February 22, 2010

Cookie Dough Truffles

Need I say more? Really?!
Yesterday I made Cookie Dough truffles from my favorite food blog Annie's Eats. They were very easy to make. You just need time for chilling the cookie dough. I dipped my in ghiardelli bittersweet chocolate instead of semi-sweet. She says you can use either. Andy loves those bittersweet chocolate chips so I went with that! They were fun and easy to make and quite tasty. Plus, if you just like to eat chocolate chip cookie dough...ahem...plain, this is a safe way to do so. Enjoy!

February 20, 2010

PW's Chili

I'm still trying new recipes from Pioneer Woman's new cookbook. This past week I made Simple, Perfect Chili. I couldn't find it on her website to link it so I'll post the recipe below. We enjoyed the chili. The first night I served it with fritos and shredded cheese. She recommended that and called it Frito Chili pie or something. With the leftovers I made baked potatoes and then we topped them with the chili and cheese. I think it has a taco seasoning flavor but better. I kept it plain - she has a list of optional ingredients you can add. Here is the recipe - it is very simple.

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teasponn cayenne pepper, optional (I left this out for the boys)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 lbs ground beef
8 oz tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup masa (corn flour)

Optional ingredients:
1 can pinto beans or kidney beans
1 jalapeno seeded and diced
1 can diced tomatoes and chilies

She recommends you serve with shredded cheddar, chopped onion, and fritos.

Place ground beef in a large pot and add garlic. Cook meat until brown. Drain. Pour in tomato sauce, spices, and salt. Stir together and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If mixture becomes overly dry add in 1/2 cup water as needed. (I added this once toward the beginning in case I forgot to check it often enough...). After 1 hour mix masa and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Stir together. Pour into the chili and stir. If adding optional ingredients add those in now and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve!

February 18, 2010

I completed level 1!!

I have finished 10 days of level one! Yea! My goal is 5 days per week so I didn't do 10 days in a row. It got easier as I kept going and I didn't get sore after the first few days. I'll be ready for Level 2 starting this weekend! If you want to buy your own copy go here.

February 17, 2010

NO MORE snow days!!

This is CRAZY people! I feel like I haven't taught in forever. I love a snow day here or there but this is too many! Once we hit June for makeup days I was OVER the snow. I've enjoyed my time off and spent quality time with my family but I'm ready to go back to work. Over this 5-day weekend we've tried to stay somewhat busy. Thankfully Tyler is down for a nap and W & L went outside to play in the snow. I'm starting to lose my sanity!! Here are some of the things we have done:
* Friday night we went out for pizza at Puccini's. One of my favorites! Then watched some Olympics.
* visited with Andy's mom who was in town for the weekend
* did some cleaning and laundry...until my dryer stopped last night. With wet clothes in it.
* date night with Andy- dinner and movie - it was so nice to be out on a date with my hubby!!
* church
* hung out at my mom's
* Gattitown with Andy's family
* grocery, errands etc
* coffee with some friends
* couple hours at school
* a foam mosaic craft with the boys - I had as much fun as they did!
* watched Couple's Retreat and the olympics
* stayed up too late, slept in a couple of days
* tried a new recipe
* lots of time on facebook & google reader
* worked on stuff for taxes b/c Andy is doing them right now
*exercised for my 30 day shred 3 times
* tried to figure out twitter - I have an account, not sure if I'll actually do it very often! @alyssamcspadden if you want to follow...you know my life is SO exciting!!!

February 16, 2010

My Ty

Thankful for the good news we heard from Cincy Children's. They had me concerned yesterday. Tyler's bottom lip turns blue sometimes and his lips quiver, like he is really cold. It happens randomly and not connected to being outside. Sometimes after lunch or after a bath. I just assumed he was cold. Andy was afraid it could be related to his port wine stain - the extra blood flow by his face etc. So I called CCH. Talked to the hemangioma unit and the nurse there was concerned. She was glad I called and wanted me to follow up with the neurology unit to see what they thought. Then she asked me to call her back and let her know. So I spoke with neurology and after 3-4 phone calls this morning we are concluding that he is OK! He is responsive when his lip is blue, he is acting normally, we think that he is JUST cold. This might sound dumb to you but when you go to all of the appts at CCH and they tell you all the signs to watch for regarding a seizure plus read about all of the complications a PWS can cause you understand my concern. Yesterday they were talking MRI, today after consulting with the neurologist we're ok. Her explanation for why it might happen after eating made sense. He is just cold. I can keep warming him up with a blanket. Thank you, Lord.

February 13, 2010

Latest Kitchen Escapades

Over the last few weeks I've tried a few new recipes. I've tried to plan some easier dinners to make life a bit easier. It's helped, but cooking and trying new recipes is something I really enjoy so I have to squeeze a few in somehow. Andy would totally go for a summer camp menu (Monday night is spaghetti, Tuesday is tacos, etc etc) week after week. But I couldn't do that. I need variety!

The first one I tried was Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. They were good - definitely chewy and the honey flavor shines through. Not your typical pb cookie which are generally crunchy. I prefer chewy cookies so I thought these were good. And not overwhelmingly peanut buttery. I don't mind a subtle peanut butter flavor in desserts but don't care for a strong pb flavor.

This week we had Crash hot potatoes, with marinated pork tenderloin, green beans and rolls. I really liked them. Basically you boil new potatoes. Then put them on a cookie sheet and mash them slightly so they are flat. Then you brush olive oil on them and add salt and pepper and bake them. They get a little crunchy. I liked the crunchiness, that's what made them good! Andy didn't care for the crunchy so much but ate them.

This morning I tried Dulche de Leche coffee from PW's website. I just made enough for me. Andy didn't want any. It was good. I didn't take the time to do the chocolate on top or anything.

For Andy's Valentine dessert he chose a Maple-Butter Blondie. It's supposed to be like the dessert from Apple*bee's. He's eaten that before and really liked it. I get the Food Network Magazine and they always have a "Copy That!" recipe from a restaurant (auntie ann's soft pretzels, panera's broccoli-cheese soup, etc). So I'm making these blondies right now. Hopefully they'll be tasty!

Recipies from Annie's Eats, Pioneer Woman Cooks, Food Network Magazine

February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

A couple oldies...but goodies! These are 9 years old so I had to scan them from our wedding picture album. We didn't have digital pics of our wedding. Guess that makes us "old". I wanted to scan a bunch more but I can't take them out of the album. In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to post a couple pics like people are doing on Facebook. Andy and I met in 1990 at church. We were in the 5th grade. We joined the youth group in 6th grade and became boyfriend/girlfriend. We didn't speak to each other even though we were "going out". I think I asked him out...via a note. We dated again from the spring of our sophomore year of highschool to the summer before our senior year of high school. Then we started dating again in college, when we were juniors. We dated 6 months and then got engaged. We were married 11 months later. We have been happily married since December 30, 2000. Nine years with the love of my life and looking forward to many more! If anyone wants to see my wedding album I will happily share the memories!

February 9, 2010

An enjoyable snow day!

So my phone woke me up around 3-something-am telling me school was out! We had a very relaxing day. We did meet up with Danny, Steph, Daniel and the cousins for Den*ny's free breakfast. It was busy but we didn't get there until a little before 10 I think. Our family all ate for $2.50 + tip! Crazy. It was a huge plate of food. I ate about 1/2 of mine. Tyler's eyes got big when they set the plate in front of him. He should have just share with me like he usually does! It was pretty good. Reminded me of my bandie days when we would go to Den*ny's after football games. Fun times! I did notice that they had remodeled in the 11 years that have passed since my bandie days...time flies!

The big boys went to play with their cousins and Tyler needed a nap so I went to school and got quite a bit done. I brought home more stuff to work on for tomorrow just in case we have another snow day...and we do! I'll be ok as long as we don't have too many more - don't want to go into June.

Tonight I worked on some more school work and did my exercise video. I am really trying to Shred 5 days a week. I met my goal last week. Yea! Maybe tomorrow I'll be motivated to get some stuff done around the house. We're going to make Valentine cookies with my mom and the other cousins tomorrow morning. That will be fun!

The best part of knowing we have a snow day the night before means that I don't have to make my lunch, pick out my clothes, set the coffee maker, check Wilson's backpack, and fill my water bottle! The little things :)

February 8, 2010

A Couple Updates

Tonight I spent about 15 minutes with Wilson. He read a little decodable reader from school and he did so well! I was so proud of him. He gets easily frustrated with himself and we worked on trying to NOT do that. Don't know where he could possibly get that from! Then we worked on spelling words and sight words. Yea!

I took Ty to the doctor late this afternoon. He's had a cold for a couple weeks. So it has now turned into a sinus infection. Poor thing. He was running a low fever too. I'm glad he is now on antibiotics and will get well soon.

Luke was a little grumpy before bed. Wilson was egging him on about something and Luke said "I'm gignoring you." It was so cute!

February 7, 2010

Not sure what to call this post.

I've had a lot on my heart and on my mind lately. I just don't know how to share it with others! I think I'm realizing I'm not the world's best communicator. I don't always talk about myself a whole lot unless someone asks specific questions. I tend to shut down when things are bothering me. Well I guess I shut down until I can't hold things in anymore and then they come pouring out - to Andy! Poor thing that he has to deal with THAT! Sorry babe.

I'm having the hardest school year of my 9 years teaching. It is completely draining me every day. I enjoy my job and I enjoy the kids I teach but it's never been this demanding before. Having Wilson with me before and after school and then coming home to my other two boys and I have a day from 6:30am-bedtime with kids. I love kids. I especially love MY kids! But a girl can only take so much! Sometimes I wish for peace and quiet - a chance to hear myself think. But I know without all of the children in my life it would probably be quite boring! Still. I need moments away. (I do get them sometimes! )

I'm sure all moms deal with the pressure. The pressure to be a great mom, to keep the house relatively clean, to keep up with laundry, cooking, the list goes on and on. I can't keep up. But I try to do all the things I am supposed to do. Last week I realized we haven't been practicing reading with Wilson. We practice spelling words and his weekly sight words but that is about it. I talked with Andy about it and we figured out an afternoon schedule so we can get everything done that we need to. I felt like the worst teacher mom ever. I mean hello, a teacher of all people should be practing their child's reading to make sure he's making progress. Don't worry, I just mean 10-15 mintues a day. Not something crazy. But when I realized that we hadn't I was all hard on myself. My expectations are high. I want to be this great mom. But life, stress, and stuff gets in the way.

Three kids, all boys, 6 and under, teaching full time, marriage, housework, laundry, cooking, trying to exercise again, it's no wonder I feel this way! I enjoy life, I'm happy, it's just hard! A lot to juggle. Everyday is like a 15 hour work day.

February 4, 2010

4 & 6 year old Appointments

Yesterday Wilson and Luke had their annual doctor visit. No concerns for either of them. They are thriving, healthy boys! Wilson is 47" tall (73%ile) and 50lbs (73%ile).

Luke was such a BRAVE boy! He had to get 4 shots plus the H1N1 flu mist. He didn't cry a bit. He didn't make a sound or do anything to avoid the shots. He was such a trooper! He said they hurt but he was so proud of himself and his 4 band-aids! He earned 6 stickers for being so brave! Luke is ~42" tall (76%ile) and 41lbs (86%ile).