Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baked Ziti with Pesto

We had this for dinner earlier this week. Actually we are still having it for dinner as it made enough for leftovers - my favorite.

1 lb whole wheat ziti, cooked al dente according to package directions
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 26 oz jar spaghetti sauce (or homemade, this week I used the jar)
16 oz part skim ricotta cheese
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pesto (homemade or store bought, this week it was store bought)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook onion, ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper (to taste) until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain and set aside. In a medium size bowl, mix together ricotta, cream cheese, parmesan, pesto, garlic, salt and pepper (to taste). Combine ziti, meat mixture, cheese mixture and spaghetti sauce and stir until everything is incorporated. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella over top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until chees is melted and pasta is heated through. Serve with garlic bread and salad.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conversations with Two Year Olds

On Michael's birthday. We had cake after dinner. We even sang Happy Birthday and made him blow out candles! Right after blowing out the candles Eliza Claire says, "Daddy, you need to open your presents now!" Ruby looked at her and very seriously responded, "Liza, Daddy don't go not presents!"

She was correct and incorrect all at the same time. Michael had received his birthday gift, new sunglasses, a week early since he had to pick them out and that was when we had time to do so. So he got a birthday present, but he did not have anything to open on his actual birthday. Thus, the "Daddy don't got no presents" response.


We have planned a summer trip to NC. We were talking about it in the van recently. Rehm was lamenting that we don't get to go to the beach this time, so we were talking about the things we would do and the people we would see. I started listing relatives, "we'll seeZander, Brady, Rosie, Riley, Zachary..."

Ruby interrupted me with, "Oh boy, we get to see our kitty cat!"

"No sweetheart. Not the kitty cat named Zachary. He died. He's in heaven. We get to see your cousin, The Boy Named Zachary."

It cracks me up that Ruby and Eliza Claire think we have shipped the cat off somewhere and that he is coming back. This is not the first conversation like this where they get all excited because they think we are going to see/go get him. I wonder when they will finally realize that he truly isn't coming back? And it just baffles me that they think we would just leave him somewhere for this long and not have him at home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday Style: Hair by Jenn, Clothing by Cici

Ruby is sporting a cute little French twist - I have to keep it simple, she won't hold still long, and a dress Cici made last year. She had a new Cici Creation but refused to wear it because she woke up on the wrong side of the bed and had to find something to be mad about and the new dress was the first thing she saw.



The Dress

Eliza Claire is sporting a cute little design that I don't remember where I saw it to give credit. Basically you make a part from ear to ear in front of the ears and pull everything behind it into a ponytail. Then you section the front into small ponytails and alternate braiding them in twist braids and regular braids. Finally, you combine all the little braids into the main ponytail. This has become her new favorite hair style. She asks for it most mornings.

Back/side view

Isn't she just adorable? I think this is the cutest dress Cici has made to date!

The pictures of Charlotte's hair don't do it justice. Again I saw this somewhere and now don't remember where. For this style you part the hair across in front of the ears from ear to ear. Take the center part of that hair and put it in a temporary pony. Now combine everything else into a regular pony tail. Place a headband over the part. Take the hair from the temporary pony and pull it back over the headband and incorporate it into the main pony. Then take two bobby pins and make an X to hold the hair in place. This is really easy and looks really cute in person. The pictures just don't do it justice.

I did a variation of this on Eliza Claire this week where I braided the front section before taking it over the headband and incorporating it into the main pony. Again, very easy and very cute. I think it would also be cute if you sectioned the front hair into three sections and braided each and the pulled them into the main pony.

Back, with a off kilter bow. I fixed the bow after taking the picture.

Front - terrible picture, rushing to get to church. If you look carefully you can see the headband, it was thin and very light in color so it doesn't show up well. This dress is an Old Navy sale rack find.

I am going to find all my hair blog links and put them in my sidebar, hopefully sometime this week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chicken Piccata

Here is my recipe for Chicken Piccata. It is not something I make often as it is such a rich dish. But it sure is yummy when I do.

Jenn’s Chicken Piccata

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup flour
1 egg
¼ cup water
½ cup bread crumbs
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
14 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
½ - 2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 jar capers, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
16 oz cooked fettuccine

Put ½ cup flour in a shallow dish. Combine egg and water and beat well in a separate shallow dish. Put ½ cup bread crumbs in third shallow dish. Dredge chicken through each.

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil with 2 tablespoons butter. When starts bubbling add garlic and three chicken breasts. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip and cook another 3 minutes. Remove browned chicken from pan to a plate. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons butter. Add other 3 breast, cook for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Add mushrooms to pan and sauté. Add another 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in artichokes, capers, lemon juice, and broth. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Add chicken back in, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through. Remove Chicken to platter and briskly Wisk in remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter.

To serve: Put fettuccine on plate. Top with sauce, chicken and a bit more sauce. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

For other great recipes check out Tasty Thursday at Southern Fried Mama.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Would you let your eight year old boy who loves the ocean wear these?

Rehm and I spotted these on our quest for Crocs this weekend. It is very hard to find size four crocs, even knock offs in boy colors. In one of the many stores we went in, Rehm spotted these Chuck Taylors. They did not have them in his size. He still really wants to find them. My first thought when I saw them was it's at shame they don't have a boy version of that shoe. But when he asked about them I had the if he wants them and would wear them do I really care? thought.

So would you let your son wear these? Just curious.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bed Time Conversation with Ruby

Michael and I were talking to Ruby at bed time and asking her questions.

US: What is your name?

R: Ruby Caroline

US: What is Daddy's name?

R: Michael M.

US: What is Mommy's name?

R: Jennifer M.

US: How old are you?

R: Two.

US: When is your birthday?

R: June 26

US: Where do you live?

R: (paused to think a second) At my house!

US: Where is your house?

R: It very far away!

I guess she has figured that out by how long it takes us to get to school and such :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Michael went to check on Ruby because she was crying after bedtime. She had her foot stuck between the mattress and the bed frame of her bed. Eliza Claire had somehow caused that - don't ask me how, it is apparently at twin thing. Michael her got her unstuck. She starts crying harder and screaming.


Because she wanted Mommy to get her foot unstuck and was mad that Daddy had done it. She was so determined that I get her out that she kept trying to get her foot re-stuck, but couldn't do it by herself. Her father told her sister not to help her.

That was fifteen minutes ago. She is still screaming...

Think she might be stubborn?

I wonder where she got that trait. Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Krispy Kreme

On the way home from school last week, the girls and I decided to stop at Krispy Kreme for an Easter treat. We stayed for about an hour, enjoying donuts and just being silly.

Charlotte and the girls came up with some game where they had to touch each of the pictures and jump over each of the water bottles. It kept them happy for at least 10 minutes and they were cute in the process.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Easter

Dying Easter eggs with Grandma and Grandpa on Saturday

Easter Baskets

Did you notice that Rehm's Easter basket is his Halloween candy bag? I couldn't find his real Easter basket. Oops.

Rehm left the Easter Bunny a note asking him to hide the Easter eggs instead of just putting them in the basket. The Easter Bunny had not planned to leave any eggs this year...

Easter Morning

The Easter Bunny brought new "crocs" and sunglasses for everyone along with a small chocolate bunny. Rehm, of course, was the only one whose crocs did not fit and need to be returned. Luckily, it was not as bad as his Christmas.

All dressed for church

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Traditions

My family seems to have some weird Easter traditions. Some I grew up with, some have been developed in my married life. It is funny, knowing they are weird seems to add to their appeal to me. It gives me a sense of belonging, of having something that makes us unique - I don't know it just makes me smile.

Tradition #1 - Individual Egg Salad
This tradition comes from my childhood. I had no clue this was a strange or weird tradition until Michael visited my family for Easter. I believe the Easter visit occurred pre-marriage. My mom's family (grandparents, siblings, all the children) always had lunch at my grandparents every Sunday. Easter was no exception.

The requisite hard boiled, dyed Easter eggs were always part of the meal. Everyone got their own bowl and would peel, mash, and mix their very own egg salad right at the table as part of their lunch. We would all pass the salt, pepper, vinegar and mayo from person to person and mash and mix until we each got it just right. I did not even equate this "dish" with the term "egg salad." It was just what you did with Easter eggs. I did not know another way to eat a hard boiled egg. If you had asked me if I liked egg salad I would have said, "no."

I still do this. In fact, I did it last night. And, I helped each one of my girls make their very own egg salad, too. Yes, it would have been quicker to just make a large batch of egg salad and dish it out to everyone, but that is just not how it is done. I don't know that I could get the proportions right with more than two eggs at a time.

Now when I do this, though, I know it is weird. But you know what? I don't care. It is part of my heritage. It is who I am and where I'm from and that makes it so much better. Even when I'm 1300 miles from the rest of my family I feel connected to them because I know that they are doing the same silly thing that I am.

Tradition #2 - The Easter Meal
Ten years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. When consulted about what we should eat for Easter, I commented that I had a craving for fajitas. Everyone decided to indulge me and that is what we had. The next year was not an easy Easter. Our precious baby had died at birth and we were celebrating the resurrection with empty arms. Thus we really didn't feel the desire to celebrate in a traditional way. So we had fajitas again that year.

As most of you know, I married an Aggie. In true Aggie fashion if something occurs twice it becomes tradition and thus the reason that 10 years later we are still having fajitas for Easter.

I hope, when my children get older and realize that these traditions are not, well, traditional, they find it endearing and feel that same sense of connectedness that I do. I don't know, maybe they will just think we are weird and have scarred them for life. Either way I'm glad to have these traditions with these precious people!

So what are your traditions for this holiday?

Happy Easter.

Happy Easter

From the Mayhem Mania Monsters - complete with shades from the Easter Bunny.

More to come later.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday and Krabby Patties...

("Guest" post by Michael :) )

So, I was reading Rehm's Bible story tonight and we skipped out of order (there's a daily reading guide in the back that we normally do) so that we could read Luke 23, since it is Good Friday. (Actually, when I opened to it, we backed up and started at Luke 22:54 since that is part that makes me feel the conviction of Good Friday the most, but that's beside the point).

After we were done, he asked where the part about breaking Jesus' legs was. I said it was in a different book, maybe Matthew (wrong- he was thinking of this part in John). Why wasn't it in Luke? I told him, "I guess Luke didn't think it was important."

He said, "Well, of course it was important. Hellooooo? The PROPHECY! You know what?"


Then there was a pause...

...and I was waiting for something profound to come out of his mouth...

...and out came..."Like the prophecy in SpongeBob, that was above King Krabs, aka Mr. Krabby,'s head, and" and he went on to recap the entire SpongeBob episode.

More Girl Hair Dos

My first attempt at french braiding. I definitely need more practice.

Star in Eliza Claire's hair. She really liked this and asks for it frequently.



Easter design trial.


The star and the Easter design are both from A Story of a Princess and her Hair.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


This is the second time Rehm has picked flowers for me on his way home from school. I guess he doesn't thing I'm a mean mother after all. Or, maybe he is trying to butter me up for something...I think it might be working.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rehm Birthday Recap

The Birthday Boy before leaving for school

Gift from Mom and Dad. He was very concerned when it was only an envelope.

Rehm had a great eight birthday. On his actual birthday, he opened gifts from us and Cici and Papa before going to school.

We took pokeball themed cake pops to share with his class. Eliza Claire, Ruby and I went to have lunch with him to celebrate the special day.

Doesn't he look thrilled that we joined him for lunch?

After school he got to open the rest of his presents from his sisters and Grandma and Grandpa. He got to chose dinner for the evening too. And no it did not include take out.

For his birthday party he invited his friends Lael and Will over for movie watching, pizza making and Wii playing and cookie cake eating. They had a great time.

Michael and I really tried to steer gift giving toward things he needed or had a real interest in and tried to keep the celebration cost in check. He loved his present from us - a note. It was a claim check for all the supplies and fish needed to reset up his 5 gallon aquarium. He and I went to pick all of it out together. He helped with all the tank set up and picked the fish, guppies, to go in the tank. We still owe him one fish. I wanted to start with two and see how they did before adding the third. So far they've done well. Rehm is really enjoying taking care of his new pets.

Other gifts included a bionic eyeclops, two board games, sea monkeys, a backpack, a lunch box, pokemon cards, a Clone Wars movie, two Wii games and some pokemon cards.

Definitely a good birthday.