Monday, March 30, 2009

An eggsellent time was had by all...

What an abundant weekend we’ve had – no other way to describe it. Saturday morning we were up early to attend our neighborhood Easter party. Oh my goodness – it was SO cold. (Anyone from up north would laugh at me, it was like in the forties, but that is cold for March in Houston). Jacob did the egg scramble and we visited with the Bunny. They also had pony rides and a petting zoo but we were freezing and headed back home.

Watching Jacob at the egg hunt was interesting. They put tons of eggs out all over the baseball field and then ready-set-go all the 4-7 year olds ran to get the eggs. Jacob is my dreamy child, he is not competitive, and there are very few things in life that are urgent to him. While other kids grabbed up as many eggs as possible, Jacob sort of wandered around. In the end some kids had basketfuls of eggs, Jacob had four. Two were empty, the third had a pink plastic bunny ring and the fourth egg had a $25 Gift Certificate to Toys R Us! Isn’t that amazing?
Later that afternoon we went down and met my in-laws at the Bayou City Art Festival. By this time it had warmed up and it was a beautiful afternoon to be out of doors. The food was good, and there was music and dancing and of course hundreds of artists’ booths. You would have to spend the whole day, maybe more, to see everything up close but oh they had such lovely things there: jewelry, carved wooden sculpture, paintings, photography, sculpture – everything from chairs made of bottle caps to the finest oil paintings. Often the artist was there to talk about their work and in some cases they were weaving or painting right there in front of you so it was educational too. There was a whole section of booths that was for kid’s crafts (all free). A few activities were the usual paint-a-rock, make-a-tambourine sort of things but some I thought were really innovative. There was this one cool booth that involved setting objects on photo paper and then letting them expose in the sun. Another really neat booth let kids decorate their own little art car. Jacob has a rather short attention span for arts and crafts. He does things kind of perfunctorily and then is about done, so we just painted rocks and did the photo paper thing. He was way more interested in the music and dancing. It's neat to start to see their interests emerge. Having fun on the shuttle ride to the festival
Jacob checks out a metal lion sculpture
Using the sun to make art Painting a rock -
Sunday morning I attended church in my kitchen. I have a girlfriend who just had major surgery so I spent the morning cooking up some meals and a cake and in the afternoon Bella and I took them over to her and had a visit. We also made a quick trip to Wal-mart. Now you all know I despise Wal-Mart; but I needed Velveeta, diapers and a tomato plant and if you need those things all in one trip then Wal-mart is it. In addition to the tomato plant, I also got basil, cilantro, rosemary plants and two packs of seeds - green beans and chives. It is my intention to do a very small garden this year. Stay tuned for updates on that project.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ginormous Rambling Post

In my last post I mentioned my intention to try out some new recipes. I thought I'd go through and share how things went.
First I wanted to try these Cinnamon Twists. I have recently made real cinnamon bread, all the way from scratch with the yeast and the kneading and rising and all that. It was good but this recipe was even tastier and much simpler. It worked for a quick Sunday morning breakfast before church. The recipe says to start with your standard biscuit dough and go from there. Er, yeah. OK, so I don't exactly have a standard biscuit recipe but I did have a couple of cans of biscuits. So I decided to try rolling them out and then I kind of pinched the edges together to make one piece. (Note: I used store brand flaky large biscuits)
From there I just picked up with the recipe. This was great for when you feel like baking, but not really. I won't for one second presume that mine were as good as if they were from scratch but there were no complaints at my breakfast table!
The finished result!
The next recipe I tried was this Chicken Noodle Casserole. Except I left out the diced tomato because I forgot them. This I really loved. For the kids I pulled aside some egg noodles and tossed them with a bit of the sauce and served it that way. Well, "served" may not be the right word - it's more like Bella stood on a kitchen chair (something I now fervently wish I hadn't introduced!) and helped me stir stuff and ate her noodles.

Last night I tried these Chicken Enchiladas. I have to admit I had some doubts. Could Mennonites from Canada really make enchiladas that this Texas born Mexican-American would like? I did tweak a little, the recipe calls for adding guacamole to the filling - which I just had a "that ain't right" feeling about and so omitted. Plus I added cumin, garlic powder and onion powder to the filling. These were incredible. We were all set to enjoy leftovers tonight when things went horribly awry. Will went to preheat the oven and lo- there, still in the oven where I had left them to stay warm last night were the enchiladas. Yes, they sat out all night and all day. Oh it physically pained me to dump out them out - the waste plus they were so good! Not to mention that I had spent the better part of an hour playing in the yard with the kids thinking dinner was done. Oops.

So, instead I tried one last new recipe - Anastasia's Greek Eggplant from the Greek Gods Yogurt website. (Sidebar - you MUST try this brand of yogurt, the honey flavor will curl your toes, honestly the BEST thing I have ever tasted, it is like nothing you've ever tried, so good. They have it at HEB, except it is often sold out. It's 250 calories a serving!!! Lots of protein though). This one was also a success only I think for the size eggplant I had that it would be better to have two eggplants to sop up all the tasty sauce. We had it with Texas Toast. Outstanding and would be good for keeping Lent or a thrifty meatless meal.

Spring has definitely sprung around here. The red bud trees, and Azaleas are already gorgeous. Will teases me about some of the things I take pictures of - but they are so beautiful to me I want to grab that moment and keep it somehow. Alas, I am not the world's best photographer!

Azaleas in our front yard:

Here you can see the rock walls that Will has industriously been building over the last few weekends. Truly backbreaking work - but they look so nice!

View of the road over by the church a few weekends back when it was all misty and everything was so green!

These are my favorite trees, I think they are red bud trees, someone please tell me if you know.

Flowers aren't the only thing growing - my children seem to be getting bigger in their sleep lately. Jacob is near the 42 inch mark - this is great news because most of the rides at Disney have 40 inch height requirements but sad because he is almost too tall to play at the mall playground anymore. I'm really not looking forward to explaining this to him when the time comes.

Bella's less of a baby and more the toddler girl for sure these days. LOVE this little outfit - given to her by her Aunt Leigh. I can't remember if it was before or just after Bella was born and I totally remember thinking how HUGE this 18 month outfit seemed and that my sister in law said it was the only size they had but she had to get it because it was so cute. I can't believe she's wearing it already, time is just flying with this second child. Anyway - Thanks Aunt Leigh!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bathing Suit Season is Coming...

As swimsuit season approaches I have begun my quest to find a modest yet cute bathing suit. This isn’t easy! Maybe I’m out of step with the rest of society on this issue; it is something I’ve only become convicted of in the last couple of years. I want to look cute (who doesn’t?) but in a way that is still pleasing to God and honors my husband. As a parent there is a lot of bending, climbing and chasing of toddlers involved when we go to the pool or lake; especially now that we’ve moved to a neighborhood with slides and rafts and all kinds of things at the pool. There is one slide that ends in water that is about 3.5 feet deep. Jacob likes to go on it but can’t swim yet so I have to stand at the end and then Jacob sort of jumps out into my waiting arms. This can easily cause any number of wardrobe malfunctions if you aren’t careful! My search has led me to a number of sites that look promising. These are geared toward Mormon ladies but I’m pretty sure that they’ll sell one to me too! (I like the square halter top) (I like the Jane Halter top) (I like the knot top and Ruffle Eggplant Paisley) On another subject, I’ve recently become utterly bored with basically all my standard dishes. I decided I need new recipes! One awesome site that I linked to from Bless Us O Lord is this one: Apple Puff Pancakes, Chicken Enchiladas, Filled Butternut Squash. Oh my goodness. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes! (I may need to order a bigger swim suit!)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Our Weekend

Friday night we went to Tin Roof BBQ. Tin Roof has great BBQ, live music, and a huge covered deck. Kids run around everywhere, adults lounge at the picnic tables under the perennial twinkle lights and listen to the band cover Mustang Sally, The Chair, and Luckenbach Texas. Someone’s Mom usually heads up to the mic at one point and seriously belts out Crazy the way only a stay-at-home-mother-of-four-from-Humble-Texas can. There is a dance floor, where older couples waltz smoothly among stiff stepping toddlers and moshing preschoolers. When it is chilly they light the fireplace, there is a man that spins cotton candy and snow cones for a dollar, and a little walk-up counter for cold beer (although folks tend to take it easy because everyone you know from church is there). Best of all, they have a playground!!! In the suburbs surrounded by chain restaurants, strip centers and nail salons, Tin Roof is tucked away behind Wal-Mart’s, a sparkly Mecca of authenticity. This picture is from when we went a few weeks ago, just to show you what it kind of looks like -

On Friday night we got there at 6 to meet our friends and by 6:30 the line was out the door, the band was playing and tables were filling up. Jacob knows the drill by now and happily wolfed down his chicken strips, side of corn and milk before heading off to the playground. And that’s when he saw her. Taylor From School. Five minutes later I look over and Jacob and Taylor are holding hands – it was the cutest thing ever and I did not have my camera! The two of them held hands and ran all over the place the whole night – it was totally adorable. I have never seen him hold hands with a girl before. He was sort of flushed and excited and I totally remember that feeling from when I was a kid. Later, while I was convincing Bella that she could not slide down the rock wall; Jacob disappeared (for all of like a minute). It scared me but we knew where we would find him, inside sitting with Taylor’s family. Sure enough there he was, at her side, eating French fries, drinking soda and still holding her hand. Oh how they both cried when it was time to go. To get his mind of of it, once we got home Will let him play in the backyard for a few minutes with a flashlight - he really loved that. They just ran around shining the beam at each other. Four year old are fun that way. Saturday we went to the nursery to pick out some flowers for our front porch area. The kids like to ride on the carts. Sunday morning we totally missed the time change and therefore didn’t make it to church. I wish I had figured it out before getting dressed and driving halfway to Kingwood! All day Will was mad. He can’t stand daylight savings time and felt like he was shorted an hour, an hour he needed because he had a lot to get done in the yard. Jacob and I "helped" him.

Later we played in the freshly mown backyard (thanks Will!).

Bella climbed the ladder on the big playset - look how tiny she is!

In other big big news – we are going to Disney world! Our trip is officially booked and we are excited! This is going to be what my sister in law and I refer to as an EFF (Entire Fisher Family) trip. We have gone on two other major EFF trips – one to San Francisco and one to Paris. This time we will have THREE kids, Jacob, Bella and my niece LuLu (who will be 11 months) – are we crazy or what? We know the babies won’t remember it but I really wanted Jacob to go while he still believes everything is real - so this was the year to go. Just talking about the trip is already blowing his mind; he keeps thinking we are just joking with him. Mickey is going to wear a chef hat and make me waffles? Yep (we have reservations at Chef Mickey). We’re going to eat dinner in Cinderella’s castle? Yep (we have reservations at the royal palace!!!) We’re going to watch fireworks from Winnie the Pooh’s treehouse? Yep, if we can. (Our guidebook says Pooh’s Corner is the best un-crowded spot to view the fireworks. Of course since it’s in a guide book now it’s probably not so un-crowded anymore.) We’re going to see zebras and antelope? Yep (we have dinner reservations at Boma, an African restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge and we’re going to go early and look at the Savannah and check out the lodge and dream about staying there one day) Can anyone tell I am REALLY excited??! Let me tell you that all this planning, researching, the booking of lodging and reserving character meals for 9 people at Disney is hard work, seriously this could be like my part-time job lately. The dinner shows were all booked up and some of our character breakfasts are at the crack of dawn (7:20 anyone???) but mostly I was able to what we wanted. I’m truly looking forward to a dinner out, just Will and I, at a fancier place called California Grill. I booked us at 9:20 so we can see the fireworks show first. Date Night at Disney – it’s going to be great!

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