Sunday, July 24, 2011


Okay, I know its been awhile since I've posted. I've been recuperating from having everyone here during training week (the recoup time for that wasn't SO bad). But exactly 6 days later we hosted an end-of-the-year soccer party (it was great too) and an impromptu slumber party for all the members of the team. (Ummmm, 10 extra girls in the house, almost all of whom had cell phones & used them...a few all. night. long. AYYYYEEE, apparently I was rudely awakened as to the life of current pre-teens. This is PRECISELY the reason my kids don't have cell phones yet. I can't take the extra, unnecessary drama!) The recoup time for that has taken a bit longer. I have been completely out-of-it for a week. I've been waking up late, feeling unrested, taking naps, still feeling unrested, and simply ignoring all the things crying out for attention (house, cooking, etc...). **sigh**

So, here are some more pics from "Summer Training 2011." (That sounds so dramatic in my mind...kind-of like a news headline. lol...)

Cousins Madeline, Kellan & Hannah

Hannah & Caitlin, BFFs

Sweet Mother/Daughter moment...Bethany & my Aunt Hanni

One of my favorite & easiest breakfasts--ham & cheese croissants! Get some yummy croissants (I always get mine from Costco because they are way cheaper than the grocery store & always FRESH!), add some ham (or bacon), a slice of cheese (we usually use cheddar or provolone) & throw in the oven to warm. Mmmmmmm......
**We had THREE large pans. I made 36 croissant sandwiches that morning for breakfast.**

We had a large bowl of peaches (we must have run out of fruit that day) and
several types of cereal in addition to the croissants. 

The kids playing a card game one day. They had so much fun together. 

Sweet couple, Matt & Leslie.

The kids gathered around Susanna!

Leah & Matthew "playing" a game. :)

Spencer chillin' on David Ezra's shoulders.

Big David & Matt.

Abigail :)

Hannah at the piano. Told you there was always someone playing an instrument.

Caitlin playing some maze game that my cousins brought. This kept the pre-teen/teens very busy. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Home Invasion: Part III

Here are some shots of our crazy week. Keep in mind; we have 6 bedrooms (2 large, 4 small), a fairly large kitchen & living room and a downstairs "family room" that doesn't normally get much use (as it's next to my office, where the kids are This week, every square inch of house seems to be getting plenty of use! :)

This is how we kept track of cups throughout the week! Otherwise, we would have been washing CONSTANTLY! 
All ya need is a lil masking tape, a sharpie marker & an area of counterspace!

Sophie reading in her room while awaiting everyone's arrival!

I love how the kids squished around this lil table with only 2 chairs. The rest sat on the wall. :)

Dear friends, Matt & Leslie. My dad & uncles were friends with Leslie's dad growing up! :)

I had to put those organic blueberries to good use! I normally make pancakes from scratch, but with such a large group, I took the easy route & did the "Just add water" version! They were still pretty yummy!

Doesn't look like much, but this is THE best way to butter your 'cakes. Just melt some butter, use a paintbrush (preferably one that has not ever been dipped in paint! lol) and butter them as you take them out of the skillet. It seems to give them just the perfect amount of butter! :)

Cook your pancakes on the 1st side, then plop the blueberries in before you flip them. (This way they don't get smooshed if you try to mix them into your batter! I don't always do it this way, but it was perfectly easy & worked!)

Sophie ready to dig in! Funny thing she usually doesn't like blueberry pancakes, but since we picked these blueberries, she somehow "liked" them.

My cousin David...

Matthew & Maya in their new "room" for the week...on the floor next to my closet!

Laundry on top of the dresser & the foot of the bed....**sigh** You just can't get to everything, so after you've cleaned the whole house, you just sort-of shove all the extra stuff in your room so no one sees it. (This works until someone needs to talk to you and comes into your room! hehe)

More clean laundry (in a basket hidden behind our bedroom easy chair). Hey, at least its clean right?

Totally random shot, but my hubby is an amazing artist. This is his rendition of a Monet
hangs in our room! I think this one is an oil painting. I love it though, and it's HUGE!

One of the bedrooms...on day 2. Oh's gonna be a messy week! :)

They'd rather have fun being together than be comfortable in a hotel room! I think that is soooo cool!

The fairly constant state of disarray on the counter during "Training Week."

2 gorgeous models, I mean, cousins of mine...Madeline & Bethany. 

My Aunt Hanni & dear friend Nora. They have really all become family through these visits!

Taking a minute to unwind at the guitar. There is always guitar, piano or singing going on during Training Week!

Don't shoot me!!! :)

You just have you prepare yourself for utter & complete chaos and mess! You clean up, but there are soooo many people, the house can't help but look cluttered! (More on cleaning teams later...) 
Look at all the blankets piled up on that couch! lol

And all the stuff THERE! Everywhere you look, there is STUFF! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Home Invasion: Part II

Here you'll see more prep for our group. This prep was done mostly on the day that they first arrived; Friday. However, I had most of the day to clean/prep, as they did not arrive until about 10:30 pm. I had a LOT to do though; including (but not limited to) laundry, sweeping/mopping of all tile floors, beds to make, a few sheets left to wash, food to cook, etc. I was on the verge of hyperventilation!! lol. I had to force myself to relax & BREATHE! One thing at a time. One item at a time from the to-do list, checked off when it was accomplished. If I did something extra that wasn't on the list, YOU KNOW it was added to the list and crossed off! You get to feel a bit more accomplished that way! (HEY, every bit helps!).

As I was cleaning, I realized I had 2 pork roasts in the fridge that I wanted to put in the crockpot. I sprinkled some Chef Merito Steak & Meat Seasoning in the bottom of crockpot. Then I placed the roasts inside and sprinkled some more seasoning on top. Next, I poured two bottles of mild salsa (I usually use the Stater Bros version of the "Pace Picante" salsa). Put it to cook on high for 6 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours and you are good to go! Shred when you're done and serve with rice or in tacos or taquitos. This works even better with beef than with pork! **My actual favorite for pork is to use the Chef Merito seasoning, but then squeeze fresh orange juice on top (my dear friend Colleen gave me that recipe!). Cook, then add a bit more seasoning & a bit more orange juice. Shred up for soft tacos (in corn tortillas), top with some onion/cilantro & a squeeze of lime! MMMMmmmmm!!!!!** If you go the salsa route, you can still finish up with the cilantro, onion & lime!

After that, I boiled a couple chickens that I had. I shredded the chicken and put it aside to use in at least two recipes. Then I set the broth aside for two recipes as well. First I made some Curry Chicken (okay, to be specific, this is WHITE GIRL curry chicken! lol. I LOVE the taste of curry, but it was not really a Middle-Eastern or Asian style of curry chicken. It's just chicken with a curry flavor that tastes good, okay?

Then I made some chicken rivoli (or riboli...I'm not sure how my grandma spelled it...I always thought it was the German word for "dumpling" but when I looked it up, it wasn't. lol. Anyhoo, we call the little dumpling-like things in this soup ribolis.). We make chicken soup and add these little ribolis, which are very simple to make. You just use 1 cup of flour, a dash of salt (I never even use the salt), and 1 egg. Just mix it with a fork until it's crumbly, then use your hands to break the pieces smaller. Throw it in your soup & in about 10-15 minutes they'll be cooked. I love this soup!!! It is one of my favorite things to eat in the winter, but I'm a soup-in-the-summer gal too! I love breaking pieces of cheese (my faves are Swiss or Cheddar) and putting them into my bowl of soup! YUMMY!

On the same day, I also cooked up some bacon for use in a couple recipes & made some cucumber salad, using FRESH cukes from our GARDEN!! (Didn't I just tell you that my mama is an awesome gardener???)

Here are some photos! A few extras in the mix: me in my jammies (all day long & boy do I look FAB, right?), the ingredients for our banana shakes & banana cake that I made to use up some super-ripe bananas & the mess I made along the way! :)

This is the seasoning I used. **Contains MSG, so I only use this occasionally. 

2 roasts in crockpot with seasoning. 

Finished curry chicken. Serve over rice. Can use toppings: shredded cheddar, diced dried apricots, raisins, coconut, chopped nuts. (My faves are the cheddar & apricots.)

I made a large batch of ribolis, so this was 3 c. flour.

Added my 3 eggs. 

They should be in pretty small crumbles before you put them into the soup.

See how they are floating on the top & cooking away...

Completed, wonderful chicken riboli soup! **If you refrigerate the broth before you use it, do not scrape off the fat when using the broth. So much of the flavor is there. Its okay to have some fat in your diet, peeps. As a matter of fact, you need a certain amount of eat up!

Banana Shakes

Ewwww, I look disgusting!!!!!!! Remember, I was singing "Ice, Ice Baby" when asked about the ice
by my hubby! **Just imagine me busting that '80s move! Oh yeah! :P

Mixing the banana cake. 

The growing mountain of dishes...didn't I just finish these?

Fresh cukes from our garden! 

They looked so pretty, even chopped up that I needed another picture!

It tastes much better than it looks in my photo!

The completed banana cake! moist & scrumptious! A perfect way to use up those ripe bananas!