Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Yesterday I witnessed something truly amazing. We were in the back yard, the kids and some friends enjoying the sprinklers and little pool. I noticed a spider dropping from the apricot tree on a single thread of silk.

As I walked past I thought, I'm that didn't land on my head. And then I watched in amazement as the spider came under attack by this tiny wasp. At first I thought the wasp had "run into" the spider, but then it made a series of bomber dives at the spider. The poor spider tried to escape by dropping quickly to the ground. But that wasp was right on it. Literally. Within seconds, the wasp had immobilized the spider (I assume by stinging it several times.)

I know that this kind of wasp does not actually eat the spider, but lays an egg in it and lets the larva eat the spider. It was so awesome to see this in action! It made me remember how much I love "bugs" and their interactions!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So It's now been at least six weeks since Shana invited us to share what's for dinner. And I am finally getting around to it, in my fashion. When I initially thought that I'd record what we had for dinner, I didn't count on being SOOO busy (which translates to grilled cheese or hot dogs for dinner!yikes!) So I've decided to just choose five or six meals that we've enjoyed from the past month and a half and share them. This does not mean that these are fanciest meals, just the most successful meals (ie everyone enjoyed them!)

Meal #1 Mark's Famous Pancakes, eggs (scrambled or over easy), bacon and hashbrowns.

I got this recipe from Mark after I got back from my mission. And I LOVE these pancakes! Sour 2 C milk w/ ~2 tsp of vinegar (I rarely measure this, just do a glug from the jug.) After the milk and vinegar sit for a bit, beat 2 eggs and add to the milk, then add 1/4 C oil, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2-2.5 C of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 2 tsp baking soda. Mix well, then ladle onto a hot skillet. turn when the bubbles begin to pop and the edges begin to firm a bit.

Meal #2 Roast Beef, Rolls, salad, broccoli, canned peaches and corn. This was family dinner...I made the roast and the rolls, SPH-1 made the green salad and steamed the broccoli in the microwave. I cooked the frozen corn in the microwave too. The peaches were ones that I canned two years ago.

The roast was fairly simple: Preheat oven to 450. Season roast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme (crushed), and sage (crushed). Sear each side of the roast for the lovely color. Once the oven is up to temp, place roast in a pan and and then in the oven for 20 minutes at 450. Here's the trick: TURN OFF the oven but don't open it! Let the roast remain in the oven for 20 minutes per pound for a nice medium roast (e.g. our roast was 2.5 pounds and I left it in for 50 minutes after turning off the oven.) If you like yours more well done, leave it in a bit longer per pound, and if you like it more rare, leave it in for only 15 minutes per pound!

And the rolls were the easiest..I just used Rhodes rolls!

Meal #3 Orange Chicken, rice, pears and broccoli.

This is one I feel like I "cheated" on because the orange chicken came from a box from Costco. But it's really good! Just follow the instructions on the box! The nice thing about this meal is that we leave some of the chicken out of the sauce and the kids have "chicken nuggets" with rice and broccoli, while the adults enjoy a slightly more sophisticated dinner of orange chicken and rice!

Pears:open large can of store bought pears

Rice: 1.5 C rice in pan, sprinkle with salt and cover with 3 C water. Put the lid on and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and keep covered on the heat for 20 minutes.

For broccoli, I prefer to use fresh...I can usually get it on sale for 59cents/pound. So I cut it up into good sized pieces --not too big for little mouths, and not too small for getting them on a fork!) Put broccoli pieces into a microwave safe bowl, add about 2 Tbsp of water and cook on high for 4 minutes, or until the broccoli is a bright green, but not mushy! DO NOT OVER COOK! Add a little salt and pepper to taste or a sprinkle of grated cheddar, if desired.

Meal #4 Cheesy hamburger Stroganoff, green beans or green salad, and apple sauce

The last time I made it I felt so good, because Sweetsa actually tried it and asked for seconds! (Now if we can only get Buddy to do the same!)

"Stroganoff": Brown 1 lb hamburger with chopped onion. Drain the grease, leaving meat in pan. Add 2C. water and bring to boil. Add 3 C egg noodles (uncooked). Cover and simmer for 8 minutes, add more water as necessary to prevent sticking. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 6 oz velveeta or similar cheese product. Or substitute 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Turn heat to low and mix until cheese has melted. Add pepper to taste.

Green Beans are either frozen or canned and heated in the microwave.

Our green salad is simply lettuce (I usually use red or green leaf), carrots, celery, and cucumbers. And Tomatoes if I keep them separated (tomato haters in the family) and when they aren't contaminated by salmonella!

The apple sauce is home canned from last season! YUMMY!

Meal #5 This last meal wasn't really for our family, but for our Mommies' Group (pot luck lunch/playdate) Egg salad and Chicken salad on rolls sliced veggies and cold cranberry apple juice.

For the egg salad, I did the usual preparation (boil eggs, chop etc) and then added miracle whip, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

For the chicken salad, I used my George Foreman grill to cook the chicken breasts I had seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. Cool and cube the chicken. For three chicken breasts I used 3 ribs of chopped celery; ~1 cup red grapes, halved; ~1C mayo and a few squirts of kraft coleslaw dressing. Mix everything well and serve on sliced rolls. I loved the different taste the grilled chicken gave to the salad!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


We were watching Jon & Kate plus 8 this evening, when Mimi got really excited. Turns out she and twins, Maddie and Cara, have the same birthday! It was really cute to see that realization hit her. She loves the show, and always asks to watch it if she sees that it is on. I think the twins were born the year before her, but since there is a delay in what they air on the show, Mimi really identifies with the girls!

And like Lady, it is so neat for me to see the places they go and remember going to those same places as a child...Shady Maple was mentioned today and I started reminiscing! I also saw a quick Tastykakes sign and began drooling!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Three Months

I cannot believe that our sweet pea Baby B is 3 months already! the time certainly has flown by! While she is battling a cold, she's still a happy girl. At last weighing she was 11 lbs 13 oz. Here are some recent pics of her:

Patrick Angels

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Jump Eraser!

A long time ago in a land far, far away, there was a cartoon that excited a little Man. According to family legend, he used to stand in front of the TV jumping up and down in his sagging diaper, singing, "Jump Eraser, jump, jump Eraser!" I don't know when he learned that the words actually were, "Go Speed Racer! Go, go Speed Racer!!" (At least I assume he doesn't still sing that in front of the TV...Lady?)

A few weeks ago I heard my own little Buddy talking about Speed Eraser and had a good chuckle!

Anyway, he requested a Speed Racer cake for his birthday this past week. This is what I came up with:

It was so cute to have all the little boys at Buddy's party cluster around and ask when they could play with the cake cars. But they were somewhat distracted by the spider-web game, and the pinata. It was really fun.

Buddy is so excited to be able to say he is five. He has started telling Sweetsa that "when you turn five you get to start kindergarten!" That hasn't really changed his attitude about our daily "table time" (when they all do something academic/school-related). He enjoys it once he gets into it, but getting him to the table some days is...interesting! Hopefully his excitement for kindergarten won't dim once he gets there! He had been asking (before school got out for the Summer) when he would be able to go to school with Mimi. That is officially 12 weeks away!!!

Buddy is a wonderful boy. He can be so incredibly sweet with his sisters, but also LOVES to tackle and wrestle with them. It has been fun to watch him with Baby B, whom he loves the most. He will get her telling novels and smiling so much, it is great to watch their interaction.

Buddy has a little follower in Sweetsa, she loves copying whatever he does. I've recently had to remind him that he needs to be careful how he treats Sweetsa, because she will treat him (and others) the same way.

When not playing with/bugging or fighting with his sisters, Buddy is BUSY: on his bike, running around the backyard, climbing and jumping off anything he can, kicking or hitting or catching or throwing a ball of some sort, or doing yard work with D. He loves to be outside and doing stuff.

He still loves to sing and I get a real kick out of hearing his repertoire (High School Musical and Primary songs are favorites, but he also loves the songs from Cars, as well as the theme songs from several TV shows.)

Still the early riser of the bunch (besides Daddy who goes to work really early!), he often will get his own breakfast and, when finished, come cuddle with me and Baby B in my bed. At the other end of the day he is the first to crash, falling asleep literally almost the instant his head touches the pillow.

A week or so ago, Buddy and D went to the annual fathers and sons outing up the canyon. D told me that Buddy played soccer with some bigger boys almost the whole evening. He is so agreeable, that he will literally go from one group/boy to the next until he finds the one(s) that will play with him/ let him join in the fun.
Oh! one funny thing about this fathers and sons outing: When they got home the next day, I asked Buddy what he did. Here is his response:

sigh. "well... I saw a snake."

Me: Oh!? A snake! wow! How big was it?

Buddy: (With first an excited look then a bit sad)oh it was only about this big. (holding his hand about 1-1.5 inches off the floor!)

Me: (chuckling) I see. well how long was it, then?

Buddy: this long (holding his hands ~ 18 inches apart.) and it was green. Ad then it wriggled away (showing me how it wriggled!)

This was such a fun exchange!

Most of all I love how incredibly sweet Buddy is. He will come up to any one of us and say "_____, I love you!" giving great hugs! Or he will spontaneously offer aid, or do a chore without being asked and then say, "Mommy I did this for you." With that fantastic dimple an smile he is irresistible.
We love you Buddy! Thanks for coming to our family and being you! Happy Birthday!