Monday, January 30, 2012

Gabe's Birthday at the insane yet efficient Chuck E Cheese


For Gabe's birthday (post birthday birthday party) we went to Chuck E Cheese with about 9 of Gabe's friends.  It was like a party exploded all over the place and children were flowing out of it.  I think there were about 5 birthday parties going on and numerous other children just there to burn some energy.  However, amidst all the chaos it was a tightly run ship.  For the most part. The kids played video games and burned through their coins for one hour.  Then we were all called to our table to eat pizza and enjoy the Chuck E Cheese show.  I must admit that the show was kind of on the measly side. But my memory may be decieving me. I remember Chuck E Cheese's being HUGE! There was an enormous stage, up in front. When the lights went dim and the spotlights would start flashing and we knew it was time to run to the front to watch all the robot characters start singing. I thought it was magical! What happened to all of that? Anyway, Gabe got to hang out with Chuck E himself and I guess he was sort of excited.  The highlight was the ticket booth - Gabe got to catch the tickets as they blew all around him.  He caught the magic tickets and ended up with 1480 tickets. That got him the crazy blue ball that the boys promptly turned into a hat when we got home.  See picture of Sammy below.  All in all it went pretty well.  I didn't have to do a whole lot of work, which is what I wanted in the first place.

Burning through his coins.

Just barely letting Chuck E touch him.  I am okay with that.

Inside the ticket booth.  Very exciting.

Displaying the magic tickets.

Sam modeling Gabe's loot.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just some of my mishmash

Ben composed a schedule for himself on Sunday and was able to accomplish everything on the list before 12:00 pm - right before it was time to get ready for church.  Gabe added his own flair to the list with sosij and pancacso - otherwise known as sausage and pancakes. FYI - Ben didn't write an entire book, merely added about 50 words to the book he is writing - "The Ninja's Quest".  You can look for it in about 5 years.

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On to other mishmash. Tonight Ben let is slip that Dad is his favorite. I don't think he was trying to be discreet because it was during dinner so of course I overheard. I mentioned that I might be a little be hurt about this to which Ben responded, "I like you too Mommy, but Dad is just so awesome!" Boo Hoo. I guess it is just a good reminder that I have been a little bit too much of a taskmaster these days.
The trick is to remember to be silly... they love it when I am absurd and silly.  You know what one of their favorite games with me is?  I pretend like they are naughty little cats and they are not allowed in my kitchen. When the try to come into the kitchen I spritz them with a water bottle and growl "Get out of my kitchen."  This game tends go on for quite some time.  It is time to get out the water bottle.
Now to food.  For dinner I made another meal from Cook's Country.  For dinner I made Weeknight Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I would give it about a 6 out of 10.  I like a little bit more flavor in my sauce, but it was still pretty good. I liked that it was fast. The boys needed a little coaxing... but they loved the meatballs.  Sam, who loves pasta, gobbled up every last bit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dinner from Cook's Country #2 and Sammy the light maestro

First off I made a yummy dinner tonight courtesy of Cook's Country again. I made Spanish Chicken Cutlets with Yogurt Sauce.  The boys wrinkled their nose at it and managed to eat all the bites I requested (or else I bring out the can of dog food). Mike and I enjoyed it very much. The chicken was nice and tender - dredged in the yogurt sauce and then panko bread crumbs, and the yogurt sauce was tasty.  I used greek yogurt which is a little richer than the average plain yogurt. I tend to prefer the Greek yogurt. On the side I cooked some quinoa in chicken broth and after it was done I added about 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice along with some sauteed zucchini, shallot, and orange pepper (sauteed in olive oil).  The quinoa was well liked by everyone.

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Now on to Sammy

Going to church with a toddler is always an adventure - there is no such thing as a toddler that can sit still in his chair.  At least I have never encountered one. We tend to let Sammy wander a little bit. He usually makes his way back to us so we let him do a couple of rounds.  This is where Sammy is the politician - he likes to smile at people, inspect their items on the floor and make his farewell.  He never stays too long in one place, just enough to make the person he is visiting his friend. 

This Sunday we were a little late and ended up sitting in the back. Sam started going around the gym area (where we sitting) and we were watching him warily, ready to stand up at any moment.  Sam has recently discovered that there are some light switches that he can reach and that is a temptation too great to pass up. You can guess what happened. All of the sudden the lights were dimming. Sam had hit the light switch jackpot!  Lots of light switches in a row and he was hitting every one of them.  The speaker during church said over the microphone, "someone's little boy is playing with the light switches."  Yep, that was our little man. Mike dashed off to scoop up the little criminal (or politician - in some cases it could be interchangable).

The good thing is, that is not the most embarrasing thing that has happenend during church. Ben peeing all over the podium while giving a talk during primary was pretty good.  Or I think it was Gabe that asked loudly why his penis gets hard when he has to pee was pretty fun too.

I can't wait for whatever happens next.

Monday, January 23, 2012

To Groom or Not to Groom

This morning as we were sitting down for breakfast Mike grimaced at Ben's hair which pretty much looked like he had a bit of rooster thing on the side of his head.  Mike said, "Jill are you going to comb his hair?" 
Me: "Well no. I don't think he cares what it looks like."
Mike gave me one of those sidelong glares.
Me: "Ben, do you care what your hair looks like?"
Ben: "No."
Me: "OK, there you have it."
After Ben and Gabe made their mad dash to the bus I asked Mike why was it so important that Ben's hair was nicely groomed.
Mike: "Well because it's a reflection on us."
I had about a dozen snarky remarks ready to let fly, but I restrained myself. Probably because most of the remarks weren't clever - and I didn't want to start the morning off in any more of a bad way.
We ended it with an agreement - Ben needs a haircut.

Anyway - is it really a reflection on us? On me? The only time I do their hair is on Sunday. Gabe goes to school with a minor rat's nest on the back of his head almost every day. I try to smooth it out as best as possible (without using spit), but it doesn't do much. I just feel like it is not that important. I pester them every morning and night about a bunch of other things and there are just some things that I am willing to overlook.

Success with the "Quicker Turtle Brownies"

On Sunday I remade the Quicker Turtle Brownies from "Cook's Country" and they turned out beautiful and YUMMY! I hope you get the chance to make them because they are worth the effort - apparently quicker than the original recipe.  I shudder to think.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sammy's artwork

While I was preparing dinner Sammy got ahold of a pen and proceeded to draw all over some of my cabinets. Thank heavens for the melamine sponges.

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Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

Here is the final result for my "Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables". It looks gorgeous and tasted fantastic. It took about 40 minutes to prepare - typical for dinner, but it took about 45 minutes to cook.

You can find the recipe on I don't think I will publish the recipes because I don't quite know the copyright issues.

Here is the picture from Cook's Illustrated.  Not too different from mine. MMMMMMM.  Yummy

Here is a picture of the brownie's - what they should look like.  Mine do not. I will try again tomorrow.

Cook's Country Cooking Time

For something interesting to do and because I love food and sort of love making it, I am going to cook every item in my favorite cooking magazine - "Cook's Country". The most recent magazine covers February/March.

Tonight I am making "Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables" and "Quicker Turtle Brownies". Now just an FYI... I am terrific at cooking, not so great at baking. For some reason I am always rushing through the recipe and skipping steps or not reading the recipe correctly and it all goes to pot. I also feel like a drill sargeant is barking orders to me through the recipe and I have a little bit of an issue with authority figures. I keep wanting to do things my way. Or some other way.

However, I will not be dissuaded by failed attempts. I will try again till I get it right. I can already tell you that I have to remake the brownies because I did not follow directions precisely and I was left a little flummoxed as to why I didn't have enough brownie mix to put on top of the caramel center.

Let me illustrate for you....

Here is where we start - I have my pan lined in tin foil and all the right ingredients.


Now here is where things go awry - instead of putting 3/4 cup of brownie mix into the pan I put 3/4 of the mix into the pan. Woops. After I "parcook" the bottom part of the brownie (according to the directions) I put on the lovely, fragrant pecans and then drizzle on the ooey gooey caramel.  Then I get ready to put on the rest of the brownie mixture. And I realize I don't have enough brownie mixture to cover the entire pan.  WHY NOT? Did I not make enough? No, I just did not follow directions. So I am sure we will eat this fine, yummy mess of brownie, but I am still going to remake this, by golly, and I will get it right this time!!!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We will weather the weather (and more Sammy)

Last night was a rough one and I am pooped.  We had some crazy weather roll through our town. It was about 60 degrees and windy yesterday - mostly a nice day.  However, there were some serious looking clouds overhead.  At about 2:00 am the thunder and rain started - and it sounds like a serious case of indigestion coming from the sky - constant rumbling. Then at about 2:30 am the tornado sirens went off.  Mike was already in Gabe's bed, trying to keep the boys company (such a sweet husband) while I watched the news.

Fortunately we were not in the tornado zone, but the weather was still freaky enough to keep me awake.  Finally at about 3:30 I went back to sleep only to be awakened by hail at 4:45. 

Today while driving home from Ben's school I asked him how his day was.  He said, "I just kept laying my head on my desk all day long."

"What? Why did you have your head on the desk? Did you not feel well?" I asked.

"No, I am just really tired.  Everyone else in the class was doing the same thing." He responded.

We weren't the only ones freaked out by the storm. Can't wait till summer when the real action begins.  I think I am going to have a heart attack.

On to cuter things.  I know I take a lot of pictures of Sammy - he just seems to provide me with lots of fodder.  And the great thing is that he is willing to pose.  Ben caught him doing this cute little pose at the kitchen table and I managed to get him to repeat it.  I have never had any child who has responded so well to taking a photo.  Sammy has a nickname and it is "The Politician".  He knows how to charm a crowd and he will pose for pictures.

Not long ago I bought some yummy Tzatziki sauce from Costco and after it was gone, I mourned the empty container.  However, I thought that I could make it myself and it might even be a little healthier/yummier.  I bought Oikos plain yogurt and also some light sour cream.  I used about half the yogurt in the container and about a spoonful of sour cream.  Then I added about 2 tblsp of dill (dried dill) and about 1 tsp of Lawry's seasoning salt.  Then I crushed one garlic clove and added some chopped cucumber (about 1/2 a cucumber). 

It ended up perfect.  I ate it with a chickpea/spinach patty (from Costco again) and it was YUMMY.
The good thing is once it is gone, I still have more of the ingredients left over to make more.  Even Sammy likes this dip.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Sammy and his blankie and Oberweis

Sammy loves to snuggle blankie, no matter where it is. He will prostrate himself and bury his nose in his blankie. Ahhhhh, l'amour.

For an FHE treat we drove to Oberweis, a local ice cream shop in the St. Louis area and I have discovered a most delicious treat - Hot chocolate with cinnamon ice cream mixed in. MMMMMMMMMMM!

Gabe and Ben enjoyed a game of chess.

We tried to keep Sam from eating the chess pieces.

Sammy enjoying his chocolate shake on the floor.

Sammy trying to fingerpaint with chocolate shake on the floor.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sammy and the snow

Sammy is fairly new to the walking world - about 6 months now and he has never experienced the crunchy of icy snow beneath his feet. I love to watch him toddle around, looking at his feet as he walks letting the snow build up around his ankles. Sam also enjoyed tasting the snow, though it was a little shocking at first how cold it was. After he adjusted to the cold, he seemed to be content to stay for awhile.

Mmmmm.  Yummy

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Mike, per my request, painted a chalkboard in our kitchen and framed it as well.  Now I can write the value of the month and whatever else I feel like annoying my children with. Guess what... it's my chalkboard too!  No little person writing unless I say so.

Gabe's 6th Birthday

Gabe had his 6th birthday yesterday. We had a small family celebration and he opened presents from family - Grandma's and Grandpa's too.

After he blew out the candles on his cake he started ti giggle. Mike asked what he wished for and Gabe said,"I wished for big boobies!" I think it really scared Mike.  But no worries, our son is not in jeopardy of becoming transgender or a major body builder.  Gabe is merely quoting his favorite "Americas Funniest Video" clip in which a girl wishes for big boobies. Also he likes to say boobies.

I am sure you can guess what he is giggling about....

Gift from Grandma Millie and Papa, he has more enthusiasm than he is showing here.

Gift from Grandma and Grandpa Fairchild