Okay, so I rarely post recipes and stuff on here, but my house is smellin' soooo good right now I just had to share what we're having for dinner tonight! We're going to top it off with some Trader Joes Pumpkin Bread (which Sawyer will help me make after naptime)and maybe just maybe even a dab of vanilla ice cream ;) It's such a perfect dinner for a chilly autumn evening. And what an easy meal! I'm all about the easy meals lately - I swear, the slow cooker is my best friend these days! Anyone else have any seasonal favorites they'd like to share?
Sweet Aromatic Chicken
(a tried and true favorite via slow cooker - easy peasy!)
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup water
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TB soy sauce
1/8 ground cloves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Throw it all together in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low 5-6 hours.
(goes great with rice)
Roasted Acorn Squash with Rosemary
*I got this recipe at the farm we went to and found our pumpkin. This is my first time trying it...
but I'm pretty confident it's gonna be super good to the palette*
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB light brown sugar
1 TB coursely chopped fresh rosemary
4 small acorn squash, seeded and cut into 2 inch thick wedges
course salt and fresh ground pepper
Mix oil, brown sugar, and rosemary in a small bowl. Arrange squash wedges in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking dish. Rub rosemary and sugar mixture onto squash wedges and season with salt and pepper. Roast, rotating sheet after 20 minutes. Bake for 40 minutes at 425 degrees, or until edges are golden brown and wedges are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
*For fear you think I make awesome meals every night and have dinner ready to go and on the table for the hubbs each night as he steps through the door - I will confess I am not a huge fan of cooking, (unless I'm in the right mood, with the kids happily entertaining themselves as some of my favorite jazz is happenin' on the iMac) and we often end up scrambling for leftovers or having breakfast for dinner at least once a week...hence my post...I am proud of myself for actually getting things going so we can sit down to a nice meal at least once this week!
Yesterday, we baked some treats. Some Halloween treats. Cupcakes, to be exact. At first, Sawyer thought it was going to be his birthday. But then, he noticed the candy corn. He keeps asking to go trick-or-treating...
For our Family Night last night we popped up some kettle corn (thanks, Orville) and all snuggled up on the couch together to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". It was super cozy and fun. As much as I live for summer...I guess I have to admit I do like the coziness that autumn brings. Who doesn't love getting all warm and cuddly with your favorite people? That in itself is a wonderful treat!
Last weekend while in Portland, we went to Sauvie Island and this wonderful Pumpkin Patch with my parents. The traffic out to the farm was incredible - you would think we were headed to Woodstock or something :) Just kiddin'. But really, it was bad traffic - but it was an amazing farm and Pumpkin Patch! I truly wish we could've spent all day there, it was just perfect. And the weather was great, to top it off.
I can't get over the look on Sawyer's face as he watched the tractors going around the fields giving hayrides. That, and him trying to roll the huge pumpkins around. We have been reading/singing "Five Little Pumpkins" at bedtime to the glow of our little pumpkins and he loves the part when they "roll out of sight". Anyway...
Halloween costumes for the kidlets are simple (but cute, too) this year, and almost finished. I already know what they're going to be next year, too, though that will take more planning and sewing. Am I a dork or what? OH, the Thrills and Chills of the Halloween Season!
This past weekend we took a little roadtrip down to Portland. There, we met up with my parents. They babysat for us while Jacob and I attended the Temple. (If you would like to learn a little bit more about LDS Temples, click here.) We had not had the opportunity to attend the temple for quite a while. We truly appreciate my parents providing us with the opportunity to be together in the temple for a couple of hours. It was a good to be there together and reflect on our marriage, our family, and our relationship with our Savior.
Just last week, for our Family Night, we looked at a picture of the temple, sang a song about preparing to go to the temple, and then built our own temple out of legos. It was somewhat spontaneous and it cracked me up when Sawyer got out the little lego Sir Topham Hat and told me he was going to go to the temple, too. Seriously? Kids are sponges. They really do soak up what you teach them and the behavior and habits their parents and peers model. Anyway...it was fun that we could take Sawyer to the temple and let him explore a little bit of the beautiful grounds.
We had a great time, albeit pretty whirlwind, visiting with my parents. It's nice we are able to see them from time to time. Sawyer sure loves to see "Grammie and Granpa!" We also went to the pumpkin patch...but I'll save that for another post.
Whether of the LDS faith or not, would you all agree our temples are beautiful? Anyone have a favorite? I've always really loved the one in San Diego...it looks like a castle from a fairytale. But really, they are all beautiful in their own way.
Has another month already passed us by? I swear every month I pose the same question: how does the time fly by so quickly?
The answer surely must be: when you're having FUN!
Fun we are having...but I still can never get over how fast time seems to be slipping through the hourglass these days. Does anyone else feel like it goes faster the older you get? I sure do. And according to wonderful people beyond me in years - it just keeps getting faster. Yikes!
I remember being a kid, when a day seemed like forever. I miss that. All the more reason, though, to be with my kids and love them and play with them and cherish them each day. I feel so blessed to be able to "stay at home" with them. Staying at home often means...walks to the park, playing at the beach, outings to the zoo, etc...lots of fun!
So on one of our walks to the park by our home this week, I snapped a few of Aspen (something I try to do each month the first year, if you haven't notice already :)
As you rounded the corner to 8 months, all of a sudden you just don't look like quite such a "baby" anymore. Well, of course you are a baby (and, just like your brother, you will always be my baby!), but you know - not quite like such a very young baby. Maybe it's the hair clip? Of course, I only put it in for pictures, because it's too small and you would surely eat it if you got your cute little chubster fingers on it.
I am thoroughly enjoying you being my baby.
A few things about you this month:
LOVE sucking on things and putting things in your mouth.
(there have got to be some teeth in there somewhere, anxious to erupt...but I'm not complaining - no teeth means no biting while nursing, ha ha!)
You have abandoned your army crawl for speed crawling.
You also decided you like to stand up. Any chance you get, you are pulling yourself up to stand. Please not yet! I just know I will blink twice and wish you a Merry Christmas and you'll be walking and we'll be serving you Birthday cake. Please wait to walk, just a bit longer? Pretty please?
You had your very first diaper rash. Poor girly. Poor little bum. Not sure if it was from changing the detergent I was your cloth diapers in, or from trying broccoli for the first time. Either way, diaper rash is the pits for cute girls like you!
You tried your first "real" solid food - finger food (oh, besides those puff things) - cute up banana. Yeah, having teeth will help with the table foods, but you sure enjoyed gumming the banana. Yummy stuff. This week I'm going to see how you like avocado. I have enjoyed making your baby food. And you seem to love all of it! You make the cutest little sounds, like it tastes just divine :)
Speaking of noises - you can be very noisy! I swear you are trying to imitate your brother - you have this cute gruff little voice and you try to make the car noises he does. You also make some really girly noises, which are quite delightful.
Overall, my sweet darling, you are delightful! We couldn't have imagined a happier girl. Or a cuter one, for that matter!
Doesn't she look SO BIG in the swing? Must be those 'jeggins. Yup. I can't believe I got a chubby infant a pair of skin tight jeans/leggins, but that I did. She has gotten many compliments - I mean, COME ON, peeps, they show off her curvy, sexy thighs so well!
Anyway...in case you think all I do is focus (pun intended) on my daughter - don't worry, her brother is always close at hand. He has discovered a way to "fly" on the swings.
I am thankful everyday for this man of mine who works so hard for us.
He works so hard he barely sleeps. He wakes up to work before he goes to work. He sometimes rides his bike home just to eat dinner with us and help me get the kids to bed, and then he works some more. He works on the weekend. He works literally every hour of the day besides the 4 or 5 hours he sleeps. Believe me, he is not a work-a-holic by choice, but he does what he needs to do to support our family and earn us some security. When I am nursing Aspen and getting her ready for bed, I hear him downstairs doing the dishes for me. Because he knows I'm tired, too. He also gets Sawyer breakfast most days just to let me rest a little longer. He doesn't ever get to "veg" (well, we don' t have tv to veg on anyway, I guess!) He very rarely gets to strum his guitar these days (except for our family night when we occasionally rock out with our kiddos). Oh, we are grateful for all the work he has - both his day job, his freelance work, and the work he does that is paid in the form of blessings instead of a paycheck. But he is tired. I am tired. We are trying to simplify things a bit, once this long set of waves breaks.
If this sounds exhausting: it is. He said all he wants for his birthday is to sleep.
I don't mean to write this to complain, because, in fact, we are very blessed to have the opportunity for work. BUT.
I just want to remind my man that I'm thankful every day for how hard he works for us.
It was the first date we've been on (sans children) since Aspen was born - over 8 months ago.
My mom flew in just to babysit. It was the first time I've ever been away from my children any distance (a 3 hours drive), and the first time I've left Aspen with a babysitter. I told Jacob we could never leave our kids for a week or even a few days...at least right now when they're so little. It was hard enough for me to leave for half a day, let alone a whole day, or more. Call me a wimp, I know there are people who leave their kids to go on vacation, I just don't think I am one who can do that. To me, that would be torture (and no doubt no fun for Jacob). Oh well.
Half a day away was heaven for us!
We put the kids down for their naps and said goodbye, packed some snacks, a couple of cameras, and the breast pump (believe me, I was glad we did, ha!) and Jacob drove me to The Gorge. It's this beautiful place in the middle of nowhere. It's a magical place. You might say it's where one night (a little over 4 years ago), under the stars, while being serenaded by the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, and Ben Harper's acoustic guitar, we decided to take a chance on each other. (Okay, I'll quit being sappy now). Anyway. It was awesome to be back at The Gorge. And this time, listening to Jack Johnson. I'm a big fan.
I tried to convince 3 different people I was a member of the press so I could bring my camera in. Once they saw the huge thing hanging around my neck they said "no way - no pro cameras allowed". (Too bad I didn't save that press pass I had back from my internship in High School at Z21 news.) So, after Jacob laughing at (and being ever-so-patient with) my stubborn, hard-headedness, we locked the big stuff in the trunk and settled for the Holga. (btw - smart people carry point-and-shoots). We took a few in the parking lot, anyway :) Proof that we were there. That this date happened.
Some things, though, are just meant to be captured and burned into your memory (and not on a memory card)...
It was a sold-out show.
We acted like college kids.
We felt like college kids (for the most part).
We grooved our way into the front of the crowd, 50 feet from the stage.
We kissed in the middle of that huge, sold-out crowd, under the stars.
We danced. Smiled. Laughed. Loved.
Jacob teases me because there are a few of my favorite musicians who I call by their first names. Jack is one of them. (There's also Ben, Bob, Dave...) Anyway, he teases because I'm always like "Did you know Jack donates 100% of the profit from his tour to hand-picked non-profit organizations? And he married his college sweetheart and has 3 kids, And he's such a down-to-earth, family kinda guy". I know, I'm silly. But I appreciate people in the spotlight who are genuine, good people and for a change offer a good example to this world.
Well, Jack is pretty awesome, but guess what? I have my own "Jack". But his name is Jacob.
He gives his time to serve others, and most especially me and our family.
Everything he does is to make me happy.
He is honest, kind, and generous.
He's sincere and genuine.
He married me, and we have two beautiful babies.
He's down-to-earth and easy going.
Everyone loves him. He's kind. And smart. And handsome!
He took me surfing on our honeymoon.
He's a good example of the kind of man any young guy could look up to.
He's the kind of man any girl could wish to marry.
He even plays the guitar, and sings.
He's written songs for me.
Thanks to my Jacob for taking me on a dream date. And so much more...
Special thanks to my mom for caring for our kids for 12 hours.
I kinda forgot how much fun it is to date my husband. I don't think we should wait 8 months again to go on another date!