Friday, August 30, 2013

On Our Plates: Homestyle Chicken Rice Soup

Prepare yourselves for another heart pounding post about what we've been eating these last four months (since Felicity's birth) that doesn't have to be chewed whilst pinching your nose. This recipe is super easy on the tastebuds and the bank account. It's so simple, we were pretty sure it was going to be a dud. Luckily it turned out delicious. Probably Gotta be the butter. This is another freezer meal to be made in the crockpot.

Homestyle Chicken and Rice Soup
1 lb Chicken Breast chopped into pieces
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, beans, peas)
4 T butter
1 box chicken stock (added the day of cooking)
1 C rice (added last 30 minutes)

Label gallon freezer bag. Add chicken, vegetables and butter to freezer bag and freeze. When you're ready to cook, empty bag into crockpot, add the box of chicken stock, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add 1 cup rice for last 30 minutes of cooking.

Serve with dinner rolls to mop up the broth at the end. And fruit if you're feeling ambitious, the stars align, and no one is crying during dinner prep time. That's a pretty big "if".

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Babies Meet (In Which the Mommies Plan the Wedding)

Sarah's bff from college was in town this weekend with her family for a quick visit! You may remember from almost a year ago that Mommy and Amber were pregnant at the same time!
Us: the pregnant days
Their little Robbie is just a month older than Felicity and we finally got to meet him! He is SO happy. Truly, it's unbelievable how very, very little he cries...or even how very little he doesn't smile. He probably smiles while he's sleeping.
It's because he has the most relaxed, fun parents ever. We cannot tell you how much Miriam and Vivian adored Mike, Amber's husband. Especially after he made up the "Swim Diaper on Your Head" game. Hysterical. Maybe they will start praying with Mommy that Amber and Mike pick up and move to Auburn.
And despite being a super busy working Mom, Amber never complains about anything. She just rolls with whatever Robbie needs and enjoys whatever is going on around her.
So anyway, while they were here, we went to the park, on walks, to the pool, and to Mass. All in our minivan. So maybe having a minivan isn't as horrible as Mommy thinks.
Check out the two little carseat mates. Playing with their toys and making the same baby noises, getting a wink of sleep.
And that trip to the pool was Robbie's first time swimming! Like everything else, he was totally chill. Hanging out in the pirate turtle letting the adoring ladies pull him around.
It was the life.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Car Week

We had a little theme week(ish) around here recently...been pretty busy so we made it last three weeks. The girls didn't mind. As long as we get around to doing something fun every few days, they're content. ANYWAYS! It was CAR WEEK! Daddy's specialty. He loves cars and wanted to be pretty involved in this one. Most importantly, he gave the girls a tour of his (beloved) car including under the hood and inside. He also let them take a ride up and down our very short driveway.
They thought this was pretty magical...even Felicity got into it!
We borrowed Grandma's expansive collection of toy cars and drew a little town on some easel paper. If you can look past Mommy's less than perfect artistic abilities, you'll be awed at how much the girls enjoyed this!!
Hours and days of playing until the first town was worn out and ripped up. Then we drew another one. And another.
How do a couple little girls play cars? You guessed it. They make car families. "There's the Mommy car and the Daddy car and the Baby car. And this is their house." There wasn't really any sound making, "VROOOOM! SREEEEEEECCH. CRASH!" Don't care what people say about kids and gender toys and blah blah blah. Boys and girls are equally adorable but very different.
Another activity they loved: car wash. We let them take a bucket of soapy water outside with a couple old rags to wash their "cars".
Bubbles + water + little girls = let's do it again!
P.S. Check out Viv's outfit in the picture above. She LOVES to dress herself but seems to have a broken thermostat. Her uniform this summer has been anything fleece, long-sleeved, pants. Inside out and backward more often than not. But we love the independence, so we just smile.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blood Alert

So if you don't like blood, this is not the post for you. Just skip it. Shield your eyes. Whatever you need to do. But if you're ready to dive in, here we go...

On Tuesday, Miriam hit her head on the corner of the coffee table. OUCH. Huge ouchie. She told her Dad, "We were doing somersaults on the couch...and then I hit my head." Yes, that sounds like something we've told you not to do. Nevermind about that. She did it, fell off the couch, hit her head. It was a deep wound, but nothing that was gushing blood. It was the depth that led Mommy to call Daddy and then the doctor. See that hole right in the middle of the wound? Pretty sure we could see her brain in there.
The front desk lady, who is always super nice, said to bring her in and let the nurses have a look at her. So off we all sped. And Miriam, who has always been a Mommy's girl, wanted Daddy to drive her to the doctor and hold her hand the whole way there! That was kind of a break through! Miriam's biggest concern during this part of the ordeal: "Will I have to get a shot?" As her parents, we couldn't promise that wasn't going to happen and had a hard time reassuring her everything was going to be okay.
But our favorite nurses in the whole world (except Sarah's aunts, of course), said it was a deep one, but not wide so maybe they could avoid a stitch if she would be able to leave this piece of medical tape on for a few days. They taped it closed and gave her a popsicle.
Life was pretty much tolerable again. Thank goodness. And she's managed to leave the piece of tape alone, so we dodged a shot.
Oh, and Viv got a popsicle, too. All is fair and just in this world, after all. Never, never, never a dull moment.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Our Plates: Crockpot Sloppy Joes

This recipe is REALLY basic. Everyone probably already uses it, but this was really the first time we'd ever made Sloppy Joes in a crockpot. And for Sloppy was actually pretty good! So we'll share it with you. Because it's also pretty cheap and makes two meals in one shot.

Sloppy Joes
3-4 pounds lean ground beef, cooked
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons mustard
2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

After you mix everything together, label two one-gallon ziplock bags. Split the recipe between the two and freeze. Just four hours on high in the crockpot or 8 hours on low...ta da. Add buns and a fruit salad and call it a meal.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Never Say Never

This morning we let the girls eat cupcakes for breakfast, super parents that we are. (Please don't call the parenting police.)
And then we took pictures. One day, in about 10 or 15 years, we'll hear, "You NEVER let me do ANYTHING."
Let there be photo proof that we did let them do something fun at least one time in their lives.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Inaugural 7 Quick Takes

So we're linking up with Conversion Diary for the first time...mostly because it seems like a fun, fast way to update on everything we've been up to recently. We've got enough for 14 Quick Takes but you've probably got better things to do. Let's begin, shall we?

1. It's that time of year. Corn on the cob time. Yum. And Viv doesn't really like corn on the cob. WHO IS THIS CHILD?? But Miriam LLOOOOVEEEEESSSS it and snatches Viv's when she can. Felicity hasn't stated a preference yet. When Viv's not eating her corn, she's making mustaches. Wheels are always turning in there.
2. Look at this cool fungus. It's growing at Tim's grandparents house. Fun stuff. Could we have a Fungus Week? Doubtful. Tim hates mushrooms. As The Beast would say, "It is forbidden!"
3. We've also been spending some QT at the pool at Tim's grandparents' house, even though it is rarely above 80 degrees. The ladies love the fudge pops. So we do it.
4. This little girl (seen here with her Papa) used to just suck her thumb. Now she's putting her whole hand in her mouth, gnawing, drooling everywhere. Teething? Who. Knows.
5. Remember the whining about people saying Viv and Miri are twins? Fine. They do look like twins when they're sitting. (Oh, and we gave them the same haircut.)
But when they're standing, it's another story. Miriam has SUPER-extension legs. And Vivian has an incredibly looooong torso. Turns out Miriam's about a head taller when they're back to back!
Vivian is doing her new pose! She sneaks this into tons of pictures now!
6. We went to the zoo again this week. We're the members who make them hate charging so little for the membership fee. At least one of us knows to look at the camera when Dad says, "Everyone look at me!!!" He didn't even try for a second shot.
7. Last week we went to visit Great-Grandma Wellman with Aunt Bridget. Mommy's not brave enough to do the nursing home with three little people by herself. So many hallways to run away in and buttons to push...Anyways, the girls had an awesome time pretending Restaurant and feeding us lots of delicious meals like spaghetti and meatballs, fudge ice cream, oak tree salad with raspberries and cheese, chicken with powdered sugar, etc. Hilarious. Grandma still has her sense of humor and enjoyed every minute. That's a blessing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On Our Plates: Crockpot Chicken Tacos

We're here to share another way easy, incredibly good recipe from the pre-Felicity crazy frozen crockpot meal extravaganza. We all seriously loved this. Mom and Dad wanted to fight over the leftovers. It's good enough we would serve it to guests. Needless to say, we're making it again. A-sap.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

1 taco seasoning packet
3 chicken breasts
2 c salsa (hot as you can stand it)
¼ c of olive oil

¼ c water
Label your freezer bag. Throw in all the ingredients. Seal bag. Lay flat in freezer. When you're ready to cook it, place in crockpot for 6 hours on high. Take the chicken out and shred it. Put it back in the crockpot. Give everything a good mix. Put the lid on and let it go for another 30 minutes. Serve on tortillas with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, lettuce, avocado, a squeeze of lime...basically whatever you have going on in your fridge.

We also served it with this Spanish Rice recipe. Eat up.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Four Months!

Felicity turned four months old on the 6th!
Yeah, that's a size four diaper (same size as Viv)...she wears them to prevent any nighttime leaks. That's not lazy. That's genius.
Cutest rolls. And eyes. And little wispy hairs on her head. And toothless smiles. And...
You get the picture. We love every little inch of this child. She is generally so happy! She rolls over both ways, does her little pushups to get her head and chest off the floor to look around, and watches every move we make. She's even starting to reach out for things and shove them in her mouth. Her best trick: when Mommy is taking a drink of water, Felicity leans in and and smacks her lips like she needs a sip, too. So Mommy gives her a drink from the glass, but most of it ends up dribbling down her chin. She loves getting Daddy's attention and giving him her best smiles and playing shy baby with him. Felicity is also pretty good at entertaining herself for 20 minutes or so at a time while Mom is trying to take care of the bigger girls (this must be a learned skill for third babies who are neglected by their very busy parents because we cannot remember Miriam or Vivian being able to do this so early). That mostly involves eating her fingers and squirming off her blanket. Another great development!!! She doesn't hate her car seat anymore!!! Makes the drives to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Fort Wayne unmiserable. Maybe that's a sign she wants us to go on another vacation. She really knows how her parents love vacation...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Literal Hunger Games

No one was hurt...just hungry. And then very, very full of sugar!
So these three sisters, Maria, Sarah, and Nichole, made cupcakes.
And this guy was the judge. A very professional, unbiased judge.
We're scared of Nichole's ripped arms, too. Guess the girls know not to mess with her when she's babysitting.
So after lots of mixing, baking, testing, and icing. Naturally, there was the eating.
There was the very lovely blackberry cupcakes presented by Maria.
 The tasty lemon blueberry cupcakes by Nichole.
And the churro cupcakes (not be be confused with chorizo cupcakes). Made by Sarah. And declared the WINNER by Tim! As we said, professional and unbiased. Make them (all), you won't regret it.

A special thanks goes out to Pinterest. We couldn't do it without you, friend.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Grocery Shopping with Vivian

We share this story because someday, when Vivian has children, we'll point to this as an example of how she earned all those special parenting moments.
Last week, Sarah took all three girls to the grocery. This is very normal - nothing most other human beings care about. Yes, we know. Lots of people take their children to the grocery everyday and don't think that if they all emerge alive they are heroes with superpowers (or at least as deserving of their own reality show as Survivorman. With a huge signing bonus, the Nielson ratings of The Bachelorette, and a four season contract. We may not be the Duggars, but Vivian probably can out-ornery three or four of them combined.) So this Mom's superpower: not melting into a puddle of bad public parenting.

And, finally, the story. Mom got everyone Baby Bjorned and two-seat cart buckled in. No fighting during the first five minutes of the outing and both big girls entertained the produce department with their "funny" rhymes about "Dora, Dora, Dora the Tomato". Which may or may not sound that cute, but it was. Mom is fantasizing that this may be a nice trip to the grocery! Maybe if she moves quickly enough, there will be no fighting, no screaming, no whining! If that's a possibility, Mommy can run through this store pushing a 3 ton cart...
But alas, those were dreams. After those first five blissful moments, Vivian got bored. And a bored Vivian strapped down in the grocery cart just has to find something to do. What to do? What to do? Hummmmm. How about pinching my sister, pulling her hair until she screams, screaming myself? Mom doesn't like any of those things? What to do next? Hummmmm. Empty Mom's purse? Poke a hole in the bread bag? Beg for cheese at the deli counter?

Yes, by the third aisle, Mommy was about to lose it. The Frito Lay restock man, who we see pretty regularly there, got to hear the "if you do not behave yourself right now we WILL leave this store immediately and you will be in BIG trouble when we get home and you are NOT watching anymore TV for the rest of the day and you won't get a story before naptime" threat. This temporarily calmed Elfie. Toddlers really don't get threats. She sang a song not too loudly for about one more aisle. And then a pinch to her sister and the evil eye from Mom...What to do? What to do? Soooooo bored....what to do?

Ah ha! She could unstock all the shelves! Yes! Let's throw things on the floor! So Mom started parking the cart in the middle of the aisles so Vivian couldn't touch anything on the shelves. A reasonable solution...but honestly this just made the trip that much more humiliating for Mom. (God might call us to be humble but this is NOT a fun virtue to cultivate.) Not only were her children loud and out of control, but now she was in everyone's way.
Miriam was playing the tortured soul and Felicity was getting tired. By the time we finally made it to the check out lanes, where Vivian threw two boxes of single serving peanuts and about twenty packages of batteries onto the floor, Mom was barely hanging on. Threats produced nothing but a three second blank stare before being forgotten. The word "no" had lost all meaning.

In the car, Mom (mostly) calmly explained to Vivian that she wasn't going to be allowed to visit the grocery again for a while. "Because I didn't eat all my food lastmorning?" Vivian asked. What? How does that even apply!?!? "No, because you....ahhhhhh, nevermind."
We love that Viv and her sisters and we will make it through these days, but don't think we won't smile just a little when she's calling us in 25 years about her own little Vivi-monster in the making.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Three girls in a tub
"This is so exciting! I'm going to hang out with my sisters! Pinch me. I must be dreaming!"
And who do you think they be?
Miriam could not have been more excited to have Felicity join them for bathtime.
The Squeaker, the Mouse, the Littlest Dollbaby
"Please please please don't splash."
Clean them up! Babes, all three.
Cutie pies.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bring Me a Dream

We've had some t-i-r-e-d children around here. Lots of partying this weekend: picnicking with friends, picnicking with our church group, celebrating Aunt Nichole's birthday, normal weekend stuff, etc. Wiped out.
We're kinda strict about naptimes around here. 

Don't like overtired kids + like a bit of midday peace and quiet = naptimes trump all. 

Except when they (very rarely) don't. Which was this weekend. We've never had a kid just pass out in a public place. But on Saturday, Felicity couldn't take another moment of the fun at the park. She was a laying on a blanket when she popped that thumb in her mouth and sailed off to Dreamland. It was probably the most adorable thing we'd ever witnessed as parents. She's an angel.
And HUGE Happy Birthday to Aunt Nichole! She's now the big 2-3 and is starting a new job this month as a high school geometry teacher at the same school that Sarah and her siblings attended!
Back to the tired children. Vivian refused to nap today. She stayed in her room just playing, reading, and singing for over an hour. But didn't sleep. Her loss. After naptime, Mommy took the girls to swim in Mema and Pepa's pool. It was chilly...the water was warmer than the air. (Will the real Summer Weather please stand up?) So during a warm up session on Nana's lap, Vivian nodded off. At one point she was even snoring. Amazing. The most active child on the face of the Milky Way slept when she could have been splashing her sister! Miraculous!

P.S. Isn't picnicking a weird word? Why the "k"?

Monday, August 5, 2013

On Our Plates: Easy Crockpot Mongolian Beef

So before Felicity was born, when the nesting took over, Mommy made many, many crockpot meals and froze them. Well, sadly, we've just about eaten them all. The convenience of those meals cannot be overstated. Most of them were able to feed us two or three times (ain't no shame in great leftovers). And we're ready to share with you exactly which ones didn't taste like cream of glue.

Up first, Easy Crockpot Mongolian Beef. This was totally up our alley. Saucy. Oriental. And there was rice. Vivian loves rice...but why does it have to be one of the messiest foods?? Sticky rice doesn't exactly sweep up off the floor nicely. And there was hoisin (look in the international aisle at the grocery). Tim doesn't actually believe hoisin is an ingredient; he eats it like a condiment. Anyways, here's the tried and true recipe. We hope you like it, too.

Easy Crockpot Mongolian Beef

1 lb. stew meat
2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, thickly sliced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1/2 cup hoisin sauce

  1. Freezer directions- mix everything together, dump into a labeled freezer bag, seal, freeze.
  2. If you remember, take the bag out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the fridge. Cooks fine without doing this, just give it the full 8 hours to cook. The next morning dump the bag into the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you're going to be longer, just add a bit more water so it doesn't dry out. 
  3. Serve with fresh sliced green onions (if you have any in the veggie drawer, tastes fine without them) and rice.

As Backpack would say, "Yum yum yum yum yum, ¡delicioso!"

Thursday, August 1, 2013


We took a trip to the zoo this week. Our second time this year. It's one of the girls favorite places and their parents love it, too. Although, Felicity seemed to be a little shocked by the whole thing. :-)

It was a big party for all the zoo members which meant the zoo was insanely busy! But with the free rides, meal, and bounce houses, we didn't mind. Plus the weather was pretty cool so many of the animals were active. Except these lemurs who didn't appreciate the 70 degrees and tried to roll together in a big ball of body heat.

This orangutan was so pretty and the girls loved watching her because she had somehow thrown a sheet over her head. Looked like she was pretending to be the Virgin Mary.

Aunt Maria came with us this time. (Sorry, Maria, next time we'll get a picture with your eyes open.) We always like having her around.

Mommy's favorite picture of the day:

Felicity passed out on her Daddy. Ah. Too sweet. Hope you're making some fun summer memories!