Saturday, March 28, 2009

Almost Seven

I remember sitting in bed by lamplight in the darkness of my bedroom one night when I was about fourteen, and I looked over at little Rikki (the cutest little bundle of cuteness alive), and I was filled with emotion and love for her.  To this day I remember writing in my journal: "Little sister, almost seven, sometimes seems a gift from heaven."  And then I could not, COULD NOT, figure out anything else to come after those lines.  It has haunted me.  I've probably thought about it a thousand times since then.  

Well, this past week, as I've interacted with the angelic little ladies in OUR home, similar lines have run through my mind: "Precious daughters, gift from heaven, oldest one is almost seven."  It appears that this poem has come full circle with similar emotion and gratitude for the sweet associations I have with these women (young and old) in my life.

I had the chance to watch the Young Women General Broadcast tonight for our Church while I was sitting at home folding laundry and eating grapefruit.  Yum.  I felt this overall sense of appreciation for the vision and foresight of our church leaders.  And such an uplifting dose of God's love for me and all of His children personally, especially his daughters.  And that, of course, trickled down to my little life, and the love I feel for my daughters and for all the women in my life.  I watch you, and I am inspired by you.

These pictures were taken last week before all of the snow hit us again.  We had a surprisingly warm and sunny day, so we packed up the girls, a couple of pizzas, and Dallas' remote control airplane and drove four minutes to this riverbed near the high school.  

We searched for the neatest rocks we could find, and we all took turns flying the plane.  And we even got dirty.  Kensington went exploring for the first time in water and mud, and we were thrilled to see her get in and get her feet wet.  (It was cold water!)
Madeline and Kensington side by side

You can see Madeline's pockets are stuffed full of rocks to sort through later.

Mama and Choobs

Dallas and the Girls

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts on Sweet Potato Muffins

If you haven't noticed by our blog title, our family has a thing for nicknames.  Pet names.  Terms of endearment.  Whatever you want to call it.  Our van is named "Miss Nancy" after our sweet little adopted grandma in Georgia.  (Makes the wild beast seem a little tamer.)  We affectionately refer to my dad as "Grandpa Bear."  And Miss Choobs just OWNS the place at our house.  

Our friend Amanda commented this past weekend that our nicknames have nothing to do with the person's name- no rhyming, nothing.  Just general randomness.  Well that got me thinking.  Where did we get all of this?

Let's start with Raleigh.  She was just the cutest little "Turtle" when she was born - that cute little neck she would s-t-r-e-t-c-h out with her GIANT cheeks on top.  SO CUTE.  So for awhile she was my little turtle.  And "Little Miss" and things like that.  One morning we were kneeling down for a family prayer (Dallas was voice), and he asked the Lord to bless "Crawley."  Now who the heck is Crawley??  Dallas explained that she was learning how to crawl at the time, and he was thinking about that in conjunction with her name, and it just came out that way.  "Crawley."  Poor girl, that name sort of stuck and evolved into all kinds of things, namely, "Krogs."  I think it started out as "Raleigh Kroggies" (sounds like a cereal) and took on others, such as "Krogzilla" and "Mrs. Krogsworth," depending on little Raleigh's temperament.  But as extinction follows evolution, so was the way with Raleigh's season of Krogginess.  Now she prefers to be called "Raleigh."  And we respect that, by golly, we do.

Then there's "The Critter."  Now, if you know Madeline, she is absolute sunshine and sweetness when she is well-rested.  But if you catch her on an off-day (as I would like to call it here), she is as stubborn and beastly as a . . . an . . . um . . . Critter.  A super cute one.  A little charmer, that one, especially when she was little.  Knows how to work a crowd.  Dallas also dubbed her "Miss Middle" when she was little, and it fits so well, she being the middle child and all.  Then there was that whole year when she was called "Miss Murfle" by our next door neighbor "Uncle Chris."  He still calls her that.  Because that's how nicknames are.  They just stick.

Like, I will never call "Pookie" her real name, Elizabeth, because she is NOT Elizabeth - she is Pookie!  Or as the girls used to call her: Pookchop.  And my cousin Jessica (who I think goes by "Jess" now, will always be "Jessi" to me.)  That's why when Madeline called her sister "Kensington" today, I looked around to see who she was talking about.  I mean, who's Kensington?  Usually it's just plain old Choobs.  WHAT IS A CHOOBS?  I don't know!  When she was little, Kensington sounded like a train: "choo-choo," right?  Weird noises coming out of a newborn must be repeated back to them.  And if your kid makes weird noises a lot, I guess you can just start calling them that, like I did.  It started out as "Choo Choo."  It really did.  And thus, the evolution began.  And that's why she doesn't know her own name - because anyone who is her TRUE friend addresses her in some variation of Chooberliciousness.

Speaking of true friends, do you call Dallas "Dallas" or "Dal"?  If you call him Dal, you are tight.  If you call him Dallas, he DOES still like you, but you need to spend more time together.  If you call him Dal, but you're not that tight, it's endearing - but a little awkward.  I call him "Dal" to his face and "Dallas" when I am referring to him.  Confusing, I know.  Imagine what it was like when we were dating and decided to take it to the next level- "Dal" was a little intimidating for me, ya know??

You may (or may not) find it interesting that Dallas and I LOVE pet names for our kids (and such), but NOT for each other.  A BIG no no.  I pretty much gag when I hear couples call each other "honey" or "babe."  It's like some sickeningly grotesque right of passage that couples go through, like, "Now everyone knows that we really have the hots for each other so I can publicly call you sappy names."  I remember when we were first married, Dallas tried to pull off a little bit of "sweetheart" business, and I had to call it off.  It was just too gross for me.  I remember explaining it something like, "You could call any girl 'Sweetheart', but I'm your wife, so just call me my NAME!"  That's the most endearing to me anyway.  So now "Sweetheart" and "Dear" are reserved exclusively for the moments when we are slightly perturbed with each other.  I think it works out rather nicely. 

Okay, I take that back a little.  We do call each other "Love."  But we call the girls that, too.  It is a generally nice thing to say to everyone.  Inside the family circle, of course.  

I know my brother Jess and his wife Dannii have had a thing going where they address each other in a new name every time they are together.  How about, "Little Pumpkin Knuckle," or something like that?  Isn't that fun?  I actually did that with a former boyfriend-alcaba of mine, and it was pretty entertaining.  More thought invested - that's what I like.  

Well,  that's enough about nicknames from me, my little dearies.  This little "Der Winsker Bean/Deaner Wiener Hot Dog/Rik-I-Mean-Dean" better head off to dreamland.  It is getting far too late to ramble much longer.

** This post is dedicated to Mr. Potato Head, Jester Bester, Davey Boy, and Dean-I-Mean-Rik.
XOXO  And of course, to you, Dal.  My sweet potato muffin.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Fun Little Get-Together

We just love our friends from Stanford Place and our old neighborhood.  A few of us got together Saturday night at the Lewis's house, and everyone has an extra kid!  The pictures explain how much we love each other!

The Cute Kiddos
The Ladies

The Guys

Even though only a fraction of our group was there (the rest of you we really missed!), we had so much fun catching up and continuing where we left off.  Thanks, Chris and Amanda!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Documentary of a Tooth

The Secret's in the Sauce

This recipe is a concoction in and of itself, derived from other favorite recipes and combined into one.  (And lets not forget my two secret ingredients: a dash of cayenne and a pinch of nutmeg.  There.  I revealed the secret!)  

For a big batch . . .
Saute on med/hi heat for 8 min the following:
3 Tbs. butter
4-6 oz. shaved deli honey ham, minced (weird, I know, but this is my recipe, and I don't want pancetta or bacon in it.  Plus, IT IS GOOOOD.)
1 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2-1 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg

Add, and saute for one minute:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste (Don't you hate to open a can and not use the whole thing?  Whatever is left over, I just plop little tablespoon-fulls onto a sheet of wax paper, freeze, and then store in a freezer baggy in the freezer.)

Deglaze for about a minute with:
1/4-1/2 c. beef broth

Add, and simmer for hours and hours and hours (at least a 1/2 hour):
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (or, if I'm trying to please picky tomato eaters, I puree the tomatoes in a blender before adding)
Basil, to taste

Just before serving, add:
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4-1/2 c. grated parmesan

I have served this over thin spaghetti, farfalle, and penne.  Make sure you get Barilla- it's the best!!  Then make loud "MMMmm" sounds while you eat every bite!  Steamed broccoli on the side is a favorite, too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yet Another Choobs Video

This is how she tortures her friends.

What's a Tooth Fairy to Do?

What is a tooth fairy to do when a child loses a tooth at 10:00 pm and she (actually in this case a he) doesn't have any quarters in the house?  And a $5.00 bill seems a little steep?  Well, this little fairy decided to rummage through a piggy bank to "borrow" a quarter for the night.  

But then what is a tooth fairy to do when the child's little sister wakes up and says, "Dad, those piggy banks stay in our room," while he attempts to make a personal loan?  I think this fairy makes up a lame excuse and goes and tells his wifey.

So what is a tooth fairy to do if that said child is still awake at 12:03 am and the transaction has not been made??  This tooth fairy hired some help to distract the sleepless sweetheart while he stealthily traded tooth for coins in the amount of 25 cents.  You don't mess with tradition. 

Mission accomplished.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Green Drink

Howzabouta recipe?

I have tinkered enough with this one that I think I can call it "my own."  The only ingredient you CANNOT mess around with is the La Creme Yogurt.  (I mean, how could you take it out, anyway??  It is bliss.)

Green Drink
(Enough to feed two adults, two children, and one little sprout):
4 cups frozen fruit (I use that 7-Blend from Costco with the peaches and melon, etc.)
Enough Tropicana OJ to fill to the 4-cup line on the blender, usually about 2 cups
1 pkg. La Creme VANILLA Yogurt
1 banana, fresh or frozen
5 leaves kale
Enough spinach to stuff the rest of the blender full of antioxidants and folic acid (about 2 cups)

This drink makes me happy, and Dallas and the girls love it.  Raleigh always asks for "an adult size."  Madeline wasn't too keen on the idea until I gave her the choice: "Do you want a green drink in the morning or a spinach salad at dinnertime?"  GREEN DRINK!

I have also been told that adding cranberries (about 10) tastes great, too.  I think I'll wait until the holidays to find them.  (Just another superfood to make you feel good about yourself!)

Note: Marlo, my friend who introduced me to this, says that when she told her pediatrician about feeding her son this drink each day (and her recipe is a bit different, but with a lot of the same ingredients), the doctor stopped prescribing multivitamins for him.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Speaking of the Dentist . . .

Say "Hello" to Cavity Girl!  

I hate to say it, but I have gotten some good laughs at her expense with this video.  Hey- she's cute with a half-paralyzed face!  I think we should play this one at her wedding someday . . .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Say Goodbye to My Virgin Teeth

Yeah.  Four cavities.  The first I've ever had.  Ask Dallas, too.  The first he's ever had.  And he's the rigorous-nightly-twenty-minute-flosser.  I'm the floss-in-front-of-Dallas-twice-a-week-flosser-so-that-he-thinks-I-really-do-care-flosser (and hope he thinks I floss privately the other five days of the week).

When I found out the BAD NEWS last week, I came out to the waiting room to tell Dallas, and he whispered (loudly), "That's because you DON'T FLOSS!"  I was like, "NO!  You should've heard what the dentist just told me!  It's like buying new tires- you buy the top of the line and they still get wear and tear . . . Hey!  They're not BETWEEN my teeth.  They're ON TOP!"  And the look on his face told me that even if the cavities were on TOP of my teeth, they could still have been prevented by MORE flossing.  That's the kind of response you get from an avid flosser.  

Imagine my seeeeeeeecret delight, and YES, I love that boy more than anyone, but imagine my seeeeeeeeeecret delight when Dallas came home from HIS dentist appointment, and he had CAVITIES!!  Yee-HAW.

Between the teeth.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rikki, the Czar of the Car(wash)

I'd like to state right here, right now, that I LOVE Rikki's new job!  She is the sweet lil' service bug who vacuumed the inside of our rather unclean car down at the car wash today and put some shine on our dirty dash!  And she even scrubbed our tires!  We are loving our SWEET new ride.  And our SWEET Rikki.


Does anyone want to lose 15 lbs with me by April 15th?  Six weeks, count 'em, six weeks.  It would've been "10 lbs by the 15th," but I've put on a few lately.  I would give my excuses (and believe me, they are valid), but this is my YEAR OF NO EXCUSES!  Do you like that?  It's the year I turn 30!!!  

I've been dreading it ever since I was about eleven or twelve years old when Andi Houghtaling was telling me that turning 30 was the worst because "you're just as close to 15 as you are to 45."  I thought that was so profound.  Almost as profound as the time she told me, "Everybody picks their nose."  I was floored.  

Anyway, part of my YEAR OF NO EXCUSES is to weigh a certain secret number by the time I am 30.  Now, my birthday is NOT on the 15th of April, but it is very close.  And "15 lbs by April 15th" is just so catchy.  Anyone in??

I am counting my calories on on the Daily Plate tab.  It is SO user friendly, and kind of fun.  I also like the feature where you can track your workouts, too.  But while LiveStrong is counting my calories, I just need a little motivation.  And . . . what to eat for lunch?  That's my worst meal of the day because I'm not so in to sandwiches lately, (or meat prep.  No, I am not pregnant, and if I was, I wouldn't make the first announcement here), and I have not been cooking so much lately so I don't have many leftovers.  WHOOPS!  Did that sound like an excuse??  

Maybe I should just skip lunch.  That'll cut calories!  Anyone in?