Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

For those of you that live in the Pacific Northwest I am sure that you enjoyed the rain today as well.  We had all these plans to go to the beach and play at the playground, plant some vegetables in my planter box and just enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer. 

Around 11:00 my mom called and said we were going feed the kids! So we threw some food together and I attempted to lay 2 boys down for naps, but that didn't work.  We had a wonderful time at the Oak Harbor pool.  It was only an hour swim and I am sure that the kids could have enjoyed another hour or two and still be sweet...until we left at least.
Logan wasn't really sure about the water at first and had to be held, but after 20 minutes or so he took to the water really well.  He even went under a few times and was able to recover himself really well. 
Claire loved the inner tubes.  Emily and James bought some just for today's activities!
Amy, Claire and James did a really good job including Logan in their fun.

After the pool the Campbell's got everyone some ice cream and we played at the beach, until Amy and James fell into the bay.  All in all it was a wonderful day.  We even timed everything perfectly well.  It started to sprinkle as we were getting into our cars and then there was a down pour as we were driving out of town! I love having family so close that we can all spend time together.

Hawaiian Haystacks

While on my mission to Texas I found this great recipe! Its great for getting kids to eat their vegetables and its one of  those wonderful things to have when your going to have a crowd over.  Everyone can make it as they like it and everyone comes out winning!

What you need is
Green Onions,
Mandarin Oranges,
Dried Cranberries,
Red Peppers,
Sliced Almonds,
 Shredded Chicken and thickened Broth,
 and Cheese.

This is all I had on hand...but if I had it I might have added avocado, crispy asain noodles, and well, whatever looks good.  My mom usually sprinkles on some soy sauce on hers.  I have been meaning to try it with a tart apple, but the possibilities are endless.  Its amazing how quickly it all adds up on your plate, so be careful! All the fresh stuff is a nice change from the everyday processed stuff we eat.  The nice part about this meal is now you have lots of things cut up for future meals and left over rice.  My kids like to eat the shredded meat with the thickened broth alone.   
Logan loved it so much that he ate his and his brothers!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Life by Chocolate Cupcakes

One of my good friends, Christina Hunt, got me on this Pioneer Women cookbook kick and I love it! This is the best stuff I have ever had! The recipes are never good for you, but she claims her food is "cowboy" food and I don't think many working cowboys worry about their weight.
Life by Chocolate Cupcakes

2 c. Sugar
2 c. Flour
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 c. Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Vanilla
1 c. Butter
4 heaping T. Cocoa Powder
1 c. boiling Water
Hersheys Kisses, unwrapped
Canned Pitted Cherries (optional)

8 oz.Bittersweet Chocolate
1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
6 T. Corn Syrup
2 t. Vanilla

Preheat oven to  350 and grease muffin tins.  To make cake batter, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Set aside. In a separate container, combine butter milk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.  Stir to combine and set aside. Ina saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add cocoa powder and stir.  Add boiling water, allow to bubble for a few seconds, then turn off heat.  Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture.  Stir a few times to cool the chocolate.  Pour buttermilk mixture over the top and stir to combine.  Pour 1/4 cup cake batter into each muffin cup.  Lightly set one kiss in the middle of each cupcake; do not press down. Alternately, you can add 3 canned, pitted cherries to each muffin before adding the batter.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Allow 5 minutes to cool in the pan, then remove cupcakes and allow to finish cooling on the baking rack.

To make the ganache, heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat.  Chop chocolate and add to a bowl.  Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of the chopped chocolate.  Whisk together until melted, smooth and glossy.  Dunk cupcakes in ganache.  Allow to cook and set before serving.
James ate his like a puppy and then wanted me to take pictures of how silly he was eating like a puppy.
 These were so moist and fantastic! Just a few side notes...
*I didn't have any Buttermilk, so I used the old 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and then fill to the 1 cup line of the wet measuring cup and then let it sit for a couple minutes.  It only called for a 1/2 cup so I halved the proportions.
*I've never made Ganache before but now that I have, let it cool.  It works warm, but it is so much thicker and yummy when its cooled.  I double dipped the first batch and that was nice too.  I got distracted with the second and I was glad I used liners because I probably wouldn't have been able to get them out.  Darn Facebook! Distracting me from my responsibilities!
*The first batch I didn't use liners, but the kisses stuck to the tin...I don't think that was the point of using them to leave them in the tin.  I did spray the tin, but they stuck.  Maybe you need to flour too? The second batch I used liners but I sprayed them, they come off really easily that way so you can just strip them and then dip and no one will know your little secret. 

I just got a Logan kiss on the arm for no reason...sweet boys! He ran in and kissed my arm and ran out back into his bed! Smart kid I guess!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rhubarb Crumb Bars

My family has a nice BIG patch of Rhubarb and my dad is always complaining that it all seems to go to waste, so I decided I would do my part and find uses for it this year on my quest to try new things and fill my freezer.  In this quest I have learned that you can freeze rhubarb! I never thought about trying that before, but I have one bag I froze fresh and when the rhubarb grows back I will try to do some that's blanched.  From what I understand blanching keeps more of the nutritional and flavor of the rhubarb.
Rhubarb Crumb Bars

for the cake:
3/4 c. Flour
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 c. Butter, at room temperature
1 c. Confectioners Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 t. Vanilla Extract

With an electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time.  With mixer on low, beat in vanilla, then flour, baking powder and salt.  Spread batter in prepared 8X8 pan lined with parchment paper (lightly buttered and floured).

for the Rhubarb:
1/2 lb Rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T. light Brown Sugar
1/4 c. Flour
Combine and top cake.

for the streusel;
6 T. Butter, at room temperature
1 c. Flour
1/2 c. light Brown Sugar
1/4 t. Salt

Whisk together butter, brown sugar and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form.  Top rhubarb and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool completely in pan.  Using paper overhang, lift cake from pan.  Cut into 16 bars if you wish.

When I made this it hadn't cooked all the way after the 45 minutes so we put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes and then my family ate it like a crisp with whipped cream! It never got cut into you don't have to cut it if you don't want to, good with some vanilla ice cream too! Oh and I also added pecan pieces to the topping. 

Meet Taylor

Today Taylor is 2 months old!
We have been watching Taylor since the beginning of the month! It has been nice getting used to the baby game again! All the things you wouldn't think about until you have to do it come into play again.  Which seat in the car do you put his seat in? Who gets out first? Who goes in first? All these things I never thought would be a big deal, but I think I have worked out all the kinks and we are ready for Carson to come.  The only thing I haven't had to work through is the nursing.  Its easy to make a bottle and walk away when one of the boys needs something.  Don't think nursing will be as easy on the other boys!

Friday, May 21, 2010


This morning when I dropped off James at preschool the director asked me what size diapers my youngest was wearing...I thought it was a strange question, but told her size 4 during the day and size 5 at night! To which she replied oh, well you will need diapers and The Goose just gave us tons of diapers, want some size threes? I just picked up 2 jumbo packs with something like 52 diapers in each and a box with 114! I was so excited! With Logan I was in cloth diapers for size 3 and plan to do the same with this monkey, so these will come in real handy or Ann is getting my goodies!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hearty Chicken and Noodle Casserole

Have you ever read an advertisement in a magazine from Campbell's soup or Nestle Chocolate chips and thought "that sounds good!" Well I did that a few weeks ago and I have been sitting on this recipe for a long time and tonight since we were going to a soccer game during our usual dinner time I decided this would be a perfect day for this meal.  It was super easy since everything is precooked you can prepare it ahead and then you just have to heat it up. And while we are bragging on this easy meal, my kids both ate it willingly! So this one will be added to my list of usual.
Hearty Chicken & Noodle Casserole

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 c Milk
1/4 t ground Black Pepper
1/4 c Parmesan Cheese
1 c frozen Mixed Vegetables
2 c Chicken, cooked and cubed
2 c Egg Noodles, cooked and drained
1/2 c Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Stir all together but the cheese and place in a 1 1/2-qt casserole dish.  Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until hot. Stir.  Top with cheddar cheese.  One option that they gave was to replace the cheddar cheese with 1/2 c French's French fried onions for the last 5 minutes of cooking.  I did half and half because I know Logan loves those onions and I couldn't remember if James liked them or not.  Both boys really seemed to enjoy them, although I didn't have the mixed frozen veges I will add them next time.

Look at this cutie!

Logan is such a charmer!

Who made this?

I was looking through a box of things I made back in college while I was a ceramics major and I was completely stunned when I realized this was something I made! I love it. 
 I even looked at the bottom to make sure it was something I made and didn't just buy!
Funny how you can be surprised by your own talents. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Last night while I was cleaning up after dinner Logan and James were playing outside in the back yard.  I was almost done getting things taken care of and clean up when I hear Logan start screaming.  Now for you moms you know your kids have different cries and this was a cry of pain.  James had closed Logan's hand in the BBQ and cut open the tip of his right middle finger.   I ran out there and James was trying to help him up the 3 stairs to the porch with Logan dripping blood from his hand.  I think that every time my kids have been hurt (except for James tripping over the chalkboard at church and needing stitches) I have been home alone.  Today was no expectation.  Since I moved into this house alone with my kids I have not had the fears that I have faced my entire life.  I don't worry about the doors being locked and I can leave windows open without the fear of someone coming into my house.  It was completely clear what actions needed to be taken and how to do it.  I grabbed a chair and turned on the water and let Logan play while I got the gauze and cloth tape, threw the watermelon in the fridge, found jammies and our Sunday bag for the boys, wrapped his finger, and ran out the door.  It was 7:00 and it takes a half hour to get to the closest hospital I called my mom who was camping at Keystone (5 minutes away from the hospital) to meet me there and help me with James. 

Once we got to the hospital we went right into a room and told we were getting x-rays and I got to thinking, "wow this is going to be so fast!" Well then we sat in our room...and sat...and sat.  The doctor finally came in at 10:00 and said we needed x-rays, Tylenol and stitches.  When they tried to do the xrays I couldn't be in the room so my mom came in and held Logan, but he's a strong kid and they couldn't get him to open his hand and lay his hand flat.  So we went back to the room and it took me holding him and 2 nurses taping his hand to a piece of plastic.  After the x-rays we waited another hour and then started the process of 4 stitches.  It was an experience watching them try to hold him down and keep his finger straight.  They strapped him down to a board leaving his right arm out and with me holding his shoulder and head and the nurse holding his arm, hand and finger down.  She finally had to hold down the tip of his finger while keeping the sterile field...sterile. 

He screamed and thrashed during the first one and then by the time they started the second he suddenly fell asleep.  He slept through the rest of the stitching :) It was great to have it done and hear that he only needed stitches.  It is surprising how two little boys can do so much damage.  Now I have to keep it clean and dry...I can do the impossible! The doctor did say not to go to the park or the beach for 2 days to attempt to keep it clean knowing he won't keep a band-aid on.

Beef Fajitas

I have been trying really hard to stock up my freezer and pantry for the coming of this baby.  Knowing that I still have to push on even though its been a hard day or that I'm sore isn't going to cut it when dinner needs to be on the table.  The other day, I think at Costco, I found precooked beef fajita strips in the frozen food section and I think they're awesome.  I have used the chicken strips before, but I have always been a chicken girl so I thought I would try something new.
Aren't these pretty? Red onions and Red Peppers! I pulled the frozen beef strips out of the freezer and threw them in the microwave while I started the peppers and onions.  It was perfect timing! I added the beef in after it had thawed out and got all the flavors going.  I wanted to make my own tortillas, but didn't start them in time (I learned your supposed to let them rest for 30 minutes before you cook them! Never made them on my own before, but now I know!). 

Morning at the beach

One of our favorite beaches on the Island is just down by the Clinton Ferry dock.  Its fun watching the ferry come in and out and the beach is loaded with great beach toys for the kids! This morning Curtis walked across with Hank and we all enjoyed the the beautiful weather and the sand. 

It was James idea!

For dinner the other night we had "bacon sandwiches".  James has this strange love for bacon.  I'm sure he could eat it at every meal and still not get enough.  So tonight when I asked him what kind of bread he wanted he said he grabbed the bagels...I love these bagels, so I figured we'd give them a chance!
We used the new Thomas Thin Everything Bagels toasted, cream cheese, sliced tomatoes (on mine) and bacon.  It was awesome! Round it out with some sliced watermelon.  It was a good meal!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Horse on a Rope

Since last summer James has bee asking for a horse on a rope for Christmas and Birthdays.  He never forgot when you asked him what he wanted to say a "horse on a rope".  At Thanksgiving his uncle Clay gave him a costume that was a horse that he loved, but it just wasn't the same thing.  Living on the island has its pluses and livestock might be one of them.  One of our friends let us come over for James birthday so he could ride her horse.  He wasn't really as crazy about it as I thought he would be.  He didn't get to hold a rope I later found out was the problem.  He almost fell off, but he took it all real well.  He didn't make a peep as he was tilting to the side until I looked up and said something he might have fallen off.  Mary Jane was leading and I was playing with Logan.  Oops!
And you want to talk about not being impressed, Logan didn't want anything to do with Whisper! We tried to give him a turn, but it was not necessary!
Mary Jane lives on this little farm where she breeds dogs and she had a sweet litter of Labs there for the boys to play with.  She had James sit down with them, which of course he loved, until they started walking on his bare legs and that hurt. 
These puppies will make anyone want one, so adorable!
And as for my reserved Logan he almost touched the puppy...
But at the last minute he pulled away.  Poor thing! He loves dogs in every shape in size, well maybe not the lab puppy size!
We had a great time seeing the chickens and playing with puppies.  Makes me wish we could join in on the fun and get some of our own, but 3 boys will do for now!