Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring is here said the bumblebee.

We spent the weekend at my parent's eating birthday cake and hugging on Daniel.  My heart is filled up with goodness.  Yesterday, after Emily and Jerad left for home and Daniel and Ady left for the cities, my small family stayed to play the lazy afternoon away.  While the boys napped and Abby roller bladed down the street, Mom and I went to the gym (my thighs hurt this morning!) and when Finn woke up, we played in the yard: swinging, blowing bubbles and looking at spring shooting up through the soft dirt.  We got home late last night, but it was totally worth it

I have a list a mile long today (isn't that always the case on Monday?  And I even cleaned the house before we left last weekend!).  I work most of this week.  My brother and sister-in-law will be at my parent's this weekend, so another trip to Minnesota is certainly a possibility, which means I'd better get my bum in gear!  In the meantime, if you'd like to see some more pictures of spring, head over to I Should Be Folding Laundry; it's Monday, so that means that it's also Show Off Your Shot day over at And then - She {snapped} - I couldn't decide on one shot, so I have 5.  Overachiever, I know!

Photobucket Next week's challenge: Simplicity

 then, she {snapped}

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Too many monkeys in my bed.

And while we're on the subject of my bed...get a load of that stack of books a mile high on my night stand.  And I have a library book to pick up and one to finish.  It's a addiction.  There is no cure.

Sidebar: Finn was not falling for Abby's fake sleeping; he wanted to jump.  Abby thought it would be a good idea for the three of us to have a slumber party in my bed.  I wanted to kick them both out because Uriah was out of town on business and I got the whole bed to myself.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Carrying on.

Good morning.

Did you sleep well?

I got the whole bed to myself because Uriah's away, so I slept equal parts crappy and awesome.  Awesome because I could stretch out over the entire bed and wrap all of the covers around myself cocoon-style.  But crappy because there was no one to warm up my chilly toes.  Bottom line: the grass is and it isn't greener on the other side.

On a completely unrelated to sleeping note, I got some lovely feedback regarding blogging and tweens and my general annoyance with people who were born at the end of the 90s (they missed so much...Rainbow Brite, Princess Diana, Full House, the walkman...).  I've decided that I'm not going to let anyone dictate what I do or don't do.  I don't know what that means, exactly, for the future, but for now, I'm just going to carry on as I have before, one sentence at a time, one picture at a time, one post at a time.

So...back to our old ways next week?  I really do plan to talk about breakfast...and what I'm reading these days...and overcoming this weight-loss plateau I seem to have hit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


You know, I really did want to talk about breakfast.  I like breakfast, I do (as long is it's considered brunch and it's eaten at about eleven in the morning and there are Bloody Marys involved.), it gets the day started off on the right foot.  But here's the thing, I'm not going to talk about breakfast today.  Maybe tomorrow, but today I'm going to talk about something else, like how to blog when you've got a tween daughter who is probably more internet-savvy than her parents.

See, here's the thing: Middle school girls are not very nice.  They're not nice to their teachers.  They're not nice to their siblings.  They're not nice to their parents.  And they certainly are not nice to each other.  Why is that?  I'm not sure...and I'm pretty sure that trying to figure it out is like beating your head against a brick wall, completely unproductive and also, it hurts.  But middle school girls will take whatever they can to use against other middle school girls.  It's mean and hurtful and totally idiotic.  And yet the hot talk from elementary to high school is anti-bullying this and anti-bullying that - there are plays and lectures and posters plastered on every damn wall, but really, those girls bully the braids and bows right out of each other.

On this blog, I'm very careful about what I write about Abby.  She doesn't get much air time these days because it was brought to my attention that her friends read this blog.  And that pretty much sucks for me, because parenting is hard, and this just in: step-parenting is hard times ten.  I search the world wide interwebs a lot to see how other blended families get their shit together and whether or not it's always going to be this hard and maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  I feel less like I'm the only one when I find someone who's situation mimics mine or who's had a similar step-parenting struggle because my husband is not a step-parent, so he doesn't always get it and my parents are celebrating their 3 millionth wedding anniversary this summer, so they don't always get it.  Sometimes I just have to find stuff out on my own, feel okay about my choices, and move on with my life.  And, honestly?  I find that families that are not blended also have the same struggles that I do.  Parenting is kind of universal in that way.

There are lots of things that I don't write about here, although I often think that maybe our story, our situation, our blended-family parenting styles might help someone else (statistics suggest that in 2010, blended families were the predominant family form in the US.).  There are lots of things that I'd like to write about here, but I hold back a little bit, because most of it isn't rainbows and unicorns and I'm not sure that even if I wanted to share some of that stuff that you would want to read it.  But here is the crux of the matter: regardless of whether I do or don't post about Abby; regardless of whether I have pictures of Finn's sweetness or a recipe or a frank discussion about loosing weight and getting healthy, for some reason, some middle school girls think that it's acceptable to post comments completely unrelated to anything on this blog - as though they think that they'll get Abby in trouble or whatever goes on in the minds of 12 year olds.  And while I can dismantle the comment button, I don't feel that I should have to: the comments that I get (from adults) I appreciate.  I love getting feedback!  Every comment you've ever left me has made my day.

But tonight I'm lost-ish.  I do love my blog.  I love to write - this is the most writing that I've done since college (I don't post something every single day, but I do write every single day.).   I love to take pictures and I love to share bits of our crazy, mixed up life with you.  But I'm not sure at this point if I'm going to keep going; I really don't want to have to play my censor card just because I think some nosy little girls are going to be lurking on a blog of which they are clearly not part of the intended audience.

I'm not sure what to do.  If you have a thought to share (and you're able to vote in the next presidential election) I'd love to hear it.  (Your comment probably won't show up right away; don't worry, I set it up that way so that I can verify you're voter registration card.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's going to be a bright, sunshiny day.

Finneaus and I are back from welcoming Daniel home.
It was awesome...the kind of thing that takes your breath away.  
I am still amazed by how patriotic and supportive people are of our troops.

We have lots of things to do this week, not the least of which includes a top to bottom clean of this house and some windows that are in desperate need of a scrubbing.  More importantly, however, we need to get our walk in for the day (last week I did 16 miles for my challenge.  I really want to get to 20 this week!).  And the park is calling Finn's name and we have some library books to exchange...all before we head back north again on Friday!

And, yes, I know I'm a day late for my You Capture challenge this week.   At any rate, if you want to see some more sunshine shots, head over to I Should Be Folding Laundry.  You can also check out some fun snapshots over at And then, she {snapped}.

Let's meet back here tomorrow, shall we?  We can talk about something other than my list of chores, like...breakfast or what I'm reading or how my son likes to eat PlayDoh, but not lunch....the possibilities are endless this week!

Photobucket  Next week's challenge: Spring

 then, she {snapped}

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting stuff done.

I spent the morning trying to teach Finn how to pretend to eat the playdoh.  He doesn't quite get it, poor dear, and he has red playdoh stuck to his teeth.  I guess we'll be brushing them again.

We've got a couple of things to get taken care of today - namely laundry and vacuuming and picking up one million cars off of the floor - so that Finn and I can head for Minnesota tomorrow because my brother is coming home!  I am so excited - not half as excited, I'm sure, as my parents and his best girl, but pretty excited nonetheless.  I need to find Finn's little flag from the send off ceremony a year ago and get my camera charged up.

Happy weekending, my friends!  Here's to hoping the rain goes away so we can go for a walk and to the park to work off some energy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Man Meat, Uriah Style

**Note: After sitting on this for a day, I decided to go through and edit some of Uriah's more *ahem* colorful language.  I realize that my husband was probably a sailor in another life time, and even though we had a full-on discussion/argument before I published this yesterday, I can't seem to reconcile myself with some of it (however if our son's first real sentence is laced with a multitude of cuss words, I may be forced to take firmer action.).  So, since this is my blog, I fixed it a teeny-tiny little bit (basically, I removed most of the strong language, although some of it I did leave, because, well, that's Uriah.) and hopefully I will finally stop thinking about it.  Seriously, it has been on my mind constantly.  If you want to read the unabridged version, email me and I'll send you a copy.  Okay.  That's all I have to say on this subject.  Other's a damn fine post and the dinner was obnoxiously good and if you even think for a moment that putting your steak directly on the coals is a stupid idea, think again.  Amazing.  Life altering.  And also, I only ate about half my steak, because let me just tell you, the points value of a 1-pound t-bone was outrageous and I cried a little bit because I couldn't eat the whole thing!

A week ago, my wife and I had a "discussion" about the time and effort it takes to post a blog, more specifically, a food blog. So, WE (her) agreed that this week, I would cook a meal, photograph it, and blog about it. So, here you are.....

First, start with this.

 Everyone needs a partner in crime. Mine knows no better. He also loves food. So, he's in. Then add:

 3 years ago, they were giving this shit away. Now, it's $20+ a bottle. F me. But, we're going for overload of flavor. So buy it. Or another cheaper version. But totally MALBEC.

Now, the appetizer:

Take some mini sweet peppers, or Anaheim Chili's and stuff them with Cream Cheese, Shredded Cheese, and Garlic Powder. Then wrap them in bacon. YES, BACON. If meat had a flavored candy, it would be bacon. Then, add these-
Guys will eat veges. Especially grilled. Slice up the squashes, and the onion. (like this)

 The toothpicks help hold the onion together and make for a clean presentation. Now, start the fires of hell.

This, ladies, is a charcoal chimney starter. Fill the bottom with a grocery bag, and the top with this:

For the love of GOD, use JUMBO LUMP CHARCOAL. Kingsford is nice, but it's made of the same stuff that spilled into the gulf. This is basically burnt wood, that will burn again, longer and hotter. USE IT.

Now, light the bottom of the charcoal chimney and let it burn for 25 minutes. It will take that long to get hot. While your waiting, have a glass of this.

Now, when ALL the lumps of charcoal are a sweet fine red, dump them in the grill. Wait 5 minutes, and add the bacon wrapped peppers, along the edges of the pile of coals. Bacon has fat, and fat catches fire if you put it directly over the flame. It should look similar to this:

After 10 or so minutes, add the veges. Directly over the flame is fine, just don't burn the crap out of them...

 Once the peppers an veges are done, pull them off to the side, Now, here's where you freak out your family-

Put the Steaks on the coals. No Shit. Season however you want (and do it heavily to make a crust), but right on the coals. Your man will either:
1. Race to the grill to correct your stupidity.
2. Prepare himself for an evening of lying about how dinner was "ok".
3. Pray to God that there's a frozen pizza at the bottom of the chest freezer.

Tell him to calm down, you read this on a blog, and you obviously know what you're doing. 3-4 minutes each side for Medium Rare. Remove the steaks from the coals and dust off with a pastry brush to remove any coals or ash.When you're done, you should end up with this:

Salad my ass. With all these veges and a 1 pound t-bone, if you can successfully walk to bed after this dinner, consider yourself a winner.

Now please realize that this, is in fact, my first ever blog post. I thought it would be a damn fine idea to write about a meal that the majority of my 1st wife's followers could do, and while doing, scare the crap out of their significant other. I was born an instigator, continue to be so, and fingers crossed will die an instigator. So, get a grill, buy some jumbo lump charcoal, and make someone the best damn steak they've ever had, by freaking them out.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

While we wait...

Uriah was busy this evening making dinner and taking pictures and...who knows what he'll come up with for his post.  While we all I wait with bated breath, I thought I'd kill some time and show you the cutest bath tub boy...

{ July 2010 }
{ March 2012 }

He makes me wish for a tiny, snuggly baby again. I think I'll stop looking back through old pictures now.  Maybe I should go mix a maritini.
See you tomorrow for Uriah's post, okay?  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A bachelorette party in Instagrams

I am almost done with all of the wedding shower posts (also here and here).  Promise.  This is actually the last one, but I had so much fun with my sisters (and also my little brother's best gal) that I felt the need to document the evening with my camera phone.  And Instagram.

Someday I may document an entire wedding just with Instagram.  June, maybe?

Anyway, bachelorette parties usually make me think of naughty fake cops that show up to issue noise citations and end up taking their pants off. Not that I've been to a bachelorette party such as that, but I have been to the movies where reality reigns true. This evening of fun was initiated with a shot of tequila that I could not stomach, included lots of dancing from my littlest sister and catching up over too much salty bar popcorn.  No hangovers.  No drunk-dialing.  I am 32, after all.  

I stayed up too late, but I had fun with my sisters and I love that our evening is well-documented with grainy phone-camera pictures.

Are you looking forward to Uriah's post later this week?
Only 3 more days to go!

See you later, Alligators!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Orange Salad with Citrus Dressing

My aunt hosted the Paris in April themed bridal shower this past weekend and her menu was simple and amazing.  We agreed that half the fun of hosting a party is coming up with the menu - and the desserts.  The meal started with a simple Orange Salad with a tangy Citrus Dressing.  And crusty French baguettes from Panera.  I wanted to eat my weight in bread, but I held back.

Everything was bright and light to mimic springtime in Paris, and so elegant.  My grandmother's wedding china was at the main table, but the smaller side tables had these simple white plates and antique flatware.

The first thing I did when I got home was to make the Citrus Salad Dressing.  I'd been thinking about it the entire drive home.  It's kind of a tangy dressing, so the orange in the salad is necessary to balance it.  My lunch tomorrow is this salad with the addition of about 2 ounces of baked boneless, skinless chicken breast. Light, easy on the points and filling!  I think I'll have this dressing in my refrigerator all summer long.

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best, but you can use bottled)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Whisk all salad dressing ingredients together.  Set aside.  Shred 1 cup of red leaf lettuce (red leaf or spinach - not iceberg).  Section and chop 1 orange.  Chop up about 2 tablespoons walnuts.  Place lettuce on a plate, add oranges, chopped walnuts and toss with 1 tablespoon of salad dressing.  Refrigerate any unused salad dressing.

Salad dressing is about 10 servings of 1 tablespoon each.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I love Paris in the Springtime {You Capture | Chocolate}

It was a Paris in April themed bridal shower over the weekend and what is Paris without delectable and tasty treats?  I don't know, I've never actually been to Paris, but I plan to go there on a romantic vacation someday.  Or maybe to live for a few months after my kids are grown and gone, but only if I can brush up on my French (read: re-learn it all over again.).

I tried not to blow my diet lifestyle choice.

I had one (very skinny, tiny) piece of the lemon cheesecake, a bite of the flour-less chocolate tart and a bite of the orange cake with cream cheese frosting. 

And I have not one ounce of guilt.   If I gain a pound or ten this week, it will totally have been worth it! 

Happy Monday, friends! 
Head over to I Should Be Folding Laundry for more chocolate pictures! 

Next week's challenge: Sunshine 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

With love...

I slipped quietly away this weekend for some good old-fashioned girl time and to recharge my batteries.

It was just for one night, but I don't know why we don't do this more often - leave our husbands and our children and come together as women for a day of relaxation, of talking with one another, of laughing and reminiscing and playing catch-up because life is going by so fast.

I needed this weekend.  I have been looking forward to it for weeks.  I needed to be near my sisters - to soak them up; I am lonely without them. I needed to hug my mom.  I don't get to do that enough.  I needed to see my aunties and my girl cousins.  I needed to stay up late and sleep in.  I needed to put on my calendar, along with those fabulous women around me, a date for this summer to get together again.  Another girls' weekend to look forward to; something to sustain me as we dive head-first into the end of this school year and start filling up the long and busy summer ahead.  It is written in pen; so it shall be.

My sweet and darling cousin is getting married in June - a June bride, is there anything more romantic and lovely?  Soon she will be a wife; maybe someday she will be a mother.  As her life inevitably picks up speed, I hope she remembers takes time for herself.  I hope she remembers to rely on the women who surrounded her this weekend to shower her with love and support, because that's really what we women - sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins -  need to do for each other more often: give each other love and support as much on the days that are plain and ordinary as we do on the ones that are momentous.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

It also helps to leave them with fresh Oatmeal Cream Pies so they can't help but think about me all day long.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grilled Veggie Sandwich - and a challenge

Last night Uriah and I were talking about the job of blogging.  Obviously, this isn't a job for me, but there are some people who blog successfully for a living.  Uriah thinks it's a fake job.

I used The Pioneer Woman as an example; she blogs daily and her website gets about 22 million hits a month.  She's written two cookbooks, a children's book and a book about how she met and married her husband.  She's been on the Today Show and the Early Show.  She has a cooking show on FoodNetwork.  And she home-schools her kids in-between.  By most accounts she's a successful business woman.

He thinks she's a fluffy housewife who's husband supports her.

And that is when I get royally pissed-off.  The assumption he made is that a woman has to have a money-making husband to successfully work from home; that constantly coming up with creative ideas, photographs, editing, and writing is not really "work."  That having to promote yourself, maintain web-site content that keeps readers returning and manage advertisers is "easy."  I never thought my husband was a sexist moron before, but last night, I pretty much called him on it.

So, I challenged him to write a post on this blog next week.  He's going to make dinner, photograph it, edit it and write about it and I will post it here on Friday (provided he get's his writing and editing done on time!).  This will be an interesting endeavor...

In the meantime, while we wait for whatever Uriah is going to come up with next week, let me share with you this Grilled Veggie Sandwich, also known as my New Love.  Grilling season is upon us and I like to have Uriah grill up some extra veggies when we've got the grill going because a) they are healthy and b)  they are good so many ways.  Chop them up in an omelet, reheat them and use them as a side dish, eat them cold in a salad.  Or...make a Grilled Veggie Sandwich (which is what I do with them.).  

It's easy - you can make the veggies a couple of days in advance (menu planning!) and the sandwich itself goes together pretty quickly.  If you want to be a little bit more healthy (read: WW points healthy) you can use Sara Lee 40 Calorie Hamburger Buns instead of thick, crusty French bread and make individual sandwiches instead.  The process is the same.  And we all know how my husband feels about meat-less meals, so you can add some smoked turkey or ham to the sandwich as well.  Personally, I like it with just the grilled veggies.

  •  2 zucchini, sliced into planks
  • 2 yellow summer squash, sliced into planks
  • 1 red onion, sliced into rings
  • 1-2 cups mushrooms, whole
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs de  Provence*
  • 1 loaf thick, crusty French Bread (not a baguette !)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Grey Poupon mustard
  • 10 slices provolone cheese

Preheat your grill.  Toss veggies with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle generously with Herbs de Provence.   Once your grill his hot, place your veggies on the grill.  Allow them to roast for a few minutes – you want to get soft and have some nice grill marks, but you don’t want to burn them.  Flip them over and grill the other side.  The red onion will take longer than everything else, because you want it to get a little bit soft.  The pepper skins will probably bubble a little bit, that’s okay; once they're cool, if you don’t want that charred spot, you can peel it off.

Once your veggies are grilled, place them on a baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature, then wrap them up with some plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator until your ready to use them.  They’re good for a couple of days.

To make the Grilled Veggie Sandwich, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Pull out a piece of foil large enough to completely cover your loaf of bread; set it aside – I had non-stick foil so I didn’t butter my foil at all, but if you have regular foil, you might want to put some olive oil or butter on it to ensure your sandwich doesn’t stick while baking; it doesn’t take a lot! 

Slice your French Bread completely in half the long way.  Slather both the top and the bottom with Grey Poupon mustard.  It’s a little bit grainy and gives the sandwich just the right amount of tang.  Place the bottom half of your sandwich on your foil, then commence with the sandwich building.

On the bottom side of your sandwich, over the mustard, overlap 5 slices of Provolone cheese.  Arrange your chilled veggies on top of the cheese.  Use as much of your grilled veggies as you want – the more the merrier!  Top your veggies with the remaining slices of Provolone followed by the top of the French Bread.  Carefully roll up the foil around the sandwich and press down a bit as you close the edges of the foil.  Make sure your sandwich is completely covered with the foil.

Place foil wrapped sandwich directly into the oven for about 35-45 minutes.  Check it at 35 minutes to see how melty your cheese is getting.  The more melty you want your cheese, the longer you need to leave it in there.  Once your sandwich has reached its desired melty-ness, take it out and let it sit for 5 minutes to make slicing it easier. 

Makes about 8 sandwiches, depending on how big you make your slices.

*Herbs de Provence is an herb mixture of savory, fennel, basil, thyme and lavender that can be found in the spice aisle.  You can also use it on fish and chicken.