Monday, January 21, 2013


I was just telling Aubrey what we're having for supper tonight...
"Fried chicken salad, homemade bread, and home fries... like french fries."

She looked at me reproachfully and asked, "French fries? Is that healthy?"

Well done, Aubrey. Well done. ;)

Called out by the 3 year-old.

I think I will add steamed broccoli... :)

Italian Salad Dressing

So, this weekend, I wanted to make a salad to go with pizza. I decided to try a new recipe for the dressing. And, it's not an exaggeration to say that I found my new favorite salad dressing. It makes a big batch and I seem to be finding excuses to have salad...and seconds and thirds...just so I can enjoy the dressing. I know. Seriously.

When I first made it with salad, I topped some spring mix with tomatoes, banana peppers, homemade Parmesan Croutons, salami, mozzarella, red light peppers, and onion. The picture is of my second helping at lunch today - plain spinach this time. Still delicious. So, if you make this, let me know what you think. I think you'll love it too!

Italian Salad Dressing

1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 T sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp garlic, finely minced
2 T red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt, to taste (I added about 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt)
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup virgin olive oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine in a food processor or blender. Store in a sealed container. May store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Let's Celebrate!

Friday, we celebrated Aubrey's 3rd birthday with Ted and Sue. (Even though she doesn't turn three until Tuesday, this is when it worked to get together).

For the past, oh, six months or so, she's been asking when she is going to have her "birthday cake" and wants to wear a "party hat."

She asked for a blue princess cake...and picked a funfetti cake. In retrospect, I should have probably gone with chocolate since she's slightly obsessed with anything chocolate, but this one looked fun.  Also, in retrospect, I should have positioned the fairy princess a bit she didn't look like she was drowning. :) Aubrey didn't mind, of course.

Her only other birthday request was for "red meat." I don't know whether she even knows what that means, but it cracked me up. So, we had hamburgers, broccoli (which she loves), and macaroni and cheese. Martha Stewart's Perfect Macaroni and Cheese, that is. Sadly the kids didn't like it. I thought it was great. Whatever.

Then some play time with Grandpa Ted while we cleaned up dishes.

I think she loves her new Woofer.

Wayne made sure baby Polly was taken care of.

New magnetic doll set from Grandpa and Grandma...such tired eyes and crazy hair from the party hat.

Felt food from us.

I had to post this because Tyler actually cooperated with taking a picture. Miracles do happen. ;)

And finally, a chess lesson with Grandpa Ted.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Traveling, Traveling Through the Snow...

We made our annual trek to Indiana for Christmas. Because we would be traveling over the holiday, we decided to celebrate our family Christmas a couple days before we left. We made dinner, opened gifts, went out for frozen yogurt and watched A Christmas Story together.

During our trip to Middlebury, the kids were allowed to open a stocking gift every hour or so. That helped with breaking up the monotony of the long car ride. Both to and from Indiana included a time with Aubrey "telling off Tyler" and soon after we were all in fits of hysterical/tired laughter. The trip there was fairly uneventful, in a good way, and we made good time to Middlebury, where we joined the rest of the family. It was the first time we have all been together in 5 years.

I didn't do a great job of documenting this Christmas with photographs. boo.

Dad and Mom have been working hard on a surprise for the grand kids. However, I think it was a pretty awesome surprise for all of us... a cabin in the woods. They paid attention to all the details from the pretty knotty wood on the table and chairs to the coonskin hats hanging on the twisted coat tree for the boys to wear. There were 2 beds plus room for about 4 to sleep in the loft. Tyler was thrilled to be able to sleep in the cabin for 2 nights during our stay. The guys made a campfire and grilled hot dogs. Apparently I only took pictures of the cabin using other people's cameras...I will have to remedy that error this summer when we go back.

The first day we had together, we all trekked to Shipshewana. Mom treated the grand kids to frozen yogurt then let them pick out a toy at the attached toy store. They all loved that. Then we all headed up to the carousel and they got a couple of rides. They loved this too and we had to peel Aubrey away. :)

Mom had a Rice Krispie treat train for the boys to make. Uncle Rusty made the treats, Wayne and Rusty filled the molds then helped the boys decorate their train. It was their dessert after our annual fondue dinner.

Christmas Eve Fondue

Christmas morning helping Grandma make a waffle brunch.

Playing games

Playing with Grandma Polly

Some pictures of present opening...

And apparently, this is where my taking photos ended...

We enjoyed games, Mom had a little indoor S'More kit for the kids, and generally we just enjoyed hanging out. We did get a lot of snow our last day there, which was also the day Tim and Carrie left. We enjoyed a little snow play and went to Goshen to Mom could handily beat us all.

The next part of our journey was heading to Decatur for lunch and the afternoon. We were able to spend time with Grandma Billie, Uncle Max and Ted and Sue. Then we headed down to Indy to spend a few days with Hollins and Rachel. We enjoyed our first evening by eating out and looking at Christmas lights.  The next morning, Hollins and Rachel surprised us by treating us to an indoor trampoline park. We all had a great time and it wore everyone out. :) Dinner was family-style Italian at Maggiano's. The meal is wonderful and just like last year, I'm still thinking about that incredible Tiramisu. It's amazing!

The next morning, Tyler woke up at 4 am and started throwing up. Soon after Aubrey was up and around, she joined him. I was able to slip away to get some supplies for the sick and came home to learn that Ted was part of the sick crew. In the afternoon, the girls were able to slip away for our annual trip to Trader Joe's. The rest of the day was spent tending to the sick...doing laundry and other cleanup that occurs when children have the flu. In the evening, we did get a brief chance when everyone was awake and between getting sick episodes to open gifts.

The next day, I got hit (much more mildly) with the flu and spent most of the day in bed. Most of the crew enjoyed going out for brunch and to the mall. We were able to enjoy playing games and hanging out.

Yesterday our trip home took about 13.5 hours instead of 10.5...mostly due to some scary icy/snowy weather conditions. Added in was the aftermath of our kids' flu symptoms. Both needed a change of clothes at one point in our trip. Aubrey's was in our only restaurant stop for the day (hooray)!, and Tyler's was in a cold/snowy field in Missouri. Luckily after that he had a bucket...and didn't miss.

We were glad to finally make it home safely and rang in the New Year. Well...if having the kids in bed and watching the ball drop on TV then falling asleep is ringing in the New Year. :)

Today, of course, was unpacking, groceries, laundry and settling back in. We even had time for games and relaxing. :) Happy New Year!!