Saturday, December 17, 2011


Here are some pictures of our wicked awesome ginger bread house. :) I found this plastic kit at a christmas show... works great. You just cover the whole thing in icing and add your decorations to it. Ours is really only done on one side though because we let kale do it and he made a MESS out of the icing and everything else. Its nice though; just snaps together thenthrow it in the dishwasher for next year!

And here are a few pix of the little rascals in their Christmas PJ's - kale LOVES to wear his santa hat. In fact he wore it the whole day at school the other day and evidently didn't take it off at all. Funny little guy...

A busy week celebrating

Thrusday Night was Aeneas's Christmas program with all his friends with school. He was tired from a busy week and yawned through the whole thing but managed to sing at least part of the songs. He was so proud to have been on stage. It's tough living in the shadow of an older brother who gets to do everything first.

The following day he got to stay through lunch for a pizza party!

 Aeneas with his reindeer shirt he made for the special night! 

 Getting goodies afterward! Yum.

Friday, Patrick had a pajama breakfast party in his class. They ate, made a craft which I never saw because he ate it before I got there to pick him up, and the watched the Polar Express. After school, we had his last dance class and they all got to show us what they have been working on for the past semester. Who would have thought that kids these days would still be dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller!"

 Jaime and Patrick

And on our first day officially off, we decorated some gingerbread houses. OK, so Patrick and I decorated and Aeneas just ate all the toppings. We went shopping for Daddy. Apparently he didn't have enough presents under the tree and so the boys felt sorry for him. So they dug out their spending money and we went shopping. They knew exactly what they wanted to get him so we were in and out and back home in no time. We met Kip down at the river trail and took a stroll and played some games before watching the original Chipmunks! A fun day of recreation!

Now if Daddy can get that grading done so we can shred some pow bra!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Hailes, LeeAnn, Anna, Sheels, Annie, Titol, Red

I have the greatest sisters in the universe. After a week of being spoiled in their company, I miss them terribly now. What terrific mothers and friends you have all turned out to be. What a fun time we had ladies!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Power Meats and a New Blog

So as many of you know, we've gone to free range meats and eggs. This poses a problem when it comes to cost so I've figured out how to get the flavor of meat as a fix every now and then. It's through what I call "power meats." BACON and SAUSAGE. These two things are so flavorful that it takes very little of either to take a simple stew light years in terms of taste. And since you don't need that much, you can buy it free range and it's still affordable, granted you aren't eating it by the plate full for Saturday breakfast.

A friend of mine introduced me to recently that is written by a woman named Deb Perelman. In her own words her blog is all about  "Fearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York City."

Check her out. And take the time to read her random ramblings over her preparation of some of the most simple, delicious and sometimes novel recipes. She's Ree Drummond funny. And quite entertaining. We made the Smitten Kitchen sweet potato and sausage soup this past week. And it was delicious. With the sausage, there wasn't a need for a lot of other spices which made it really easy to make. 

Pick up a lb. of sausage and get out your cast iron and pour some red.

And cook up something to bring in the season of toasty evenings in front of a fire.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Things I'm Loving Lately

I haven't posted here if thought I'd join Anna in her "things i'm loving lately" post...

in lieu of morning coffee...


eating all the time

laying on my couch

and baby parnell #4 - due to arrive in MAY!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The love language of little boys

I never understood why my mom would shriek, "LARRY!" every time my dad started in on the wrestling thing with my brother and I. But now I do. It's crazy! It's dangerous! And not to mention loud! There are a lot of other things we can do as a family that get our kids to smile but let's face it, there's nothing that comes even close to the shrill of two little voices in excitement, laughter and sheer anticipation as when their Daddy wrestles them.

 You can't get them laughing this hard by tickling them, but get a little rowdy and you are on to something.

 And look who else has a big smile on his face! This is the "get the green hat," game.

These guys are actually not bad at ducking an incoming "friend"

I think, no I'm positive girls grow out of this. Dads, however just use it as an excuse to act crazy at any given part of the day: like total animals. There's something primal about it that I don't get. All I know, is that my boys love it, crave and in the end really benefit from it. It's the love language of little boys with their fathers. And although I am still finding ways to cope with the anxiety it causes me for all of their safety, they need it, ALL of them.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Milestone Today!

We Pee Pee'd in the potty!!!

It was sort of a coincidence that it happened, and when it did, it surprised him and surprised me at the same time! He and I were both very excited about this milestone, and stood in the bathroom clapping and horray-ing. Then 2 minutes later I was changing a poopy pull-up.
I want to potty train, I do... but I am just not excited about dropping everything at the very second he says "potty momma" because lets face it, it seems like they ask to go potty every 5 minutes. However, I guess I have to put in the few months of dropping everything if I want to get him out of diapers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I'm Loving

 Aspen leaves turning golden yellow

 Morning hikes with JP while the kids are in school

Picking apples and making baked good with the kids.

 Seasonal brews.

 Fall crafts. Hippie Acorn heads!

 Nature walks with the boys and anything made out of what we find

 Halloween crafts like goblin faces...

and salt dough figures.

Watching my little guy learn to read

Hot chocolate and warm coffee on chilly mornings

Breaking out the woolen hats again

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chef Wars: Round 2

Round two of the Daddy teaches Patrick to cook.
Here's the Swedish Chef of the Animas Dorm.

Kung Pao Chicken was so delicious. Thank you Patrick for another spectacular meal!

Who's out there, anyway?

So I've been thinking and wondering. Does anyone else find it weird that I am the only contributor to this blog of sisters or is it me?

I'm just sayin' maybe I should start posting to something more me instead of under the assumption of a group of people.

Does anyone ever read this except my mother?

Anyway, I'm gonna post away since I don't have another blog (yet) to distract me from this one. But I will happily post to something else if you ladies think it's just not happening here...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pantry Soup

We got back home from a week out of town for Zeb's wedding and just as usual, I'm faced with the whole "What's for Dinner" task. The pantry is empty so you use what you have. Here's a recipe for Marinara soup that I fond this week to be a lifesaver. Hannah, you're gonna love this one!

Easy Marinara Soup

1 chopped onion
3 large chopped carrots
1 crushed garlic clove
1 can Great Northern beans (or what ever you have) drained and rinsed
1 jar of marinara
2-4 cups of broth
1 cup of small sized pasta, shells, penne, macaroni, orchette. I used a combo.

Saute the onion, carrots and garlic in oil until soft, add the beans, marinara, broth and cooked pasta. Heat through. That's it! Whip up some of Nina's famous drop biscuits and you are all set.

Cheap. Fast. Vegetarian.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Every Father's Dream

Teaching your kids to shoot. OK. SO maybe the McBrayer Dad's dream. We walked in to good old Wally World to a mass of camo to buy bullets this past weekend and I realized just how long it had been since we had done it. I think we may have to go shoot some skeet sometime soon to get a fix.

Aeneas actually shoots just like this. Smiling, letting them rip just as fast as he can pull the trigger while smiling at the camera. I'm glad Daddy is looking in the right direction!

Patrick is beginning to learn how to aim.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Easy Way to Ruin the Day

No pictures Mom, I'm moping.

Bummer, Dude.

I've never seen a kid so excited about going to school. It's finally Aeneas's turn to begin doing things that he has had to watch his big brother do in the past. The night before, both kids put out their clothes for the next day and went to bed with smiling faces, especially Aeneas. And since he was sick his real first day and already starting a full 2 weeks after the excitement of Patrick's first day it was extra exciting for him.

So I woke up early to pack Patrick's lunch and Aeneas came out all smiles, ready for the day. He asked if I was fixing him a lunch too. I said no. Not this time. And that was the utter ruin of the morning. Thank goodness he perked back up once we actually got to school.

Now that's more like it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lasagna...the easy way.

Cook lasagna noodles.

Cut a couple of pints of cherry tomatoes in half and a couple of zucchini into half moons. Saute in olive oil the zucchini for a few minutes and add the tomatoes and garlic with 2 minced cloves of garlic. Season with oregano, salt and pepper.

When they are soft, layer cooked lasagna noodles + ricotta + veggies alternating twice. Top with a noodle, a dollop of ricotta a basil leaf and sprinkle with Parmesan!

Deliciously fresh summer fare.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wine, Music and Clean Hands

Justin says to Patrick, "Now before you begin to cook a good meal, you have to do three things. Pick your wine, pick your music and then wash your hands."

This picture looked delicious.

A month ago or so, Justin mentioned using this fall as the start to a new tradition of teaching the boys how to cook. We McBrayer ladies all know how blessed we are to have married such awesome cooks! Justin wanted to pass along the tradition.

We agreed that once a month was a good start. But holy cow, we are a week into school and it's the last weekend of the month already. So on Saturday morning, JP and Patrick perused through some cookbooks choosing some recipes that looked good. Patrick settled on none other than Seafood Primavera! (I am not complaining!) After a lesson on looking for things we already had in the pantry and compiling a list we were ready to go.

So we hoped on our bikes and rode down to the Farmer's Market and Albertson's to fetch the ingredients. It was fun to choose the freshest produce while listening to the music at the market and then to see JP schooling Patrick on where to find things in the grocery store.
He's getting pretty good with a cleaver and he still has all 10 fingers so far!

Grating cheese while listening to the "chill" mix on the ipod and sipping his "wine." Don't worry Nina and D, it's only coke!

Clipping fresh herbs from the AeroGarden.

Learning to saute.

Prepping the plates with shrimp and a basil garnish.

This afternoon, while Aeneas and I sat back sipping our wine and reading books, Patrick and Daddy cooked up the most delicious of meals. It was spectacular and most gourmet for the first try at REAL cooking for the little guy.

Setting the table.

Patrick's Pasta Primavera. And I'm thinking I may have him cook more like once a week in a few years.