Thursday, July 31, 2008

Empty House

Around the house: My new laptop came today!! Of course I have no idea how to anything on it until J shows me how. It sure is a good thing I married an engineer...Also, we have obtained a treadmill. I say obtained because it was stolen from some people who had borrowed it from my in laws. Apparently the people who borrowed it because it wasn't being used, weren't using it either. So the original owners "borrowed" it back and lent it to us. After looking into it for a few weeks, it seems there is this whole community of treadmill owners and borrowers that other people are not aware of. All we had to do was ask the right person and it was ours. Who knew?

In the kitchen: Absolutely nothing. After cooking for guests on and off for the last month, I need a break from being in the kitchen. And since I need a break from cleaning as well as cooking, my husband is not allowed to cook either. (Also we are out of everything...I really need to go to the store tomorrow). Steak and Shake it is tonight!

New with Embry: Well, she was admitted to the school that we were hoping for. We are very excited and yet I am sad at the same time. Mostly because it means she is growing up, but also because I've maybe spent 7 days away from her in her entire life, and it's going to be very strange not having her here all the time. Hopefully I will learn to appreciate the time off. I really never thought that I would send her to school at such and early age, but she is so curious about everything, and I really think she is getting bored just being at home with me. Especially since her brother was born and I don't have nearly as much one-on-one time with her. We decided that going to school will help to feed her ever expanding need for learning and doing.

New with Matthew: What an interesting child we have... he started crawling before he could turn over, and now before he can really crawl (with belly up off the ground anyway) he is pulling up on everything today! I can't wait until he starts running before he learns to walk :)

I'm grateful for: Embry immediately forgetting the annoying phrases she learned from her cousins this past week. One example: "Ohh, come on!"

The weather outside: Wet! Wet! Wet! We got several inches of rain in the last few days, apparently from Hurricane Dolly. I really thought we were done with all this hurricane nonsense since we moved here from Alabama.

I'm obsessing about: Since my first few attempts at bread making went so well, I'm skipping straight to the hard stuff in the back of the book. I would love to be able to make homemade Pannetoni from Christmas (another obsession of mine).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The crew

Remember what I wrote earlier about 3 kids making a mess?? Well, this week we've got 4 kids in the house... enough said.

We've been very busy going shopping and to museums and today we went to the zoo. We were going to spend the day indoors, but the weather man said that the high for today was only going to be 90 degrees. So, we left early to avoid the crowds and the heat. We spent a few hours looking at the animals, rode on the carousel, rode the train, saw the Sea Loin show, and picked out stuffed animals in the gift shop, whew! When we left at noon the temp outside was 100!
Needless to say we were all exhausted. So, we called it a day and decided we could see the rest of the animals another time. I'll post pictures from the zoo tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recipe Edition

I'd like to share a couple of recipes that I have tried and loved this summer...

Grilled Zucchini Salad

6 medium zucchini cut into planks and grilled
1 cup grape or small cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop zucchini into bite size pieces and toss with all other ingredients. Serve warm.

*This recipe is great if you have fresh herbs. The basil really gives it a ton of flavor. You can saute the zucchini if you don't want to grill it. Either way it helps the zucchini not to be mushy if you salt it before cooking (lay out planks on a rack or towel and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt, let sit for at least 30 minutes). This helps to draw out the extra moisture in the zucchini.

Layered Jello Dessert

2 3oz. boxes of Strawberry or Cherry Jello
1 10oz container of frozen sliced strawberries, sweetened
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
Boiling water

1. Dissolve one box of Jello in 1 cup of boiling water.
2. Add frozen strawberries to Jello, breaking up with a fork. Stir until slightly thickened.
3. Pour into serving dish, a 5 cup mold or any clear dish. Refrigerate until firm, but not set. It should be sticky on the top.
4. Dissolve the other box of Jello in 1 cup boiling water.
5. Stir in ice cream by the spoon full, waiting for each spoonful to melt before adding the next. Jello will thicken slightly.
6. Gently spoon ice cream mixture on top of strawberry mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

*I got this recipe from my Aunt after eating it at her house this summer. She said that it was ancient and came from a magazine like BH&G. It is a huge hit with kids and looks pretty even in a plain glass mixing bowl. You can dress it up with a couple of fresh strawberries on top and a couple of mint leaves.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Great Movie

OK, I don't have much time for a real post, so I just want to say that I am very critical of movies (among other things...), especially popular movies that make a lot of money and are based on a comic book series. However, "The Dark Knight" was, seriously, one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. And I tried not to let the fact that my husband and I get to see maybe two movies a year sway my feelings toward the film. We both love movies, but as you all know, dates at the theater are drastically reduced after the arrival of children. In the few months before my oldest was born I made J go to 1 or 2 a week, to get it out of my system, I guess. Sometimes I think I really miss it, but as we were sitting in the theater last night I realized that I love watching movies together on our couch after the kids are in bed just as much. (Although, we wouldn't get to see what all the fuss is about the latest new theatrical releases.) :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bread Update

Well, it was a hit. Embry loved it and she's a very tough critic. It definitely wasn't the best homemade bread I've ever had, but it was SO worth the time and effort (or lack of it, I should say!).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to normal week

Around the house: Just used our tax rebate to buy a new computer to replace the really old one I'm currently using. My very first laptop and I'm so excited. It won't be here for 3 weeks, though!

In the kitchen: I am probably that last person on earth to try this but, my friends from KC gave me the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" book. I made a batch of dough last night and I will try my first loaf for dinner tonight. I love to bake, but I have never been very fond of bread making, mostly because of all the time and extra steps it usually takes. I hope this new method works as great as everyone says it does.

New with Embry: Tomorrow we are meeting with the admissions director at the Montessori school that we want Embry to attend this fall. I'm so excited that we are able to send her to such a great school. Of course we have to wait to see if she is accepted, but I've heard that almost all kids are accepted at this age.

New with Matthew: We had to adjust the mattress in his crib to the lowest level because he has started trying to pull up on stuff. I came in to get him up from his nap on Friday and there he was with one hand on the top rail (Yikes!).

I'm grateful for: The windows in our house are fairly new and even with the A/C cranked up our electric bill is not so bad.

The weather outside: Hot! Hot! Hot! OK, it could be worse. Last summer, in Huntsville, AL we had something like 16 days of over 100 degree heat. But 95 with really high humidity is pretty bad. I made sure to get all of our going outside done by 10 o'clock in the morning.

I'm obsessing about: Whether to forgo my new couch for a treadmill. Yes, our front room is empty except for a piano and a big cardboard box fort that I made for Embry. But, my husband and I are in desperate need of some exercise. Before we moved I was going to the gym 4 or 5 days a week. But after the move we decided to save $ and gas and not rejoin immediately. Since then I have gained 10 pounds!!! I am thinking the couch can wait...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Places to visit

If you live in the Midwest, there are two museums that you have to go to.

The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL


The City Museum in Saint Louis, MO

The first one is self-explanatory. The second can be described as a giant 5 story scrapbook of art and architecture that you can touch, climb on and experience like no other museum I have ever been to. It is a great place for kids and adults to get some exercise. You have to check it out, especially if you have kids.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Full House

Here's some pictures from our first round of house guests last was amazing to me how much faster 3 kids can make a mess, as opposed to our usual 2.

Our friends have a little girl that is almost 9 months older than Matthew, but she weighs 2 pounds less. It makes for some cute pictures! Anyway, Embry had lots of fun with her new playmate (for the first day at least). It seemed that on the second day the newness had worn off and they were not as amicable towards each other. Oh, well. We shopped, we cooked and ate hotwings, which are different each time we make them. This time they were pretty spicy and I could only eat a few. I guess that's what happens when you don't use a recipe. Great weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Museum Pictures

Here's some pictures from my recent visit with my Mom and brother. (Mostly, I'm just playing with new ways to show pictures).

We visited my aunt in IL, and went to the museums that I mentioned earlier. We had so much fun at the museums that we didn't take many pictures!

Birthday Month

In my family, July is a very busy birthday month. My birthday, my brother's and my dad's are all within 5 days of one another. Often we will get together to celebrate them all at once. This year, instead of a cake I made a "Stars and Stripes Trifle."

The stars are store bought pound cake sliced and made into sandwiches with raspberry jam as the filling. Then you use a cookie cutter to cut out the stars. I didn't have a small enough star cutter, so we had to freehand them. The stripes are berries and pastry cream. The assembly had an interesting tip that I will use from now on when I put together a trifle. I used the leftover scraps from the star cutouts to fill in the center of the trifle. This way you don't have to spend so much on berries. It just looks like a lot. The cake is the best part anyway, and this way there's more of it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Spa Bathtub

This is Embry's (and Matthew's) new favorite thing to do at bathtime. We have jets in the tub, but I guess that's not as fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ready for Guests

Around the house: Because we just moved in 6 weeks ago the house doesn't quite feel complete yet. I'm ordering a new sofa for the front room, which will help a lot. It's pretty much just empty right now. I'll be setting up our guest room and bath tonight for our friends (and previous landlords) who are coming for the weekend. Should be fun. Haven't seen them in a year or so!

In the kitchen: Planning meals for this weekend. Tradition calls for hotwings, but I'm not sure if everyone is up for it.

New with Embry: Taking a break from potty training until we see the pediatrician. Maybe she has some advise that I haven't already heard or read in the web (which is a lot).

New with Matthew: 3 (yes 3!) new teeth coming in. He now has four on top and two on bottom. I can't believe how old it makes him look. No longer a baby :-(

I'm grateful for: Matthew deciding not to breastfeed anymore (especially with all his new teeth)!

The weather outside: Note: I'm including this one because everyone who reads this lives where the weather is probably drastically different than ours. Today is pretty warm and sunny, although we're not spending very much time outside lately because of all the mosquitoes.

I'm obsessing about: My new blog!

Here's some pics of our recent trip to Greenville, MO for the 4th.

Ok, the last one needs some explanation...Jason made a chocolate cake for my birthday (it was soooo good!) and it was in the fridge next to the beers. One of the cans fell into the cake right after he frosted it and Vivi decided to clean it off for us. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

About Me

Ok, Let's go...

Stay-at-home wife and mother of Embry, 3 and Matthew 7 months. Recently moved to Saint Louis from Alabama. Trying to be more introspective and hoping a blog will help. Also, needed a place to post pictures and videos of the kids for grandparents. Going to steal a format from another blog that I read which will hopefully encourage me to post on a regular basis. More to come!

Scooting, not yet crawling

Matthew attempting to crawl a couple of weeks ago. He's getting better but not quite got it yet...