Saturday, June 28, 2014

Seven on Sunday: Summer Challenge Week 2

What a week!!!!! This week was really busy with "planned" activities. Brooke and Will had VBS at our church every morning this week and right after that, Will had swimming lessons all week. Not to mention tennis, football practice, an ice cream social, dentist appointments for all 3 kids and I met up with an old friend in Calistoga on Thursday. Did all of these "planned" activities stop us from doing things together from our Summer Challenge List? Uh...maybe!#whatwasithinking

Day 1: Sunday--Family shopping day at Costco...always a pleasure! HA! Yes, all three of them insist on sitting in the cart. You practically need a forklift to move the thing!

Day 2: Monday--While Brooke and Buddy were at VBS, Sarah and I got new Play Doh. You'd think it was Christmas when I told them! They spent at least an hour making all sort of different creations!


Day 3: Tuesday--Brownie making was on the agenda for today!

Day 4: Wednesday--By Wednesday, I was sooooo tired!!! So I thought tonight would be the perfect movie night!! Popcorn, pillows, The Lego Movie....well, Sarah went to bed at 5:30, Brookey wandered off after 30 minutes into the movie, I passed out cold after 35 minutes and Buddy was the only one left watching. Does this still count for the Summer Challenge? #epicfail

Day 5: Thursday--Thursday evening was the VBS ice cream social at out church. It was so cute hearing them sing all of their songs they learned during the week! Here are the kids with some of their besties from school and church. We are truly blessed to be part of this community.

Day 6: Friday--Oh, good Lord I was happy when 5pm on this day arrived!What a week! Friday we had VBS in the morning and all 3 kiddos had dentist appointments in the afternoon. Ughhh!! We stopped at Starbucks for a mid afternoon pick-me-up. Does this count for the Summer Challenge??!! #youbetitdoes #qualitytime,people

Day 7: Saturday--Saturday was flag football and track in the morning, then garage cleaning in the afternoon! The kids had fun riding bikes while Scott cleaned the garage! The day was topped off when Scott did the Ice Bucket Challenge to benefit a local Catholic High School. It was HILARIOUS! The outtakes are even funnier than the real thing! LOL! It was a real team effort to do this....someone always kept laughing, wandering around, screaming...or in my case, not being able to lift the bucket without cracking up! #familyfun :)

See ya next week!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Simple Spaghetti and Meatballs

Happy Hump Day!

Here's a great meatball recipe I put together that is simple, simple, simple, yet healthy and delicious! Even though I often make homemade marinara sauce, I have found this one that I LOOOOOVE!!! It the best store-bought sauce I've found and the ingredients are simple, no preservatives or things you can't pronounce.

I will make these "homemade" meatballs and pair with the store-bought sauce for a great semi-homemade weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Simple Spinach Meatballs

- 1lb ground beef (turkey, chicken, etc--as lean as possible)
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup thawed, chopped spinach
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt OR just salt and pepper
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients well (i use my hands!). Form into golf ball sized balls. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just cooked through. Add to marinara sauce and simmer for a few more minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta or on a hogie roll topped with provolone cheese! It really doesn't get much simpler than this :)XO

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seven on Sunday Summer Challenge Week 1!

We did it! Summer Challenge Week 1! Monday through Friday we were able to do at least one thing from our list! We had a lot of fun waking up and deciding what we were going to do that day!

Sunday: Day 1-- We spent Sunday celebrating THIS super special guy!!!! He's such an amazing Daddy so he spent the day grilling for himself!! LOL!

Monday: Day 2-- The kids and I took it easy on our first "official" day of summer. We hit up the library to sign up for the summer reading program, rode bikes and spent a lot of time outside. I even got a nap in! Ahhhh, summer!!

Day 3: Tuesday--We packed up and headed to our favorite Northern California beach, Fort Cronkite in Sausalito. We visited the Marine Mammal Center for the first time which was a great (free!) activity to add to our beach trip!

Day 4: Wednesday--Pool day once again! I love this pic...even when he's relaxed, he still looks stressed! Ha! He's been that way since birth!

Day 5: Thursday--Today I took the kids along with one of Will's preschool friends to Pixieland, a little kiddie ride park. We had a blast riding the "rides," having a picnic, going to the park and eating popsicles! Sarah loved the tea cups! Shocking :)

Day 6: Friday--It was hot today so we went to the store to find Otter Pops...much to our dismay, Safeway didn't have them :( So we settled for Sour Patch Popsicles. Yuck, as far as I'm concerned but the kids loved them! Clearly :) We just sat under the tree outside, got sticky and the kids rode bikes. Fun and relaxing :)

I have to add this pic to Friday, even though it's not a Summer Challenge pic...but it's super funny! Brooke and Will went to night VBS (Vacation Bible School) in our neighborhood for three nights this week. So for three nights, Scott and I experienced what it was like to have ONE kid in the house. Talk about WEIRD. Completely foreign. Anyway, Will is NOT the singy, dancy, praise-God-type kid but apparently (according to Brookey) he got up on stage and danced and sang at VBS. She about died of laughter when she told me. On the last night the kids performed for parents and sure enough, he sang and did the hand motions like a Southern Baptist! LOL! I had to take a picture to prove it :)

Buddy praising the Lord! Not a great pic, but you get the idea :)

 Day 6: Saturday--Although we're only officially counting the weekdays as "summer fun" days, we had fun on Saturday, too :) After a brief hiatus (one week??), we're back to Saturday sports. Brooke is doing Track Camp for the next 6 weeks and Will started the new season of summer flag football. He's with the big kids now and his team is the 49ers!! WOO HOOO!!!

The girls at Track Camp

49ers! Yay!

Ok, that was more than "seven" but it was a super fun week!! xxoo

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Orzo Salad

I'm a huge fan of mayo-based side dishes like macaroni salad, potato salad and this corn salad--it must be the Midwest in me :) But during the summer, mayo isn't always the best options for outdoor BBQ's and picnics. This orzo salad is the PERFECT summer side dish. It's mayo free, travels well and feeds a crowd. Plus, you can mix and match the ingredients any way you like!

This recipe makes a ton, so feel free to half it :)

Orzo Salad
1 box orzo, cooked to al dente
**1 jar of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, chopped OR 1 package of non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes (usually in the produce section)
**1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
** 1 cup of sliced kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped mint

** These are my go-to add ins for this salad, but add anything you like...cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, white beans, cucumber and bell peppers are all great, too!

Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside
2. Mix together remaining ingredients, toss with dressing and serve immediately. If packing and taking to a picnic, leave off the herbs and dressing. When you're ready to serve, tear the herbs and toss with the dressing.

Happy Summer!!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Will's Pre-K Graduation and Interview

Last Thursday my "little" boy graduated from Pre-K! Boy, was he happy! He was so proud to get his diploma! He sang, he danced--it was great! He had a wonderful year and had wonderful teachers. He's SO ready for Kindergarten!

Apparently, on the day they took these pictures, he wanted to be a race car driver. Lord help me. This page in the program reminded me of an interview I did with Brookey when she was about 3. I thought it would be fun to interview each kid every year either on their birthday or at the end of a school year. Here is Will's "Kindergarten" interview:

1. What is your favorite color? Gold
2. What do you like to do in your free time? Play with Legos
3. What is your favorite TV show? Ninjago Legos
4. What is your favorite food? Sausage
5. Who are your best friends? Mateo and Matthew
6. What do you want to be when you grow up? Probbaly a wrestler (what the heck??!)
7. What is your favorite drink? Apple Juice
8. What is your favorite thing to wear? Jammies
9. What is something you really don't like? My Little Pony
10. What do you think Kindergarten will be like? Good, awesome
11. What is one word that describes Brookey? Fast
12. What is one word that describes Sarah? Crazy

Here are some more pictures from the week....he was so blessed to have Teacher Tanya!

Getting his diploma

He had a great class....of mostly girls :)


Here is cute Madison, the girl who chased him around all year...

I love this pic of my sweet boys :)

This is really the best I could do on the group shot :) Will was about ready to lose it with me and my camera!

That's my son dancing..yes, DANCING at the end of the year picnic!

Kindergarten here we come!!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Seven on Sunday: Week 4

It was quite an eventful week, to say the least!!

Sunday: Day 1--We attended a mini reunion at church with everyone who went through RCIA. It was nice to catch up with old "classmates" and continue to see how God is working in their lives. The kids had fun running around the church courtyard. These are some of the crazy kids we see at church...oh yeah, three of them are mine!!

Monday: Day 2--96 degrees doesn't fly well with this Bay Area family!! We hit the pool right after school! This is what happens when they hand out free ice cream sandwiches!

Tuesday: Day 3--Last full day of school!! Brookey had tennis, so I got to hang out with these clowns. Sarah looks like she's having a deep conversation.

Wednesday: Day 4--Preschool Graduation!!!! Doesn't he look proud??!! Kindergarten here we come!!!

Thursday: Day 5-- Will's last day of Preschool. He was truly blessed to have Teacher Tanya in his life. She also taught Brooke in Kindergarten and her daughter is our babysitter! He had a great year but he's totally ready for Kindergarten!!!

Friday: Day 6--We said goodbye to one of our favorite priests who is being transferred to Seattle. He was with us at pretty much every big event that has happened in our church-life and at the kid's school. This pic was taken last year on our 10th wedding anniversary when we renewed our vows. He was a wonderful spiritual leader and friend. We will miss Father John Marie but plan to visit him soon in Seattle!

Saturday: Day 7--Celebrating 11 years, Napa-style!

 See ya'll next week for the first Summer Challenge Edition!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Rooney Summer Challenge!

It's official: SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUUUUMMMMMERRRR!!! Praise the Lord! Although having 3 kids at home all summer is not an easy task, it really is nice to have a break from the homework, events and just everyday stress and routine of school and work.

Yes, the fighting, bickering, dish-washing and diaper changing is enough to drive anyone batty but look, my kids are only this young ONCE. Summer is a precious time when we aren't bound by schedules and duties...we can just be together, enjoy perfect weather and be a little spontaneous. That being said,  having no schedule can also mean sitting at home on the computer or iPad all day OR getting so caught up in all the household chores and errands that the summer (and my kids LIVES!) are passing me right up! SOOOOO.....that's why we're doing THE ROONEY SUMMER CHALLENGE!

Each day that I'm home with the kids, we are going to do a little (or maybe big!) fun thing together. This doesn't count taking them to a class or dropping them off at a friend's house. This is a fun activity that we do together.

I didn't get a million "creative" (AKA: complicated!) ideas off Pinterest..i just asked the kids what they wanted to do--most of these are their ideas! I just threw in a couple of Pinterest ideas at the bottom because they looked fun and uncomplicated!

Here is what we have so far:

Play in the sprinklers
Go camping
Pool date with friends
Otter pops on porch
Make our own ice cream
Nature walk/look for bugs
Apple picking (late summer)
PJ and movie day
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
Oakland Zoo
Napa County Fair
Library story and activities
Visit Daddy in the City
Water balloons
Slurpees at 7-11
Hiking in Napa
Play Doh
Drive in movie
Pottery painting place
Sugar letters
Indoor camp out
Balloon ping pong (got from Pinterest)
Sticky spider web (got from Pinterest)

I'm calling it "The Challenge" just because sometimes it IS challenging to get all 3 kids out of the house or engaged in an activity that they will all like :)

I'll take a picture each day to document The Summer Challenge and it will be part of Seven on Sunday starting next week! Let the summer begin, people!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Taco Casserole

Taco casserole might seem a little 1950's, but it's a family favorite. It's also my go-to "New Mommy" meal. I have made this for SEVERAL of my girlfriends after they had their babies and without a doubt, they all ask me for the recipe afterwards! I think because it's universally appealing, so kids and dads enjoy it just as much as the mom!

It's also great because you can make it a day or two ahead and pop it in the oven whenever you're ready! Enjoy!

Taco Casserole

1 lb lean ground beef (I use 93/7)
1 small can diced green chilies
½ jar taco sauce (like the “Taco Bell” brand or similar)
½ package low sodium no-MSG taco seasoning (McCormick)
½ white onion
½ cup frozen corn
1-2 garlic cloves, diced (optional)
Salt, to taste

5-8 small corn tortillas
1 can refried beans (I like Bush’s the best)
Shredded cheese (Cheddar/Jack)
2 roma tomatoes (diced)
1-2 small cans olives, sliced
Scallions, chopped (optional, to taste)

Brown meat in a large skillet. When almost done, add green chilies, garlic, onion, taco sauce and taco seasoning. Cook 3-5 minutes until flavors are combined. Add frozen corn and stir until heated through (1-2 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat beans in a saucepan. Add a little water to thin them out to make them spreadable. Cut tortillas into wedges.

Layer casserole:

§  Tortillas
§  Beans (use most of the beans since there is only one layer)
§  Meat
§  Cheese
§  Tortillas
§  Meat
§  Cheese (tomatoes, olives, green onions--you can add these items after it comes out of the oven, too)

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly and melted. ENJOY!!!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Seven on Sunday: Week 3

Here we go again!!!

Sunday: Day 1-- Brookey and I had some quality mom and daughter time at Cheesecake Factory! I love spending time with each of the kids individually. You can really get a whole new perspective on them :) Love my sweet girl and love how she still wanted to hold my hand when we were walking!!

Monday: Day 2--It was chilly outside, so we busted out the paint and Sarah did her very first painting!

Tuesday: Day 3--Brooke started tennis lessons!

Wednesday: Day 4--My mom bought Miss Sarah her first Disney costume--Princess Anna :) She looooves it!!! She's might be a giant toddler who loves to ride a scooter, but she's definitely a girly-girl!!! Although this pic is more a cross between Princess Anna and the Bag Lady...

Thursday: Day 5--Thursday evening I met up with some girlfriends for a fun night a playing with Stella & Dot jewelry!!

Friday: Day 6--School was out at 12:15 and it was definitely a pool day!!Here's our selfie after the pool and Buddy's swim lessons. Sarah loves the word, "selfie." :)

Saturday: Day 7-- 11 years ago today I married my best friend. 3 kids and several wrinkles later, we're still in love more than ever. We'll celebrate next week, Napa Style!

We have a SUPER busy week coming up so there will be lots of fun "events" to post next Sunday!!! Hopefully I'll survive until then! Have a great week!!!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Stir Fry

I try to span the globe each week and cook something Asian, something "mexican", something Italian, etc. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. :) But on "Asian" night, this is the recipe I always think of first! I really need to start branching out on Asian night, but for now this is my go-to Asian meal. Although I typically stick with sugar snap peas, you can mix up the veggies any way you beans, red bell pepper, snow peas....YUM! The key to stir fry is the method, not the ingredients. I've made enough bad stir fries and I've finally figured out the best **methods** which involve 1) very dry, thinly sliced meat and 2) leaving the ingredients ALONE. I know it's called a "STIR fry" but "stirring" actually ruins it!

Beef with Snap Peas (adapted from Pioneer Woman)

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons of cooking sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated (or minced) ginger

Mix the above ingredients well and set aside.

1 lb flank steak, sliced as thinly as you can AGAINST the grain and patted with a paper towel until very dry (trust me, flank steak is the BEST and ONLY beef you should use in stir fry!)
Peanut Oil or Olive Oil
1 bag of fresh snap peas (or veggies of choice)
3-5 scallions, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Coat the bottom of a skillet with oil and heat until very hot. Add the snap peas in one even layer and LET THEM GET COLOR--do not touch them. Once they are browned on one side (30-45 seconds), give a little toss and remove from the pan.

Add a bit more oil to the pan and allow it to heat up--add the DRY meat in one, even layer. DO NOT STIR. Let it get brown for AT LEAST one full minute. Check it--it should be starting to get dark brown--once you see this, give the meat a quick flip...sprinkle on half the scallions, add the snap peas, crushed red pepper and sauce (it's OK to stir now!). Cook a minute or two until sauce thickens a bit and meat is cooked through. Top with remaining scallions and serve over rice.

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