Friday, February 28, 2014

High Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren to share some of my favorite things from the past week.

1) I ordered a fun new Avengers themed scarf that I finally made use of on our "casual Friday" at work. I bought it thinking Grant would get excited when I wore it and he had a lot of fun that morning picking out all the characters.

2) Grant loves to draw and color and can identify some letters and numbers. He has fun tracing letters and learning on his Leap Pad too, so I decided to get him some work books. We sat down over the weekend and started to learn to write! He did so well and I'm so proud of him. He's such a big boy!

3) On Sunday Grant and I whipped up a cinnamon roll cake for a Monday treat for my co-workers (and me too, of course). This cake is so big that we actually got to enjoy it on Monday AND Tuesday.  

4) I came into possession of the cutest picture of Grant and one of his classmates! His little friend had dropped a ring (from a cupcake or something?) and Grant bent down to pick it up for her...and this picture happened. Cutest thing EVER.

5) A big box from my sister showed up on my porch containing lots of goodies including (but not limited to) some cute clothes for Grant, my favorite chocolate covered pretzels, and several of my favorite serving spoons

This weekend is going to be a busy one! Husband's birthday is tomorrow and we're heading to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law's wedding shower. It should be a great weekend!

Have a great weekend!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

High Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren to share some of my favorite stuff from the past week. It not exactly just this past week because I'm including last week too.

1) It snowed again! Just in case I was clear HERE, HERE and HERE...I love snow and winter and cold weather! Love it! And so does Grant. So he was jazzed about another day to play in the snow (and had his first, second, and third snow slushies).
He begged to play with the Hulk fists outside.
2) The day after "Snowmaggedon" hit Raleigh - also Valentine's Day - my co-worker and I headed to Hickory for a conference. So she and I were once again each other's Valentine date. Later on, Husband texted me a picture of the Valentine that Grant made us at school. So stinkin cute!

3) I got home from my trip Saturday evening to flowers on the kitchen table and a happy little boy.

4) I took Grant to the park on Sunday. The weather was great and we needed some exercise. So I took a nice long walk and then let Grant have some playground time afterwards. I even managed to meal-plan while I walked and we hit the grocery store on the way home!

5) Wednesday was Taco Night. I never mind that night of the week because I don't have to cook much besides the meat. But Grant looks at like a buffet table of "I can do it myself" and he eats better than any other meal I make. He had four tacos and was excited about every single one.

Happy Friday!
Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why Do You Ask, Two Dogs F-----g?

Three years ago today my Dad passed away. Last year I contemplated not writing about it and this year I did too. But it feels wrong not to say anything. And talking about my parents seems to help, so I do. Part of my reason for considering not writing these "anniversary" posts is because I have a hard time writing about my Dad so its just easy to say it's time to move on and stop acknowledging the day. I wasn't a "Daddy's girl" and neither was my sister. My Mom was always more of a parent than my Dad and I don't mean that with any disrespect, it's just how it was. 

Dad's death left unresolved issues. I either had to stew about them or get over them. I did both. I heard that one of Dad's reasons for not doing AA was because they make you apologize to people. But he did end up apologizing to some people and some have told me about it. I don't know how he picked out who got an apology but I still wonder why he said he was sorry to some people...but not to me. Maybe he didn't know how because there was a lot to be sorry for, maybe he wasn't sorry, maybe he didn't remember what there was to be sorry about. I was angry about it but only for a little while then it just kind of hurt. I'm more ok with it now, there isn't really a point. I have to make peace with it because, really, what's the alternative?

There is one thing that out-weighs all the unresolved issues: I miss him. A lot. Still. 

And I can't help but wonder what kind of relationship he'd have had with Grant. If he'd gotten the liver transplant. Would he have visited a lot? Maybe spend some holidays with us? Would Grant like to talk to him on the phone? Would he remember him and talk about him like he does some of our other NY family?

I talk to Grant about my parents but I don't think he really gets it yet. Its easier with my Mom because my mother-in-law is "Gramma" and since my Mom wanted to be called "Nana", that's what I call her with Grant so he sort of understands some. But my Dad always referenced himself as Grandpa. And that's what Grant calls both my father-in-law and my husband's this third, mysterious, unseen Grandpa just isn't on his radar right now. might be thinking: What's with that title? Or maybe you're not. But it's from my Dad's favorite joke. Any time someone said the words "two dogs" my Dad would say "Why do you ask?" Always. I'm pretty sure anyone outside the family didn't get it (and all of us in on the joke usually rolled our eyes). But now I think we all do it, it's like a reaction. Or at least think it. So for anyone who has no idea what that means or if you've ever thought "Huh??" when one of us responds that way, here is my Dad's favorite - wildly inappropriate, politically incorrect - joke (not exactly how my Dad told it but the punchline is there):
On a rainy day, a little Indian from a tribe goes to his chief and asks, "Chief, how do you name all the people of our tribe?"
The Chief replies, "Oh, it quite easy. When baby born, I look first thing I see moving in wilderness, and name baby just that."
"How so?" asks the Indian.
"Well," replies the Chief, "if I see coyote running in field, I name baby Running Coyote. If I see bull sit, I name baby Sitting Bull."
"Oh, I see now" says the Indian.
Then the Chief turns to the Indian and says, "Well, why do you ask, Two Dogs F-----g?" 
A little comic relief for your day, it would make my Dad happy :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Flashback

My post about our recent snowfall got me thinking about a picture from my childhood. I have no idea how I came to be the one in possession of this picture. I love it. I've shown it to so many people. Whenever it snows here, I always think of the winters that I grew up with and this picture has got to be from the best winter ever (or at least close to it).

Taken in my parent's driveway

At the top of that enormous snowbank is my sister and one of our neighbors from down the road. My mom is the one lying in the snowbank (presumably, I am taking the picture). Behind my sister you can see the peek of the next door neighbors roof and on the right of the picture is the roof of our garage. 

Best. Snowbank. Ever.

I have no doubt we had snow prior to that but that snowbank was the product of a huge snowfall and, thankfully, someone with a plow. There's no way we would be having that much fun if we had to shovel. I remember that snowbank and I'm so SO happy we have a picture of it. We eventually built tunnels all through it (one that was more like a slide) and it lasted forever. It was so great.

Now THAT is a winter :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Recipe: Monterey Chicken Pasta Bake

I have been a new recipe fool lately. I was going to say "new recipe whore", but my mother-in-law reads this so I'm thinking I shouldn't use the word "whore" in posts my mother-in-law reads. So I'm going with new recipe fool. Anyway, I was going to through some past issues of Kraft Food & Family one weekend and came across several yummy recipes to try. I've been very lazy about cooking lately and I think it's mostly because I'm bored with all my usual dinner suspects.

Enter Monterey Chicken Pasta Bake. It's sort of like macaroni & cheese on steroids. Not the kind of steroids that spark a federal investigation and get you suspended from baseball games. Good steroids. The kind of steroids that your macaroni & cheese would take to make you love it more.'s really good.

Monterey Chicken Pasta Bake

  • 3 cups rigatoni pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pkg. (7 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta as directed on package (omitting salt).
  3. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Blend in flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth; cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup shredded cheese; cook and stir 1 minute or until melted.
  4. Drain pasta. Add to ingredients in skillet along with the chicken and bacon; mix well. Transfer to a 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover.
  5. Bake 40 minute, uncovering and topping with Parmesan for the last 10 minutes. Top with tomatoes and cilantro.
Recipe Source: Kraft Foods Recipes

  • If you've ever read one of my new recipe posts, this will come as no surprise but...I added twice the amount of cheese called for in the above original recipe. And it was fantastic.
  • I also used 9 instead of of 6 pieces of bacon. I like to live dangerously. The use of extra bacon was very much Husband-approved.
  • I think cilantro is yucky so I omitted that and just sprinkled some dry parsley on top for pretty.
  • This is a bit of a time consuming dish, or at least it was for me. And I even cut corners by using rotisserie chicken and onion powder in place of chopped onions. It's not a really quick weeknight meal but I'm definitely keeping it in my recipe arsenal.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Days!

Last week, as predicted, we got a decent snow here! Day care was closed for two days so I had two whole days to play with Grant in the snow. One weekend last February we got a good snow and got to play in that too and Grant sort of remembers it, but I think this will be may be the first good snowfall he really remembers.

I love snow. LOVE IT. I miss it every winter when the pictures start rolling in from my sister. I tried explaining to Grant that where I grew up, we had this for months every year and we got to play in it all the time. I don't think he really got it. But he loved the snow. He was so excited when he woke up and asked no less than 62 times if we could go out to play before we actually went out to play.

First we made snow cream. We didn't do that back home. I never heard of it until I moved here. So I tried the basic recipe I'd seen all over. It wasn't our favorite thing but at least I can say now I tried it.

Grant has what I've heard called "North Carolina winter clothes". Which means he doesn't have any appropriate snow clothes. Why would he, really. So I layered up his pants and socks - he has a really warm coat - and we headed outside.

Look at my little Half-Yankee loving that snow :)

He remembered throwing snow balls at Daddy's car last year and
couldn't wait to do it again this time!

I love how happy he was!

I showed him how to make a snow angel.
Husband decided to take Grant into the woods behind our house for some exploring. We never go back there...mostly because we don't own that land but also because we don't know what's back there. Grant looked at it as a "Team Treasure Hunt". He was Jake, I was Izzy, and Husband was Cubby.

He said "According to the map, we go this way to the
Golden Tree. There's no time to lose!" 
I'm really glad we went back there. As it turns out, there's this neat little stream back there! Grant really thought it was an adventure when we found that little spot.

He thought that was a bridge.

We went back there a lot in those two days. Lots of Team Treasure Hunts :)

We were lacking in the sled department and Husband had the genius idea of using the lid to Grant's little sandbox. It wasn't perfect, but he did get the idea of sledding and had a lot of fun with it!
If you ever want a really good workout, you should
trudge through the snow dragging a 3 year old
in a vessel not meant to slide in snow.
On Friday, a lot of the snow had melted and it was time to go back to work and school. Grant was a little sad and told us he didn't want the snow to melt. I'm glad we had those two days to just play and have so much fun. I'm hoping that one of these winters I'll be able to take him back home so he can see what my winters looked like.

This was his lesson on which snow is safe to eat. After
that, he wouldn't stop eating the snow!

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