day just how blessed I am.  I am so thankful for this extra special time with my incredible family and sweet friends! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Box Day!

I always get excited when UPS or FedEx is scheduled to come to my house... you know, for all the lovely cloth diaper orders and back when I was a Scentsy consultant.  But, today tops those days by far. 

Today is our very first Sonlight box day!  All our homeschool curriculum arrived!  FedEx AND UPS showed up at my door this morning. :)  I couldn't wait... I cracked open the boxes right away I even put my binder together. Woah!  I was surprised at how big THAT was!  I let the babies play in the packing paper and they thought that was a blast.  There are so many great books.  I can't wait to read them myself!  After I got a quick look at everything I packed it all back up so the boys could experience the fun when they got home from school... only 1 day left of public school by the way.  Then it's summer fun, finishing up baseball, and then I plan to get us started with at least one subject so we can ease in to it. 

Nelson and Henry got home and I seated them on the couch then drug the box to the middle of the floor.  They jumped to it right away with the help of Jack & Kash.  I heard "Wow! Cool!" and "These are all for us?!"  "I can't wait to read this one!"  Sweet little Jack kept picking up books and saying "Is THIS mine, Momma?!" I need to order him a few books so he can have his own box day! 

Just look at all those books!

All in all it was a lot of fun and we are all thoroughly excited to get started after our summer break.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Curriculum Ordered!

We were unable to attend the homeschool book fair so I missed out on the seminars I was hoping to attend.   Thankfully I was already confident in my decisions on what curriculum to order.  I JUST placed our orders and I cannot wait for it all to arrive so we can sort through it and get our plan in order. I am really excited!  I have got to get busy decluttering our office/school room so we will have room for the 100+ books that will be arriving!  That's a lot of books.  (That count includes my instructor guides and their workbooks.) 
Nelson is going in to 5th grade and Henry 2nd.  Henry is old enough to be going in to 3rd and is a quick learner so we ordered the core that is for ages 8-11 (3rd-5th grades).  They will be learning about the same things when it comes to History, Geography, & Bible but they'll have different work to do over what they learn and I'll have a different set of expectations for them each.  I did order some of their curriculum grade specific.  Here is a list:

From Sonlight
  • Core D Advanced 5 day - this includes Readers & Language Arts (for Nelson), History & Geography, and Bible
  • 2nd grade readers and language arts (for Henry)
  • Singapore 5 Math Program - Nelson
  • Singapore 2 Math Program - Henry
  • Sequential Spelling, Vol 1 - Both
  • Handwriting Without Tears Package 5 - Nelson
  • Handwriting Without Tears Package 2 - Henry
  • Required Resources
  • Extra consumables for the things they'll both be doing.
From Apologia's elementary science curriculum:
  • Exploring Creation with Astronomy - Both
  • Astronomy Notebooking Journal - Nelson
  • Astronomy Junior Notebooking Journal - Henry

Monday, May 7, 2012

Jalapeno Salsa Breakfast Casserole

I've tried many different recipes for breakfast casseroles... there are tons of great ones.  I combined some recipes to come up with one that my family loves.  It's cheesy, it's spicy, it's got potatoes and sausage... you can't go wrong with that combo!  The key ingredient is the green salsa.  It's not your typical green salsa... there are NO tomatillos! It's green because of the jalapeno's.  Yum yum!

1 dozen eggs
Mrs. Renfro's green salsa
1 lb of mexican style shredded cheese
1 lb of breakfast sausage, browned
1/2 bag of shredded hashbrown potatoes
Lawry's season salt

Spread potatoes on the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish and season with Lawry's.  Top with sausage then cheese.  Beat eggs and mix with salsa.  I use between 1/3 and 1/2 a jar depending on who I am feeding.  If I were ONLY feeding my husband, I could add the whole jar.  Pour eggs over top of the cheese.  Bake at 350 until center is set -  I honestly can't remember how long... at least half an hour but just check periodically.  If the center jiggles when you shake it, bake it some more. 

You can always prepare the night before and just bake it first thing in the morning.  I keep forgetting to buy the mexican style cheese so last time I used mild cheddar that I had on hand and tomorrow I'll have it with colby.  We've made it so often we've nearly used up half a hog's worth of sausage my husband made.  I guess we'll have to go back to Jimmy Dean! :)

*I forgot actual pictures of the casserole!  I'll try to remember next time I make it! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homeschool Room

For Mother's Day, James is buying lunch for me and a couple of friends and sending us on a shopping trip to Ikea.  Yay! Yay! Yay!  I don't have the date picked but I am SO excited.  I also haven't told my shopping buddies yet... I will just send them the link to this blogpost :)  Anyway, I am on the hunt for shelving and desks/tables to make our homeschool room (which is our office) functional and organized.  It's not actually it's own room... there is no door to close to keep toddlers out of it so I have to make sure what ever is in their reach is closed and not open shelving.  I want it to be an inspiring room that is easy to keep organized and decluttered.  I also want it to be a fun room.  I've already picked out some furniture from Ikea - I just need to see it in person to be certain!  Besides the shelving and desks/tables and chairs, a few things on my wish list are:

  • Beanbag chairs or floor cushions
  • Globe (I wouldn't mind having a couple to hang from the ceiling, too)
  • Wall map
  • Wall calendar  (probably something I'll make myself)
  • Desk lamps
  • I would love a school zone sign (if anyone has one that was obtained legally hook me up!)
  • Clock
I know there are some other things I just can't remember right now!  If you have any ideas please let me know. 

Oh, another thing... I am seriously considering moving our bedrooms around again and making a dorm room and a play/game room.  I won't do it if the older two aren't open to the idea but I think it would make things easier.  We all really liked it when we had a sleeping room and a play room before #3 and 4 came along but I know it's a stretch to think a 10 year old is going to want a 1 year old in the same room :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dreams and Charitable Donations

Nelson had a game tonight.  It was really good even though we did lose by 1 point.  It was SO close!!  He got hit by the ball twice while at bat and was so tough.  Nelson's dream is to be a major league pitcher.  Tonight for the first time, he got to pitch during a game.  I was SO excited and nervous for him.  And bless his heart, he was SO nervous, too!  He only got to pitch to 2 or 3 players and walked them all but hey... that's a step towards his goal and I am SO proud!  He does really well during practice so I know he'll do better during future games.  He is so driven and works so hard! 

My parents (dad and step-dad, lol) drove in to watch so that was cool too.  My dad, aka Papaw, sent Henry to the concession stand with a $5 bill to buy a drink for himself.  He came back with no change....and the drink just cost a buck.  Where did the other $4 go?  To a pretty little girl saving money for cheer camp. Yup.  That's my Henry.  Girl crazy and generous... with other people's money! Ha!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Decisions Decisions

We've made a decision on which curriculum to go with.  Based on recommendations, my internet research, quality, ease of use (lesson plans/instructor guides), and style (lots of good reading) we are going to use Sonlight for our core.  We are going to order one set that is closer to Nelson's level and use for both.  This will make things more streamlined for me which is important for our first year since I'll be learning the ropes... you know, juggling school, a 3 year old and a 1 year old and all the other daily household fun. :)  We will order math, handwriting, and language arts specific to their grade levels. 

While they both tested well above their grade level on reading, we are going to go with their actual grade level for their readers because the language arts ties in with the readers and that is specific to their grade level.  For any extra or fun reading they will get to read things on their actual reading levels... or close to depending on content.  I'm not sure there are many things on a 9th/10th grade level that I want my 5th grader reading! 

I am pretty sure they are right on target for math but we're taking assessments for this too just in case.  It's a long test and with baseball going on, we haven't had the time to finish them yet!  But, Singapore math is what we're going with.

When it comes to science I am not sure if we'll use Sonlight or Apologia.  We want to make sure they learn science based on creation ... biblical ... but do not plan to shelter them from more worldy views of how we all began. 

So... that is where we're at!  I am looking forward to placing their order so I can have time to look things over and get an idea of how this is all really going to work!  Our summer isn't going to be as long as normal because we'll be starting school when it's 110 outside and no one wants to be out in it!  It won't be full time because we want to play and go to waterparks with our friends but this way, when we don't have plans we can get some school work done and then have time during the fall and spring to take off and do outdoor things when it's nice out.  (how's that for a long runon sentence?) Plus I'm trying to talk James in to a road trip in February! 


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


My plans for this blog:

  • Journaling our homeschool adventure
  • Posting our weekly menu plan... I have fallen off the menu planning wagon but I getting back on!  I normally do that on payday/grocery day which is Friday but I may not post it until Mondays.
  • Wordless Wednesday - a recent pic I have taken or found that I love.
  • Posting all the funny little things my boys do so I won't forget... since I don't do the baby book thing or the scrapbook thing
  • Any homemaking things I think would be useful for my readers.
Of course, there will be more on occasion but the above list is my goal to always keep up with. :)