Sunday, May 29, 2011

Birthday Surprise

Wednesday was Tyson's birthday!  We just had a small family celebration at home that evening. 
When he got home from work on Friday, I told him the kids (and the dog) had "decided to go" to my mom's house, so let's go for a little drive.  I drove for 2 hours, with him asking about every 7 minutes where we were going.  Every time he asked I replied, "we're just going for a drive!"
Once we arrived in St. Louis, I went to the hotel, got out at the valet, opened up the back of the van and pulled out our suitcase (which he had no idea was back there!)  Tyson was laughing the entire time, wondering what on earth was going on!  After checking in and getting to our room, I take clothes out of the suitcase, tell him to change and proceed to get myself ready.  Again, he asks what is going on, so I tell him as soon as we are changed we are going to "go for a walk!" 
We walked 2 blocks to the Scottrade Center, where upon entering the building I proceed to pull 2 tickets out of my purse, hand them to the man at the door and make our way to our seats.  Tyson was literally squirming with anticipation...we had been in our seats about 10 minutes and he still had no idea what was going on!  Finally, one of the electronic boards around the arena gave it away.....we were at a Josh Groban concert!  Tyson (and I) LOVES Josh Groban!  He was so surprised!  We enjoyed the concert, returned to the hotel afterward, slept in the next day, and had lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory (no trip to STL is complete with out OSF!)  before returning home! 

After he read the board, he still made me pull out proof we were really about to see his fave musician!!

Josh (yeah, we're on a first name basis now) was UH-MAZING!!!

If the whole singing gig doesn't work out for him, he could truly make a living as a stand up comedian!  The guy is hilarious!!!

It was so great to get away for a little while and just be together!  We actually got to finish conversations without being interrupted by the kids, the phone, life! 
Happy Birthday to my sweetie!  I am so glad you had fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Our family is constantly on the go.  Like 8 days a week.  We are usually able to manage everyone's appointments, activities, etc pretty well.  In all the things we squeeze into one day, the one thing that often gets slighted is dinner.  I really am not one of those moms who is OK with her kids eating cereal or PBJ for dinner (no offense to anyone who is, it's just not me!)  I like to have a decent dinner for everyone and we ALWAYS eat together at the table. 
We had gotten into the bad habit of grabbing fast food or going to a restaurant all too often.  Like 4 times a week.  That HAD to stop!  It's expensive and unhealthy.  So I have really been making an effort to set aside some time as often as I can to have a freezer cooking day.  I usually pick about 4 recipes and make them all at once and freeze them.  A normal recipe usually yields 2 dinners for our family, stretching our groceries and cutting cost as well.  
When the meals are finished, I put them in disposable metal pans (I re-use these, it's just easier than having all my good pans in the freezer all the time).  I put a label on them with the date it was made (meals are good for about 6 months in the freezer) and preparation instructions.
When I know we have a busy day of running or we will be getting home at about dinner time I take one of the meals out of the freezer, let it thaw all day and BAM! dinner stress is gone!!! 
If I know we will be getting home around dinner time, before I leave home I put the food in the oven and set the timer to come on.  The food cooks while we are gone and is just about ready when we walk in the door. 

I'm a genius.  I know. 

Today I made all chicken recipes.  Instead of cooking chicken I bought 5 rotisserie chickens from the store and whined until Tyson was nice enough to cut them up for me.  I put all the chicken in a big bowl and measured it out as I put each recipe together.  I did the same with all the onions, green peppers, etc.

Again.  Genius. 

So here's a rundown of what I made today:  (I forgot to take pics of each as I was going.  Momentum took over!)

Broccoli Chicken Divan (2)
Crispy Chicken & Rice Casserole (2)
Chicken a la King (2)
Nacho Chicken Casserole (2)
Chicken Spaghetti (2)

That gives us 10 dinners.  As I mentioned, these keep for 6 months in the freezer so we will just use them as we need to!  I have this cookbook that I use for most of my freezer recipes.  It has everything including side dishes, vegetables, main dishes, casseroles, soups and even desserts that are designed to be made and frozen!  Brilliant!  Cooking ahead like this is also great for if there is a funeral, surgery, etc and I can just grab something from the freezer and take it! 
I am hoping to do another cooking day this week with beef recipes! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance

Thursday my little man graduated from preschool.  This is such a bittersweet time.  He is my baby and I cannot believe he is almost old enough to go to Kindergarten.  He is soooo excited about going!  While it will be a new chapter for him, I cannot help but feel a little sad for this chapter of babyhood that is ending.
Their preschool graduation program was TOOO cute for words!  They kept it short and sweet (under 20 minutes!) and sang 3 songs.  Then the teacher presented each child with a graduation hat (that Evan ripped before the other 8 kids were through!), a pin that said "All God's Children" and a diploma. 

(GRRRR.....I can't get the other pics and adorable video to upload!)

On another note, Miss Rylee tried out for the Jr. High Marching Band on Friday.  She will find out Monday if she made it or not.  The song they had to play for tryouts?  Pomp and Circumstance.  And she only got the sheet music 2 days before tryouts.  Wishing her luck!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Workin' the Runway

Every young girl loves to play dress up.  She likes to dress up herself, her dolls, and anyone else that gets in her path.  Occassionally, Rylee still likes to play dress up.  But recently she has found it is more fun when you actually have a LIVE model to work with!  So she and Evan put on quite the fashion show for us!  He was more than happy to be the model while she was the announcer (she gave each ensemble its own name!)  It was a hoot!

(Yes, I know my boy is going to kill me for these pics one day!)
(And yes, they will also be on a poster at his graduation, wedding, and any other occassion I see fit!)

Red Ruby with Under Armour

Purple sparkles with scarf.  This is Evan doing his model walk with the serious face!!!

Snow White

Pink Flower

Our lovely announcer



Blu 'N Blu Polka Dots

Serious Business!

Pink 'N Pretty with Scarf

Wolf   (see him howling?)


Good Times!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Girl Scout Day at the Capital

Yesterday was Girl Scout Day at the Capital.
There were about 2,100 Girl Scouts in attendance! 
It is a fun event held every other year.  The Attorney General writes a letter excusing the girls from school for the day in order to attend.

                                The day began with a welcome speech from the CEO of Girl Scouts

                                                   A speech on character from Miss Illinois

Then a parade from Lincoln's home up Capitol Street, to the building

                                                    Rylee scooting her way up Capitol Street

                              My girls and I.  (Not the greatest pic--we were facing the blinding sun!)

The House of Representatives were in session so we were able to watch them wasting our tax dollars hard at work.

                               After lunch we made our way over to the Old Capitol Building for activities

                                      And a friendship circle that went all the way around the building!

After 2+ miles of walking, the girls were exhausted!!!