Tuesday, May 31, 2011

sloppy joes…

I’m looking for easy, flavorful meals that can go with the fresh, prepped fruits and veggies that I try to keep on hand in the fridge in the summer. So tonight we had sloppy joes, apple slices, and green peas… (Pickings were a little slim around here after a long weekend away. I had to borrow an onion from a friend down the street. =)

I found a great recipe on AllRecipes and made some modifications. I think this is going to become a family standby…

Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground beef

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. chopped green bell pepper (or omit and double the onion)

1 T. brown sugar (less if your sauces are plenty sweet)

1 T. vinegar

½ c. ketchup (we like Trader Joe’s organic)

½ c. bbq sauce (we like T.J’s smoky sauce)

2 tablespoons mustard, ground or prepared

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the ground beef, onion, and green pepper. Cook until beef is browned, and drain off excess grease. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup and mustard, and season with cloves and salt. Simmer for 20-30 minutes on low. Serve on hamburger buns or pitas.

Monday, May 30, 2011

my baby’s 2nd birthday…

IMG_1043 My baby boy turned 2 this Sunday. Sniff. I snuggled him and kissed his little blonde head yesterday morning, and I couldn’t help but think about the first time I held him in my arms. Now he can speak in full sentences, do puzzles like a pro, and even ask us, “How was your day?” =)

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to have a birthday. No need to plan a party… we can just go to the beach to celebrate! I made up a batch of Evan’s current favorite dessert, homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, and we packed up and went to my parent’s cabin on the sound.

I baked cookies all evening the night before his birthday, and David taped up balloons. I made cherry Jello jigglers in the shapes of sea creatures (using the cookie cutters from his playdough set.) I love doing little things to prep for their birthdays… I find joy in it.


We went to the aquarium for Evan’s birthday, and he was SOOOO excited. He ran from tank to tank, squealing and yelling “Fishy! Fishy!” He was a ball of 2-year-old overstimulation.


I took Seth to the dollar store to pick out presents for Evan. I told him he could get 3 things. He kept seeing new things he wanted to get for Evan, and he’d have to choose and put something else back. We finally ended up with a ball, a boat, and some small airplanes.


Seth is big on playing in the water in front of the cabin right now. He’ll spend hours out there, practicing his new kicking and paddling techniques in the shallow water. Evan, however, isn’t such a big fan. The small waves intimidate him at this point. BUT… he spent an hour throwing oyster rocks in the water. Dad and David kept pulling them out and he’d throw them again and again… and again.

Happy Birthday, my little one. Thank you for making Seth a brother. And thank you for showing me how good being the mom of boys can be…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yes, homeschooled children are odd…

I just found this article… and I agree with a good bit in it. =) I was raised by an unlikely looking rebel who questioned and rejected lots of conventional norms. (Home church and home school anyone?) I suppose it’s not surprising that I question a lot and don’t accept a lot of conventional ways of doing things, either. Now I know why I look so weird to myself sometimes! =)

There’s a down side, though. There are times to conform and get along, and I think some homeschoolers probably have a harder time knowing when those are than their conventionally schooled counterparts. Our knee jerk reaction is to question… and it has to be tempered in areas that really don’t matter that much…

Monday, May 16, 2011

with the texas cousins…

IMG_0978 We recently took a trip to David’s brother and his family. They live in a small town in Texas, and it’s a plane ride and a drive to get there, so we don’t see them as often as we’d like…

IMG_0980 But when we do see them? Oh, my…. Seth and Evan have a BLAST! I think it has something to do with the fact that his older cousins don’t steal toys and read him books whenever he wants and treat him like boy royalty… and their younger brother is thrilled to have some boy playmates, and he’s just as good at sharing…


Seth spent the entire trip home trying to figure out a way that we wouldn’t have to be separated. It was fun to see him try and logic it out. Plan A: Daddy stays at home and works so that the rest of us can “stay forever.” Plan B: They move to where we live. Plan C: We move to where they live.

Then he started asking about having a sister. Having a sister sounded great to him. Sorry, bud…. I suspect that he wanted a big sister anyway, so I think the kind he could’ve had would’ve been a big disappointment. =)

We miss all of you, Dan and Kelli. Hugs!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preggers times 2…


A last girl’s night out before her 3rd arrives… Tacos and pedicures and McDonald’s sundaes…

She cheated. She got a two for one pregnancy last time. =)

But here we are… 3 for each of us… 3 girls… 3 boys…


… and great with child at the same time… a sweet and unexpected blessing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Parenting 001

Ok, I just found this link to the coolest article on parenting. As a person who has read a lot of parenting books and spent a few months in Sunday School doing the “Shepherding A Child’s Heart” videos, I just about laughed until I cried at his description of what actually happens in his house when he tries to implement the heart to heart talk techniques…

And there’s some actual wisdom there, too. Enjoy….

Thursday, May 05, 2011



… to find joy in the rush of that first time down a new slide.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011



His first letter….

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

At 23 weeks…


I can hear the gasps now. “Holy cow, she’s huge!!! She’s only 23 weeks? She’s got the whole summer left!” Oh, wait, maybe that was just me… =)

All you moms of two children out there… be prepared. This is what it looks like when you’re pregnant with your 3rd, and your stomach muscles are shot. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. =)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Pictures from my latest visit home…



A few pictures from my time with my parents….

Above we have the dinner bell. My mom would ring it to get us all to come in for dinner. When Vance and I got tall enough, she would send one of us out to ring Dad into the house. He was always outside in good weather around dinner time, come to think of it. =) And on the day I was married in our back yard, someone rang it to celebrate our beginning…


Dad plowing the garden to plant this year’s silver queen corn. The tractor is a 1960’s Oliver that belonged to my grandfather. Dad inherited it, and it gets a workout when my boys come to visit. It’s their favorite toy, and if they don’t get at least one tractor ride a day while we’re there, life just isn’t worth living… =)

IMG_0954 Me and my biggest boy. I can’t believe he’s 4… and that he’s wanting to hear stories again and again about his life and our family’s life…

IMG_0955 “I’ll catch Evan, Mommy. That way he won’t fall off the end.” This was a slide that belonged to my brother and I when we were little. I can’t believe it still works after 30 years in the attic…


Seth was very proud of himself for helping Papa plant corn. Here they are mulching the corn. Dad said he did great and was very patient and careful. Seth keeps talking about the corn that he planted, and how he’s going to get to eat it this summer. I’m glad he gets to have this experience without me having to create a garden at this stage of our life… =)