Friday, May 31, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1) Pictures from an evening walk...
On the way out to the hurricane barrier

Lots of cracked shells via hungry seagulls.

Heading back.

I love my town.  I really need to take more pictures of it - maybe we could do a "stroll through your town" linkup soon.

How do you all feel about Angelina deciding to get a double mastectomy to drastically reduce her risk of breast cancer?  How about removal of her ovaries?  Is it a moral dilemma or just a medical decision?  Phil and I keep discussing it and I would love to hear your thoughts.

I'm sure you've all seen this clip, but in case you haven't, it's so funny!

It is so hot out.  It's going to be 90 today.  I do not like the heat, hence why I live up North and keep a nice layer of insulation on my body.

I am struggling with 7 takes today, I'm gonna go ahead and blame the heat.

My friend, Michelle, wrote about her struggles with raising an autistic son and how the little things can mean so much.  Go read it.  I am so impressed with her family, they are raising such smart, nice, holy, funny, and wonderful kiddos.

And another link to Rosie's hysterical kids.  Boy oh boy do I wish I had recorded all the funnies my kids said when they were younger!

Have a super duper three scooper type of weekend y'all!  And visit Jen and the gang for more :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Prepare to be Underwhelmed

Linking up with Cari and the bests for Theme Thursday: Self Portrait

Guys, I sat down last night, much to my children's amusement, and banged this artwork out in under ten minutes.  Be astonished.

Me, circa any weekday, 6:40 am:

And yes, that is the best I could do draw.

My art skills peaked in 3rd grade, which is about the time accounting started looking real good.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Perfect Pot Roast (with sneaky easy gravy!)

Perfect Pot Roast

3-4 pound boneless chuck roast
4 TBS, olive oil
2 large onions, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
1 TBS minced garlic (about 5 cloves)
2 TBS tomato paste
2 cups red wine
1 cup beef broth
3 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

On stove, heat a large dutch oven or other pan large enough to hold the roast over medium heat (you will need a lid). Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper on all surfaces. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and when it starts to shimmer, place the roast into the pan and brown on each side for a couple minutes. 

Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

To the same pan, add the celery, carrots, and onions and sauté for 4 – 5 minutes until softened and starting to brown lightly.  

Add garlic and continue cooking for additional minute.

Next, add the tomato paste and stir until well combined with the veggies. 

Return the roast to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate and add the wine and broth and bay leaves.

Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pot and transfer to the 325 degree oven for 4 hours

Check the roast once an hour to be sure the liquid is simmering nicely and turn the roast once in the middle of cooking.  

When the meat is done, remove it from the oven, and place it on a cutting board, leaving liquid and veggies in the pot.  Throw away bay leaves.  This meat is so tender it practically falls apart.

 Now it's time to make the gravy.  Very carefully, put all the veggies (that's the sneaky part!) and about half of the liquid from the pot into the blender .  Leave the small top off of blender lid so steam can escape, cover with towel, and blend until smooth.  Add more liquid from pot until gravy reaches your desired consistency.

We serve pot roast with mashed potatoes and corn, and it was plated and eaten so fast that I didn't get any pictures!  This meal serves all seven of us with a little leftover (but not much!):

Looks like somebody gets a yummy lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Weekend Getaway

Saturday Morning:
Heading out on the road 

We stopped at a halfway point to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and their adorable kids.  Of course, I took no pictures because I am a bad blogger.  In fact, all of these pics are from my phone because I left my real camera at home!!  Oy vey!

Saturday afternoon:
Loved this sign! 
Make your own sundae bar - a quick deviation from our route! 

DIANO! (Xander speak)

Loved this sign too!

An introvert's dream house!

We didn't realize the inn would feed us breakfast.  Score!
 We went to Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains, and then into North Conway's cute town to see what we could find....
Zeb's country store speaks proper English like me!

Sugar and A Bear

Time for a playground.

There was some kind of Memorial weekend tent festival going on in the background, but it was sooooo cold, we didn't even wander over.
We took the kids to a Weather Station, because it was indoors and we had a half hour to kill before lunch/nap time:

Outside the Weather Center

J-P has to really concentrate (hence tongue out) to point to MA like a meteorologist.

Trying to blow the air at the target.

Nap Time!  AKA the best time of the day :)

Sunday Afternoon in Storyland!

As soon as we pulled into the Storyland parking lot, Xander threw up and as I changed him, I realized he felt warm.  Phil dropped me and the four older kids off to play with Cari and Ken and family and then went back to the inn to take care of Xander (bath, tylenol, nap) before picking us up at closing time.

Alice in Wonderland

The Polar Coaster

Thank God for Cari...Ken and I don't go on "spinny rides".

My future occupation. 

Meanwhile, back at the inn....
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse therapy.

Later that night...he was happy to get some ice cream!

After feeding ice cream to all the kids (thanks, Donaldsons!) Cari and I stayed up chatting while the men rested after a long day of child wrangling.  It was awesome.

On Monday morning, we headed down to breakfast, and Xander threw up again right on the floor in front of all the families eating.  Breakfast with a side of reality, yes please.

Watching Dad pack up the car.

On the way back to Storyland, we saw snow covered mountains.  It snowed on Memorial Day!

Someone, ahem, thought that the park opened at 9:00 but once we were all  in line at 8:45 we realized it didn't open until 9:30.  Whoops!

First ride of the day...antique cars.

Xander had a rough day...alternating between feeling okay if his fever was down and being fussy and sleeping in the stroller.  He was also ONE inch too short to go on the majority of the rides (you need to be 36 inches for most rides) so we will need to go back when he's bigger.

The ball dome was a favorite.

First train ride.


John Luke and Maggie taking a tractor ride.

Phil and I would alternate between watching Xander and riding with the older kids:
Cari loved the panda's faces on the flume ride.


It was a gorgeous but chilly day.

Cari and I took a spin before we left.  I won't tell you who was hunched over like a scaredycat by the end of the ride.  But it rhymes with marry.

Storyland 2013
We all said goodbye and left around 2 pm.  Our ride home was pretty eventful as Phil got pulled over for going 70 in a 55.  He explained he thought it was 65 and apologized to the state trooper and got off with a warning.  
Then he turned to me and said "And I didn't even have to cry".  Stinker.

We ran out of cash for a toll, and have to mail it in.  Amateurs, we are.

We got home in 4 hours, made dinner, unpacked, gave the baby some more medicine and all the kids a bath, watched the first new episode of Arrested Development (so good!) and crashed like the party animals we are.  It was perfect - a weekend full of family fun, wonderful friends, and eating so much junk food that I feel terrible now - yup, perfect!