Archive for September, 2009

Fall Festival

On Sunday we took a trip to a local farm to take part in their fall festival.  We have gotten pumpkins, cornstalks and hay bales here before, but we had never been to their petting zoo or the actual pumpkin patch.  I was excited to see S interact with the animals and to take pictures of her in the pumpkin patch.  Here are some pics of our day…




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S feeding the sheep with daddy.

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Hi, Goat!

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Soft kitty.

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So many pumpkins.

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Her first tractor ride!

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And her first apple cider doughnut…YUM!

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In the pumpkin patch.

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Heading back on the tractor w/ muddy shoes.

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Getting sleepy.

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One more her size.

It was a great way to spend a lazy fall Sunday.  And now we have all our pumpkins, corn stalks and hay bales for our fall outdoor display (just need to find some time to set it up!)

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S LOVED this dish I made for dinner this past week.  Doesn’t she look like a happy girl?

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I love crock pot recipes, and now that fall is offically here, it seems the perfect time to make dishes like these!  I usually prep the meal in the crock pot the night before, pop it in the fridge overnight and take it out and start cooking it the next morning (no fuss for busy mornings!).  My favorite part is coming home to a ready-waiting meal! 

This is another good find from one of my favorite cooking blogs. I must have been pretty tired when I whipped up this dish one night.  I didn’t realize you were supposed to use the green onions and cilantro as TOPPINGS, so I accidentally added them to the crock pot with all the other ingredients.  Honestly, it really didn’t make a difference, other than the pretty green topping was missing from our plates, but we just covered it all up with cheese and fat-free sour cream, and Cholula (of course!) and you couldn’t even tell.  I served it over white minute rice (what I had on hand).  We all loved it (and it wasn’t overly spicy for little S).

Servings: 8 servings Size: 9.85 oz • Prep Time: 5 minutes Points: 4.25 ww points

  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over rice (extra pts).  AND TOP WITH GREEN ONIONS/CILANTRO, sour cream and shredded Mexican cheese.

**The only thing I would do differently next time is to cut the liquid by 1/2.  It turned out slightly too soupy for my taste.**  

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Today I purchased S’s first “snow suit”.  I know I’m crazy and that it is only September, but I do have an explanation for my madness.  For the past oh, month or so, I have been mildly obsessing about a snow suit for S. I know the day will come when daycare says, “Oh, and tomorrow be sure to bring her snowpants because we’re going outside to play.”  I have visions of this request coming smack-dab in the middle of the workweek when I would have no possible way to hunt down a snow suit overnight, so I am making it my mission NOT be the unprepared mommy this time and be able to shrug off the sneaky daycare worker’s request come mid-January and calmly reply, “Oh, a snowsuit?…yawn…Sure, no problem.” 

In my quest to find a snow suit for S, I was searching for the following criteria:  Size/fit (no idea what size she should wear in a snowsuit, different company’s sizing, sizing up since it isn’t actually WINTER yet, etc.), Comfort/warmth (I wanted something that would keep her warm and dry), quality (no wimpy snow suits please!) and price (something that had the previous three qualities and yet still allow us to put some presents under the tree for S this year). The latter was my biggest hangup with these pint-sized snowsuits…they are so darn expensive!  I mean, $100 plus for something she will wear maybe 3 times this winter?  Come on!  This doesn’t even include boots, hats or gloves! 

After searching countless stores on the internet, I was finally clued in that Shopko, of all places, had some pretty cute and very reasonably priced snow suits on sale.  So, today I was out running errands and since I was going by Shopko anyway, I stopped in to take a look.  Sure enough, they had 3 racks of toddler-sized jackets, snowpants and jacket/snowpant combo sets.  And they were all 40% off!  Now, I’m not sure the Shopko brand is even comparable to the Columbia duraguard-fleece blend-polartec-wind-water-hail-tornado-proof-whatever else jackets they have on the market, but the Shopko brand looked and felt warm, soft, fuzzy and the label said they were water-resistant.  So, I went ahead and picked one out. I felt a little funny carrying my prized, prefectly-priced SNOW SUIT to the check-out when it was a balmy 70 degree, sunny day outside, but got over it quickly when I saw my total on the screen (I also used the self-checkout feature for the first time…whooo whoo, the excitement abounds).  $40.  Now I’ll have some extra cash to complete her winter-wonderland ensemble with some boots, a hat and some gloves.  Of course, I tried it on her when I got home.  Doesn’t she look cute??

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I think it’s a keeper, except I will be exchanging it for a 24 month size given that she likely won’t be wearing it for another 3 months or so and this one was just getting snug.  I don’t think I can use the self-checkout for exchanges…darn.

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S’s Weekend Photos

Now that S is back in daycare during the week, I really try to make the most of the time we spend together on the weekends.  This is also one of the main reasons I am seriously considering getting a person to clean our house a few times a month.  Back at work is leaving me with little time to keep up with the laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning and making, let alone the housework.  And there is nothing that gets under my skin more than a dirty, cluttery house.  Besides, who wants to be vacuuming and cleaning toilets when I could be spending time with S??

Anyway, I digress…here is some of what we did with S this weekend.  The weather couldn’t have been nicer, so we made the most of outdoor time.


Here she is at dinner on Saturday.  We made BBQ Teriyaki Pork Kabobs and she LOVED the pork and pineapple!

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We did some pool time on Saturday and Sunday…

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And took a bike ride on a nature path near our neighborhood.  S is all ready to go!

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And here are the “watermelon shots” I tried to take, everyone was doing it on the nest, so I felt like I needed to partake.  I’m not sure it was a complete fail, but they didn’t quite turn out how I wanted.

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S is 14 1/2 months old and she can now say the word “purple” (which sounds like more like “pau-pau”, but it’s cute).

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August Product Rave: Netflix


Ok, a few things before I get to the meat of this post.  One, yes, I realize it is no longer August.  That realization hit me like a mack truck on Sept. 1 when I had to stand in front of a classroom full of teenagers all day long.  Yup, no longer summer. But, I’ve/We’ve been busy, so it took me awhile.  Two, I realize “Netflix” is not really a product, per se, more like a service, but I love it anyway, so that’s what I’m going to write about.  Three, I realize Netflix has been around awhile, but we are fairly new to the whole thing, so cut me some slack, ok?

So here goes…Netflix.  Oh how I love thee.  It is the perfect answer for all those former movie buffs aka “parents of little ones” who can no longer set foot in a theatre unless they have made the decision to hire a sitter.  Well, put your money back in your pockets, people,  and join Netflix.  J and I got a subscription for Christmas last year (and we will be asking for one again this year).  We get two movies a month sent right to our home.  We can keep the movie for as long as we want (even weeks if we don’t get around to watching it), no driving to and from movie rental stores, wasting time searching for a good movie, hassles of late-fees, keeping track of that silly plastic rental card, etc.  Once we finish viewing our movie, we pop it back in the paper envelope and put it in our mailbox.  Netflix (and the US Postal Service) takes care of the rest.  The only minimal amount of work we have on our part is to keep our movie queue updated.  Once Netflix receives your movie, they automatically ship the next one in your queue.  At first I didn’t think the “two per month” was going to cut it for us, but it is actually working out quite nicely.  It’s a nice feeling, almost  sort of “date night”-ish, to know you can snuggle up with a good movie and a glass of wine when little S goes to bed. 

We’ve been able to catch up with most of the movies that have come out since little S was born.  To give you some idea of where we left off,  the last movie we saw in the theaters pre S was the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie.  These are the movies we have seen so far with Netflix, in no particular order and with my rating (out of 4 stars):

Seven Pounds***

The Bucket List***

The Reader***


The Dark Knight**

Quantum of Solace**



Gran Torino***

In Bruges**


Bottle Shock*

Body of Lies**



P.S. I Love You**


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We got back late last night from a few days in Minocqua.  Everyone, including Cooper, had a wonderful, relaxing, fun weekend. We had a bonfire, roasted s’mores, sat out on the pier at night and watched the full moon over the lake, J and my dad did some jet-skiing, S got to go swimming one last time in the lake before winter, Cooper got to run free and chase chipmunks, we had some yummy meals and J and I went for a walk (alone!) on the Bearskin trail and watched all the boaters on Lake Minocqua.  We saw lots of wildlife, the highlight was two bald eagles flying together (I’ve never seen that before), the blue heron, the loons on the lake, and a red-headed woodpecker.   I don’t know if it’s because S is getting a little older and is sleeping better, but I was actually able to RELAX and enjoy myself while we were up there.  Sitting out at night by the bonfire was so wonderful (we brought the baby monitor with us, of course!).  We were all sad to leave, but are glad we came home early so we have a day to prepare for the week.  Off to grocery shop and do the laundry!  Here’s some pictures from the weekend:















































































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I took these pics awhile ago (over the summer), but I haven’t had time to post about it until now.  I’ve always heard people say that the simplest things can amuse a child, well, I found that to be true one day when I ran out of ideas on how to entertain S.  We had already played with her toys endless times, “Where’s your nose?” was getting old and I couldn’t bear singing another round of “If Your Happy and You Know It”, so I opened the kitchen cabinets and pulled out the shiny stainless bowls and a plastic ladle.  S went to town banging on the bowls and even found a new use for them!

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