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Thursday, April 17, 2014

birthday man

It was Brian's birthday the other day, and he spent it like any other adult does.  He went to work.  But, Fletcher decided we should surprise Papa by showing up at his work with balloons.  He's pretty much the most thoughtful boy ever.  So we did just that, and even took him out for a very fancy lunch at Jimmy John's.  Nothing but the best for Papa!  When I asked what kind of cake he wanted, he told me a Batman cake (he was joking).  Rowan insisted that a princess cake would make Papa happiest, but Fletcher thought a Dr Who cake would be the best.  What can I say?  I'm a people pleaser.
We all love you, Brian!  Hope your birthday was even a fraction of how special you are to us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

last snow (?)

It's that time of year when it is 80 degrees one day, and then the very next it freezes and snows.  I know it can be maddening for some (especially for those where the snow sticks!) but I just thought it was so pretty to see the snow against all the blossoms here!  I know, I'm crazy.  I think seeing that the rest of the week's forecast calls for 60s helps. Rowan and I ran out with my camera to catch the what just may be the last snow of Spring.  Rowan excitedly exclaimed, "I'm going to make snow angels!!"  But although she checked often throughout the day, the snow never did stick.  She was a little bummed.  Until I pointed out all the violets she could pick and bring inside.  Nothing cheers my girl up like a freshly picked bouquet!
Soccer practice was cancelled, pajamas were left on, the wood stove was reawakened, and hot cocoa made a reappearance.  But today it is sunny, and Spring seems promising.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

caramelized brussels sprouts + gruyere pie

Yesterday I was rummaging through our refrigerator and freezer to find a good, but quick dinner.  In other words, I was looking for a one dish wonder.  As I pulled out brussels sprouts, gruyere, and a forgotten pie crust from the freezer, I knew I might have something special on my hands, so I grabbed my camera and got to work!  Of course the proof would be in the (repeated) tastings.  I have made (and photographed) plenty of dinner makings that just didn't make the blog cut, but this is definitely not one of them!  Success!  And delicious success.  I had two more pieces of the pie for breakfast.  I am a firm believer that pie can be breakfast; sweet or savory.  If you don't agree, you just don't know better.

1 pound brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 T butter
1 T balsamic
1 T honey
1 t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded gruyere (or swiss)

1 pie crust, homemade OR store-bought

Preheat the oven to 425.  Thinly slice the brussels sprouts.
 Melt butter in large skillet, add onions and cook until just translucent.  Add the brussels sprouts, and cook on medium, stirring often to prevent burning.  Add the honey, balsamic, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the brussels are lightly browned, soft and fragrant.  The mix of honey, balsamic and cayenne makes for an irresistible combination of sweet, savory and spicy.  So, so good.
Set pan aside, and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Mix 1/2 cup of shredded cheese with the beaten egg.
Once the brussels are slightly cooled, stir into the cheese and egg mixture, and then pour into the prepared pie shell.
Top with the remaining shredded cheese, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  And then- ta da!  Isn't she pretty and browned and cheesy?  Yes, please.
Dig in!  I'm thinking about making this for Easter brunch.  Because pie for breakfast is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

trestle gawking

So in my last post, I said I'd share our "pretty view" pictures tomorrow.  I meant to say in 5 tomorrows. Yes.  That is what I meant.  On the last day of Spring Break, it was warm and sunny, so we all decided some exploring was in order.  There are a lot of rolling hills and beautiful valleys here in mid-Missouri. And not much else!  Brian found this old trestle bridge right off of Route 66, not too far from us to go check out.  It was built in the 40's to bring supplies to Ft. Leonard Wood. We drove to the overlook, and then got out to gawk at the valley below.  So beautiful!
 We found a cocoon that was jumping around, and it was fun to hold and feel the life fluttering inside to get out.
 Rowan was a little scared about walking the wall that overlooked the bridge.  I don't blame her, it made my stomach drop a little.  It wasn't a straight drop down, there was a sloping hill, so we weren't endangering our lives here.
 Fletcher, on the other hand, was a little daredevil, leaning far over and laughing when I gasped.  He's trying to shorten my life, I just know it.
 We drove around a little more and found this old wooden train bridge.  It was impressively large and intricate.  And I would not want to be any where near it when a train passed over.
It's always good for the soul to go explore a little.  And it's a treat to find special places tucked away just down the road from us.  Now that winter has surrendered, let the outdoor adventures begin!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

spring break bucket list 2014

Last year Brian was able to take a week off when the littles had Spring break, so we took a little trip, and made a list of all the fun things we wanted to do, and just added as we went along.  This year we had a bit more of a "staycation" so our list was more local.  I left my camera at home for most of our little outings, so I'm reposting pictures from Instagram here.
1. Go to the Capitol Building in Jefferson City!  The kiddos really love the Capitol Building.  I think it's the dome.  They love to go to the very top and look down, and then stand at the bottom and look up.  I kind of love that they love it so much.
2. Go to the Magic House (Children's Museum in St. Louis).  Where they both got to pretend they were President, among a million other fun things to do including a bubble room, construction area, and a beanstalk to climb that was 3 stories high!  We went with friends, and the littles really had a blast.
It also snowed the day we went to the Magic House.  They were hoping for enough to sled, but no such luck.  It was just a dusting that melted by the afternoon.
3.  After such a long day at the Magic House, we laid low the next day and the littles each painted a masterpiece for their bedrooms.  I even found some glow in the dark paint, so the paintings are even more fun at night!
4.  The next morning we made cookies for breakfast, and ate them with cocoa (coffee for me) off of our good china.  We felt very fancy, even though we were still in our pajamas!
5.  That afternoon we spent HOURS at the pool.  Indoor pool, of course.  It was chilly here!
Fletcher and Rowan are part fish, I'm fairly certain.
6. Brian took a half day last Friday and we all drove up to St. Louis to go to the Butterfly House.  I detailed that yesterday, but I can't say enough about how wonderful it was!
7.  And I detailed the carousel ride, too.  But here's my iphone shot!
8. The next day was warm and sunny, and we had friends stop by on their way to their home in Illinois from Branson.  So Brian made a big bonfire, and we all made s'mores.  We love our s'mores around here.  Well, Fletcher really only eats the chocolate.  And Rowan only likes the marshmallow.  I'm sure they'll get with the party line as they get older.
9.  On the last day of Spring Break, I told Brian that I wanted to go somewhere nearby that had a great view.  He found the perfect spot!  And I have real pictures that I'll share tomorrow from my camera.
10. On the way home, we decided to round the list out to ten with a trip to get frozen yogurt.  Froyo is always a great way to round out a list, if you were wondering.
And that was it!  It was long, and felt like it would never end, and then all of a sudden it was over.  I think that pretty much sums up any time you spend with your own kiddos.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

butterfly house

Sometimes I forget that I even "keep" a blog.  I really do.  Like for the entire 10 days my littles were on Spring Break.  We were busy!  And mostly it was just me and the littles, trying to fill the hours.  Honestly, I think we mostly played the week away, outside and in.  But we took a few special trips, including one with Brian to the Butterfly House outside of St. Louis.  We were so lucky to find that the Blue Morpho butterfly hatches in March, so there were roughly a thousand more butterflies in the house than usual.  It was just gorgeous to see them everywhere.  My camera lens immediately fogged up in the humidity, so that's why there is a hazy cast to all these pictures.  Soft focus bonus!
 Rowan tried so hard to sit still in the hopes of a butterfly landing on her.  But mostly they landed on me and Brian.  Rowan was NOT impressed with their choice.
 It was incredibly humid in the house, but such a lovely, peaceful atmosphere.
 I told Brian that if I could have a tropical drink in there, I'd stay forever.
 The littles were wrung out and tired by the time we were finished.  Did I mention the humidity?  Good practice for summer, though.  Fletcher perked up when we got back into the lobby area where there were a lot of critters and creatures to check out.  Like these massive cockroaches.  (shudder!)
 As we walked out of the Butterfly House, we spied a massive carousel across the way.  So of course we hurried on over to find there was just one more ride of the day left.  And we were the only ones on for the ride!
 Can't beat your own carousel ride.
I'll catch up on the rest of Spring Break tomorrow.  It was a fun week, and just a taste of all the adventures we're looking forward to when school is out!  Although I'm wondering if my sanity can keep up... I was ready for Spring Break to be over this week.