Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What a week.

I'm sure that I feel like most everyone this week, just thankful to be alive and healthy. The footage from Joplin is overwhelming and heartbreaking. I am so glad I have a basement! To borrow from my favorite podcast to listen to (NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour)"here is what is making me happy this week:"

The kids are home with me for the summer. In order not to drive each other crazy, we have created at-home preschool. We have some theme weeks planned out and some field trips. Luckily, I am a book hoarder and I have at least one if not multiple books to go with our various themes, and we are looking forward to our trips to the library. We also have a 500 Books of Summer goal and are working on a big poster to fill in with stickers. It sounds like a lot, but I know we can do it. The kids love to read and we are turning off the TV this summer, trying to limit 1 cartoon or movie per day.

This week has been Tree week. We have been outside playing Explorer Extrodinaire (Fancy Nancy book) doing bark rubbings and taking notes on our clip board. We found some fun stuff including hundreds of cicadas which are so loud in the woods behind our house. Good stuff. We have learned about bark and leaves and all the animals that take up residence in trees from the backyard to the rainforest. The kids are so smart, they soak this stuff right up. On Thursday, we are meeting friends at the Botanical Gardens where they are having an Extreme Treehouse exhibit. The treehouses vary in design and materials and the kids can play in them. There is also a Great St. Louis Tree Hunt going on where you can use GPS to locate 15 of 30 different trees in the area, fill out a journal, and turn in to get a prize. We are really excited about this. Our whole little nerd family. :)

We took Debbie, Matt's processor of 4 years, her baby blanket to a small baby shower at work. I included a picture. She is a wonderful mom of 4 (almost) and we are excited to meet her new little guy. Anybody who can work with Matt that closely for 4 years and still like him is a special person. Debbie is so devoted and does an amazing job. My life is easier because she handles things so well. Matt is spoiled!

Also including some pictures of the kids playing in the backyard and Yadi-Grandma's dog. The playset looks terrible because Matt killed all the weeds this weekend, so don't mind that it looks like the kids are in the desert. We actually have a very lush, green yard, just not in that one spot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

PreK Graduation

Tonight our darling H graduated from PreKindergarten. A very fun night! Each child was given a character award. H recieved "Peaceful". The teachers shared that she "had a peaceful heart and brought peace to all classroom situations." E was a very good boy and with the help of Angry Birds, was able to sit still through the whole ceremony.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Three Turtle Day

It is turtle season and we have seen a crazy amount of turtles on our country road between our house and preschool. The kids and I stopped the other day and picked up three off the road and let them loose in the yard. After reading on the internet about the box turtles, we probably won't do it again. Apparantly they like to stay in the same general area where they were born. Even a 1/2 mile move, can stress them and interrupt their breeding cycle. The kids and I decided we would just help them across the road from now on, if it was a safe spot for us to get out of the car. :) We had fun while it lasted and learned the definiton of predator and prey from wikipedia.
My back yard has been neglected, but I have some beautiful irises blooming. Thank goodness they are so easy!

Menu for the Week

At least one person out there finds my menu planning helpful, so I'm going to keep posting. Keeps me organized, anyways. We are pretty busy this week (PreSchool graduation!), so I have a couple of really easy dinners, and one from last week that I didn't get around to making. I am cooking pretty heavy out of my Everyday Paleo cookbook. All the recipes so far have turned out well.
Better Butter Chicken - got my last strange spice (fenugreek) last week, so I am ready to give it a try. It is an Indian inspired dish, but has no curry, and Matt hates curry! I hope it is good!
BLT Avocado Wraps - bacon, tomato and an avocado sauce wrapped up in bibb lettuce leaves.
Huevos Rancheros - This is Matt's most favorite thing to eat! Fried eggs, some cheese, some salsa verde and we have some chili leftover from last week so I am going to use that up. Avocado on top! Easy and FAST!
Garlic Beef Stew with Acorn Squash - crockpot recipe. This looks really good. I think it would be equally good with chicken instead of beef, or another type of squash. EASY!
Albondiagas Soup - this is a meatball recipe that cooks in a mexican style soup. Looks pretty good and easy. Calls for a El Pato Jalapeno salsa that I found at Walmart in a little green can. Not expensive.
Im going to make a batch of Egg Cupcakes, Paleo Apple Muffins, and Paleo Pancakes for the week and weekend breakfasts. We should also have plenty of leftovers to fill in the blanks.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eating Paleo this Week

Here is what we are eating this week...
Monday - Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce and salad. I don't make my own sauce, I just try to pick a good one at the store (no added sugars or weird ingredients, maybe organic if it is on sale) and add my own ground beef. Serve over spaghetti squash that has been baked and pulled apart with a fork. If I am going to go to the work of baking one, I do 2 or 3 and then use the rest of the squash later in the week. My dear friend said she liked it with butter and cinnamon, which I think sounds yum if you are in the mood for a treat.
Tuesday - Huevos Rancheros with Salsa Verde sauce. Just bought some Salsa Verde at the store, and who doesn't like eggs? Fast and easy. I will probably serve with avocado for some healthy fats.
Wednesday - Steak w/Chimchurri sauce, veggies, and mashed sweet potatoes. Using the recipe from Everyday Paleo for the sauce. Mostly just cilantro and parsley blended with some seasoning. Easy.
Thursday - Better Butter Chicken from Everyday Paleo cookbook. This is inspired by an Indian dish. That isn't a cuisine we eat much of, but I am looking forward to trying it. I have a backup plan in case Matt and the kids won't eat it. Had to buy a couple of spices to complete the recipe (cardamom, coriander and fenugreek), but I am hoping it turns out well. She suggests serving it on a bed of greens, so I guess I will buy some kale and saute it. I am going to try to pull this off in the crockpot, will post the recipe later if it works out.
Friday - Paleo Chili. Biggest difference is no beans, but I am sure it will be delicious. Even thought it is spring, chili is one of my favorite foods and hope I can freeze some for lunches later. Planning on serving it with some avocado and Fritos (gasp) but Fritos are gluten free and go great with chili. So glad I am not allergic to corn. Chili leftovers are also good to serve with eggs for breakfast or on spaghetti squash, Steak and Shake gets away with a Chili 5 way, right?

My throw it in a pot dinner from last week that turned out pretty well:
Apricot Chicken with Cabbage.
I put cut up chicken breast, 1/2 can coconut milk, 1 cup chicken broth, 3/4 cup dried apricots (sliced), 2 Tbsp garlic pepper seasoning (Tastefully Simple), and 1 thinly sliced cabbage in a crockpot and cooked on low for about 6 hours till chicken was done. I added some sliced almonds for crunch when I plated it. Turned out pretty well for odds and ends leftover in the fridge and no desire to go to the grocery store. I love how chicken turns out in the crockpot.

Girls vs. Boys

Aunt Leslie and I split up the kids Saturday morning. The girls were invited to a Fancy Nancy Tea Party at the Library and I took the boys on a hike at the Coleman Nature Area. The girls looked adorable and the boys were boys. Mud, sticks, bugs, etc...Such great kids!

Zoo Field Trip

We had an amazing May day for H's preschool field trip to the zoo. H, E and I saw a lot of animals and checked out the Zootennial exhibit in the Lion House. The kids really enjoyed the pictures and examples of the clothes people used to wear to the zoo (Sunday best) as well as the late 60s/early 70s console TV they had on display. Wow, how things have changed. No way you could have hung one of those things on the wall.

Easter with the Ottos

Lots of things to be thankful for this Easter. A new addition to the family, Baby L, and T turned 15. Not the best weather, but maybe next year.