7.27.2010

Taco Salad

I don't know about you, but all summer our dinners consist of either something BBQ'd or grilled. It is usually way too hot to cook & use the oven (except this summer which will probably go down in history as the coldest summer ever!)
About once a week, I will make a hearty salad for dinner if we have grilled all week and are all BBQ'd out.
One of our favorite (and easiest) summer dinners is Taco Salad.
This takes less than 10 minutes to make.
Here is what you need:
-ground beef (or turkey)
- packet of taco seasoning
- lettuce
- can of kidney beans (drained)
-tomatoes
-green onions
-avocado
-shredded cheese (I use a Mexican blend)
-tortilla chips
Of course, you can always add/substitute other items in your salad (like black beans, pinto beans, cilantro, corn, olives, etc)
and the star of the show...this Salsa Ranch Salad Dressing:
I LOVE this dressing! You can find it in the produce/refrigerated section of your grocery store.
If your store doesn't carry it, I think it is basically a combo of pico de gallo & sour cream, so you could make your own dressing if need be.

First, I brown my ground beef & add the packet of taco seasoning.
I usually cook 1 lb, but then freeze half of it to use later on in the summer!
I also cook the meat earlier in the day & then keep it in the fridge so that it is cold.
When you are ready to make your salad, chop & dice up all your goodies...lettuce, tomatoes, avacados, green onions, etc.
In the bowl, I layer lettuce, green onions, tomatoes, drained kidney beans & meat.
Then I add the cheese & dressing:
Then, I mix it up!
After I mix it up, I add my avocados & tortilla chips! (Idon't like my avocados or chips to get mushy & soggy....that is why I add them last!)
I usually use tortilla chips, but I saw these on sale & thought I would give them a try (they were yummy!)
So, if you need a quick, easy, healthy (and BBQ alternative) dinner this summer, I recommend Taco Salad!
Enjoy!

7.22.2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

A sad & heartbreaking milestone happened in our home yesterday.
I was in Claire's room changing her diaper & Kate came in to hang out with us.
Claire has mirrored closet doors in her room & Kate was looking at herself intently in the mirrors.
Kate started wiping her face over and over again.
I asked her what she was doing and she turned to me with big crocodile tears & said,
"Get them off!!!!"

"Get what off?" I responded. (There was nothing on her face)
"These marks. These dots. Get them off my face" She was sobbing.
At that point, my heart literally broke.
Kate had noticed the little sprinkling of freckles that have shown up across her face this summer.
I tried to hold in my tears as I reasoned with and tried to console my oldest daughter.
(Typing this out & remembering this is making me cry again)
As we sat on the floor of Claire's room with tears running down both of our faces I reminded Kate that she is beautiful. I told her that her freckles are kisses from God. I reminded her that lots of people have freckles...Mommy, Auntie El, Auntie Bots, her cousins & some of her friends have freckles.
I told her they are cute & they are unique.
She wasn't buying it. She still wanted them off. She wouldn't stop crying. She kept trying to wipe them off her face. My heart kept sinking & sinking.
(sorry Kate, I am part English/Scottish/Irish/Danish...the odds of you getting freckles are high)

So, I did what any good mom would do, I offered her chocolate & gave her some M&Ms.
It seemed to quell her emotions for the time being and I haven't heard about the freckles since then.
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach... How is it possible that my daughter who will be exactly 3.5 years old tomorrow is brought to tears because of the way she looks?
This is one of my fears about being a mother to two little girls.
Girls have self esteem issues. I have self esteem issues.
I could very easily list about 20 things about my looks that I don't like about myself.
I don't want my girls to have self esteem issues, although I know it is hard to avoid.
I want my girls growing up with confidence in who God created them to be.
I want them to know that they are fearfully & wonderfully made.
I want them to not compare themselves to other people & for them to be thankful and happy with the talents that God has given them.
I want them to know that they are loved for who they are.
(preaching to the choir....)
This is a BIG task, raising girls (and boys for that matter)
God has entrusted me (and Kevin) to raise up the girls in this scary, scary world.
Each day I realize more and more how unequipped I am for this job.
Each day I realize more and more how I need to rely on God to be the Mom that I need to be.
I don't have the strength, wisdom or patience to do it on my own.
I feel asleep last night with tears streaming down my face crying out to God & begging him to protect my girls from self esteem issues and asking Him to give Kevin and I guidance as we mother these 2 beautiful & amazing girls.
Ironically, all of these pictures of Kate last week when she was dressing up in her Princess clothes & staring at herself in the mirror that is in our living room (but not hung up yet). As I took these pictures she was busy admiring herself & singing at the top of her lungs, "I am a Princess, oh yes, I am a Princess!". She was so busy admiring herself as a Princess that she didn't even notice the freckles on her face....
Psalm 139: 13-14

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

7.20.2010

My Little Monk

Have you seen the TV Show Monk?

It is one of my favorite shows (the series ended last year, but they still show re-runs)

Kevin and I would watch Monk on Friday nights after the girls were in bed while eating pizza & drinking wine. It is such a great show! Re-runs are on all the time, so if you haven't seen it, you should DVR it!

The main character, Adrian Monk is an police detective for the San Fransisco Police Dept. (another reason we like it....it is filmed in SF!).
Monk is totally OCD & loves numbers (just like someone I know....me!)

When Kevin & I started watching the show, we laughed at all of Monk's OCD tendencies...but then it made us realize how OCD that we are and how OCD Kate is. Last year, we started calling Kate "Mini-Monk".
Kate loves things to be clean, her favorite number is 10 and Kate notices when things are out of place or missing (just like Monk).

But, this morning's actions take the cake. Kate was helping me put away her laundry. As she was looking at some of her clothes, she noticed that most of them are size 2T.
She was NOT okay with this.
Kate: "Mommy, I am 3, so I can't wear a 2T, I have to wear a 3T."
Me: 3T is too big on you & 2T fits you better.
Kate: "No. I can't wear a 2T. We need to change all my tags. Let's go find a marker." So, this is what Kate made me do to her clothes that were not size 3T.
I simply "sharpied" a 3T over the actual size.
At first, I just put a 3, put Kate insisted I put 3T.
Seriously? This girl is a riot!
I am thankful for sharpies, for they saved me from a toddler meltdown.
We only sharpied a handful of her clothes, but she wants to change the rest of them tomorrow.
Seriously, who's kid is this?!?! Actually...the apple doesn't fall far :)
I think all of us have a little OCD in us. But, I actually prefer to call it CDO, because then it is in alphabetical order!

7.18.2010

Four Generations & Vintage Goodies

Earlier this week we ventured to the Central Valley for a couple days to visit my Grammy.
Here are 4 Generations...Grammy, my mom, me & my two girls.
Grammy will be 99 this October & she still lives by herself!
Grammy is an amazing woman & I am blessed to have her in my life.
Grammy's house is full of vintage goodies.
She has saved so many neat things over the years & still has them at her house.
Remember these old school little people?
As we were leaving, Grammy told me she wanted to give me some things to take home.
She handed me a gift that she had wrapped.
Inside, was an old vintage camera from the 1930's that was my Grandfathers.
The camera is a total antique, it took awhile for me to figure out how to open it:
Once I opened it, I had to turn a little crank & the lens popped out.
This camera is so cool & I will treasure it forever! I wonder if there is vintage film that I could use to see if it still works!
Other vintage goodies she sent me home with were this Old School Ragedy Ann doll. I don't even know how old it is.
And, this awesome yellow chair that used to be my mom's when she was a little girl.
Grammy said it was from a one room school room in Colorado & that is why she wanted me to have it.
This little chair is AWESOME! I can't wait to use it for some photo shoots!
And, don't be surprised if I switch out the paint color of it from time to time!

Here is Grammy with all her great-grandchildren:
To read more about Grammy & see her vintage goodness, click on this post!

7.15.2010

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for me

The girls & I headed down to the (hot) Central Valley with my sisters & mom to visit my Grammy (and our cousins) earlier this week.
One of the perks about living in the (very hot) Central Valley is all the fresh produce that you can buy on the side of the road.
My mom picked up several lugs of fresh peaches for us to bring home.
One of my favorite things to eat on summer nights is freshly sliced peaches sprinkled very lightly with sugar & served over Vanilla Bean ice cream.
But, I have TONS of peaches & they are going to go bad before we can eat all of them.
What should I do with all these peaches?
Anyone have a good peach cobbler/peach crisp recipe?
Or any other type of peachy recipe?
If you do, post the link in the comments & you will be my BFF!
I can't let all these peaches go to waste!

7.10.2010

10 on 10 :: July 2010

10 on 10: Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month. Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments!
Happy Saturday! Kevin let me sleep in today! Hooray!
What a great way to start 10 on 10!
He was feeding the girls breakfast when I got up, mini french toast Eggo waffles!
Kate did her "dot dot dot paints" after breakfast. She likes them organized!
Claire hanging out in the pool while Kate was napping:
Flowers in my backyard:
Lemons from my neighbor:
Kate swimming after her nap:
It was hot out today, so Boulder snuck a jump in the pool:
An afternoon pool side snack Corn Dip & Sparkling Lemonade:
Dinner time: Pulled Pork with coleslaw:
We had a great Saturday! We spent the entire day at home hanging out in the backyard swimming and enjoying the warm summer weather!

7.07.2010

Bye-Bye Barbie Phone

About 4 years ago, Kevin and I got new cell phones from Sprint.
I have been a Sprint customer since 1998 (when I first got a cell phone in college).
Every year or so, I will get an email saying I am eligible for a new cell phone (as long as I commit to 2 more years of service, of course)
This is my current phone. I have had it for 4 years. It was free.
Yes, it is pink. (Kevin has the same phone in black)
Yes, people often mistake it for a play phone.
When people see me holding my phone a common question is,
"Is that really your phone? I thought it was Kate & Claire's play phone."

Can't a 30 year old woman have a pink phone?
My friends & neighbors have nick-named it my "Barbie" phone.
Others have called it "the ghetto pink phone"
If you have seen it in person, you know that it is plastic & cheap.
But, as of today, the Barbie phone is no longer my phone.

Introducing my new cell phone:
It slides up & down....
And, it slides side to side.
Perfect for texting.
Did I just say perfect for texting?
That's right ladies & gentlemen...
We FINALLY have a texting plan.
I think Kevin & I are the last people in our generation to have a texting plan.
We have been against texting since it's birth.
I just didn't "get" it.
But, I have realized over the past year that texting is necessary.
Everyone texts.
It is quick, it is easy, it is convenient.
Because we didn't have a texting plan, so everytime someone texted us, it would cost $.10
Everytime we texted someone it would cost us $.20
Not a lot of money, but that adds up after years and years.
So, we finally decided to bite the bullet, enter the 21st Century & add texting to our cell plan.
We will actually be saving money! No more texting charges!
So, to all my friends & family....we will actually text you back when you text us!
And, with our new (free) phone & it's nifty keyboard, it will only take a few seconds to text!
It would honestly take me 5 minutes to text on my Barbie phone.
I am pretty excited about our new phones.
They aren't anything fancy like an iPhone and we did not add internet access to our phones, but it leaps & bounds better than our old phones.

Oh, and the reason for getting new phones?
Let's just say someone (named Kevin) jumped into the pool this weekend with his cell phone in his pocket.
It was the perfect excuse to get new phones.
(and they were free because we hadn't gotten new phones since 2006 & we were eligible for 2 new phones, one for me & one for Kevin)
Of course, I had to commit to 2 more years with Sprint, but hey, I'll do (almost) anything for free stuff!

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