Monday, October 20, 2014

bacon cheeseburger pasta

I'm not a gourmet chef. I'm a schlep-it-all-in-the-pan and get-the-food-on-the-table sort of cook.

I'm certainly not a food photographer.

And I don't Pinterest.

But I know a lot of people do Pinterest. And I know a recipe needs a picture before it can be pinned.

So...voila! Bacon cheeseburger pasta!

I'd already stowed the leftovers in the fridge before I remembered to take a pic--see slightly "frosty" look the container has?

This is an easy recipe, and everyone ate it (yay!). I saw the original recipe in a magazine years ago, but I've long since lost it. I just recreated it tonight.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
1 lb. ground beef
4 slices bacon
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
8 oz. spaghetti, cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar (or whatever cheese you like) seasonings (more on that in a minute)

Brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain. Cook bacon until crisp, drain off grease, and crumble into beef. Season however you like your hamburgers seasoned. Tonight I used salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, cumin, and a chipotle barbecue spice rub I have. But use what you have and like. Add tomato sauce and spaghetti noodles. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add cheese and allow to melt.

That's it. Pretty simple.

(I would have LOVED to add sauteed mushrooms to this. My family would kill me for that. But if yours won't, give it a whirl--and send me some! I'm sure sauteed onions would be great too--but don't send me that.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

it's fall, y'all

We were sick.

Then it rained. And rained. For days.

But our reward for surviving all of that? Today!

Today with its absolutely perfect weather.

I wish I had a better camera. Because it's gorgeous here, and the iPod doesn't do it justice. But here's my best effort to share. (I'll try to post more pics as we move further into the fall season and the colors come out more.)

The shade of blue the sky turns in autumn is one of my favorite colors on earth

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sarah's artwork

Sarah got an art set for her birthday. She was eager to try it out today. 

She wanted me to share her first picture using the set. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

dawning of a new decade

I have a ten-year-old.

Pause. Deep breath. Let me let that sink in for a minute.

I have a ten-year-old.

Yeah, it doesn't sound any less weird.

Part of me can't imagine that she could possibly, in any universe, be ten. She was four just ten minutes ago, I swear. Two just a couple of minutes before that. So she was only a baby about half an hour ago, right? Right?!

Okay, so no, I guess not.

And yet another part of me feels she always been here, always been a part of my life, always been a part of me. It's hard to put into words exactly.

We had cake and gifts at my parents' house yesterday. We were planning to go to the Apple Festival today, but she's sick. She's currently sleeping on the couch. (The only good thing about her being sick--she sleeps pretty much constantly when she feels bad. And that seems to help her recover quickly. I'm hoping that will be the case this time.)

Since I don't have fun Apple Festival pictures to post, I'll just post a few other photos of my girl who is now a decade old (nope, not getting any less weird).

Oct. 4, 2004

Sept., 2006

July, 2008

December, 2010

Oct., 2012

Oct. 3, 2014
Happy birthday, Sarah! (And feel better soon!)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

water, water everywhere...

We've had some hot weather the last few days. Our deck is a lovely way to be outside while being at least a little sheltered from the sun.

And water play is always a hit in the summer.

A little tip I picked up from my days teaching preschool: grab some paintbrushes, a bucket of water, and paint the driveway, sidewalk, or (in our case) deck with water. There's no mess, the kids enjoy it, and the worst-case scenario is that everyone gets wet.

Baby E didn't really paint much, but he LOVED stirring the paintbrush vigorously in the water.

The deck is very wet now.

Eventually we traded the water and the deck for sidewalk chalk on the driveway. This did not last long; it was too hot.

This is a wet spot. Baby E dumped an entire container of water from the deck. Sarah wanted to try the chalk in there to see if the colors would be brighter.

Sarah, the good little sci-fi fan, encouraging extra-terrestrial visits

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

song and dance

Sarah loves her ballet class. Even before she started taking it though, she and Natalie have had an interest in ballet. So far, we've attended performances of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and a Nativity ballet. Welll, we've attended Sarah's performances too, of course, but you know what I mean. 

Nelson and I sometimes joke that male ballet dancers are very secure in their manhood (they better be, because in some of those costumes, their manhood is pretty much on display for all to see). But they seriously are some strong dudes, lifting ballerinas on one arm while doing crazy arm flourishs with the other and never missing a step in their fancy footwork. It's really some impressive stuff.

A young man we know who plays football was informed by his coach that ballet would do wonders for his game. Upon hearing this, Sarah immediately quipped, "That's why male ballet dancers are so strong! They're all football players!" 


Natalie will never simply say the name of a TV show she's watching or asking to watch. She sings the title in tune with the show's theme song. 


Tying together singing and ballet--Sarah's class on Tuesday was practicing a new dance. This dance was set to Frozen's "Let It Go." 

The girls have watched Frozen approximately 57 times (or so it seems). And they sing "Let It Go" a lot. 

A lot a lot. 

Baby E can also sing a snippet of "Let It Go." The words aren't quite clear (definitely baby talk), but the tune comes through. He bellows "Let it go!" at random points throughout the day (pretty much on pitch, no less). 

Ordinarily Natalie, Baby E, and I hang out in the playroom of the center where Sarah has ballet class. But when the first strains of "Let It Go" began to play, both children immediately perked up. They knew that song! They went out to where the girls were dancing. 

Natalie tried to sing along and grew very frustrated when the teacher kept stopping the CD to teach new steps or go over the previous part again (the nerve, right?). 

Finally the students had enough of the routine down that the song could play out a bit more. It got to the chorus and not only does Baby E sing along at the top of his lungs, he starts twirling with the dancers.

It was completely hilarious and utterly adorable. 

(The song was playing at Wal-Mart last night too. I swear it's omnipresent.) 


Back before we'd ever seen Frozen but when all those parody versions of "Let It Go" were all over the interwebs, I stumbled across a really funny one by Arthur Darvill. For those not in the know, he played companion Rory Williams on Doctor Who. He sang imploringly to Whovians, "Let it go, let it go, I'm not on Doctor Who anymore..." It was brilliant, the lyrics spot-on.

But Darvill messed up partway through and said something he shouldn't have. Since the girls weren't familiar with the song yet, when Natalie tried to sing it she included Darvill's bit of language (she thought it was just part of the song). I told her that he shouldn't have said that and she shouldn't either. 

She didn't quite get what I meant. She asked, in all sincerity, if Darvill should have sung "Let it come" instead. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 1

We started school today! One fourth-grader and one kindergartner and one busy toddler. And we all survived. 

I can't say the day got off to the best start. My alarm clock malfunctioned, so I overslept. Then as I fumbled around with it after I finally did wake up, I knocked a glass off my nightstand.

Yes, the glass broke.

Yes, I nicked my hand.

Yes, it was my left (dominant) hand. 

Sigh. What a way to kick off the year, right?

But after that less than ideal beginning, things improved. Natalie was beside herself with excitement over doing "real" school. Sarah did all of her work without complaint (well, she complained once, but she got over it quickly. She declared by the end of the day that "Fourth grade is fun!"). 

Here's hoping the year continues to go well!

Some first-day pictures...

Natalie and Sarah were watching an art video on the laptop. Baby E was digging for a toy.

Sarah reading her science text.

Natalie was all done by this point. Kindergarten has much less work than fourth grade!