Linking up with Pleated Poppy For WIWW.  This week I was able to capture more outfits, but I missed some that I really enjoyed wearing.  Taking the pictures really makes me think about the touches in an outfit.  So i am loving this challenge.

 Day of Errands, showing a home, stores and playgrounds
Pants:: Kohls
Striped Shirt:: Costco
Navy Cardi:: Target
Necklace:: The Limited (does that store still exist?)

Lucky Day spent solely with the kids, mostly at home!
Jeans:: Levi
Tee and Sweatshirt:: Old Navy
Scarf:: ?
Shoes:: Lands End

Showing homes!
Jean Trousers: Kohls
Blazer: JCPenney
Necklace: Walmart

Playgrounds, grocery shopping, tidying up our toy collection
Entire Outfit :: Gap
Necklace:: Made by my talented friend from 3 old necklaces I had


Tried and True Tuesday...shrimp and penne

This one is a yummy dish that I adapted from a meal I had a great local restaurant known as Winberie's. 
We ate their before kids and I had a to die for dish on their patio. We can't really make it with the cheese here now, but I have done different forms.  The last time I had a girl's getaway, I made a version with mixed greens and penne for a lighter feel.  I could also see these ingredients (sans pasta) made a delicious wrap or sandwich.  It also makes a great dinner party dish because you can make the pasta and shrimp ahead.  Then have the ingredients ready and saute together just before eating. Uh, oh.... now I am getting hungry!

Winberie’s Shrimp and Penne

Penne Pasta (cooked)
Shrimp (cooked)
Pine nuts
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Grated Parmesan
Diced Tomatoes (no juice or seeds)
Olive Oil and minced garlic

Saute spinach in olive oil and garlic mixture.    Add pasta and shrimp.  Next add pine nuts and tomatoes.  Last add cheeses to just get warm.


Meal Plan Monday...an easy week for a tired mommy

Monday:: Steak Sandwiches on deli flats

 Tuesday::  Pasta night with noodles, sauce and meatballs
I make my sauce in the crockpot all day. Throw in meatballs before Chris comes home.  Easy!

Wednesday:: Turkey Burgers  on deli flats while Dad's out
I'll make extra noodles and do a big pasta salad to go with the burgers. 

Thursday::  Turkey Burgers on deli flats while moms at work then GNO
My kids don't seem to mind eating the same dinner twice and it won't be a repeat for me and the hubs.

Friday:: Pizza

Satuday: Birthday Dinner for Chelsea with Grandma...TBD

Sunday:: Easter tradition, homemade donuts for breakfast and semi traditional Easter dinner

pancake shapes

Look:: Don't worry about my sanity, but I've begun trying to make pancake shapes for the kids.  This was my first attempt.  I put the regular pancake mixture I use with a bit more water added (about 3 to 4 Tbsp).  It seems like it will take some practice to make the shapes look really good.  I was also  not happy that it didn't get a flat surface on both sides.  One side came out a bit bubbly instead of flat.
Learn::  I tried shapes, bunnies, letters and butterflies.  I learned to outline first.  When the outline solidifies, fill in the outlines with more batter.  If there are any lumps, it can mess up your shapes because it clogs the nozzle then explodes out.  This happened several times. My sweet daughter would cheer anyhow and tell me what it looked like.  The kids inhaled these sans syrup!  That got me so excited because they are a sticky, icky mess with syrup.  Gavin and Chelsea ate an entire recipe of pancakes.  Usually we all share and have some leftover, but this day I had two hungry bunnies, looking for bunny cakes.

Love::  I loved how these turn out and the fact that my kids loved them.  I will definitely make these again!


The kids are driving...uh oh.


Look::  Three little munchkins sitting on a piano bench. 
Learn:: The one in the middle (Chelsea) is the only one throwing her head back and singing.
Love:: It wasn't quite music, but it was nice!
Saturday 3miles
Sunday 3 miles
Monday 5 miles
Tuesday 2  miles
Wednesday 5 miles
Thursday 2 miles 
Friday  2 miles
Total this week:: 22 miles
Total in 2011:: 319 miles


Barbie Time

Look:: This weekend the boys slept in while Chelsea and I played Barbies.  We went through the usual barbie play.  Everyone got a new outfit. Each guest knocked at the door and was greeted by the host Tianna. Everyone sat in the living room for a party.  C said it was a "mommy party".  
 Learn:: This little munchkin is watching when I don't think she is.  I hosted a few ladies for book club this week.  We also had my grade school friends and their children for some play time.  Chelsea mimicked the greetings with her Barbies!  My little girl is watching every thing I do...uh oh! 
Love::  This special alone time with Chelsea was a lot of fun.  She enjoys rambling on and on telling me about the stories she has created.  It is a blast to watch the wacky outfits she selects for her dolls (must make more barbie clothes).  I started out trying to do something nice for my husband by letting him sleep.  But it was actually me who got something nice!



Well it is Wednesday again.  Managed to take two photos of outfits this week.  Liking up with Pleated Poppy.  Love the looks I see going on over there...totally inspiring that so many women are into WIWW.

Jeans:: Levi's
Shirt:: Gap outlet
Cardi:: Old Navy

Jean Trousers:: Kohls
Shirt:: Kohls
Sweater:: Lands End
Necklace:: me
Shoes:: DSW
Bag:: Awesome Gift from a good friend

Wordless Wednesday: Gymnastics at home


My new favorite thing with Tried and True Recipe

Look:: My new favorite thing is lunch.  I love to have play dates that stay for lunch.  It makes it so my kids can have their usual morning, then have friends come.  After a bit of playing they get a fun meal and more playtime.  What is really neat is that Chelsea gets the sense that others like to eat the same things as her (usually she has something separate at meals and snacks).
Learn::  I have learned to put most things out in advance, this leaves me free.  I set the table for a ladies' lunch.  Put a yummy dish in the crock pot (in summer this will change to a great salad). and get the kids' stuff prepped.  I adore testing out my recipes.  The best entertainment for any lunch is listening to 2, 3 and 4 year olds' conversations.  Hysterical.
Love:: This activity combines my friends, my kids and cooking.  Goodness, what a winning combo!  I've included the recipe for a recent tortilla soup that seemed to work out well, flavor wise.  

Tortilla Soup
1 carton chicken broth
1 cooked chicken breast (diced)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black or pinto beans
1 can corn
1/2 bag of frozen chopped peppers
1/2 bag of frozen chopped onions
2 Tbsp taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and set on low for 4 hours.  If you need it sooner high for 1 or 2 hours should work.  You can play with the amount of veg you want, or leave something out entirely if it isn't to your liking.  Fresh cilantro is a great addition once you've put soup into the bowl.  Another idea that would be great is tortilla strips baked in the oven served atop the soup.


Hide and Seek...the advanced version

Look::  Usually we play hide and seek in the kids bedrooms.  Since they are getting bigger and finally getting the hang of the game (meaning Gavin stays hidden 10% of the time.), we decided to play whole house hide and seek. 
 Learn::  There are very few good hiding spots in my house.  But with the good ones I could stay hidden for several minutes without anyone finding me.  Each time I went to hide someone would try to hide with me, which was funny because you think they'd like to hide alone.
Love:: We have a lot of fun family time activities.  But this one is one of the kids favorite.  Chelsea asks for it a few times a day. The excitement they have makes it one of my favorites too!

Monday Meal plan...super easy and quick week

Monday:: I'm defrosting ground beef patties I made a few weeks back with extra beef.
Perfect for the warm weather.

Tuesday:: Chris and I are heading to Season's 52 for dinner...yum!
The kids will get to pick their dinner that night (they love playing restaurant, and I thought this would be fun before we head out at bedtime...plus doesn't every mom feel like a short order cook? why not make it fun).

Wednesday::5 Ingredient Chili
browned ground beef, crushed tomatoes, diced veg, beans and spices 
okay, so it's more that 5 but I use bagged combo veggies and a spice blend...super duper easy

Thursday::  I'm off to the For Pete's Sake Fashion Show  The family will have leftovers

Friday, Saturday and Sunday:: Off to the poconos!  I will bring leftovers, two already prepared frozen meals and probably get a meal out...yay for vacay!


Digging It

 Look: A bit of time spent in the front waiting for Daddy to come home.  We drug out some of the outdoor trucks and snow shovels.  Our side front yard has a slope, so the grass is spotty.  This makes for the perfect little 10 minute activity.  The kids dig a bit, fill up the truck, dump the truck and repeat.
Learn:My kids are outdoor lovers.  Sometimes they grab whatever is around and begin doing something.  like this day Gavin was carrying around his truck, Chelsea had the shovels and a match was made.  Other times I pull out tools or toys to help their imaginations get started.  No matter how it starts, we really enjoy our time outside.
Love:  What is not to love about doing some good old exploration while waiting to greet Daddy!

Fitness Friday...what's new

Saturday 5 miles
Sunday 5 miles
Monday 5 miles
Tuesday 5  miles
Wednesday 5 miles
Thursday 5 miles 
Friday  5 miles
Total this week:: 35 miles
Total in 2011:: 297 miles

What's new is all the things I've been walking with lately.  When I step outside the door I am greeted by the sweet sounds of birds chirping. On my walks I saw bunnies hopping in lots of yards. This is especially motivating because I know warm weather is coming.  The main reason I walk and try to be fit is so I can keep up with our active family in the warm months.  Between biking, hiking, swimming, walking, playing and all the other ways we spend our outdoor time...I need to be able to keep up.  So this week I stepped it up.  I tried to walk faster at the beginning of my walks and walk a bit longer.  Only a few weeks until the warm weather should be here to stay.


Tub Time

Look:  Have you ever heard if you child is a crab...just add water?  Well it is very true.  Sometimes the kids get rammy, crabby and begin to meltdown.  It seems to happen right around 4ish a few days a week.  So this is when I plop them in the tub, whether they are clean or dirty. 
Learn:  Yup, it works.  As you can see on their face, they are happy as clams.  We either rely on the toys in the tub for entertainment.  Or we work in the bubbles, plastic cooking stuff or boats.  When they are really crabby, I bathe them separately so that jaws doesn't appear in our tub.

Love: I love how water can magically transform my babies.  So glad to have learned this before this toddler phase came up.  Because "the witching hour" comes around to the Smith house quite often. 


Game nights

Look:: Almost every week we have a game night with the kids.  It usually is after dinner and before bed.  The kids love games like topsy turtle, bingo, uno moo and other fun games. 
Learn:: Our kids are learning valuable lesson about playing nicely.  In addition they are learning some major concepts.  These games are reinforcing counting, letter, number and matching skills.  It is neat to watch their personalities during games.  Chelsea is always wanting to help her little brother, not so much going for the win.  While Gav just wants to do his own thing.  They get really excited if I say it's game night...about the same excitement as movie night.  Which is great because this ends up being a quiet, calm way to spend the evening without the tv.  Plus it's filled with fun, laughs and memories for each of us.
Love::  Growing up I always loved games.  I would beg my brothers to play.  Even now at most family events I try to get them to play  (usually I rope in my nieces and nephews and get my game fix that way).  It is such a nice treat to spend this great time together.  I look forward to the nights where nothing is on the calendar and we can just play games!

Tried and True Tuesday: A stirfry

This picture doesn't do this meal justice.  I first found these ingredients together in a pack from Wegman's in the veggies section.  I've added to the ingredients and come up with my favorite stir fry recipe ever.

1 small bok choy diced
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup assorted mushrooms diced
1 container of tofu cubed
1 small can of water chestnuts
1 bag of soy noodles
a few dashes of soy sauce
1 chunk of ginger grated
3 scallions diced

I start with the veggies and stirfry them in my wok.  As they are cooking up I grate the ginger over and mix.  Next I add the soy sauce, followed by tofu, then noodles.  In just a few minutes I have a really yummy dinner with leftovers (no one in my family would touch this with a ten foot pole...well maybe Gavin).  I make this as a treat for myself whenever I know Chris is not eating at home.


Monday Makeover ...a memory spot

I've been steadily chipping away at my spring cleaning.  Only a few more tasks and we'll be ready for the warmer weather.  While working around the house I noticed a completely blank wall in  he hallway.  It's a little space right between the end of the fireplace and the coat closet.  Lately I've been really missing my parents.  So I thought why not make a little memory spot.  I reframed a bunch of photos of them and hung them on the blank wall.  It's a sort of hidden spot that isn't visible unless you're at the fridge or walking in the hall.  Perfect for lots of quick glances through out the day.  This craft was completely free because I used up all my old frames and cute papers. I am going to keep adding pictures of our grandparents, my aunts and uncles who are in heaven and of course....Millie.  

Blank Boring Wall

Crafting with my photo cutter, old photos and cute scrapbook paper.

The photos all done up before hanging them.  Gosh my parents were really cute!
The end result. I am very happy to have this special spot in my home!

Animal Play and the zoo

Look: We made Giraffe and Lion headbands....yes please stretch your mind to think giraffes are pink and purple per Chelsea's request.  Our plan was to go to the zoo. Chelsea loves our schedule so much she asks....what are we doing for craft?  So we added some felt stuff to headbands.  The kids enjoyed this.

Learned: I learned I have no business making animal headbands.....seriously they looked awful.  Oh well.  The kids learned lots about animals on our umpteenth visit to the zoo.  We saw wandering peacock,  lots of animals were out because of the great weather.  We had a ball!
Love: The zoo is my new favorite place. Mostly because it inspires my kids to watch the nature channel and be interested in animals.    Each time we visit, the kids get a great view of many different animals. I am so glad we got this membership so we could enjoy animals, nature channels and time together!

Monday Menu Plan

Monday:Roast an entire chicken for use through the week ala Musings of a housewife.
We're going to have chicken, grilled potatoes and veg.

Tuesday:: Grill a very large flank steak for use through the week.   Chelsea has been loving brown meat.  We'll do Flank Steak, breadsticks and veg

Wednesday:; Salad with flank steak and breadsticks
 What is awesome about this week is we can have chicken and roast beef sandwiches all week!

Thursday:: Making Chicken wrap ups for the fam.  I am hosting book club going to make hungry girls chicken egg rolls and Kelsey's apple, pear tart. She was my fave on Food network star and I love her cooking channel show.

Friday::As usual it will be pizza night...can't wait.

Saturday: Date night...this means I either cook a take out fake out or we do takeout...who knows? I have been adoring Bobby Flay, so if the weather is good, we'll grill and have fun.


Tiny Superheroes

Look:: What does it feel like to have three tiny superheroes playing fabulously?  Great.  On this day Chelsea's sweet friend came over after school.  These little gals see each other two times a week for school, then two times a week for playgroup and gymnastics.  So I wasn't sure if this was going to be overkill.  But it wasn't!!!  The kids played really nicely.  There were no power struggles over toys or gear.  Chelsea even gave up her favorite pink dishware to her friend and Gavin then gave up his blue dishware to Chelsea.  And when we went up to check, this is the adorable scene I found...superhero's...superwhyy(Gav), princess presto (adalyn) and super butterfly girl (chelsea)
Learn:: I learned that a great playdate can not only entertain your kids, but you as well.  These kids were cute and playful and fun!  It was nice to chat with my friend for a bit and fawn over her little guy while the kids played.   A taught C how to pull herself onto the toilet all by herself (which of course she has been doing since that day...no stool!)   I wasn't sure if Gav was going to cooperate, but what I learned is that he will, especially if it means playing with the big kids!
Love:: I don't play favorites, I love all of Chelsea and Gavin's little friends and classmates.  But our playdate this day was special and fun.  Every one of us had a nice time and C and G have been talking about it ever since!


Look:: I signed my sweet boy up for Gymboree class in March.  He needed the structure of a class and a way to practice gross motor skills.  With the cold weather we hadn't been to a playground in weeks.  I fondly remember taking Chelsea and how much she loved it.  Well, Gavin loved it even more.  He runs into gymboree squealing with excitement.  After greeting his teacher, he actively participates in all the activities and tries every piece of equipment.
Learn:: I've learned a lot about what makes Gavin tick over the past few weeks.  He has a real sense of accomplishment when he completes a task.  He has better gross motor skills than I thought.  And finally he is much better behaved than I would have ever imagined in a school setting.  So now I'm not so worried about sending him to school in the fall.
Love::  Besides loving the reaction of my little guy I love open playgyms.  About once a week I take both my cutie pies there and they play like crazy.  It's the perfect way to spend an hour or two.  I will be sad next week when we go to our last class.  But I'm happy to have the memories.