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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fast Food

A few friends of mine currently or used to post favorite recipes on their blogs and I have found myself looking forward to them. I like to read recipes and cookbooks, but the actual cooking of the food itself is not my favorite thing in the world (I takes me what, 45 minutes, an hour, to cook dinner and about 6 bites for Travis to finish it. I know he appreciates it, but still...). I'm trying to be better about doing it more on a regular basis, and have decided to share some of my favorites with you. I like variety, and I like to cook things that are quick and easy, and use simple ingredients and a minimum of pots and pans. I don't promise that I'll add them in any sort of scheduled fashion, but whenever I make something we particularly like I'll post the recipe.

So, here's the first one:

FAST CHICKEN FAJITAS

(courtesy of "Everyday Food" magazine - yes, I subscribe to this. See, I told you I like to read about cooking!)

Maybe you already have this in your recipe file, but I liked how everything is broiled, which means that if you line your baking sheets with foil you have almost no dishes to wash!

Serves: 4

What You'll Need:
> 1 1/2 lbs. chicken cutlets, about 8 (these need to be thin)
> 2 Tbl. vegetable oil
> 1 tsp. chili powder
> salt and ground pepper
> 3 bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed and thinly sliced
> 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
> 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I love Trader Joe's jarred, minced garlic - I use it instead of garlic cloves in every recipe I make)
> 8 flour tortillas

What to do:

  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Arrange chicken on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and rub with 1 Tbl. of oil. Sprinkle with chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until chicken is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

  2. On another rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss peppers, onion, garlic with 1 Tbl. oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil, tossing occasionally, until veggies are crisp-tender and slightly charred, 6-8 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, thinly slice chicken crosswise. Stack and wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high until warm, about 1 minute.

  4. Serve fajitas with with fresh cilantro leaves, sour cream, and lime wedges.

Enjoy!

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, Yeah!

Savannah was sitting in her stroller a couple of weeks ago and totally blew us away when she counted from 1-15 completely out of the blue. Neither Travis nor I had heard her count any higher than 3 without each number being prompted by us first. That night she counted over and over and over, but since then, she almost always refuses to do it for us or anyone else. I did it though - after a good dinner and lots of singing (by me) of her favorite songs, Jesus Loves Me, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and the ABC's, she was full and happy and started counting.

Remember, she just turned 2. I think we may have a genius on our hands.(Okay, I might be a tad bit biased.)

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

A visit from BIG ELMO!

Last Saturday Savannah got to go to her friend Ethan's 2nd birthday party. The kids had tons of fun running around; Ethan had gotten two inflatable ball pits that were a huge hit and Rachel and Mike did a great job with the decorations and food.


The absolute highlight of the day for Savannah though was a surprise visit from "Big Elmo!" (Isn't it amazing how he only travels out from Sesame Street when there's a birthday...)


Ethan was a little unsure of him, but hey, if you had a giant, furry red guy from TV appear in your living room, you wouldn't want to get too close either!

Then there was Savannah, who was ecstatic! She has been talking almost daily about Big Elmo since he came to her birthday back in September. As soon as he came into the room, she started waving excitedly and saying "Hi, Big Elmo!" (I have a feeling that this costume is going to get a lot of use! Thanks Mona!!)

Ethan got lots of fun toys, and the kids did a good job of not "helping" him open them.

What a fun day! Happy birthday Ethan!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloween - only 2 weeks late...

Yes, this is little late...oh well...!

Like last year, on Halloween night we went down the street to Christ Community Church and visited their Halloween Fun Fest. It's a large church and a GIANT carnival event - 30 decked out trunk-or-treat cars, five bounce houses, three huge rooms full of carnival games for different ages, food, etc. This year was just as crowded, but oh what a difference a year made for Savannah! It's really days like these that it hits me how much she's grown and changed in such a short amount of time.

What a cute little ballerina/princess/50's girl! (We got it all - apparently her costume's identity was a little unclear this year!)

She got a load of candy and wasn't giving it up for anything even when her basket got so full she could barely lift it and had to drag it on the ground. We tried twice to empty some of it out into the basket of her stroller while she was distracted, but both times she noticed right away. At one point she was crawling on her knees trying to get it out while the stroller was moving. The strangest part is that fact that all that candy is almost gone (hmmm, I think Halloween may be one of my new favorite holidays, at least until next year when she is old enough to realize that mommy eats her candy every night!)

You know she was having fun playing the carnival games when she was willing to wait patiently for each one in a line five or six kids long. Again though, I think the candy at the end of each game was a bit of a motivator! Just like Bailey who will do anything for food, Savannah will behave perfectly for candy. Is it wrong to bribe your toddler like you do your dog?

This was a perfect apple throw - maybe Travis' dream of a softball star isn't too far fetched. (I'd say she is destined to play basketball if not for the fact that she's in the 40th percentile for height!)

Travis came up with our costumes (could you have guessed?) and I was a good sport and went along with it.
We got a few comments about the state of our marriage during the playoffs, or whatever it was that just finished up a few weeks ago. I just nodded and pretended like I actually knew what they were talking about...Needless to say, I'm not the baseball fan in the family.

Luckily, we made it through most of the night with no rain, but about 15 minutes before we left it started coming down. We didn't get too soaked, but it was enough to make Savannah's hair look like something from the back of a poodle. At that point I was thankful I agreed to wear the baseball gear, or we would have had matching hairdos. Ah, the joys of curly hair!

Friday, October 31, 2008

American Idol, here she comes!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The ants go marching one by one...

or in our case, fifty by fifty!

Our annual winter visitors are here, but this year they decided to bring the whole colony and apparently our living room happens to be in their way. Instead of going around it on their trip to who-knows-where, they have decided to march a path right through it. I have swept, scrubbed, and searched for every hidden Cheerio and drop of spilled juice and have found nothing! They are coming in from under the baseboard at one end of the room, crossing over to the the area rug and following the edge all the way around to the other side where they cut across to the baseboard at the other end of the room and then disappear under it. It's quite a trek!

I kill them all at least three times a day, have sprayed poison and put stakes outside and even put poison out inside when we're not home and yet, they still march on. Savannah has made friends with them all and is at this moment trying to kiss them on the computer screen. I've taught her how to say "Die ants!" but I don't think she really understands what that means.


I might be able to just give up and accept their presence if not for the fact that I keep feeling like they're crawling on me - and sometimes they are! YUCK! Any tips on getting rid of unwelcome house guests of the insect kind?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beautiful Ballerina

It's been awhile, but here it is...a new post. We've been a little busy lately and the computer has been in constant use, but for school not for fun. Travis is finally finished with his online class and lucky me, I still have a year and eight months until I finish BTSA (so that will bring my mandatory schooling to 3 1/2 years post-college with no additional degrees with only the possibility of a teacher's salary - what's wrong with this picture?), but at least now my assignments are almost caught up to where they should be. So, all that to say hopefully I'll be posting more frequently, though don't hold me to that - November is looking busy already!

This past Saturday was Creekside's annual Harvest Festival. It was a long day and was the culmination of lots of planning and shopping, but it turned out fantastically. Our ABC umbrellas definitely looked puny next to the 20 foot Cat in the Hat hat but our game was super popular with water-loving toddlers and Travis and Jeremy look stunning with their fancy hair.

Savannah wore her light-up ballerina dress Auntie Ashley gave her for her birthday and spend the afternoon dancing away. We lost track of her for a few minutes at one point (I swear Travis nodded when I told him I was leaving and he needed to keep an eye on her!) and we found her across the park at the bounce houses showing off her twirling moves to everyone over there.

She had fun at the "pumpkin patch" picking a pumpkin to decorate and then helping the ladies line back up the ones that had gotten out of place.

What a cute little pumpkin!

Daddy helped her decorate.


With only the possible exception of the bounce house she threw a fit about getting out of, Savannah's favorite part of the whole day was the CANDY. Someone (besides mommy :) ) has a sweet tooth! It wasn't long before she figured out how to take off the wrappers and every time we turned around she was trying to eat another piece. I tried...

Yummmmm
I think Charlotte wanted a sucker too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mini Thrills

I should have published this with the other post about Savannah's party, but I've been busy and a little behind. Better late than never though!


We wanted to do something on the 29th, Savannah's actual birthday, since her party was on the Saturday before. I knew that she wouldn't know the difference - it would just be a typical Monday for her - but I would know, and I still wanted to celebrate it. So, after convincing Travis that Savannah didn't want to go to Tony Romas for her birthday dinner, he decided her second choice would be John's Incredible Pizza Company.

After a lovely buffet of salad, pasta, and cheap pizza we headed over to the rides where Savannah went into super-hyper overload mode. The last time we were at either John's or Chucky Cheese's, she really was still to little and too scared to go on most of the stuff by herself and we're just a little too big to go with her. Well, what a difference a few months makes! Savannah wanted to go on everything and wanted to do it "myself" (her new favorite word after "no").



After tackling the frogs, rockets, horses, we headed over to the big one - the kiddie roller coaster. I was a little nervous to see how she'd like it; while waiting in line we watched a girl her age crying hysterically during the entire ride, but it turns out we have a little daredevil on our hands. She screamed for most of the ride, but it was out of excitement, and took a turn with both Daddy and Mommy. Little does she know that this is probably the biggest roller coaster Travis will ever take her on - he has sworn his days of petrifying (for him!) amusement park rides are over.

Luckily though, I've found my little roller coaster buddy!

It was a fun night and a birthday to remember...for us anyway, and she can always look back at pictures!

Here's a video so you can share in the fun, but be warned, my lack of computer video editing knowledge means that it's the entire ride. Sit back and enjoy watching us go around and around and around yet again.


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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Savannah!

We now officially have a two year old in our midst! Even though her official birthday was not until the 29th, Savannah had a Sesame Street party on Saturday to celebrate the big day. She was thrilled, though I'm not really sure she knew that everyone was there just for her!

Lots of our friends and family came out the the park in Folsom where we BBQ'd and hung out in the beautiful, if not a little hot, weather (how often is it 95 degrees at the end of September?).

Since Savannah is obsessed with Elmo and Sesame Street, Travis thought it would be super fun to rent an adult-sized Elmo costume for the party...until we found out that it would cost about $300. His mom came to the rescue though and did a fantastic job of making Travis an Elmo costume from scratch.

Savannah loves people in costumes...from a safe distance...but even so I was a little worried about how she'd react to a giant Elmo showing up at her party. Like I expected, she was smiling at first but then freaked out a little when she realized that he was getting closer. With my mom to protect her, she let him stand next to her and even touched his hand. After a couple minutes though, she suddenly decided that it was time for him to go, waved him away with a "bye-bye." Despite her apprehension, he must have made quite an impression; for the rest of the day and anytime anyone has mentioned her birthday since (at church, on the phone with Grandma, after waking up in the morning...) Savannah tells all about "Big Elmo" who was at her party. Get ready kids, Big Elmo might make another visit at Halloween!

Unlike last year when she was pretty indifferent, Savannah was opening presents faster than I could read the card. True to her age, after about five seconds with one new toy she was ready to see what was in the next one.

She blew out the candle like a pro and everyone dove into the Elmo and Abby cupcakes.

We're so thankful for all the awesome gifts and for everyone that was able to come! You couldn't have convinced me last year, but I really understand now how much the first birthday party is really just for the parents. This year though, things were definitely different. Savannah had so much fun playing with all her little friends and actually participated in everything. I have to say, I think this year was mostly for her and only a little bit for us!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thank goodness for washable markers!

I think the title says it all...



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All dressed up with nowhere to go...

The other morning Savannah decided to put on all of her dress-up clothes (she had another hat on underneath the white one and a skirt that you can't see) and then picked out shoes for me to put on her. She got very upset when I wouldn't open the door for her to go outside. Don't you just hate it when you've got the perfect wand and 3 purses picked out to match your outfit and don't have anywhere fun to go!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Finger Lickin' Good

I'm a little bit behind in posting this, but I still wanted you to share in the fun...

Over Labor Day weekend, we spent a couple of days in Reno for their Best in the West Rib Fest (or something like that - I'm not sure that's the official name!). We met up with or friends Anna and Keone and Mike and Rachel and ate, ate, and ate for two days. Thousands and thousands of other people also showed up for this street event where award-winning ribs and sauces were sold from booths along with all of the other typical fair food. We had no choice but to try some from several different vendors in order to pick a favorite, and of course Savannah had to try them all too!

We took a break from the heat and the crowds at the big fountain where Savannah would have gotten completely drenched had I let her. (Next year we'll bring a bathing suit!)



That evening, after afternoon naps and dinner (we ATE for two days...) we went bowling along with Anna and Keone.

Can you believe I broke 100 - my best score ever by far! I'm sure I have my "little" good luck charm to thank for that!

Awww, I love hugs! Anna, Savannah's new favorite friend.

And of course, no trip to Reno is complete without a visit to Circus Circus. At least there, unlike the fair, you actually don't have to spend your child's college fund in order to win them a cheap dollar-store stuffed animal. I guess they figure you've probably handed over enough of your money to them playing the big kid games in the casino.

I think Savannah liked the elephants in the entry better than the game area itself!