Sunday, September 30, 2007

Does Barney have purple privates??

I truly thought that we were through the coloring where we shouldn't color stage until tonight! I can't even recall what Shane and I were doing...he probably watching the Steelers lose and I probably cleaning, but Sydney and Noah were quietly playing together (first cue that something wasn't right). Next thing I knew Noah was purple! He was purple on his hands, face, back (Sydney apparently the blame for that), feet, jeans, shirt, and we later found out (while in the bathtub) that he also colored his privates! He thought having a purple private would be funny he said.....Then, we noticed that Sydney was also purple. She had purple hands and feet. Here they decided that they would color each other while sitting in their little hole in the front room. I have to giggle now that I think about it. It was pretty funny, however Noah did get in BIG trouble for this one!

Purple hands (couldn't take a picture of the privates LOL)

Sydney's arm

Okay blogger won't let me upload my next picture. I will edit it later! Just another day with the Shaffer clan!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Note to self...

Note to self...

The next time I have a Spaghetti O's episode (see August 22) I will check in the most bizarre places when conducting the cleanup....

Did you know that when you dump a whole bowl of Spaghetti O's with meatballs (I might add) that you should always look up, down, beside, over, and even UNDER things! HAHA!! I am still chuckling because today I took Sydney's highchair and did a thorough cleaning of it. I took the tray off and walked over to the sink. Noah said something I turned and put the tray on the sink, upside down....Well, why I never looked under the tray is what I am still asking myself....OMG!! First of all, I can't believe I am admitting this to all of you, but you are friends and family and know that my life is JAM packed with a busy life and don't find the time to do all the "little" things.....YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE CAKED ON SPAGHETTI O'S ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TRAY!! Whoops....hehehehee..only a month later HA!!

So, this is a friendly reminder to myself to always look UNDER things when you drop a bowl of Spaghetti O's with Meatballs!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Great Weekend!

Do you have friends who you have known for awhile who just live too far away, but seem to always pick up where you left off?? Well, I particularly have two that come to mind--my best friend Kim and our friends Matt and Amy from Clarion, PA. We met Matt and Amy when Shane and I went to college there and we have been friends since...approximately 10 years now. We only get to see each other about 4-5 times a year, and sometimes go a month without talking, but every time we get together it feels just like home. The story of us meeting is a funny one, so I have to share. Shane and I signed up for basketball classes at Clarion since we both loved it so much. Shane's class was right before mine, so I made it a point to arrive about 10-15 minutes early just to watch him in the gym. The one day I was there another girl was also standing there and I had recognized her from my class. She was also looking in the gym (obviously there were not a lot of people staring in at the basketball class, most girls pick up a man at the bar, LOL) however she was looking and smiling. I thought, "Maybe she knows someone in there." I can't remember who said it first, me or her, but one of us asked, "Which one is yours?" And from that moment on, we clicked as friends. We started hanging out as "couples" and Amy and my friendship grew. We joined Weight Watchers together, watched movies, went to basketball games, and so forth. Over the years, the friendship has blossomed and though Matt and she having a little girl shortly have Noah and now they expecting a child after we had Sydney, I look back and remember all the good times and how truly blessed we are to have them in our lives. The distance is tough, about 4 hours away, but when something is just meant to be, it works. I believe in soul mate friends and Matt and Amy are ours. :) Below are some very VERY cherished pictures of their little one playing with ours.

Noah stealing a kiss...ahhh...

At Morgan Grove Park

They never forget each other

Playing Playdoh at the table...

Friday, September 14, 2007

You moms will understand...

Picture this.... Palms are sweating, eyes are darting from one area to another--the chair, the floor, the table, the child--blood pressure is rising, breathe mama breathe....thinking it better not get mashed into the floor, keep it in one pile, and for goodness sakes, please don't eat it! Reminder to the children (smiling at them) you know the rules you not mix it and keep it on the table....BREATHE.....Let it be fun...let it be fun...let them enjoy it because you enjoyed it. Wait a minute...I only had the primary colors...what is this?? Black, white, light pink, dark pink, fluorescent pink, six shades of purple??? And all this equipment that goes along with Mama and take the pictures!

Yep you guessed it...PLAYDOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The terrible, smelly, smooshy, crumbly playdoh! Why can't the kids just keep it together in one ball?? Why does it have to crumble into itty bitty pieces?? Even though we go through all the stress, you have to admit there is something wonderful about time with the Playdoh... the creativity, the adventures, the hands on experience, THE MESS!!! Well, we took that adventure this weekend as a play date with Daddy....this is how it went :)

Playdoh Date with Daddy

We had a Playdoh Date with Daddy this past weekend. This was Sydney's first experience with Playdoh and frankly, it was quite amusing. Eating it, smashing it, crumbling it, and putting it on her head where the highlights of our date with Daddy. Noah made some wonderful animals and also made us create some as well. The giraffe is definitely my favorite (I made it of course). Daddy's creations were very interesting and made us all laugh!

Playdoh on the head :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A beautiful day in the yard...

After I was done mowing (yes, I mowed...don't ask, it is part of my weight loss plan), we and the kids played outside in the yard. It was too beautiful to go inside. Noah was hunting for bugs, which is a regular activity, and Sydney was picking flowers and swinging.

Sydney posing with the posies :)

Noah telling her to say Cheese...

Syd enjoying the swing!

Noah and Elliott

For those of you who haven't been to my house since we painted the front door.. surprise!! It is red!!! And I LOVE IT!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My favorite scrapbook pages...

After some inspiration from my very favorite scrapbooking consultant, Amy, through Close to My Heart, she got me started on the scrapbook layout below. I had these wonderful pictures of my daughter that I took one day. She was sitting in her high chair eating and her eyes were glistening in the sunlight. I couldn't get enough of them and pulled out my film camera and started snapping. She is beautiful and it captures her true inner beauty. I also added a couple other layouts that I have created over the years to share.

The next layout is one I did for my son when he was 9 months old. It is one of my favorites in his album. He was so grumpy, but so cute...

The next page I did twice. One for my Son's album and one for my daughters. The only difference is the pictures. I loved doing this page!

I am now on my way to my basement to get working! I'll share more later...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Husking the Corn with Farmer Jojo

Corn on the Cob Fun!

(You can make fun of me...Shane and Jolie already have) :)

Tonight we had a dinner date with our closest friend Jolie. She brought the corn on the cob, I made the porkchops and macaroni, and the kids terriorized the house! We had a good time!

Noah enjoyed helping with the husking, but he wouldn't eat it. He tries it and pretends he is a deer! Too much little buddy...too much!

Jolie and Shane made fun of me because I took pictures for my cob blog :) I, personally, enjoyed my picture taking of us husking and eating the corn on the cob and would like to share it with any of you out there who feel like you need to waste some precious time reading my COB blog :) LOL....

Enjoy, because we sure did!

Bug Hunting

Bug Hunting Day with Friends

Today was beautiful!! After preschool and cleaning up from lunch, we went outside with our friends. Thank goodness we have the best neighbors, actually, I see them more as best friends than neighbors! They save me when I have those days where I just need to sit and talk "adult" talk and let the kids play. Today was one of those days. The kids played in our front yard. They searched and searched for bugs in the mulch, bushes, plants. They managed to find worms, MAGETS!! EWW!!!!, beetles, and Amy found a praying mantis on my rose bush. We enjoyed the beautiful day and each other's company! Like I said, THANK GOD FOR GOOD FRIENDS!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Food for Real People

Since I have been home, I have been spending a lot of time actually cooking meals. I talk to friends and family and get recipes of REAL food that doesn't take a lot of time and work. None of that fancy stuff, just down country cooking! :) I have copied and pasted a few of our family favorites that were passed down from friends and family members. Please enjoy and seriously try them! I mean it! They are DELICIOUS!!

MOM TIP from my kitchen to yours: Get one of those little white boards from Michaels or AC Moore that are in their $1 section and keep it on your fridge. Make a weekly menu and keep it posted for the rest of the family to see what they are eating throughout the week.

Basil Pork Chops

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 boneless pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick and 4 ounces each)
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, basil, salt, and chili powder. Gradually stir in 1 tablespoon oil until crumbly. Rub over both sides of pork chops.
In a large skillet, cook pork in remaining oil over medium heat for 7-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

Yield: 4 servings Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes

Chicken Enchiladas
These are wonderful! They are from the Ritchey kitchen and my mom :) Fabulous!
¼ cup butter 1 (8oz) sour cream
¼ cup flour 12 soft tortillas (small) or 6 large ones
1 can chicken broth ¾ cups chopped chicken (better if you use chicken
¾ c water from your crockpot chicken or roaster chicken)
2 cups of mont. Jack cheese (save some for top)

Melt butter in heavy saucepan, add flour. Stir till smooth. Cook 1 minute. Gradually add chicken broth and water. Stir till thick. Stir in sour cream. Pour ½ sour cream mix into 9x12 pan (greased). Place chicken, cheese, and onion powder on tortilla-Roll and place seamside down in sauce. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas and sprinkle remaining cheese (1 or 1/2 cup) on top.
Bake 20 minutes uncovered @ 425
Top with cheese-5 minutes more

Mouthwatering Meatloaf
2 lb. Lean ground beef
1 cup crushed RITZ crackers (about 18 crackers)
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup KRAFT original Barbecue Sauce
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 T. honey
2 T. minced dried onions
1 T. plus 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. garlic powder
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Freshly ground black powder

Preheat: oven to 350. Spray 9x5inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Mix meat, cracker crumbs, half each of the tomatoes and barbecue sauce, the egg, honey, onions, 2 tsp. Of the Worcestershire sauce, the garlic, salt, and pepper until well blended.

Shape: meat mixture into loaf in prepared pan, flatten top with spatula. Mix remaining tomatoes, remaining barbecue and the remaining Worcestershire sauce; spoon over meatloaf. Cover with foil. Place pan on baking sheet.
Bake: 1 hour or until meatloaf is cooked through and pulls away from the sides of pan, removing foil for the last 15 minutes of the baking time. Cool slightly before slicing.

Mini Cheddar Meat Loaves
Thanks Julie :) THese are fabulous because everyone gets their own little meatloaf! No cutting involved. :)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 pound sirloin ground beef (85% lean)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard

In a bowl beat the egg and milk. Stir in cheese, oats, onion, and salt. Add beef and mix well.
Shape into 7 or 8 hand-size loaves. Place loaves evenly separated in a greased 13x9x2 baking dish.
Glaze: Combine brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard in a small dish. Spoon over loaves.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and is 160 degrees on a thermometer.

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette
This one my mom found and shared with me. It is so quick to make and is so delicious! My husband even ate it and it had tomatoes in it! LOL!!

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon drained crapers
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 center-cut salmon fillets with skin (about 7 oz each)
Freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
2 Tablespoon of canola oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the shallot, capers, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of salt
In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook over moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to plates and pour off any fat in the skillet.
Place the skillet over moderate heat and add the tomato mixture along with the cumin, canola oil, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the skillet until the tomatoes just soften, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with parsley and basil. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy :) Please if you try it leave a comment!