Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday Hadley Jean!

Today my sweet baby Hadley Jean turns 3. It has been an incredible journey, and it's hard to even thing about life before her entrance into the world. So in honor of her birthday, I thought I'd share the story of the day she was born.

My surgery (repeat c-section) was scheduled for Monday morning bright and early at 8am! When you have a c-section, you can't eat for 12 hours before surgery, so the earlier, the better. I'm pretty sure I did not sleep a wink the entire night before. I was SO anxious. When Gracen was born I had an emergency c-section, and this time since I made it to my planned date it made me nervous that I didn't know what to expect without all the doctors and nurses rushing around in a panic to distract me. I finally "woke up" around 5am to shower and get ready. You better believe that I braided my hair and put on makeup this time. With Gracen it was 2am and let's just say I don't break out those pics very often. Aunt Nanie had driven up the night before to stay with Gracen while we were in the hospital, and at 6:00am we were off!

The Mr. was in charge of her name this time. I told him that he could pick (I did have to agree though, and in case it was terrible I did have full veto power) as long as it went with the middle name Jean (my middle name, my Mom's middle name and my Grandmas middle name). Well of course he waits until the last second possible, ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL, to give me his top 3 choices. I liked all 3 of them, so I told him to pick one. He decided to wait until he saw her to officially name her.

We arrived at the hospital around 6:15 got all hooked up and then very impatiently waited for my anesthesiologist. I'm still not sure why we had to be there so early, that 2 hour wait seemed to literally crawl by.

FINALLY (late might I add) they wheeled me in to surgery, and within 15 minutes of getting my spinal, she was out. Pink, screaming, and perfect.

Daddy finally chose a name, Hadley Jean. She was born at 9:11am and I was so excited to finally get to meet her and know her name!

Holding my sweet bambino for the first time! As they were sewing me up, I lost quite a bit of blood. Too much blood. So things from here get a little fuzzy. All I know is that I was very tired, and very cold. They whisked Hadley away from me and I remember being wheeled back to my prep room where they had a sleeping bag type dealio (very technical terms here) around me that was heated trying to get my body temperature back up. There were many wires and other contraptions (see very technical) hooked up to me and monitoring me and many doctors/nurses in and out deciding whether or not I needed a blood transfusion.  Say what? Am I dying? (SPOILER ALERT: I live!) At this point my Dad and Michelle were both there, and I was pretty much in and out of consciousness. After who knows how long the executive decision was made that I would not need a blood transfusion, as long as my body temperature rose and they did have to continue to monitor me. I think it was scarier for other people then it was for me, because honestly I had no clue what was going on. The only thing I was concerned with was when I got to hold the peanut again and when I got to eat. Luckily my body temp came back up eventually and they got to move me to my recovery room, where Gracen got to meet her baby sister for the very first time.

"Her" baby :)

Very first visitors!

Aunt Nanie!

Snoozin with Daddy on the hospital couch (and yes both c-sections he stayed with me all 4 days in the hospital sleeping on the couch - best.husband.ever!)

I cannot believe my sweet Hadley Jean is already three years old. It's been an incredible joy and blessing to be her Mama. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this lil lady. The world is your oyster Hadley Jean, Happy Birthday!!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Broadway Bound

Gracen had her very first dance recital in June at the Kansas City Music Hall downtown, and I was pumped! We started the morning off bright and early with a rehearsal at 8:45 am. She thought this was a hoot. She loved being on the stage, and was not ready to go home afterwards.


I mean really, I don't think she could be any cuter if she tried. Gracen LOVED watching all the older girls dance. Luckily we sat up in the balcony so that we could see her really well and video tape it, and so when she was done she was dancin up a storm in the aisles. My little broadway star! I mean if she wants to be of course :)

They sang a little song, Me and My Teddy Bear, and did a little tap dance. I just love all those purple fluffy tu-tus!! Please note her hair (she's the 3rd from the left). Unfortunately she got my hair, straight as a pin. We spiral curled it (just like all the other little girls!) and by the time she went on stage, like 45 minutes after curling it, it was pin straight.

Aunt Jaime was pretty excited that she moved back in time for the recital!

A pretty decent family picture!! That's always a success. When we got home we celebrated with ice cream sundaes, and put to bed 2 very happy little girls.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


One simple fall meal that I love is fajitas (pronounced fa-jeet-as, naturally). For some reason I don't make them that often, but they're extremely versatile, and super easy. The first time I ever made them was when the Mr. and I were dating and I was just learning to cook. Turns out he didn't like to eat out every meal like I did, say what? You actually want me to grocery shop? and make a meal? in the kitchen? At this point, I had never even tried them before. (seriously picky eater people). I was incredibly intimidated by them mostly because I had to deal with raw chicken (goo). But they were in the "beginners" section of all my cook books and turns out, they're super easy! And actually this meal is perfect for picky eaters, because you can put whatever you like in them. And bonus, the Mr. (then boyfriend) said they were the greatest fajeetas he'd ever had in his life! (suckup ;)

When I made them the other day I actually ended up making my fajita seasoning from scratch. Although that wasn't intentional. Apparently I suck at grocery shopping (amongst other things) and couldn't find the pre-packaged fajita seasoning mixes. Seriously Hy-Vee you should hire me to help them organize their grocery store for dummies. Anyhoo, when I couldn't find it I just decided to make my own, which PS, when I made it, it probably cost me like 50 cents, and it made as much as 3 packages. So it ended up working in my penny-pinching favor.

All I did was marinate the sliced up chicken in the fajita seasoning with some water a and drizzle of oil. Then I cooked the chicken in a skillet. Took out the chicken and cooked some veggies (in this case some sliced up zucchini and green peppers) added in black beans and corn and added the chicken back in. That's it! Then of course I had to load mine up with cheese and sour cream. But hey there were a lot of vegetables in that bad boy.

We were in such a fajita mood last week, I decided to make a second version a couple days later. I know! Watch out now, I'm gettin crazy in my kitchen! (which is really hard to do because it's so small). This time after I cooked the chicken, all I added was a green pepper, and some ranch dressing. Boom Ranch Fajitas. Who doesn't love ranch? No one. (I then of course piled it high with cheese, black beans and sour cream).

All I need now is some homemade salsa and margaritas - yum!

Recipe for fajita mix:

  • 3 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp chicken powder (crushed up bouillon cubes)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
Mix it all together! Boom. Master chef worthy fajita mix.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet as Pie

I am so so so excited that it is fall. I love everything about it, the cooler weather, pumpkin everything, and baking. Especially baking. The other night while the Mr. was at class, the girls and I decided to bake mini pies, or tarts or I don't know what their technical term is. But they were good. Damn good. I've never made a pie crust from scratch before, always just went for the pre-made store bought kind because I'm kind of lazy. But I learned 2 things from making it from scratch: 1. it's really not that hard, and 2. it makes a world of difference. It's WAY better than the store bought kind. (ok I lied I learned one more thing) 3. there's sour cream in pie crust (at least the kind I made) did you know that? Isn't that weird? No? Well I was kind of nervous to eat it, because all I could think in my head was sour cream, sour cream, sour cream. But it totally blew my mind. It was that good.

This is Bakerella's version. Do you know Bakerella? She's amazeballs. She's the inventor of Cakepops. I don't know how she does it. The woman has the patience of a saint to sit there and decorate all those cakepops so perfectly. Anywho, it's her recipe that I adapted, that she adapted from someone else's recipe. So I'm not quite sure where it originated. Her's are in super cute heart shapes, but I was just lucky to get mine not to fall apart.

2 C flour
1/3 C sug
3/4 C cold butter cubed
2 egg yolks
1/4 C sour cream
3 Tbs ice cold water
2/3 C sug
1/4 C flour
1 Tbs lemon juice
6 C berries (any combo of blueberries/blackberries/raspberries etc)
1 egg

The original directions told me to put the 2 C flour and 1/3 C sug in a food processor adding in the cubed butter or to use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter. But my food processor is very teeny, and I don't have a pastry cutter. So I improvised and used forks. Totally worked just the same. In a small bowl stir egg yolks, sour cream and water together. Gracen got a real kick out of this step. She was watching me try to just get the egg yolks, and one or two might've slipped down the drain. Those suckers are slippery! Stir that into the flour mixture. Knead the dough until a ball forms. Cover with plastic wrap, pat into a disc and refrigerate for an hour. I should've put mine in the freezer, because an hour in the fridge was not nearly long enough, and I was too impatient to wait longer. So mine got an hour in the fridge and maybe 10 minutes in the freezer before it was go time, and it could've used at least 10 more minutes in the freezer, but we all know patience is not my strong suit. Pre-heat oven to 400. Split dough into 10 even portions. Um yea, I didn't do that since I only had about half the fruit. So I split my dough in half and put the other half back in the fridge to use for something else. I split mine into 4 sections, and rolled them out on a floured surface. They weren't the prettiest to look at, but they were also still very sticky since they didn't sit in the fridge long enough, and it really didn't matter how pretty they looked. My kitchen is non-judgmental. After they were rolled out I placed them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (hello easy cleanup!). Combine the 2/3 C sug and 1/4 C flour in a bowl, sprinkle a bit in each dough circle. In a larger bowl combine fruit, lemon juice and remaining sug/flour mixture. I used frozen mixed fruit from a bag and it only had about 3 C in it, which is why I only used half the dough. The mixed fruit had strawberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. D-lish. Spoon the fruit mixture (covered in flour/sug and lemon juice) onto the center of each tartlett (who doesn't love a tartlett?). Fold edges of dough over fruit overlapping the dough as you go. Yea I just kind of pinched it together so that the fruit juices wouldn't overflow, again I wasn't worried about looks. It's what's on the inside that counts. Brush the dough with egg and sprinkle sug on edges. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. 

Sorry for the poor lighting, camera phone, and late at night does not a good picture make.

Then eat. With ice cream. Right out of the oven. You'll never be the same. They were so good. I'm sad they're gone. The girls and I split one, and the Mr. ate 2. That's how good they are. And pretty darn easy to make. Next time I'll probably make the dough the night before so that I'm sure it's nice and firm and easy to roll out, but you better believe that this just became a fall staple in my house. The best part is you can use any kind of fruit, and totally adapt this to your tastes. And turns out, sour cream makes a pretty damn good pie crust.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Winefest 2012

Have you ever been to Winefest? It's ahmazing. There's like a million (totally legit number) wine and beers there, all for free! Well free with your ticket purchase. And there's all kinds of food there, and fireworks, and prizes... It's like the adult equivalent of Chuck E. Cheeses. Or something.

It was held out at Schlitterbahn over by the Legends, which was kind of fun since I had never been to Schlitterbahn before. But, I don't know if more people are just starting attend, or if more vendors are participating, but it was CROWDED. I was volunteering with my sisters for Sunflower House, and they had the tables with the raffle prizes set up at the very front before you even checked in. If I could make suggestions for next year, I would say to move it down by the food/wine. More people would get the chance to look at the prizes, and we all know the money flows a little easier when alcohol is involved. After we were done volunteering we had to make up for lost free booze time, because it was only free until 9pm, then it was a cash bar.
Up at the front just selling some raffle tickets!

Totally awkward lighting Matthew, but still a good photo!

We didn't take many photos of the food/alcohol selections 1. because we were starving, and loading up on the free booze, and 2. it was way too crowded. If I was thinking properly (taking notes for next year!) I would have been taking pics beforehand, since we showed up pretty early for volunteering.

The fireworks were definitely a highlight of the evening, they started around 9pm, and went off to a pretty stellar music selection. I'm not going to lie there was some awesome dancing involved.

Surprisingly my phone took pretty good pictures of the fireworks.

I definitely plan to return next year. For only $75 you got access to the beer garden (200+ beers, and some were even giving away free beer glasses!), spirit samples, food samples (over 30+ vendors), fireworks and music entertainment, with the option to purchase access to the cigar bar and champagne room. Win-win people.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Local Favorite

One of my favorite places to go to here in KC is Deana Rose. I remember going there as a kid and how much fun it was. It's pretty amazing to get to take my own kids there. We try to go a couple times a year, but life always seems to get busy. But when we make it out there we always have a blast. You can't really beat a $2 entry fee (free on the weekdays!) either.

Gracen LOVES the pony rides, and that totally blows my mind. She's usually pretty reserved when it comes to trying new things, and everytime we get to the front of the line, I wait for any sign of hesitation from her, but she always just hops right on. Hadley's still a little too young, I think you're supposed to be 3, which is just fine with me. Next thing you know they'll be off to college....

Lookout Hollywood!
Checkout that attitude. They totally get it from Daddy.
Feeding the baby goats is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Those baby goats totally know what's happening, and as soon as they see a bottle in your hand when you enter, they jump all over the place. Gracen gets really scared and tries to back away from them, and doesn't understand why they're still jumping on her. It's one of the hardest parts of being a parent is not laughing in these types of situations despite how funny it is. She was bound and determined to feed them herself, so I told her to stay outside the fence, the goats stuck their heads through and she fed them that way.
Hadley just preferred to have Aunt Nanie hold her while they fed the baby goats. And actually I'm quite surprised these goats haven't jumped yet!
The girls absolutely love going out there, and hopefully we'll make it sometime in October for the hay rides, bonfires, and pumpkins!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Peanut, Peanut Butter (and jelly)

Who else sang the title of that post? No one, just me? Moving on...

This week I've been using a lot of peanut butter in my recipes. Which is kind of funny, because the only time I really like peanut butter is in a Reeses (not to mention their marketing dept. rocks my socks off). But I digress.

The weekend was busy like usual, and it seemed to be Sunday night all too quickly. We needed something relatively quick since I had a coach's meeting at 5:30, and the Mr. was mowing our out of control grass. I decided to make Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes, minus a little bit of the spice since the girls would be eating it too.

The sweet potatoes were by far the best part, and I would definitely make those again just to eat as a side dish. The pasta was crazy rich. I couldn't even eat a whole bowl of it, but it was definitely filling. This would be a really good dish if you're looking for something vegetarian.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 oz pasta (I used Rigatoni)
  • 3 oz pckg cream cheese - cut up
  • 1/3 C peanut butter (I used creamy, but crunchy could be interesting!)
  • 2 tsp chili sauce (I just used hot sauce I already had)
  • 1 tbls soy sauce
  • 6 green onions (those were just for garnishing so I skipped that step)

Place cut up sweet potatoes in a bowl. Mix together the chili powder, sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, then add in your dry mix, and make sure all the potatoes are evenly coated. Spread out on a baking sheet, and bake at 450 for about 20 minutes (the bigger the cubes the longer they'll take to cook). Cook your pasta and drain, reserving 1 cup of the water. In the pasta pan mix together peanut butter, cream cheese, hot sauce and soy sauce over medium heat. Slowly add in the pasta water while mixing until you get the sauce to a consistency you like. If you like thicker sauce add less water. Pour sauce over pasta and add sweet potatoes!

Peanut Butter Recipe #2

I'm not a morning person, and that's putting it nicely. Even though I'm making much more of a conscious effort to eat better/cook more/eat out less often, I rarely eat breakfast during the week. Coffee is the breakfast of champions right? No? Damn. Well anyhoo. I found a pretty simple recipe for a breakfast smoothie (I'm talkin super simple, I'm betting you already have everything in your fridge/pantry!), and I was all about it. Throw some things in a blender and go, now I can handle that in the 2 extra seconds I have in the mornings before work. And added bonus: the girls loved it too.

Shopping List/Items you already have:

  • 2 bananas (peeled, sliced and frozen)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 tbls cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tbls peanut butter
  • 1 tbls maple syrup or honey or agave (sweetener of your choice!)
Throw it all in your blender, and boom. Delish smoothie. The texture is really almost ice cream like, this would also make for a perfect midnight (ok 10pm) snack. Mine was a little bit banana-y so the next time I make it I'll probably only use 1.5 bananas, but these were kind of big, so if they're smallish bananas maybe stick with the 2.

If anybody makes any of these let me know how it goes and if you like em!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gone Fishing

Back in May we headed to the Mr's hometown for his littlest sister's high school graduation. We had beautiful weather, and decided to take the girls out to the pond on their land for their first time fishing!

Fishing requires a lot of patience (one thing this mommy severely lacks), so of course it only lasted about 15 minutes. Once Daddy caught a fish, they were over it and decided to play in the dirt instead.

The older I get, the less I like the outdoors. I know that sounds bad, but I mean I REALLY don't like dirty things. When I was younger we used to go to the lake, and have to dig seaweed out of the jet ski engine when it would get clogged. If you asked me to do that now I would probably laugh in your face and then run screaming in the other direction. Stick my booty on a boat, but I highly doubt you'll ever see me in that kind of water. No one got in the water that day, but rumor on the street is people have and do swim in there (clearly I am not one of them!). So I'm glad that we have opportunities like this for the girls, and they hopefully won't be as crazy as me for awhile :) 

Got one! The girls were far less squirmy then I imagined they would be, and had no problem touching the slimy fish. I however would get nowhere near it. Serve me my fish on a plate, I have no desire to see the whole process (see the roast chicken story!). 

We also took the paddle boat out for a while, and Hadley sat right by me, and Gracen sat in the back with her cousin. She refused to wear a lifejacket, so you can imagine how long we lasted. I'm a totally paranoid freak, and I sure as hell wasn't jumping in that water to get her should she feel the need to go swimming herself, so I planted myself happily back on land! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On a lighter note - a holiday weekend

This past weekend we headed South to Wichita to visit some of the Mr's family. It was nice to get away for a few days, and the girls had a wonderful time playing with cousins and were sufficiently exhausted. Plenty of trampoline jumping, playing with barbies, and running around. Of course I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy eating and sleeping. Ya know the usual vacation-y things.

Saturday night I headed out to have dinner with my dear friend who lives in Wichita that I do not get to see nearly enough. While we did enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and an amazing dinner, we realized that although only 27, we are incredibly old. We were in bed by 11pm, which is when we would probably have started our night back in college. We did get in plenty of giggling and gossip which is always good for the soul.

We were up early Monday morning to hit the road back home. I was ready to be home and take a nap. I never sleep well away from home, and since they live out in the country, my allergies were horrible. After catching up on some sleep, we headed over to Aunt Nanie's for a bbq. We had a yummy dinner, and ended the evening with a piano concert by yours truly. I only took lessons for a couple years, and was definitely a bit rusty (and I was never that good to begin with..).  The girls definitely enjoy tickling the old ivories, so hopefully we'll get them started in piano lessons in the next couple years ;) (just another thing to pay for right dear? and we can send them over to your house for the lessons and practicing right Aunt Nanie? :)

Can't believe it's already September! Gracen starts school tomorrow, and gets to go three days a week this year. Next year she's going to be in kindergarten? No thanks, I'll just keep her in preschool forever thank you! And Hadley Jean is turning 3 this month. Say what?! I'm going to be a hot mess, just FYI. I am pumped about fall though, hellllo pumpkin spice everything!!!! and football season!!!! and homemade applesauce!!!! and...  ok I'll stop now :)

P.S.       I'd like to take a minute to thank everyone for all of the love, prayers, and kind words. We are incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful support system around us. One thing that continues to amaze me is how common miscarriages are, yet you don't ever hear about them. When you want to have a baby, you just assume you start trying and it happens. If I've learned anything in life, it's that nothing ever happens the way you plan it. There are too many variables that are just uncontrollable. We are completely at peace with everything, and know that God knows what he's doing. Maybe someday we will decide we're ready to try again, but until then we are just enjoying the 2 precious miracles we've already got.