Thursday, February 28, 2013

Theme Thursday: Joy or Happiness

Linking up to Cari again for Theme Thursday (it's Thursday already?  AWESOME!) for "Joy" or "Happiness."

Gotta say, there's a LOT of joy in my life right now.  Because that's kind of what motherhood is.  The lows are low, but the highs are joyfully high.

One of my number one joys right now is the fact that spring approaches.  We just moved into a real house with a real yard and I saw on the first day here that there were daffodils already planted that were going to bloom soon.  Then, the next day I saw CROCUSES!


One of my all-time favorite flowers, perhaps in part because they're with us for such a short time.  What a sweet way for God to remind us that no, this cold WON'T last forever!


And I LOVE the joy on the children's faces when they're playing in our big backyard.  They're outside as often as I allow, holding hands and running aimlessly, chasing each other, dragging sticks around, or drawing with sidewalk chalk.  Having this much space has sparked more creative play from John Paul in a few short days than he's shown in his entire life!


And the joy in this beautiful girl's face almost all day long.  She wakes up singing, often giggling about something she's completely made up ("Ever seen a SKUNK in da house?  DAT'S siwwy!!!").  She and John Paul have been spending their indoor time running EVERYWHERE in the new house, falling to the floor with loud thumps and wild giggles.


And these babies, who wake every morning with smiles, coos, and no small amount of gas...  The joy on their faces when they simply have the privilege of looking at YOU because you are YOU and isn't that SO WONDERFUL?  It's pretty incredible.  Definitely outweighs the spit-up.

So there we are - this is the ever-changing, ever-abundant joy in my life.  The joy that is a house with a yard, a husband who made it all happen, and four beautiful children who are worth the trouble.
 
Now go see MORE at Clan Donaldson!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Knock Knock!

Oh man, just about had a heart attack earlier...  John Paul and Cecilia were napping, so I was washing dishes while the twins chilled on the floor.  I heard a pounding behind me and jumped as I heard a high-pitched, "Knock knock!!!"

Oh great.  John Paul decided that now he's allowed to end naptime whenever he wants... 

 But I had to let him finish the joke.

"Who's there?"

"Uhh...  Interrupting MOOSE!"

 "...Interrupting moose who?"

"Interrupting moose Cecilia!!!"

*giggle giggle giggle*


Honestly, I can't be mad at him - he obviously had to finish his nap early because he had that amazing joke to share!

Of course immediately after I posted this, we had the following disturbing conversation:

JP:  Yum, spit!
Cecilia:  Yum, babies!
JP:  Mmm...  Baby tastes like blood!

Creepy.  Seriously.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cheez-its: A plea for sponsorship

Dear Cheez-its,

I love your product.  I have been consuming it since I was a small child (not continuously, as that would be impossible).  Cheez-its are one if the few processed foods I eat, and certainly one of the most treasured (gummy bears are your closest competition).  Bowls of you have kept me from starving while trying to raise 4 tiny and tyrannical children.  Laying out a basket of you in the morning has allowed me to stay in bed for an extra hour in the mornings as the older kids stay occupied with the "Find the Cheez-its" game.  You even helped me wean my second child ("From breastmilk to Cheez-its" I believe is the historical phrase).

I like to place you salt-side down on my tongue and suck the salt off while allowing you to dissolve in my mouth.  This has resulted in a sore tongue when I consume too many of you.  Chewing is only for those who do not savor a perfectly salted Cheez-it as much as I do.

I prefer the slightly-burnt original Cheez-its more than any other. and our most recent box purchased froom Costco has the highest number I have ever seen!  Please consider adding "Burned" (or perhaps "toasted") to your ever-increasing arsenal of Cheez-it flavors.  I would buy every box.

And so I would like to offer you what I have never offered any processed food product:  The chance to sponsor my blog. 

All I ask is that you provide me with a lifetime supply of Cheez-its, and I will mention you in EVERY blog post I ever write.  And I actually write a lot, now that I'm usually stuck on the couch nursing twins.  There's not a lot to do other than blog.

Please consider it.  After all, I have 19 followers.  That's 19 people who could be converted to the love of Cheez-its. 

It's worth the investment.

Sincerely,

Rosie Hill

Edit:  I don't even know, guys.  I wrote this last week at about 5 AM  because I had to get out of bed to nurse both babies, and somehow this is what was going through my head.  And then I thought, hey I'll schedule this to post when we're unpacking so that it'll be SOMETHING!

Yeah.  Sorry.

WIWS... On Monday?

Why yes, it IS Monday!  But we moved this weekend and only just got internet, so I'm joining the WIWS party a little late!



Anyway, this was our first Sunday at our new parish!  Highlights?  A 40-minute Sunday Mass (with music.  huh?  shortest homily ever.) that the kids behaved pretty well for, partly because John Paul spent most of the Mass with my mom, so he actually had someone paying attention to him.  And no EMs!  Yup, 4 priests and 2 deacons can take care of the communion line by themselves!  And no children's choir.  Because, let's face it, a choir of elementary school students that probably only rehearses for half an hour before every Mass is not going to be the best thing to listen to.  Even the best director can only get so much out of that situation!

Of course, we still got the complaint from John Paul that the Kyrie wasn't in English.  And then he was really ticked off when the priest intoned "Mysterium fidei" and we responded in English instead of Latin.  Poor kid.  The things he puts up with!  Thankfully when he celebrates Mass at home, he can choose whatever responses he wants.

I wore my tummy-sucking skirt, brown boots, and this mysteriously flowing blue printed shirt from H&M that I will never wear with a skirt again because I look very questionably pregnant... This is what happens when we're in the middle of a move and have not a single full-length mirror in the house! So when I looked at the pictures after Mass, I was thankful that it doesn't actually matter that I looked pregnant because no WAY would anybody see me alternately nursing both tiny babies and assume that I'm pregnant again.



Our mantle is decorated with an allen wrench and a toy from Chick-fil-A, the purpose of which seems to be "Throw a lot of circular cards on the floor and don't clean them up." Yeah, that's going in the trash. You may also have spied "2000: A year in pop music" on the floor. Yeah, not gonna defend myself there...



Cecilia wore a spring dress from Old Navy with leggings (because she REALLY wanted to wear pants to Mass, and if even Mom doesn't wear pants to mass (leggings are not pants...), Cecilia sure can't!).  And a pink sweater with a HEART ZIPPER that she loves, and an adorable little scarf "just wike Mom!"  And of course, her pink boots because she needs new dress shoes and I can't find any that I like that aren't a million dollars...

Thank you so much for all your prayers regarding our move!  Things went surprisingly smoothly, in no small part because my mom took the big kids to Chick-Fil-A and the mall playplace and is basically shaving tons of time off of purgatory for dealing with that craziness while the movers got everything into the new place.  And my father-in-law and brother-in-law did tons of packing and moving, and my father-in-law's fiancee tended the babies tons.  And my sister-in-law came and helped out with basically everything while she wasn't nursing her OWN baby.  And Mary Claire's godparents even came after a long morning getting the house they're hoping to buy inspected and put together tons of furniture and held babies (seriously this woman is going to be the BEST mom, she's like a baby whisperer - prayers for a safe delivery for her, she's due soon!).

So in short, we are seriously blessed to have so much support in the area and support from all your prayers.  You all are the best! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes the Fifth

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 207)
 
It's that time again!
 
--1--
 
Cecilia decided she wanted to "take a nap" with Elizabeth.  If only...
 

 
Then she wanted me to take pictures of her jumping.  This is one of those times I should have caved and gone with auto-focus...  So now it's my goal to get an awesome jumping shot, because her face is (usually) the epitome of joy when she's jumping all over the place.
 
That's her unicorn, which normally lives in a pink sparkly purse.  She has named it "Baby Unicorn."  And you wonder why we didn't let her name the twins.
 
--2--
 
One of John Paul's biggest jokes is ending "Ave Regina Coelorum" on "mi" instead of "do."  He thinks it is HILARIOUS.
 
--3--
 
I went to check on Cecilia and see if she had fallen asleep during her nap, and saw this.  So obviously I had to take a paparazzi-style photo... 

 
Minnie Mouse gets the middle of the pillow.  Cecilia gets a tiny sliver at the edge.  And apparently has to sleep with "Biscuit and the Class Pet" on her face.
 
 
Reminded me of John Paul when he was her age!
 
--4--
 
I've been worried because kids John Paul's age (and younger) seem to be MUCH better than he is at drawing and tracing.  I've tried all sorts of things to get him interested, but he just didn't care.  Until I got him this book:
 
Wipe Clean Early Learning Activity Book
 
Suddenly he is excited and interested and GOOD at it!!!  Here I was freaking out for no reason - his fine motor skills are just fine, he probably just decided, "Mom, I've been reading since I was 2, I can wait a little while on this writing thing..."
 
So I'm going to make this my current homeschooling favorite because...  Well, we don't really do much of anything to homeschool yet, except give John Paul books and let him teach himself everything.  So now he's teaching himself to write.  Score!  And now I can link up with Dwija even though none of the kids are old enough for this to actually count as homeschooling...
 
$10 book vs. $5000 preschool?  Yeah, I'm going to go with the book.
 
But can anyone explain to me why this homeschooling thing is so intimidating?  I'm an ACTUAL teacher in a SCHOOL, and yet the prospect of educating my own children at home is still daunting.
 
--5-- 
 
Unwritten rule of twins:  Only one may smile at a time.

 
Although Elizabeth totally has the "smolder" thing down in the second picture.

 
--6--
 
 
Are your ovaries aching a little bit?  Seriously, the only thing cuter than one baby?
 
Two babies.  It's not quite baby heaven, but it's close!
 
--7--
 
Last, but certainly not least:
 
 
I saw this ad when I was stalking Kelly all over the internet reading a lot of back posts because Kelly TOLD ME TO and not because I'm a little bit obsessed with her.
 
That man.  I just can't. 
 
But seriously, what if a service like this existed, only instead of looking up someone you KNOW, you could just look at the pictures and find out what they got arrested for?  It could be a GAME!  You would have to guess what they got arrested for and you win if you're right. 
 
My guesses?  The man got busted for public urination and the chick drove on the sidewalk to pass a school bus picking up children. 
 
Okay, that's it!  Please pray for a safe & non-stressful (hah) move for us tomorrow - posts may be lacking for a while, depending on when we get internet.  Although I have a few posts scheduled.  One is about Cheez-its.  Consider yourselves warned.
 
Check out more Quick Takes now!
 
 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Theme Thursday - Architecture

Okay, this week I wasn't going anywhere more exciting than our 1960s-style church (great parish, but hideous church), and I just couldn't bring myself to take a picture of the awkward brick crucifix-like sculpture, but they have a picture on the webpage:
 
 
RIGHT?  What even IS that???

So I dug through our old photos and found a few that sort of feature architecture...
 
Can you guess where we are here?
 
 
That's 1-year-old John Paul with me, 3 months pregnant with Cecilia.  Yes, those are maternity gauchos.  And yes, they're as comfy as they look.
 
 
Andrew captured a tiny bit of sunflare here!
 
But who's paying attention to buildings when you've got this little ham around!
 


Okay, go check out more pictures at Cari's!
 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to take pictures of kids

 
Dress them in matching outfits.  Make sure to let them eat something really messy for lunch so that their outfits are properly accessorized.  A backdrop of moving boxes is a must.

 
And speaking of accessories, make sure you have a tiara.  And a pink bear.  Because they're members of the family.  Make sure the bear is wearing a diaper.  You don't want stuffed bear pee on the furniture, after all.

 
Don't bother telling your son that he's supposed to sit on the couch with the girls (one of whom seems to be playing the Human Claw game with a baby's head...).

 
And make sure that bear is in the PERFECT position.

 
The babies can slump, but that bear better be sitting up...

 
Turn on the flash because your son is freaking out that the little light hasn't popped up.

 
Demand awkward fake smiles.

 
Make sure to capture at least one child blinking.

 
And at least one kiss.

 
Hopefully the kiss will make a baby cry.

 
Give up on the brother, instruct big sister to give the stiffest faux-smile possible.

 
Re-position babies, then remember big sister is only 2 years old and probably shouldn't be "holding" both babies at once...

 
Rescue babies before big sister can fling them off the couch because she's done.
 
So there you have it.  A failed, if somewhat amusing, photo session.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches



(I hate it when I have to scroll through an entire post just to find the recipe... So here it is right at the beginning, and at the end as well if you need step by step directions!)

CREAMY TOMATO SOUP
2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped (or 1 cup)
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
Kosher salt (2 tsp, approx.)
1 1/3 cup chicken broth (10 oz)
1 tbsp dried basil (3 tbsp fresh, if you have it)
1-2 cups heavy cream
Cook onion with salt in butter over medium heat until soft.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth, dried basil, baking soda, and sugar.  Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer, cover, simmer for 15 minutes to 1 hr.
Remove from heat and puree with immersion blender.  Add fresh basil if you have it.  Add heavy cream, stir to combine, serve warm.

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES
(For 4 large sandwiches)
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices monterey jack (or havarti) cheese
8 slices bread
Melt butter and add garlic salt.  Brush each slice of bread with mixture.
Using approximately 1.5-2 slices of cheese/sandwich, combine cheddar and monterey jack in a harmonious arrangement.
Cook on griddler (or in pan) until cheese is melted and bread is slightly browned.
Cut in half and serve immediately with soup.



When I was a kid, I HATED tomato soup.  I hated a lot of things, but tomato soup from a can was one of the more loathsome things on my list.

So I refused to eat it for...  forever?

My sister told me she made a really good version that was creamy.  Did I want her to make it for me, she asked?  No.  Gross.  Tomato soup is gross.

Then a couple of years later, pregnant me REALLY wanted tomato soup.  So I made creamy tomato soup.  And it was really good!  I served it to my sister the next time she visited, and do you know what she said?

"This tastes pretty much exactly like my tomato soup."

Yup, I'm a jerk.  So now I'm giving you my/my sister's recipe for tomato soup!  It's perfect for Lenten Fridays (you can sub in vegetable broth if you're hardcore - technically chicken broth doesn't count as meat, but it's up to you).


The cast of characters:  Diced tomatoes, basil, chicken broth, sugar, baking soda (cuts the acidity), onion, garlic salt, and a whole lot of butter (not pictured:  heavy cream, bread, cheese).


Melt half a stick of butter over medium heat


Add a cup of onions, chopped


Have you met my bff, Kosher Salt?  Yeah, it will change your life.


Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over your onions and butter, cook until soft.


Take a break to position your bald-headed baby - she needs to nurse, of course!


Now that she's latched on, add your sugar, baking soda, chicken broth, tomatoes, and basil.


Give it a stir, cover, and simmer covered for 15 minutes to an hour.  Really as long as you want...

Do you have an immersion blender?  You should get yourself one for your Easter basket.  They are amazing...  Puree your soups, sauces, baby food (if you're less lazy than us...  Baby-led weaning FTW) without having to get out the blender or food processor!



Anyway, turn off the heat and use your immersion blender to puree this soup as much as you want.  I like mine totally smooth.  You can transfer to a blender if you need to.  Or just leave it chunky.



See that beautiful texture?  If you have fresh basil, chop some up and add it now - it will make this SO much more delicious.  Unfortunately, I only had dried :(

Okay give it a taste.  Delicious?  You could leave it like this and have a less fatty and caloric soup.  OR...  You could add 1-2 cups of cream and REALLY kick it up a notch!

Add the cream.

Do it.

Or make a quadruple batch and freeze some for later and THEN add cream.



Cover your soup until you're ready to serve.  It's sandwich time!  I recommend doing this while the soup simmers if you can.

Do you have a bread that you LOVE to use for grilled cheese?  Use that.  I like Vienna or Italian bread (the bakery loaves) from our Giant, but Andrew was at Trader Joe's so he got a loaf of their Tuscan-style something or other, which works fine, too.


Anyway, get out however many slices you mean.  Melt the other half of your stick of butter and add garlic salt.  Brush bread slices with butter and add cheese (1-2 slices per sandwich - I prefer cheddar and havarti, but use what you like).


Do you have a griddler?  It's another seriously amazing kitchen appliance.

If you have one, pull it out and let it heat to medium-high.  Cook sandwiches for 3-4 minutes, until those beautiful brown lines show up.  Cut in half (or in strips for kids) and serve immediately with soup.



Dip that sandwich in the soup.  Is that not delicious?  And filling.  This recipe serves 2 adults and 2 kids with one serving of soup left over.

Meatless.

Delicious.

Make it now.



Cecilia says this is Tiger soup.  Made from tigers.  So maybe not meatless, by her definition...


 Recipe:


CREAMY TOMATO SOUP

2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped (or 1 cup)
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
Kosher salt (2 tsp, approx.)
1 1/3 cup chicken broth (10 oz)
1 tbsp dried basil (3 tbsp fresh, if you have it)
1-2 cups heavy cream

Cook onion with salt in butter over medium heat until soft. 

Add tomatoes, chicken broth, dried basil, baking soda, and sugar.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer, cover, simmer for 15 minutes to 1 hr.

Remove from heat and puree.  Add fresh basil if you have it.  Add heavy cream, stir to combine, serve warm.

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES

(For 4 large sandwiches)

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices monterey jack (or havarti) cheese
8 slices bread

Melt butter and add garlic salt.  Brush each slice of bread with mixture.

Using approximately 1.5-2 slices of cheese/sandwich, combine cheddar and monterey jack in a harmonious arrangement.

Cook on griddler (or in pan) until cheese is melted and bread is slightly browned.

Cut in half and serve immediately with soup.

I'm being super-authentic, since I was actually barefoot in the kitchen for Hannah's link-up.  And since it's meatless, it's perfect for Lenten Meal Plan Monday!
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