Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We've had a full weekend of Halloween fun. We kicked off the trick-or-treating festivities at the girls' Mimi and Papa's house.  We had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s'mores.  After dinner, we got the girls all dressed up in their costumes so that they could go trick-or-treating at my in-law's and their neighbor's house. 

I took a picture of Andy and Sophia last night and I have almost the same exact picture of him and Emma at her first bonfire two years ago.  It is CRAZY to see how similar they look!

I stayed home with the girls today and it was so nice to be able to stay home and have fun with them.  This morning, Emma enjoyed a spooky breakfast of spiderweb pancakes, boo bananas, and swamp thing yogurt.  She was so excited and ate it all up in no time.  

Later in the morning, the girls painted their pumpkins to put outside for Halloween night.  Emma was totally into it and took her job VERY seriously. 

Sophia didn't really get what all the fuss was about and was actually pretty peeved that she couldn't put the paintbrush in her mouth.  
Our sweet friends, the Roberts', came over tonight for dinner and to join us for trick-or-treating.  Taking pictures of three kids is nearly impossible, but I managed to get a couple.

We had such a great Halloween.  As Emma gets older, holidays are becoming better each year.  When Sophia starts to "get" the holidays, it's going to be amazing!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mmm, Mmm Monday- PB&J Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies

Another Monday...what happened to the weekend?  Oh well, at least we have cookies.  This recipe is from one of my favorite websites for kid's recipes.  I have made several things from and have loved every single thing. It's not just for kids.

These cookies are great, because I can tell myself that they're healthy.

No sugar! 
They have oatmeal!  
It's like a hearty breakfast! 

Who cares if I lie to myself? Really though, they are healthy, as far as a cookie goes.  They make a great little snack or breakfast if you want to earn "Cool Mom Points."

PB&J Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe from

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Here's the lineup.  Agave is pretty easy to find and it's a great (natural) substitute for sugar. 

Place butter and honey in a bowl and beat for one minute.

Add the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter.  Beat for one more minute on medium.
Combine all the dry ingredients and mix.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.

Drop by 1 tablespoonful onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  I use my ice cream scoop to get uniform sized cookies.

Use your thumb (or the thumb of your assistant) to make an indentation in the center.

Fill the indentation of each cookie with 1/2 teaspoon of the jam.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Warning!!! Be sure to enjoy these with a glass of milk!
 Reviews from the Peanut Gallery
Me: 5 out of 5 stars. These are not too sweet, but sweet enough (and definitely peanut buttery enough!) to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Andy: 5 out of 5 stars. His favorite thing about them is also his least favorite thing about them.  They're bite-sized so he just pops them right into his mouth.  He definitely eats more than his share. ;)

Emma: It's a cookie.  That's all she needs to hear and she's game.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Fun

I love Fall!  I actually don't mind venturing outside since the temperatures have dropped and I don't have to fear melting right on the spot. We have taken full advantage of this beautiful weather and all of the fun things that go along with this time of year.

This weekend, we took the girls to a small pumpkin patch at a nearby church.  This is one of my favorite places to get "our" pumpkins.  You know, the adult pumpkins.  The pumpkins at this church are AMAZING. They are huge and perfect. Emma was only six-months old when we first took her. 
Emma's first trip to the Pumpkin Patch.
Emma two years later.
The girls already had their pumpkins, but they had a great time helping us pick ours, and we were able to sneak in some cute photos.

On Saturday night we took the girls to Boo at the Zoo.  This is one of my all-time favorite events of the year.  The zoo, animals, costumes, and candy?  I mean, it seriously doesn't get better than that.  I was a little worried that Sophia would flip (not in a good way) from all of the people, the noise, and the costumes.  But girlfriend was all about it.  She danced and played with the best of them.  Dare I say even more than her big sister?

Emma charmed her way through the zoo, shouting "Argh, matey!" to everyone she passed.  She had fun on the "Scary-Go-Round" for about 45 seconds and then she wrapped her arms and her legs around the pole, then my head, and shouted that she wanted to stop.  The funny thing was when I asked her at the end if she had fun, she shouted "YES!"  Go figure.

 She was a little hesitant in the Monster Mash tent.  She tentatively danced (aka kicked a foot here and there).  Once I picked her up and danced with her, she finally warmed up.

Sophia, on the other hand, dove right in.  She grabbed onto that carousel pole like she had been doing it for years, laughing and smiling the entire time.  When we got into the tent, she saw the lights and heard the music and started dancing around with a smile a mile wide.

We ended up getting the girls cleaned up and changed into their pj's in the car, then fed Sophia her nighttime bottle before we left, in hopes that they would fall asleep.  By the time we got through the traffic, it ended up being a late night for both of them, but well worth it.  I can't wait to go again next year!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mmm, Mmm Monday- Chicken Tortilla Soup

I have been such a horrible blogger.  We have actually been busy doing fun things and there's lots to talk about, but I've been REALLY trying to live the moments as opposed to documenting them with pictures.  Even though I know it's important to capture them, I know it's even more important to completely be there with my kiddos.

I wish I could dazzle you with articulate, thought-provoking blog entries, but I'm a realist.  I know you're here to see some cute kids.  So I haven't felt like there was much to show you lately.

That being said, we're ALWAYS eating, so Mmm, Mmm Monday continues.  This recipe is seriously my go-to recipe.  It is the fastest, easiest recipe and it is super scrumptious.  There are a million recipes out there for Chicken Tortilla Soup, but this is my little version that was designed to be quick.  It could really be called "Dump Soup" because all you do is dump a bunch of stuff into a pot, but that doesn't sound quite as appetizing.  I always make mine the night before and let it sit overnight to enhance the flavor, but it's still good when made the day of.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 rotisserie chicken; shredded (or 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast)
1 can corn; drained
1 can black beans; rinsed and drained
1 jar (15.5 ounces) chunky salsa
1/2 teaspoon garlic; minced
1/2 cup onion; chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons cilantro; chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Toppings: tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream

Here's the lineup.  I'm a sissy so I used mild salsa, but if you're into spicy stuff, go for the hotter versions.

Chop up your onions, garlic and cilantro.  Toss it in the pot.

Squeeze in your lime juice.

Shred your chicken and add it to your pot.

Drain and rinse your beans, then drain your corn.  Dump them in too.

Pour in the jar of salsa.  Quick tip: Once the jar is empty, you'll still have lots of salsa left in the jar.  Pour a little of the chicken broth into your jar and shake it up.
It will come out as clean as a whistle.  Add the rest of your chicken broth to the pot.

Add in your spices.  If you like it spicy, add in a little more chili powder. The 1/2 teaspoon gives it enough heat for me, but Andy likes spicy foods and has to add hot sauce to his later.

Bring your soup to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.  Top your soup with the toppings of your choice.  I like cheese, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.  The tortilla part of the soup comes from the chips.  Each person can crush their own chips onto the top of their soup.  We use the Tostitos Baked Scoops and I like to dip mine into my soup.  Do whatever floats your boat.
 Reviews from the Peanut Gallery
Me: 5 out of 5 stars.  I seriously love this soup.  It's light and refreshing enough for summer, but filling enough for any other time of the year.  It's so good that you wouldn't even know it was healthy.

Andy: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. He wants me to make it spicier, but it isn't going to happen.  This time around, I bought him chipotle lime tortilla strips and it added some more spice.

Emma: She doesn't eat the soup,  but she'll eat the components.  I usually set aside some chicken, beans, and corn for her before I add them to the spiced soup.  Tonight, she really wanted to try some of the lime. She thought that was pretty cool.