Thursday, February 27, 2014

8 Months!

How is it even possible that the tiny baby that I brought home is 8 months old today?  Isla is amazing us everyday with her fast growth!!!  Here is a snapshot of Isla:
  • She would live in the bath if she could.
  • She thinks her big brother and sister are the best thing ever.  (However we did have our first sister fight!  Isla was not pleased that Madeline didn't want her playing with some of her toys)
  • I don't think C or M were nearly as ticklish as Isla is.  She also has the best laugh, it is a full on belly laugh.
  • She loves to eat, she even loves the gross mixed veggies.  She really loves to be able to pick up her food so I think she will be moving to that sooner than C and M did.  Keely is loving this stage and Isla occasionally gets the big slobbery tongue bath.
  • She is crawling slowly, and loves to stand up at the couch, her crib, or anywhere else it is possible.
  • Not shocking, but EVERYTHING goes in her mouth.  UGH, I am on constant surveillance mode to make sure legos, etc are not on the floor.
  • She says dadadadada all the time and if you ask where he is she starts looking for him.  She has a huge smile on her face when he walks in the door each night.
I could go on for a long time.  She is such a sweet baby and very easy going.  She gets toted around a lot to brother and sister's activities so she is a saint for putting up with the car seat and car rides.  WE LOVE HER SOOOOO MUCH!  HAPPY 8 MONTH BIRTHDAY SWEET GIRL!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Water Baby

Isla, LOVES being in the water.  She loves taking a bath, splashing and if she isn't in there she wants to be watching.  Big girl is loving standing at the couch and bath tub.  She doesn't last long, but I just can't believe we are at this stage already.  TOO FAST.  She will be 8 months this week!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Maddie isn't too much of a girly girl.  She hates if I mess with her hair and doesn't care too much what she wears other than she usually has a color preference.  Her favorite color most of last year was blue, she is on pink and light purple now.  This is probably a good thing since I don't take a lot of time on my hair or makeup either.  :)  That being said, Anna Banana and Uncle David got her boots and scarves for Christmas and she LOVES them.  She wears her boots every day.  Note to self, I am going to have to find some spring boots and then cute sandals for her or she may be sweating in these in May.  :)  

Maddie's Modeling!  :)




Monday, February 17, 2014

Don't Judge, it's a Blast!


(Bummer the Video wouldn't work)
I wanted to do this with cardboard, another Pinterest idea.  This was much easier though since I already had a twin mattress and two baby mattresses.  The kids love it and it is burning energy on another stay inside day!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Table Hammock

So I saw this idea somewhere, maybe Pinterest?  It is a table hammock made with a sheet and just tied.  It was a HUGE hit!  Good thing we have a kitchen island and a dining room because I may have lost my kitchen table.  :)  I love how it is the simple and cheap thing the kids love.  I have been trying to really remember that lately.  I got Maddie a Barbie puzzle from the Dollar Tree for Valentines Day and she loved it.  I have to say they are a great place for cheap stuff like that!
(I do recommend removing everything from the table.  I did that shortly after taking the picture.)
I am working on another super fun idea I hope to share next week!





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Madeline's Valentines Day Party

Madeline had her school Valentines Day Party today.  It is always so fun to help with these and I am very fortunate to be able to go.  The kids are always excited when I am there and it makes all the work/effort completely worth it.  We had fun having cupcakes, decorating hearts with cut out paint chips (great idea and CHEAP) and we also played some Valentines Day BINGO.  It was so cute to watch her go through her Valentines when she got home with Clayton.  She kept all the candy, expect smarties that she doesn't like.  She gave those and the Ninja Turtle cards to Clayton.  :)  We had a great afternoon building a lego helicopter, picking up the basement and playing super heroes.  Clayton (aka Batman)  Maddie (aka Batgirl) Isla (aka Wonder Woman) Mommy (Cat Girl) Daddy (The Joker)  That was according to the kids!  HA




Honey Spiced Glazed Chicken

Justin helped me out on this recipe.  I think if he did it again he would want to cook the meat on the grill.  I don't think the broiler was hard, he just is more comfortable with the grill.  He also said it would be good on wings.

Ingredients:
1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs (you should get about 8 thighs per package)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Directions:
1. Mix spices together and set aside.
2. Mix honey and cider vinegar and set aside.
3. Un-tuck chicken thighs so they are flat. Cover both sides in seasoning, set flat onto sheet pan. When all chicken as been seasoned put under broiler* (I put mine on low just so I don’t worry about burning the chicken)
4. Cook for 5-7 minutes on one side and flip. Cook for a 5-7 minutes on other side. Flip again and then baste the chicken in honey/cider mixture. Be sure to really get the chicken covered. Add to oven again and let it cook under the broiler for a few minutes until the honey starts to thicken up and glaze. It may smoke a little but this is completely normal.
5. Take chicken out of oven and let rest for a few minutes before devouring. You don’t want to burn your mouth with all that hot honey glaze!

Quick Pics

It is Valentines Day week which always means it is a busy time with parties, and things to do.  I wanted to get a couple of pics up and more later!  Happy Wednesday!
 

Keely sporting one of Maddie's bead creations.  She is such a good girl!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese Salad

I made this last night for Anna Banana and Uncle David.  I really liked it.  I would probably do less noodles next time, just because I like the veggies better.  You really could do all veggies and no noodles.  I also will probably wait until the summer to make it again so I have my own parsley and basil to use which will be a lot cheaper.  

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni or rotini pasta
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into wedges
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into wedges
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into wedges
  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced into semi-circles
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup whole cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
VINAIGRETTE
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf or Italian parsley
  • 1/2 packed cup whole fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup verjus  I didn't use this, since I didn't want to buy it.  I subbed with Red wine Vinegar
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water to remove sticky starches; drain well and set aside.
  2. Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray and add peppers and onion in a single layer. Roast in oven until just browned but not soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer peppers and onion to a large bowl. Repeat with zucchini and eggplant in a single layer, then tomatoes; once roasted, add to bowl with peppers and onion.
  3. Stir vinaigrette ingredients in separate bowl.  
  4. Add pasta and vinaigrette to bowl with vegetables and toss well to coat evenly. Top with cheese and serve.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Love the Weekends

So 2 months ago my weekends would often be full of cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.  Now we are relaxing a lot more!  (This is a great joy to Justin)  Yes, my work schedule helps with this a ton, but I have my cleaning down to a science now.  I have a weekly "chore list" and have all the cleaning, etc done in a Monday-Friday schedule so there really isn't anything needed on the weekends!  Another bonus, small toys.  I have anxiety about small toys, Isla choking of course is a concern but clutter makes me stress!  So when the kids entered this small toy stage (army guys, legos, Barbie accessories, etc) I was a little worried.  So what does this have to do with cleaning/chores?  I now have a Mommy bin in the kitchen.  If I find a toy on the floor, etc. it goes in my bin and the kiddos have to do something to get them out. This could include, setting the table, vacuuming their crumbs in the kitchen, emptying trash, getting something for me when my hands are full, bringing and sorting laundry etc.  It is working out great! :)  

Always have to post some cute pics!

Miss Isla playing dress up

Just being cute!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Hot Wheels


video
So I grew up with one sister so there were no "boy toys" in the house.  I didn't know much about Hot Wheels.  We got Clayton this Hot Wheels track for a gift sometime a year or so ago.  GREAT PURCHASE.  It was only like $20 or so.  It attaches to the wall so it is not on the floor like all the other million toys we have.  (It is only attached with those 3M removable things, so it doesn't ruin your wall, and you can just buy new strips if you need to)  Maddie and Clayton have loved it and they can put it back together if a piece comes off.  Isla now loves watching it.  I know I am always trying to think of inexpensive but fun gifts, so here is a great one!

Brown Sugar Meatloaf


Ok so I am not a food photographer and not everything can be super duper healthy.  This wasn't a horrible meal though.  Besides the meatloaf I made some fresh spinach.  I LOVE spinach, but not a fan of the frozen stuff.  I was at Hyvee and they had fresh spinach on sale for 99 cents a bag.  Great deal!  I just put a little olive oil and garlic in a pan, browned the garlic and then added the spinach until it wilted (about 2 min).  I put some pepper on it too.  (I was the only one that likes spinach in my house, I used half a bag)  So below is the meatloaf recipe.  It was AWESOME!


Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 package of dry onion soup mix

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (I had never bought these before, they come in a cylinder container and are very fine)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray your meatloaf pan.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ketchup and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Divide evenly among three separate bowls; set aside. (I didn't divide, I just used a 1/3 each time to save on dishes to clean) 
In a large bowl combine garlic, Worcestershire sauce, milk, eggs, salt, pepper, soup mix, ginger, bread crumbs and one bowl (1/3) of prepared brown sugar/ketchup mixture. Add ground beef and mix to thoroughly combine.
 Spoon one bowl (1/3) of prepared brown sugar/ketchup mixture into the bottom of the pan. 
Place the meat loaf into the dish. Top with remaining bowl (1/3) of prepared brown sugar/ketchup mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until juices are clear or until thermometer inserted into the loaf reads 160 degrees F. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Day Post 2

We had so much fun yesterday, I figured I would post some more pictures.  The kids were outside 3 times which was good since it is FREEZING here today and looks like it will be for a few days.  They loved playing in the snow "mountains".  That on top of a playdate meant bedtime a little before 7pm!  I also took all 3 kids to Hyvee, no big deal except I also let Isla out of the car seat for the first time, and let M & C each get a little cart.  It was hilarious and near stroke inducing at the same time.  At one point I said to them "you will not get your donut if you don't listen"  a fellow male shopper chimed in and said "Wow, that's serious, that's like saying I won't get my Miller Lite"  HA  Clayton only overturned his cart once.  I hope the donut didn't fall out, oh well he ate it.  


Keely had some fun in the snow, although she was more into short bursts of time outside followed by warming up by the fireplace

Isla's first time out of the carseat at the grocery store, she LOVED it.  She is a little nosy like her brother and sister.

Isla's face says it all, "Mom, you are nuts"

BRIBERY at its finest

What Mommy needed after shopping.  I have a new love, Gallo wine Merlot.  You must try it, even if you aren't a huge fan of red.  It is sooooooo good!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Puffs

Isla was introduced to the fabulous world of (not at all nutritious) Puffs tonight.  I justify them as a way to start learning the skills of self feeding.  They are also a fabulous distraction when mommy needs to make dinner.  As you can see Keely is just as pleased with this new step in Isla's life.  :)





Snow Day

Snow Day!  Well they waited until 5:45am this morning to call it, but no school today!  It is only 10:30am and we have already been busy.  I should be down stairs working out since the kiddos are at friends playing, but I am procrastinating and doing this first while Miss Isla naps.  I am hoping to keep everyone busy today and have some fun!  The kids always say funny things, but I am trying to be better about writing them down.  (Well mom is telling me I have to write them down:)
I love when the kids use adult words:

Maddie the other morning "Mom, I realized when I was in the bath that my bracelet was in the basket"

Ok, enjoy the pics, I am going to the basement.  :)

Our Winter Wonderland

A little toe sucking this morning

M and C have already been out while Daddy shoveled

Mommy and Isla stayed warm inside

Good news, Clayton is 100 days smarter.  They had a celebration at school for the 100th day of School.  He thought he didn't have to go anymore. Ha


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

My first recipe post.  So I am always looking for simple and fairly healthy recipes.  Key being simple.  There is nothing worse than a recipe that calls for 5 spices I don't have and will never use again!  So here is a yummy dinner idea.  You can see I did a few extra things to make it even easier!  Enjoy!

  • 2 cooked whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (Shred) (You can always buy a cheap $4 chicken at Sams or the grocery store and shred that)
  • 4 cups Cooked Brown Rice (I use the steam brown rice in the frozen section)
  • ¾ cups Frozen Corn (Again you can use steam corn, I'm lucky and have little bags of fresh frozen corn from the farm)
  • 15 ounces, fluid Can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt 
  • 4 ounces, fluid Can Green Chilis
  • ½ cups Salsa (I use something spicy)
  • 1 cup Low-fat Cheddar Cheese, Plus More For Topping (You can do less to make it even healthier)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with extra cheese if you would like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Most days I have these two staring at me in the kitchen/begging for food

These two are going to be best friends

Playing store on one of our snow/cold days with brother and sister


I can't believe that Isla is 7 months old.  She is changing and growing so much everyday.  She is a Momma's girl for sure.  (That may be my fault)  Who knew knowing you were having your last baby would make you crazy and throw out all the rules :)  She does love her daddy though and has a big smile for him as soon as he walks through the door.  Talk about rule breaking, he let her suck on a freezy pop one time and now if any of us have food she thinks she is entitled to it.  She doesn't have any teeth yet though, so she is pretty limited on options.  Thankfully, she is like her older siblings and loves all the veggie baby food.  Mixed Veggies seems to be one of her favorites actually, which if you ask me it tastes just plain gross.  I have been making some food for her; sweet potatoes, carrots and avocados.  I am not great at remembering milestones, I should go back on this blog and look when C and M started crawling.  Isla seems content to roll around to whatever she wants and with two full time helpers (C&M) I think she knows there is very little she really needs to do on her own.  Isla's hair is also looking a lot more red than the other two.  We shall see as it comes in.  Right now she loves taking baths, reading stories and just watching C&M run around!  She is just too much fun!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

More Time for Life


I am back!  I really thought about the blog and if I would do anything with it anymore.  Sadly, over the last year Facebook has just been easier to upload pics of the kids.  It is just not as fun though.  I stink at baby books etc.  So this has always been a fun way to capture moments, quotes, and memories.  I was also frustrated when I started using Pinterest and found great recipes, made them and then went back to do it again and the recipe was gone.  So I am back to the blogging world and have made it a goal to phase out Facebook for many reasons!

With the new year lots of changes have come to the Murphy house.  Of course we have a new little one Isla, who was born in June.  She is the best thing since sliced bread!  Everyone adores her.  I feel like I have always had family as a priority, but I have been able to really maximize this since January 1.  I had some changes in my work world and I am no longer working for Hussmann. (Full-time at least)  The last 3 years have been great working at home, but some of the hours I have put in on top of being a full-time mommy were crazy!  So with changes at work, I decided that I couldn't take a position that would have me in St. Louis a whole week each month.  I am now just doing some contract work for them here and there.  It is nice to still have my own "work" thing, but also SUPER nice to have more MOMMY time.  We have lots of moments like the pic above and I feel like I have a ton more control over my life.  So with that, I am back to blogging!

P.S.  I found a great little trick this week.  If you have a wood piece of furniture that has a knick or some of the varnish came off you can use walnuts and rub them over it and it almost makes them disappear!  Love it!