Texas Tigers
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

excited

It's an exciting day around here. Someone very special is coming to visit. Abby might be most excited of all. She keeps wanting to call this person and when that's not possible she wanted to chat over the computer. So I had to use this little map to show her where that special person was. Not too much longer for Abby to wait now! 



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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

zoo playdate

Yesterday we got to go to the zoo with our friends. It was an exciting trip because the second phase of the Africa Live exhibit the zoo has been building forever was open and we hadn't seen it yet. I love this next exhibit area! They have some African dogs there now. {Sorry it's a bad shot because they were lying in half-shade half-sun area.}
We even went in the petting zoo area where Abby liked brushing the goats. (They only had goats in the petting zoo)
After a picnic all the little ones played in the river bank water area until they started to get cold. As a special treat since everyone was really well behaved we rode the train before heading home. This was a big hit for all of them. Micah thought it was a little long though since he was ready for a nap - but he did so well the whole time we were at the zoo! 

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

{mostly} budget friendly activities in San Antonio

With summer practically here (and our Tuesday/Thursday morning commitment finished for this school year) I'm brainstorming fun {inexpensive} things to do with the kids to keep them busy and not bored all summer long. 


{Outside}
I'll start with the relatively no brainers. 
- Park
- Pool/spray park
- Bakyard with sandbox, swing set, baby pool, sprinkler, chalk. 
- Bike rides
- Nature walks 
- Sea World {not cheap to buy the season passes but once you have them it's a pretty cheap adventure.}
**Hint ** Buy only one season pass for whoever will be going there the most (unless everyone will be going there individually multiple times) and buy everyone else the fun cards. The fun cards don't have parking included or the 20% discount on food/gift shops but if you are going as a family only one person needs the season pass to get those things. For us I have the season pass while Beau and Abby just have fun cards because he isn't likely to go without the rest of us so no need to spend the extra to get him the season pass. 
** Hint 2** Invest in the refillable mugs and popcorn bucket. Once you have those (we bought our mugs 2 and 3 seasons ago now) you can get a drink refill and popcorn for $2.50. We also bring with us individual snacks for the little ones and our water bottles full of cold water. Unless we are making a day of it then we don't buy anything else.
- Zoo - {Again once you have a family membership it's free to get in and we always bring our own picnic and/or snacks.} 
- Head out to the orchard and pick fresh fruit! We just picked strawberries, blackberries and peaches should be ready soon! 


{Inside}
- Arts and Crafts - I love doing crafts with Abby. I have three favorite go-to websites when I need a new idea. Kaboose, No Time for Flashcards (button on the side of the blog if you ever want to check it out!) and a recent find from a friend Confessions of a Homeschooler 
Witte Museum - Tuesdays after 3 pm until 8 pm are free! 
- Bass Pro Shop - What you say? Yes you heard me right. We did this a couple weeks ago and Abby loved it. She loved seeing the boats and ATVs (and getting in/on them), looking at the fish and all the animals. Yes it's pretty strange to look at all the dead animals but Abby enjoyed it a lot. A good free way to spend an hour or two wandering the store. **Hint** There is a little candy shoppe near the fish restaurant - we didn't get one but I saw they had cookies for .75 cents or buy 3 get 1 free. Sounds like a good afternoon pick me up if everyone behaves in the store. 
- Free movies at local theaters in the mornings starting in June! 
There are Monday-Thursday mornings at the Santikos Theaters - you can see the schedule here
And at Regal Theaters they have two choices each morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays - you can see there schedule here
- Library for story time or just to check out books for the summer reading program. 


If you have any others that I haven't mentioned feel free to add them in the comments and I'll add to my list - that way on mornings I need an idea I can look back at my list and see what we haven't done recently! 
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Bike riding

video
Yes I know she's not wearing a helmet. Bad mommy - but she also didn't want to ride anywhere but the driveway. We did make progress at the very end of the night and she put on her helmet and rode down to the end of the street and back! 
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strawberries galore

Yup still posting about strawberries over here. If you don't like them then this post isn't for you - sorry! 


First up take your beautiful freshly picked from the farm berries {or ya know berries you get at the grocery store!} wash them, cut the tops off and slice them. We're gonna do two things with these berries today. 
Before we get too into the berry cutting and slicing make sure the kiddos are happily playing. This particular morning Abby was having a snack/second breakfast after we came home from the gym and enjoying it on the porch. 
Micah was also out there with Abby playing in the sandbox, the dogs water bowl that I had placed on the porch and whatever else he wanted to play with. 
He was able to go out on the porch (which is right off the kitchen!) because of this lovely gate that Beau so kindly put up for me! Usually if Abby wants to go outside and I'm not going out with her Micah is stuck inside, whining to go out. 
Now back to the berries! We're making strawberry ice cream! After the berries are cut and sliced - I got two cups of the sliced berries in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of lime juice (the recipe calls for lemon juice but I didn't have any lemons so I used what I had) and a 1/3 cup of sugar. Place the berries in the fridge for 2 hours to get all yummy! Now all the extra berries I cut I dried and placed on a pan in a single layer then put the pan of berries in the freezer to use them for smoothies {or daiquiris!} either will be yummy!
Then you'll want to round up the kiddos from the porch, strip the baby because he's a mess from spilling the dog bowl and sitting in the sandbox, take a shower with the baby since you went to the gym that morning, then head to the grocery store to get milk to finish making the ice cream, make it home from the store and start lunch before making the ice cream. Or maybe that's just what I did in those two hours. 

To make the ice cream part of the strawberry ice cream you'll want to take 1 cup of milk and 2/3 cup of sugar. Whisk them together until the sugar is dissolved. Then add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon{-ish or maybe a little more in our house!} of vanilla and any juice that is in the bottom of the bowl of strawberries you put in the fridge 2 hours before. Pour this mixture into your ice cream mixer, turn on and let it freeze for 20-25 minutes.
During the last 5 minutes you'll want to add in your sliced strawberries. This is what cause problems for me. See when I added the strawberries it cause my ice cream bowl to be a little on the full side. Resulting in this mess when it was done freezing. Since the ice cream was still fairly soft I put it in a container and placed it in the freezer to harden some more. 
The result: some very yummy homemade strawberry ice cream. The only problem I had was the berries got so cold in the ice cream that they were hard to eat at first but still very tasty! 

Next up to make: some healthy strawberry yogurt popsicles for my yogurt loving kids. 
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Earth day! We spent time outside with Abby riding her bike. For dessert we celebrated with some dirt pudding complete with worms. Abby thought this was very cool to make and eat. 
Micah even got a couple tiny bits and really enjoyed it! 

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strawberry picking

So yesterday after Micah woke up {early like usual} and Abby woke up shortly later as she can't miss out on the fun we headed out for an adventure. We drove out to Marburger Orchard to pick some strawberries. We love strawberries around here and can usually eat one of the small containers from the grocery store in one sitting. Some friends of ours had gone the weekend before last and brought some berries to share to Church and they were such tasty berries - you can't get any fresher than picked yourself from the farm fresh! 

Abby was a good helper for the majority of the picking process - I think next year she'll be an excellent berry picker. We definitely plan on going back next year during strawberry season. {In addition to peach picking later this summer!} The only problem was she wanted to pick and eat them instead of putting them in the basket! 
Micah was not so helpful at berry picking! In fact quite the opposite. I wore him in a carrier to start out with - starting on the front but he got in the way of picking so I switched him to my back. That didn't last long as he wanted to get down and he was quite vocal about it. Then we started the battle of him wanting to hep 'pick' berries - and basically anything else he could grab including leaves and green berries. It got to be quite the challenge. We moved to a row of berries that was on the edge of one of the 4 berry patches so that there was grass for him to walk around in but that didn't stop him from wanting to either pick berries of grab them out of the berry box and eat them. I can't blame him! It did make it challenging but not any less fun! 
Here's Abby showing off our berries we picked. Don't you just love her smile! She wouldn't give me a normal one! I didn't get many more pictures because we were focused on berry picking and of course I was trying to help Abby find the good berries to pick before she went wild picking any and all berries she saw and keeping Micah from picking the plants in general! 
We {mostly} filled up two berry picking boxes to have plenty of berries for various uses. Come back tomorrow for some of the ways we will be using our berries! 
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Before/after

 It's been a couple weeks since I participated in the before/after blog hop but I decided to jump back in this week. I think it's my favorite blog hop I've participated in. Even if I don't participate I love looking at what everyone else does that week. 
SOOC


After
I edited these using Lightroom 3 beta -  I followed Mckmama's tutorial for an aged photo. I think I like it. 
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

pizza play date


Yesterday we had a wonderful playdate with friends. After playing hard for a little while - we forced let the kids make their own pizza's for lunch. 

They rolled out their dough (using some various things as rolling pins because while we remembered all the ingredients none of us remembered or thought to bring an extra rolling pin! Whoops!) 

They spread out their sauce on their pizzas. 
Then they put cheese on their pizzas. 

Don't they look yummy? 

Since they all got to make their own pizza's and we also made one big pizza for us to eat we had more than enough pizza to go around for everyone. In fact there was enough that they each had one to eat for dinner which worked out beautifully {as long as you don't mind feeding your kid the same thing for lunch and dinner!} since we had planned a girls night out and were all leaving the kids home with their daddies. We didn't have to worry about what they would eat for dinner and daddies could just enjoy playing with the kids instead of fixing something for dinner! 


The pizza playdate seemed to be a big hit. Thanks to Stephanie who allowed us to make a mess of her kitchen. She has a wonderful counter with enough barstools that allowed more than enough space for everyone to roll out their pizza at the same time! 


Now I am in need of some serious strawberry recipes! We are going strawberry picking today and we'll likely come home with lots of berries. I'm already planning some strawberry ice cream and some strawberry/yogurt popsicles (as long as I remember to purchase some popsicles molds!) then I plan to freeze some for smoothies. So any other good strawberry recipes you want to share? I'd love to hear them! 
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Not me Monday




It's that day again. The day of the week where we choose to admit what we didn't do this past week so we can start this week fresh.


I did not sleep without sheets on my bed for half of this past week. If I had done this it wouldn't be because the potty training 3 year old peed in my bed several times. Nope because she sleeps in her bed where she is fine not being able to see mommy. I do take her to potty twice after putting her to bed. So it wasn't me that was too late TWICE last night. This did not result in 2 of 3 sheets being wet on top of the set I hadn't gotten around to washing from a couple days ago.


It's also not me that is again behind in laundry. Simply because it's not me that keeps forgetting to bring down the laundry to the laundry room. Nope not me.
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homemade pizza

Because of the pizza play date we had today {where we let the kids roll out and top their own pizzas} I thought I'd spend a minute - or ten - blogging about pizza. Especially since it was probably my highest commented on facebook status of all times when I simply mentioned making pizza dough.


Homemade pizza really is the tastiest. I love making (and eating!) it. It's really really simple and easy to do as well. Even 3.5 year olds can help! Abby loves to help in the kitchen - especially with pizza. 


You start by making a dough. If you have a good dough recipe then you are pretty much practically guaranteed to have a good pizza. I use the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe. You can find it in her cookbook or here on her website (with some topping ideas!) I used to use the recipe from the William Sonoma wedding cookbook (which I love that cookbook - so many classic recipe's that are oh so tasty!) and it was good. I enjoyed it but Beau didn't like it and wouldn't be thrilled when I would make homemade pizza instead of frozen {seriously who can like frozen better than homemade but he did!} or ordering pizza. After trying the PW's recipe his mind was forever changed and he likes my homemade pizza. 

The dough takes all of 10 minutes max to make - including getting all the ingredients together and put away afterwards - with the help of a 3.5 year old and a 1 year old. Then you let it rise for an hour and a half. We usually make the dough right after Micah wakes up from his afternoon nap and it's ready to go for dinner time. You can make it ahead of time and put it in the fridge for a day or two but I don't usually think that far ahead! 

Roll it out (I usually put some corn meal on the counter to roll it out with) and then place it on a pan while the oven is heating up to 500 degrees - yes that hot but it's best that way! 
Then put sauce on the pizza - I make our sauce with a can of tomato sauce, can of tomato paste, parsley, oregano, and various other seasonings. 

Top with cheese and in our case pepperonis. This is where you really put your child to work. This is Abby's favorite part. 
Place the toppings all around the pizza. 
Some usually get eaten in this process. 
Put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes at 500 degrees. Take out of the oven and enjoy. Sorry no pictures of the finished pizza - it smelled to good to stop and take pictures! 
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

the kitchen sink

To entertain the kiddos while it rained I put Abby to work washing her dishes filled up the sink with bubbles and gave her some containers to play with. 
She took her job quite seriously! 

Micah wanted to help too. 
See?



Next time it might be beneficial to undress the baby before hand though. Not that undressing him out make him any less slippery - in fact that might make him more slippery! 


It kept them quite entertained for a while. Abby longer than Micah because he didn't like it when I would remind him and help him to sit back down as standing in the sink is not a good idea!
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