Thursday, June 23, 2011

He's a Big Kid Now!!!!

Last week I took an entire week of vacation to stay at home with Hayden and get him completely potty trained.    My boss affectionately named it my "Crappy Vacation."  There were times during the week where I wanted to pull my hair out in frustration, but I'm happy to report that as of right now we (and by we you all understand I mean Hayden) is four days AND nights ACCIDENT-FREE and wearing big boy underpants now!!!  This is one happy mommy!!

Even though this is mostly Hayden's big accomplishment and I'm proud of him, the truth is I feel like I need a little pat on the back too. It was easily the most challenging thing I've done as a parent so far.  I hear stories of these kids that just wake up one day and decide to be potty trained - my child was not one of them!  I tried every trick under the book, watched potty-training videos, read articles, listened to advice and prayed incessantly that God would either potty-train him or just "take me now!!!"  But I had to wait for it to finally click in his little brain - and I think we're there!

We went through a lot of pull-ups & M&M's (rewards for him, sanity for me) and did a LOT of singing.  Hayden has always responded really well to music, and we sing a lot of songs around our house, so unconventional as it may be - we made up some potty songs to encourage him in his training, and by popular request (Grandma, Jodi & Cara)... I'm sharing them today.


THE POTTY SONG  
(Written by mommy, performed by Hayden, age 3) 




And then because it quickly became apparent that two potty songs are better than one... the "Poop Song" was born.  I decided that if I was really and truly going to be singing about "poop" that I better at least put it to a classical tune... we are nothing if not classy around here.

THE POOP SONG
(Also written by Mommy and performed by Hayden)




I have a feeling these songs will make a comeback in about two years when it's time to potty train Elijah. 

Dear God,
Please make the next two years go by at a snail's pace.
Or make Elijah a superhero at potty training.
Because I don't know if I can do this again.
Thank You!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I Made Wednesday: Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Chunks

Coming into summer and BBQ weather, it's always great to have a few quick BBQ friendly dishes you can put together for entertaining, or taking to a friend's or potluck.  My sister first introduced these bacon wrapped pineapple chunks to me and I've been hooked ever since.  They're always a crowd-pleaser - and they're easy to make too.



Okay so technically this post should be called, "What HE made Wednesday" because this was all Dave!  I'd like to think I was rubbing off on him and his culinary skills were being honed right here in my kitchen, but the closer truth is I was too busy with dinner/kids/dishes/anything else to come to his rescue for his mens' bible study BBQ where they were all supposed to bring a side dish ~ so he made these himself.


The most adorable chef I've ever seen!

And because I'm such a wonderful wife, I infuriated him further by insisting that I take photos of him throughout the process so he could be forced into being an (involuntary) guest blogger of mine. But isn't he cute... he smiles really good on cue.  I've trained him and my children well. And by trained I mean, they have learned to smile right away because they all know I'll keep snapping photos until they do.


Here's what you'll need:


Yep that's it... 1 package of bacon, 1 can of pineapple chunks, brown sugar (approx 3/4 cup) & toothpicks.



First thing to do is cut the package of bacon in half...right down the middle so you'll have twice the amount, in shorter lengths.

Please excuse the blurry photo... my hubby was in "action" and would not be slowed for photo taking!

Taking a half length of bacon dredge it in the brown sugar on both sides.



Then wrap it around a pineapple chunk and secure it with a toothpick.



Now rinse and repeat... oh wait, that's different directions.  Just keep dredging, wrapping, securing until you've used all your bacon, or all your pineapple, or both!



IMPORTANT STEP: Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over top.  Do not be like Dave and just go for the naked broiling pan... because sugar, combined with pineapple juice and bacon caramelizes REALLY well onto the bottom of said pan.  Foil is your friend!!  Lesson learned.

Now throw these delightful appetizers in your oven to bake at 350'F for approx 30-35 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through thoroughly.  If you like a crispier bacon, you can broil for a couple minutes at the end too.



And that's it... throw them in a paper towel lined dish and enjoy... they're delicious!!!

Good job honey, you can make these any time you like!!


BACON WRAPPED PINEAPPLE CHUNKS

Ingredients:
1 pound of bacon
1 20oz can of pineapple chunks
3/4 cup of brown sugar
toothpicks

Directions:
1.  Cut your bacon strips in half.  Dredge each strip of bacon in the brown sugar on both sides and then wrap around a pineapple chunk and secure with a toothpick.

2.  Line a baking tray with foil and place bacon wrapped pineapple on wire rack over tray.  Bake at 350'F for 30-35 minutes, or until bacon is cooked thoroughly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6 years + 2 kids = beach trip!

This past weekend we celebrated both our 6-year wedding anniversary (actually on June 11) and Father's Day by taking our family of four to the Oregon Coast for the weekend.  Our actual anniversary was spent at the funeral of a dear friend so this weekend seemed like a far better time to enjoy some time away.

Here we are six years ago:

June 11, 2005 ~ the beginning of the rest of our lives!

Weren't we cute?!

So fast forward to Friday, and we packed our car and drove west to stay at a beautiful house in Rockaway Beach owned by some good friends of ours.  And bonus, it was just one block from the beach access with beautiful ocean views from the balcony's.


Our beach house

The view from the living room balcony

Friday when we arrived it was in the 70's... sunny and perfect for hitting the beach - so after a quick lunch we packed up the kids, our kites and sand buckets and set out.  Upon spotting the sand and the waves Hayden declared he loved the beach house and wanted to stay there forever!!!  What a great afternoon we had; Elijah loved the sand, Hayden loved playing in the waves, we had fun finding sea shells, we flew kites, we built sandcastles and we relaxed.  It was the perfect day at the beach.

Ready to hit the beach

So excited to be here

First introduction to sand... and he's a fan!!
Professional sandcastle builder in the making!

Nothing beats wave jumping with Dad!

Practicing his surfing pose for the incoming waves
My water boy!



"Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height, let's go fly a kite and send it soaring...."

Mommy's turn with the orange octopus
 
Checking out the waves


Such a happy boy
Playing with daddy


Burying Hayden in the sand

"I'm stuck.... HELP!"

Tired snuggly boy
We were here!
 

After enjoying the beach we discovered the Pirate Festival was in town complete with carnival so we walked around and enjoyed the sights and sounds and all the costumes.

Saturday, the beach remembered it was in Oregon and we woke up to rain, wind and much cooler temperatures.  Sigh.  So it seemed like the perfect day to go visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory, a first time visit for me and the boys.

Don't be deceived by this photo... I took this on Friday as we drove past. 
Ahhhhh yes... here it is on Saturday.  I liked the blue skies better.

"Really mom?  You're gonna make me pose IN THE RAIN??!!"  "Yes, Hayden I am... now smile!!!"
The Jelly Belly bus was visiting that day so between samples of their newest flavors, and then Tillamook's free ice cream samples (blueberry cheesecake), samples of some of their most popular cheeses (gotta love squeaky cheese!) and then lunch at their deli we rolled ourselves full and happy out of the factory a few hours later.

Our "Cheesy" family photo :)


Where the cheese making happens!

Tillamook ice creamery!

My cute boys


Free cheese samples... hello squeaky cheese... I love you!

Smiley fries from the deli cafe
 

Sunday morning was Father's Day so we went out to breakfast at a little cafe in town called Cowbelle.  The boys gave Dave their Father's Day card that morning and we had a nice relaxed meal together before packing up and heading back towards home.




But we couldn't go home without stopping by my parent's house for a Father's Day BBQ, and surprising Dave with his Father's day present.

Dave's own charcoal grill for the "authentic" taste he's been craving
"Surprise babe!"



Thanks Dad for putting it together for me while we were gone so it was more impressive than just the box!

It was a wonderful weekend from beginning to end and I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family to share it with!

 Dave, Hayden & Elijah... you are my life and I love you with ALL my heart!