Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Turning 6 in Monster Truck Style

This year for Charley's birthday we decided to do an event instead of a party. It lined up perfectly that Monster Jam was in town on the exact right weekend. We gathered up several family members and made a group thing of it. It was a lot of fun and perfect for turning 6.

Cousins, Aunt and Uncle, Mamaw and Papaw, Great Aunt....oh and Mom, Dad and Sister of course. Charley had quite the crowd to join him.

He didn't know where we were going until we gave him the toy monster truck at the restaurant. And even then I don't think he really got it until we were there.

For his real birthday on Tuesday we stayed a little low key. Donut for breakfast, dinosaur shaped erasers for his classmates, and a trip to Texas Roadhouse for dinner and a free yee-haw from the wait staff.

We had bought this lego set on clearance sale last July and it's been collecting dust in our closet ever since. I think Jeremy is the one really dying to put it together.

And with that, Charley is 6! Happy Birthday big guy!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Revitalizing the Baby Blog

When I started this blog back in 2006 (which now feels like ancient history right?), it was because we were announcing a pregnancy. Before the widespread use of things like Facebook, for a long time this served as the way to keep our family abreast on what was going on.

I've written about a million things since then and taken a few nice blogging hiatusi. But it looks like we're back to square one, announcing another pregnancy!

Tessa and Charley holding a grain of rice, which is about how big baby #3 is right now. I have an app that compares the baby to a food size. I'd love to get a pic of the kids holding that item every week. Already they are amazed at how tiny it starts. Fun fact...the first time I was pregnant, nobody had ever heard or used the word 'app'. 

So to answer some questions you may be having at this point....

-I'm feeling great! Tired but no sickness yet. I'm a vitamin junky because of my bariatric surgery. For that reason I will have to closely watch my intake, hydration and weight gain. I'm wondering if my small portion size is actually working in my favor to stave off pukey feelings. Better not jinx myself though. As soon as I say that I feel great, I might find myself puking.

-Due Sept. 16th. Although both other kids came on their own at 39 weeks so I've got my eyes set more toward Sept. 9th.

-I find it strange that people have been asking me if this is a big 'oops'. Uh no. It's not. That's all you need to know about our fertility.

-I told Jeremy he needs to check out the attic and see what baby stuff we had left. I know for sure we sold or gave away all our baby clothes. And I know for sure we still have a crib, changing table and high chair stored up there. So I figure we're good. Wisdom and experience has shown me that you really don't need that much...carseat, boobs, diapers and a place to sleep. Good, we've got it.

-Like with Charley, we've decided to not find out the sex or announce the name until the day it's born. So the world will have to wait a loooooong time. The kids will be the first to know, once they arrive at the hospital.

-We've also decided not to turn our 4th bedroom into a nursery. It will remain a guest room so all of our out of state family can still come and comfortably visit us. We'd like to keep it that way as long as we can. So baby will live in our room with us until he/she is old enough to move in with big brother/sister. Both kids think that's a pretty cool idea (although we'll see how they feel about in a few years). For now, the guest room stays a guest room.

-We did in fact lease a new car already. Both of us had very small cars so it was just a matter of time really. And although it looks like hyper-preparedness to get a big car almost as soon as the pee stick showed a plus...the timing really had more to do with our leasing plan using the family discount we get, and the fact that our dealership had a 5K rebate on Ford Flexes if you leased one before February. So, that's a done deal. Ready for another car seat.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

New Year's Day 2015 and the Best Dinner Ever?

Since we spend out New Year's Eve with a very sick Jeremy, and barely made it to 10:30pm for celebrations, I decided to make a nice 'fancy dinner' for New Year's Day as a means for extra celebration. When you have 5 and 7 year old kids, 'fancy dinner' really means...we're setting the table, using nice plates and trying not to fart at the table or knock anything over. While we eat dinner at the table together several nights a week let's just say....we rarely ever use these perimeters.

I spent most of the whole day tearing down Christmas and organizing it with  my trusty label maker. While I was doing that our lamb roast was curing in a delicious smelling rub for many hours.

Our lamb roast with all kinds of goodies added to the dutch oven before cooking all afternoon....
....and after

While the family played Wii, I set the table including candles, napkin rings and chargers.

Jeremy said that this lamb dish was the best thing that I have EVER produced in this kitchen. Really? This kitchen that I have cooked in for almost 10 years? Like...ever ever? I'm not sure if that was the food talking or the fact that his bronchitis had kept him from eating a real meal for far too long.

Either way, I'll be making it again.
Yes we are all in pajamas and the kids have wet hair from an afternoon bath. Doesn't mean we weren't still being fancy. 

On my goal list for 2015....
...more fancy dinners.

A couple of people have asked for the recipe. It's from cookbook and I couldn't find it online. So just because I'm feeling it is typed out for you all!

Lamb, Prune and Almond Tagine

2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1tbsp paprika
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 pounds lamb cutlets
1/3 cup clarified butter (I just used regular)
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
3.5 cups lamb stock (I just used beef)
2 1/3 cup prunes
4 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
1/2 cup almond meal
12 shallots
1 tbsp honey
salt and ground black pepper
toasted almonds and fresh parsley to garnish. 

1) Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, combine the coriander and cumin seeds, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, garlic and 1/4 cup of oil. Coat the lamb with the paste, then cover and chill for at least 5 hours.  

2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and carrot and cook until soft. Remove and put to one side. Cook the paste-coated lamb on both sides in the remaining butter. Add a little of the stock and bring to a boil, scraping up the sediment from the bottom of the pot. Put the onions and carrot back in the pot and add one-third of the prunes. Add the remaining stock with the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and almond meal. Season, cover and bake in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is really tender. 

3) Meanwhile, saute the shallots in the remaining oil and the honey until they turn a deep golden brown. Add to the pot 30-40 minutes before the end of the cooking time. 

4) Take the lamb out of the sauce and put to one side. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce tot a thick consistency. Put the lamb back in the casserole, add the remaining prunes, and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with the almonds and parsley. Serve with couscous. (I chose the Trader Joe's harvest grain blend instead because we loooove it).