Nine is Fine!

Happy birthday, Noah!

Yes, August is a crazy birthday month for us. There’s my mom, Drew’s mom, Drew’s brother, Jake of course, and Noah. Yesterday was Noah’s special day — he turned 9!

Our weekend was full of celebrating. Saturday evening the boys had some of their friends over for a LEGO-themed party. Drew did all the work for this one — I can’t take any credit at all. The kids played LEGO games, built LEGOs, and designed their own mini-figures.

Birthday Party

Birthday Party

For the food, I made pizzas that resembled LEGO bricks, along with hot dogs, chips, and veggies. It was simple, but the kids all liked it!

Birthday Party

Birthday Party

We ended the evening by showing “The Lego Movie” on the outdoor screen. Some of the boys’ parents and siblings also came for that — such fun!

Yesterday we had our family party and that was a great time, too. Again, the food was pretty simple, but sometimes that’s the best. I made a tray of sausage & peppers, a tray of meatballs in marinara, pasta salad with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, rolls, and salad. We’ve been enjoying the leftovers :-)

Birthday Party

Today has just been getting the house back in order after a weekend of parties. Dishes, laundry, putting away gifts… My allergies have been crazy today so I took a Benedryl and that wiped me out!

Tonight I plan to watch a movie with Drew and Jake after Laura is in bed (Noah’s at his grandma’s for a couple days), and doing a little crochet. Now that I’m halfway done with my afghan I’m getting itchy to start a new project, but I won’t. I’m going to finish this one up, border and all!

Well, time to get Laura’s bedtime routine going… hope you had a great Monday!

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Almost a Teen

So hard to believe that 12 years ago yesterday I became a mom for the first time! This 9lb 6oz. baby came into the world and forever changed our lives.
Jake - August 2002

Jake - Fall 2002

Jake’s a baby no more, that’s for sure! My middle schooler loves Doctor Who, Boy Scouts, Magic: the Gathering, composing songs, playing XBox, writing stories and drawing comics…. oh, and eating! I always thought that TV shows joked about teenage boys eating their parents out of house and home but I am learning how true it is!

Jake's 12th birthday

We started the day with presents, and the birthday boy’s breakfast. Then we went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse, where he got up on the saddle and the waitstaff did their thing. He didn’t seem the least embarrassed! (And yes, he did eat that entire burger – I felt full just looking at it!)

Jake's 12th birthday

Jake's 12th birthday

We picked up some Boston Creme donuts on the way home for a special birthday dessert. We are having parties all weekend, so everyone will enjoy cake then. Jake is just as happy with the Boston Cremes, I think ;-) They are his favorite.

Jake's 12th birthday

Next up: the teen years. I am so not ready for that so I think I’ll enjoy 12 as much as I can!

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{Recipe} Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers

The summer is winding down, but there is still plenty of time to grill up a great burger! While I love a big, meaty cheeseburger, sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit. Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for chicken burgers with an Indian twist. Don’t skip making the Cumin-Yogurt sauce — it’s what really makes the burgers stand out!

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce
A delicious alternative to traditional burgers
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Burgers
1 package of ground chicken breast (approx. 1 lb.)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper
mini pitas
chopped onions and tomato
Cumin-yogurt sauce
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
handful of chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Instructions
Prepare the cumin-yogurt sauce first by combining the yogurt, cumin, and cilantro in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to intensify.
For the chicken burgers
Combine the ground chicken, scallions, jalapenos, ginger, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir everything together really well then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Gently form burger patties. I made mine more oblong in shape to better fit inside the pitas. Season the patties with a little salt and pepper if you desire and then grill until the ground chicken is opaque throughout the burger. Do NOT undercook the burgers.
Cut four pitas in half and warm them either on the top rack of your grill or in a toaster oven. Don’t overheat them or else they’ll get too crispy. Place two patties in each pita half along with diced onion and tomato. Add a healthy dollop of the cumin yogurt sauce and serve.
Notes
You can grill these outdoors, but they also are delicious broiled or cooked in a frying pan. Use whatever method is most convenient for you.
Pure Sugar http://puresugar.net/

 I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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A Birthday, Rain, Cats, and Lavender

 photo AC__0033_AC438-Country_Lane_zps38ffa840.jpg

Hello friends! It’s a wet, humid day here in the Hudson Valley. I don’t mind the rain, but I could certainly do without the mugginess. Is it awful that I’m already starting to look forward to autumn? It hasn’t even been all that hot this summer, and I do remember how I froze all last winter, but… I’m kind of ready for sweaters and fires and general coziness. That’s just me, I guess!

So, first things first… a very happy birthday to my mom today! We called her first thing in the morning and the kids all sang to her. Hope you’re having a great day, Mom!

I’m trying so hard to remember to post more often. Really, I am! It’s not that I don’t think about my blog it’s just that I’ve found myself choosing other things in my spare time. Usually watching a show or working on my Stitchcation blanket, which is oh-so-slowly coming along. The squares that use the FPDC and FPTC stitches take me so long because I have to hook them up ever so carefully or else my stitch counts end up way off. But after tonight I should be half-way there. I seriously doubt it will be finished in time for the end of the challenge (Labor Day), but oh well! It will definitely be finished for my birthday in October. 

Back in June, a friend and I both bought lavender plants at the Country Living Fair. Mine was absolutely flourishing! I was so happy! And then… I overwatered it. Let me tell you, I have learned that lavender does not like a lot of water. It went from healthy to ill beyond repair sooner than I could make it right. I was bummed because it smelled so wonderful. I confessed to my friend what I had done and we laughed over it. (Hers, incidentally, looks great!) How sweet is this: as a thank-you for taking care of her cats while she was away, she gave me a huge, healthy, new lavender plant! It is just gorgeous. I promised to be more careful with this one!

Let’s see, what else is new… Oh, I’m so disgusted with FedEx SmartPost. Back in July I took advantage of a sale on a summer sticker bundle that ErinCondren.com was having. It was some summer-themed repositionable sticker sheets, markers, the new coil clips, and a lotion sample all in a pouch. I had a bunch of referral credits, so I decided to treat myself. I also picked up the original sticker sheets. Here’s where I made my mistake: I decided to save $2 by not using FedEx Ground. Oh, friends, I have learned my lesson. The package was shipped out on 7/29. The last tracking update was from somewhere in Maryland on 8/1. My EDD was last Friday, which came and went. After dealing with “FedEx SmartPost Trace Research” team, they could not locate my package anywhere. It’s just lost. Vanished into this air. I know the issue will get settled, but it’s so frustrating that a company whose business is delivering packages loses them. 

Well, I guess that’s about all… Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. How can he be 12 years old already? I remember when he was a colicky baby I read this saying somewhere (I’m sure you’ve all heard it too): “The days are long, but the years are short.” How true that is!

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{Review} Prescription Glasses from Firmoo

Firmoo.com

Disclosure: I received a free pair of glasses from Firmoo in exchange for a review on my blog.
All opinions expressed are my own and I received no monetary compensation.

For a few years I’ve been reading blog reviews of various mail-order glasses websites. I always thought it sounded convenient, but I was hesitant. Would my prescription be correct? Would the glasses fit well? I never felt brave enough to try it out. However, a few weeks ago, a rep from Firmoo.com contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying out their service and reviewing it on my blog. Absolutely! 

Ordering from Firmoo was easy. I browsed their selection for a pair of glasses I liked. Honestly, that was the hardest part because there were several that I thought would look good on me! In the end, I decided to go with a funky pair of frames — something totally different for me. When I placed my order I filled in all the usual shipping information as well as my eyeglass prescription. They have information on their site to help you along and make sure you are putting everything in the right place. I hit “submit” and then waited for the glasses to arrive! 

Here’s the timeline:

  • Order placed: July 10
  • Order shipped: July 14
  • Order received: July 23

The glasses came from China, and I was impressed with the speed in which order was produced and delivered. They arrived well-packaged in a lovely hard case, complete with a special cloth to clean the lenses.

Firmoo.com review

The frames themselves were just what I expected! They are fun and different, and fit exceptionally well. In fact, I’m considering ordering another everyday pair from them.

Firmoo.com review

Firmoo.com review

 If you are interested, you should check out Firmoo’s First Pair Free Program. This is for new customers only. 

Powered By Firmoo

 If you’re looking for an extra pair of glasses, or some fun fashion frames, I would definitely give them a try!

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Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!

justme

 

Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

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{Recipe} Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Oh my, it’s been a while since I shared a recipe with you. Well, I’m jumping right back and and I have a delicious appetizer today! I brought this dish to “girls’ night” type thing last night and they were a hit. My husband also raved about the samples I left for him. The best part? You can whip this up in no time at all.

Now, when I think of stuffed mushrooms I think of a sausage and breadcrumb filling, or even a crabmeat filling. I love how they taste, but I’ve never attempted making my own because… well, I’m not really sure. It just seemed like a labor-intensive process. Not so with this recipe. In fact, you can make the filling ahead of time to let the flavors develop, then stuff your mushrooms later, broil, and enjoy.

 

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms
Juicy mushroom caps stuffed with a creamy mixture of bacon and cheese.
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Ingredients
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled bacon (or real bacon bits)
1 Tbsp. chopped scallions
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. whole, fresh white mushrooms, stems removed
Instructions
In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the bacon bits, garlic powder, and green onion. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Arrange mushrooms on a cookie sheet or broiler plan. Broil for 5-8 minutes until mushrooms are heated through and the tops have slightly browned. Serve warm.
Pure Sugar http://puresugar.net/
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