Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sarah's summer cut!

Remember back in March when I finally let Sarah get bangs?  Well, she has absolutely loved those bangs.  She wears them well and she has several things she does to them when she doesn't want bangs.  Girlfriend spends a lot of time on Pinterest.

Anyway, last week she started asking if she could get her hair cut.  And not cut as in trimmed, but cut as in short.  Very short.  And the first thing I thought was noooooooooo, not your beautiful long hair.  But she asked a couple of more times and I finally made the appointment.

I reasoned that her hair grows really fast so if she truly hated it, she could spend the summer growing it out and it would be fine.  And also, her hair is pretty thing so it really needed a good cut to get it healthy.  She spends a lot of time playing with and styling her hair and since she's only ten, she does a lot of damage to it.

So yesterday we visited Kelly for a cut and here are the before and after shots:

Isn't it just the cutest cut?   

After she finished her homework yesterday, she spent a lot of time playing with it and discovered that she can still put it into quite a few different styles.  She dried it out last night to get all the natural wave out and went with the flipped out look today. 

She's extremely happy with it and so am I.  Win/win!

(And I am still so very jealous of her hair color. Wishing I could get that on my head!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Easy and Delicious Cookout Menu



It's rare that I hit one out of the park when I cook a meal so when I do, I have to share it with you guys!

Saturday was a beautiful spring day and we were planning to use the grill and eat outside.  I normally opt for burgers but that gets old after a while, so I tried something new.

We went with the following menu and it was so delish that I will be repeating it on Memorial Day weekend when we have friends over.

Easy and Delicious Cookout Menu:

Grilled Chicken Kabobs
Mexican Street Corn
Grilled Avocados

The only thing I plan to add when we have friends over is a big dish of baked beans.  (I use my mom's recipe for those and they are so good!)

The recipe I used for the kabobs can be found here. However, I modified the recipe and this is my version:

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-3 slices raw bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
Directions
  1. Trim excess fat from chicken and cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes.Turn all burners off except for the main burner.
  3. Combine  paprika and sugar. Place the raw bacon in a food processor and pulse for about 45 seconds, until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.Add the bacon paste and spice mixture to the chicken. Mix with hands or spatula until the ingredients are blended and chicken is coated. It's a little gloppy and hard to coat, but don't worry it will still taste great even if you can't get it all covered.
  4. Thread the chicken onto the skewers.Spray cooking spray on grill.
  5. Grill the chicken over the main burner with lid closed, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes. 
  6. Brush the top of kebabs with BBQ sauce; flip and cook until sauce is browned,about 1 minute. Brush second side with sauce; flip and cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.
  7. Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.
When we were on our honeymoon in Cancun we had Mexican Street Corn.  It was so yummy and I have to say, this recipe comes really close to what we had.  I used the recipe found here. The original recipe calls for grilling the corn but I just boiled mine.


Mexican Street Corn

Ingredients
  • 5 ears fresh corn, husked
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/4 cup grated Cotija cheese or grated Queso Fresco
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or chili powder if you want heat)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Directions
  1. Cook corn in boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Mix mayo, sour cream, garlic salt and lime juice in a small bowl.
  3. Mix cheese and paprika in another small bowl.  
  4. As soon as the corn is cooked, spread mayo mixture all over corn and then sprinkle with the cheese mixture.
  5. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
  6. Serve immediately.

And finally, grilled avocados!  I saw this recipe somewhere on Pinterest but didn't pin it.  It's super easy though so here it is from memory:

Grilled Avocados

Ingredients
  • 3 avocados, halved with pit removed
  • lime juice
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • salsa or pico de gallo
Directions
  1. Brush each avocado half with lemon juice and olive oil.  
  2. Sprinkle with salt
  3. Put flesh side down on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes or so.  You want it cooked through with grill marks but you don't want it too mushy.
  4. Place a big spoonful of your favorite salsa right in the center of the avocado
And with that, go forth and have an easy and delicious cookout this weekend!



Friday, May 15, 2015

#Babble

It's been awhile since I just babbled at you so, here goes.

There are only three more weeks in this school year and I am finally able to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.

I had my last executive PTO board meeting of the year last night and the last general meeting is next Thursday.  But even though the year is coming to a close, we are already hard at work making plans for next year. 

Who knew that running the PTO for a small school could be such hard work? Not me, that's for sure!  And it's probably a good thing that I didn't know or I might not have agreed to it.

BUT!  And isn't there always a but?  It has been such a good thing for me this year.  I have felt like I've had more purpose this year.  When your kids start to get older and really only need you to drive them from point A to point B and to keep the fridge stocked, you might start to feel a bit lost. 

I can see why moms with kids this age go back to work. But I don't want a paying job and all the responsibility and hassle that comes with it. I still want to be available to take my kids from point A to point B and to have time to make multiple trips to the grocery store each week.

But if you join the PTO, all of a sudden your life has purpose and meaning.  Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it has been really nice to have something to work on and work for.  And I have worked with some really great ladies who I now consider friends. 

And cake! These ladies introduced me to Nothing Bundt Cakes and now all I want to do is eat cake.  And if you were like me and thought, eh bundt cake, I can take it or leave it, then you've never had one of these.

And speaking of cake...let's talk about my weight loss or rather my lack of weight loss.

13 months after having Rebecca I am still 16 pounds over what I weighed before I had her.  SIXTEEN POUNDS!  But, that's what you get for eating bacon pimento cheese burgers with extra mayo (hold the lettuce and tomato because who wants vegetables getting in the way of meat, fat and grease? not me!) for 9 months. 

I'm still running and I'm still watching what I eat for the most part (although I do allow myself cake if it is present and I do like a couple of nice craft beers on the weekend) but this being 45 and trying to loose weight is definitely different than being 34 and trying to lose weight.

Heck, it's even different than being 40 and trying to lose weight.  I started running when I was 40 and lost a bunch of weight without even really dieting.  But it's not the same now.  Perimenopause and a sluggish metabolism have made it very, very difficult. However, I am not giving up. 

I will continue to run and watch what I eat and we will see what happens.  I am starting to come to the conclusion that I might have to accept my new rounder, flabbier body.  But, y'all, I am not going down without a fight!

Peter and his class have been on a field trip since Wednesday.  I dropped him off at school at 6:15 AM on Wednesday and they won't be back until this evening.  They went to Sound to Sea.  It's a program at the beach and they are learning about sea life, the ecosystem, and the Underground Railroad.  They also did a ropes course and I really can't wait to hear all about it.  I've missed that boy!

Here are a couple of shots one of the chaperones sent:


There's Peter behind the tree!
The boys!

The girls!
Silly sixth graders!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

We survived!

Every year we take two long weekends (one in the spring and one in the fall) and head to Oak Island, NC with my parents.  However, due to the baby and scheduling issues, it had been a year and a half since our last visit.  So, even though there was a tropical storm on the way, we headed out as originally planned to get in a little beach time and some R&R.

We arrived Saturday just in time for lunch at our favorite sub shop.  Then we unloaded the car and hopped into our bathing suits.  It was very windy and overcast, but it wasn't raining so we knew we needed to make the most of our afternoon.

And I forgot to take my real camera so here for your viewing pleasure are a few grainy snaps from ye olde phone:














After swimming and playing in the really, really, really rough waves, we came in to get ready for Saturday evening Mass.

After Mass, we headed to dinner and around 6:15 it started to rain.  And the wind kicked up.  And the storm stormed away for over 26 hours.  Things were blowing off the beach house (gutters, a storm door, a light fixture) and the house was literally rocking.  As I lay in bed, I could feel the bed swaying back and forth.  We were never in any real danger but we all had a hard time sleeping.  It was just so loud and windy.

We headed to a really nice restaurant for Mother's Day dinner in the rain on Sunday evening, although it was finally starting to slack off at this point. 

On Monday, we got up and hit the beach after breakfast.  There was going to be a break in the rain for a few hours and we wanted to make sure we could play.  There was also a tiniest bit of sunshine too!



Peter got a metal detector for Christmas but said he felt like he looked like a dork with it.  So Daddy got to use it.

And Peter got to dig....

Um dork?  No way.  Totally cool dude.  Totally.



And, after a nice morning on the beach playing in the water and digging for but not finding any buried treasure, we headed back into to clean up and pack up and then we headed home.

It wasn't exactly the long weekend of our dreams, but we managed to eat lots of good food, play in the water and on the beach and we survived Tropical Storm Ana.  Not perfect, but not too shabby either!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hoping for better results this year!

We finally finished planting the garden.  It's all the usual suspects: beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, peppers, dill, cilantro, basil, and rosemary.  And hopefully in two months I will be eating a nice juicy tomato sandwich.

Last night the kids planted their flower garden.  Last year they decided they wanted a flower garden so my husband cleared an area and built a wall around it.  They planted, he watered, and then the results were...disappointing to say the least. 

The kids picked their own flowers last year and Dan and I didn't really pay attention to the kind they chose.  One of Sarah's was sweet pea and it overtook every other flower in the garden.  So the flower bed was basically a patch of runners with a tiny little flower here and there.  From a distance it looked like a jumble of overgrown weeds.  Gardening fail!

This year, I had a little more input much to the kid's dismay but I'm hoping this year's flower garden will actually result in some flowers that I can cut and place around the house!

Here are a few snaps from our evening of gardening:



He considers this a smile!










Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Science Expo!

Last night, Our Lady of Mercy hosted it's 3rd Annual Science Expo.

The middle school kids have been hard at work on their projects since October.  They formed groups, chose a research project, formed a hypothesis, researched their topics, wrote a project report, created a project board, came up with a game relating to their project, showed their results to all the elementary grades (and played the game with them), and were interviewed by the judges.  And they all showed off their work to all their parents last night to finish out the Expo.

Whew!

And after all of that, Peter's group won 1st Place in the 6th grade!  I'm so excited for this group of boys.  They really took the project and ran with it. All the moms did were buy the supplies and frantically text when the boys were available to meet and work on the project (which is no small feat with 4 very active boys!).  We had to get creative and meet after school, after basketball games, over Spring Break, etc.

The boy's goal all along has been to win 1st place in their grade.  I didn't think it was possible because we did not help them at all.  They did the entire thing: the report, the project board, the reaseach, develop the game, etc.  And it all appeared as if it was completed by a band of rogue 6th grade boys.  In other words, some of the other project boards looked pretty slick and while theirs looked good, it looked like they did it with no parental help.  So, I was a little worried for them...

BUT!!!!!  And here's the kicker...a very large portion of the judge's criteria was the interview.  And from what I heard from the judges after the fact, these boys rocked it out.  I was told that they all knew their research and their statistics and that they all equally participated in the interview. And best of all, they did not sound rehearsed, did not stutter, were excited about their project, and were happy to tell anyone who asked them all about it.

I'm so very happy for these boys!

And on that note, I should add that all of the projects were really, really good!  You can tell each group put a lot of time and effort into their projects.  Now to start scheduling for next year when I'll have to coordinate  two middle schooler's schedules!  That should be interesting...

At school preparing to show their project to all the elementary kids!

At the Expo last night showing their project to all the parents!
On the stage with their 1st place trophies!


Their project board, research paper, and game!

And just in case you were wondering who has the dirtiest mouth out of human, cat, dog, and guinea pig...The clear winner of dirtiest mouth goes to HUMAN! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunday at the track!

The conference track meet was on Sunday.  Our school raced against 5 other area Catholic elementary schools.  Here are a few pictures that Dan took.  I help out with the track team so I was working but luckily managed to catch (at least from a distance) Peter and Sarah's races.

We got 2nd place!!! Go Mustangs!