Friday, April 17, 2009

Hope you had a Happy Easter!

We had a wonderful Easter with family in Houston and Church on Easter Sunday. The kids are growing up so fast. Kathryn-9- no longer believes in the Easter bunny (and neither do cousins Austin-10 and Abbey-8 1/2), but seemed to be pretty happy with the loads of stuff the bunny brought. Our bunny doesn't bring a lot of candy, but every year he/she brings new swimsuits, goggles, flip flops, and plenty of fun outdoor stuff like bubbles and sidewalk chalk. Logan (almost 4) and Camryn (2) LOVED the whole bunny/basket/egg thing this year. It was a very big deal to them- and their first time dying eggs. The eggs had to be hidden inside my parent's house while we were at Church (are you kidding- we barely make it to church on time without the distraction of new things and candy!) and when we returned there were eggs and goodies everywhere. We were also able to snap a few pictures in my parent's backyard (even though it rained on and off) and a few inside with my wonderful parents and niece and nephew. I have no idea why I don't have any pictures of my sister or brother-in-law?

Hope you all had a Happy Easter! Obviously, the most important thing is not believing in the Easter bunny, but believing and knowing that Jesus Christ has arisen. Hallelujah!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It is raining...

Dress-up on a rainy day

I love the rain! It started last night and will continue over the next several days. San Antonio really needs it, but I cannot believe that it is raining during spring break and in the middle of my front yard being landscaped. I now have a big, muddy mess with partial flagstone and limestone retaining walls. Surely there will be a letter in the mail from our homeowner's association any day now, but the landscapers will not return until Monday. Oh well.

Watercolors (yes, I took the slipcovers off of my chairs!)

Everyone we know is on a fabulous spring break vacation- cruises to Jamaica, skiing in Breckenridge, sightseeing in New York, but we are home to supervise the landscapers who are not here. I had plans to take the kids to the zoo one day, children's museum, etc. We DID go to Fiesta Texas, but then it started raining and I had an accident. Yep, I cut the fingertip off of my left index finger. Completely. The kids were helping me make homemade pizza (which we make with veggies and chicken) and I sliced right through my finger while multi-tasking. So, we spent many, many hours in the ER for them to sew my fingertip back on. We will see if it reattaches, but I will have several visits to the hand surgeon. Fun.

Walker Ranch Park

We did have a great time at the park last Sunday. Lots of great trees to climb and trails to walk. We are now stuck inside doing and eating whatever I can do with one hand. Kids have done watercolors, dress-up, rehearsed and performed a play, and watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua twice. We plan to go to my parent's house tonight and stay through the weekend to celebrate Austin's 10th birthday and my Dad's 21st birthday (hee hee). I am also hoping to have a lot of help with the kids so that I can relax and continue my pity-party. I'll keep you updated on the finger (or lack of). Hope you all have a wonderful spring break!

Logan with a mouth covered in chee-tohs- I am having trouble cooking with one hand and the kids are loving the junk food!

Kathryn with make-up and earrings, Logan had been wearing Ronnie's tie and cowboy boots

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm BACK!!!

Okay- I apologize to my dear friends in blogworld. I have neglected you during our recent move from California back to San Antonio. I have also been on facebook way too often. So... life seems to be getting a little less hectic and I thought that I would try to catch everyone up on our last couple of months.

The move from CA to San Antonio went relatively smoothly- other than last minute changes from the mortgage company, title company not preparing docs as they were supposed to, realtors who don't care about people, houses that have surprise problems when you move in... UGH! The house is fine. It is not my dream home and I already have a 3-5 year plan to sell and build. That is if the economy doesn't completely tank. We had the entire house repainted, new flooring, painted and glazed the kitchen cabinets, made some repairs, and landscapers will start next week. We also had furniture to buy- we downsized when we were in California- and finally found fabulous bedroom furniture that Ronnie and I both like. There is still much to do, but I am quickly losing enthusiasm on this remodeling project and I am deciding to "live with" some things that I had planned on changing.

Happy Birthday Camryn Elizabeth!

Camryn turned 2 on November 28th. My sweet little angel baby. I felt awful that we did not do a big party, but we were in San Antonio house hunting and then at my parent's house in Houston for Thanksgiving. Her birthday was the day after we were all stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie- not really putting me in the mood for a sheet cake. Oh well. She was happy as could be with just having our immediate family at my mom's house with a cake and party favors all grabbed at HEB in about 15 minutes. I promise her a REAL party next year!

Logan having fun at his preschool in California on his last day

Kathryn practicing her cheerleading moves in the living room of the new house before furniture

Christmas was okay. Kathryn had a stomach virus and felt lousy- and we of course had just moved in about 3 days earlier- STRESS! So, we left the boxes in San Antonio and drove to my parent's house in Houston. The mood was a bit somber with my dad's mom (my wonderful Grandma) very ill. She passed away January 5th without me able to visit her again and I still miss her every day. I called her at least once a week just to hear her laugh and tell me stories about working in the garment factory, or the struggles of raising three boys, or what a stinker my dad was when he was a little boy and how much Logan looks like my dad. My poor dad is still having to take care of her estate and the drama that inevitably follows...

Kathryn adjusted to her new school pretty well beginning in January. Her former school was "capped", but she should be able to attend next year. She will start volleyball practice in a couple of weeks and will do swim team again beginning in May. Moving back to San Antonio has been an easy transition- back to the same neighborhood, doctors, after school activities, preschool for Logan, and friends. I hope that we never move from San Antonio. This is our home.

Camryn ready for the rodeo to end and the concert to begin

February- rodeo month! We went to Taylor Swift last week and had a great time. The kids all enjoyed the rodeo portion, but it is about an hour too long. By the time Taylor came on stage my kids were soooo sleepy. We were not able to stay for the whole concert but I bought her new CD for Kathryn and she seemed to be happy with that.

Hopefully this month will bring a little more rest and relaxation. I have friends in town that I haven't even seen since moving back and it is time to be a little more social. We have dinner with our friends Chris and Shellye this weekend- our first friends when we moved to San Antonio years ago. In fact, the house that we just bought is next door to Chris and Shellye's old house. I wish that they still lived there because the new neighbor is NOT nice. How did we move into a neighborhood where we know everybody and manage to move in next to the grouchy New Yorker who doesn't like kids? My best friend from college- Angela- and her husband and two kids moved to San Antonio last June and it has been so much fun to have dinner with them and have her close enough to call. She came over one day to watch the glaze go on the kitchen cabinets - fun! Logan also LOVES to play with their son- William- and asks on a daily basis for William to come over. Ronnie and I also have a date night planned for the 28th, he will be in D.C. for a couple of days, landscaping, living room furniture delivery, etc. It will be a busy two weeks left in February and then it will be March- spring break and countdown to summer. Whew!

I hope that everyone is doing well and hope to see you soon!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Corona del Mar

We miss San Antonio dearly, but we have learned to love a few things here in Orange County. One of our favorite and most relaxing things is to go to the beach. I love, love, love the ocean. The kids are now old enough to play in the sand and get their toes in without me being such a helicopter mom. It was beginning to seem like we would never get out of the stage of Camryn trying to eat the sand, but she is now perfectly content to run around in the sand with her pail and shovel. Kathryn enjoys studying the tidal pools and collecting shells, and Logan is like an architect building his sand castles.

This past Saturday we were in Newport Beach running errands and decided to stop by Sprinkles cupcakes

Ronnie's favorite is the red velvet and my favorite is a toss-up between the red velvet and coconut. They also have seasonal flavors with the current ones being pumpkin (spiced pumpkin cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting) and caramel apple (spiced apple cake studded with granny smith apples and frosted with a caramel cream cheese frosting). They didn't have the pumpkin on Saturday and the caramel apple was completely sold out (I may have to make another trip over this weekend just to try it), but I was perfectly happy with my coconut cupcake. We then drove a minute to the beach (Corona del Mar is our chosen place to one day own a second home- in our dreams) and parked on Ocean Blvd. This little spot of paradise has become such a special place to our family and I hope that our children will always remember the fun times that we had on the beach.
We only need about $2.1 million to buy this second home...

We did not have our suits (and it was a little chilly), but we did have a wall-e blanket in the car and our camera, so we plopped down in the grass overlooking the walk down to the beach. The sun was beginning to set, the boats were drifting back into the harbor, I had my three precious children and handsome husband with me- and sprinkles cupcakes. Could life get any better? In this uncertain time of presidential elections, the country in an economic crisis, and the current fight in California over gay marriage, I find myself sick with worry about the direction our country is heading and trying to raise three children in a Christian environment. But, in quiet moments like these in Corona del Mar, I am able to look out at the magnificent ocean, say a quick prayer, and be filled with a wonderful peace. God is good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

Mamamia had a request for a few of my favorite fall foods and here they are. I would love to hear your favorites as well! It seems like fall is always so busy and I love anything that can go in a crockpot (pot roast, chili- yum!) or needs minimal prep time. Here are a few of our favorites- I cannot go wrong with these and they make large quantities for 3 hungry kids!

Perfect Winter Beef Stew

3/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
2 lb. beef for stew, such as beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 slices Bacon, chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions (about 1 large)
3 cups sliced carrots (about 6 medium)
1-1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) beef broth

POUR dressing over meat in large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag; turn to evenly coat meat with dressing. Refrigerate 30 min. to marinate. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large saucepan on medium heat 5 min. or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from saucepan; drain drippings.
ADD mushrooms and onions to same saucepan; cook on medium-high heat 10 min. or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Add meat, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, broth and bacon to saucepan; stir.
BRING to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour 15 min. Uncover; simmer an additional 15 min. or until meat is cooked through and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Large Diced White Onion
3 Large Diced Tomatoes
4 1/2 Cups of Chicken Stock (or Bouillon Cubes)
2 Cups of Picante Sauce
3 Chicken Breasts
Salt, Pepper, Cumin to taste
1/2 Cup of Chopped Cilantro
Bring the chicken to a boil in the chicken stock. Once the chicken is cooked remove from stock and add tomatoes, onion, picante sauce, salt, pepper, and cumin. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Dice cooked chicken and add to stock. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Once your tortilla soup is done, then add cilantro.
Put some monterey jack cheese in the bottom of your bowl. Pour your soup in the bowl and add tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and more cheese on top.
Serve soup and enjoy!

Spaghetti Pizza Pie
1 box of angel hair pasta
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, cooked, drained
jar of spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. shredded mozzerella cheese

Toss cooked spaghetti, parmesan cheese, and egg. Place in 2 9-inch pie plates (spray them with Pam). Press along bottom and sides to form a crust.
Mix cooked meat and spaghetti sauce. Spread meat mixture over spaghetti crust. Sprinkle with mozzerella cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Serve with a garden salad and garlic bread- leftovers are awesome!

Easy Bistro Chicken
2 tsp. oil (extra virgin is great)
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (omit if you don't like mushrooms)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup zesty italian dressing
3 tbsp. tomato paste
4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup mozzarella cheese
4 slices of bacon
angel hair pasta

Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan (I use my huge electric skillet). Add mushrooms and onions, cook 5 min stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid, the dressing and tomato paste. Add chicken and cover. Cook 12-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Cook angel hair pasta during this time.

Sprinkle with cheese and bacon, simmer uncovered 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve over hot angel hair pasta.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can french onion soup
1 can rotel tomatoes (mild if your kids don't like spicy)
2 cups raw rice
1 diced white onion
1 diced bell pepper
1 package of Hillshire Farms beef link sausage sliced
3 cooked and diced chicken breasts
salt and pepper (and cajun seasoning if you like spicy)

Spray large rectangular baking dish (3 qt pyrex?) with Pam. Mix all ingredients together in baking dish. Put a couple of pats of butter on top and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Serves 8-10 (leftovers are great).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's The Great Pumpkin!

Kathryn took a fabulous Jr. Master Gardening class last spring and we have continued to "tend" her garden plot. We went yesterday to cut her "fairytale" variety pumpkin and pick a few tomatoes for dinner and took some pictures. Isn't this pumpkin cool? It looks a lot like some decorative pumpkins that I bought several years ago and decorate my credenza with each fall. Logan had fun chasing lizards and Camryn slept through our entire garden visit.

Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the chill in the air, football games, soups and stews in the crock pot, pumpkin and apple cinnamon candles in the house, and brightly colored mums everywhere. I know that the fall leads to such wonderful holidays and time with family and friends. Hope you are all having a happy autumn as well!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My baby is NINE!!!

Kathryn dancing on the table while her class sang "Happy Birthday"

Kathryn turned 9 this Sunday! Impossible to believe that my 9 pound, 2 ounce baby girl is growing up so quickly. She celebrated with my parents (they left Hurricane Ike's mess and flew in from Houston last Wednesday) and many of her friends here in California. She had cupcakes at school on Friday- seriously, the cupcakes from Costco are the biggest I have ever seen!

Kathryn with 2 of her friends

Happy Birthday To You!

Camryn enjoying birthday cake

We then had a swim party Friday evening at our neighborhood pool. The weather was perfect and everything turned out great. It was the easiest party I have ever done!

Logan and Camryn climbing trees in San Diego

Saturday morning we drove to San Diego (an hour away) with my parents and checked into the Marriott Marina. We spent most of Saturday climbing trees, flying a kite and hanging out around Seaport Village before taking a quick swim and then dinner at Kathryn's favorite San Diego restaurant, Filippi's Pizza Grotto.
Logan in Seaport Village

Pool time with Mommy and Pawpaw

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

Filippi's Pizza Grotto

You have to walk through an Italian grocery store to get to it and it is authentic, yummy food! We had breakfast Sunday morning at the hotel before heading to the San Diego Zoo. I love the zoo- especially the koala bears- and we had a great time. It was so nice to have Nana and Pawpaw with us for a week and we are missing them already. Hope they return soon...

Nana and Pawpaw with Logan and Camryn