Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 6: Chicken and Orzo Soup

Day 6 of the weekly meal planner was actually delayed a little bit, because we received a visit from Drew's parents this past weekend.  We had a wonderful time with them, as always.  They are building a new house and listing their current house for sale this week.  So, they decided it was a great time to bring up a whole SUV full of boxes of some of Drew's childhood things (baseball cards, transformers, legos, and even High School shop class projects that he made for them).   It was fun to go through Drew's art projects from elementary school--he was pretty creative and had a very impressionistic style.

Anyway, Drew didn't want me to try any new recipes out on them, so we decided to finish Day 6 and 7 of the meal planner this week.


This was the easiest soup I have ever made!  I will guess it took me about 20 minutes total to cook this soup.  Plus, I saved 10 minutes by preparing the orzo pasta when I had to cook it for the last meal that required it. I will add that it is probably the most delicious soup I have ever made.  Drew had a bit of a sore throat today and said the soup was a perfect match meal for it.  So, without further ado....

Here are our verdicts:

Heather:  This was an excellent combination of flavors and textures.  The crunchiness of the celery balanced the mushiness that I dislike about mushrooms.  The orzo and chicken were complimentary as well.  I really enjoyed the lemon flavor of the broth.  The parsley gave the soup a very healthful taste.  I loved that the soup contained so much protein, with the combo of cannellini beans and chicken.  I rate this an 8, which is a high rating from me for a soup.

A happy Drew enjoying the soup
Drew:  Mushrooms again!  Hooray!  A very fresh tasting and healthy dish.  It soothed my sore throat.  I liked having the orzo pasta in the soup.  This sounds strange coming from me (not a celery fan), but I think I would prefer even more celery in the soup.   My rating is an 8--delicious and I think this should stay on our meal rotation. 
Luke liked it also!

And here's the recipe in case you're interested:  Chicken-and-Orzo Soup Recipe - Every Day with Rachael Ray

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Update on Luke's Healing

Drew and I took Luke to another follow-up appointment at the Orthopedic Physician's office late yesterday.  We got another set of X-rays, which revealed quite a bit of new bone forming around the radius and ulna breaks.  The radius looked very straight (the radius was the bone that Luke initially broke).  The ulna appeared bent (the ulna was not broken initially, but the doc had to break it during the reduction procedure when trying to get the radius straight).  However, the doc told us that in 6 months or so, we would not be able to tell he ever had any broken bones.

He removed some of the old tape that had become quite dirty from Luke's normal activities and put some new, very white, tape on the splint.  I'm sure this will become gray soon with the normal little boy activities Luke likes to be involved in (playing in rocks, dirt, eating with that hand, etc.)  Doc ordered the splint on for two more weeks, and then we'll remove it to see how his arm looks on the afternoon of March 11. 

Day 5: Peppers ’n’ Potatoes Beef Skillet Supper

Because we had onion Risotto leftovers on Day 4, I cooked our next weekly meal planner dish on Day 5.  Drew and I really enjoyed this dish.   My only recommendation would be not to add as many noodles as the dish calls for.  I think the plethora of noodles took a little bit away from the delicious flavors of the dish.   The recipe called for cooking the baby red potatoes in the bacon grease.  I will admit this was very hard for me.   I actually poured some of the bacon grease out of the skillet before cooking the potatoes.  I like to cook healthful dishes and cooking a veggie in bacon grease just didn't seem right.  It did taste pretty good though.

And now for the verdict:

Heather:  This is really good--I think it would be a perfect meal for a cooler day.   And, of course, bacon toppings makes just about anything better.  The only thing I would change as I mentioned above is to reduce the amount of noodles in the dish.  I rate this dish a 7.5

Drew:  I really liked this dish--I liked it more than the Buffalo Chicken and less than the tacos.  Those tacos were REALLY good.  Therefore, I need to change my rating on the tacos to an "8" so I can rate this dish a 7.5.  Loved the flavors and, of course, the bacon.  I agree with Heather on less noodles though.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 3: Orzo Risotto with Spring Greens

One word can be used to describe day 3's meal by Drew:   Onions.

When we first started dating, I learned one thing about Drew pretty quickly--he hated onions.  In fact, the first day that I met his parents, we went to lunch at North by Northwest (a local restaurant).  Drew and his parents all ordered dishes that came with onions and made sure the waiter knew they wanted the chef to hold the onions.  In fact, I remember them saying it again after he repeated our order back to us before delivering it to the kitchen, and right before they ordered onion rings.  I found this so ironically funny--hold the onions on our entrees, but we'd like some onion rings please.  :-)  However, over time, I think Drew has realized that onions really do have a place in a meal.  I learned that he actually enjoys them when they are cooked in a dish.  Cooking them makes them deliciously sweet.  Onions are to Drew as mushrooms are to Heather.

Well, this dish called for 1/2 onion, finely chopped (and cooked), but 6 scallions, thinly sliced (and uncooked).  I have to admit, I was leery of putting 6 scallions in the dish-it seemed like a lot.  But, I made the recipe as it was listed, except we added some heated, crumbled, dry coppa in it (I know it's strange, but we had that in the fridge).

In preparing today's meal, I discovered something else wonderful about these weekly meal planners.  Rachael provides tips along the way to cut back on preparation time.  For example, the tip for today was to save 10 minutes on another dish later in the week by cooking the orzo pasta for today's dish and that day's dish all at once.  Just put the other day's cooked orzo pasta in a container and you're ready to go.  We did this---10 minutes saved on our next meal!

And, now for the verdict:

Heather:  I would rate this dish a 6 as it was prepared.  I am willing to try it again, except this time I would eliminate 4 or 5 of the scallions.  Luke and I actually cleaned our very full bowls of this dish.

Drew:  Onions.  They were a bit overwhelming, taking over my taste buds; therefore, I rate this a 4.  I think this dish could be a 7 without all of the scallions.  I'm definitely willing to try it again. 

(A little note about our rating scales (1-10):  Drew says a "5" is an average dish.  A dish is rated a 7 if it is really good in Drew's rating scale.  9's are extremely exclusive--Drew rates his favorite dish (cheesy chicken roll-ups) a 9.   I'm not really sure what would warrant a 10.  At times, I have said Drew is somewhat pessimistic---he always responds, "No, I'm a realist."  He calls me an optimist.  Perhaps that tells you something about how we rate things.)

We actually ended up eating leftovers on the evening of Day 4, because we had quite a bit left from Day 3 and we both already had lunch plans on Day 4 (we don't like to be wasteful).  I spent a lot of time trying to pull some of the green onions out of the dish for Drew.  There were WAY too many though.  He did, however, get a dish on this day 4 with fewer green onions, and he cleaned his bowl. 

Here is the onion, I mean, "Orzo Risotto with Spring Greens" recipe if you are interested:  Orzo Risotto with Spring Greens Recipe - Every Day with Rachael Ray

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 2: Beef-and-Mushroom Tacos with Avocado Salad

Day two's meal was DELISH (even though it contained mushrooms)!!!!!  I have always disliked mushrooms for three reasons.

1.  Because I have always hated the idea of eating a fungus that grows on the ground.
2.  I don't enjoy their strange texture in my mouth.
3.  I have always felt they had no flavor.

But, cooked in a lot of garlic and mixed with beef and jalapeno chilis, they were tasty.  If you are looking for a different type of taco to get you out of your traditional taco rut, you should definitely try these.

Now, I did a few things differently than the recipe called for that I think really helped.  First, I actually cooked the onions in a little butter to almost caramelize them.  This made them even sweeter and added a great offset to the saltiness of the tacos.

Second, and this is a must, I bought the flour tortillas that are ready to cook (in an uncooked state).  You cook them fresh within minutes on a griddle or in a hot pan. They are so much better than regular, premade, store bought tortillas.  You can usually find these in the section of the grocery store with the tubes of biscuits and such.  I think that these tortillas make a huge difference.  Once I purchased these tortillas a few years back, I will never go back to the pre-cooked, reheat kind.    They look similar to the package below:

The other thing that I did differently than the recipe-I added a blend of mexican cheeses (Asadero, Manchego and Queso Quesadilla) to the tacos.  The meal took about 10 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of cooking time.

Now, for the verdict: 

Heather:  LOVED THEM!   You can see the reasons as listed above.  The cheeses added a good salty creaminess to the dish.   I finished both of my tacos before Drew finished his first one.  I rate this dish a 9.5 out of 10.  And, the leftover tacos tasted just as great the next day.

Drew:  I really liked having mushrooms in a dish (Heather doesn't buy them to cook in dishes for me often for reasons as listed above).  I was really surprised that the jalapenos didn't overpower the dish.  Overall, very good flavor.  I would like to try it sometime using skirt steak instead of ground beef.   I rate it a 7.5.

Here is the recipe in case you want to try it:  Beef-and-Mushroom Tacos with Avocado Salad Recipe - Every Day with Rachael Ray

Day 1 of the Rachael Ray Weekly Meal Planner Trial

On Sunday night I cooked the Baked Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Salad (10 minute prep, 35 minutes cooking)--this coincided with day one of Rachael's weekly meal planner in her March magazine.   I loved how easy it was!  I prepared the chicken before our 4:30pm church community group meeting so that it was ready to go in the oven right after the meeting around 6pm.  All that was left to do after our meeting was throw it in the oven for 35 minutes, create the dressing for the salad, and then plate everything.

Our verdict of the meal

Heather:  I liked it.  It offered a great balance of flavors.  I enjoyed how the heat of the buffalo sauce on the chicken balanced the rich creaminess of the homemade blue cheese dressing.  I was really surprised I liked this so much, since I usually despise white sauces and dressings.   On a scale of 1-10, I rate this meal a "7".

Drew:   Liked it.  I really didn't think I would like celery in a dish, but it added a nice crunch without being overpowering.  The meal continued to grow on me.  I appreciated the flavors the more I ate it.  I rate this meal a "7".

Here's the link if you would like to try the recipe:  Baked Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Salad Recipe - Every Day with Rachael Ray

Overall, we were pleased with day one and excited to try day two.  And something else nice about this--there were just enough leftovers for Drew and I for lunch the next day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yummy, Yummy in our Tummies--Meals for the Week!

I began a subscription to Rachael Ray's Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, last month for two reasons:

  1. We were getting sort of tired of the same rotation of home-cooked meals and wanted to try something different (that didn't take a lot of time).
  2. I found a really good deal on the magazine.  I think I got a year's subscription for $5 or something crazy like that.  I am not a magazine subscriber (mainly because I do not have time to read them) so I would only subscribe if the deal was crazy good like that.
I made some of the recipes in last month's magazine, and they were, as Rachael would say, "delish."  But, I didn't try her 7 Days of Dinners section last month.  I LOVE this section of her magazine.  She creates recipes for meals for every night of a week, and even includes a shopping list for you, arranged by section of the store.  She really leaves no excuses for you not to cook the meals for your family.  That is, unless you are picky.  Last month, I wasn't sure if we would enjoy some of the dishes, so I opted not to try this out.

Well, this month, I'm not sure what changed in me, but I decided I was going to cook every meal in her weekly planner, regardless of picky feelings.  I decided to take the plunge, fight the picky urges, and plan the meals for the week using her planner.  (Qualification--I had to remove the Tilapia dish from the plan for Friday, as Drew has a fish allergy.  Friday is the night of the week that we enjoy going out to eat anyway, so we are okay with this.)

Step 1.  Go shopping.  Not sure if you can see the picture below, but this is her menu planner.   You can actually get a new menu planner every week by going to  It didn't take me as long as I thought at the store, thanks to the handy dandy shopping list she provided me.   The shopping bill totaled $58.63, but that included some snacks for Luke.  $58.63 actually bought 24 meals, considering each dish provided four servings, and there were 6 dishes I planned on preparing.

 Something else that I love about this weekly planner is that you can really tell Rachael is trying to conserve on groceries.   For example, I purchased a 16 ounce container of mushrooms--8 ounces will be used in one dish and 8 ounces in another.  So, there will be no leftover mushrooms.

Since I am going to try this, I thought we may as well share our experience with you. So, I decided I would create a blog post for each meal we prepare.  My plan is to give each of our verdicts on the recipes and then list the recipe in case you want to try it.  At the end of the week, I will let you know my favorite meal of the week and Drew's favorite.  For the 5 of you or so who read this, enjoy!  :-)

Now...for step 2.  Prepare the meals!

A Visit From Grandma and Grandpa

We were so excited that Grandma and Grandpa were able to come for a visit this past weekend.  We had a lot of fun shopping together, playing with Luke's trains and enjoying the warm weather.  Here are some pictures from some of our time with them.  Grandma and Grandpa--Luke can't wait to see you again soon!

(As you can see from the pictures above, Luke's sling doesn't serve its purpose very well.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A UPS Driver brought a pleasant surprise today!!!!!

A UPS driver dropped off something quite unexpected at our doorstep today.....and we (especially Drew) are VERY happy about it!

Here is the box....what is it?

The "skin" that was included with it made it known to us what had arrived!

Even Luke was excited!

Are you still wondering what it is?

Drew is opening up the box within the box...

while Luke plays with the box.

Tada!   It is the exclusive Google Chrome OS Notebook and a thrilled Drew!!!!
Google began a pilot program late last year, which entailed offering FREE notebooks loaded with their new Chrome operating system!!!  Of course, this required applying and being selected out of millions in a lottery system.  

Drew first applied in December 2010 when the program first began.  And, even though we knew it would be a long shot to actually receive a notebook, we were sad that one did not arrive with our online Christmas purchases at our doorstep. 

In mid-January, Drew found a promo where if you installed a specific app in your browser, you received another entry in the lottery.  A few weeks later, the UPS man dropped of a free notebook at our doorstep.  We were amazed when we opened the notebook, that it started up almost instantly and is super quiet.  We haven't played with it yet, but expect to get a full review of the notebook later! 

Click here for some additional information about the pilot program from Google and to apply for the lottery.

Luke's One-week Follow-up Appointment

We just returned home from Luke's one-week follow-up appointment from his closed-reduction procedure.  An X-ray taken today shows that Luke's arm is healing nicely.  We are definitely pleased and praised the Lord when we saw the X-ray images this morning.  You can actually already see new bone forming around where the doctor broke both of the forearm bones mid-shaft.  The doctor would like to leave the same splint on and said to keep on doing whatever we are doing.   I responded, "we're hovering", as I hovered over Luke while he explored the exam room.  The doctor laughed.

We take more X-rays in a week, so we are going to continue to pray that Luke is careful and that we are able to prevent him from having any falls that would land him on that arm.   This sounds pretty easy, but Luke runs fast and has simple slips and falls pretty often just doing normal playtime activities.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Luke's new chair...and box.

Drew and I decided that Luke needed a chair his size. After all, he did hurt his arm trying to climb onto one of our chairs. So, I bought one online last week and it arrived in a large box, which has become one of Luke's favorite toys. Here are a couple of videos of Luke enjoying his new chair---well, chair AND box. (Please ignore the messy living room in the background).

As you can see from the video, I practically have to hover over Luke to ensure he does not fall onto his right arm, or try to use it to get up. So, if it seems I am helping him up, etc. a little too much, this was actually part of the doctor's orders. We all want his arm to heal straight. :-) Let's just say I have been getting plenty of exercise lately. We don't keep the box and chair out all of the time, but we do take them out for him to play with periodically. You saw how much he enjoys them--how can you not want to see the excitement on that little guy's face!

Poll: Real or Computer-Edited?

This post is a little different than most of my others.  I saw a youtube video a few days ago and showed it to Drew, hoping for him to think it was as cool as I did.  After I first viewed it I thought, "This guy is pretty talented, why is he not already in the NFL?"  Here is the video:

Well, after Drew saw the video, his reaction was a little different than mine. He responded with, "That can't be real--I'm sure that was edited by computer. You can't throw a football like that from the stands into a basketball rim and swish it." Now, I agree that the quarterback looks as skilled as he does primarily because of editing, but I think he really did make the shots. Perhaps it took 50 tries to make each shot, but I do think he has some talent. That brings me to the poll.

Is Johnny Mac for real?
He's the real deal!
It took him at least 50 shots to get one of the shots for camera, but he has talent.
Some of the shots may be real, but a lot of them are create by a computer.
These shots were made by a computer, not Johnny Mac! free polls

What do you think?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Luke's procedure results

Well, we made it through Luke's procedure.  Luke did awesome!   I know our little guy had to be in so much pain though.   He needed pain meds all day long on Wednesday, but when he wasn't in pain, he was his normal energetic, happy self. 

The doc's report:
The doctor had to actually break both the radius and the ulna in order to straighten out the arm.  The procedure was called a "closed reduction of the radius and ulna."  This is most commonly done immediately after the fracture happens and less commonly 4.5 weeks after it happens.   It just makes me ache to think about the doctor physically having to break Luke's forearm bones with his bare hands.   After the procedure, while Luke was in recovery, the doctor spoke with us about the procedure in a consultation room.  He showed us the X-ray of the arm, and stated it was the best he could do to get it straight and that the angulation was within "acceptable range".  My initial thoughts were "by whose terms was this acceptable?"   I didn't feel this seemed acceptable, as the bones didn't even look completely lined up to me.  I don't like the term, "acceptable range," without full explanation of what that means.  Since the procedure, I have done some research about it.  Based on my findings, I wish he would have said, "The angulation was within acceptable range for his age in order for the bones to heal back in alignment and without functional loss of motion."  Residual angulation of < 10 degrees does not result in functional loss of motion at any age. Children < 9 years of age can remodel up to 15 degrees of angulation.  Therefore, with my recent education I am going to ask the doctor at our next appointment how many degrees of angulation resulted in the reduction.

To be honest, I was so concerned about seeing and holding my baby that I didn't ask many questions of the doctor following the procedure.   Apparently children react completely different that adults do following anesthesia.  When adults come out of anesthesia, they are sleepy.  However, babies scream and cry.  Poor things--it is scary for them because they don't understand where they are, or how they got to sleep.   So, we spent quite a bit of time consoling our little guy following his procedure.  Because of this reaction in children, and because the health care practitioners would need to take Luke back to his procedure without us present, the anesthesiologist recommended we give Luke a little Versed prior to the procedure.  It was so weird seeing Luke's behavior on that medication, but the nurse was able to take him back to his procedure without a peep.  Luke was so loopy.

Before the procedure--Luke was playing with his Thomas the Train.

Anyway, I am just so glad this part is behind us.  Thank you God for allowing this to go as smoothly as it did.  Now, we are praying for complete recovery, allowing Luke full range of motion of his arm.

Thank you everyone for your prayers--I know they helped as we felt a sense of peace the day of the procedure.  

Luke is now in a splint and sling.  I practically hover over him all day now in order to support him if he tries to push off with that arm, or to prevent him from slipping and falling onto that arm.  The doctor told us it is very important that he doesn't put any pressure on that arm.  These are easy instructions to follow as an adult--but a 16-month old--not so easy!  We will keep everyone updated--our next appointment is in a week.  We'll get some more X-rays to make sure it is healing properly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Old cast is off--but this, unfortunately, is not over.

Yesterday was a very traumatic afternoon for us.  We were all very excited to finally get Luke's cast off.  We were thinking of all of the things we would be able to do once it was removed.    When we got back to the exam room, the medical assistant brought back this very scary looking cast cutting machine.  Luke had to wear ear protection because the machine made such loud noises.  It had a rotating blade on the end of what looked like a vacuum hose that the assistant use to slice the cast open.  Luke was so scared.

Then, once the cast was removed, mommy and daddy were scared.  His arm was bent.  They took X-rays, which showed the arm was healing bent.

Because of the angle this picture was taken, it is really hard to tell from this picture just how bent his radius is.  (The radius is the forearm bone that is farthest away from you when you have your arms by your side)  So, now we are going to have to take him to the surgery center at 6am tomorrow morning to have a procedure at 7am.  The procedure will involve the doctor "unbending" the arm while Luke is under anesthesia.  Luke will then be in a splint or cast for another 3-4 weeks.

Drew and I went through a process of many emotions yesterday.

  1. Emotion 1--Sadness.  I was so sad for my little baby.   Why does someone so young have to go through all this?  Poor little guy.
  2. Emotion 2-- Anger.  First, we were upset with the physician who cared for Luke.   Why didn't they set it properly when putting him in the cast?  I asked if they were going to take new X-rays at our first appointment there, and they said it wasn't necessary.   I asked about his arm looking bent when they put him in the cast, but the doctor said it would straighten up fine.  
  3. Emotion 3-- Fear.  How would Luke do under anesthesia?  What is the doctor is unable to bend the arm back into place--will he then need a full surgery?   
  4. Emotion 4--Guilt.  Once we got back home, I began re-hashing all of the events of the day the accident happened.   What if I carried Luke with me into the kitchen when I was putting his sippy cup together?  Then he wouldn't have climbed on that chair and fallen.
Finally, after a lot of prayer (in fact so much that I only slept a few hours), I again succumbed to the fact that none of this matters any longer, because what has happened has happened and God is in control.  Here is an encouraging song by Stephen Curtis Chapman that really says it all.

So, today Luke is his normal rambunctious self, and I am busy chasing after him.   He is only in a splint, so he has to be very careful.   I just put him down for an early morning nap and I am already exhausted!

Please pray for our little guy. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Praying it's our last "casted" day

Let's pray that today is the last day as a "casted Luke."  The doctor is going to take some X-rays at 4:20p today.  Drew and I have been praying that Luke's arm healed properly and we can get this cast off.   If things go as we hope, I am sure we will head straight for the bathtub when we get home if his arm smells anything like the preview we get when we sniff really hard near his right fingers.   Pew weee!

pic taken this morning with my phone

You take your arm for granted until you're unable to use it.  
From Luke:
Top Ten Things I am going to do when my cast comes off..

  1. Splash in the bathtub with both hands!
  2. Wear my clothes normally
  3. Play with my T-ball set (there's a story on this one.  In one of my brilliant moments I decided this would be a great time to break out the T-ball set he got for his birthday.  Poor little guy was trying to hit the ball off the Tee with one arm.  :-( )
  4. Play with my golf set
  5. Finger paint and do some handprint crafts
  6. Eat with both hands again
  7. Straighten my arm out high to the sky
  8. Tackle daddy without giving him a serious head injury (that cast hurts)
  9. Hop into my car seat really easily.
  10. And last, but certainly not least, give mommy and daddy a great big hug without whacking them hard in the head with my cast arm.   I love hugs!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Choo Choo!

Luke has owned trains since the day he was born.  In fact, when he was still in my womb, one of Oklahoma's most famous train connoisseurs, my nephew, Brody (4 years old), gave Luke his first train.  However, for some reason, it was not until Luke turned 15 months old that it started clicking that they were pretty cool toys.  AND NOW, all day, every day, we hear ALL about Choo Choos from Luke.  Luke ADORES trains!

Because I made the mistake and showed him some trains that I recorded on DVR on television (Thomas and Chuggington), now Luke locates the remote, points it at the TV and exclaims loudly, "Choo Choo! Choo Choo!"

When we go to Walmart, Target or Toy Stores, somehow, Luke has this special super-power vision, that enables him to see Choo-Choo trains from 3000 feet away. He points and exclaims, "choo choo.....choo choo....choo choo" until I also see them and we go right up to them so he can touch them.

I decided to take Luke on adventure to a local toy store last week--Kaleidoscope toys.  It looked like an extremely fun toy store and, based on what I read online, they have some unique toys and some excellent learning tools.  Well, I didn't really get to look through the store since Luke noticed an awesome train display.   And that was it.    It's almost as if I heard angels singing----wait---that was Luke making his famous sound of excitement---"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee."   We were done looking at that toy store, because I knew we would be stationed by the train display for the rest of our time there.

Thank you nice toy store employee lady for letting us come and play with your trains. We really did have plans to look at the rest of your store.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Crafts for Kids

So, Luke is now at the stage where I want to start to try to begin crafting with him. I have been browsing through some crafting blogs over the past couple of weeks, and I have found some really neat ones. A couple were actually passed on to me by my friend, Natalie, who is so extremely creative.

1. For those of you who like IKEA, this is such a cool website. This is not necessarily a blog that contains crafts for kids to do, but it does have some great ideas of ways to transform IKEA furniture into something really cool--a lot of these transformations are to childrens' furniture:  This kids' train table hack is pretty cool:

2. This is a great crafting website, and is sure to bring me, as well as Luke, hours of fun.  :-)

3. Through my perusing of these sites, I have found some others. Here is a great craft idea for your little ones from one of my new favorite websites:

She actually borrowed the idea from a friend.  Her friend took all the Christmas cards her family received this year and turned them into a book for her kids to look at when praying for those families.

Ashley Ann is actually based out of the Tulsa, OK area and not only does she post some excellent craft ideas, but she also has some great photography tips. Not only do I think she has an excellent blog, but others must as well.  Her blog was named this year's winner for Best Kids Design Blog by "The Homies."

As I try some of the crafts, I will try to post my attempts.  :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trying to do some "wintery" things

So, we didn't get the weather that my Tulsa family got.    I feel so badly that they were not able to leave the house for days.  In fact, my parents were planning on visiting us this weekend, but instead were trapped at home.  To be honest, I was a little envious that they got snow---but definitely not envious of all of the trouble it caused families.  There have been a lot of tragic stories as a result of this wintery weather.

Well, we finally got our snow overnight last night.  It wasn't much---maybe 1 inch-but it was still a new experience for Luke.  All area schools and most employers closed for the day, so there were kids outside playing in the snow at 6am!!!!


As far as taking advantage of the winter weather goes, I cooked a stew yesterday. Also, I have been really into cinnamon apples lately--what a great cold-weather side dish. They taste similar to the cinnamon apples at Cracker Barrel:

This simple spiced apples recipe is great for breakfast, a warm and yummy side, or served atop pork. If you can't find McIntosh apples, substitute another baking apple such as Rome or Gala, or try a crisp, tart green apple such as Granny Smith. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 10 min.

Yield: Makes 6 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

* 4 McIntosh apples, peeled and sliced (about 2 lb.)
* 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I would try honey next time to make eliminate the processed sugar)
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1 tablespoon butter


1. Toss together first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, tossing to coat apples.

2. Cook apple mixture, 2 Tbsp. water, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until apples are tender.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 128 (0.0% from fat)
Fat: 2g (sat 1.2g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.1g)
Protein: 0.3g
Carbohydrate: 29.2g
Fiber: 1.3g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Iron: 0.6mg
Sodium: 21mg
Calcium: 25mg

Finally, I thought I would share a funny video I saw online.  It is about the winter storm and specifically is about the Houston area; however, it may as well be about Austin.  Our meteorologists get a bit overly excited and the city practically shut down today.