Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Avery the Photographer

Avery has recently taken an interest in my camera and how it works. She has been asking quite frequently if she can take some pictures.

Here are a few of the ones she's taken in the past few days....
Daddy and Jerri

Daddy

Jerri

Mommy, Cassie, Daddy

Jerri in her bed



Mommy, Daddy, Cassie
Not bad huh?!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Potato Corn Chowder

I actually made this soup a few weeks ago, but am finally just getting around to posting it!

I'll confess, soups scare me. The reason? They all have a million ingredients, most of which I don't have in my house. So when I see a list of 20 items and only have 5 of them, I'm not going to spend my money buying the rest. Nor do I really care to take all of the time to chop/dice those 20 said items. I love homemade soup, but most of the time I stay away from those recipes!

I've had this recipe forever. I have no idea where I got it from (I hand wrote it on a small piece of paper) and it's been sitting in my recipe book for years. I kid you not!

But I decided to make it, and it's SO, SO good!

Potato Corn Chowder
 2.5-3lbs yukon gold potatoes
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 lb frozen corn, slightly thawed
1 sweet red pepper, diced
3 cups milk
4 strips bacon-cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

1. Peel and chop potatoes. Put in a saucepan with water and boil about 15min or until fork tender. Drain and mash.
2. Spray saucepan with non-stick spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper. Saute for 5mins.
3. Stir in bacon and milk. Add potatoes and mix. Add seasonings. Cover and simmer for 10min (Do NOT boil!)

Notes: I couldn't find Yukon Golds at my store so I used Russett potatoes instead-still tasted great! For the potato mashing, I used my mixer and mashed them slightly then beat them a little bit-sort of like making mashed potatoes. I'm sure you could leave it chunkier if desired.

This recipe was really good-I'll be making it again for sure! Sorry that I don't have a photo-I forgot to take one!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baptism and Big 6-0

We went to Buffalo yesterday for a few celebrations!

First, my good friend Renee's daughter had her baptism party.
She's just the cutest thing! She wasn't too thrilled having people hold her, but somehow I think I had her for a good half hour or so. If she saw a man, she cried. If she saw kids, she smiled! I don't think she loved the idea of me holding her, but she went along with it for a bit!
She also tried out her exersaucer type thing!
We had a nice lunch and of course some yummy cake to go along with it.

After the party, we went to my Mom's to celebrate both my Mom's and Aunt's birthdays (they are a day after each other). My Mom is 60 this year so it was a "big" birthday for her! On the way, we picked up our first ever doughnut cake from our fave Buffalo doughnut shop.
We just hung out and the kids played. Then we had a light dinner and the kids wanted some popsicles.
Then we sang "Happy Birthday" to the birthday girls....
My Aunt and Mom
and the doughnut cake was so darn good! Before we hit the road, the girls had some Nama snuggles.
Our drive home was terrible. We got hit with a storm that started as rain and changed over to snow. We left Buffalo at 8pm and didn't get home until 10:45!! Usually it takes us about an hour and 20min or so. I don't think we ever went over 40mph and we didn't drive longer than 5min without seeing either an accident or a car off of the road. It was crazy!  I'm just glad we made it home without an issue-even if it took forever!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cinderella Ball

Our local city Ballet hosted a Cinderella Ball yesterday. We got a flyer in the mail for it, so I thought it would be something fun for Avery and I to do. It was during Cassandra's nap and after going, I think she was a little too young for it still.

Avery got all dressed up in her Cinderella dress before we went:
We got there and they had Cinderella's carriage to sit in (with one of the fairies):
Also in that room, they had some food set up. A chocolate fountain (Avery won't stop talking about it!), cheese and crackers, cookies, veggie tray. They also had a raffle going on with about 10 prizes and face painting.

Then you made a grand entrance into the studio. Every child received a crown and was announced as "Princess _____" when entering. So cute! In the studio they had some of the dancers trying to get the kids to dance until the performance started. Avery did a lot of watching, but finally was brave enough to join in on the fun!
Then they had us all sit down and they did some numbers from their upcoming performance of Cinderella.

The Fairies

Cinderella and the Prince

Cinderella and the Prince

After the performance, they had hula hooping, more dancing, and coloring with the Fairy Godmother....Avery was all about that since she's really into coloring these days!

more dancing
They also let you meet Cinderella and the Prince. Avery was too nervous to go talk to them, so we opted out and did some more coloring and dancing.

They did another short performance, announced the raffle winners, and then it was time to go. On our way out, Avery finally got up the courage to meet Cinderella:
It was a really cute thing they had for the kids. I think Avery really enjoyed it. The only hard thing was that she's never been to a ballet before so she didn't quite understand why there was no talking/singing going on like in the movies. And Cinderella was wearing white instead of blue like in the movie so she was convinced it wasn't really her!  Other than that, we had a really great time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken

This recipe has been floating around on social media lately. I jotted it down to give it a try and on Monday I decided to give it a whirl!

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken
 2lbs chicken, cubed
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Put all ingredients into crockpot and cook for 6-8hrs.

Easy right?!

I was "eh" about this recipe. I expected it to be a sweeter, thicker sauce like you see on the photo that pops up on your news feed. Not at all. I cooked mine on low and after about 4hrs, I could tell that the sauce was like water. So, I added some cornstarch to the sauce (maybe 3tbs?) and cranked it up to high for 2hrs to thicken it. That did the trick, but the sauce was not sweet to me at all.  All I could taste was the soy sauce, so I was a little disappointed in that. My chicken was pretty dry too so I think the cooking time is a little too long. I think next time I'll cut the soy sauce in half and keep the rest the same to see how that works out. We had it over brown rice, and I would do that again. It wasn't a total loss, but needs some tweaking for sure! And of course I forgot to get a picture of it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snow (Half) Day!

What a day today!

We had been getting alerts of a snow storm heading this way for today. They probably started that over the weekend. First it was a snow advisory, then a storm warning, then last night it changed to a blizzard warning.

I got up for work today and it was fine out-we only had a dusting of snow on the ground. The commute in was fine-there was hardly any traffic out. Every school district in the area closed because of the blizzard warning so it really was an easy drive in. I of course was dreading the drive home later that day. They were calling for around 20" of snow so by 5pm when I leave work it would be a long drive I feared.

When I got to work, my manager called my cell phone and informed me we were going to close our office at noon. I work for a doctor's office which is affiliated with a local hospital so we NEVER close. This was very rare!  Then I got a call that daycare was going to close at 1pm.

Of course we had patients cancelling left and right for the day, but had an ok morning.

I left work around 11:30am and the drive wasn't too bad. There was a lot of snow on the roadways, but again it was a ghost town so it didn't  take me very long to get to daycare and get home. On the radio they said our county was in a state of emergency and driving bans were put in place shortly after noon. On my way home, Gabe informed me that he was leaving work at 3pm.

We got home, Cassie went up for a nap and I decided Avery and I would have movie time! I made us some popcorn and she chose to watch "Tangled". Before the movie started, Gabe informed me he was leaving work now instead of 3.

So, Avery and I watched the movie and Gabe got home before it finished. Once it was done, we did lots of playing with her-stickers, coloring, etc.

Cassie woke up and we had an early dinner. Avery was asking about roasting marshmallows...I have no idea why. So our treat after dinner was roasted marshmallows. I made her a s'more too (she asked for one-again I have no idea how she knows about them!) but she wasn't really into it. She didn't like the fact that it was so gooey! And how do you roast marshmallows in the middle of winter? On the stovetop of course!


After dinner we did some more playing then it was time for the kids to head to bed.  It was really great having an unexpected half day home for all of us!

The snow kept up all evening and they say it's going to go until 5am or so....I have no idea how much we have out there or how much more is left to come.

All I do know?! This winter has sucked and I'm ready for it to be over!  Bring on Spring!!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Heart Aches

My heart aches.

If you haven't read this story yet about Ben Sauer....you must.

I'm giving you warning that it's not a very happy story.

My heart just aches for this family.

Their little boy is a month older than Avery. Their baby is Cassandra's age. They are from a suburb extremely close to where I grew up.

I can't fathom the news they have received or how they are even dealing with it.

It blows my mind that one day your child is running around completely normal and within a few days you find out the most devastating news that you can possibly receive about your child.

And they appear to be handling it with such grace and optimism. I don't think I would. Of course you never know until you are put into that position, but I just can't imagine it.

Whether you pray or not, please keep this family in your thoughts. They need it.

And remember that every moment you have on this Earth is a gift.

Hug and kiss your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Enjoy the beauty in the small things (and large too!). Embrace every day as just that-a new day. Be thankful you have another day to spend living your life.