"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garden Update and a Baby Hopper

The garden is coming along nicely. Almost everything is in. I planted the asparagus starts, artichokes, peppers, and eggplant tonight. We still have to put in the "vines" (pumpkin, cucumber, squash etc.) Probably tomorrow. Look how nicely it's coming up! I'm excited to eat my spinach and lettuce really really soon!!!

And on a related note, Ellorie found a special little friend in the garden area this evening...
Yes, it's a little baby grasshopper (aw, how cute, I know.)

They're baaaaaack... We didn't mind the infestation of grasshoppers too terribly last year because, well, we didn't have anything planted in the yard. I'm a little worried about it this year.

Now, how to convince a five year old that her beloved "pets" are actually noxious garden villians... Hopefully the preying mantises will emerge quickly as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Belated Birthday Surprises

Averie was delighted to have two surprises in one day.  Every morning when I get her out of bed now she says, "Yay!  Happy Birthday to Averie!"  Well, she actually was a little bit correct yesterday.  She got a big package in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa Allen with a sun hat and sunglasses.  She totally adores them.  Then yesterday before bedtime Papa came through and dropped off a package from Grandma Gina:  a new swimming suit and sandals!  Can we say spoiled rotten?  She was elated.  And now she will ONLY wear her new swimwear.  She likes to point to her sandals and remind me that they are "new shoes".  Such a cutie.  She is so lucky to have such great grandmas!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coleslaw on a Calorie Budget

I love coleslaw.  I don't know why.  I realize that many people find it utterly disgusting, my husband included, but sometimes I just have to have me some coleslaw.  As I was walking past the deli at the grocery store today I saw some and thought to myself...mmmmm

Okay, survey question:  Please raise your hand if you would like to knowingly consume over 1000 calories of pure fat mayo style?  Anyone, anyone?  No takers?  That stuff is made with the full-fat mayo, and is drowning in it.  Seriously.  I couldn't bring myself to it.  So my alternative was to make my own.  Instead of the deli variety, I purchased:

shredded broccoli (under a dollar)
shredded carrots (under a dollar)
green onions
green cabbage

and I already had dried cranberries, feta cheese, and garden sprouts (buy or grow your own.)

Put them all together and voila!  Gourmet coleslaw.  I bought some light coleslaw dressing and used about two tablespoons for a HUGE coleslaw.  Total calories: 110
And it's SOOOO gooooood.  I bet you want some...

A House

Memorial Day Monday we took advantage of the day and constructed Rocket's dog house.  And by "we" I mean Brandon.  

(Okay, I helped, but I'm not that useful with all the distractions and interruptions from children and such.  Averie was downright mean at the end.  "STAY INSIDE!"  "NO, DON'T HELP DADDY!!"  She has been quite possessive and bossy with her mother lately.  We'll see how she does while I'm in Hawaii next week...  I'm a little worried.)

Anyway, Brandon found these cool plans for a fully insulated dog house and we purchased the materials on Saturday.  He had to design it as he went, however, because the plan had no additional measurements beyond height and width, and we changed those anyway.  I'm no number cruncher, so I was very little help here.  Also, we don't have a table saw, so Mr. Handyman made all those cuts with a skill saw!  I helped out there as a glorified paper-weight.  It was an all day project, but hopefully was worth it.  

It has a fully-hinged lid so we can access the inside easier.  You can see the edges of the insulation here:

Rocket was a little wary at first.  Ellorie crawled in and coaxed him inside.  We put all his blankets and toys in too.  Once he figured out that it was not dangerous, he was really excited.  He was wagging his little stubby tail and running in and out of it.  I wasn't sure he was going to like it enough to actually go in there by himself...
But we think he approves

Now all we need to do is build a door and paint it.  And if Rocket decides he doesn't like it, I think we can find some "renters".  Ellorie was a little disappointed that it wasn't for her.  They had already moved in all their toys and everything.  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Father and Son Camping Trip

I guess Brandon DID take a few pictures from the camping trip last weekend.  They were on his phone and I didn't know about them.  Better late than never...

The classic- "boys playing with stick in the fire":

And they loved hiking up to this rock.  Cool pictures.  Looks a little dangerous to me...  Good thing Mom wasn't there.

They had a really great time.  I hope we can go camping a bunch this summer.

Averie Turns TWO!

Wow!  We had a very full day of birthday celebrations for little Averie.  She awoke early this morning and was so excited to play with her birthday balloons.  She was still a little sleepy, so she was laying down on our bed at the same time.  About the only smiles we got on film today though.  She was happy enough, she just doesn't like to smile for cameras.  She LOVED all the birthday attention.  We sang happy birthday to her a LOT today.  She was singing it to herself quite a bit too.  She had a much happier birthday than last year...

Birthday Balloons:
Birthday Breakfast-  Pancakes and scrambled eggs, by request:

We went to the zoo for her birthday celebration with family.  Jason, Melissa and Co.  joined us.  The kids had an awesome time.  Averie is finally old enough to enjoy it.  Her favorite by far was the children's petting zoo.  They petted and brushed those goats for a long time.  I think they would have stayed there all day.  Averie was fearless.
This little guy was hilarious.  He was a little alpaca that had just been shaved.  He was buck-toothed and just stood there staring at you.  Funny, and a little bit creepy...

Ellorie's favorite was no surprise:
Mason's favorite was the penguin exhibit:
...and looking at and attempting to follow the maps of the zoo.  I swear they had more fun figuring out the map than actually looking at the animals.
  The sea otter exhibit was really cool.  They kept coming right up to the glass and turning around under the water.  Averie loved it.
And these were some of my favorite pictures of the day:  
(Notice that both Averie and the monkey have their finger in the mouth and have the same  blank expression...  I wonder who did it first.)

After the zoo we were all pretty tired.  We came home for a little rest and then had a small party with presents and cake/ice cream.  Averie was a big fan of opening presents this year.  (And she had a lot of helpers..)

Here is Averie's cake.  She wanted "Mittens" the kitten from her favorite book.  Not too great on my part.  I got the wrong kind of frosting and, well, struggled.  Oh well, it tasted great anyway.  Averie loved it and that's what matters.  She even figured out how to blow out the candle with a little help.  It was so cute.

She is such a sweet girl and is getting so big.  I can't believe she's two!  Happy Birthday Averie!! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We Love to See the Temple

I love being in the Young Women's organization again!  (Secretary.)  For the activity last night we went to see the temple and the visitor's center.  It is so gorgeous this time of year!  I am in love with all the tulips and blossoming trees.  The wind even stopped for us for a while.  We have such a fun group of girls.  I'm excited to get to know them better.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunshine, Tulips, and Splashing

Spring has finally come to our neck of the woods. Actually today was more like summer. Maybe we just skipped spring altogether. I'm taking the tulips as a definite sign of spring however. I thought I killed all my grape hyacinths last fall by planting them too early. Many of them came up in the fall and then froze. A few were goners, but most of them came up just fine. I'm excited to eventually have more flowers. I might just go a little bulb crazy this fall...
Today was awesome. At 9:00 it was in the upper 70's and we couldn't resist getting out the little kiddie pool. Rocket was very wary at first, but eventually decided it was alright. Averie was delighted. She kept dumping water on Rocket and then he would shake and get them both wet. Ah the joys of the kiddie pool. I had to drag her in kicking and screaming so she wouldn't fry in the hot sun. We are going to be outside a LOT this summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We have Ninjas

Mason and Ellorie have been playing "Club Penguins" online. It's a Disney website with little games and characters and such. They have earned the rank of black belt Ninja for their respective penguins. Ellorie's is "Glow Rainbow" and Mason's is "Super Bulba".

They like to play on the computer when I let them, but they much prefer to role play Ninja Penguins in real life. Tonight they begged me to make them black belts and have been thoroughly entertained creating a "Dojo" in the basement. I love it when they play so happily together.

Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls, and Strawberry Blintzes

Suddenly I like to cook again.  Huh.  Weird.  We'll see how long this lasts.  

This morning I wanted some fresh spring rolls, but my family doesn't really like them.  So I decided to make egg rolls too, since they have about the same ingredients.  The blintzes were just a bonus since I had some extra egg roll wrappers.  Here are the recipes if you want to try them.  
(The fresh spring roll recipe and sauce is my moms and the egg roll and blintzes recipes are mine.)

Oh, and by the way the tamale recipe from the other day was just a conglomeration of the recipe on the back of the package and one I googled.  Here is the one I used.

Spring Rolls

1/2 lb. sausage, browned and drained.
Add and saute for about a minute:  Shredded carrots, finely chopped onion, cabbage, celery, mushrooms, and bean sprouts.
Remove from heat and add about 1/8 cup soy sauce.  Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.  It should look something like this:
This much filling made 16 large egg rolls.  

Soak some Maifun rice noodles in warm water for a few minutes until soft.  (You can get them at any grocery store.)
Now assemble:  Lay out an egg roll wrapper, spoon a couple of Tablespoons of mixture in the center, add some rice noodles, and roll like the pictures show on the back of the egg roll wrapper package.   
Then deep fry them.  Oops, didn't get a pictures of them fried.  Okay, they aren't exactly healthy, but they are yummy...  

Now the healthy ones:

Fresh Spring Rolls

Soak Rice Spring Roll wrappers one at a time for a minute or two, then fill with:
carrots, avocado, cucumber, cabbage, mushrooms, and green onions sliced in thin strips: 
Also add softened Maifun noodles, bean sprouts, and cilantro,

Then roll up sides and slice in 
half.  So healthy and yummy!

I dip them in homemade peanut sauce:  
peanut butter
soy sauce
rice vinegar
lots of fresh garlic

Or you can use soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or plum sauce.  

I could eat them all day.  

And the blintzes were just an experiment that turned out really well.  I took the extra egg roll wrappers and smeared on a little whipped cream cheese, some fresh sliced strawberries, and some semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Then rolled and fried like the egg rolls.  
We actually fried these first so they didn't taste like sausage and garlic.  They are a little bit tangy and sweet.  Better than I expected.  I should have rolled them in powdered sugar after to make them a little prettier, but forgot.  

So what got into me today?  No idea.  I'm not hearing any complaints from my family though.  And we have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Bonus!