Sunday, September 27, 2015

To My Dad On His Birthday

Today is this guy's birthday! 
If I told you how old he is, you wouldn't believe me. He seems young in body, mind, and spirit to all of us :)

We celebrated him with a wonderful, tasty lunch yesterday, and I hope he gets to relax and enjoy this rainy day before us. 

Happy birthday, Daddy! We love you! Thanks for setting the husband/daddy bar pretty darn high! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thankful Thursday (9/24)

It's amazing what changing several pillows, moving a piece of furniture, and hanging a couple of things on the wall can do to a room.  Over a year later, and this room is finally coming together!
Before --
After --
Today, I'm thankful for the smile that appears on my face every time I walk in the living room :)
Also, I'm thankful for the endless amount of fun this box the pillows came in has afforded my children all day long!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pizza Casserole

Earlier in the week, I called my parents and invited them to join the kids and me for dinner Saturday evening while The Husband worked.
I have a two-week meal plan already set up, so I knew what I was making ahead of time, and I was pretty excited to prepare it because I've only made it once before, and it turned out yummy that first time. I doubled the recipe this time to feed three adults and two little ones and to have enough left over for another meal. 
I made this up (although I'm sure I'm not the first one to come up with this recipe or something really similar), so the measurements aren't precise.

Here's the recipe, with pictures, if you'd like to try it out. It's super easy!

Pizza Casserole

Ingredients:
~2 cans of crescent rolls (16 total)
~1 jar (45 ounces) of the pasta sauce of your choice (I used fresh mushroom, and I've used the same jar for making this dish twice and still had enough left over for a third dish)
~1 large container of feta cheese 
~1 package of pepperoni (or the meat of your choice or the veggies of your choice)
~1 bag of the finely shredded cheese of your choice (I used the fiesta blend)

Start with a 9x13 oven-safe dish and spray with non-stick cooking spray. 
Unroll first can of crescent rolls (8) and lay flat on the bottom of dish. Try to make the sheet of crescents cover the bottom without pulling them apart. I try to curve the ends up the sides of the dish a little bit. 
Next, pour on some sauce and spread evenly. I'm not a huge fan of sauce, so you'll see there's not a ton there , but if you are, go to town!
Then comes the feta cheese. I LOVE feta, so I used quite a bit for that layer. It melts well and adds such a nice flavor. 
I used turkey pepperoni for the next layer, but this layer could be veggies if you're not a big fan of meat, or this could be your super meaty layer if pepperoni isn't enough. I think next time I'll add some black olives or spinach to this layer. 
Next, add three or four big handfuls of shredded cheese. We like cheese around here, so I used a lot in this recipe. Use your own judgement when it comes to those layers ;)
Then, unroll the second can of crescent rolls and lay them on top without separating them. There's not much you can do with it other than try to make sure it's centered on top of the other layers. 
Pour on some more sauce and spread it evenly. 
Finally, top it all off with two or three big handfuls of shredded cheese. 
Pop the dish, uncovered, in the oven for 25 minutes at 375*. 
And, voila! 
My parents brought over salad fixings and brownies, and I think it all turned out super tasty!  
Let me know if you try it and if you change anything. I'm all about changing up recipes to fit your family's tastes--I do it all the time!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Learning Time

I've written before that Jack and I have art/learning time together each morning while Ella has room time. I thought I would give a few more details explaining what we do exactly during those 30-45 minutes after breakfast. We usually read a chapter out of the Jesus Storybook Bible with Ella before she goes to play, but sometimes, I read it just to him after learning time is over. 
Then, I start off "the lesson" by showing him this board and singing the "Days of the Week" song (sung to the tune of "Oh My Darling, Clementine") while pointing to each day. 
"There are seven days, 
There are seven days, 
There are seven days in a week.
There are seven days, 
There are seven days, 
There are seven days in a week.
Sunday, Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday. 
Sunday, Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday."
Then, I sing the "Today is ________" song (sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques") while pointing to whichever day it is. 
"Today is _______.
Today is _______.
All day long.
All day long.
Yesterday was _____________.
Tomorrow will be ____________.
Oh, what fun!
Oh, what fun!"
Then, once we've established what day it is, I talk to him about what activity we'll be doing, and we go over the do's and don't's ("do keep the paint on the paper," "don't let the beads roll on the floor for your sister to choke on later," etc.)
On Tuesday, we worked with glue. We had also just read the Bible story of God telling Abraham his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, so I tied that in.  We made clouds for the sky and added star stickers. 

Yesterday, Wednesday, we worked with beads. This is a wonderful activity that kept him engaged the entire 45 minutes. It hit many skills, too--fine motor practice, sorting by color and kind, counting, and letter identification. When he's ready, we'll add in making patterns. 
Today, Thursday, he painted with finger-paints. He requested that we give it to his Aunt Beth, so it's drying now and will be set aside for her. 

If there's time after the activities are finished, I'll offer him magnets or puzzles to work on until it's time to go play with Ella. He chose the alphabet puzzle this morning, so we got in some letter practice, too. 
Our mornings are structured and fun, and they go by quickly. Good times :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Wish From Jack

Good morning, Mommy's blog readers! 
It is, I, Jack, coming to you from the time-out steps where I'm currently serving time. 
I wanted to wish my amazing grandparents a very happy Grandparents' Day! During room-time, I did a little finger painting for you, that I hope you'll like. 
I still don't know why Mommy wasn't thrilled that I used the whole bottle of lavender vanilla lotion I found on top of my changing table. The bottle that was so far back, I needed to climb up a few drawers to reach it. 
She was even less thrilled when she saw I had tried out my artistry on the rug, the floor, the furniture, my toys, my stuffed animals, myself. I was feeling super creative this morning, and when that feeling hits, you've just gotta run with it, right? Well, that feeling landed me in time-out with a pretty sore bottom, but I'm still feeling pretty pleased with myself and my creation even though Mommy spent 30 minutes trying to make it disappear. There's still a slight film on the window, so we'll all remember my beautiful artistic explosion for a long time to come, I think!
Happy Grandparents' Day to Nana, Grandpa, Nonny, and Pop-pop! I love you! 
Oh, and Ella says she loves you, too :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day 2015

I labored with these two to get a decent picture of them together today. 
Didn't happen. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sickness

A little over a week ago, The Husband started feeling bad. Achy, fever, cough, sneezing, congestion, sore throat, and stuffy ears. He missed work because he felt so bad and went to the doctor twice once it turned into a sinus infection. 
Then, on Wednesday, Jack started running fever and exhibiting the same symptoms. He spent one night in our room because the coughing was so bad, and it kept waking Ella. He's on the mend. The upside is, that after listening to and watching his daddy blow his nose so often, Jack learned how to blow his. :)
Ella began feeling poorly on Friday. Friday night was AWFUL. It started before bed, so I should I have known there would be issues. The intense crying started before 11. I tried to comfort her to no avail. We moved her to our room, so Jack could get some rest. He was the only one who achieved that coveted goal. I didn't get to sleep until after 2am because she just couldn't get comfortable. Every time we put her back down, she cried some more. The Husband told me to go upstairs and try to get some sleep, so I did. I got about 4 1/2 hours before she woke and the day started. 

You know, I really shouldn't complain. My kids are almost never sick, and when they are, it's not for very long. This is only the fourth or fifth time Jack has been ill and only the second time for Ella. It's just harder when it's both of them at almost the same time. And, I realized there was a reason God didn't call me to be a nurse or doctor. 


Thankfully, she started to feel some better by Saturday afternoon, so I felt comfortable leaving them for a few hours that evening to celebrate my friend Angela's birthday. The Bestie and I treated her to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. The food was yummy, and the company was the best! 

I got to bed a little earlier than usual to try to make up for Friday night only to wake every few hours with a raging sore throat. Yes, friends. I, too, have succumbed to the dreaded summer cold of 2015. I feel awful.  I wish I could take a few days off of work and hole up in bed with a book and endless Netflix, but like you other mommas, stay-at-home or otherwise, out there know, there's no rest for the weary. Wishing you all an immunity to this mess!