Friday, May 17, 2013

The Big 1-0!!

Now we're all finally in the double digits!
Yesterday Jenelle turned 10.
Donald has been telling her that technically her birthday should be celebrated on the evening of the 15th since she was born in England at 1:30am on the 16th...about 8 hours ahead of us here.
I had never thought of that before, but you just can't start saying your birthday's on the 15th when its always been on the 16th.
Very confusing!

But if anyone WOULD celebrate her birthday's this girl!
I guess her birthday celebrating actually started on the weekend when Hannah and I took her to get her ears pierced.

Hannah had hers done when she turned 10 - doesn't seem that long ago!

And now Jenelle's 10 already!
 And after!

Her birthday morning started with waking to a giant balloon...
 ...and a brother in her room!
She opened some gifts from Ivan and Hannah...

And at school she shared rainbow cupcakes with her friends.
When she came home from school, she found a new purple carpet in her room.
Then for dinner Jenelle requested hamburgers - YUM!
That is serious burger heaven right there.
And she loves pandas, soooo...

From the look of things...its all going just according to her plan!

Cute mom and dad pictures...
...with photo bombing Ivan in the background!
My most prized possessions...
 ...who are getting sick of posing and getting kissed!

Ten candles to blow out for ten years of wonderful!
Until next time!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Joggem Style

The kids finished the annual jog-a-thon again on an absolutely gorgeous sunny day!
It was Hannah's last year to run for her school!
I did cry a tiny bit at the end...but not in front of her.
I guess its just not cool to be a crying mom.

Here are most of the girls in Hannah's 8th grade class
And here they are again with one of the boys photo bombing the picture.
He waited patiently until I took the first one without him.
These three have been pretty tight for a long time.
Hannah will be going to a different school than either of them and I think there's going to be a few tears on her part before the year is out. can photo bomb again!
Good memories!

Eight graders start the race and some of them look very ready to go!
Here they come around the track...
Hey!  There's Hannah!
Can you spot her?
She said she wasn't going to run, but the mood of the day makes you want to push yourself -
I always say this - but I'm always impressed!
Not just by my kids, but all the kids - from pre-school all the way to 8th grade!
Here comes Hannah's mini-me!
Go Jenelle!

Ivan had been struggling with a stomach bug that had him out of school earlier in the week.
He hadn't been eating well and after running a lap or two, decided that this year was going to be a walk-a-thon.
But he was a determined walker and still managed about 20+ laps.

After the race is over, the 8th graders do two final laps.
The first lap they do with their pre-school peace partners that they've had all year.
It's a symbolic lap...
The students who are leaving the school and those who are just beginning their turn at St. Joe's.
I'm getting a bit emotional looking at these again.
Just seeing the difference of where our kids have been and how far they've come.
How did it happen so fast?

The final lap for the 8th graders is on their own.
A special moment for them as they are all running together as one group for the last time.
Hannah and one of her friends ran together for most of the race this day.
I thought this was particularly cool because this is who Hannah ran with for her very first jog-a-thon so many years ago when she started at St. Joe's.
They will be in the same high school in the fall and are both considering cross maybe these won't be the last pictures of them running together.

Thanks again to all of you who gave donations for the kid's jog-a-thon this year!
We appreciate it so much!
St. Joe's is an amazing place!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hey Good Lookin'

Whatcha got cookin'?
Well - spaghetti and meatballs.

I have recently gotten back on track with asking my kids to choose a meal a week to plan and prepare - as much as they can do on their own anyway.

A week ago it was Jenelle's turn and she chose spaghetti and meatballs.
We found an easy and delicious homemade sauce recipe and a separate one for meatballs.
They were so good that I'm going to include them here for you...yes YOU!

Here's the chef of the week preparing our dinner.
Her favorite part of this is mixing it all together with her (clean) hands.
As you can see with the loose hair cascading down her shoulders, she's off to a good start including at least one hair in every dish like her mom does!
Nothing says "I love you" in a meal like a little bit of you!
Just teasing Granny and Grandpa who are going to be eating in our home in a month!
Anyway...the meal turned out amazing!
I wish I had doubled the recipe!

Basic Tomato Sauce (adapted and only slightly changed from this recipe at Simply Recipes)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 28oz. can petite diced tomatoes, including the juice
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery.  Stir to coat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and coo for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and cooked through.

Remove the cover and add the minced garlic.  Increase the heat to medium high.  Cook garlic for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes, including the juice.  Add the tomato sauce and basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a low simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered until thickened - about 15 minutes.

Authentic Italian Meatballs (adapted and only slightly changed from this recipe at

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand.
Roll meatballs into 1.5" size balls.
Spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.
Lay meatballs in the pan in a single layer.
Bake in the oven until they are cooked through.
Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce.

Enjoy it all with some pasta, garlic bread and a veggie of your choice!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring Things

The weather is finally definitely hopefully making a lasting change.
The flowers have been blooming and the garden is beginning to take shape again.
Here are some hightlights...

I have a plant I love called a Candytuft.
I featured it in a blog post a few years ago...
It started out small enough for a container.
But it has grown into its own domain!
It is giant and gorgeous!
It only blooms in the early spring, and afterwards, I will cut it back and let it get ready for next year.

Last May, Donald and the kids bought me a dogwood tree.
They are all over Yakima and I had wanted one for so long.
Well, for some reason I didn't get very many blooms this first year...
(We think that maybe it was the transplanting??)
But the bloom it did have sure was pretty!
Looking forward to a few more next spring!

Of course the lilacs are out and they smell amazing...
 The garden is beginning to get planted...
 A tiny azalea with beautiful blinding colored blooms...
 Fresh green grass for our omnivore cat...
 ...who follows me everywhere...
 (and that's pretty awesome, cause he's very cool)
And outside our bedroom window...
Rhododendron, English Ivy, a pretty purple flowering ground cover which I don't know the name of...
Good stuff!