Monday, July 11, 2011

strawberry fields

over Memorial Day weekend (yes, i'm slow at posting), Ry, K, H, and i went strawberry picking with our fabulous friends (and neighbors), the Weigles. :) it was a beautiful day...a little warm, but still gorgeous. and, after a fabulous month plus of illness for the family, it was a very needed day of fresh air and fun! :)
K was NOT a fan of picking berries initially... she was overwhelmed, i think... the fields are pretty big, and while it wasn't busy with people, she had never seen such rows of plants, etc. :) after she watched us pick for a few minutes, she was ready to jump in. :) i gave her careful instructions about picking berries that were red, which she was good to follow. she picked an occasional not so ripe berry, but for a 2 1/2 year old, she did beautifully... :)
and, with every berry she picked, she would ask me if it was a good one :) it was so cute...even for the hour we were there...
"this one, mommy...."
"this is red, mommy...."
"mommy, yuuuk...a staw-berry...."
"i yike staw-berries today..."
"this is fun..."
"this one, mommy...put it in the box?"
yes, this was my sweet music for picking :)
we picked over 7 pounds of berries on this outing. the price was decent (i think we paid around $25)... :)
here are some pics of our adventure... :)
Katherine and i waving at the camera :) (notice the beaded Mardi Gras necklace that she's wearing...the necklace phase lasted for over a month... this was her favorite - a heart necklace :))

my little strawberry farmer :) busy pickin' berries :)

another picture of the mommy/daughter team :) i love this pic of the two of us... :)'s poor Hannah's perspective of strawberry picking...stuck in a stroller in the super warm temperatures... :) she was so good...but i still felt bad that she couldn't take part in the fun... :) yet... :)

here is K and her strawberry loot :) she did a great job! :)

the challenge after the strawberry picking was what to do with the 7 pounds of berries we picked.... and since i don't have a lot of spare time, it took me 3 or 4 days to get through all the berries... and, fresh berries don't keep long, either... so i washed berries one night and in the morning of the next day (i actually sat on the floor in the living room during Hannah's morning nap so that i could hang out with K while she played and i could also cut the stems off of the berries and slice them)...

i made over a gallon of strawberry freezer jam... :) somethin' about the taste of this jam takes me back to my childhood at my grandma's :) and, we have shared several jars and still have enough in the freezer to take us through the cold winter months :)

and when i taste the jam (K will not eat it :( ), my mind will take me back to our fun afternoon the strawberry fields... :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

bathing beauties :)

in late May, we broke out the 2 year old kiddie pool... :) yes, it was way too small for K, but as most of you know, having something "FUN" and active to do during the day is necessary with a 2 1/2 year old... :) desperate times call for desperate measures :)
anyway, over a weekend, when Ry was home, we took advantage of some serious pool time :)
since this kiddie pool is so small, we could keep it on our deck :) (we've since gotten a bigger kiddie pool; more on that later :))
i hadn't even gotten K a new "bathing soup" yet (that's what K calls a bathing suit :)), and i needed to dig Hannah's hand-me-down "soup" out of the closet ... so, in keeping with the theme of the desperate times quote, K and Hannah were in their bathing soup onesies :)

here are some pics of our "kewl" day :) (yep, that's what K calls a pool, too :))
my bathin' beauties :)

here's my sweet Hannah and my hubby :) love this pic of the two of them...would love to know what the both of them were thinking at that moment :) love Hannah's sunglasses (around her neck at this point) and her little hat :) so cute... :)

Katherine is demonstrating just how small this kiddie pool is... :) in attempt to "get wet," she's trying to lay down :)

more shots :) hangin' out in the "kewl" :)

i could eat her up :) so cute... :) love those cheeks :)

K sportin' her sunglasses in the pool :)

we love summertime swimming... :) while Hannah is still a little too young to be playing in the water yet, Katherine is enjoying hours in the water... :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

fabulous chicken ranch nachos *that don't stick on your hips*

one of our favorite mom and pop pizza places (End Zone Pizza) got us turned on to what they call "chix ranch nachos." i'm not a ranch sort of girl, honestly, but these nachos are fabulously yummy...

a few weeks ago, i really had a taste for these nachos... but we didn't want to pay almost $8 for a Styrofoam container of mouth-watering nachos...
but i thought to myself, "really how hard can it be to make the nachos??? i could come up with the ingredients and put them together, i think..." so we stopped at the store and picked up some ingredients...

the nachos are FABULOUS... will not be able to stop eating them... :) we slow down at the last bit, but they are so, so good...

and i'm gonna show you how to make them for YOU! :)

you will need: tortilla chips, ranch dressing, some kind of breaded chicken (i got Tyson chicken breast fillets), chopped onions (vidallia for us), and some shredded cheese (mozzarella/italian blend and mexican blend works perfectly)...

before you start making these nachos, cook your breaded chicken breast... after it's finished cooking, after it cools a bit, cut it into pieces/squares that are about the size of a medium/large crouton. also, while you're cutting, chop up some onion (we love our vidallia's here....they're perfect for this dish). i used a quarter of a pretty good sized onion. set the onions and chicken aside for a step in the future :)

as for preheating your oven, i just keep the temp set at what temperature i cooked the chicken...i think it was around 400*

i line a cookie sheet (large sized in the pic) with foil (makes for an easy clean up) and then pour your chips on to the cookie sheet... it's ok for the chips to overlap...but make sure you don't ignore the "under" chips :) then, squirt your ranch dressing all over your chips... this is a little too much ranch...but they were still good :)

next, place your chopped onions and cubed breaded chicken on top of the chips and ranch dressing... no rhyme or reason...just scatter them :)

next, put your shredded cheese all over the chips... we like A LOT of cheese, so we probably put around 1 1/2 or 2 cups on...

pop this finished masterpiece into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted to your liking :) we like ours a little browned :)

here they are :) yummy, yummy goodness :) ENJOY them with a napkin nearby :) they are so, so good :) and yes, really, they don't stick to your hips :) maybe somewhere else, but not on your hips :) *giggle* but really, it's worth it :)

(End Zone puts jalapeno peppers on their recipe....not our cup of tea, but it may be for you :))

Monday, July 4, 2011

235 isn't old, is it?

happy birthday, america

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy