Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Things have been a bit more chaotic than normal around here lately, with no sign of easing up anytime soon! Big decisions, big trips... a lot of stuff! I figure to lighten things up a bit--if even just for myself--I'll share a short little clip of the kiddos from yesterday afternoon. They do keep a smile on my face (most of the time!)!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Whole-Wheat Tortillas

I couldn't help but share this recipe, folks. I whipped these up the other night to make chicken tacos and they were DI.VINE. It was insane how good these were. And the effort it took to make them? So minimal it's not even worth mentioning. I've always been one to prefer soft tacos over hard, but I've never considered myself a tortilla snob. I'll just take what I can get -- whether it's what the restaurant serves or what the store stocks on their shelves. And really, the only time I'd use tortillas would be for tacos. I've never tried them as wraps or anything crazy like that.

But let me tell you, these tortillas are SO MUCH BETTER than ANYTHING you can find in the store, and I'd say they are even better than what is served in your typical restaurant. When I made them the other night, I cut the recipe in half to make only 6 tortillas (knowing LO wouldn't touch one and hubs isn't the biggest fan). Plus I wasn't sure if I would have success with the recipe or admit defeat to yet another failure of homemade cooking (it's not as easy as you think!). After I tasted the first one I made, I immediately wished I had made the full recipe for 12 tortillas. They were THAT good.

The best part? And if you know us well, you'll know this is a HUGE accomplishment... I was able to get LO to eat one! She wasn't a big fan of the chicken and cheese "roll-up" I made for her that night, but when I put her trusty peanut butter and jelly into a "roll-up" and served it for lunch the next day, she scarfed it down with only slight pleading on my part! I was amazed! LO just doesn't eat (or like) anything new! Yay!

I also ate some for leftovers the next day, and hubs sounded somewhat disappointed when I told him that yes, the tortillas were all gone. :( These are definitely a keeper, and I will be making these often for our family. Give the recipe a try -- you won't regret it!

Click here for the recipe from The Food Illusion -- one of my newest favorite blogs!

((The photo above is from The Food Illusion.))

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Months!

Somebody is 10 months old today!

And somebody's mommy is so grateful and blessed to have this little man in her life!

Happy 10 Month Birthday, Chase!

Mommy loves you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Cupcakes

Tuesday afternoon, I decided LO and I were going to make some cupcakes to celebrate another successful day of preschool. So no, it doesn't take much for me to find a reason to celebrate with cake... ;) But rather than go buy a boxed cake mix (the horror!), I turned to my friend -- the trusty Internet -- and found a recipe for a strawberry cake made from scratch. No cake mixes, no colored/flavored gelatin -- just fresh strawberries, some butter, oil, sugar, flour etc. LO and I made them together and it was fun!

The cupcakes are topped with a cream cheese frosting, which definitely isn't my favorite, but I had all the ingredients on hand so we went for it.

In my opinion, the cupcakes turned out a bit more "dense" than I'm used to. I prefer something lighter, and these seemed quite heavy. But it was extra nice making them from scratch and being able to recognize (and pronounce!) all the ingredients we used.

Did LO like the cupcakes? Judge for yourselves... ;)

One of THOSE Moms

Okay, so I really don't want to be one of "those" moms, but I feel myself turning into one. Today is day 3 of preschool for LO and I'm SO HAPPY she loves it as much as she does. The unfortunate thing for me is I keep finding out stuff about the Center that a) I didn't know about (as in, it wasn't listed in the Parent Handbook) and b) I can't do anything about. I don't like being told what I can and can't do, especially where my daughter is concerned.

Okay, so the first thing is I wanted to attend all of her class field trips as a chaperone. I inquired about this at the open house last week and was told I can't. It makes sense in a way because there's limited space on some events. But THE reason I wanted to go to all of them was because I would be able to drive her with me when I'm attending as a chaperone, instead of her riding on a bus with seat belts but NO car seats. I just don't like this at all!!! I guess the "good" thing is I was able to sign up for 4 out of the 6 or 7 field trips for the year. I might have to follow behind the bus for the other ones...

I also had the (wrong) assumption that I would be able to bring Chase with us on the field trips I'm chaperoning. Found out yesterday that ISN'T the case! I just assumed I could bring him because I remember my sister taking her youngest on her older kids' field trips, but of course that was at a different school than LO's. Ugh! Just makes me mad because now hubs is gonna have to work from home or take vacation days to keep Chase while I'm on LO's field trips. Nice.

Okay, so the BIGGEST thing was something I found out this morning. I asked for a copy of the snack schedule and mentioned that I assumed I could send a different snack with LO if I didn't want her having a certain snack the Center is providing.

I was told NO.

I confirmed that snacks consist of processed junk like cookies, goldfish crackers, and even freakin' Pop-Tarts!!! I can't tell you how long its been since I've allowed Pop-Tarts in my house, much less all those other processed foods. Snacks at home are almost ALWAYS fresh fruit, veggies, raisins, etc. I Hate! Hate! Hate! that I have no control and no say in what my daughter is being fed at preschool. Is this normal? Is this to be expected?
Am I just supposed to turn my head and ignore it? Honestly, this REALLY upsets me more than the other "issues" I've pointed out above. I understand the safety issues with having siblings on field trips. I'm bummed I can't chaperone all the field trips, but I guess it'll provide me with a chance to work on my separation anxiety. But forcing my child to eat the processed snack foods she's not allowed to eat at home?! I hate the mixed message this sends to her and can't believe there's nothing I can do about it. I feel totally alone in my thoughts/feelings on this issue. Apparently I'm the only one with the problem. I haven't even talked with any other parents so I'm assuming they don't care, either. I knew the day would come where mommy's hands are tied, but I never thought it would be THIS soon!


Am I totally alone on this?


Kristen - Thanks for your support! Glad I'm not crazy for being upset by the snack issue. I actually emailed the Director herself and she was the one that told me, "We do not allow different food to be brought in unless it is a party day." Of course that opens up another can of worms... I'm not at all happy with the idea of her eating cupcakes or whatever that other parents bring in -- whether they purchased them at a bakery or made them at home. I'm over the top when it comes to cleanliness and germs when baking in my kitchen, and how can I know if other parents are the same way?? Ugh. I've thought about the allergy thing, but it'll be day 4 tomorrow and she's already had their processed junk foods. I just don't know whether to make a big deal out of this (much to hubs' chagrin) or just try to ignore it and pretend it's not happening.

Tim - Of course you're the voice of reason, clearly seeing things from both points of view! I appreciate that! I have no issues with the policy of not bringing younger siblings when chaperoning -- mostly I'm just crazy-disappointed by it. But for the snacks? Ugh. I feel like my back is against the wall.

Joelle - It helps so much to know that yet another mom feels the same way as I do! I really am mad about all of this, but I'm doing my best to process it and figure out what's best for LO -- regardless of what I'd prefer to do. It's only been a few days, but already I feel like we're "just a number" to them. I hate a "once size fits all" policy, especially when it comes to MY child and especially when it concerns what she's eating. I have been trying hard to eliminate all processed foods from our entire family's diet, and this just makes me feel like a total failure. I am in SHOCK N' AWE about your gym story! I cannot believe they recommend cookies and chips for snacks!! I'm not sure I've heard how raisins are a choking hazard, and what the crap is so "messy" about fruit and veggies? CRAZY.

Posted from my iPhone

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of Preschool!

Well, the day finally arrived! It was LO's first day of preschool today, AND I'm happy to report both LO and mommy survived! And, believe it or not, the final tear count was ZERO. Yay!

So here are a few pics from the day...

Her picture before leaving for school. I figure it'll be nice to do this each year so we can see how big she gets (compared to the door!). I figure we'll be living at our current home until retirement, so I'm sure we'll have her pic outside this door 'til high school graduation. ;)

This one was taken in the car, just before we got out to head into school this morning. She's a little bit excited...

Another pic before heading into her classroom. The fish tank is located down the hall and I let check out the fish for a minute or so before heading in! We took a quick pic of the two of us together outside her classroom, then she gave me a big hug and kiss and headed right in to play! She did AWESOME!

Picking her up from school wasn't too bad! The pick-up line was reasonable, and I didn't get there 'til 11:50AM for a 12:00PM pick up! After Chase's morning nap, we headed over to the local craft store to pick up some things I needed for Chase's birthday (yes, his birthday is just over TWO MONTHS from now -- I'm a planner!), and while we were there I picked up a few little things to give her as a sort of "first day of school" gift. I let her open it when we got home.

She loved the pink butterfly card!

Believe it or not, she really was VERY excited about this Finding Nemo book. Even though her face in the photo tells a totally different story...

There were also some shiny, glittery butterfly stickers in the gift bag, as well as this fun little butterfly sun-catcher craft. She was VERY happy about this one, too!

See? I told ya.

No, really. She's excited about this craft we'll be doing after nap time.

Overall, I'm SUPER happy with how well she did today... not to mention how well I did, too! Here's hoping the rest of the year goes as well as today! ;)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How'd This Happen?

Can someone please tell me how it's possible that this beautiful girl is starting her first day of preschool in the morning?? It's all downhill from here, right? Starting tomorrow, we're looking at 15 years of early weekday mornings and summer breaks.

I'm not sure I'm ready for this!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Processor Help

So this is totally random, but I wanted to ask my readers a few questions about food processors. First of all, if you don't use one or don't know what one is, just quit reading now. However, if you have one and know how to use it, keep reading.

I bought a brand new KitchenAid 9-cup food processor last Saturday for ONE purpose: making homemade whole-wheat pizza dough. We were having friends over for dinner (to make pizzas) and I needed to make at least two batches of dough. The 3-cup capacity food processor that came with my blender/food processor combo unit was NOT overly suitable to make this dough, and certainly not a double batch of it. While I knew I wanted it specifically for the dough, I also knew that it would come in handy for several other recipes, especially the more I try to get away from processed foods and make more from scratch.

I was totally stoked to put it to use once I got it home and all washed up. I had my King Aurthur white whole-wheat flour, yeast packet, salt, olive oil and water ready to go. With this particular pizza dough recipe, you're supposed to pulse the water, yeast, salt and oil together. I followed the instructions and did so. I immediately noticed the water seeped out of the bowl where the lid and bowl meet when I turned the unit on. I guess it made sense that it's not a tight seal, and it would be possible for the water to leak there. I figured the mixture was pulsed enough, and went ahead and added the 3 cups of my expensive $9 bag of flour and turned the food processor on. Almost immediately, I noticed the huge, wet mess all over my counter. Apparently the water was ALSO leaking out the BOTTOM of the bowl in the middle where the blade attachment sits. So it poured all over the base unit and all over my counter.

Of course this batch of dough was completely ruined, as the yeast was dissolved into the water, which was now located all over my counter and I knew there was no way to salvage it. I was irritated. No way in the world did I expect this to happen! Can you imagine if I would've tried to double the batch from the beginning? Ugh!

After lots of reading through the instruction guide, I determined I had in fact put the pieces together correctly. Unfortunately, I then found this page:
A maximum liquid level?? I had no idea! To make matters worse, ONE cup of water actually sits above this maximum liquid level indicator. How many recipes call for less than 1 cup of liquid? When using a NINE-CUP capacity food processor??

This makes NO sense to me!

I'll be honest, this is the first time I've owned or operated a food processor. I'm new to the game. But is this common? Should I expect ALL food processors to leak if I use more than 1/2-cup of liquid in a recipe? This seems totally insane to me. Not to mention the fact that this bad boy set me back $150! I would imagine the cheaper ones to have this problem, but not this one and not a KitchenAid!



I've been waiting just under 10 months for this! Sure does make my day! I love this boy!!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun at the Beach

This past Monday, our little family of four took a day trip to the beach (obviously if you've been reading the posts regarding the the death of my iPhone and the debacle that ensued, you may have already known about the trip). It was a mere 3-1/2 hour drive each way, and was a really easy drive! The kids behaved fantastically, and hubs and I were really excited to be taking Chase to the beach for the very first time!

Just thought I'd share a few pics from our trip with you guys! Enjoy!

Of course you remember the u-haul we took from the parking lot to the beach. Yes, hubs brought shock cords to keep it all in place AND we brought a huge bucket to carry water with so we could create a little mini-pool-type-thing for Chase up by our shade tent. That worked out well (not).

Here's the little man taking it all in. You'll find almost every pic of him includes one or more fingers in his mouth... the joys of teething!

Loved this little one of him looking at mommy. Oh, and for the record, I fully realize his bathing suit doesn't match, and I'm quite distraught about it. The blue/green shorts came with a cute little matching shirt with -- you guessed it -- a monkey on it. Unfortunately, it's a 12 month outfit and he grew out of the shirt weeks ago! The shorts, however, barely stay on him! So I picked up another SPF-type shirt for him, knowing it wouldn't match. It was a painful thing for me to do, but I'm trying not to dwell on it... ;)

All smiles!

We weren't surprised, but he really loved the water! Even when it splashed in his face. Even when he put his salt watery hands in his mouth. This boy loves water!

Contemplating something, I'm sure...

Another cute pic, but those durn fingers!

A close-up of the water!

He was having so much fun!

I HAD to share this one. I swear every time I look at this pic, I think, "Thank you! Thankyouverymuch!" a la Elvis.

Still not sure how he wasn't grossed out by the salty taste of the water on his hands.

Chillin' in his big sister's chair!

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! this picture!!! There are no words!

And, of course, a glimpse of things to come down the road. Little brother picking on big sister.

I tried to get a cute pic of the two of them together. This is what I ended up with. Not sure what LO's thinking. Chase's face, however, is purely hysterical.

This one's a bit better, but I'm pretty sure LO's forcing that smile. Ever so slightly.

My beautiful, 3-year-old girl.

Wow. What's up with Chase channeling Elvis the whole time we were at the beach?

Smile, buddy! Daddy's gettin' you!

LO conked out on the way home. We stopped for ice cream. I woke her up. She said she didn't want any. Shocking, I know!

This little guy had NO nap plans for the ride home. He had a great time!

Did I mention he had his first taste of ice cream? Dairy Queen, of course. He's looking at me like, "Are you sure I'm allowed to try some of this yummy goodness, mommy?" As you might imagine, he LOVED it.

LO finally woke up enough to realize we really meant business when we talked ice cream. She couldn't miss out on such an opportunity as this! Her eyes look like she'd rather be sleeping, but she sure did enjoy that ice cream!

One last shot of the boy as we got him out of his seat to relax for a few minutes after our ice cream stop. Those eyes of his. They captivate my heart!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All Better!

I am so very pleased to announce that my debacle with the Apple Store has been resolved, very amicably, and I am now the oh-so-proud owner of my very own iPhone 4.

((insert outrageously smiley grin here))

The Apple Store manager called me earlier today -- we'll call him Jack. I thought about using real names now since the people I'm referring to now have actually done a GREAT job of taking care of the situation, but I figure honestly, if the right people are reading this, they'll know exactly who I'm talking about. Anywho, Jack the manager called me this morning and told me he was had a 16 GB iPhone 4 with my name on it.


I couldn't believe it! I was so confused! I had just been told not an hour earlier by Karen that the shipment they received this morning didn't have ANY 16 GB iPhone 4s in it. Crazy! But whatever. They've got a phone for me. That's all that matters. While I was on the phone with Jack, he asked when I wanted to come in. I said 5:30pm, and he booked a "personal shopping" appointment for me so they'd know to expect me. Since he himself was going to be in a meeting from 5-6pm, he booked my appointment with, we'll say, "Ray," and told me he would make sure Ray was completely debriefed on the situation. Jack definitely was making it worth my while to come back to the store and replace my iPhone -- that's all I'll say about that!

I showed up at 5:30pm and saw several blue shirts standing near the entrance to the store, some of whom were speaking with what appeared to be customers. As I walked in, one of the employees immediately greeted me and welcomed me to the store. I told him I was there for a 5:30pm personal shopping appointment. He then says my name. MY name. Yes, I say! That's me! I ask if he's Ray. He says yep, and tells me he's there to help me!

Yesssssss! This is just what I was hoping for! You know, the first time. Yesterday.

So Ray takes me to one of their little "activation stations" to go ahead and set up my new iPhone. He was very courteous and friendly, and he displayed genuine empathy for the situation I experienced during my first visit to the store yesterday. I honestly feel he felt compelled to ensure I had the BEST experience in that store today. Whether or not "corporate" was telling him to treat me like royalty, he played the part and made me feel like the most important customer in the store. I imagine that's how they usually make all of their customers feel. I guess it just so happened to be my luck that I came in on a very "off" day for several of their staff members.

So we got my new phone activated, including an Apple Care protection plan, and I was ready to head out the door in -- get this -- less than 20 minutes! It was ahhhhhmazing! I couldn't have been happier. They really went out of their way to give me the experience that I missed out on yesterday. And like I mentioned, they really made it worth my while to remain loyal to Apple, both with how they treated me at the store, and a very generous offer when it came time to the check-out process. Needless to say, I am now a very satisfied customer.

Of course I do not rescind a single word of my post detailing yesterday's experience, because what happened happened, and I don't think I exaggerated the details a bit. But I am elated to share how wonderfully Apple righted the many wrongs I experienced and restored my faith in their organization. I'm obviously ecstatic to be up and running again with a functional device, but even more so I'm happy that I was finally able to get a REAL Apple customer experience.

Long story short, I have a functional iPhone. A new-and-improved, upgraded version of what I had previously. And with one quick sync to my MacBook, my iPhone is now exactly how I left it -- before accidentally introducing it to the ocean -- from emails to contacts, text messages to apps. I can think happy thoughts again when I think of Apple. I truly believe they went above and beyond what anyone -- including myself -- would have expected.

LO was sure to tell me she loved my new phone as soon as I came home. I took a test photo of her using the lovely built-in flash. Just imagine me smiling with the same priceless, genuine grin seen here:

Thank you, Apple.

Making Matters Better?

Just got a call from a manager at my local Apple Store. This seems promising, but I'll wait 'til after my experience this afternoon to share the details. I'm just so thankful that I got a call back from a manager! And he was nice! AND he was helpful AND had a solution in hand when he called.

Now that's the Apple I was expecting all along!

Still do wish me luck, though... ;)

Making Matters Worse!!!

I called our local Apple Store. I wanted to confirm they had several iPhone 3GS 16 GB devices in stock so I wouldn't be wasting my time when I come in this afternoon for my scheduled appointment to swap out my water-damaged phone (you know, like they offered to do for me yesterday).

Lo and behold, "Karen" is telling me THEY DON'T CARRY THE iPHONE 3GS IN 16 GB -- ONLY 8 GB!!!

So NO, losers from the store yesterday, apparently you WOULDN'T have been able to swap out my existing phone with an exact replacement. She tried telling me they have a lot of new employees and that's why I was LIED TO SEVERAL TIMES yesterday. I spewed out the names of THREE individuals who "helped" me yesterday and she confirmed NONE of them were new.


Karen went on to say the 16 GB 3GS has been DISCONTINUED. And NO, they don't have any 16 GB iPhone 4s in stock. And NO, they don't know when they'll get any in. It's MY responsibility to keep calling them SEVERAL TIMES PER DAY to see if they have any and then scoot my butt in there lightening fast to nab one once they do as it's a "first come, first served" basis -- no matter how bad they've SCREWED A PERSON OVER!!!

I am at the end of my rope. It's time to look into the early termination fee with at&t so I can drop this madness! I am STUNNED!!!

And furious.

Can you tell?

How'd We Do?

This was in my inbox this morning:
I'll be sure to include a link to this post from yesterday. Should be fun.

Oh, and I've got another appointment at the "Genius" Bar this afternoon at 5:20 PM for Round 2 in my attempt to replace my water-logged iPhone 3GS with a new 3GS. Wish me luck -- I'm sure I'll need it!!

Guess Who? - The Answers!

#1: Chase!

#2: LO! Duh!

#3: ME! (Told ya there was a twist!)

#4: Chase!

#5: Me again!

#6: Chase!

#7: LO!

#8: ME!

#9: LO!

NOTE: I would have included baby pics of hubs in here, but they didn't have cameras waaay back then! Ha! Ha! Just teasin'! Honestly though, his pics would be pretty easy to spot (can you say black & white?)!

That was fun! :)