Coffee is my lover in the morning. So until our lips meet, mommy is off the clock. I can't hear you, I can't see you and I can't comprehend you, until I have my coffee!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Creamy Chicken Alfredo

So i made one of my most favorites of my mom's recipes. My mom was a single mother with at least 2 jobs, so she was brilliant at making recipes that were quick and cheap but tasty! This is my #2! (Gumbo is at the top!)
This recipe won't cost you more then $15! And that's feeding six. I plan my weekly dinner budget around $10 a dinner for my family of six. So if you see recipes here, then they are around the $10 mark. Awesome right?! Now on with the deliciousness....

What you will need:
  • 1lb chicken breast or tenders (i usually get tenders because they are usually the cheapest and i like that they are trimmed already and it is easier to cut into bite-size pieces. If you find breasts on sale, get those and use your scissors to cut into bite-size)
  • Angel hair pasta (i use this because i have a noodle complex. I like them super skinny. you can use fettucini or your favorite)
  • 2 jars of Ragu cheesy roasted garlic parmesean sauce
  • mushrooms(i sometimes use steamed broccoli)

How to cook it:

Start by boiling a big pot of water that you'll need for your noodles. Then coat your sautee pan with a little oil and set burner to medium. Place your chicken inside and sprinkle some Season all, pepper and onion powder evenly over the chicken. Do the same when you flip them over. But not until the bottom side turns white.  They are done when nice and browned and all white inside. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set to low.

Now if you want the mushrooms with it, which i highly suggest, here's how you cook them. I buy the mushrooms not in the packaging bc i like them sliced thinly and they are cheaper buying them this way. I get about 7 medium or large ones-but that is because we love them here! (Yes, even my kids eat them! They are that good!) 
 * Put 5 tbs of butter in a sautee pan. Put your mushrooms in and sprinkle in about 1 Tbs of the following: onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and a dash of garlic salt. You just want to coat the mushrooms in this. The powder is what sticks to it and makes it almost a candied mushroom..Mmm! Sautee this on medium and stir every 5 mintues until bubbly. Then set it on low until everything is done.

 Now you should be able to place your noodles in the pot. I use half of a box and it is plenty for 5 people. It won't take long for angel hair to cook, about ten mintues i'd say. Drain and return to the pot. Then you want to dump out the sauce into a saucepan and warm it on medium low. Stir often because you do no want to scorch the bottom of this liquid goodness! Once it is warmed up, you are ready to eat!
So good it's addictive!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Magical Day at the Park

Today we went to Wilson Park in Fayetteville, AR. A magical, beautiful place for all ages to enjoy. When you set foot in this special play area, you immediately feel the serenity that is present. There is so much to explore and to see here. From the castle, to the gardens, even mosaic pieces under your feet, it had something interesting around every corner. My boys would come up to me and say, "I found a secret hiding place!" And then they would fight over who found it first. (haha) Lexi found herself a secret spot of her own over by some water. She said it was her, "Secret hide-out." She looked so sweet sitting there by herself just gazing at the water and flowers around her. Every child should have a place like this to go to. It really connects them to mature and lets them use their imaginations to play and explore. I loved just watching them play, but i also enjoyed exploring the grounds. It was fun to place Kaydee near the water or mosaics just to see how she would react. She found the mosaics to be very interesting and she just had to touch and feel them. She also loved the pond. I sat with her right next to it on the rocks surrounding it and she about dove in trying to get a white flower out of the pond! I also found a crawfish walking around so we played with it and watched it fight with other crawfish. After the kids played there quite a while they were eager to play at the playground nearby, but it was lunchtime and i didn't have anything but coffee for breakfast so i declared we should pick up some lunch and have a picnic at the park! So we picked up some McDonald's, found a picnic table near the playground, ate our food and let the kids play awhile. In all, we spent about 3 hours at the park! It was wonderful! I captured over 100 pictures of our day, so i'll just post a few of my favorites and so you can see all the amazing details of this fabulous and magical park. *Interesting note: This is the first and oldest park in Fayetteville, AR!*

Alexi's secret hide-out

Family picture on a lotus flower

Find Izayah...

Walking on an earthworm

chillin out in a tunnel

Examining nature's beauty

very interesting..

Time to go. :(

My Fun Friday

Friday morning we spent most of our morning playing 'Dance Party Barbies' or so i called it. At first, the girls and I sat on the floor playing with baby dolls for awhile until Kaydee started to take away all of Alexi's babies, which made her frustrated(but she was being very sweet about it despite the obvious annoyed look on her face.) And somehow KK always wants the one Lexi has IN her hand..not the 4 others that are laying between them both, oh no, the exact one she is holding. So it was driving Lexi crazy, so she goes to her room and pulls out every Barbie ever made and throws them down on the floor. "You wanna play Barbies Mommy?" "Sure i do but do we need 50 of them?!" "Uh yeah. Just pick your person."
So we played for a bit and she was showing me her Barbies awesome dance moves, so I made Ken(yes she made me be Ken)have some awesome moves of his own! He was so stiff though(think dirty joke here, go ahead)that i decided to trade him in for a girl with a pretty party dress on. And since she was ready to party, i put on some music off my phone and we really took the dance party up a notch! We danced, did somersaults, jumped, ballet moves, you name it, we did it! It was so fun! We let Kaydee come play with us too, she wasn't left out. She loved just watching us act silly. :) When you have girls, never say no to playing Barbie dolls..little girls grow out of them so quickly. But i still think they're fun. ;)

sharing her Barbies with sister

having FUN!

showing off an armful of barbies

Reading a book to her sissy
So after the dance party it was time to make lunch. Then i realized, we didn't even watch but an hour of tv all morning! I felt very proud! They had their PBS time early that morning and that was it! Usually we play and i just keep the tv on mute(i like to hear the "news" on The View sometimes)but this time i thought, Why don't i just save electricity and turn it off. Duh! Anyways, while made lunch Lexi decided to read her favorite book, The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani. She has loved this book since she was 2. I would read this book to her toddler class everyday with lots of enthusiasm and gesture and they absolutely loved it! So last year Santa and I thought she should have a copy of it. :)
So once we picked up the boys, they spent most of the evening outside. While i was doing prep work for dinner, Skyler comes to me and says, "Look Mommy! This leaf just fell on my head!" I've been talking to them more lately about God and how they can pray to him when they need him, like if they get scared, nervous, or sad. So i took this moment to incorporate HIM into the conversation..So i said, "Yeah it's a message from God. He's saying Hello!" Oh the look on his face was priceless! His eyes got big and his face was full of wonder! He said, "God sent this to ME?!" And he turned around and started to walk away but he turned his head back and said, "I'm gonna go find some more messages from God!" So i smiled and went about cooking..and putting on my makeup since I was going to Girl's Night Out soon!  (Woohoo!) After an hour or so, he comes inside and says, "Mommy! I found 12 more messages from God!" And he is holding two armfuls of leaves. He said, "Come look what they say!" So knowing this was going to be good, i grabbed my phone and hit record and got the cutest video ever! Is there anything more precious then hearing your own child talk about God? This brought tears to my eyes. In this moment, i was so proud and i knew God was speaking to my son.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A delicious and healthy Bacon Turkey Wrap

I love that my family enjoy these so much. Finally a dinner we can all agree on! I serve a side of squash, onion and spinach(although the boys don't care for it much).

Here's what i use:
* Mission Sun-dried tomato wraps
* Avocado
* Tomato
* Bacon(don't skimp out on the cheapest, i learned my lesson!)
* Hickory Smoked Prima Della turkey(from the deli)
* Kraft American cheese(or your favorite)
* Spinach
* Hidden Valley Ranch

Now i promise(kinda)that your kids would even taste the avocado! It's just a secret ingredient i hide inside to give them a boost of healthy goodness! As well as the spinach. We love spinach here and it's great for us since i have a family history of anemia. My kids have never once brought up the fact that there's spinach in there and i bet yours won't either. ;) A tip though, i don't actually let my kids see me cut open the avocado or put it inside, because they will probably most likely not eat it if they see "that green stuff."
So the only thing you have to cook is the bacon. Did you hear me? I don't think you did...IN THIS RECIPE YOU ONLY HAVE TO COOK BACON!!! Awesome right?! And if you really want to spoil yourself, use paper plates! ;)
Ok so after your bacon is cooked and cooled, you will start prepaing the wrap. I don't even warm the tortilla, it's not necessary, but you certainly can if you prefer. I place it on a plate, then place one or two slices of turkey on top of it.
Now time for the cheese!Slap on one slice of cheese(I half it and place it longwise down the middle.
Then place 2 slices of bacon on top of that and then follow it up with your spinach, tomato, and avocado.
Now you can squeeze the ranch right down the middle(twice)or for kids you can squeeze some into a bowl since they like to dip. They may receive this new recipe better that way. Then Enjoy! It is so good and so good for you!
For my squash, spinach, and onion side dish, I sautee them all in some butter on medium with the following spices: A little onion powder, garlic powder, garlic salt, and a dash of pepper. So, so yummy! I adpated this from having some sauteed vegetables at Marketplace Grill long ago. You will love this i think! I am addicted to it and even my 5 year old picky daughter loves it!
Here are the finished products:

Wrap-Up Wednesday

So i have been MIA for awhile, sorry! Just busy busy around here. Especially now that KK is crawling I'm just right on top of her all day making sure she's not eating anything or touching anything bad for her. So i will run through what's been happening around here that's made me smile. :)
*MONDAY: I have to share with you this amazingly easy and delicious casserole my friend Jess fed me and gave me the recipe for. It's called McCormick's Quesadilla Casserole. You just buy this little packet in the spices aisle. It contains all the spices you need, a recipe card that pops out and tells you what other ingredients you need-it's that easy! I had been putting off making this recipe because my kids take one look at any mixed up foods on their plates and they look at me with disgust and start to complain. So i was hesitate to say the least. But this was so darn good looking i was determined to make it and they were gonna eat it or starve! (Ok, so they can pick a PB&J if they don't like dinner, but it was still my mentality!) So i bought Nacho Cheese Doritos to crunch up to serve over it(and because their awesome!)and i remembered the idea to incorporate your kids in the cooking process of something new. So when it came down to preparation, i put some Doritos in a baggy(I call it baggy because it's not a Ziplock bag, it is GLAD because my hubby works for them!)and i let the kids pound it with a potato masher-they loved it! Then when it was ready they got to sprinkle their own crushed Doritos on top. Everyone ate some and liked it but Lexi. She refused and cried until i told her she was not getting up unless she at least took 2 bites so she could try it. She reluctantly did(eventually)but next time i will just give her a sandwich. Skyler my picky boy, loved it and ate it all! I was very surprised by this and i told him how proud i was of him. :) Here are the pictures i took:
Find it with the spices! Many other flavors to try next!
Crush em' up!

My plate with guacamole and sour cream-yum!
The finished product-Voila!
Earlier that day we went to a playdate with new friends! Yay! {and Yay for making new Mommy friends! :D} They had an incredible backyard and the kids just had a blast! A big fort with slide, swings and sandbox built-in. I let Kaydee play in the sandbox and she only tried to eat the sand once. Lexi did not want to leave and it took awhile to pry her away! She then cried int he van because she didn't get to hug her friends goodbye.(yes it broke my heart not to turn around and let her!) Here are a couple pictures of our fun day(which i am still paying for days later-i must be very allergic to pollen)-

Playing in a ball pit for the first time! I liked it!

*TUESDAY: Mommy woke up feeling sick. Congestion with runny nose, nauseous, achy, sneezing, all-around crummy! But Kaydee had her 9 month check-up so i had to get going. She is a healthy big girl! 23.5 lbs! But better to be a chunky well-fed baby then underweight i say. ;) Here are a few pictures i took today that was cute and memorable:
KK just happened to scoot behind Lexi so Lex says, "Here, scratch my back Kaydee!"

Skyler cuddling with Smokey in a rocking chair
Went to check out the fish at WM

She was captivated by this Betta!

Getting into her first light socket no-no!

*WEDNESDAY: Grocery shopping Day! Exciting for Mommy because i was buying health conscious foods for my family. Because Kaydee is now eating table foods, it is important to me to provide her with healthy meals, and while i'm researching what she needs it is the exact things that we all as a family should be eating regularly. So i was dedicated in finding healthy food to stock my fridge with! I am also obsessed with making my kids' lunches super delicious and healthy. They often come home starving because they didn't like the food at school, so that breaks me heart! I cannot allow my children to go all day at school with hungry bellies. We all know that it is hard to concentrate on anything when your belly is growling and all you can think about is food. So i have to step up(and get up early)and send them off to school with not only the foods they like but also healthy choices! So, i came home from Walmart with almost all fruits, vegetables or healthy choices, like tuna, healthy tortilla wraps, etc. I also picked up Skyler a bigger lunchbox so i can have room to stuff it to the top! :) I was very proud of myself when i took a step back and saw all the bins in my fridge packed with goodness! It looked like we were vegetarians! The only meats in there was bacon and deli turkey(for the wraps i was making that night, recipe in next post). When the kids came home, instead of a Little Debbie snack, Oreo or some other packaged snack, they had choices of apples and caramel or peanut butter, raspberries, blueberries, banana, strawberries, kiwi or veggie straws. They were all so excited about having raspberries and blueberries in the fridge! I gave them some in a muffin cup and they kept coming back for more! I was ecstatic! So, less packaged and more fresh! Lesson of the day!
I can't get enough of this!

On her second helping of delicious fruit!
kiwi in a mesh feeder..kinda sour!

So concludes the first part of my week...much more left out of course because i can't always remember to record everything like the funny jokes my kids tell me, or the sweet times they are playing together nicely. I can't take a picture of the bedtime kisses i give and receive each night, but they are there, each and every day and i don't take them for granted. I am blessed to hug and touch all my children , because there are many who cannot. I thank God everyday for this. And i know in my heart, i will always remember these moments, whether i have time to write them down or not.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Memories and Milestones

So each Saturday I'm going to do this post called, "Saturday Memories and Milestones." This is a list of crazy or sweet quotes that my kids have said, or milestones they have(mostly the baby)have reached. These are the things i want to look back on years from now and laugh about..or blackmail them later, whichever comes first.
*Skyler is scratching my back(for a quarter)and he slaps my love handles on both sides..I say, "What are you doing?" He goes, "Umm i don't think this looks very good. It looks like a bouncy ball. Right Izayah?" Izayah-"Yeah it really does!"  Uhh, thanks guys. So what time does the gym open tomorrow??

*Skyler asked for tea like this(jumping around and being hyper)- "I want tea, titty titty titty tea!" I looked at him crazy, shook my head no and said, "It's tea, just ask for tea." :/

*Lexi asked Izayah to read her a book and he jokingly said, "It's not my fault you can't read!"(a movie quote from Big Daddy) To which Lexi responded, "It's not my fault i'm beautiful!"  Touche' Lexi, touche'. ;)

Izayah-This week i watched him get very upset and angry towards his brother and sister. We talked about it and he is trying to manage that onto something else besides hurting his siblings. I also watched him play with his baby sister lovingly. He makes sure she doesn't play with or touch anything she isn't supposed to. He cuddles with her when she leans her head towards him. He makes her laugh and laugh and laugh! I am amazed at how he can accept each new sibling that is born into his family. Not once has he ever said, Why do we need another baby? or I don't want to be a big brother. He embraces and loves each baby i have had after him. When i see him loving on Kaydee, i could cry. It touches my heart more then words can say. So yes, now that he is growing up and becoming a (gulp) pre-teen, i expect this to become secondary and not first anymore. I get the feeling he is craving his own space and privacy and having to share a room with his brother is getting to him. So this is a new chapter i have to learn to deal with. And honestly, I'm a little scared!

Izayah making his baby sister laugh

Skyler-This week i realized just how much he has grown as a little boy. His face is becoming older and he has the cutest little freckles across his face. How can i loathe my own freckles but i find them incredibly adorable on my children?? I look at his face and i sometimes can't hear what he's saying because I'm thinking, "Wow. He is really growing up!" He speaks more intellectually and tells me what he's learned at school and i soak it up as i remember the little boy who just wanted to cuddle with me and get tickled. And then i snap out of it and I'll say, "Huh? Yeah." "Mommy did you hear a word i just said?" "Um, no I'm sorry baby." (Giggle) I've also seen him play by himself, and it makes me a little sad, but then i see that he really does like it. He enjoys being in charge of his own game and imagination. And i like that because it encourages independence and i like to hear and see what he's going to come up with on his own and not just what Izayah wants him to do. He is so so smart and he has a very big imagination. He told me this week that his teacher lets him help others in his class during reading time because he knows all the words and they need help. I was so proud of him! He is doing so well this year in school.

Alexi-This week i watched Alexi register for Kindergarten. She took the test and knew many of the answers she should have known. She can write her name, knows all the colors she needs to know and can count to 20. We do need to work on identifying more letters, writing her first and last name, and not skipping any numbers when she counts. But to see her so excited about being at school was so wonderful! She also got to play with 2 little girls that were there and they are hoping to be in the same class together. (i hope so too!) She is very ready to go and i am feeling at peace about the fact that i have to drop off my little "baby" girl in August and send her off without me. I know i will cry, but it helps that she is so excited to go and not nervous. I love how she plays with her baby sister and never gets jealous. I get butterflies when i see her being girly like, putting on lipstick or primping in front of a mirror. And when she has playdates with her friends, it makes me so happy that we are blessed enough to have such wonderful, sweet friends. I know she will miss them when she goes to school, so each playdate i feel a little sad. It's time for one more of my babies to go to school...and that is such a surreal thing to process. I'm not sure what Kaydee and I will do all day. (haha)

Kaydee has learned to crawl now at 9 months old. She uses her feet to push off mostly. She is learning and hearing "No" often these days. And she does not like it at all. If you say it to her she will challenge you with this noise she makes such as saying, "Huh? You talkin to me? I know you don't mean me!" She says, Dada, Mama, cat, yeah, hi, num num num, hey, oh, Izayah. Trying to say: what's that, kitty cat, bubba. She has learned to dance when she hears music she likes(which is everything from songs on the radio or songs on commercials). She will twist back and forth and smile at me. {I just love it!} She also learned to clap her hands! Very exciting to Mommy!
She loves to play with babydolls now!

They can always make me laugh

I Adore these guys!