Friday, March 23, 2012


Bluebird has adorable ways of saying things...for some reason, she just cannot say granola. She says "I want a banana bar". I break it down for her "GRA-NOLA" She sayd "GRA- NOLA, banana bar".

Today she told me that she wanted the "Yucky Germs". I said "Lucky Charms?" She said "No mom, the Yucky Germs" very matter-of-factly....

yea, its me that can't say it.  "OK, one bowl full of yucky germs, comin right up".

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Planning the Toy Story party

I am sure that I will post regarding the Toy Story 5th Birthday party we are planning for Boy. I was sure he was going to want a Dinosaur party, and then he briefly said something about another super hero party...however, he finally decided on Toy Story. When Boy was 2, he loved Woody and dressed in a cowboy hat all the time. It seems his interest has shifted to Buzz lightyear. I never had a party in the cowboy theme because it didn't work out, so I was excited to be able to play on this theme and bit. There are lots of great ideas out there. We decided on a Brunch because my cousin will be working that night and wanted to attend. I love food. I love cooking and eating and I want to make sure that the kids AND adults will love eating, so the menu should be fun.
The plan so far is good food, coffee and some of the herbal lemonade that my cousin and I have made into an art.
I am not a game girl...but I saw some stuff on pinterest involving PVC pipe guns that shoot mini marshmallows, and a black light room, and a pinyata...all which sound like good fun.
A trail mix and candy bar, or both.
I went to and got great prices on plates, cups, tattoos, cowboy hats, badges and stickers.
Usually our parties consist of kids running around in the yard, playing on the swings and slide and driving the jeep. We were going to rent a bouncy house this year, but the price was the same as a trampoline, so we bought a trampoline (photos to come).

I am excited about the party as it is starting to come into motion and when it is done, I will be sure to post all the great things I actually do...haha

In the meantime, I wanted to brag on me and my fabulous hubs for the invite. I had this idea (not even from pinterest) of a invite on an etch-a-sketch. I sketched it out for my husband, with a Woody, Buzz and Rex...he went even further and added Boy into the image as well. He then literally made it look like an etch-a-sketch single line drawing. Hooray for creative husbands and Adobe Illustrator.
It took him about a half hour to create, then I printed on white card stock at staples and the total cost was about $16.
Here it is:

Sunday dinner dialogues

excuse the dark photo, but I took it with my phone
This weeks Sunday dinner was so good that I could not stop eating...literally. I sat there like a glutteon dipping biscuits inot vinegarette. Menu was basic and full of veggies that would otherwise go bad this week:
roast chicken, not spatchcocked, but coated in herbs and stuffed with lemons and celery.
Polenta coated roast potatoes...recipe below
Salad of mixed greens, sauteed onions, carrots and celery with homemade vingarette (vinegar, olive oil, liquid smoke, garlic, paprika, rosemary and any other herbs to your liking)
Green beans
asparagus tips roasted in olive oil and garlic

Polenta coated roast potatoes:

 Preheat oven 430 degrees

Cut potatoes into small chunks
Boil for 10 minutes

Drain potatoes and toss in a bowl with 4 tbsp dried polenta (corn meal), salt and pepper.

In a pan, sautee 10 cloves of garlic (minced) and 1 spring of rosemary (chopped) until tender.

Toss coated potatoes in sautee pan and let it cook for a minute or two. Then thow on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes, then flip, and cook 10 minutes more.
They should be crispy on the outside and tender inside. Easy and delicious. Try them. YUM!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Florida Invasion

My grandfather turned 90 years old and we wanted to celebrate this very special day with him.  We decided to head to Florida for a quick trip to go to his party. However, as you will see below, we filled our quick trip with exciting activities at every turn.

We flew in on Wednesday and flew home on Monday. The flights went smoothly (we are fortunate because so far, our kids LOVE to fly).

On Thursday, the big kids went horseback riding with my mom and step dad. Daddy and I took Buttercup and met my dad and his family for lunch. That afternoon, I took the kids and met my dear friend Jerry and her grandson, Maddox. Maddox and Boy share a birthday, only 1 hour apart. They call themselves birthday buddies.

Birthday Buddies

Thursday evening Mickey took the kids swimming in my mom's ice cold pool. Funny how kids don't care how cold it is.  My brother came to my mom's house and we ate Pa Ken's famous wings. Yum-O!!! He has the perfect blend of spicy and sweet and when I get the recipe, I may post it (if he will let go of his secrets).
My brother played with the kids and they think he is the funniest guy ever.
Thursday night my dear friend Jenny came over with her girls and it was a joy to watch the kids play. Jenny and I met at the bus stop when I was 6 and she was 5. We have been friends ever since. Her youngest daughter is only 3 months older than Bluebird, so we have big hopes that their friendship will last as long and be as close as ours is.
After the kids went to sleep, Jenny and I went to a local wine bar and sipped on wine and ate truffled popcorn. We ran into an old neighborhood friend and chatted the evening away.  love friendships that can pick up where they left off and they never truly have any gaps. Jenny and I talk every morning, but the friend we ran into has not seen us in 18 years. Life keeps moving and you just move with it, but the loves and friendships you create along the way are always there waiting for you.
On Friday, we had a Disney adventure. It was a great day. Jenny and her girls met us and so we had 5 adults (me, Daddy, Pa, Mamatoo, and Jenny) and 5 kids. I really focused the majority of the trip on kids only...and it made for the a mostly smooth trip. The kids got to meet 4 princesses and Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. I was disappointed the Rapunzel and Woody's lines were so long, but the kids did not seem to mind missing out on them. We also rode about 12 rides. We had such a lovely day that we decided that Disney will be something we try to do more often on our trips home. 
After Disney, if you can believe it, I had my mom drop me off in downtown Lakeland, where I changed clothes and went and watched my brother's Improv Addicts. They were funny and it was really great that I finally had the opportunity to see him perform. My brother is hilarious (and I am not just saying that because he is my blood). The guy has a true talent for making people laugh. 

Saturday my mom and Pa Ken took the kids to T-Rex Cafe and Daddy and me took my Dad's wife and son to lunch. On Saturday night, the entire Johnson clan (I have a big family) all met at Red Lobster and ate dinner and caught up. Buttercup was cranky and tired so Daddy had to sit in the corner and get her to sleep. She finally faded and we enjoyed our seafood. The big kids had a great time laughing with Uncle Bo the entire evening. I have never seen them laugh so hard.

On Sunday, I made Sunday dinner for the family and then we all headed to the church to celebrate my grandfather's 90th birthday. Almost all of my cousins were there, with the exception of three. We had a great time letting all the extended cousins run around and enjoy each other. I am so fortunate I have a healthy grandfather and I plan to live to be 90 myself. 
After the party, the church allowed us to have a special dedication service for Buttercup and my grandfather got to dedicate her. This was very very special.

I felt blessed to be home and have all the time filled with people I love. We truly had a wonderful time.


crying at Disney World...classic

don't you love the pirate face

Mamatoo and herboy

same smile

my baby

born friends

my princess


strong man protecting the princess

I love the way her leg is kicked up here

Add caption

with Uncle Bo, Uncle Peter, Grandma Yi Min, Crazy Pa


Dedication Day

cousins. My cousin Jon's son Isaiah, My cousin Tasha's son, Zane and Boy

Monday morning we made the flight home. It was nice to be back in the brisk air and sit in our cozy home, where we immediately napped. But we miss Florida already.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Dinner Dialogues

Today was a more laid back Sunday dinner, as I am on call and needed to work fast. We had a take on comfort food with Chicken, Cabbage, Bacon and Potatoes:

Recipe here:
I also made broccoli for some green veggies that the kids will eat.

They gobbled this dinner right up. This is the second time I have made this particular dish, so I would say its pretty successful. Better yet, it takes less than 30 minutes.

I don't think I mentioned our Sunday dinner before our trip to Florida last week. It was the usual roast chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato and apple gratin, and carrots sauteed with cinnamon and paprika.
 I don't have a picture, but the sweet potato gratin was so good it made a repeat performance when I made Sunday dinner for my entire family in Florida.

 Here is the recipe:
 2 sweet potatoes
 1 onion
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 apples (gala)
 olive oil for your pan
thyme, rosemary, salt pepper (to your liking)
Guyere cheese (1/2 block)shredded

Peel and thinly slice the apples and sweet potatoes. Chop onion and sautee until tender and golden. Layer sweet potatoes, apples, and onion with cheese (layer like you do a lasagna), top with cheese. Mix heavy cream with herbs and pour over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Yum-O!!!

The next menu is not a Sunday dinner but will also make repeat performances in our lives. I am particularly proud of this menu for several reasons. I made up each dish my self with only inspirations from things I had seen and tasted. I put together the menu because it was my turn to bring a special lunch to the teachers, and we had no money and I wanted to do something special with ingredients I had in the cupboard. It also tasted fabulous.

The menu is Moroccan themed. It is a Moroccan chicken pot pie, couscous salad, and Moroccan Orange pound cake. I also served with Moroccan mint tea.
The pictures above are the final plates, the final cake and the filling of the pies.

These are not exact because I kind of made them as I went to taste....

For the Moroccan pot pies:
chicken (cooked and shredded)
smoked paprika
 salt pepper
cumin canned
apricots (chop them up)
red bell pepper
golden raisin
puff pastry
egg wash (1 egg and and 1/4 c water)

saute onion, pepper, garlic until soft, add golden raisins, apricots....add chicken and spices. Each puff pastry will make 2 pot pies (each box can make 4). Take pastry and cut in half, put filling in center and wrap like an envelope and seal edges, brush with egg wash, bake as instructed until golden.
I didn't try this but I bet a yogurt garnish would be tasty. Also, if you like green olives, that would be a must add to the filling, but my kids teachers don't like olives.

I made only 4 pies by using an entire pastry for each pie, but they were huge and when I make them in the future, I will split it up as I mentioned above. Puff pastry is not cheap.

Couscous salad:
couscous cooked
 cucumber chopped and seeded
garbanzo beans (1 can, rinsed and drained)
red onion chopped
salt and pepper lime juice olive oil garlic powder (or use a garlic flavored couscous)

Mix the above ingredients to taste. Stuff in a tomato (or chop and tomato and mix that in as well)

I think the cake recipe is on my pinterest desserts board. It is basically pound cake, but a nice addition.

I think this would make a great dinner party menu.
I put on white plates and dusted with parsley and paprika for color.

Plus, it was absolutely delicious!!!