Friday, September 27, 2013

In case you're wondering

It is always, ALWAYS worth it to dress up like a pirate and go to Krispy Kreme on Talk Like a Pirate Day.  You might feel sort of silly, you might have to sew up a quick (and pathetic looking) eye-patch in 15 minutes before you run out the door, but then they will hand you more doughnuts that you know what to do with (2 DOZEN! WHAT?!) for FREE, and you realize all the absurdness has been worth it :D


And when you get home, you immediately take one dozen of the doughnuts to your neighbors because although you COULD eat 2 dozen doughnuts, you really shouldn't.  (p.s. thanks neighbor friends for taking those off our hands!) 

Take me out to the ball game!

A few months ago, a friend at church emailed around seeing if anyone wanted to go see a Tigers game in September.  He thought if we got enough people together, we could get a group discount, and if we all brought our kids they could more or less play together and let us watch the game ;)  Since Jesse is a lifelong baseball fan and I am a recent recruit, we knew we couldn't pass this up! 

So last week, we braved the drive to Detroit (and some terrible game day traffic) and made it to this:

It was a really fun game! It also happened to be the game where this happened:

Isn't that hilarious?! Not that we could see it from where we were sitting, but it was pretty hilarious to come home and find out that had happened right under our noses! 

As for the kids, it turned out the "entertain themselves" idea actually worked pretty well :D 

And we enjoyed ourselves too! 

Of course, it helped that the Tigers beat the Mariners 5-4 ;)

Finally, a group shot to prove we really do have friends! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Miniature chef

Last weekend, a good friend at church emailed around seeing if anyone wanted their old toy kitchen...for free!!!  Nikolai has been really interested in cooking lately and seems to be swiftly moving towards bigger kid play so I quickly emailed her back to see if we could have it.  

As it turned out, luck (and hastiness) were on our side and the toy kitchen (and play food!) were ours! 

And just like I hoped, Nikolai has LOVED it. He doesn't usually care to play in the basement (most of his exciting toys are upstairs) but since he found out the toy kitchen is down there, he almost always asks to go down there as soon as he wakes up in the morning! 

The best part of the kitchen, I think, is that it came with all these little foods that velcro together so Niko can pretend to cut them with a toy knife! 

Obviously, he doesn't yet understand everything he can do with the little kitchen, but I think it'll be one of those toys that just gets more fun as he gets older :D  Also, I love that this is finally a toy that I can play with him! Not that endlessly driving cars around or stacking blocks isn't fun, but I'd much rather pretend to make soup with him ;)  And I like that it'll inspire his imagination!

Anyways, I think I've adequately expressed my excitement now :D  

The end! 

Silly Niko

Yet another installment in our ongoing series, Silly Niko! 

Here's silly Niko, stretched out between the couch and coffee table:

How he got like that, I still don't know! 

And here's how I found silly Niko when he woke up from his nap the other day: 

As we untangled him from his shirt, we discovered he had put his left arm through the neck hole and the pulled the whole thing over his head....

Oh boy.  We sure do love our silly Nikolai! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thomas socks

Nikolai has lately become minorly obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine.  He has one little train and every time the show comes on he runs and grabs it and races as fast as his tiny legs will carry him to the tv shouting "CHOO CHOO" and pointing from his train to the tv.  It's really, really cute. 

But I didn't realize the depth of his attachment to the show until today, when I needed to buy Nikolai new socks.  Baby socks are crazy expensive and the only ones I could stand to buy for the price was a set of Thomas socks. 

Brief note: Nikolai HATES wearing socks.  He will wear them only as long as he gets to immediately put on shoes and go play outside--and then, as soon as he comes in, he wants them taken off! 

But today, when we got home from the store and I opened the package of socks to put them away, Nikolai saw them and insisted I put them on his feet immediately! 

And then, he proceeded to do a happy dance all over the room!!!


So apparently, my toddler is a consumerist child and will wear things he hates because they're the right brand... 


...that, or he just REALLY likes Thomas the Tank Engine ;) 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Silly Niko

Behold, our beloved child, perched on the edge of the armchair, playing in a glass of water:

Silly, silly Niko.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A real date!

Know how last week I was all "oh we never go on real dates" ? Well, this week, we finally had a REAL one! 

And by real, I mean I joined a babysitting co-op where we get fake money for watching each other's kids and pay each other with the fake we had a free sitter! YAY!!!

We took the chance to go see Austenland in theaters when it finally opened in our town. Not only had I read the book (that the movie is based on) a week before and LOVED it, but I had also read 7 other of Shannon Hale's books in the past month or so and decided that I should really go support her, since I loved her written works so much! 

The movie was showing at this awesome old theater downtown that we've been dying to go into since we moved here. 

A very blurry picture of the BEAUTIFUL lobby:

And the theater:

Oh gosh you guys, this movie was HILARIOUS! It definitely did not disappoint.  

And since you NEED to know how hilarious this movie was, here's a taste of the funny, in trailer form:

Really guys, this is a movie I'm going to buy and watch over and over with my mother and sister, or with Jesse again, or by myself when I just need a good belly-laugh. I'm SO glad we went! 

After the movie, we went straight back to pick up Nikolai and then went to Chipotle for dinner! I had a free entree card that I got from the library for reading 5 books this summer (yahoo!) so we had a cheap, yummy dinner :D

Mmm.  So happy!

Yay for a good real date! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Little dancer

Here's three things you might not know about Nikolai:

1) He loves classical music

2) He loves dancing

3) He loves dancing to classical music!

And might I add, he's kind of an amazing dancer.  Not gonna lie, I'm blown away by his sweet moves ;)


Especially when he looks like he's doing water bending ala The Last Airbender! 

Good job Nikolai!  Great dancing!

(And because I know you're wondering--we're listening to Smetana's  Die Moldau)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Living the dream

Every week when Jesse calls home to talk to his parents, he asks his dad how he's doing. 

"Living the dream," is always his dad's response. 

Well, last week Nikolai and I went to the library so I could pick up some books I had on hold.  We wandered around for awhile but inevitably ended up by the computers, where they have some games for kids.  

Nikolai really likes the Dr. Seuss ABC's program where it reads the book to him, so I helped him clamber onto the stool and got it all set up.  And then I sat down on a stool behind him, opened a great book I had found, and read! 

It was like 11 am on a weekday, and I was lazing around in a beautiful library with my sweet child and reading an awesome book...and suddenly it hit me...I'm living the dream! 

I mean, don't get me wrong, there's a lot that's difficult about being a stay at home mom, from dealing with the whims of a small person, to dedicating your life to keep someone else alive, to finding a way to continue to cultivate a sense of self--but there's so much that's good about it too.  I mean, who else gets to sit in a library in the middle of the day during the week and read?!  If that's not the high life, I don't know what is ;) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some silly friends

 A few weeks ago some new people moved in to the ward--and they live just a few doors down from us!  We helped them move in and get settled a little so we've gotten to know each other and made friends. 

So the other day, we came home from church, and found this note on our door, presumably from Megan and Jordan:

In turn, we left a note on their porch with an invitation to have FHE (Family Home Evening) and games with us the next day.

And then later that day, this appeared on our doorstep!

It was their mailbox key (ha!) so we went and checked...inside was a little envelope, with THIS inside!!

Megan dabbles in painting and such and she had busted out this tiny little Toad painting in like an hour! (because we had discussed wanting to play Mario Kart together)

The best part, though, was on the back: 

No lie, we both burst out laughing when we saw that. 

This obviously required a response, so I wrangled my limited drawing skills and copied this picture of Donkey Kong:

Underneath it says "It's on."

So we did it! The next night, we went to their place (because they have a 64!) and had a short lesson, some yummy chocolate cake and played Mario Kart.  I'm not gonna lie, it's really fun to have made some silly friends!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We are learning to draw?

Lately, Jesse and I have both been wanting to learn how to draw! Jesse has some background in it but wanted to get better, and I really want to learn how to paint but feel like I need to learn to draw we checked out a few books from the library to get us started! 

We've only sat down and worked together to learn once so far, but it was really fun and we're definitely going to keep doing it.  Wish us luck! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

We ate veggie burgers?? Oh yes we did!

So I have a something to tell you...something I don't tell people very often.  

Jesse and I...we don't really eat meat!  I mean, yes, we DO eat meat, we just hate buying it, cooking it, etc, so we don't eat it very often.  We like meat, it's just sort of a hassle so we usually just eat lots of vegetables and beans and such to get all the nutrients we need! 

Anyways, we both really like hamburgers but I almost never buy ground beef, so we finally found a happy medium and found a veggie burger recipe we like! 

They're called Quinoa veggie burgers because they're made with beans, carrots, onions, bread crumbs and so forth, mixed with cooked quinoa.

And look, they actually look like a real burger! 

(pardon the terrible lighting...)

Slap it on a bun with some fixins, and it looks like a real burger too! 

I know you're does it taste?  We love it!  All the ingredients are pureed down to a paste but the quinoa maintains some of it's texture, making them crumble a little bit like a real hamburger patty. 

We really like them!  And just in case any of our friends are brave enough to try's the recipe! 

Quinoa veggie burgers

1/2 c uncooked quinoa
1 carrot, diced
1/2 c onion, diced
1 can black beans (drained)
1/4 c bread crumbs (I use italian seasoned)
1 lg. egg, beaten
1 T cumin
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t pepper

1. Boil 1 1/2 c water.  Add quinoa, cook on low 12-14 minutes. Fluff with a fork.  (all water should be absorbed) 
2. Combine all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend until mostly smooth and pureed. 
3.  Cook on greased skillet over medium heat, 5-6 minutes per side, until patty is mostly dry inside.
4. Serve! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Date night

Since we moved "way back east," we no longer have access to free babysitters (we miss you, mom and dad! well, for other reasons, too...;D) so we've been making do with dates at home.   Even though we're not out and about, we still manage to have fun!!

Last week, we found a random package of popcorn in the cupboard and found a fun movie on netflix to watch:

So happy!

Other times, we spice it up and grab a special treat for our date! (I was massively craving fat and sugar!!!)

So with grocery store doughnuts and yet another netflix movie, we had another date :D

(Mission Impossible III: WAYYY better than MI II!)

Ain't we got fun?!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Silly Niko

I feel like I need to have a continuing series entitled "Silly Niko"--basically, cause sometimes my toddler is a strange little person.  

First off, sometimes he can be a little tornado.  Witness the destruction:

Yeah, basically he took everything off the two lower shelves and then removed a shelf and threw everything all over....ah, the life of a toddler!

Then, lately he's been doing this silly thing where he sits in the TINY box where we stow his toy cars: 

I'm sorry, but that picture makes me laugh every time! Look at his tiny legs, shoved into the even tinier box! Oh boy.  When I thought about the prospect of being a mom, I knew there would be messes and tantrums and fun and playing....but I didn't expect so much inherent SILLY!  Thanks for reminding me to be silly, Niko! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cracker dinner

So there's a lot of nights lately where I don't feel like cooking/Jesse doesn't feel like cooking/all the recipes I have planned will take forever and we're hungry now...etc.  So on those nights (which seems to happen at least once a week...) this is what we've started doing:

And you know what?  It's so delicious (and we're actually eating vegetables!) that I don't even feel bad about being "lazy"! :D

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Billions of berries, berries for jam!

 The week before last, Jesse was off between semesters (hallelujah!) and while we mostly lazed around the house reading books (hallelujah!), towards the end of the week we decided we should do something productive--so we went raspberry picking! (Amen and amen!)

I don't know if you've ever been raspberry picking (I hadn't been before, unless you count the ones I picked off bushes as we hiked in the mountains--thanks dad!) but if you haven't, and you live somewhere where they have U-pick berry farms, YOU SHOULD GO.

Seriously, these things were the most perfect berries I had ever tasted.  Plump, juicy, sour but not too sour, and sweet too...mmmmmm.

Perfection.  We picked 2 quarts (at a price a little lower than the grocery store, I think) and were extremely pleased with ourselves. 

So pleased, in fact, that we went home and promptly made jam!!!

It's just freezer jam, cause I didn't have enough half pint jars, but MMMM.  YES.  

So you'll notice that the jam in the tupperware on the right up there looks a little chunky....that's because it's actually raspberry peach jam! (Yes, seriously!)

And it's raspberry peach jam because on our way home from raspberry picking, we stopped and bought a half-bushel of fresh Michigan peaches!

MMMMM.  Again. 

Now I know you're thinking, "what in the world would you do with so many peaches?!"

Well besides the obvious ("Devour them all in a single afternoon and then have the worst stomachache in the history of mankind")--of course, we canned them!

Nikolai, while adorable in his father's hat, can't be trusted around huge pots of boiling water, so we waited for him to nap before we got started...

...and then we went to town on those babies!

Notice my hot, sticky appearance--as it turns out, 4 pots of hot boiling liquid in an apartment with no AC on an 80 degree day makes for an uncomfortably hot house...

But we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless! 

We made quick work of those peaches (it's so much faster with two people! Hence why I waited til Jesse's break to do it...) and BEHOLD! The product of our labors:

Aren't they beautiful?!?! I just get so much satisfaction out of looking at those beautiful cans full of beautiful peaches that we will get to eat all winter long! 

So now, of course, I need to give a hearty thank-you to my awesome mother-in-law Juli for teaching me how to can.  When you offered to show me how last summer, I never expected that such hot, sticky work would give me so much happiness--but it does! I'm so glad to know how to can, and to anyone reading this who doesn't know how but wants to learn--I will teach you! It is amazing! It's messy and fun and in the end what you have is DELICIOUS!

Ok, I think I got all my excitement now :D

Finally, in cause you're wondering how that jam waaay back up there turned out (cause I know you're just dying to know ;D)....

well let's just say it's AMAZING on an english muffin...

but it is DIVINE over vanilla icecream.

Mmm!  And hooray for skills!