Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recent Reads

For every "serious" book that I read, I probably read at least 10-15 stupid little romance novels (Harlequins or Silhouettes usually). Anytime I look at my Kindle, I get for free Harlequins and download them to read whenever I'm just sitting around waiting for something to happen. These are like the Sponge-Bob of books. In fact, I'm mostly hopefully that the rotting of my brain that occurs from reading them is balanced out by the fact that I am actually READING. I do love them though.

Today though, let's talk about some of the more serious books that I have read (serious does not equal non-fiction, just something that isn't fluff).

11/22/63 by Stephen King
My mom loaned this book to me. The main idea of this book is that some guy figured out how to go back to the fall 1958. Then he thought maybe he should try changing history. Then he thought maybe he should try to prevent JFK's assassination. (A little factoid, when I was in a senior in high school, my social studies teacher was big on Conspiracy Theories and every year he took a group of kids down to Dallas to see where JFK was shot and all the different places where people say the shooter could've been hiding. It was really quite interesting.) So, the guy that found the way to travel back in time got lung cancer and was dying before he could "complete his mission" so he traveled back to now and recruited a buddy to do it for him. The book is mostly about his friend's attempt to change history and all the consequences and the butterfly effect. Obviously not everything is true in this book - I'm sure Stephen King did a ton of research but this is still a work of fiction about a fictional guy traveling back in time. But it was very good. And I'm glad I read it. Although at 849 pages, I doubt I will read it a second time.

Bossypants by Tina Fey
I hesitate to call this one serious. It's nonfiction, but it's written by a comedian. It was good and humorous. I learned things about working in show business that I probably wouldn't have known otherwise. I'm not a huge SNL fan, I watched it regularly during college because my roommates loved it, but I don't think I have watched it since I graduated. Anyways, it was funny and interesting and kind of made me think about...I don't really know what, but we'll call it good enough.

Now it's time to read some FLUFF until the next of my "serious" library books are read to be picked up.

Coming up: Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson, Getting Things Done by David Allen, Devil at My Heels by Louis Zamperini.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Favorite iPad Apps (for the kids)

Justin says he bought the iPad for me AND Claire*, but it's really mostly Claire's. Sure, I use it sometimes. I used to check Facebook on it until Claire figured out how to use Facebook. Then I was watching True Blood on it...until Claire figured out that the HBO app might be interesting. Not that this is a problem, I have my own computer that does much more than the iPad and it was mostly so that we could get an old laptop out of the livingroom and still be able to check email/facebook/news/weather/etc most of which I now do on my phone anyways.

Since the main user of our iPad Claire, it is mostly full of toddler appropriate apps. Some of them are fun for grown ups too (Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, etc) and there are a few that on there for Anaya (Draw Something, Katy Perry something, Tap Tap Glee, Diner Dash, etc). But a majority of them were purchased specifically for Claire. Since Claire spends so much time playing the iPad, I thought I would tell a little about our favorite apps for her and her favorite apps.

Any App by Duck Duck Moose.
Some of them may be a little too advanced for Claire, but Anaya likes playing with the story telling apps too. Personally, I think Park Math, Word Wagon and Fish School are the most educational although I love Puzzle Pop (probably because I love puzzles). Claire really likes their three newest apps Draw & Tell, Princess Fairy Tale Maker and Monsters vs Superheroes Comic Book Maker. Those three I think are a little beyond her. They are all basically the same thing, draw a picture or color a coloring sheet, put stickers on the page, and then tell a story about what is going on in your picture. She draws pictures and moves stickers around, but she has no interest in telling a story. I'd LOVE for her to start doing that, but she's not yet.

Disney Apps - Mickey's Road Rally and Minnie's Bow Maker and Watch Disney Jr.
Claire likes these more than I do. The Bow Maker one is pretty new - you can make a bow (pick the fabric, pick the color, pick a pattern, pick a bow design) and then you decide if Minnie or you should wear the bow. There's a "Story" mode, but we just went through that once to unlock Daisy, the twins and the bird. The Road Rally app is mostly telling the story and showing the Road Rally episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Instead of Mickey just figuring out what to do you get to click or say what should happen which is better than just watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Her FAVORITE app right now is actually the Watch Disney Jr app because she can watch a couple of each of her favorite Disney Junior shows on it (currently Doc McStuffins and Octonauts).

Peekaboo Barn & Peekaboo Wild by Night & Day Studios
I'm pretty sure I got these on my iPod before we even had the iPad. Claire loved them when she was a little younger. Basically, you listen to an animal sound but you can't see the animal (the farm ones are in the barn, the safari ones are behind tall grass) then you can attempt to get your child to guess what animal it is, then click on the barn/tall grass and it shows you the animal and says the name of the animal. Slightly educational and less irritating than a lot of other apps.

Starfall ABCs
My mom actually got Claire started on the Starfall website way before I even knew there was an app. It teaches letters and words that contain each letter. There are a few games built into some of the letters, but it's mostly a click here and then listen type of game, but she loved it for a long time and will still play it occasionally.

Counting 123 by iTot
Some number of objects are shown on the screen and as you click on each one it changes into a number and counts how many there are until you click on all of them. Then it says what it was, so if there were 6 Frogs, it would say "6 Frogs" when you get all done clicking on the frogs. Teaches them the numbers, the order of the numbers and the idea of getting the total number at the end of counting.

Angry Birds Regular & Space
Claire LOVES Angry Birds. If she sees Angry Bird stuff at the store, she'll point and say "Angry Bird, Angry Bird, Angry Bird" until we take her to look at it (or distract her into forgetting about it). This isn't really a "toddler game" but it maybe teaches a little physics? Or maybe I'm just attempting to make myself feel better about her obsession.

This is not even all the apps that we have on our iPad, these are just the ones that Claire seems to play the most. Are there any toddler apps that you particularly like?

* Yes, I know grammatically that sentence should be Claire and me, but the point was he bought it for me...and a little bit for Claire. Or something like that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday - Frozen Burritos
Tuesday - Chili's Take Out
Wednesday - Beef Brats, Corn
Thursday - Eat Out With Anaya
Friday - ???? Pancakes & Sausage
Saturday - ???? Chili & Cornbread
Sunday - ???? Frozen Pizza

I never really made a meal plan last week. By Thursday evening I had no meal plan and hadn't made a trip to the grocery store. After I picked Claire up from my mom on Friday, I realized I had absolutely no idea what we were having for dinner and that we'd already eaten out TWICE this week. Claire & I made up a three day meal plan as we drove the less than half mile from her house to the grocery store. It took us less than 20 minutes to find the 6 things that we needed to actually complete all three meals (actually, I ended up needing oil for the pancakes, but I just melted the some margarine and called it good enough).

Monday - Spaghetti & Meatballs
Tuesday - Chicken & Stuffing Bake
Wednesday - Pork Stir Fry
Thursday - Fast Food
Friday - Breakfast Casserole
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Hamburgers

On Thursday, Anaya's school is having their Open House type thing where we can go meet all of her teachers so Justin & I will probably just grab some food on the way out there. I decided to go with fairly big meals this week so that I would have plenty of leftovers to take for lunch at work - I ate out almost every day last week. I'll probably end up freezing some of the chili from last weekend otherwise I'll end up throwing it away.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Project Life: Week 32

Week 32: Aug 6 - 12

I had this page mostly ready to go on Monday evening, but I was waiting for my new set of page protectors to arrive from Amazon. I bought the small variety pack 1 of page protectors when I was ordering some other stuff at Amazon and they didn't show up at my house until Thursday. Also, the pictures are kind of crappy because I decided not to wait until daylight.

Week 32 (2)
We had a lot of fun this week. This was the week we celebrated Anaya's 13th Birthday. Her birthday isn't until later this month, but she really wanted to go to Schlitterbahn with one (or more) of her friends. We ended up just taking one friend and spent almost 8 hours at the water park. All three of us were sunburnt. The 6x12 insert that looks like half of a normal Design A is what I was waiting for from Amazon. Since I wanted to include the Schlitterbahn bracelet, I just stapled it to the page protector across a couple of pictures. We also got her new favorite pizza (d'Bronx) and I made her a cake (chocolate with purple buttercream frosting). We ended up lighting the candles on the cake twice because I didn't get a good picture the first time.

Week 32 (6)
Anaya had to go back to her mom's house, so I ended up taking Claire to the MidWest Balloon Festival. We went last year and actually spent a good portion of the day at the festival, but this year all we wanted to see were the balloons. Instead of actually going to the festival, we parked in the hospital parking lot and sat in the grassy area across the street from the festival. We still had a good view of most of the balloons and it was free, which was good because at one point Claire started crying and saying "All Done" so we left.

Week 32 (7)
My mom found mine (and my brother's?) old CareBears in the basement and Claire is now obsessed with them. She also has 3 or 4 CareBear books and only my mom can read them to her. I attempted to read one to her while we were over there and she threw a hissy fit.

The Mom Creative

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Happy Birthday to the Kiddo

Anaya turns 13 today. We drove over to her mom's house last night to take her out to dinner and buy her some more school supplies that she needed (completely un-related to the fact it was her birthday). We have actually already celebrated her birthday 3 times (once with her friends, once with just us, once with Justin's parents).


Happy Birthday Anaya!

anaya bday

Right now...

...she is starting 7th grade at a new school.

...she is IN LOVE with Justin Bieber (and I am keeping evidence so in 5 years I can tease her about it).

...she is also obsessed with Glee and can't wait for Season 3 to show up on Netflix.

...she is trying so hard to grow up so much faster than she needs to.

...she can't wait to get a Facebook account.

...she is looking forward to playing Softball - hopefully she will get to.

...she loves all her little sisters...even when they annoy her.

...she loves driving her parents insane, but we drive her insane too.

...did I mention how much she LOVES Justin Bieber.

...she wants to learn to be a photographer.

...she is reading the 2nd Hunger Games book.


In two years, she'll be starting high school. In three, she'll be able to drive (stay off the roads!). In 5 years, she'll legally be an adult but will just be starting her senior year of high school. In 6 years, she'll be starting college (I hope). Justin doesn't like it when I point out these things to him, it just shows how quickly his "baby" girl is growing up.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday - Pepper Chicken, Rice & Egg Rolls
Tuesday - Fast Food
Wednesday - Chicken Parmesan, Pasta, Veggie
Thursday - Breakfast Scramble, fruit
Friday - Sandwiches
Saturday - Homemade Corn Dogs
Sunday - Biscuits & Gravy

Woo-Whoo! We followed last weeks meal plan exactly! The last time I made Pepper Chicken, Justin did not like it. This time, it was delicious and we ate all of it that night - no leftovers for work. I changed up the recipe quite a bit compared to the last time, I ended up getting rid of the sauce all together. I tasted it before I poured it into the skillet and it was yucky so I just used a little soy sauce and black pepper. Yummy. The Homemade Corndogs were awesome. I ended up making 6 corn dogs and then cutting the other two hot dogs into 3 pieces each and making mini corn dogs. I'll do a post later this week about the recipe, but they were SOOO much better than the store bought corn dogs.

Monday - Frozen Burritos
Tuesday - Chili's Take Out
Wednesday - Beef Brats, Corn
Thursday - Eat Out With Anaya
Friday - ????
Saturday - ????
Sunday - ????

It's already Thursday night. I've basically been filling in this week's meal "plan" as we go. And I have NO CLUE what we'll eat the next few days. I haven't made the time to actually GO to the grocery store. We have plenty of food in our house, just no good way to make actual meals out of any of it. But at this point, I just don't care for this week. Sorry. I was sick with a cold/allergies on Sunday evening and Monday when I normally plan on the menu which means I didn't make my normal grocery store run on Tuesday after Claire went to bed. But that's life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frozen Cookie Dough

Last Thursday was Claire's first day of Pre-school so I decided to make her cookies that evening. I only wanted to make one cookie sheet worth and using my favorite cookie sheet that is 15 cookies. Which left me with quite a bit of dough to freeze for another time. My mom usually freezes already baked cookies, but I LOVE having fresh baked cookies so I like to freeze the raw dough.

What I do to freeze cookie dough is line a large cookie sheet (not one that has been in the oven recently - it needs to be room temperature or cooler) with parchment paper or wax paper. Then I use one of my cookie scoops - I didn't have a cookie scoop for a long time and now I don't know how I survived with out one - and place a bunch of cookie dough balls on the cookie sheet until the sheet is full or you run out of dough. The spacing between the cookie dough balls doesn't matter as long as they aren't touching. I have two cookie scoops, this small one and this medium one, I use the small one usually, but this time I went with the medium one.


Then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours or over night, they need to be at least mostly frozen. I like to store mine in a gallon size Ziploc bag, but they could be stored in any resealable container. Label it with the type of cookie and baking instructions - for most cookies 375 for 10 minutes is pretty good, watch the first batch and adjust the time as needed. Then put all the cookie dough balls in the container and put back in the freezer until you need to bake some cookies. The nice part of storing them this way is you can easily reach in the bag and get out just what you need.


You can also easily reach in the bag and grab a frozen ball of cookie dough and eat it raw...not that I would do that...

These are some cookies that Pioneer Woman recently posted on her blog and they are DELICIOUS (recipe here). She likes to freeze them in long roll/tube and then slice off what she needs. But that's too much work for me when I need a cookie now.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Project Life: Week 31

Week 31: July 30 - August 5

This week was hard to figure out what to do. This is the week when I took 3 days off from work and we had a little Kansas City Vacation.

Idea 1: 2 inserts. Insert 1: all about Wednesday's adventure downtown. The front of insert 2: Thursday and the back: Friday. Unfortunately the Thursday page would be pretty empty because we really just hung around the house most of that day.
Idea 2: 1 insert. Front: Wednesday. Back: Thursday & Friday (but mostly Friday).
Idea 3: no insert (at leas not specifically for the vacation) just a 4x6 daily highlight picture in the normal pages and then make a mini album for details.

After looking at all of my pictures, I ended up going with idea 2. I'm not sure yet if I'll make a mini album or not, but this will at least get enough of the details down that if I do decide to make a mini album it won't be too hard to make it. I also thought of another page protector design that I wish Becky would make: 3 4x6 slots down the left side (next to the holes) with a 3x4 slot next to each 4x6 slot. That way you could have a 4x6 with some journaling about it right next to it. That is what I would've really liked for the vacation insert. But she doesn't have such a thing right now.

On to my pages for Week 31!

Week 31 (2)

I really wanted to highlight the fact that we had "vegetarian week" this week. Instead of my normal method of cramming all of my food pictures into one 6x4, I decided to fill the entire middle section of my first page with my vegetarian foods and include a 4x6 folded journaling card that I made that was all about what foods we ate and what we thought of each of them.

Week 31 (3)

Week 31 (1)

I ended up with a 10x12 insert for the vacation pictures. I didn't feel like setting up my sewing machines so I just used washi tape from Target down the trimmed side of the page protector.

Week 31 (4)

In order to print these pictures I just resized them as necessary and arranged them all on a 10x12 canvas in Photoshop, then I divided them out onto 6x4 canvases. Then I just ordered them as usually and cut them apart. I did not type the journaling on the pictures. I actually like how the printed journaling looks on cardstock better than the smoothness of the photo paper.

Week 31 (5)

The last page is just a bunch of not quite vacation pictures. Just random stuff we did around the house during our "stay-cation". I included a picture of my dad because we celebrated his birthday on Aug 5 (Sunday). I should probably add a tag to that picture that says "Happy Birthday" on it.

Week 31 (6)

Well, Week 31 is FINALLY done...better late than never!

The Mom Creative

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Friday, August 17, 2012

First Day of PreK

Thursday was Claire's first day of Preschool. She was so excited. On Tuesday we went up to the school to meet her new teacher and drop off school supplies. She didn't want to leave that night. Yesterday morning she was all ready to go by 7:45am, which would've been fine except we couldn't be there until 8:20am. But that gave us plenty of time to attempt to get a good "first day of school" picture.

She had a good day. Even though she has a different teacher than she did last year, the parapros are the same and she's in the same room as last year. Since the parapros worked with her last year, they both remarked on how much her vocabulary and pronunciation as changed over the summer. Also, how much she grown since last year. I'm so excited for her this year. I think she's making so much progress and she LOVES preschool so much. I can't wait to see how she is at the end of the year!

For as excited as Claire was about just going to school, she was also really excited about getting to wear her brand new Princess tennis shoes. They light up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recipe: Kung Pao Chicken


  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts, Diced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 2 stalks Celery, sliced
  • 2 Carrots, sliced or diced
  • 2 Tbsp Chinese Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Paste (more or less depending on how spicy you want it)



Combine Chicken, salt, cornstarch and soy sauce. Set aside.
Using a large skillet or wok, roast Peanuts over med-high heat until the pop. Move them around (or you'll end up with burnt peanuts like I did) until they are a golden brown. Remove them from skillet to bowl.
Heat oil over med-high heat in the same skillet, add chicken and saute until cooked. About 5-6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove - leave the oil in the pan.
Add the carrots and celery to the skillet and cook until crisp-tender.
In a small bowl combine Oyster Sauce, sugar, sesame oil and red pepper paste. Whisk to combine.
When carrots & celery are ready, return chicken & peanuts to the skillet. Add sauce and stir to coat. Allow the sauce to come to a boil (adding water if it is too thick).
Serve over steamed rice (preferably with a side of broccoli and an egg roll, that just wasn't happening the night that I made this).


Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday - Corn Dogs, Mac & Cheese, Peas
Tuesday - Chicken Penne Bake, Veggie Mix Kung Pao Chicken, Rice, Egg Rolls
Wednesday - Kung Pao Chicken, Rice, Egg Rolls Chicken Penne Bake, Veggie Mix
Thursday - d'Bronx Pizza, raw veggies & fruit
Friday - Smoked Brats, Rice Side, Corn Leftovers
Saturday - Easy Cheeseburger Pie, Leftover sides Hot Dogs, Pasta Salad, Grapes
Sunday - Egg Sandwiches or Leftovers Easy Cheeseburger Pie, Tater Tots and Carrots

We mostly ate everything I had planned, just in a different order. I never did get the recipes posted for the Kung Pao Chicken or the Chicken Penne Bake, but one of them will be up on Wednesday.

Monday - Pepper Chicken, Rice & Egg Rolls
Tuesday - Fast Food
Wednesday - Chicken Parmesan, Pasta, Veggie
Thursday - Breakfast Scramble, fruit
Friday - Sandwiches
Saturday - Homemade Corn Dogs
Sunday - Biscuits & Gravy

On Tuesday night we have Meet the Teachers night at Claire's school, so we'll be late getting dinner started. Instead we'll just pick something up on our way home. Saturday morning I am hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law and since I'll be doing a lot of the prep work and baking the night before, I didn't want anything intensive for dinner on Friday.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Craft Olympics: Use of Paper

So...nothing like getting things in at the last minute.

Alexandra Rae is hosting the Craft Olympics this year. See more details about all the different challenges over here. I had been meaning to participate in a couple of them, but then life got in the way and I finally finished up challenge one tonight (which is the deadline)! Hopefully it's not too late.

This is for the event: best use of paper. I made a star album out of cardstock. The inside pages are completely decorated yet because I don't have the pictures yet and I have found it easier to do the pages & pictures together.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Project Life 2009: Weeks 5, 6, 7

My last Project Life 2009 post ended with Week 3. I had to skip week 4. I need to order a couple more pictures which I should've done with my weekly PL2012 order, but I wasn't thinking about it. I figured out what to do about including the dates for the photos. I dug through all of my clear stamps and found a set that I hadn't even opened that had a nice Date label stamp, so I'm stamping that on white cardstock and hand-writing the date range for each spread. Some of them are attached to photos, others are on journaling cards and others are on decorative cards just depending on what was available on each layout.

Week 5

2009 week 5

Week 6

2009 week 6

As I was working on this group of layouts, I thought about going back and trimming the 3x4s and rounding corners to make it match the size/shape of the journaling cards. I'm still undecided. I'm already doing it that way for PL2012 and I'm not sure if I want to trim and round two years worth of pictures this year. However, I don't like have the back of the pictures show around the PL cards - it just looks weird to me.

Week 7

2009 week 7 (1)

2009 week 7 (2)

The journaling on the far right about Claire's 1 month milestones is from a blog post that I wrote back when she was 1 month. Knowing about her speech delay now, it is interesting to go back and read about how she was developing during her first year.

This is also a stamp that I dug out of my drawer of clear stamps that I haven't used in...a long time. I like that it fit the circle on the project life decorative card perfectly.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting Fit

I've decided that I need to do something about getting fit. I've been asked twice in the past month about my pregnancy (I'm not pregnant).

Truthfully, I'm not fat and I'm not teeny tiny, but I'm within the healthy range for my height. I just carry most of my weight on my belly - seriously I've always been that way, it's genetics and after being pregnant with Claire it just got worse. And as I told my mom, I either need to gain about 30 lbs so I am obviously over weight or lose about 5-10 and tone up my belly so it's less noticeable. I'm actually halfway inclined to just gain the weight because I know me and maintaining anything less than what I weigh now is VERY hard.

However, since I have a few health/exercise related goals on my 31 before I'm 31 list, I will probably attempt to lose the weight. I just need to make a manageable plan. And a system of accountability. But I am not doing weight watchers again. That works well for me until I get within 5-10 lbs of my goal weight, then I lose all motivation which means starting now I would be without motivation in the first place.

My Plan

Part 1: Eating habits
I have already made quite a few changes regarding what I eat. If I snack between lunch & dinner, I usually eat fruit. After dinner is harder because the kids want something sweet and we end up with ice cream, s'mores, cookies, etc. I'm a big fan of anything in moderation, which means having the sweets with the kids is okay...once or twice a week.

Part 2: Exercise
I don't really exercise right now. I was doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD earlier this year. But I hated it. Then I tried to start running again, but I can only run either early in the morning (which I hate) or late in the evening (when it's dark). Plus it is so hot right now. And exercising inside doesn't work because it is really warm inside too. I need to figure something out, but I'm not sure what just yet.

I could join a gym again, but it's expensive and I'm not sure when I would be able to go since mornings & evenings aren't good for me, that mostly leaves over my lunch break at work. I used to go to a gym over my lunch break and it was okay. I managed to go around 3 times per week, but I felt so rushed to get there and change and exercise and shower and change and drive back in a hour that I would end up cutting my workout short to make sure I wasn't late getting back.

As I said, still trying to figure out a plan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Project Life: Week 30

Week 30: July 23-29

I ended up with one insert this week using a page protector from my Becky Higgins baby kit that she released in 2008. It had 12 horizontal 4x3 slots, I cut the edge with the binder holes off and then I trimmed off most of one set of slots to end up with a page protector with 9 3x4 slots. I was going to use a baseball card page, but the slots in the ones that I have are quite a bit smaller than 3x4 and I had already ordered my pictures when I realized that.

Week 30 (1)

We went to the pool a lot this week and Justin actually went with us for the first time this summer. He doesn't get in the pool because of his leg, but I was able to hand him my little point-and-shoot that I take to the pool and have him get a few pictures that I wouldn't have been able to take since I'm always busy keeping Claire from drowning. Anaya took a few of these as well. I really like the grouping that shows Claire coming down the slide.

Week 30 (3)

The other page is just a bunch of random goings-on. Claire made a huge mess on the table with a bunch of her toys. Anaya had her backyard campout which ended at 3am when they came in hot, uncomfortable, and slightly scared. I had to do our meal card as a 3x4 because I ran out of 6x4 slots.

Week 30 (5)

On Saturday afternoon I took the girls to Deanna Rose Farmstead. Claire loves this place and specifically asked to go there on Saturday - so we did. The title is felt stickers on top of the page protector. I did that back on Week 21 with red felt letters. We fed goats, and looked at farm animals, and bottle-fed baby goats and ate ice cream (after washing our hands really well).

Week 30 (9)

I've been letting Anaya use my previous camera, it's a Canon Powershot SX10IS. It was what I always used until I got my digital SLR. I still use it if I'm going somewhere that I need really awesome zoom because it has super amazing zoom (20x). But I'm trusting Anaya to use it a little bit because after having me follow her around with a camera for 7 years, she is also interested in photography. The backside of the Deanna Rose page insert includes some of Anaya's pictures.

Week 30 (11)

The Mom Creative

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Menu Monday

Well, we were mostly vegetarian last bring on the processed meats because we have missed them! See what we thought of each of our vegetarian meals: Vegetarian Week Results.

My plan for next week:

Monday - Corn Dogs, Mac & Cheese, Peas
Tuesday - Chicken Penne Bake, Veggie Mix
Wednesday - Kung Pao Chicken, Rice, Egg Rolls
Thursday - d'Bronx Pizza, raw veggies & fruit
Friday - Smoked Brats, Rice Side, Corn
Saturday - Easy Cheeseburger Pie, Leftover sides
Sunday - Egg Sandwiches or Leftovers

I'm looking forward to a few of these recipes. This week feels like a good mix of new and old dishes. The Chicken Penne Bake and the Kung Pao Chicken are both new recipes - one or both of them will probably be posted later this week. We're having Anaya's birthday party on Thursday evening with a fun activity for the kids on Friday, so we're surprising her with d'Bronx pizza. The closest one is about 20 minutes away so hopefully this works out.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vegetarian Week Results

We (the kids and I) ate entirely vegetarian Tuesday - Friday this week. This was actually all Anaya's idea. But I figured out a meal plan and bought the groceries and made it happen this week. Since Justin isn't much of a vegetable eater, I bought him corn dogs and frozen burritos.


Tuesday Dinner: Cauliflower Quiche

This was probably one of my favorite vegetarian meals this week. Anaya thought it was too garlicky. Claire ate a couple of bites (she also probably didn't like the garlic). Justin refused to try it because he "doesn't like cooked cauliflower". I even had this again for lunch on Thursday because I liked it so much. Unfortunately I ended up throwing almost half of it away because there's only so much Quiche one person can eat. Recipe

Wednesday Lunch: d'Bronx Veggie Pizza

We were at Crown Center on Wednesday so we stopped at d'Bronx and had two slices of pizza. Mine had tomato, onion and green pepper. Anaya's had green pepper and jalapeno. Claire ate mine once I took the toppings off and it became cheese pizza. I wasn't actually expecting entire slices of tomato on my pizza, I loved d'Bronx pizza, but maybe not those specific toppings.

Wednesday Dinner: Bean Burgers

I should've made the patties a bit thinner I think. Justin ate two of them and liked them although would prefer if the beans were run through a food processor to make them a little more smooth. Claire ate half of a burger - she LOVES beans. Anaya ate hers and said she liked it. If you don't mind eating bean burritos, that is what this reminded me of. We put cheese on ours, but we only had shredded so I would've liked sliced cheese better since it would stay on the burger better. Recipe

Thursday Lunch: Leftovers / Mayo and Cheese sandwich

Anaya was going to have a PB&J for lunch, but really wanted Mayo and Cheese so she wanted to have a roast beef sandwich. Until I told her she could have a Mayo and Cheese sandwich. I used to have them almost every single day during the summer before 3rd & 4th grade. I had some Cauliflower Quiche and Claire had half a bean burger.

Thursday Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan

I had never had eggplant before tonight. I liked this for about half of my piece of eggplant. It kind of tasted like squash and I usually like squash for my first few bites, but then I run into a funny texture and then it's hard to get back into liking it. Anaya liked it...she thought it tasted like chicken! Claire ate about half of what I gave her. She was mostly into eating the pasta. Justin refused to try it - he has had eggplant and does not like it. Recipe

Friday Lunch: Subway

I had turkey. Anaya had steak. We were hungry and tired and hot and Claire was sleeping in the backseat. At least that was healthier than our original lunch plan of Sonic.

Friday Dinner: Pancakes, Fruit and MorningStar "Sausage"

Pancakes and fruit is a fairly normal dinner offering around here. This is the first time I have every tried MorningStar products. I asked around a bit to see what types of fake sausage people liked the most and this was the best according to the most people. I ended up getting the hot and spicy variety since I figured Justin & Anaya would like that better. I didn't mind the texture or the sausage flavor, but the spiciness was too much.

We had planned to continue it through Saturday...but I wasn't in the mood to make 2-bean Tamale Pie and Justin's only dinner request was MEAT! We ended up having Sonic.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Train Pics

Today's my dad's I'm writing about Trains and pictures of Trains. My dad has a bit of an obsession with Trains. There's this website that he likes to look at to look at pictures of trains. And at one point in his life he used to go take pictures of trains with a with real camera - back in the days before digital - and then develop the pictures in his darkroom in the basement. He had pretty much stopped taking pictures when I was a kid and then got interested again after he retired. I'm not sure if I would have my fabulous DSLR if my dad hadn't gotten one first. In fact, mine is just a newer version of the same one he has.

Anyways, there was a point to this before I started rambling. A few weeks ago, my dad was lamenting the fact that he couldn't find any good trains to take pictures of because we don't have nice scenic places to take pictures (like the ones in Colorado with the mountains in the background, or the ones in western Kansas where there's just flat fields all around, etc, etc, etc). And you have to really know the train schedules or have a scanner otherwise the chances of finding a train in the few scenic type places and being in position to take a picture are slim.

Last Saturday, Claire and I were on our way back from the mall and we drove past this little park with a little pond and I noticed a train, just sitting there. Trains that aren't moving are much easier to take pictures of, particularly when you have a toddler in the car so you can drive around a bit trying to get as close as possible without leaving the car. Unfortunately, since my original plan was just a trip to the mall, my (dad's) telephoto lens was sitting at home on my desk. Which means I was still pretty far away. If I'd been willing to get Claire out of the car, I could've walked around the pond to the otherside right by the train and gotten some good pictures. But it was almost lunch time.

Here's the picture...for my dad - and since my dad doesn't look at my blog, hopefully my mom will show it to him.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Vacation Day 3

Today we made the almost hour long drive to Powell Gardens on the other side of Kansas City from where we live. Then we went to a movie - Madagascar 3 - back on this side of Kansas City.

Powell Gardens

7 years ago this November, Justin and I got married in the chapel at Powell Gardens. It is a gorgeous chapel. I went there a couple of times when we were preparing for the wedding but I haven't actually been there since getting married. Today was the first day of their Butterfly Festival and they have Fairy Houses and Forts built around the gardens. This activity had potential to be a lot of fun, but then Claire decided her favorite word today was NO and that if something wasn't going her way (which was everything) she was going to scream about it. In general, that is not fun, it's even less fun when you're struggling with her out in the 85-ish degree humid heat. Also, Claire has a bit of love/hate feelings about butterflies, she LOVES to look at pictures of them, but show her the real thing and she flips out. This is actually kind of new because at the beginning of the summer there were a couple of butterflies that she would chase around the side of the house. Anyways, it was kind of fun, but it was hot and I had a screaming toddler with me (sorry everyone else). Within 5 minutes of getting in the car to drive back home she was sound asleep. I ended up sending Anaya into a Subway to buy us lunch because I wasn't about to wake Claire up.

Madagascar 3


I let Anaya choose which movie to see between Madagascar 3 and Ice Age: Continental Drift. We ended up at Madagascar 3 which was good. I think as a whole that series is easier for a toddler to understand than Ice Age. Claire kept wanting to talk during the movie and not in a whisper. But she was in a better mood for the most part. And she ate most of a movie theater bag of M&M's because she missed lunch since she slept from just after noon until 1:15pm while we were driving.

At Home


We spent the rest of the day at home. We watched one of the other Ice Age movies and played with Barbies. We ate dinner (pancakes, cantaloupe, fake sausage). Then I collapsed on the couch and Anaya played on the computer and Claire played on the iPad. I eventually dragged the kids outside again by giving them ice cream. Then we sat on the driveway and attempted to get Claire to play with the Cicada shells. And after Claire went to bed and I finally cleaned up the kitchen, Anaya and I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt. It won't be ready to eat until tomorrow but it looks delicious.

I think this is the end of our Kansas City Vacation 2012. I don't have anything planned for tomorrow and I'm not really planning to plan anything.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vacation Day 2

Today was a lazy day. In fact, I left the house once for about an hour and Claire didn't leave the house at all.

Disney & Donuts

We started out the day laying around in my bed watching the Disney Channel and eating donuts until 10am. Did I mention that we were lazy? Then I made Anaya start her chores and I did a few things that aren't her chores and needed to be done.



Around 11:15am, Anaya and I headed out to get pedicures. I usually get one or two during the summer and Anaya has been asking me to take her with me because her mom hasn't been taking her recently (probably because it is freaking EXPENSIVE, I think my normal place has raised the price since May). But now my feet are all nice and soft and our toes have pretty little flowers painted on them. And sometimes you just need something pretty.

Homemade Ice Cream


Before my mom left for her trip that caused this little Kansas City vacation, I borrowed her ice cream maker. After sending Justin to the store for the 2 ingredients that I was missing, Clarie & I made Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. It is so delicious. We made it about 3pm and by 7:30pm when we were eating it, it was still pretty runny. Hopefully it continues to solidify tonight/tomorrow. I think it probably needed to stay in the ice cream maker a little longer, but we had some issues and it stopped for some unexplained reason. But it's still delicious, it's just more like soft-serve ice cream which isn't entirely a bad thing.


Anaya went birthday shopping with Aunt Kimbi. It sounds like they had fun. I stayed home with Claire and made ice cream and watched...something? I can't even remember what I did for the 2 hours that Anaya was gone. Except lay on the couch.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vacation Day 1

We're having a Kansas City Vacation. Except it's even better because we get to sleep in our own beds at night and when we all get on each others' nerves we can go to our separate spaces.

Day 1 was Crown Center & Union Station. We had fun. But it was exhausting.

Science City at Union Station


Claire may be a little young for Science City. Definitely something I will have to remember for when she's a little older. I think some 3 yr olds would be fine with it, but not mine. Anaya liked pretty much everything, I think if we didn't have Claire with us, we probably would've stayed longer, but she was done and Anaya had seen everything even if we hadn't spent quite as long as she would've liked at some of the stations. I think Claire's favorite thing was this spinning table in the Astronaut zone. I really thought she would like the water table, but we could barely get her to look at it. It took us about 2 hours to see everything and if I hadn't already decided we were going to do a lot more, we probably could've been done downtown after that.

Crown Center

crown center

Since Megan at The Nerd Nest always talks about d'Bronx pizza and we don't have one near our house, I decided to take the opportunity of being at Crown Center to give it a try and it was MUCH cheaper than Crayola Cafe which is where Anaya wanted to go. (She ended up being happy with my decision and has declared d'Bronx her favorite pizza place.) Since we're being vegetarians for the week, I ordered a tomato, onion and green pepper slice (half of which I removed so Claire would eat it) and Anaya ordered green pepper and jalapeno. Then we went down the hall to their free Dinosaur exhibit. It was nicer than some of the other free children's exhibits they have had down there.



Anaya specifically requested that we go to Kaleidoscope this summer. I have to tell you though...I kind of hate that place. And Claire seems to agree with me. But Anaya LOVES it so I managed Claire while Anaya ran around and made a ton of crafts from leftovers from Hallmark. I actually like the IDEA of Kaleidoscope, but in reality it's just too loud and busy and Claire was just not interested to the point that I was picking her up off the floor from a screaming and kicking tantrum TWICE. I could understand her frustration but she wasn't understanding the concept of just deal for 20 minutes and then we'll do something you'll enjoy. Anaya left with a bag full of crafts and Claire had a bag with a fish she colored, a piece of paper with Chipette stickers on it and a 2 black light drawings that I mostly did.

SeaLife Aquarium


What Claire was wanting to do when we were in Kaleidoscope was go to the Aquarium. We got season passes back in April and this is the fourth time that Claire has been there. She saw it earlier when we were eating and all she wanted to do was go see the fishies already. She was making fish faces at me and saying "please" and she just wanted to see the fish. Anaya did not want to see the fish, but Claire dealt with Kaleidoscope so it was Anaya's turn to deal with Claire's favorite activity. We flew through there in less than 45 minutes. (And I took only 19 pictures. I mean, it is our FOURTH time there, how many pictures of fish does one really NEED and we'd already been doing STUFF for 5 hours at that point - I was done.) Claire knew what she wanted to see and where everything was and would stop when she wanted to look but otherwise just kept right on going. Then we had to get cookies at Panera because that's what you DO after going to the Aquarium according to Claire.

So, I just realized as I was looking through my pictures for this post that I had left my camera on the P setting most of the day which lets it pick the Aperture and Shutter Speed and I really should've had it on Shutter Speed Priority because I have lots of pictures where Claire is doing things and her hands are blurs.