Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eureka! We've Found It!

Scientists have been working for years to create an energy supply that is plentiful, cheap and environmentally friendly.

Well, guess what folks. We beat them to it.

Isaac, Alex and Sam

Okay, so they aren't cheap, but they certainly produce bountiful energy, and they aren't any harder on the environment than your average herd of cows...I don't think!

Somehow, we just can't exhaust them. Four hours at the water park? Nope. A whole day of hiking and playing on the playground? Nah. An entire afternoon and evening at a birthday party complete with a pool, trampoline, water balloon fight and wrestling gymnastics mats? Ha! It still takes my kids (especially the boys) as long as two hours to fall alseep. And they'll bound out of bed before 7 a.m.

Add a little sugar and bedtime can take even longer, plus you get the residual energy from all the spinning and bouncing.

Now if we could just find a way to make a little money off this invention, it might compensate for the lack of sleep Jeff and I are experiencing.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breakfast Is Served!

We enjoyed summer's bounty for breakfast this morning.

Now when you think of summer's bounty and breakfast, you probably think of blueberry pancakes or waffles with fresh strawberries on top. Or maybe a delicious fruit salad and muffins.

Amelia thinks of homemade tomato soup.

That's right, tomato soup for breakfast.

Ever since we put our tomato plants in the ground, Amelia's been waiting for homemade tomato soup. When the first tiny tomatoes appeared she started asking daily when we'd be able to make some. And when the tomatoes finally started to ripen she asked if she could have tomato soup for breakfast.

How could I say no to that?

Today was finally the day. And when she sat down to eat her soup, we all decided to join her.
It may have been a little unusual, but it was delicious!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who Knew A Spider Could Be So Cute?

Spiders are not high on the list of things I love. But this. This was a different story!

Isaac is cute enough, but when he came upstairs in his Halloween costume and launched into "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," I almost died from the cuteness of it.

Of course his brothers joined in, which just upped the cuteness factor.

See for yourself.

Seriously cute.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are You A Yeller?

It was one of those mornings. A morning when one child pooped in his pants at the park. Again. And another pooped in his pants in the yard. Again.

Everyone threw dirt and mulch at each other despite being asked repeatedly to stop and even sitting in time out for the crime.

Fits were thrown, and one of them was mine.

Then I talked with a friend this afternoon. I bemoaned yelling at my kids. She didn't say, "Don't worry we all do it." She didn't say, "It's no big deal." She listened and then she said, "You know, there's yelling at your kids and yelling at your kids."


You know what? She's right.

Her example was that some people yell at their kids over things kids do, like accidentally spilling a cup of milk. And that's a far cry from raising your voice to put a stop to a crowd of kids doing something they shouldn't, like throwing sand, throwing food, biting, hitting, shoving etc...

She wasn't trying to justify yelling. Just pointing out that all yelling isn't equal. She encouraged me to keep trying to solve problems without yelling, but to quit beating myself up when I appropriately used one of the tools in my mommy arsenal.

I really needed that perspective and encouragement today.

Here's to putting it into action tomorrow.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From My Kitchen: Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

Seems all my garden needed to really started churning out the goodies was for me to leave for a week's vacation. Isn't that always the way it goes?

In stark contrast to the Great Tomato Disaster of 2010 where I got about a dozen tomatoes from four plants, we're bursting with tomatoes this year. In fact, the plants are so big and loaded with fruit that they are too heavy for the tomato cages. So things look a little wild and crazy in the garden, but apparently the plants are happy, happy, happy!

Tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere! (And plenty of cucumbers, too.)

The tomatoes are starting to ripen at a good pace now, 4-6 a day, though it's clear in another week it will be more like 10-12 a day. Which means I'll be making cream of tomato soup by the gallon. Yum! Amelia has asked if we can have tomato soup for breakfast as soon as we have enough ripe tomatoes. How could I say no to that? Looks like that might happen this week even.

The abundance of tomatoes, so delicious straight from the garden, has led to my newest addiction: bruschetta. Mealtime approaches and I wander out to the garden to pick a ripe tomato or two, then head to the kitchen to toss it with a little olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Slap it on some toasted bread or even some really good crackers and YUM!

This is one of those "to taste" recipes, so just sample it until you're happy. If no one else likes it, tough. Just leaves more for you!

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
1 C. chopped tomato, give or take
Generous drizzle of olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
fresh ground pepper

Chop 1-2 tomatoes, depending on size. I've been making this with about 1 cup of chopped tomatoes. Drizzle generously with olive oil. You want enough to moisten things and help the garlic and basil cling to the tomatoes, but you don't want it swimming in oil. I'd guess about 1 Tbsp. of oil if you must measure.

Toss in minced garlic and basil. I did not grow any basil this year, so I keep a little tube of Garden Gourmet chopped basil in my fridge. Almost as good as fresh chopped, and a lot faster!

Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings until you are happy. Hope there's still a little tomato mix left after you're done tasting, because it's even better on toasted bread!

Toast some slices of crusty bread. Usually I use French bread or Italian loaf, but we bought some amazing torta rolls recently, so that's what we've been using. Brush bread with olive oil and spoon on the tomato mixture.

Contemplate not sharing. It's really that good.

In fact, it's so good that I may have to take my flashlight to the garden and pick me some tomatoes for a little bedtime snack.

If you've got no bread on hand, use good cracker like Kashi's pita crackers to scoop the tomatoes up as a dip. It will have you licking your fingers, guaranteed.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Got Rhythm

One of the fun things we did on the Big Trek was stop for the night at my brother Paul's house. It was a full-scale invasion, but Uncle Paul, Aunt Stacie and their two kids were good sports about it.

And their house was Nirvana for the kids. They have a snake, a gecko and a tortoise. The kiddos thought it was a zoo.

Then the boys went into the garage and found this:

Sam, Alex and Isaac check out the motorcycle.

Isaac, especially, was in awe. Later he fell and got hurt and when I asked him if he needed a kiss or a Band-Aid to feel better he sniffed and said, "I want to sit on the motorcycle."

*sigh* What's a mama to do?

The icing on the cake was the drum set that my brother has already threatened to send to us. Sam told us it was "too loud" and went elsewhere to play, but Alex and Isaac loved it. Check them out!

Next stop, the fire station!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Wedding: Let Them Eat Cake!

As much as Amelia was excited about being a flower girl and the boys were tickled to wear their handsome man clothes, the highlight of the wedding for them was the reception. Specifically, the sugar -- in the form of cupcakes AND cake pops.

When the kids laid eyes on the table full of goodies, I thought their heads were going to explode. Of course, they didn't want to eat anything else, and the bride, God bless her, told them they could have a cupcake right away.

So my kids ate sugar for supper and little else. What the heck. It was a special occasion, and they were happy!

First there were cupcakes:





(You can see that we are big fans of frosting.)

And then there were cake pops!



 Alex & Mommy
The sugar high ended around 11 p.m. for the boys. And Alex woke up at 3:30 a.m. asking for breakfast We tried to persuade him that he didn't need to eat in the middle of the night, but nothing doing. I guess it's no surprise he was starving. I fed him a granola bar and a glass of milk and he went right back to sleep.

Cupcakes and cake pops. It just doesn't get any better than that!
© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Wedding: Amelia the Flower Girl

Amelia has been waiting and waiting and waiting for months now to be a flower girl. She even gave up her paci for it!

She finally got to don the beautiful flower girl dress and walk down the aisle last weekend.

Trying on the dress in March 

We started the day by getting her hair done along with the bride and the bridesmaids, and after it was all curled she was clearly upset. "Mom, I just want to look like myself!" she told me. Well, no problem. Baby fine little girl hair won't hold a curl for anything, so within an hour she was back to her usual self.

Aunt Allie and Amelia before...

...and after.

Amelia did a great job for pictures and had a blast playing with her cousin Taylor while they waited for the wedding. When the big moment came, she sashayed down the aisle like she's done it a million times.

Then she saw Jeff singing and started to cry because she wanted to be with him. Luckily, the boys had left the church by then and I was sitting right behind her. She spent most of the service in my lap, but was all smiles and ready to march back down the aisle when the time came.

We all had a blast at the reception. The kids ate cupcakes AND cake pops, and very little else. The sugar high was epic. And then Amelia and Taylor danced and played and played and danced.

Daddy got a chance to take her for a spin on the dance floor, too. Literally!

Amelia tells me she can't wait for the next wedding! 
© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Wedding: Three Handsome Boys

You may recall my struggles to find something dressy for the boys to wear to the wedding that A) came in the right sizes, and B) wouldn't break the bank.

Well, Sears delivered with these vest sets.
Sam, Alex and Isaac ~ Perhaps Isaac thinks they are the three tenors?

The boys got a kick out of their "handsome man clothes." I got a kick out of seeing them look so gosh darn cute. The black Converse sneakers were the perfect touch, and although I do love me some Velcro kids' shoes, it's almost worth it to tie these on all three pairs of feet. ADORABLE!

We didn't get a great picture of the trio, because as you can see, the boys were really hamming it up that day. I think (I hope!) the professional photographers had better luck than we did.
Sam gets in on the fun this time around!

More to come on our beautiful flower girl, as well as the highlight of the day: cupcakes!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Turn of the Century StairMaster

When we trekked back to the Great Frozen North for Jeff's sister's wedding, we stayed in a 1901 house that's now a guest house. There was plenty of room for us and some other members of his family.

It was three floors plus a basement, and those glorious high ceilings translated to steep, steep stairs. I mean break-your-neck stairs! Unfortunately, there were two sets, which meant I chased kids up and down and in circles the whole time we were there.

My backside and thighs hurt for three days after we left.

We did like the really cool lions out front, though. (I wish Blogger would let me include that picture tonight. *sigh*)

If it hadn't been a million degrees and humid, we might have gotten better pics. Yes, hot and humid. Unusual for the Frozen North, and no doubt the cause of the major storm that sent us to the basement on our first night there.

I woke up about 3 a.m. when the wind picked up. We were on the second floor in a house high on a hill, so at first I thought that might be why the wind sounded so bad. Then it started to rain. Then it started to hail. Right after I told Jeff I was going downstairs to check the weather, the power went out and the tornado sirens blew.

We each grabbed two kids, and made our way down those steep stairs in the pitch dark. I sat on my bottom, because there was no way I could carry Amelia and Sam safely any other way. We spent the next couple hours on the braided rug and the concrete floor in a sitting room in the basement. I don't know if any of the kids really slept. Jeff and I certainly didn't.

When we finally headed back upstairs, it was 5:30 in the morning. Jeff and I laid back down on the floor with the kids to help them back to sleep, and Isaac finally gave up at 6:30 a.m. Alex, who conked out immediately at 5:30 woke at 6:45 as usual. OUCH.

We expected to have a few short nights while we were there, but because we were having FUN, not because we were holed up in the basement waiting out a storm!

There were a lot of trees down around town, but thankfully no major damage. It was an inauspicious start to a great weekend full of family and fun.
More on that later...

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Mega Road Trip

7 days.

5 states.

1,899 miles.

4 kids five and under.

287 repetitions of the same Diego and Barbie videos. (At least.)

1 major storm.

1 flower girl dress.

3 little suits.

379 pictures.

1 beautiful wedding we wouldn't have missed for the world.

(And now you know why I've been gone so long!)

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

From My Kitchen: Barbecue Ribs

A couple years ago my neighbor taught me the secret to making tender, juicy, delicious pork ribs. And now I'm sharing that secret with you. It's so easy!

This isn't so much a recipe as a cooking technique. You can cook any kind of pork ribs: spare ribs, country style, baby backs and season them however you like. My favorites are baby back ribs seasoned with Famous Dave's Rib Rub and sauced with either Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce or Famous Dave's Sweet & Zesty sauce.

Here's the recipe/cooking technique:

Easy Barbecue Ribs
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Wrap a baking sheet in aluminum foil. Season your ribs thoroughly on all sides. I like to use Famous Dave's Rib Rub, but you can season them however you like. Place the ribs on the baking sheet and cover completely with aluminum foil, sealing the ribs in tightly. Place the baking sheet (or two or more, if you're cooking lots!) with your ribs in the oven. Immediately turn the temperature down to 175 degrees. Walk away and let them cook.

After a couple hours start trying to ignore the delicious smells coming from your oven. About 6-8 hours later, remove the ribs from the oven. Open the foil to reveal tender, delicious ribs. At this point you can sauce the ribs and serve them, but to really make them good, finish them on the grill.

When it comes to the grill, I'm a charcoal purist, but gas works too. Throw the ribs on the grill over hot coals for about 3-4 minutes per side to sear them and give them a nice smoky flavor. Mop them with your favorite sauce in the final couple minutes of cooking. You don't want to add the barbecue sauce too early or the sugar will burn.

Serve with sweet corn, vinegar coleslaw and watermelon and you'll have a meal to remember.


© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Color Is Your Poodle?

Amelia and I were running errands the other day when we saw a lady walking her toy apricot poodle across the parking lot.

"Mom!" Amelia cried. "That's the kind of dog I want! A poodle just like that!"

She was so excited that I had to laugh. The dog looked just like the one I had growing up, though Amelia's never seen a picture of Taffy.

"Do you want a white one like that?" I asked.

"Yes!" she responded.

Then there was a long pause before she asked, "Wait! Do they come in pink?"

Is that the perfect little girl question or what?

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks, Fireflies and Fun!

We were so busy celebrating this Fourth of July weekend that there wasn't time to blog! In fact, I didn't even take pictures. My hands were just too full.

We took the kids to the water park, took in a parade, cleaned out the garage, finally found shoes for the boys to wear to the upcoming wedding, made s'mores, caught fireflies, watched fireworks, and then we collapsed.

At least Jeff and I did. The kids somehow have boundless energy.

Amelia was the only one who stayed up for fireworks, and she didn't like them. We just went to a neighbor's for a few backyard fireworks. She didn't like the noise and the "things shooting out." So, she pretty much disliked everything about them. She disliked them even more when one went off sideways and streaked by us. It wasn't that close, but she was really freaked out then!

When we got home I discovered that Sam didn't like the fireworks either. They were too loud and he cried and cried. He was asleep on the couch with Jeff, but apparently he was pretty unhappy about all the noise. I guess he and Amelia should have hung out in the basement together.

Hope you had a very happy Fourth!
© Trippin' Mama 2011