Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cuppa Christmas Cocoa

Cocoa in a canning jar.

I made some delish cocoa mix this morning. I found the recipe in my Susan Branch cookbook (L O V E her).



Hot Cocoa Mix

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies (optional)
To make cocoa: Add 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Mix to 8 oz. of hot milk; stir until dissolved.
I am going to serve mine in these festive, red mugs that I got for my birthday last year from my sister, Alli.

Aren't they just perfect?

The Eleventh Commandment & A Day at the Zoo

Were you aware of this?

I sure hope so, because it could really affect the way you live your life.


When this is the pizza you are to eat, this commandment really isn't a hard one to keep!



Giordano's Chicago Style Pizza.
Is there any other pizza?!




The kids take after me in the pizza eating department. They just can't get enough! (No matter how revolutionized my eating habits become, there is always room for Chicago-style pizza and dark chocolate!) ;)



lll


I found some pictures of a day we spent at the zoo a couple of weeks ago. It was just too magnificent of a November Saturday to stay at home. On a whim, we found ourselves driving downtown to visit my very favorite zoo.


We had a great day, despite the rather...disgusting antics of the chimps. After we hurried from the ape house with the kids eyes covered and petrified looks on our faces, we made it to the bears in time to watch them eat dinner. They weren't too excited about their fishy meal (it's hibernation time and they have no appetite) but it was fun to watch them catch the airborne seafood and bat it around.

How cute is this guy? He doesn't look too hungry...

The most entertaining was the Polar Bear (they don't hibernate, so she was hungry) dive into her pool to retrieve fish. The crowd laughed and "awed" at the sight of her black padded feet poking up through the surface of the water while she obediently ate the fish from the bottom of the pool. Cute!

Another highlight was the baby elephant. Or "Ewatin", as Beck says. She liked to hide from the crowd behind her mommy and aunties.

We saw three cheetah cubs frolicking and attacking one another in play. So beautiful, cuddly and fear inspiring all at the same time.

We stared down a curious hippo. Not Beck or Evie's favorite moment of the day - we left the hippo tank with two creeped out, crying babies.

We spent the most time at the prairie dog display. Weird, I know. But they were interesting (!) and not too scary for the likes of our little ones. Such a fun way to spend a fall day...we didn't even wear coats!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Counting Down


The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.
~Lucille Ball
It's almost BiRtHdaY Time!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PB & J With A Twist

Tonight's dinner isn't quite as wholesome as last night's chicken nuggets but it is one of the best comfort foods in my book.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly

Growing up I was always a bit horrified when a friend's mom hadn't heard of this scrumptious twist on the classic PB & J. I made it my job to teach the "recipe" to the unenlightened.

Here goes:
Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Slap a little butter on the outside. Grill on a skillet.
There you have it!

Just be sure not to serve it too piping hot. The warm jelly has been known to burn eager little mouths.

Whimsical Origins


When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.

-J. M. Barrie

Thanks and Giving

We had a full, tiring, wonderful holiday.

Mrs. B., Beck and Mr. B. enjoying turkey & trimmings in Wisconsin.

Our 2 day pit stop at my parents house was spent in the comfortable house. We laughed, played monopoly, ate mama's cookin' and rarely ventured from the warmth of home. The only times we actually did go forth was to visit the nearest Starbucks, hit the Bath & Body Works holiday sale and get some Chicago style pizza at Giordano's.

Monopoly. Alli won every time.


Mr. B. hit the jackpot when my parents presented him with a gift that has been a long time in coming. A gun! Now, I don't know anything about guns so that is all the information you get. Oh yes, and a picture:

Mr. B. and my dad comparing their guns.

Early Thursday morning we jumped in the borrowed mini-van and drove yet further north to Wisconsin to spend the weekend with Mr. B's family and friends.

Mama B. made a great traditional Thanksgiving feast. All in all we had about 20 in attendance and everyone was full at the end. Feeding that many is a feat in itself! Thank you, Mama B!

Beck and his cousin, the vivacious Eliana.

Black Friday dawned much too early. I, the ever ardent shopper, still managed to be out the door before 8 am even after a miserable night of Evie crying loud enough to wake the entire hotel. Mama B, my delightful sister-in-law and I found ourselves shopping with some of the most determined (if not grumpy) people in Wisconsin that morning. We ended our morning with breakfast at Perkins and headed back to our beds for naps.



Saturday found me with a strange 24 hour flu. I had cold symptoms as well as some ungracious stomach afflictions. I stayed in the dark hotel room while Mr. B. took the kids to visit great grandma's farm. I hear their day was spent well with long naps in great grandma's beds, french toast and target practice (for Mr. B. only!) with the new gun. I spent my day watching the Food Network, HGTV, reading this book and sleeping. Not really a bad way to spend your day (minus the sick).

Mrs. B. and sister.


Our annual birthday tradition is to eat a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel. That celebration was on Sunday morning in honor of Uncle Mike's birthday, mine and Evie's.

The drive home was unbearably long. Seven hours in the car with toddlers is not a recipe for relaxation. But, we made it. Rolling in late Sunday night.

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation right after your vacation? That's how I feel. I just want to crawl in bed and sleep for a day or two.


Thankful For

The health of myself and family

God's grace

Answered prayers

Laughter

Good food

Monday, November 26, 2007

Answers & Some Good Chicken!




Beck does this thing. He doesn't quite get the question/answer routine...or hasn't until today.
You ask him a question, like, "Was that fun?" and he will just repeat,
"Fun?"
Or, "Do you want to wear your blue hat?" His reply, "Wear blue hat?"
It gets a bit tiresome.

Tonight I made some chicken nuggets that must have been completely, out of this world delicious, because when I asked him, "Are those good?" He said, "Yes. Good!"
Well, Bless My Soul! He answered a question! I almost dropped my spatula.
So, you must have the recipe. There must be more than flax meal and sweet potatoes hidden in these nuggets because they've just about performed a miracle!








Chiken Nuggets recipe
from Deceptively Delicious
INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole-wheat, white or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet puree
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder on the paper or foil and mix well with your fingers. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.

Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil.

Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut through a piece to check that it's cooked through.) Serve warm.

'Tis The Season

This Christmas season feels especially magical.


I am not sure why...there is less money, less cold weather and less snow but I still feel the delicious anticipation that only abides in November & December.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Havin' A Good Old Time

Mom can set one of the most beautiful tables.
Thanksgiving 2006

The kids and I are visiting my family for a few days before we journey further North to spend Turkey Day with Mr. B.'s side of the family.

Have a Holiday full of warmth and cheer...I know I will!


Here are a few pictures of past year's Holiday Celebrations:

A rather startling picture of the siblings being very annoying. (I am on the far left.)
Chrsitmas 2005

Thanksgiving 2006 - Less than a month before Evie's birth.

Look how cute he was last year...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Morning

Cinnamon oatmeal with cranberries & pecans. Pumpkin bread.
Who said a healthy diet wasn't delicious?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One Berry, Two Berry. Pick Me A Blueberry.


Strawberry ponies
Strawberry lambs
Dancing in meadows
Of strawberry jam

Have you read this playful book to your little ones yet? I picked it up at the library and I can't wait for Beck to wake up from his nap so we can enjoy it together.
Add this one to my list of favorites!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bump Fairy

I have been following this insanely interesting and funny blog.

It is the very candid and revealing journey of a surrogate mother. Just had to pass on some good reading. ;)





Kind of like the tooth fairy...only fatter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Change Is Good

Image from stefaniesacks.com

Since I turned over my new leaf and have been pursuing a healthier life-style I have lost three pounds and I feel more energetic & positive.
Just throwing that out there as a little encouragement for anyone contemplating changing it up a bit.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sassafrass

BEFORE:
That horrified look on my face? Because my hair needed so much help!
AFTER:
Oh yes, Ladies and Gents...I am SASSY!

Evie tested. Evie approved!

Mr. B. has been a "long-hair lover" for as long as I've known him. But by the smile on his face when I waltzed into the room, I think I have a shot at converting him! ;)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Anticipation...

Birthday plans are underway!


Mr. B. and I are going to see this musical:




Isn't that exciting? Musicals are my absolute favorite outing...ever.


I love having my birthday near Christmastime. (November 30th, to be exact.) I get to do cozy, Christmassy things in the name of birthday celebration. What a treat.



This is the most fun version of the classic. :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

In Awe.

Meet Miss Audrey Kate B.

God is so great. His goodness is never more evident than in a newborn baby.

Audrey Kate was born on her due date, November 8th. She is an absolute blessing to her enamoured parents Mr. & Mrs. B. (not us, different ones!) She was 7 lbs 14 oz and 20.5 inches long.

She is one of the most beautiful newborns I've ever seen (I got to hold her tonight!) and I can't wait to get to know her as she grows into the wonderful young lady I know she'll be.

Congrats, Mr. & Mrs. B. You make a good lookin' baby!

Daddy was positively glowing all night.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Going For It!


New hair. On Monday.
What do you think?

100th Post!

Happy 100th Starcrossed Post!

Thanks to a visit with Auntie Jessi and her love of photography, we have some new pictures of the B. clan.







The Christmas Card version...Perfect.


The real-life version...Not Perfect.



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A New Leaf

Food: I love it. A bit too much? Positively.

Working out: Don't love it. Is it obvious? Immensely.


I'm making a major change. We can all thank Oprah and her buddy Dr. Oz for providing the inspiration to make this change.


It's not about dieting or a strict workout regime. It's about lifestyle.


Fair warning to all those that love to enjoy "naughty" foods with me: I won't say yes and consume sweets in enormous amounts (as I have been known to do). And if I seem to be devouring sugar in that old-fashioned "Mrs. B." way, slap me. Hard.


Reprogramming is not going to be easy, but I am so ready!

Kindermusik

It's official! I am a licensed and employed Kindermusik educator as of last Monday.
The job interview? Stressful. (Learned 25 songs & c0-taught 3 classes!)
The bloopers? Many.
The children? Adorable.
The music? Inspired.
The interviewer? Wonderful!
The amount of vision the interviewer must have had to see me as promising? H U G E!
The smile on my face when she offered the job? Glowing.

Here is the official Kindermusik site: kindermusik.com
I start teaching in January of 2008. Can't wait!


Friday, November 2, 2007

Yes...She Looks a Little Like Julia Roberts

She came for a visit last weekend and we had a grand time. Here are some of the pictures we took...


"Auntie Bethie" getting reacquainted with the Bebe's.


A country drive to see the colors did not disappoint.




Me & my sweets.



I wish he'd never grow up...




Funny Wizard of Oz pumpkin people.





The girls at church.





The winery was delightful!





We learned a lot about wine...and tasted a little too...

Beth has been my friend since we met when we were in second grade. Our childhood memories are synonymous with one another. From dress-up to walks on the farm to begging mom for "one more night!" with one another.
I thank God for the devoted, constant friendship I have in her.
Love you, Mrs. D. See you in May! :)