Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Best Salad Dressing Ever

Let me tell you about my latest addiction. 

 It all started when I learned I was allergic to soy. Have you ever tried to find a salad dressing without soybean oil it in? It's next to impossible. 

 Then I heard a cooking show on NPR. The lady said "Don't waist your money on salad dressing. You can make your own that tastes a lot better for a lot cheaper." 

After playing around with a few different ingredients and combinations we found a recipe that we all just love.
We love it so much that I could eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So I thought I'd share it.
 
Ingredients:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Garlic Olive Oil OR a clove of Garlic
Capers
Anchovies
One Avocado 

(if you want to be really extravagant it tastes fabulous with two avocados)

I buy the flat anchovies and put about 4 in the mix. The rest I leave in the tin and place the tin in a plastic container and keep in the fridge for next time.

Garlic Olive Oil I get from Trader Joe's.
If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you (have to drive an hour to mine, so I stock up), then cut up a clove of garlic and toss that in.













I don't measure.
I don't really measure any time I'm cooking.
It freaks William out a little bit. Especially when I'm baking.
So I just pour in whatever I think looks about right. 

I pour everything in my Nutribullet 
(which I highly recommend to anyone who likes to make smoothies or baby food or their own salad dressing or anything that requires a blender).

I pour everything in the largest of the canisters with more oil than lemon juice.
(Of course if you like a more tangy lemony taste then put more lemon juice.)
I use the puree blade.

There it is all waiting to be pureed.
Then I blend till everything is creamy smooth.
It comes out a little thick but not too thick. If you want it thinner add more lemon juice.
It can be served as a dip.

Or on an awesome "all the veggies I found in the fridge" salad.
You can toss it into the salad and get everything nice a coated with it,
I store mine in a mason jar because it's cute and convenient
or you can just glop a bunch on your salad and enjoy!
That's it. It's super simple and healthy but best of all it tastes fantastic.

My two favorite things about this, besides how fabulous it tastes, is that it's healthy and you don't have to feel like 
"Well this salad was good for me until I covered it with sugar filled dressing."
Also, I like knowing exactly what is in the food I'm eating and this way do.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Disney World -- July 2014

We went to Disney World in July.
Yes. Again.
 My dad's birthday is in July so we thought we'd take him to Disney World for his birthday. Who doesn't want to go to Disney World for their birthday! Plus, the last time we went "the boys" (my dad and my husband) didn't get to come with us since it was just a "quick trip."
We planned this trip to be a proper vacation.

First, before we left, I got my hair done, because who doesn't want to look nice while on vacation. I went a little lighter and I got pink and blond highlights for fun.

When we drive to Florida we always stop at the Florida Welcome center just across the boarder.

 They give away free orange juice and grape fruit juice that is just amazing and they have bathrooms and tons of information about stuff to see in Florida.

The real attraction, though, is the kids play area and the picture spots.  They are very small and simple but Rosie always knows exactly what picture spot she wants to take a picture in and who she wants to pose with.  She has it all planned out before we even stop the car.
 Here the kids are playing in the Florida orange growers display.
From the rest stop/welcome center it's just 4 or 5 hours to Walt Disney World (depending on who is driving).

We arrived at our hotel a day before my dad was to fly in. We had planned to just hang out but then we decided we really did want to see The Magic Kingdom while we were there.
We had talked about skipping it this time since it was July and would be really crowded and since we (the kids and my mom and I) had just been a month and a half before. But we really do love that place so we decided we just didn't want to miss it.

The best way to start any day on vacation, especially a day where you're headed to one of the parks, is with breakfast in bed.
Every princess loves room service.
And little princes too.
And when you're on vacation you should have chocolate milk for breakfast.
Room service is actually quite convenient if you want to get an early start on your day. You don't have to fight the crowds at the hotel restaurants and you don't have to get everyone dressed before breakfast.
You just call the night before, place your order, and tell them what time to drop it off. It's wonderful. 
Also, if you travel with the assortment of food allergies we have in this family it's actually much easier than dealing with an over busy, distracted waiter and talking to the chef in the restaurant.
Often times it doesn't cost any more than eating in the hotel restaurants anyway. So paying the same amount for better service and no crowds?
It's just easier all around. 
Plus it's magical and makes you feel special.
Since it was July, the busiest time of year at Disney World, we wanted to get to the park as early as possible.  We got there right after opening and ran into the the Magic Kingdom City Mayor and his singing city counsel.
I didn't even know there was a Mayor. 
He was very nice and sweet.
After wandering around Main Street for a while we headed to Obi's favorite ride.
The Sleeping Beauty Carousel.
It's one of my favorites too.
We also went on my very favorite ride, It's a Small World.
 William and Obi fell asleep.
I gave William a hard time about it.
Poor little sleepy Pirate.
One of the very nicest things about going often to Walt Disney World is that you don't have to feel rushed to see everything every time.
You also forget to stop at all the picture spots and to take lots of pictures.
We did take this one in Gaston's Tavern in Gaston's Chair.
It's a huge chair.
Gaston's is actually my favorite place to eat in the The Magic Kingdom. They have the most amazing pork shanks and the Lefou's Brew drink is wonderful on a hot day.
I really wanted William to have a chance to try both of these treats.
Being July the park was crowded but it was not miserable.
We went the week after July 4th which turned out to be the slowest week in July. 
Plus we weren't looking to ride everything. Just our favorites.
Rosie got to ride Peter Pan for the first time, which she loved and couldn't stop talking about for days.
Obi picked Pirates of the Caribbean (really William picked it, but Obi was pretty happy that we were going to see pirates).
Then we left the park early.
It was hot and we were all tired and my dad needed to be picked up from the airport. 
So we went home for a nap and dinner.
It was a lovely day in the park. Very relaxing but still very magical.

We ended the day with a Disney movie and an early bedtime so we would have lots of energy for our day in Epcot.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Day of School

 Here's something a bit out of order in the chronicle of our Summer time adventures.  But we are all so excited about it that I thought I'd post it now.

On August 6th we had our very first day of School!

Both kids were very excited about it and did really well with their work.



Both kids did an "All About Me" book where they drew pictures of themselves and their family and answered questions about themselves.

This is Obi's book. He took answering the questions very seriously after he saw Rosie do it. I wrote down exactly what he said...

 Here is the cover of Rosie's book. She's very good at coloring and she can already write her own name. She did this all by her self.
 These are the answers Rosie gave on you "favorites" page. Again, I wrote exactly what she told me...
One of my favorite answers to one of the questions in the book was to the question 
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Rosie's answer? A Kid!
I thought her Papa would like that one.

Obi said he wanted to be a Dragon when he grew up.
And then he roared at me.

 I am so amazed at the wonderful things Rosie is learning and it's been such an amazing experience to watch her mind grow and expand and figure things out much faster than I expected her too.

 We are doing a combination of preschool and kindergarten lessons and we are using a first grade science book. Rosie's hunger for knowledge is almost difficult to keep up with. She wants to know everything about everything right now!
I love that about her.

 Obi is participating in a lot of Rosie's lessons. Not all of them but most of them.  
We are also doing some things with him geared more towards his age. Rosie really enjoys being able to teach him things like colors and shapes and he really enjoys learning them from her.
It's very good for both of them.
I couldn't be happier with this little guy and how much fun he is. It's just makes me so happy when he tells me when he sees a letter he knows.

Both kids are enjoying doing the ABCs. We do a letter each week.
These pictures are from "C" week. C is for Crown. 
We also made cupcakes that week.
Every morning Rosie wakes up and asks if we can start school. 
At the end of every day she asks why we have to stop and couldn't please do some more school?
On Saturdays she cries if I don't have any school work for her. 

I love this little girl and I'm excited to see her grow and learn. 
It's a lot more work than I thought it would be.
But I enjoy it very much.

I fully expect Rosie to far accede what I can keep up with by the age 10... 
...right about the time she's taller than me.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Space to Run

You now that thing pregnant women do called "nesting" where they get all crazy and start tearing the house apart and rearranging and reorganizing and redecorating?

Yeah. That's what I've got going on right now.

So one day I decided I NEEDED to move all the furniture out of the sitting/TV room and really clean and mop the floors. And maybe even rearrange the furniture a bit.

The kids thought it was great fun that there was suddenly this big open space they could run around in. Maybe it was the pancakes with lots of syrup or maybe it was just the excitement of having the room totally different but they got pretty hilariously hyper and ran around in circles for a good long time.

(You can see our little vacuuming robot on the floor there. He's a Neato Robotics Vacuum. His name is Dobby. He's our House Elf.)

video
The thing Rosie is chanting in this video is "yellow leaf, on our bush" over and over again. Apparently she saw a yellow leaf out the window on one of our bushes and was so excited about it she needed to chant it. No idea why. Did I mention the pancakes with lots of maple syrup?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Puppet Show

Want to see the cutest thing ever?
The kids were putting on puppet shows out of the blue one night so I asked them to do one for me to record.

video

I love it when Rosie says "come again someday" in this next one.

video

Seriously, cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vacation Bible School

I had the wonderful experience of being able to help plan Vacation Bible School at our church this past June.

It was the first time I'd gotten to organize something like this and I really learned a lot.

We had 16 kids sign up but 23 showed up, so that was really fun.  The ages were from Preschool to 4th or 5th grade.

We didn't break the kids up into classes because we didn't have enough teachers but I think it was more valuable to have all the ages together anyway. They all learned from each other and I was so amazed and proud of all the kids for how much they helped each other.  The bigger kids helped the little kids and the little kids adored the big kids.

Our theme was Saints around the world. We learned about a different Saint and a different country every day of the week and we had a bible story that focused on the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.

We used the Catholic Kidz Camp curriculum.

The world travel part was mine and Rosie's favorite.

Here's a picture of my little angels on the first day of VBS.
I didn't get to take a lot of pictures during the week because I was busy with the kids and stuff.  I was in charge of the snack time and the game time. Both were really fun to do. I wanted the snack for each day to reflect the country we were "visiting" or some how relate to the story of the Saint of that day.

Game time I was apprehensive about because I didn't really think I'd be good at it at all. But the kids and I actually ended up having a really good time with the silly (and some times crazy) games.  The kids taught me "Sharks and Minnows," which is basically tag but more fun.

Here are the few picture I did manage to remember to take...



In the snack room the girls who decorated changed the table cloths every day to look the the flag of the country we were "visiting."

I wish I would have remembered to take pictures of them every day but I only managed the first day. We went to Mexico.
Rosie really loved the part about the flags and has decided that her country's flag is the prettiest. She still loves pointing it out when ever she sees one.

In Mexico we met St. Juan Diego.  Here is a picture of William modeling the costume I made for St. Juan Diego.














One of the things I really wanted to do was decorate an area that represented each country every day. Perhaps it was a bit overly ambitions and extra work. But it sure was fun.

This is the space I decorated for Ireland where we met St. Brigid.





I even pulled out my mom's family tartan for the special day. I don't think any one noticed but I thought it was fun anyway.
 Obi had fun playing with his little and big friends that week.

Each of the kids got their own little Passport that we stamped each day for each country.  Obi's "passport picture" was so funny and so cute I have to share it with you.
We told him to smile and this is what we got.



 My favorite day was the day we visited Turkey and learned about St. Nicolas.

Did you know that St. Nicolas was from Turkey?

(we ate Turkish Delight that day... yum)



We had an extra special guest that day! Father Michael dressed up as St. Nicolas for us and talked to the kids (in character!!) as St. Bishop Nicolas.

Then he threw chocolate coins at them.






I'm really not sure who had more fun that day. Me, the kids, or Father Michael.




Here is a picture of all our Saints for the week.
We met and hung out with
St. Juan Diego in Mexico,
St. Kateri Tekakwitha in the U.S.,
St. Nicolas in Turkey,
St. Brigid in Ireland and
St. Martin in Peru.


On the very last day we learned about the only Native American Saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha. We invited the kids to dress up as Native Americans if they wanted to. I was very impressed with how many actually did. 

Here is a not very good picture of Obi dancing in the costume I made for him.




William even made this awesome Teepee for the day and we had class outside. We were very lucky the weather wasn't too hot that day.


The friendships I formed with some of the kids that week are really special and it so fun that they still run up to me in church and give me a hug. I can't wait till next year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our Early Summer Highlights


I hadn't realized how long it had been since I've blogged till I uploaded my the pictures from my camera.  I had pictures on there all the way from June!

I really love this picture of my mom and I.
I was just barley 3 months pregnant and we are heading out for a girls movie date night.

We saw the movie Maleficent, which I highly recommend.  I think it is one of the very best movies Disney has ever made.
If you're a fan of the original Sleeping Beauty animated film just remember that Maleficent is not meant to take to place of or displace Sleeping Beauty. It's just another look at a old story.  Maybe one has to be a mother to truly appreciate this movie... but I'm guessing that others can love this movie too. I'm totally buying it when it comes out on DVD.


Other things that happened in June was lots of lovely warm rain.  I guess most kids stay indoors on rainy days, but it seems like rainy days are the only days I don't have to talk my kids into going outside (as long as there isn't any lightning. We don't go out in the rain if there is lightning).




Rosie and Obi really love "jumping in muddy puddles." 



So now that Summer is nearly over, you can see that our Summer started with lots of great fun.