Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our New Community Playground

We have a new playground in town and its amazing. It was designed by school children (with some assistance) and all the money was raised and it was built by our city Adult Leadership class as their 2007-08 projects. It rivals anything in any big city and several components of the playground are modeled after our town - the firehouse, the Army base close by, area businesses....its so cool. The girls enjoyed about 45 minutes there this morning before it just got too hot. But take a look -

This is the "big kid" area for ages 5-12. It has 2 big slides, lots of crawl spaces and climbing areas, poles, rope ladders, swinging bridges, hand bars/rings and a rock climbing wall!

This is "Tots" area for kids ages 2-4 and it just as fabulous, although Sarah wanted nothing to do with it because Beth was on the big kid stuff, so was wanted to be, too. Its all just awesome!

COOL, isn't it!?!?!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Yummy Grilling Recipe

Bone-in pork chops are pretty cheap when you buy them in bulk, so I'm overloaded with Pork chops. I tried this new grilled pork chop recipe this week and we REALLY liked it. If you are looking for something a little different, but still super yummy - give this a try. Be warned- it required marinating at least 8 hours, so plan ahead and make the sauce in the morning (or before you go to bed and marinate all night and all day!)


6 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened applejuice (I used Motts for Totts)
3 Tablespoons Worcerstershire sauce
4 bone-in pork chops

1. In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients and mix well. Pour 2/3 of the sauce into large resealable plastic bag and add the pork chops. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for basting. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or longer.

2. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Drain sauce from pork chops and grill covered over medium heat for 6-10 minutes on each side or until thermometer reads 160 degrees, basting occasionally with reserved sauce. (Bob just took them right out of the bag onto the grill - he didn't "drain" the sauce at all, which is probably why they were so yummy, and he barely needed to bast)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bob's 40th Birthday - Part 2 - A day at the Lake

We spent Sunday at the Lake again, and this time I brought my camera! It was a long day after a long night....

The girls had a blast again! This time we only went swimming once. The water and air temp was a tad cooler than last time. We made a quick run to the local marina for a potty stop (for Beth!) and then we ate a birthday picnic dinner on the boat. It was fun and everyone went to bed easily!

Bob's 40th Birthday - Part I

The picture says it all......

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lordy, Lordy...Bob is turning 40!

Just a reminder to all our family and friends- Bob is turning 40 this weekend!!!
I am being kind this year...he has informed me that payback is not pleasant, if you get my drift! And I guarantee you that he would follow through! So, nothing big other than a night out with friends is planned -if you are going to be in the area -call us and we'll tell you where!

Stay turned for updates!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day Fun

On Sunday, Bob wanted to celebrate Father's Day by taking the whole family to the lake on the boat...something that hasn't been done since Sarah WAS BORN. Eek! He's taken Beth lots of times, but all four of us haven't been on the boat ever. So, off we went on Sunday afternoon after the girls took naps. After we got the boat in the water and the girls strapped into their life vest, we took a speedy ride to a different part of the lake, near a resort area. Bob wanted to swim, so into the lake he jumped. Beth was next, although she climbed slowly into the lake by climbing down the ladder and Sarah was literally right on top of her to get down the ladder. It took Beth a while, but she eventually let go of the boat and clung to Bob or I. Sarah didn't necessarily cling, but she wanted someone holding her. After we convinced them both that their life vest would hold their heads above water and let them float on their backs, Beth especially loved it, swimming free of holding onto someone. I taught her a little about the dogpaddle and before long, she was all over the place, having a wonderful time. Sarah loved lounging on her back and also liked someone holding her and watching all the other boats. After A LOT of coaxing (especially with Sarah, who every time she started up the ladder, scooted right back down into the water!), I finally got the girls out of the water for a snack of fresh strawberries, blueberries and string cheese! And off we went to the next swimming hole for more of the same, then we cruised into the local state park's marina, where they have a really good little dairy bar/cafe. After a fabulous Father's Day dinner of cheeseburgers and fries, off we went back to the ramp where Bob's truck was located. The girls loved it and so did I and I know Bob had a good time. Now that we know the girls do so great, I'm sure it will become a several-times-a-month thing now! Whew! I'm still tired! Oh -and while all these wonderful Kodak moments were surrounding me, I realized I forgot my camera - sorry!

Oh, by the way, the girls are currently at their grandma's house, so Bob and I are kid-free for 2 whole nights! We went to see Indiana Jones last was okay. Not my favorite of the four Indiana Jones movies - it has a weird ending. But it just felt so strange to come home from work without going to pick up the girls, then going to the movies on a Monday night. AND - I got to sleep in this morning! Its so nice to have a break sometimes....

Friday, June 13, 2008

Go Make this Dinner- TONIGHT!

I THINK I posted this grilled chicken recipe last summer, but its so good, it warrants a second posting this summer. Its Grilled Brushetta Chicken and its melt-in-your-mouth good. BUT, the key is to use the freshest ingredients possible- homegrown tomatoes (especially now!) - mine are from our local farmer's market, and FRESH basil - or just not the dried basil. Mine was from Kroger! I don't follow the recipe exactly and I'll note that on the below recipe. I served it with Crash Hot Pototoes, which may now be my all time favorite way to cook red potatoes. YUM!!! To me, they tasted like my favorite appetizer, Potato Skins! I got the recipe from one of my all time favorite blogs - - in her cooking section. This woman is awesome - I strongly urge you to check out her blog. You'll be addicted in a heartbeat. And the woman can cook and she gives step-by-step instructions in all her recipes. She's awesome. ANWAY- both these recipes are wonderful!!! I strongly urge you to make them soon and let me know what you think.

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

1/4 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing, divided (I use MUCH more than 1/4 cup! I probably use 1/3 the bottle!)
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves (USE FRESH!!)

PLACE large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate; preheat grill to medium heat.
Pour 2 Tbsp. of the dressing over chicken in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. (I use WAY more than 2 Tbsp to mariate the chicken!)
Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken with the dressing. Refrigerate 10 min. to marinate. (I marinate a MINUMUM of 4-5 hours! I usually start it when I'm home for lunch)
Remove chicken from marinade; discard bag and marinade.
GRILL chicken on uncovered side of grill 6 min. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing.
TURN chicken over; place, cooked-side up, on foil on grill.
Top evenly with tomato mixture.
Close lid. Grill an additional 8 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170ºF).


Several Small red potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, other herbs or spices of choice (or garlic, or cheese or bacon bits.....)

Boil whole red potatoes until fork tender (15-20 minutes); meanwhile, drizzle a baking sheet with a generous amount of Olive Oil. Place boiled potatoes on baking sheet and using a potato masher or large fork, gently press down on each potato until about ½ way smashed until it resembles a cookie. Brush with a little more Olive Oil and sprinkle with Salt (generously!) and pepper and other herb or seasoning of choice. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

For step-by-step instructions with PICTURES, go here:

Then, go over to her "main page" and read her blog daily!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fill 'er up!

Its hot here. Today is the first day in a week that we haven't been at 90 degrees or more. Its the humidity that makes it just horrible. Its very unusual for it to be this hot, or even 90 degrees yet, this early in the summer in our neck of the woods. Technically, its not even "summer" yet, right?

ANYWAY, We got out the blue plastic pool, which is now going on its 3rd summer with us. I'm guessing by looking at it, that it will be its last summer with us, too, if it makes it that long. Best $11 I ever spent at K-Mart!

Sarah filled it up happily with the hose (her favorite part) on Saturday and they spent at least an hour playing together in it - by themselves- happily! I was so proud!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday A-B-C Lunches

Every since Beth turned three, I've had a weekly ritual of taking her out to lunch, just me and her, every Wednesday. It breaks up her week at Nursery School/Daycare and it allows me to spend some one-on-one time with her. I pick her up after Nursery School, so once a week, she gets to walk outside with all the other kids who go home after school, rather than straight to daycare in the room just across the hall from her nursery school class. She loves it! And honestly, I like it to. She just now starting to really talk to me at lunch and its fun.

So, for over a year (actually, it was going on 18+ months), we ate at one of three places each week - and one of those was McDonalds and the other two are local favorites. I was sick to death of McD's and the others, so in March of this year, I decided we would do A-B-C Lunch each week. The first week, we started with a restaurant that began with the letter A...and so on. We've done Applebee's, Backyard Burgers, Captain D's, Dots, El Bracero , Ferrells, Godfathers, Hot Diggity Dog, (the "I" week was a luncheon at her school - we called it the "I Love You" lunch), Jade Palace, Kentucky Fried Chicken and this week, we did Lic's. We're almost 1/2 the way finished. Next week is "M" and Beth is SOOO excited to get to back to McDonalds! Ugh.

She is having so much fun that she has decided that when we finish this round, she wants to start over again and go to all the places we didn't go the first round.

When Beth starts 1st grade in 2009, she'll be in school all day, so our weekly Wednesday lunches will come to a hault...however, that is when Sarah Katherine will be starting 3-year old Nursery School, so I'll just start with her at that point and continue to do it for her until she starts 1st grade, too. Just my fun little lunch tradition with girls! Wonder if they will remember it when they get older???

Monday, June 2, 2008

funny, yet traumatic, story...

We were driving down "new" 98 in Destin headed towards the Outlet Mall, just after eating dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Capt. Dave's. Beth had picked some Lantana FLOWER outside of the restaurant and given Sarah a sprig, too. After catching Sarah in the act of trying to LICK the flower, I quickly went into my lecture of "we don't lick strange flowers or plants. They might be poisonous!" Beth looks at me strangly and asks "what is poisonous." I said that it means that she (Sarah) could get very sick and die. She said "die forever?" And my response was something like "yes Beth, dead means forever." (probably a little harsh on my part and I would have NEVER had said that if I had known what was getting ready to happen.)

At this point, we pulled into the mall parking spot. She immediately opened the door and threw out the flower, closed the door and broke into HUGE, TRAUMATIC tears! My immediate reaction was that she slammed her foot or hand in the car door. She was screaming something and neither my mom nor I could understand her. I'm looking at all her extremities for injuries and saw none and FINALLY, she mustered up the words "I licked the flower!"

Beth thought she was going to die...right then and there. She was totally and utterly convinced that she was going to die from licking a flower that "might" be poisonous! I didn't know what to do to calm her down other than telling her that I didn't really know if the flower was poisonous and I'm sure she'd be fine. My mom finally got her out of the car and told her to "spit! spit it out!" After several spittings, she seems convinced that the spitting did the trick and calmed down. And during all this, I'm half laughing and half feeling completely AWFUL that my child thinks she is getting ready to die because that is what I told her! Really, I did feel terrible, and like I said, I would have NEVER, EVER said those things if I had known she'd licked the darn thing!!! It was all quite traumatic, but also a little funny! I know, I'm bad.

A little googling later, I discovered that Lantana flower is NOT poisonous, but the leaves and berries are VERY toxic! EEK!