Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-Lake Vacation!




Yummy Recipes for July 4th!!!

We will be spending the 4th of July at home this year and attending our first neighborhood block party that is basically converging upon our house because we sit in a culdesac. You are able to sit in our driveway and watch the most amazing fireworks show that goes on for miles across the county line near our house. It's perfect because I hate getting out and trying to fight the crowds at all the public shows that go on around town. So, as I was looking through all my recipes trying to decide what I would be making for this weekend I thought I would include a few of my favorites for all of you! Hope you enjoy!

Snack Foods
Fresh Salsa:
2 cans petite cubed tomatoes
1 small purple onion chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
2-3 jalpeno peppers diced-deseeded (more or less to taste)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (no stems, just leaves)
1/2 juice from one lemon
1 juice from lime
3 tablespoons fresh garlic minced (more or less to taste)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt to taste
*Mix all ingredients together and let sit for at least an hour before serving with tortilla chips.

Spicy Pretzels:
1 bag stick pretzels
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 packet dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
*Mix all ingredients together except for pretzels in a large bowl with an airtight fitting lid, Add pretzels and stir well to coat. Put lid on and turn upside down then right side up every hour or so until dressing is soaked up. This will take several hours.

Appetizers
Caprese Salad:
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 large tomato, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 tbls chopped fresh basil
1 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbls balsamic vinegar 
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper 
*Spread the spinach out on a serving plate. Place slices of tomato on the bed of spinach. Top each slice of tomato with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle the basil over the salad and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then top with Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper.

Super Easy Deviled Eggs:
8 Eggs
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon miracle whip
1 tablespoon finely chopped pickle
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pinch Paprika
*Place eggs in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let eggs sit in hot water for 10-14 minutes. Remove from hot water and let cool. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Put yolks in a small bowl and add all ingredients above except paprika and mash all together with a fork. Mix until smooth. Spoon yolk mix into each half of egg evenly then sprinkle with paprika. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Main Dish
Spicy Lime Grilled Shrimp:
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 large lime or 2 small limes
juiced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound peeled and deveined
medium shrimp (about 30-40)
Sprinkle Sea Salt and Fresh
Ground Pepper over shrimp
while cooking
*Add all ingredients to a zip lock bag and let out excess air and marinate in fridge for an hour. Add shrimp to wooden skewers (soak skewers in water before using to prevent burning) and cook on an outside preheated medium heat grill that has been lightly oiled for about 2 minutes per side.

Sides
Loaded Baked Potato Salad: (this is for 20 servings)
7 pounds baking potatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
2 pounds bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter, softened
2 pints sour cream
Salt & Pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
*Preheat oven to 400'. Pierce the potatoes with a fork; brush with oil. Bake until tender, 1hour. Let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.  In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sour cream; season with salt & pepper. Stir in the potatoes, bacon, scallions and cheese. Serve at room temperature.

Desserts
Strawberry Angel Food Dessert:1 (10 inch) angel food cake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
1 pint of blueberries
1 (18 ounce) jar strawberry glaze
*I like to use a trifle bowl on a stand to make this for parties. Crumble the cake into bottom of bowl and reserve enough for about 3 layers. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in Cool Whip. Mash the cake down with your hands and then spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake. In another bowl, combine strawberries and glaze until strawberries are evenly coated. Spread over cream cheese layer and then sprinkle a hand full of blueberries on top of strawberries. Repeat layers two more times. (You can add additional Cool Whip to top of dessert and then add a few strawberries in the center and set blueberries around edge. This is all just for presentation.) Chill until ready to serve.


YUMMO! Now I'm starving and can't wait to go make some of these!                                                        
                                                         

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

I am SUPER EXCITED! I have received my first blog award. Melissa, over at The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom, gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award. I've never met her in real life but she has been very helpful with answering random questions from a newbie blogger and I appreciate you thinking of me for this award.

This award comes with some rules!

1. Thank whoever gave you the award.

2. Tell 7 things about yourself that readers may not know.
3. Pay it forward by nominating 15 bloggers you've recently discovered.

Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me


1.
I lived in England for 3 years.
2. I tore my ACL on my right knee the very first time I ever went skiing. Ran right into that orange mesh fencing and had to be strapped to a stretcher and taken to the clinic on a snowmobile. Very Embarrassing!
3. I still think that spiders will "get me" when on the toilet because of the movie Arachnophobia.
4.
I love reading instruction manuals. Like to cars and gadgets.
5. I love Reality TV like Big Brother, Real Housewives of wherever shows, Top Chef, Project Runway, The City, The Hills.....The list could go on forever!
6. I can't stand to have my hair touch the back of my neck when I am laying down.
7.I can pretty much associate all important memories from my life by a smell or song.

Now to pass on the Beautiful Blogger Award! Here is my list of "Beautiful Bloggers":

1.
Real Life With Kids
2.
Dearinger Diary
3.
Mommy Burgh
4. Happy Healthy & Loved

5.
The House of Burks
6. The Wilson Family

7.
Ten Talents
8.
The Cooks Buns This is my real life BFF and she is Totally Fabulous in real life and bloggy world!
9.
Mommy Moment
10.
Mom-Nom
11. Eternal Lizdom

12. A Belle, a Bean & a Chicago Dog

13.
Rants From Mommyland
14.
Mommy & Molly
15.
Money Saving Queen She helps save me lots of money and was one of the first blogs I ever read!
 
These are all amazing blogs that in some way help make my days more fabulous. Check them out!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ten Things Tuesday-Things Parents Do To Annoy Teens!!!

I thought it would be fun to let my 16 year old cousin who is visiting me from North Carolina make a guest post today. She is very funny and has a twisted sense of humor like me. =) Since it was Ten Things Tuesday I thought it would be interesting for all the parents of teenagers out there to hear about a few things you do that drive your teens nuts. So, without further ado here is Chloe's Ten Things Parents Do To Annoy Teens list:
 
1.  Wanting to see our cell phones - No, we're not taking naked pictures of ourselves or exchanging a drug deal. We just don't like you looking at our stuff!

2. Trying to sing and dance - Let's just imagine my 49 year old father dancing around the kitchen singing to Merl Haggard. I think we get the picture.

3. Asking what we did today -  No matter what, our answer will always be "Nothing".

4. Friends - There's a reason why they're my friends and not your friends. Please quit talking to them.

5. Backseat Driving - Dear Mom, I can see the red light, but it's also 100 yards away.

6. The Birds and the Bees - Please don't come to me with the word 'sex' on the tip of your tongue. they teach all this stuff in school now.

7. How we got it - The kids in our generation may have it easier, but it's the people in your generation that made it easier.

8. Let's talk slang - Yo dawg, no one talks like this anymore homie.

9. Bad grades - Teenagers go to school to socialize, no to learn. No matter how bad we're doing in geometry.

10. Parent Facebook Stalking - My friends and i are having a conversation here. Don't comment with one of your corny jokes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday




Swim Class

J's swim class started yesterday and it started on a bad note. First of all, it was raining off and on and they don't cancel unless it's lightning. So, I got in my dreaded bathing suit and then attempted to get J in his. He decided this was the perfect time to have a total meltdown and did not want to put on his swim trunks. This went on for a good 10 minutes before Jason and I had to just hold him down and get the trunks on him. NOT FUN!!! So, off we all went to class. When we arrived it was very disorganized, which I can not stand, it was mainly young girls and guys that were the lifeguards and instructors, which is fine but they were a little more interested in talking and flirting with each other than getting the different groups together to start. I maybe wouldn't have minded this if it was not raining and cold but it was and I was quickly loosing my patience. Finally they started calling out names and directing us all under the large umbrellas and covered areas to meet up with our instructors and to discuss the class overview. I was excited to see who all was going to be in our class so that I could try and spot some potential playdate friends. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.....there are only two other kids in our class and the mother of one of the kids is SUPER ANNOYING! She is the kind of mom that thinks that her kid is the greatest thing that ever happened to the world and she never shuts up. During the entire introduction by the instructor she kept interrupting and talking really loudly to her daughter. Then she would yell over across the way to her son that was in another class and try and tell him something that was totally not necessary at that exact moment. She's a major attention whore. All of this was magnified because every second we sat there it started raining harder and harder and the rain was now blowing all over us. So the fact that this lady wouldn't shut up and let the instructor finish was really starting to piss me off. Then the instructor said that we weren't going to be able to get into the water today, no shit Sherlock, and that we would just read a story about swim class. I am not joking! In the freezing, blowing, hard rain this kid instructor wanted to read a story to three kids under the age of three. My husband started laughing behind me and when I asked him what was so damn funny, he said "this whole situation and the fact that I know you are about to blow any minute." He knows me all to well, I seriously was about to lose my shit. When the freaking story about the damn duck that went to swim class was over the instructor asked if there were any questions and I said, "yes, are we done now, this is a little ridiculous. The kids lips are turning blue." She said that class was done for the day and in case it was doing this tomorrow that we might want to call before we come. YA THINK!!!

Day Two: It is sunny, praise the lord! Surely this will be a better day. Skrrrt.......J decides to have another major meltdown about putting the swim trunks on. So, we force them on his body again and we're off to class. Once again the instructors are just chit chatting about random BS instead of getting the show on the road. So we stand there patiently waiting for our name to be called. Finally an instructor, not the same one from yesterday, calls for all the mommy and me class to gather by her. J and I go over and wait with the other parent and child when the instructor says that we will get started as soon as our missing other child and mom arrive. She was referring to the annoying mom, who in fact was already there she was just across the way telling her whole life story to some random mom who looked like she wanted to run away. I pointed her out to our instructor who was able to get her attention and told her we were ready to start. She put her finger up and said just a minute. I know that God is testing me in moments like this and I try my hardest not to totally freak out, which I did not today, but if this goes on for the next week and a half I may fail God's test. Please pray for me! =) When the heifer decided that she was ready to begin she came trotting over like what are we waiting for. I handed our stuff to Jason and asked him to take a few pictures of us. Since J and I had taken swim class last year and he loved it I never even considered the possibility that he wouldn't like it this year.Well, he didn't, he didn't want to get in the water but after I begged a little he agreed. When we got into the freezing water he latched onto my neck with a death grip and didn't want any part in any of the exercises or songs. I might have failed to mention that a couple weekends ago he was in a pool at a friends house and had on a life jacket and he tipped forward and went face first under the water before I dragged him out. He was only under water for like 3 seconds but I'm pretty sure this moment left an impression.

I'm hoping that the rest of the week goes a little more smoothly regarding the actual swimming lessons but I'm disappointed that the possibility for making any playdate friends is totally out the window. You couldn't force me to hang around the annoying mom if you held a gun to my head and the other kid in the class is a lot younger than J. But on the bright side, after all this drama that has gone on between the rain, the meltdowns, the resistance to getting in the water, the annoying mom, the disappointment of no possible playdate friends, I've forgotten all about my fear of being in a bathing suit in public. So that's something.......=)

Oh and one last thing, I thought I would share the fabulous pictures that my husband took of his son and the mother of his child engaging in a milestone activity together...................
We are the one's off to the left in the background behind the hot instructors. And yes, these are the only two pictures he took. Yeah, it just keeps getting better and better this whole swim class thing!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mom of toddler seeks playdate friends.


My son is 2 1/2 and is in desperate need of some friends. Quite frankly he is sick of looking at only mine and my husbands faces all day every day. Up to this point our playdates have been with other kids in our families or kids of my own friendships. This is a problem though because all of our family with kids and our friends with kids live at least 2 hours away from where we live. So on most days its just J and I playing at home together. I swear J can hear Jason coming down the street and about plows through the front door when he sees his daddy is home and he has another face besides mine to look at for a few hours before bedtime.
I am the oldest of four siblings and I never remember not having someone to play with when I was little. My brother and I are only 15 months apart so we pretty much kept each other entertained from an early age. We also had cousins and lots of neighborhood kids to play with everyday. I don’t think the term "playdate" even existed back in the early 80’s. You pretty much just went outside and found your BFF in the neighborhood and played till the sun went down. Well my friends, times have changed!
Nowadays finding playdates is like dating. You have to put yourself out there and are in constant search of the perfect match. You will probably go on a few bad dates before you find someone you like and you have to be prepared for rejection. Maybe I’m the only one that feels embarrassed about the way playdates occur during the toddler years. But it feels really awkward to me to ask some random parents that I’ve seen once or twice at toddler story time at the library or swim class if they want to be friends and have a playdate.
When was the last time that I had to make a new friend? Hmmmm……I can’t even remember. But in order for my son to make new friends, I will have to make friends first. And I am discovering that my "let’s be friends" skills are really rusty.  But because I love my son more than air, it’s pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and venture into the world of child-parent socializing.
In order to make this whole playdate thing work there are a few things to think about ahead of time. The kids have to get along…The parents have to get along…Must have shared hygiene beliefs…Acceptable location…etc.
I have a few concerns. I’ve found that mom’s who have two or more kids have that amazing ability to take everything in stride and that can sometimes make me look like a hovering lunatic when it comes to my son. I don’t like looking like a lunatic. But at the same time I am not willing to forgo certain things just to make a new friend. There is no way I am going to just drop off "The Reason I live and Breathe" at somebody’s house that I’ve only met a few times. Which as I understand some mom’s are totally comfortable doing right from the start. Does that make me a hovering lunatic? Oh well if it does, but that is just not happening! Now if I wanted to request a full background check along with fingerprints and a complete tour of their house proving there are no sinkholes or alcoholic relatives hanging around on the couch……That might be going a little over the line, OR IS IT????
I know eventually I’m going to have to cut the cord and let my child venture out into the world without me hovering close by to make sure his every want and need are met without him even having to ask, but for now he is stuck with me and so are any new playdate mommies. It’s a package deal until he is a little older, like 18, just kidding!
Hopefully, I will meet other moms that have fantastic kids that share my lunacy about new playdate drop offs and if I’m lucky, have some adult girl talk about important things in the world…ya know, like, the Real Housewives of New Jersey or the new Twilight saga movie Eclipse that is coming out soon. =)
So, I will keep you posted on my playdate seeking journey. We start swim class next week and I’m already preparing ways to put myself out there for my child’s sake, hopefully without looking like a stalker. Until then......
Any playdate stories you’d like to share? And what makes a playdate successful at your house? Any advice welcome!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Tag-Along Blog Hop

Welcome to this week's Tuesday Tag-Along blog hop, hosted by Twee Poppets Review and Giveaway! This is a great way to discover new blogs while increasing the number of followers for your own blog. Please feel free to grab the TTA button for your blogroll to help bring more bloggers to this blog hop!

Tuesday Tag-Along


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flashback of Being a New Mom

I took a trip to the OBGYN's office recently for my yearly checkup and to discuss preparations for our second pregnancy. Why is it that our yearly check up never gets easier? You start dreading it about a week before. Then you start thinking, should I call and cancel? Maybe I should just put it off for another week or so...but if you do that, you just have to dread it for another week. So I went! 

Like most OBGYN offices mine is quite large and filled with many women awaiting an ultrasound, a glucose test, or the standard pap smear. It's usually pretty quiet, with most women texting away or pretending to read a magazine.
As I sat there awaiting my name to be called to discuss preparations for my second pregnancy, I looked around at the mostly friendly faces and couldn't help but notice all of the pregnant women. It reminded me of my last visit to the OBGYN which was about 2 1/2  years ago for my post pregnancy follow up visit six weeks after I had my son. (I know, I know, it’s terrible I hadn’t been in for an annual in almost three years. I told you I dread going every time.) I remember stumbling into the waiting room with an oversized purse hanging off my shoulder, a diaper bag stuffed with every possible thing an infant could need over an hour's time, and a car seat carrier loaded with toys, a blanket, and oh yeah, a baby, I was undoubtedly the center of attention. I was hoping they were taking note of the vast difference 6 weeks can make. Here they were, sitting alone, holding on to their one, tiny purse, quietly texting their husbands about how they HAVE to have pizza for dinner tonight while they watch American Idol and sitting right across from them is me and J,  taking up three seats and half the floor space. I wanted to say to them, "See how crazy I look? See how tired I look? See these awesome sweatpants I'm sporting and this hot mess of a ponytail I have to wear because I didn't have time to wash my hair this morning? This will be you next month! I know you're sick of being pregnant, but enjoy every minute you have left to sit through a meal or television show uninterrupted! And if you think you are getting bad sleep now, just wait til your new little one joins you!"
Remembering that moment scared the hell out of me, here I was without my toddler, who I now trust to stay at home with his daddy without the fear of being dropped on his head without me present, and I was here to discuss starting all over again with another baby. We have just now started to regain some of our sanity from the past 2 1/2 years and we want to start all over. Are we crazy? I think it is scarier the second time around because now I know what to expect during  pregnancy, the delivery and the blur of the first few months that comes from total sleep deprivation.  And on top of all that, I will now have a toddler to look after. So the naps I desperately remember needing in the first three months last time can pretty much be counted out. And God forbid I am deathly ill again like last time because I have no idea how I would get through that while taking care of a toddler.
 

Shortly after having my son I remember thinking, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL US HOW MUCH A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING! Now to be fair, I did have almost everyone who had kids warn me that a baby changes everything, but they did not tell me specifics! They did not tell me that sometimes babies don't nap for three hours a day. They did not tell me that when a baby wakes up in the middle of the night, sometimes they are awake for two or three hours straight. They did not tell me that if I am lucky enough to shower, it will take me over two hours to get ready. They did not tell me that every time I get to sit down to finally eat a meal that this will be the exact time that the baby decides to wake up screaming or will need to be fed. I may not have to get up every few hours anymore but having a toddler comes with a whole other set of challenges to deal with. 

But even after my terrifying FLASHBACK episode I am still excited about starting the process of adding a new member to our little family. I hope through this blog I can help prepare a mommy-to-be or a new mom understand, HOW a baby changes everything. Because that old saying is just way too vague to mentally prepare anyone for this "adventure".  And to all the moms out there who already have more than one child maybe you can offer me some advice as I find my way through the ups and downs of this crazy, exciting, roller coaster ride of motherhood for the second time with a toddler in tow.
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