Too Much Fun, Too Little Time

In lieu of a party with friends Averi chose to go to Great Wolf Lodge for her birthday. The two older girls have gone before but Averi whom just recently learned to swim was finally brave enough and tall enough to join in on the fun.

But first…more cake and wishes.

The girls were so excited to pack for our getaway! They wanted to bring toys, stuffies, pillows and their own blankets. Basically everything in their room. And then we witnessed pigs flying when Averi asked to go to bed early so departure time would come sooner. Ah, we never grow out of that excitement do we?

Listen, we are not a fan of car rides. Three girls in the backseat for longer than a quick jaunt is torture for most anyone. Until we are ready to hunker down on a long drive or a flight, we will commit to a quick drive up Interstate 5. One hour in the car and we were there by noon. Luckily we were able to get into the water park long before our room was ready. Not being our first rodeo, we took in just what we needed (aka swimsuits, money and whatever the kids must have) and left the rest of our shit in the car.

Equipped with their Paw Passes and wolf ears, we dove in to what would be a great two days of fun!

Once we found a spot to call “home base”, we dropped our towels and shoes and went over the rules. Then the older girls went off and we took Averi on her first real waterslide.

Nope, not fun at all. SO FUN!

Canyon River Run was the one ride ALL five of us could go on together and we did, many times.

This was the first time in my life as a mom that I felt comfortable giving the girls their freedom without worrying every other second. They were so independent and it made it that much more fun.

We did it all and they didn’t complain and they didn’t tire.

The ten year olds even went on Wolf’s Tail, on their own. This ride is where the the bottom drops out from under you sending you straight down the slide.

Of course I had to follow them back up to record the bravery.

We almost closed the park down and by 7:30 pm we had to tell the girls if they wanted to do anything else, we had to move on.

After a quick change up in the room, we went on a hunt for magic and pizza.
While we waited for our food, the girls hopped around the hotel doing whatever magic game is so popular amongst the kids.

The magic quest wand even moved objects in the girl’s kid cabin.

Around 10:30, it was quiet and then I heard a small voice that said “I have a night light for you”. I thought to myself what? Who said that? And then Kaili came out and asked the same thing. F sakes. I climbed up and unplugged whatever I could see in the dark not to wake the others. It turned out that one of the wands must have summoned the critters of the lodge, sigh.

I prefer my rooms not to talk thank you. And I am pretty sure, nope I am positive that I would have NOT liked that as a child.

It was a late night but luckily they let us sleep until 7:00 in the morning (big deal you guys!). Then we were up and ready to go do it again.

{One tip I can give you; if you have a trip to GWL on your radar It’s this, bring food, there is a fridge in the room. And, pre-order on their app or walk out of the hotel and find something to your liking. Because the lines are ridiculous and it’s terribly overpriced.}

The next morning we were at the waterpark as it opened and we knocked out all of the best rides as many times as we could before the crowd grew bigger.

Shawna and I went out into the sun for a bit and then before we knew it, lunch came and went.

The girls Paw Pass came with: a magic quest wand, a glitter tattoo, goggles, candy from the candy shop and a build a bear stuffy. So we had to get them out of the water if they wanted to claim the rest of their goodies. We did, they did.

Two hours later and full of candy, we headed home.

Nothing like the comedown from a high, am I right or am I right?

It affects everyone differently!

This is TEN

Ten years ago Kaili made me a mom and she did it in true Kaili fashion. Ten years later we are navigating through life, trying to tread the unpredictable waters that succumb her. She is strong, resilient, beautiful inside and out, empathetic but also anxious and worrisome. It’s almost like every fear that ran through me during the many months of bed rest were passed into her and still reside deep. Never a dull moment but all that I can wish for is that my baby is happy and healthy every day of her life!

Kaili loves music but she is a creature of habit. Fixates on one thing and that thing only until we can convince her to try something else (knowing that she will love it) until before you know it, that will be the her new favorite thing. It’s a repetitive cycle. She was a Teen Beach fan for a good handful of months and luckily that didn’t wear off before her party. I think she is already onto something else, phew.

We had a small gathering of family and a neighbor friend join us for her party. Mexican food, a Teen Beach cake and with ice cream. Followed by a scavenger hunt for her last gift. It was a success!

The cake had a lot of components that all came together well, if I don’t say so myself. Her reaction was priceless and it made my heart happy that I could give her what she wanted.

Happy double digits K bear!

NINE

The baby who made me a mom turned 9 years old. I am not sure how that is even possible.

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She asked for a Spirit Riding Free cake with blue layers and Funfetti layers. This cake was not my best work but she seemed happy with it.

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Her wishes for a hoverboard and plenty of other gifts were granted.

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After her self isolation party, the girls rotated between splashing, building and riding.

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It’s a hard go right now for our kids having birthdays during these times. We just do our best to make it the best we can for them.

I can’t believe my baby is nine. I love you K bear!

 

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Learning Curve

Every day we get up, drink coffee and shower. Every morning the girls have breakfast, get dressed, make their beds and head to their spot for a daily zoom meeting. Every day I do my best to get it all done; work, school, keep the children alive. The girls get in their academics, some creative art, physical activity, and we manage to fit in plenty of fun game time. We are amazing. At the end of the day we are wiped and stressed about not only how it all got done, but how are we going to do it again and again without going mad? Am I doing enough? Shit, they haven’t had vegetables in days…It’s okay that they’ve had breakfast for all three meals, right? They haven’t gone outside in two days because f*ck! it hasn’t stopped raining.

These are how the days go. There is crying and laughing, wine and sugar but we get it done and we get up and do it again, because moms are amazing!

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We squeezed in a field trip to Mount Laguna. Such a fun day!

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fullsizeoutput_b69We even brought snow home for a Kinder science experiment. Averi and I read the book “The Snowy Day” and the next day we went outside to see what happened to the snow we brought home; A built in lesson plan.

GoNoodle is a life saver.

I can really tell a difference between the days they get a good amount of physical activity and the days they don’t. They all show their hands at bedtime.

They also love the time we set aside to create. Whether it’s coloring, cooking or painting, I think it’s the only time of day that they are quiet.

Quiet is good!

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I think if you asked them what their favorite part of the day was, they would all say family game time. We have found a few new favorites. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a lot of fun, (it’s meant for 8 years and older but Averi has gotten the hang of it, she just won’t win anytime soon.) We all love UNO, and the girls new favorite is, The Floor is Lava. They love this game,  I haven’t won yet so it’s not my favorite.

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There are some tears and a lot of “whyyyyyyys?”

As frustrating as it is being on, every.single.minute.of.the.day. They really love having us at their fingertips all day long.

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Well, most of the time.

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My Favorite Valentines

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We had a low-key at home Valentine’s day.  After taking the girls for lunch at the park, we went home to give them their goodies of love.

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Once they were all sugared up, we sent them outside to disturb the neighbors. For dinner I made Chrissy Teigens’ meatloaf.  I am in no way a fan of loafed meat and it took bottles of ketchup and bbq sauce for me to eat it as a child. This recipe combines ground beef and spicy sausage which is the real winner on the dish. Just try it, it’s good. We also had potato puree, green beans and chocolate lava cakes for the ending. Pictures are now in your imagination because I didn’t pause to take any.

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We finished the night eating chocolate on the couch as our favorite shows played. I hope you all had a wonderful love day. I know I did!

 

Holiday Holiday

Somehow it’s already mid December, I have so much to catch you up on. Currently our Elf, Peppermint Sugarcookie is playing Twister with a few scantily clad and very limber Barbies.

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Every morning the girls give a full report on what trouble he got into the night before.

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Our neighborhood puts on a Holiday party each year. It’s the perfect time to meet the neighbors we never see and probably won’t see again until the next party. It’s also a great time for the girls to see Santa. Averi loves to get fancy for all occasions, she also loves to have her photo taken.

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Our Elementary school put on a Frozen movie night and of course the girls had.to.go. We saw Frozen 2 the day after it came out and that is all Averi can talk about. Frozen Fever. But the movie theater is different than the school auditorium. Drinks were spilled, bathroom needs were constant and the Avester decided she was “too tired” and stayed put even after the lights came on. Yep that’s my kid.

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The next day we spent swimming at uncle Casey’s new place. They decided to slum it for a bit and move to Coronado Island, sigh. The view is awful. And yes it looks cold, but the pool water was just fine….for the kids…and Casey.

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Since all three girls weren’t able to attend the holiday party, we went back to the mall for another visit with Santa and some quick shopping.

As luck would have it, when we went to walk the neighborhood Christmas lights, we ran into Santa again. What a tiring job he has. Luckily he will have cookies waiting for him as a reward, or treat? So many kids and cats, I can’t keep it straight.

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Averi’s teacher held a rehearsal for the Kinder Christmas show early so I could record it. The girls are heading up to WA with their dad this holiday and she’s missing the show. It was both super cute and painful at the same time. The first picture is when they just sat down in the auditorium, the video is 30 minutes later. Wrangling cats, that is another word for teaching Kindergarten.

 

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Enchilada Meatballs

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I am not your number one meatball fan, just not my jam.  But the thing with this dish is all. of. the. flavors. And using a tortilla to soak these up with the addition of avocado’s and sour cream, so good you guys, so good.

Kaili wanted to be chef so the credit really goes to her, I was just her kitchen side-kick.

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This recipe is *adapted from Delish.

Kaili really surprised me with her determination to start and complete this dish. She cut, rolled and even taste tested enchilada sauces to determine the best one to use.

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Kaili’s take away from this dish was “I like the enchilada sauce and the meatballs but not the green stuff on top, and I like lots of sour cream!” See, I told you it was good.

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Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
egg
cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1  small onion, chopped
jalapeño, minced
(19-oz.) can enchilada sauce
1/2 15-oz.) can black beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. shredded cheddar
1 c. Monterey jack
avocado, sliced

 

*for serving:  Tortillas, sour cream, your favorite hot sauce.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Season mixture with salt and pepper, then form into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add meatballs and cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees , about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate while you make sauce.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add onion and jalapeño and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in enchilada sauce and black beans and bring mixture to a simmer.

Return meatballs to skillet, tossing them in sauce. Top meatballs with cheeses and bake until beef is cooked through and cheeses are melty, about 15 minutes more.

Garnish with avocado and more cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas and sour cream.

 

 

Cooking with Kids {Basic Pizza Dough}

I love cooking with kids, my mom cooked with me, I cooked in my classroom and my two girls have been in the kitchen with me from early on. Now I am not going to say it’s easy, cooking with children. What’s easy is taking a picture of your child cracking an egg and then once the picture is taken it’s like “okay, you’re getting it all over, get out!” Am I right? The key is to go in knowing it is going to be messy and if you have multiple kiddos then there is always going to be a fight. BUT, it’s good for them, good for their brain and if you have your wine glass full, a little easier on you!

Kaili picked a pizza dough recipe out of her cookbook and read me the ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup water

1 package yeast

2 tbs olive oil plus 1 more for the bowl

2 tbs sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

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How simple is that? Now the hardest part is a toss up between the clean up or the refereeing.—> Take a big sip of wine!

Once I put the dough on a hot baking sheet, they slathered on store bought pizza sauce {it was a weeknight meal y’all} and cheese. Anything else in their mind is “gross”. Side eye.

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And voila! A cheese pizza that they both ate and didn’t kill each other over!

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Call it a Comeback

I apologize for my absence, it really hits you how boring life is when you have two kids in school. OR how AWESOME it is. I kid, I kid, sort of….

Averi finally picked up the whole potty situation, with a few here and there oopsies. She is in school four days a week and loves it. We had her first field trip to the Children’s museum and she had a blast.

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The amazing thing about Averi is she is very independent. She made her way through the museum doing her thing and didn’t worry about anyone but herself.

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I want to be like her when i grow up. Free and not giving a shit!

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Kaili has been doing great in first grade and she loves going to school each and every day.

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Her interest in cooking is emerging and I love it.

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These two keep me on my toes every single day. They are smart, funny and just plain awful sometimes….It’s not funny if it’s not real, right.

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Summer Moments

Kaili is finally getting comfortable in the pool. Between swimming with her friends and swim lessons, I am hoping she becomes a very strong swimmer.

We had a nice visit with friends and it took the sun going down to finally get everyone out of the pool.

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The weather has been spectacular, making it very difficult to stay inside.

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I made an Indian feast for family using this recipe as my always go to for Chicken Tikka Masala. I made some Dal and Raita and bought Trader Joe’s frozen Naan and Samosa’s. We were all happily stuffed at the end of the night.

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I also made Chrissy Teigen’s Pineapple Grilled Shortribs and you guys, they were Ahhhhmazing. I will describe them as candied meat or a very tender and sweet beef jerky.

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Kaili has her last swim class, it’s bittersweet. She really loves it and asked me if she could have a playdate with her instructor. Every day she gets a little bit braver.