Monday, January 31, 2011

I Am Thirty-One

I had a great time celebrating my birthday this weekend with family. On Saturday the four of us went to Not Your Average Joe's for lunch. We don't go out for sit-down meals that often, but when we do it ends up being a lot of fun. We ordered macaroni and cheese for the girls to share, but when they saw that Daddy had fries with ketchup they were all over his plate. Sarah followed Abigail's example and triple (sometimes quadruple) dipped her fries in the ketchup. We split a raspberry sorbet and ice cream for dessert.

The rest of the day was pretty lazy for me. As requested Jonathan and Abigail went to work on baking a cake. This was the first time the two of them have baked together, and the first time Jonathan got to see how Abigail "cracks" eggs. It was fun to watch them work together.

Jonathan had some work to do later that night so I hung out with two friends over dessert and hot tea.

On Sunday afternoon we headed over to my parents'. We had an amazing pasta dinner courtesy of my Grandma followed by cake and ice cream. Abigail insisted on party hats, so that explains why I am wearing an impromptu construction paper hat for one of these pictures.

I had a nice relaxing birthday weekend. Now it is back to life as usual. I'll let you know what 31 feels like in about a year :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photo Fridays 01.28.11

This is sort of fuzzy but too cute not to post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Cooking: Meatballs

After 4 or so years of marriage our weeknight meals started to become monotonous. We were seeing a lot of the same things week after week: pasta with tomato sauce, chicken stir fry, taco salad, etc. In an effort to spice things up I decided to try one new recipe a week. I haven't managed to do a new one every week, but it has been nice to have a few new recipes to add to the rotation each month.

I thought I'd add a new "feature" to the blog to highlight some of the hits and misses of recipes I've found online and elsewhere. I'll have my own rating system, providing feedback on Ease, Taste, Affordability, and whether the meal is Family Friendly (based on a family with two toddlers at the moment).

The first recipe I'll share on comes from It is a recipe for meatballs, specifically, for The Best Meatballs You'll Ever Have. I chose this recipe out of many because I had most of the ingredients on hand and because it got 4 1/2 stars.

Modifications/Substitutions: To "crush" the croutons I used a mini-food processor (I also added a smidgen of corn chex because I was just shy of 3/4 cup). Also, I used a regular onion because I didn't have a sweet onion. To cut down on the heat I used 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes instead of 1 teaspoon. And, finally, I don't have Cajun seasoning in my pantry, so I found this recipe to make my own.

Ease: The meatballs were pretty easy to put together. I can see myself mixing the ingredients during nap time and refrigerating it for later. The only complaint I have is that as time went on during the actual cooking some of the meatballs started to fall apart (though that could be due to my error). So I'll go with 3.5 stars for ease.

Affordability: Many of the ingredients are staples most of us have in our pantry. I decided to make meatballs this week because ground beef was on sale for $2.99/lb (which is still a little steep for my tastes, but I thought it'd be nice to have something other than chicken this week). I'll give this recipe 5 stars for affordability.

Taste: I topped these meatballs with a little barbecue sauce like the author mentioned and served them with mashed potatoes. Jonathan and I really enjoyed them, though they may have been a bit on the spicy side for the girls. They reminded us more of meatloaf rather than your traditional meatball. I wouldn't say these were the best meatballs I've ever had, but they were pretty good-4 stars.

Family Friendly: I wanted to make mini-meatballs because I figured they would appeal to my 2 1/2 year old more so than traditional meatloaf. I am happy to report that Abigail ate 1 and 1/2 meatballs. This is saying a lot because (1) Abigail was a little under the weather and (2) Abigail is not too fond of ground meat. Sarah didn't touch hers (well, she touched hers, she just didn't eat hers)-though she ate all her veggies! For now I'll give the recipe 3 stars for this category.

What's Cooking Rating: 3.75 stars (rounding to the nearest .25)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Team Work

Parenting and running a house are so much easier when you have someone to do them with. Jonathan was out of town three days and two nights last week, so I was playing it solo for a few days. It wasn't easy and it made me realize how much Jonathan does!

The hardest chores I had to tackle by myself revolved around sleep (my favorite thing). The girls decided to make things interesting for me. On Monday night Abigail took her PJ's off. After putting them back on I left the girls to giggle, gab, and yell themselves to sleep. The only problem was that only Abigail fell asleep. Once Abigail was snoozing away Sarah was unhappy and decided to cry and cry and cry some more. After maybe 5-10 minutes of this I went in to rock her to sleep. As I was doing this I looked over to Abigail and saw that she had taken her PJ's off again. I wanted to get Sarah to sleep as soon as possible. About an HOUR later she was finally down and I quickly dressed Abigail again.

On the other end of sleep is a new morning, hooray! Up and at 'em! Let's get off to a running start! Ok, that is NOT me in the mornings. Once I hear Abigail calling for "Momma" to open the gate I normally turn over and sweetly ask Jonathan to take care of it (because Sarah is often still sleeping). I couldn't do that, and it didn't really matter because Sarah was awake too.

Another way Jonathan helps out (and I didn't realize this) is in the area of accountability. Dishes in the sink? They can wait until tomorrow. Room needs cleaning? Another chore that can wait. Time to catch up on the sermon you missed on Sunday? I'm too tired. I think I'll just go to bed.

On a more positive note, the girls and I did have fun these past few days. Our Tuesday was particularly fun. We started it off with a trip to the grocery store and finished it off with a visit with my family. We first went to the mall to visit Nonna at Build-A-Bear. We left with two new friends: Rosie and Chuck.

Then we headed to my parent's place to play with Bridget and have dinner. As I was getting the girls ready to leave Abigail discovered a new way to make Bridget laugh:

I am glad I have Jonathan back, and I think the girls are too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ready or Not...

The past few nights Jonathan and Abigail have played hide-and-seek in the apartment before bedtime. Sarah sometimes does her own thing, or she joins in on the fun. Here's a cute clip of her playing along.

Photo Fridays 01.14.11

Here are a few from the last week-and-a-half. We spent a lot of time inside due to the weather and the girls being under the weather.

The first picture shows what happens when you give stickers to the girls and leave the room:

Abigail has been into dressing up lately. She seems to really like dresses. Here she is dressed up with a cake we decided to make to spice up the stuck-in-the-house afternoon. She decided it was a birthday cake, which is why we added candles.

One afternoon Sarah kept tugging on a dress Abigail put on. I took that as a sign that she wanted to join in on the fun. Here Sarah all dressed up.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Snow can get to me by the end of the winter season. This year though, I've been waiting for a decent storm so Abigail can have a full-on snow playing experience (snow angels, snow balls, snow man, etc). Our area got over a foot the day after Christmas, but we were out of town and missed out. Today, though, I got my wish, snow totals of 18 or so inches.

Jonathan worked from home today. During his lunch break we went outside to play.

Unfortunately it was light fluffy snow, so we weren't able to make a snowman. The girls still had fun though!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Photo Fridays 01.07.11

We got Abigail a little baking kit for Christmas. It had a mini muffin tin, apron, whisk, spoons, and a special tray to display her work. Last Sunday we made blueberry muffins. She had a blast!

Monday, January 3, 2011

More Christmas!

A few days after our Virginia vacation we celebrated Christmas with my family. We were blessed with more new clothes for each of us. The girls were happy to get a few more toys too. Their favorites so far is Elefun, a game Auntie Laura and Uncle Nick gave them as well as a Melissa and Doug piano from Nonna and Papa. Though, Sarah has attempted to climb on top of the piano a number of times-which keeps me on my toes!

Bridget sits on her own now, so the girls get to really interact with her. The girls had fun playing with a few of her new toys. You should have seen us trying to get the girls to look at the camera for a picture! I'm looking forward to watching these girls grow up together.

We had another Merry Christmas!