Friday, July 29, 2011

birthday party at the neighbors

On Saturday we attended a fun pirate birthday party for our friend Luke.

Layla and I before the party.

Hayden and Dad at the pirate party.  I love my boys!

The birthday boy!

Luke turned 4 on the 25th of July.
He and Hayden share a birthday exactly one year apart!

The water slide was so big.  It was so fun to slide on, but I couldn't get up the steps.  Every time I managed to get to the top I'd slip and fall right down onto the people behind me.  I can't remember a time I laughed so hard.  It wasn't just me though...none of the adults could handle the slide.  IT was hysterical :)  The kids made it look so easy. 

The boys had a fun game of chase...they were cracking me up :)

Layla and Hayden are scoping out the slide. They aren't sure if they wanna slide or not.  Of course Layla slid, but Hayden didn't.

The birthday boy and his parents!  
We love our neighbors and are so happy to call them friends.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

several honey themed dishes

I made the best dinner Tuesday night.  We have been so busy or so hot I haven't been cooking.  You know me...I love cooking, so it felt great to make a new meal for the family.  Fall is right around the corner and I can't wait!  I enjoy cooking more in the spring, fall and winter months because it isn't so dang hot.  Heating up the kitchen is no fun when it is 106 outside.


I made Honey Dijon Salmon, Honey Roasted Red Potatoes, and Creamed Spinach.

The salmon dish I made was inspired my this recipe on  I omitted the asparagus and grilled the salmon on a stove top grill pan.  Here is my version:

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 1/4 teaspoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
4 small salmon fillets

In a bowl mix the cornstarch, butter and Worcestershire sauce until smooth.  Stir in the honey, mustard, salt and pepper.  Place the salmon in a grill pan and drizzle with the honey mixture. Grill on stove top on medium heat for about 17 minutes covered in foil.  Or until it flakes easily with a fork.

The sauce was so great!  I actually let the fish sit for about 20 minutes before cooking and that allowed the flavor to marinate deep into the fish.

The second dish is Honey Roasted Red Potatoes recipe also found at Allrecipes.  It is my 'go to' good food source...can you tell?

Here is what I did:

5 red potatoes quartered
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Lay potatoes in a single layer and top with onion, salt and pepper.  In a bowl combine butter, honey , mustard and drizzle over the potatoes and onions.  Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes.  Stir halfway through cooking time.

I couldn't stop eating these potatoes.  Can you tell I was craving honey?  Both recipes cured my craving. Yum!

And finally,

Creamed spinach

10 ounces frozen spinach
heavy cream as needed for creamyness.
1/4 cup graded Parmesan cheese
cheddar cheese for topping

Cook the spinach in the microwave for 6 minutes.  Drain and press out extra juice and water. Place spinach in a pot on the stove top.  Add heavy cream until desired consistency.  Then add Parmesan cheese.  Once the cheese is mixed in place the mixture into a small baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

I just flew by the seat of my pants on this recipe.  I have tried several recipes and I actually liked this version the best.  Gary said it needed cream cheese.  So I will add cream cheese next time to give it more flavor!

Those are my recipes for the week!  I hope to try more new things very soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

summer cleaning

Summer house cleaning is a challenge!

It is so much easier to stay on top of  the household chores when the kids are in school. If they don't help me in the summer I'd go nuts. So I do take advantage of my little helpers.  I have started giving Layla 'to do' lists.  She loves reading the lists and checking them off when the chores are done.  AND she is very bossy, so Hayden will help her.

Who does that sound like??  Loves lists?  Is bossy?  I dunno??

I have compiled a list of a few things I do to make my cleaning schedule easier during the summer.

I usually wash 2 -3 loads of laundry a day. It is easier for me to stay on top of laundry by doing a few loads a day.  This way I don't have a laundry day.  The thought of one "laundry day" where all I do is wash dry and fold overwhelms me. I do however  chose one day a week to throw in the sheets from our beds.

Layla sorts laundry after it is clean and helps me put it up.  Hayden helps too, but I have to re-fold the things he folds. I'm ok with it...he is learning.  The kids are also really good about bringing their dirty laundry baskets into the laundry room.  They know if they want their clothes done they have to help out :)

Pj days are always helpful in summer or winter.  If I know we are going to stay home all day long, we just stay in our pj's all day.  Then I don't have to wash extra clothes for that day.

When I use the potty/wash my hands in the guest/kids bathroom I clean the water drops and mess the kids have made.  Usually the bathroom stays clean since I wash my hands all the stinkin' time. It I let it go the mess is insane.  Hayden doesn't follow the one soap pump rule.  He uses tons of soap.  Most of it gets left behind on the counter top.  Wiping down spots and spills saves me tons of time!  I didn't realize how much my kids wash their hands until I have to clean up their messes.  I won't complain about the hand washing though.  Clean hands = healthy kids.

I ask the kids to clean up toys before getting other toys out.  I have made it a rule in our house.  It is easier to keep the house clean when everyone cleans up after themselves. Sometimes they get side tracked and play game after game leaving a gigantic mess. And sometimes they don't want to clean up.  BUT we try to clean after each game.  I try so hard to keep the playroom dresser organized, but I can't. I like to have play dishes in one drawer, balls in another, and trains and cars in another drawer, but that is just ridiculous. When they clean they just toss and run.  I'll let it go as long as I can, and then I break down and organize and purge toys.  My kids have too many toys!!!

Each night before the kids go to bed we pick up their rooms and the playroom.  If they have projects going or toys not picked up we pick those up.  I love having the house all cleaned up so that I can be guilt free watching TV sitting on the couch at night.  I feel bad when I wake up the next morning to a dirty kitchen or messy playroom.  If we stay on top of messes daily it makes weekly chores much easier.  I also feel like teaching the kids to pick up after themselves at a young age is the best bet.  They don't complain when they know what is expected of them.

I use a small sweeper every single day to clean up crumbs and dog hair.  The kids always spill crumbs on the floor under the kitchen table.  I vacuum once a week if not more, but it helps to spot vacuum to stay on top of the messes.

The kids are old enough now to take their plates from the table to the counter top by the sink.  This helps Gary and I when were are cleaning up after meals. Layla also loves to set the table.  She picks out napkins and plates and sets the table all cute like.

I despise a dirty microwave.  It is one of my pet peeves.  If I spill something I try to scrub it as soon as possible.  Have you heard of the lemon water trick?  I fill a glass bowl with water and lemon juice.  I microwave the juice for over 6 minutes or until it boils.  The boiling water creates steam that dampens the whole entire microwave and then I can just wipe it out messes!  It is so easy :)

We recycle.  We have a recycle bin and a trash bin under our kitchen sink.  We fill those and then empty them into the large bins out in the garage.  Our city picks up both on Monday morning.  Recycling makes me feel like I am doing my part to save the world. It also allows us to have room in our trash bin.  Our trash bin gets equally as full as the recycle bin, so if we didn't recycle we wouldn't have room for all the garbage.  Clear a mud?  haha!

The kids help me clean door knobs.  I give them each a Lysol wipe and they rub down all our door knobs.  Door knobs are just so germy.  I don't like touching sticky door knobs, so the kids clean them for me!

And lastly...we love baby wipes.   Even though we are a diaper free household I still purchase baby wipes for random spills.  Baby wipes will clean stains off carpet in a flash.  They will also clean crayons from tile.  Layla knows this because the kids drew on the tile and I made them scrub it off.  Boy ... was that ever a cry fest.  That is the one time she got herself and her brother both in BIG trouble.  Baby wipes saved the day :)

I hope that when school starts in the fall the kids will still help with the chores.  They are usually so tired from learning all day, but since Hayden is only in preschool two days a week he will become my major helper!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Hayden Cole

Hayden is 3 years old today!

I feel so blessed to have one girl and one boy!  I love them both so much....Hayden is for sure all boy!

Hayden is the sweetest boy.  He is so laid back...he just goes with the flow.  

His little face was so cute earlier when we sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  
He was smiling and grinning like crazy!

He was so excited about his cake and blowing out his candles.

I just can't believe how fast time has flown by!

When we asked Hayden what he wanted to do today he said, "Play with my cars!!"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday silly

I took these pictures with my phone, so they aren't that good.
Between the phone and the finger prints on the door these pictures are fuzzy!
But they are so funny!

Bogey has done this several times before.  I wonder if the glass is cold on his mouth? I Dunno?

He was actually licking the glass and smiling.

I don't get it.

He's got a lotta smarts. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

a trip to the country

  On Tuesday morning the kids and I took a road trip to my home town.  Now that the kids are older I enjoy driving with them in the backseat.  They usually watch movies with head phones on.  I can play my own music and THINK.  It is very nice!

We haven't been to Clifton in forever.  
Honestly I can't remember the last time we visited Auntie's house.

Auntie knew about a fun splash park near her city, so we decided to cool off in the water for the afternoon.

Hayden loves to play in the water, but it is usually on his terms.  He isn't near as brave as Layla is around the water....yet!  But he did go down this small slide.  I was thrilled!!!

Of course after you swim all afternoon and get a fresh bath, you must have a Sonic blast to cool off.

Wednesday morning we woke up to a peaceful morning.  We sat outside on the front porch.  It was so quiet!  There was no roaring of the interstate highway in the background. Not that it is that loud at my house, but small towns seem so much quieter than where I live.

The kids had fun drawing a town with chalk on the porch.  Auntie and I enjoyed our coffee!

The kids got tickled at Schotzie the dog.  She sat right down on their "parking lot."  
We were cracking up at them cracking up!

Hayden's favorite toy at Auntie's house...the cars!

There are all kinds of fun toys in the toy box.  Layla and BeBe are so goofy :)

The kids took a dip in the pool.

And then it was time to head home.  It was a fun but quick trip.

Thanks for having us Auntie!