11 October 2011

Our new deck!

Old deck gone. You can see the old patio and bricks they had.

Patio and bricks gone.
New patio.
Deck going up.
Arbor with end cuts
Ta da! We ate breakfast lunch and dinner on the new deck on Sunday with the beautiful weather we've been having!
We are still going to have the concrete stained and have some landscaping to do but other than that it is awesome!

Meal Planning (Week of 09 October)

Sunday - We grilled on our new deck (pictures coming soon) to celebrate my mom's 59th birthday

Monday - Anna had a cheerleading clinic so I fed them Subway

Tuesday - Steak Salad

Wednesday - Lasagna Rollups + Garlic bread

Thursday - Homemade Pizza

Friday - Anna is performing at the football game so we will probably eat something quick

04 October 2011

Louisburg Cider Fest - Review

On Saturday I was looking for something to take the kids to, to spend some time with them since I'd been gone the previous weekend to the wedding and one night during the week for the soccer game for work.

I had heard about the Cider Festival in Louisburg Kansas and my parents decided to join me and the kids for an outing.

I would not recommend making the trip. First of all, it is located right next to a wastewater lagoon. So it smells. Like a pig farm.

Next, it is a little confusing because one side has a pumpkin patch and hay rides and you can pay $8 per person plus more for the pumpkins. The other side of the lagoon has Cider Fest. Cider Fest is just a bunch of small tents in a row of locals selling their MLM businesses like Pampered Chef, Watkins Spices, etc. We tried to wait for the balloon guy but he was MIA. We started to wait in line for face painting until I realized it was $10 a face. We listened to a blue grass band while my parents waited at least 15 minutes in line to get hot dogs because there weren't enough food vendors.

Finally, if you want to be surrounded by bees order a cup of cider. We walked through the cider mill but no one was there explaining the process and really it just looked dirty and unsanitary and I really didn't want to try any cider after that.

We left.

We stopped by the Arts Fest at the Overland Park Arboretum on the way back. We should have just gone there instead. We arrived at 3 and it was going to be closing at 4. Luckily it lasted until more like 4:30 so the kids were able to make several crafts and get a hay ride. It was only $6 per person so it was a little cheaper.

Not a very fulfilling weekend but lesson learned. No need to go to Louisburg. Johnson Farms is wayyyy better.

02 October 2011

A Month of Dinners - Days Three, Four and Five

Day three of a month of dinners which I started last week was Pork Chops with roasted beets and oranges. I confirmed that I do not like my oranges hot. The kids confirmed they don't like beets. Again I felt like this meal needed a starch so I also made some couscous. The pork chops were actually fine. Thank god. So everyone got to eat something. The kids referred to it as steak and dipped it in A1.

At this point I feel like I have to write that I promise, my kids really aren't picky eaters. They usually try everything, they even like salad, brussel sprouts and soup. I swear I didn't say anything to discourage them on the beets. By this time they had started complaining about dinner. They were forcing themselves to eat it because they know they don't get dessert without eating a good dinner, but even I was having a hard time encouraging them to eat something that I know doesn't taste good.

Strike three and I'm annoyed.

Wednesday I ended up having to go to a soccer game to entertain a client. I believe Kevin made the kids pizza rolls. I'm sure if you asked them it was the best meal they ate all week.

Day four of meal planning was Chicken with potatoes, bacon and cabbage. My first clue should have been that the chicken was only seasoned with salt and pepper.

I now know that I do not like cabbage cooked in three tablespoons of apple vinegar and a tablespoon of whole grain mustard. I must say that my meal did not even closely resemble the picture.

I wasn't having a very good night. I had gotten some unexpected news at work. Kevin was not in a good mood. I burnt the bacon because I was busy chopping cabbage, so I had to do that part over. It tasted better when I mixed all three items together, but of course the kids wanted to eat them separately and alone they were not good.

I believe this is the night Carter commented "Mommy, you used to make good dinners." Yes, yes I did.

At this point I had one recipe left. Tortellini with squash, mushrooms and fontina. How badly could they screw up tortellini I thought. Tonight I felt compelled to use the produce I had bought so I peeled and chopped the squash and mixed it with the mushrooms and started roasting them while I waited for my water to boil. I could smell the mushrooms and to be honest, I don't really like mushrooms. The more I checked them the more I knew no one was going to eat them. I turned the oven off, pulled them out and dumped them down the garbage disposal.

Then I made garlic bread, a salad and added a jar of pasta sauce to my tortellini. Carter told me it was the "best meal ever" although to be fair he has said this many times over (just not in the past week ha!).

So that was that. We are now back on track. I am done with this Real Simple plan. I'm convinced none of the recipes were tested by working moms or on kids.

This week's meal plan:

Sunday: Tortellini with salad and garlic bread
Monday: Turkey tacos with homemade guacamole
Tuesday: Pasta with leftover chicken apple sausage
Wednesday: We are hoping our new deck will be done and we are grilling ribeyes + potatoes
Thursday: Grilled barbecue chicken + sides ?

And I think we are going back to the Cook's Country Recipes we were using more frequently months ago. I may even pay for access to the site so I don't have to keep the magazines piled up.

Carter Plays Royals Baseball

This summer every night Carter asked to go outside to play baseball. Every night. I must have pitched a thousand balls and Kevin must have played hours of catch.

Anna took these videos so we could capture Carter announcing himself as each Royals player when he bats. You can see me pitching in my work clothes and Baxter helping to fetch the balls (he is handy that way... except when Carter hits them past the invisible fence line).

He says he's going to be a baseball player when he grows up. If it comes true I'm sure this video will be played more later than it will now.

Cooking with Carter (Real Simple's A Month of Dinners - Day Two)

Day two of A Month of Dinners from Real Simple was Tomato Soup with Paninis. Carter chose to help me make this meal. I edited 45 minutes of video into 9 that I've named "Cooking with Carter." I personally think his commentary on the whole meal is hysterical. He frequently breaks into song. If you can get past the fact that you have to stare at my mid section for most of the video (and that's not my best section) and all the crap on my counter in the background, then I think it's worth it.

If Real Simple's goal is "taking back dinner" then mission accomplished because Carter and I definitely enjoyed cooking together.

Unfortunately the reviews of the meal weren't as good as the reviews of making the meal. Several times Carter exclaims "This HAS to be better than last night" and while Kevin and I agreed it was an improvement over day 1 the kids did not agree. They didn't like the sandwiches grilled - they claimed they were burnt. They weren't burnt but it's clear they prefer their sandwiches cold and if I was going to make cold sandwiches this meal would have been a lot faster and simpler to just make some turkey or roast beef sandwiches. The soup was ok but not as good as Nordstrom cafe's tomato soup and so I would just recommend picking up a jar of that and heating it at home to go with some cold sandwiches if you wanted to make this meal. Or go with simple grilled cheese. Way faster and easier and everyone would have liked it more.

Strike two.