Tuesday, August 31, 2010

so comfortable

New Niece

We have a new little girl in the Shetler family! She arrived at 5:01 pm yesterday and has blond fuzzy hair. Although Joseph named her "Merry Christmas Mickey Mouse" quite some time ago, we have convinced him that it will be okay for everyone to call her "Scout" for short. Here are the details:

Name: Scout Ellen Strand
Weight: 7 lbs. 10 oz.
Height: 20 1/2 inches

Monday, August 30, 2010

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Joseph asked for some lemonade and while I was getting it for him, he was looking in the refrigerator . . . . and then I heard him say this:

"Lemonade, Lemonade what do you see? I see milk looking at me . . . "

interpretting Joseph

says: " momma! I can come show ya!"
means: "please come see this!"

says: "I want to hold ya!"
means: "please hold me!"

says: "whatcha so funny about?"
means: "what are you laughing at?"

Yesterday morning after we got home from church I went to my closet and changed into yoga pants and a t-shirt. When I came out:
J1: "wow momma! you look so nice!!!!!"
He told me at least twice more before his nap how nice I looked. Really? Because this morning I was dressed up for church and now I have on yoga pants and a t-shirt. Later that evening I put my church clothes back on for community group. Yep. Nothing. I guess Joseph prefers the casual look.

5 months old!

Baby Jacob is 5 months old today! He is such a sweet baby and breaks into a huge, beaming smile every time he sees his momma, daddy and big brother. He can roll both directions and scoots so it is very hard to keep him confined to his play mat. He has been enjoying his exersaucer and is learning how to play with all the toys. He loves grabbing things and they usually go straight in his mouth. He is very vocal and loves the sound of his voice. He loves "chatting" with his brother. He sits up in his bumbo seat for meals and, in addition to rice cereal, enjoys avocados, sweet potatoes and bananas. He especially loves sweet potatoes and bananas mixed together. Since the addition of solid foods to his diet he has been going to bed at 8 pm with Joseph and getting up around 7 am. We are packing away the 6 month clothes and moving into the 9 month sizes.
He is also very, very, very excited that his little girl cousin is going to be born today. They are going to have so much fun growing up together!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

maybe we should have named him Linus

Joseph's first slumber party

Since Little T has been coming over after school he and Joseph have become good friends. This past week we arranged for he and his brother to stay here for a sleepover so their parents could go out for a movie and sleep in this morning. The boys had so much fun playing, watching WALL-E and playing with the Etch-a-Sketches that the boys' dad brought along for them all. Finally it was bedtime and everyone snuggled down for a story.
The bedtime process started about 8:45 and after a couple of trips upstairs to "shhhhh" I ended up laying down on the floor of the room for a bit. Finally at 9:45 both of our friends were sleeping while our kiddo was still awake and looking at a book (which I was unaware was in his bed and I was also surprised at how well you can actually see in there with the lights off and door shut.) Since all three of the kids have a 8 pm bedtime during the week I expected that they would sleep pretty well this morning. (insert tired laugh here). At 5:40 am I was sitting on our couch feeding the baby (who coincidentally woke up crying in the middle of the night for the first time ever!) when I heard giggling, then jumping, then toy playing upstairs. And thus our day begins.

Morning play time

Friday, August 27, 2010

love this hat on my boys

Thursday, August 26, 2010

overheard convo upstairs

Little T: "Joseph - Jesus loves everyone in the whole world. Isn't that nice?"

I make kids sad

J1:"I need to go potty!"
me: "ok! go potty!"
J1: "I'm all done. I don't need to wash my hands."
me: "um, yes you do. That's the rule. When you go potty, you wash your hands."
J1: (walking back to the bathroom with his bottom lip out and head down) "you make me so sad momma."
me: "that's my job kiddo."

On the menu - August 26

Here are a few new recipes we are trying this week and next:

Homemade Noodles & Peanut sauce salad bowl w/ chicken

I am going to make my own noodles for this recipe and am adding chicken for my meat-loving boys.

Pork Chop Suey
I bought a whole pork loin at the store last week because it was on a great sale. I cut half of it up as chops which we had last night and will use the other half for this recipe.

Also - after my recent post regarding the frozen garlic/onion chicken stock I received this great kitchen tip via email from Christopher's Aunt Janet.

"I keep a ziplock baggie going in the freezer for “soup”. It may this time have chicken and pintos and corn and mushrooms and next time have limas, lamb and tomatoes etc. You get the idea. Just too hard to throw out the veggies, but I have found it is the “pot liquor” from the veggies is where all the flavor is. Then I adjust the seasoning to my taste and add whatever is in the fridge. Actually wish sometimes I had the actual ingredients when it turns out really great!"

Currently my ziplock baggie contains the following: rice, broccoli, limas and peas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Helpful Tips

My new favorite blog to read is Small Notebook. I have been on an organize/purge/re-organize binge of late and have gotten some great ideas off of this blog.

My latest project - getting rid of Joseph's crafts/art projects/coloring masterpieces.

I have been loath to throw away any of the beautiful creations that he brings home from church, school and the library. I dutifully hang up the many finger paintings, water paintings and otherwise markered, crayoned and stickered papers he creates at home. But they are beginning to pile up . . . and really, am I going to to just box them up and keep them forever?

So I took this tip to heart. This morning Joseph and I dug out all the pieces of art we could find and made a pile on the living room floor. Then we both got out our cameras and went to work capturing the individual pages. Some of the items required Joseph to pose with them. I categorized all the pictures on the computer and we disposed of the originals (except for a favored few).

I am so excited about the de-cluttering we did this morning!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The UPs and DOWNs of solid foods

Now the poo goes straight UP the back.

BUT - when I put him DOWN for bed last night at 8 pm . . . he slept until 7 this morning. (While there are many upsides to having children that require lots of sleep. . . there are also downsides. Like the grumpiness that abounds when there is a lack of sleep. And, while I get lots and lots done during long afternoon naps, there is the occasion where we miss out on doing fun afternoon things because of the super long naps.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

snuggle time with daddy

Saturday, August 21, 2010

since he can no longer be contained on his playmat . . .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mama's new job

It is so nice and convenient that we live right next door to the elementary school that Joseph will attend in two years. We have friends from church whose oldest child is a Kindergartener this year and, since they both work, I have agreed to go pick him up after school and bring him to our house until they can pick him up.

Yesterday was the first day of school. It had just stopped raining but was still overcast so I decided to drive over. I left my house at 3:45 and was in the pick-up line at 3:46. I sat, not moving, in the pick-up line for a half hour. Then I inched through and picked up little T. We got home at 4:45.

Today was a bright, sunny, hot day. I popped baby in the stroller and we walked over. We left the house at 3:45 and got there at 3:50. We waited at the door while the buses were loaded and collected little T at 4:10. We were back home at 4:15.

We will definitely be walking as much as possible from now on and we should have this down pat soon!

sprinkler fun

Toy Story 3 - on a budget

So I've been dying to see Toy Story 3 but taking a family out to a movie is sooo expensive. And leaving the kiddos at home is just as expensive when you account for a baby sitter. (Joseph, Jacob and I were able to enjoy some excursions to the theater earlier this summer as several of our area theaters participate in a Free Summer Movie Series and I knew Joseph would love to go see Toy Story 3 too.)

During a visit to the grocery store I noticed that Kelloggs was having a promo on their cereal boxes. Each box has a code which you enter on a website and get a point. 6 points gets you a free ticket to Toy Story. I started doing the math in my head. . . and with boxes of cereal costing $3+ . . . . well, you're spending $18 on cereal to get a free ticket. Except I had coupons. . . and the store was doing an additional promo. . . . and it ends up that I was able to spend $1 per box of cereal. So that is one movie ticket for $6.

We decided that it would work best to go to a late afternoon matinee. So after Joseph woke up from his nap on Wednesday, we headed to the theater. Christopher left work a little early and met us there.

How it all shook down:

9 boxes of cereal later. . . . . . . (spent $9)
6 points redeemed for a movie ticket voucher (worth up to $12)
3 points redeemed for $5 in concessions cash

At the ticket window. . . . . matinee movie prices are $5
The nice ticket people were somehow able to turn our $12/1 ticket voucher into 2 tickets
We paid $5 for the 4 of us to walk into the movie.

At the concession stand. . . . we ordered a large popcorn and 2 large drinks.
Total was $18.50 - $5 voucher = $13.50
We refilled our popcorn and drinks on the way out. (we have 2 gallon size ziplock bags of movie popcorn in the pantry - yum).

So - total so far:
$9 on cereal
$5 on movie
$13.50 on snacks
TOTAL = $27.50

And then, on the way to the car, I found $5 on the ground.

Garlic/Onion Chicken Stock

Last night we ate the very delicious 20-40 Garlic Clove Chicken from the crock pot. After dinner I filled up 2 lunch containers and still had a few little pieces of chicken and much of the sauce left. It wasn't enough for another lunch but it was too much to throw away. And I hated the thought of throwing away all the yummy garlic and onion goodness. So I just put the whole thing in the fridge.

This morning I did this:

Got the crock pot back out and lined a small bowl with a plastic grocery store baggie from my stash. (aside: I take my own reusable bags to the store but inevitably arrive home with something in a plastic bag. So I keep them in my pantry for use when I'm taking the skin off of chicken or some other gross thing that I don't want to throw straight in the trash.)Then I sifted through the crock pot's contents with my fingers and removed every bone and other misc. yuckiness.I used my immersion blender to puree` the remaining broth, chicken, garlic and onion.And voila! I have a great soup starter in my freezer awaiting colder weather.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the menu - August 19

My sister called a little bit ago on her way to the grocery store to remind me that I haven't posted this weeks menu. I'm glad I can help with her menu inspirations as well.

We are having a few repeats this week and tomorrow night we'll be having Breakfast for Dinner. Here are a couple of links for the new recipes we are trying out . . . which happen to be for the crock pot.

Currently in the crock pot for dinner tonight: 20-40 Garlic Clove Chicken and I'm thinking of making this Broccoli Souffle as a side.

On Monday we're trying this: Orange Honey Tilapia

Yesterday I made these delicious buns.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

nursery makeover

Click here to see my sister's amazing nursery makeover. I love what they did.

Monday, August 16, 2010

living room floor

I'm sitting at my desk in the kitchen. I look into the living room and see this sweet thing sucking his thumb and looking at me. I need to capture it on film so I grab my camera and zoom way in. This accomplishes 2 things. 1) close-up picture of baby. 2) avoiding the clutter on the living room floor. Then I decided that the living room floor isn't actually that bad since Joseph only has out a train and his Cars Memory game. So - here is the whole floor. :)

movin' on up. . .

to the upstairs bedroom.
because someone has obviously outgrown the bassinet. (*sob*) I really do love having our master bedroom on the first floor of our house. It's so convenient . . . and quite honestly, after having a c-section it would have been very hard to climb all the steps multiple times a day. It was getting exhausting during the last month of pregnancy as well. However, the kiddos' rooms are upstairs. This is probably why we delayed as long as we have in putting Jacob in his room at night. Well - that - and Joseph is still using the crib mattress on his toddler bed. We had every intention of having Joseph in his bunk bed by now but it just hasn't happened. So we bit the bullet over the weekend and bought another crib mattress. Jacob has spent 2 successful (10 hour) nights in his crib. I still have the bassinet set up for the occasional nap. But I had to smile a little bit ago when I laid him down and he stretched out (thus the picture). He almost touches both ends.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

natalie's baby shower - pictures

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kitchen tips

Prep once - eat thrice. . . .

Saturday night is pizza night. This is a tradition the Shetler family has carried on for many years and Christopher & I jumped on board. The point is . . . after working all day on projects around the house, the very last thing you want to worry about is: What is for dinner? Of course ordering the pizza would be so much easier. . . . but homemade pizza is incredibly yummy and easier on the ole budget. I've come up with a few shortcuts to save more time and money.

#1 - I used to pile a whole pound of sausage, onion and bell pepper onto one pizza. I realized this was just way to much. So now I cook one pound of sausage and put half on the pizza. The other half either goes in a bag and into the freezer for next week's pizza, or it gets made into sausage gravy for on biscuits the next morning.

#2 - I chop up the onion and pepper and divide in half. One half also gets put in the freezer for next week. (note* I prefer fresh veggies on our pizza . . . but I prefer to not throw out spoiled veggies even more . . . so into the freezer they go). On occasion I will still not use quite all of the pepper and onion on the pizza (depending on their size) so I will put a lid on the prep bowl and stick them in the fridge to be used in a breakfast frittata in the next couple of days.

and our yummy pizza with its pepperoni, hot sausage, onion, bell pepper, banana pepper. . .
and cheese!


This week I also tried my hand at some homemade English Muffins. Christopher found this recipe on Budget Bytes. Although the entire process takes awhile, it really wasn't too difficult. I need to get a larger biscuit cutter and at one point my dough was rolled a little thin. Lessons for next time!

Anyway - this morning Christopher fixed this for breakfast.

Friday, August 13, 2010

some Joseph-ness

Here is another glimpse at Joseph's OCD tendencies. While in Indy, Aunt Natalie let him play with some of the toys/gifts she has received for his cousin. He was having so much fun playing with the blocks in the living room. When we went to check on him - this is what we found.
On a recent library day they happened to be having a book fair. Joseph saw the "special treat" corner and really wanted a prize. We looked at all the options and he finally settled on a packet of plastic pointer hands. (I know - so weird). That night he was passing them out to everyone. I jokingly stuck mine in my pony tail. Joseph thought this was so cool and - yep, you guessed it - he needed to have a pointy finger holder/pony tail too!

Homemade Ravioli

On our menu tonight was Garlic Sausage & Pesto Ravioli with Parmesan Cream Sauce. This was my first attempt at making homemade ravioli. My sisters gave me some great pasta-making tools for my birthday this year. Among them - a pasta roller attachment for my Kitchen Aid and ravioli presses. So - I found a pasta recipe and mixed up my dough. Then I used the roller to make strips for my presses. I filled the ravioli with my homemade pesto and let it dry on the counter until it was time to put the meal all together. The best part of this meal was the cost. Although labor intensive, the dish itself was very inexpensive. I used a garlic sausage that my parents had left in my freezer during their last visit (thanks!). The pesto I also got out of my freezer - and if you remember my recipe - is also loaded with spinach. The pasta dough takes 2 cups of flour and 6 eggs. Toss in a little heavy cream and some grated parmesan. Delicious!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


making baby food

it's that time again. time to whip out the food processor and ice cube trays full of yummy baby food goodness. Jacob has declared that avocados are yum, yum, yummy!

artistic talent

yes - I realize it is just on a Doodle Pro. But that is seriously a good tree for an almost-4-year-old. I'm not biased at all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On the menu - August 9

And now back to real life - btw - we have officially been Arkansans for 1 year today.

Monday -
Baked Potato Bar with Pulled Pork BBQ, Onions, Jalapenos, Cheddar Cheese

Tuesday -
Baked Tilapia
Risotto with Parmesan & Peas

Wednesday -
Chicken & Mole` Poblano (my "mom" gave me her fabu sauce while we were in IN)
Mexican Rice
Refried Beans
(My recipes for all of these items make more than we will be able to eat for dinner and lunch the next day so I will most likely be freezing half for a future meal.)

Thursday -
Tater Tots
Steamed Broccoli

Friday -
Garlic Sausage & Pesto Ravioli with a parmesan cream sauce
(my sisters gave me a bunch of items to get me started on my homemade pasta-making quest so the ravioli will be attempt #1)

Saturday - Homemade Pizza night!

Sunday -
lunch - burritos
dinner - Ham & Potato Casserole

Monday -
Steaks with carmelized onions

I just realized that I don't have links for any of my recipes for this week. And that's because I don't actually use recipes for any of these things. . . . . they're created out of the ole noggin as I go. So if you're interested in any of these meals, let me know and I can try to write something down for you.

vacation post - Indy

We spent our last day in South Bend relaxing at Megan & Chris's home, lunching at their country club and then spending the evening at the charity auction as I mentioned before. On Friday morning we hit the road for Indianapolis. We had previously planned to go home by way of Chicago but then realized that the Cubs game we wanted to attend was precisely at Joseph's nap time. We will definitely reschedule that trip. Natalie & Jon recently purchased a new home and we were anxious to see it (read: I was anxious to help set up the nursery). Megan & Chris ended up also driving down on Friday evening and we all spent the rest of the weekend together. The boys shopped for "man cave" things and golfed, while we girls (and the kiddos) shopped for baby gear, put together the crib and organized the nursery. I was so glad to be there to help and can't wait to go back in a few weeks after my sweet niece is born. Here are a few pics of the nursery.
And you can check here for some close up pictures of the bedding I made for her.