Monday, March 30, 2009

Good Food - and Some Fun Too!

So, this is the first week I've really cooked since....probably the last week of January. My mom was here for several weeks and since she went home we've been surviving mostly on things like frozen skillet meals, mac and cheese, rotisserie chicken, and eating out. But, last week I finally bit the bullet and decided to MAKE a grocery list, GO shopping, and COOK! The break must have inspired me because we've been having some good meals (if I must say so myself!)

A special thanks to Naomi for the subsciption to the Rachel Ray magazine. We've found some winners already! Not all of this goodness is from her recipies but a few are!

Pork-and-Beans Stuffed Peppers - canadian bacon, white beans, mozzarella cheese, etc. in roasted bell peppers..........mmm.....I wish there had been leftovers!

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas - Oxacan Beans and Rice - Carmelized Plaintains with Thick Cream

This one was kind of a long process. I had to pay off a dinner bet to Chris and Erin and I needed it to be bet-worthy. I think this meal worked!

Chicken, spices, roasted and peeled peppers, enchilada sauce, onion, garlic, etc. in the crock pot for 3 hours...

Shred the chicken

Fill the tortillas with shredded chicken and cheese
Add sour cream, tomatoes and more enchilada sauce to the sauce from the slow cooker, spread some sausce in the bottom of a pan, place rolled up, filled tortillas in the pan

squish them in....all 12 plus the sauce and cheese has to fit! Good think I put a pan under it in the oven to protect my nice clean oven (thanks mom!!!)
35 minutes to yummy, cheesy, goodness

Oxacan Beans and Rice - cook onion, garlic, carrot, chiles, jalapeno in oil, remove, toast rice, add chicken broth, cook, add green beans, heat, add black beans, heat. Mmmmmmm.......
What a combo!

And now for dessert......ripe plantains sliced. Melt butter in skillet, brown plantians, add brown sugar, melt, add cinnamon and vanilla. serve with toasted nuts (almonds) and thick cream (Mexican Cream). I thoughts these sounded good but they were phenomenal! I'm glad I bought an extra plantain. I think we'll have them again tomorrow!!!!

Jaden had a good time with company over for dinner
look at those big eyes!
We're all VERY full!
Other good meals lately have included Sausage and Zuchinni Rice and tonights Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Salmon with Green Beans and Wild Rice. YUM...again....I WISH there had been leftovers! Sorry, no tasted better than it looked! I had some issues getting the salmon done enough and had poked it too much for a good pic!
In other, non-food related news.......
Jaden had his first dentist appointment today. He thought the big chair was pretty cool
And didn't mind having to brush his teeth AGAIN (we had to do it before we went because he had a blueberry stuck in his teeth and you just can't go to the dentist like that!) He did really good - of course, that wasn't hard. I think his visit lasted all of 3 minutes. I wonder how much our insurance company has to pay for that?!?!?!

This afternoon Luz came over to play with J so mommy could get a bit of work done. J's favorite activity was giving Luz EVERY SINGLE book from the bookshelf.
She tried to get him to put them back....but that was apparently much less fun! He would only get about 2 into the shelf before he would start bringin them back to her!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Little Helper

J decided that he wanted to help daddy with the yard work.
First he was "singing" as he worked and later....talking to the dogs.

Do you ever have those times when you know you should probably be stopping your kid from doing whatever it is that they are doing but they are just so darn cute doing it that you can't keep yourself from laughing?
We were at a restuarant and J was ripping a napking into little shreds and dropping them on the floor. I don't know how one piece got on his head could you look at this face and NOT laugh!?!?!
In other news....J is getting his 11th tooth! I saw the 4 points of that molar sticking through in his little mouth and all I could think was OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Enjoying Play

Maybe I should be doing more work on my Thesis.
Maybe I should be answering some of my work emails.
Maybe I should be washing my dishes.
Maybe I should make a list and go grocery shopping.
Maybe I should wash the clothes and actually put the clean ones away.
Maybe I should vaccum the floor.
Maybe I should figure out a real dinner from the few groceries left in my fridge.
Maybe I should do our taxes.
Maybe I should send out the birthday cards that have been sitting on my shelf for over three weeks.

But...I'd rather hang out with this guy......

...letting the sand sift through our fingers.

...discovering sticks and rocks.

...playing hide and seek with the stick.
...learn how to bury things.

...enjoying the simple things in life like water and rocks.

...pretending to COOK in the bucket.

...figuring out how to scoop water out without spilling.

...splashing everywhere.

...enjoying the swimming pool in MARCH.

...figuring out that wet grass sticks to your fingers.
...splashing and screaming with glee.

Everyone says, "They grow up too fast."
Everyone says, "They change so quickly."
Everyone says, "I wish they stayed young forever."
Everyone says, "I loved it when my kids were this age."
Everyone says, "Treasure every moment."
It is so easy to get lost in the busyness of every day, overwhelmed by the to-do lists, and burdened by your own expectations. Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy life and the little ones in yours.....
I resolve to treasure the moments. All those other things can wait. Eventually the projects will get done, the house will get cleaned, we will not starve.
I just need to spend some time playing with my little boy and reveling in his discovery of the world.

A Weekend Away

The mariachi group had a few performances in a town about 6 hours away. Since we had to take 2 vehicles anyway, S, J & I decided that we would come back on our own and spend a night away. Originally we wanted to camp, but ended up staying at a state park hotel instead (much easier to plan for with a 1 year old!!!)

Here is the story of the weekend......
Jaden was excited to be around the group. He danced a bit while they practiced.

And, he played with Daddy's trumpet!
After the gig that night we went bowling. While Jaden had been in a bowling alley once before, he wasn't mobile so this was his first chance to explore. BALLS! Lots and lots of BALLS!!!!!
He really liked to play with them here but we had to be careful of this fingers. Trying to keep him away was IMPOSSIBLE!

Ann was nice enough to let Jaden bowl part of her game. Not too bad for the first try!!! J would watch the ball ALL the way down the lane.

He also got a little bit windblown....

One of the highlights of the night was riding on Daddy's shoulders.
Here you can hear the giggles!

On Sunday morning after church J found a little toy trumpet in the nursery and was ENTHRALLED

On the way home we stopped at a state park that has a natural spring (not hot, just natural). J enjoyed walking around. The wide open spaces with no one telling him NO (to stay off of streets and parking lots) was a treat.

Once J saw the water, he wanted in! Like I said, they weren't exactly HOT springs. Supposedly the temperature is a constant 76 degrees. Let me tell you...that is NOT warm - especially when it is breezy. But, J couldn't resist so we let him put his feet in the water and splash around.

This spring is in the middle of the desert and there is at least one variety of fish here that is found nowhere else in the world. We saw a lot of little fish and a lot of big catfish. Also a couple of turtles and several ducks. They all swim right there in the spring (pool) right the people.

J got really excited by the splashing fish so he splashed even more!

This canal goes from the spring to a desert wetlands area. The buildings on the right are the little cabins where we stayed. (sorry, I didn't get much of them, but they were cute!) We were in the 2nd door before the bridge.

They also had a big park so, after dinner, we had some fun! Look at those smiles! :-D

The next day we wanted to check out the water again and knew, even though it was a bit chilly, we had to go prepared. Here is J in his new swimming gear!

Does he look ready to go surfing or what!?!?!

Here is the waterfall right outside of our door. The drop off didn't phase J at all. He was ready to jump in. We are going to have to WATCH that kiddo around ANY kind of water! He is just fascinated!!!

Here's a picture of the large spring/pool area. Apparently you can go scuba diving in here and there were a lot of snorkelers. The water is really clear!

Before braving the water J had to play with the crunchy leaves.

I think he is thinking....I know I wanted to get in here...but this is COLD!

This is all the farther mommy went in. BRRRRR!!!!

Daddy took one for the team though. He was brave (although FREEZING) and went in with J.

It didn't last was just too chilly I think this face says enough!

Here's a little rest stop along the road home....just getting out to stretch our legs.....

Even though it was only a 1 day vacation it was SO NICE to just spend time together as a family and relax. No schedules, no homework, no computers, only a LITTLE of cell phones. We were needing that. Also, it was one of those things....something cool, so close to your home that tourists visit yet, in 4 years we had never been there. And S. in 24 years had never been there! We may just return...hopefully someday with a tent!!! :-)