Saturday, June 19, 2010


Last night around bedtime snack (a nightly occurrence in our home, thanks to Gunnar), we came downstairs and into the kitchen to find THIS stuck to the back door's glass.

Meet Kermit, American Tree Frog. Have you ever seen/felt one before? VERY COOL, suction cup toes! This was our first encounter with one up close and personal....and now we know what kind of frogs have been making a ruckus in the back bog after the rains come down.

We're loving all the new critters found in these parts!

Just the other night the kids (and their parents) had their first brush with Lightening Bugs. We're not wise to the ways of Catching Lightening Bugs yet, but our friends and neighbors have given us some good tips, and we hope to be playing with them a lot more this summer!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Every Blooming Thing

I love hydrangeas, they are my favorite! In Utah, Chris planted two Endless Summer bushes for me...even though they didn't do so well in that dry, hot climate. I had to hand-water them most days in the summer to keep them from drooping, but it was worth it.

Our new house in Charlotte came with 2 already in the ground (among other things).
Big smiles!

Chris has been hitting them with Miracle-gro since Spring, and I finally found a vase that displays them correctly. 2 thumbs up for Ikea!

We also planted some hibiscus at our Utah house that I LOVED. They bloomed in July for a few weeks and I looked forward to it, short-lived as it was.

So, for Mother's day my cute family gave me a pink (with fuschia centers) Rose of Sharon, and for my birthday I got a white one with fuschia centers. I now have a little sunshiny corner of the yard that is all mine! And a sweet reminder that "they love me, they really love me!" LOL

They can eventually grow to 10" tall by 6" wide!

The best part about this variety is that they bloom incessantly ALL SUMMER LONG!

What are your favorites blooms in the summertime?

Monday, June 14, 2010

On a Date

The theme for the day: Kayaking!

Recently we joined a babysitting swap with two other families that have kids around the same ages as ours. Basically, we watch all 10 kids one Saturday, and get 2 Saturday 4 hour blocks in return. It's chaotic, but the kids really love it, and it's given us some time to actually have a date without the added expense of a babysitter. We've done dinner and a movie. We've done Sushi and Best Buy to shop for a new TV....and THIS time...we did something adventuresome, the kind of thing we love to do best. AND the other swap couple that wasn't in charge of the kidlets joined us! BONUS!

Do we look like we share 7 kids between us? No, I didn't think so either! ;)

We live a few miles from The US National Whitewater Center, home of the largest man-made re-circulating river in the world.

It also butts up against the Catawba River, where we practiced some Flat-water Kayaking.

Chris liked the off-shoots the best! We followed him everywhere, even to a septic smelling little corner of the river, where you had to practically lay back in your kayak to go under the pipe in the way....we turned around really fast though!

And because it's been a looooooooooong time since I've been kayaking, I didn't worry about my legs when applying the sunscreen, just like I do before a hike, except this time, I REALLY needed some. Owies. (at least I wasn't the only one) Chris says, "Take off your socks! Oh yeah, you already did. Chuckle, chuckle."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Menus

Today is the last day of school! Summer is upon us, and so is my favorite dinner season. As much as I love the cool crock-pot days of fall and winter, my favorite food comes straight off the grill!

It has been much too hot already to think about firing up the oven and so I'm starting to come up with some Summer Standbys.

I love a good cook-out, but I don't love red meat (in all it's artery clogging glory) so much. I've also never had a lot of luck with Turkey Burgers. The times I've tried them, they've been too bland, flavorless and/or fallen apart all over my grill. No bueno!

However, this time, I found a winner! And, I thought you'd like to know about it.

Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground turkey (I used 7% fat)
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • 1 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, seasoned bread crumbs, onion, egg whites (I used the whole egg, only because the yolk helps the turkey hold together much better on the grill), parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 6 patties.
  2. The preferred method is to grill these, but you can also cook the patties in a medium skillet over medium heat, turning once, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). We also added a slice of reduced fat swiss to each burger as they finished up on the grill.
  3. Serve with green leaf lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, and, if you roll like I do, homemade guacamole. (2 avocados mashed up, add a squeeze of lime, a dash of salt and a coupl'a tablespoons of fresh pico/salsa/tomatoes and you're golden).
What are your favorite Summer Standbys?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm PopUlar!

I feel like I'm finally coming up for air. My week of birthday started early this year. I got an email from a friend letting me know that a group of 35 ladies has purchased Wicked tickets together before I moved in, and someone wanted to sell theirs and go out of town, would I like it? The timing couldn't have been more perfect, the Saturday before my birthday. Chris has already seen Wicked, and I have wanted to go FORever! Early birthday present!

So, a smaller sampling of the group got together for soup, salad and breadsticks at the good old OG and on to the show! To say that I loved it would be a colossal understatement! It was amazing! I only wish I could've seen it with the original cast, including Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, or Guh-linda, depending on when in the performance we're talking about. That part was so obviously written for her!

While I was at the show and gallivanting with my girlfriends, Daddy was entertaining the critters on his own. He took them to the Latta Plantation and Raptor Center. They had a wonderful time, despite collecting multiple mosquito bites all over their bodies. They saw folks dressed in period wear, and got to see how a loom works, play old-time games, etc. Fun had by all, including Chris, who swears he was born in the wrong time period. How he wishes he could get up to a big breakfast, work the north 40, get his hands dirty and his brow sweaty for his living! (too bad I have no desire to be a farmer's wife, huh?)

And a few days later, my ACTUAL birthday arrived. Chris and Savi made the cake all by themselves, and it turned out delicious! We added whipped cream when we served it.

Chris and Gunnar picked out this fun wall sconce for me, it's now hanging over the fireplace! JUST what I needed. I also got some books from my girls (they know how Mommy loves a good read), birthday money from my in-laws (that I spent on some fun new summer clothing at Steinmart), a watch from my parents, a running magazine and magnetic measuring cups from one sister, and a sweet charm bracelet from another sister.

And, my biggest surprise, from my sweetheart, was a little blue box. The first of it's kind I've ever received. Inside, a gift card to Tiffany & Co. I think I'm gonna pick up this little number on a 20" chain later this week...

The kids got their faces painted at Sticky Fingers, the barbecue place where we had birthday dinner! It was a fun side-benefit to a fun night, that also hosted a torrential springtime downpour!
I feel so spoiled, and so loved. I don't get it when folks don't like getting older and would rather not even mention their birthdays. It seems the older I get (and the older my kids get), the more fun my birthdays are! My kids anticipate it so much, which is totally contagious. I am so grateful for loving and thoughtful family and friends who made this birthday extra special.