Monday, September 30, 2013

Men Eatting Meat

Yesterday we had brinner (really this has got to stop) and Joe had his usual plate of eggs and toast, but after he got a taste of bacon that was all he was interested in.

He climbed into my chair to get the last piece and then he actually did a happy dance! Of course I had to get the camera and document this new passion for all you folks. And for Joe! Now he can look back and see when bacon first entered his life.

 Hopefully he won't be looking back while on Dr. Phil or Opera as a bacon addict or anything...worlds fattest man...these would be considerably less cute under such circumstances.

He is his father's son. So he will probably be ok.

Then today we interrupted Dave's fun evening of homework and took a picnic down to the river. It has been lovely and warm lately but the leaves are changing and you can smell fall in the air. We had a nice time watching the sunset and saving Riley from all the puppies that kept wondering by (tons of people out biking or walking their dogs this evening. You outdoorsy Minnesotans, you). She likes to see them from a distance, but get too close and she will velcro herself to mom or dad. It is kind of nice, actually - I like her strangling hugs.

 Joe kept taking his roll over to the edge and pretending to drop it off and we kept telling him, "Don't do it, Joe." Riley picked up on that pretty quick and now Joe can't carry bread around without being told not to. Luckily, he loves Riley and so she gets away with being a little bossy.

Well, we sure our missing our peoples, excellent new friends notwithstanding. I hope you all know we love and miss you and pray for you often. And we feel your love too and it helps us. Never hesitate to call. Or skype. We got some little people here that love to kiss your on-screen faces.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bad food, updates, and good food, in that order.

Something I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever try to do again: homemade pesto. Sigh... I had such high hopes for my fresh basil and linguini. Dave gallantly took bite after drink after bite after drink, just so, eyeing me and waiting for my usual, "It's healthy but delicious, right?" that I do when I make something weird, but my optimism was insufficient for the occasion. We will never speak of this again.

So its been a while...we have been sickish and tired but are on the mend so...lets see...Riley has a new catch phrase! It is, "Stop talking!" and she uses it whenever we are telling her something she doesn't want to hear.

D: Riley, you need to sit down in your stroller.
R: Stop talking!

H: Riley, your snow boots cannot come to church with us.
R: No, no, stop TALKING!

H: Riley, you can have a cookie after you finish your veget-

Sassy much? Not sure where she got that phrase from. I am not worried though - she is a sweetheart most of the time. And even as I am teaching her better manners and nicer words, I'm glad she has some spice - it makes the playground bullies think again.
Saturday morning cartoons, enjoyed from the comfort of Dad's face.
Joe started nursery on Sunday. He is not 18 months till February but they let him come early because Dave and I are now over the Sunbeam class. Yes! For the last two hours we are with the three-year-olds - singing songs and teaching and bribing with fruit snacks and fending off hugs (oh yeah, they are big huggers. And I like hugs but MAN) and it's pretty awesome we get to work together, me and Dave.

It IS work, because those boundless balls of energy are off the wall excited ALL the time, and we aren't allowed to use sedatives or duct tape, you know - just our non-existent mob-control skills and whatever divine intervention is sent our way. Like when Joe got kicked out of nursery because he could not stay off the table and had a melt-down whenever anyone removed him from the table. Well he had to come to our class then and wouldn't you know it, the roughest little three-year old in our class ADORES babies and he spent the rest of the class trying to hold Joe's hand and cuddle him, rather than rough-house with the other boys. Hopefully Joe won't have to join us again next week - he does make it harder to focus on the class when he is trying to scale mom and dad - but this past Sunday, he was actually a good distraction.

Dave has had his first midterms. He is on a block schedule and his classes are 2-3 hours and accelerated such that he will have a whole new batch of classes at the end of next month. He is busy doing well in school but still makes time to be silly with the babies and help me with bedtimes.

Me, I'm busy but with no grade to show for it. But I'm keeping little people alive, and they seem to be thriving. A+.
Today I took them to the science museum with the church playgroup and we had a great time wondering through the dinosaur skeleton exhibits and interactive light shows and human circulatory system models. The museum is right on the river and Joe especially liked watching the river boats pass by. It was a rather gorgeous view on this gorgeous day.

Well, time to put this to bed. With a recipe! One that REALLY is rather healthy and delicious! I loved this - ate it all last week and craving more. It is adapted from here.

The Best Red Beans and Rice You Ever Ate

1-2 slices bacon (and/or olive oil - but I love the smoky flavor of bacon)
2 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed with the side of a knife blade and minced
1 large red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cans red kidney beans
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice
1 tablespoon butter

Cook rice according to rice directions, substituting the water for chicken stock or broth. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, and let stand for 5 minutes. (But while it is cooking, get your bacon, vegetables, and beans going.

Fry bacon or heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add in and saute garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper until tender. Stir in kidney beans, salt, pepper, and  1/2 cup chicken stock. Reduce heat to low and let mixture simmer slowly till rice is done.

Fold rice and beans gently together.
Optional: add hot sauce for more kick and garnish with cilantro. Also delicious with chicken - I threw in chopped rotisserie and oh my gosh - perfectisimmo.

PS: This is one of those that is even better on day 2 so go ahead and make it the day before to take it in your lunch.

PSS: I'm all second-guessing myself because of the title I gave this recipe. Um, if you don't like beans you might not like this one. Or rice. But you knew that, right?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How is your day going?

Life has been pretty hum drum lately, in a good way, but not a bloggy way. We gonna blog it anyways.

Here is our typical St. Paul day:
Up by seven with the worlds two greatest morning people (don't know how this happened, but they really are bouncing baby bundles of joy.) As seen in this crappy cell phone video:

(Dave's old phone...not bad for having been in a lake and all)

Then we eat breakfast, clean up, maybe watch some toons, and venture out to the park, a play date, or the zoo. I am in love with the zoo. Can we please live in a zoo, Dave? That'd be great, thanks.

Riley has a moment with the gorilla.
And the polar bear.
If I play my cards right, the babies get home ravenous and eat whatever I scrounge up for lunch and the pass out for a three-hour nap. It is marvelous. I shower (I get up before the babies to shower about one percent of the time), clean stuff or do laundry or dinner prep or, if I feel like a bum, I might watch netflix and pretend dinner will make itself. Today I made pumpkin pecan/chocolate chip bread to take visiting teaching. It is September and that is good enough reason for me to start with the pumpkin ridiculousness.

After naps, Riley tried to teach Joe how to jump across lava while I made them a snack.

His technique needs work.
And then we sit watching Nemo for the third time this week... it's only Thursday...eating popcorn (because it is our favorite) and drinking smoothies (because I am sneaky with the spinach).

Dave has a late class tonight so Joe is standing at the window saying "Da. Da. DA. Da." I suppose I should go distract the poor little lamb. Take a pre-dinner walk and give that dinner one last chance to make itself .

We will probably have toast and eggs - Joe's favorite.

Then, friends, its baths and scriptures and bed time. Or, in baby speak, baths and gymnastics and bedtime.

I am so grateful for hum-drum days!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day. When we celebrate...laboring.

But first, let's take a moment to acknowledge that little Joe has found his soul mate. Too bad she is already married to big Joe!

Labor Day found us back in the beautiful Minehaha State Park for a bluegrass festival. Neither Dave or I have had much exposure, but Joe Smith is a big fan and he and Patti fly all over the country for conventions (she takes along crochet and ear plugs, in case it starts to annoy her haha!), and we lucked out that St. Paul had a festival this weekend that coincided with Joe's birthday and he couldn't resist a visit. That was kind of a long story but there you have it.

We liked it! We stayed for the whole shabang - 1-6 o'clock. But it wasn't just music.

There was dancing.
 And vendors. Here are the Josephs sharing a monster cookie. Notice the fit elderly bikers sitting behind? They are EVERYWHERE! Did you know that the twin cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) are the healthiest cities in the US for the third year in a row this year? According to the US Fitness Index, in this article. Look at me, all doing my research! Where's my cookie?! mmm cookies.

Collecting acorns. Doesn't Pat have beautiful hair?? She is growing it out to donate to wigs for cancer patients. For the tenth time! That is just typical Pat - a true humanitarian, but the animals-included type. Humanimalitarian? Works for me.

 A charming sea food place in the middle of the park, where millions of Minnesotans park their environmentally friendly, exercise-inducing bicycles. 

Riley also had a blast.

We found a professional bubble man and Riley busied herself destroying all his best work.
She played in the river, which is a lot warmer than UT rivers because, you know, the water isn't glacial melt-off.
Horded the fried cheese curds all to herself.

We had a great time. And Patti didn't need her earplugs once - all the bands were really good! Of course, the company is what really makes it, and we had such a nice visit with the Smiths. It was sad to say goodbye. I hope they, and any other friends or family so inclined, won't ever hesitate to come for a visit - we really miss our peoples. (A Somali lady in church prayed in sacrament that she was glad to be back with her peoples. We loved that. Will probably be using the phrase more in future.)

Remind me to get the Cafe Rio recipes we used up on here too because we had a celebratory feast with the Smiths and it was just the ticket. Oh so much nostalgia in one weekend!  Its very good for me.