Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 2

This is what we've been dealing with for the past 2 days:
  • Roller-coaster temps - it's like laying next to a burning log with fingers.
  • Little cough, little runny nose; nothing major - mostly just the fever.
  • Lots of snuggles.
  • Lots of stories.
  • Lots of snoozes during the day.
  • Not a lot of sleeping at night.
Happy Leap Day, friends!
I hope March starts off healthier...

18. Sisters
19. Husbands who can take the morning off
20. Rain showers

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sweet things for my sweeties

My best boy is laying all floppy on the couch because he's rocking a fever and, when he's not sleeping, a whiny voice.  It's all good though, because we're having a rain storm, and while he napped and drooled and snored on my shoulder (sigh.  Haven't had this much cuddle time in months!) I was able to watch another episode of Downton Abbey.  So hooked.  I'm trying to make the 7 episodes of Season1 last, but I think that's going to be shot to heck if Uriah has to close another night this week. seems appropriate to share with you the most delicious, pretty thing on a day that's full of cold and yucky rainy weather.  For Valentine's Day a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to do something special for my kiddos.  14 Days of Valentines was not enough...I needed to go big on the actual holiday.  I could have made a red velvet cake, which was my first choice.  And I'm sure Abby would have enjoyed the heck out of the creme brulee that I made for Uriah, but I didn't want a cake sitting around my house for days and creme brulee is literally made of sugar, egg yolks and heavy cream - maybe a little too much for Finn's system.  And besides, sometimes I like equality among my kids (someone tell me how that's going to work with nearly 11 years between them!).  So instead I made them ice cream sandwiches.  Homemade.  With fresh strawberry ice cream.  Also homemade.

If that's not love, I don't know what is.

These are about a billion times better than the ice cream sandwiches that you buy in the freezer section of the grocery store.  And super easy, too.  You don't have to make your own ice cream (sometimes I can be an over achiever.) whatever flavor you love from the store would be fine.  The sandwich part of the ice cream sandwich is a little bit soft, a little bit chewy, and even after spending hours in the freezer firming up, it didn't make it hard to bite into or chew at all.

Huge success.

I will be making these again this summer.  Or next week.  Whichever comes first.

  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature, for greasing foil
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 quart (4 cups) ice cream of choice, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving some of the foil to hang over the edges.  Lightly grease the foil with butter. 

Put the remaining ¾ cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir with a whisk until butter is melted, then remove from heat and add the cocoa powder.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.  Add the sugar and continue whisking until blended.  Let the mixture cool for 2 minutes.

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well blended and batter is blended.  Put into prepared baking pan and spread evenly.  Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. 

Remove the brownie from the pan and set on a cutting board.  Cut brownie in half, taking care because they are slightly soft.  Loosen both halves from the foil.  Spread softened ice cream evenly over half of the brownie into a layer about an inch thick.  Top with the other half of the brownie and press down gently.  Wrap in foil and freeze until hard, about 6 hours.

Peel foil and cut into 8-12 sandwiches, depending on the size you want them.  Serve immediately.  They will last in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

If you have an ice cream maker, I used this recipe for my ice cream.
Sandwich recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Kid's Cookbook (2000)

15. Medicine in the form of Sesame Street
16. Crock-pots
17. Light rain showers on the roof and against my windows

Monday, February 27, 2012

Desperate Times

I feel like we're grasping at pet straws today.

Finn's disappointment was evident when the squirrel did not put his hand up to the window, too.  And also when the squirrel didn't answer with an equally chipper: "Hi!  Hi!  Heellooo!"  And also when I wouldn't let him open the door and go outside to claim his new "pet."

On a completely unrelated note, I did a P90X video today.  Day 1 is chest and arms.  As it turns out, I could not keep up.  I could not do 30 push-ups.  I may never be able to do 30 push-ups.  I may only be able to do 10 good push-ups for the rest of my life.  But I suffered powered through the entire work out.  One work-out down for this week, 2 more to go!  I will advise tomorrow how I'm feeling - rather, how my arms are feeling.  Finn may not be picked up all day; he'll have to make himself lunch.

I had lots of stuff planned for a post today - I actually wrote part of it in my head when I was trying not to think of the burn in my arms while I was doing these really stupid (and by stupid I mean hard) push-ups where you have to act like you're going under a wire and coming up on the other side.  I did 3.  And the I lost consciousness and forgot what I was going to write about.  Just kidding - about the losing consciousness, not about only doing 3.

And then I checked Netflix and saw that the first season of Downton Abbey is available and since it is now in my instant queue, I feel like I need to watch an episode.  And also, Uriah is still at work, so I don't have to share.

See you tomorrow?  I have something sweet in store...

11. A half an hour of extra sleep.
12. Spaghetti & Meatballs all over a certain little boy's face.
13. Not having regular tv - Netflix is all I need these days!
14. Dancing to Swing Time on NPR with Finn.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Camping 2012

Warning: This is a picture-heavy post!

{ Breakfast of champions. }
{ Skype with Daniel. }

{ Stories with Ady.  Lucky she's so obliging - Finn could hear stories constantly. }

{ Monkey See - Monkey Do.  Finn wanted to do everything Dane did all weekend. }

 {Brownie batter for breakfast. }
{ Best friends forever. }
{ Auntie Sars gives the best gifts. }
{ Who loves Sars?  Everyone! }
{ I think the knife makes the picture. }
{ This is what you get when you give a 4 year old the camera. }
{ This is what you get when you give a 4 year old a camera - Part 2. }
{ Sharing. }
{ Faster!  Faster! }

{ Auntie Sars and her boys. }
{ Because he's so irresistible. }

Friday, February 24, 2012


Apparently Finn didn't think I was taking him seriously when he said he wanted toast for dinner, so he took matters into his own hands.
He's proactive like that.

7. Band solos.
8. Phone calls to my mom.
9. Co-workers who make time fly.
10. Being 32 and able to say - "This is who I am.  Take it or leave it."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This week's weight loss brought to you by chip dip.

Okay.  So, results at this week's weigh-in are mixed.

Yes, I did get in my 3 work-outs (Yeah! And 3 more for next week.) but I realize that I was also counter balancing some weekend cocktails.  And my mom's chip dip.  And chocolate covered espresso beans (those things are crack-cocaine!).  I did loose some weight - not a lot and better than going in the other direction.  However, the lesson that I've taken away from this is to work out before I hit the weekend hard - and after, too.  But, I believe that the pre-planning is essential.  I think I could have lost a little bit more if I had just gotten my lazy bum in gear last week.

Let me tell you, for just one minute, about my mom's chip dip - aptly titled, Clara Dip.  It has cheese and black olives and guacamole and some other stuff that I can't remember right now (or just can't type because I'm drooling just thinking about that dip!).  It is happiness on a chip.  I ate a lot of it over the weekend.  I will neither confrim nor deny that I scooped it onto a spoon and ate it without a chip. 

However, happiness on a chip means layers on my hips (yes, I did just type that.).  Instead of your go-to guacamole dip or Seven-Layer Mexican Dip or even my own mother's sainted Clara Dip, try Avocado-Bean Guacamole next time you need some chips and dip.  It really does taste like guacamole and you'd never know that there is only one avocado in there and the rest of the dippy bulk is made up from a can of white beans.  And instead of eating chips, I've discovered Chip'ins, which are popcorn-type chips.  They taste like honest-to-goodness real chips.  But healthier.

And I like healthier these days.  I totally feel good about eating this dip while looking through the Victoria's Secret Swim Suit catalog that came this week.  And I promise, next year I am going to buy one of those swimming suits.

  • ½ cup minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 15 oz. white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup plum tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Put everything in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended.  Transfer to a serving dish, covered, until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers.
Makes about 2 cups total; approximately 8 servings. 

4. The world-wide interweb for fixing my baby.
5. Nurse-help lines.
6. Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Things I learned today:

  • Good boys deserve cookies.
  • It's best to steer aforementioned good boys away from the cookie that has 3-D dinosaur made entirely out of green icing.
  • 10 minute morning power naps in the car will equate to a late afternoon nap.
  • It is imperative to add salt to bread dough.  Do not skip this step.  
  • Running up and down the stairs to do laundry does not substitute for a real work out.
  • I didn't realize how much I missed going to church until we got there.
  • It is acceptable for Kitty-Kitty to come to church if it keeps Finn quiet.
  • Abby still needs to learn pointing etiquette, namely - you don't point in public.  It's rude.
  • You don't have to give something up during Lent to be considered a good Catholic.
  • If you do give something up for Lent, you are exempt on Sundays.  I guess it's a Jesus loophole, or something.

1. Church.
2. Boys who fall asleep as I'm reading stories.
3. Time to shower in the morning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meltdown...aisle 3.

We got some stares at the grocery store this afternoon as Finn pointed and said over and over in his loudest voice:  "Jews!  Jews!  Jews!"

He means juice, people.  He's missing a tooth and sometimes he lisps, for crying out loud - cut him some slack!  And did you know that not being able to hold the damn juice would be cause for a back arching, real tears, full blown meltdown?  Oh, it was...glorious.

In other news, I'm still too lazy to find my camera cord and therefore have not dumped my camera, which is why I've been taking pictures with my piece of crap phone camera.

I was not, however, too lazy to work out this afternoon.  Well, I was too lazy in my head, but I pushed myself anyway.  I even ran.  My legs will feel that little bit of torture tomorrow, I'm sure.

2 down, 1 to go.  This better pay off on Thursday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dispatch from the day


I just wanted you to know that I got my workout in today.  1 down - 2 to go by Thursday.  And I'd pretty much talked myself out of it up until and during the time that I changed clothes in the bathroom.  I really did not want to work out this afternoon.  Really, really did not.

But I did and I (sort of) feel better for having done it.  My gym clothes are packed for tomorrow.

This was the scene out of my car window today on my way home from work (stopped at a stop sign - foot on the brake.) and which also explains why I really just wanted to go home and curl up under a blanket with my best boy after work instead of  sweating on a treadmill.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Backtrack and back on track.

My whole family was in town this weekend for Winter Camping - even Daniel was available for a visit on Saturday morning from Kuwait via skype.  We stayed at a hotel with a water park (which, coincidentally, is where I moonlight a couple of times a week), the kiddos swam themselves silly and looked like pruny little creatures for the majority of the weekend.  My parents got in some good visiting with the grandkids and with their own kids.  We ate and visited and drank and visited and it was, for the most part, a relaxing, much needed weekend of family time.  As soon as I unearth my camera cord and dump my pictures I will share with you.

Now I need to get back on track with my eating - and drinking - habits.  More water!  More fruit!  Another salad!  Less chip dip!  Less chocolate!  Less booze!  With the decision to loose weight came the realization that I need to be very careful about how much alcohol I drink.  I have started saving my cocktails for special occasions (like weekends with my siblings or date night with my husband - which, trust me, doesn't happen very often!).  I remind myself that having a glass of wine in the evening, no matter how tasty or how nicely it will compliment whatever it is we are having for dinner, that glass of wine is simply empty calories that I don't really need.

So, this week I am committing to 3 work-outs to work off the Bloody Mary(s) and wine I had this weekend and to ensure that when I step on the scale at the end of the week I get the results that I'm looking for.

Since I don't have any pictures from the weekend to share with you yet, let's backtrack to February of last year:

See you later, alligators!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Asparagus & Chickpea Pasta

I seem to be on somewhat of a meatless kick.  I don't really know why, other than I know that a meal high in vegetables is going to fare better on my waist line these days.  Not that meat is bad - I love animals! - but all things in moderation and really, to forego meat once a week isn't a terrible thing.  Besides, there are lots of really good recipes that don't cluck or moo and I kind of like the challenge of finding them and then watching my family enjoy eating them (side eye to Uriah.).

Also, I think asparagus must be coming back into season because every single grocery store in our town (you know...both of them.) seems to have been running an asparagus special for the past two weeks.  I thought chickpeas might be a little weird, never having really ate them before that I know of, but they were actually really good - they gave it kind of a crunch.

If you've got a good meatless meal, I'd love for you to share!

  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon each, salt and black pepper
  • 2 ounces roasted tomatoes
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces (about ¾ cup) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon each, thyme, basil, oregano
  • ¼ to ½ cup pasta water

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and reserve ½ cup of pasta water.  Coat a sauce pan with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat.  Sauté onion and garlic until soft, then add asparagus.  Cook until asparagus is tender-crisp.  Add salt and pepper, stir to combine.  Add chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, and pasta.   Stir to combine.  In a small bowl, mix softened cream cheese and dried herbs.  Add to the pasta and stir to combine.  Add pasta water, ¼ at a time, to thin the cheese sauce.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6
Adapted from Family Circle, October 2008

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On my mind today...

  • We moved here so that I could take a walk at 5:00 on a Monday evening, down a snowy trail, like it's the most natural thing in the world.
  • We moved here so that I could feel snowflakes melt on my heated cheeks as I pulled a 25+ pound boy in a sled behind me.
  • We moved here so that I could breath in deeply the good and breath out forcefully the icky.
  • We moved here to start fresh.
  • We moved here so that my back could go out and my eyes could truly see what I was becoming and where I was headed.
  • We moved here for changes inside and out.
  • We moved here for bike trails and walking trails and sledding trails.
  • We moved here for summer swimming lakes and winter ice fishing lakes.
  • We moved here 31 pounds ago and we are not looking back.
  • We moved here so that I could stop and push Finn down a hill for the first time in his bitty boy life.
  • We moved here so that I could hear him squeal with delight.
  • We moved here so that I could run up and down that hill no less than half a dozen times just to hear his laughter echo on the quiet evening.
  • We moved here so that I could have the time: time to walk down the trail, time to talk to my son as we slipped along, time hear those squeals.  And time to appreciate it all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

14 Days of Valentines (Part 2)

Uriah and I are not really very good at keeping secrets from each other, which I guess is a good thing, unless of course, we want to give each other a gift.  I am usually so excited when I come up with a good idea (and more often than not, my ideas are stellar!) that I want to give the gift right away.  Waiting for the actual date seems like a waste of time.  After discussing our inability to keep our respective mouths shut over coffee this morning, we each told the other what our Valentine's gifts were.  We couldn't even be bothered to wait 10 hours until dinner tonight.

We are having our Valentine's date tonight, since tomorrow night Uriah will be taking care of all of the lucky couples who don't work in the food and beverage industry and have, therefore, secured a babysitter and a reservation at his restaurant.  We are putting our kids to bed early (yeah!  My favorite gift!), making gigantic steaks and crab claws and asparagus (because we're healthy, too.) and watching a movie.  No curfew, no baby-sitter fees, no limit on the wine consumption.  And also, because I love him, I made Uriah creme brulee - a perfect date, I must say.

I will still give him the card that I picked out, even though he already knows the gift that will be inside.

Here are the rest of the Valentine's from our 14 Days of Valentines.
If you'd like to see the first 8 days of our 14 Days of Valentines, you can go here.
Happy Monday, friends!

{February 9 | Starbursts for Abby; Green Lantern Little Person for Finn}

{February 10 | Orbits gum for Abby; book for Finn}

{February 11 | Almond Joy for Abby; book for Finn}

{February 12 | Snickers candy bar for Abby; Superman Little Person for Finn}

{February 13 | Valentine's socks for Abby; swim trunks for Finn}

The combo card was supposed to be for the day that I missed; Abby was going to get a bag of Combos and I'm not even sure what Finn was going to get - maybe some more goldfish crackers?  My creativity was starting to wane a bit.  Tomorrow, instead of getting the day that I missed, they'll get actual Valentine's Day cards and their last (slightly larger) treat. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Tooth

Valentine's Day is just around the corner; a time for date night, boxes of candy, Red Velvet Cake, chocolate covered strawberries, and big heart-shaped sugar cookies dripping with icing and red sparkles.  I try not to eat that delicious stuff anymore; more to the point, I realize that I can't make it, knowing that the leftover cake or cookies will sit on my counter and taunt me for days after.  I stumbled upon this recipe for individual cakes last  week - while I won't say that it's super healthy, I will tell you that it curbs my sweet tooth when I'm craving something sweet after dinner.  I can make one portion at a time, it "bakes" super fast in the microwave and, if I'm feeling especially gluttonous, I can add a little bit of light Cool Whip on the top.

Adding the little candy hearts makes it Valentine's appropriate and it's what I'll be giving my kiddos on Tuesday so I don't have an entire cake or a bunch of heart shaped cookies hanging out in my house for the rest of the week.  And, if I'm feeling especially loving this weekend, which I must say that I am, I might even make it for them tonight, too!

I hope you're weekend is baby started sleeping in a big-boy bed today and we are inching slowly into potty training.  More on that next week...

Mix together in a large zip-lock bag the powdered mix only:

  • 1 box Angel Food Cake Mix 
  • 1 box any kind of Cake Mix*

When you're ready to make your individual cake, mix 3 tablespoons of the dry cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water in a small microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 minute.  Allow to cool a minute before taking it out of the microwave.  It makes kind of a spongy little cake.

*I used Devils Food Cake mix because, hello...chocolate!  But you could use whatever cake mix you wanted: spiced cake mix, strawberry cake mix, yellow cake mix.  The possibilities are long as one of your boxes of mix is the Angel Food Cake mix!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

14 Days of Valentines

 Last month I decided to do something little for the kids for the 14 days leading up to Valentine's Day and we are currently about half-way through 14 Days of Valentine's.  For once, I decided to do something that required some planning and forethought and I've managed to accomplish it!  Each morning the kids wake up to a small treat and a small Valentine - I created the cards and then had them printed them on wallet sized pictures at the Wals-Mart rather than buying a bunch of Valentine's.  Plus, this way I could created my Valentine's to compliment their's lost on Finneaus this year, but Abby gets it and she looks forward to each morning to see what we've left out for her.  

For the record, so far, I've only missed one day...not because I missed it, but because I forgot.  I guess that means that day 14 will be super special because they'll have double the Valentine's!

{February 1 | Donut Holes}
{Day 2 | Animal Crackers}
{February 3 | Stickers}
{February 4 | Goldfish Crackers}
{February 6 | Magazine for Abby, book for Finn}
{February 7 | Apple Juice boxes}
{February 8 | Pens for Abby, Crayons for Finn}

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Out of whack

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
When Uriah's not here, our world feels unbalanced and a bit disjointed.  It's like we're waiting for the fog to clear up so we can get back into our routine and go back to being a family.  I'll be the first to admit that even the slightest changes from my "normal" tend to throw me a bit.  And even though I've had a few days to prepare, I've been dreading today.

Of course Abby would need help with her math homework tonight (math = not my strong subject.).  Of course Finn would decide that tonight he really does want to be rocked until he falls all the way asleep, not just a little asleep...all the way.  It's as if they know Uriah's not here and so they are being extra needy.  My bed feels bigger.  And colder.  And lonelier.  Our house echos in ways I've never noticed before.  The locks on the doors can't be checked enough.  And all of the books I have on my nightstand feel spooky; as if I probably shouldn't read them on a night I'm sleeping by myself.

And the silly thing is...the thing I've been repeating to myself over and over that it's for one night.  He'll be back tomorrow night!

Be that as it may, one night is hard for me.