Thursday, May 30, 2013

School's Out for Summer!

Summer vacation has officially arrived for my kindergarten graduate!  This first week has been pretty hectic so hopefully we won't maintain this pace all summer.
I've said it before, but I want to share again how proud I am of Marlie and the year she has had.  She started the year in a PreK/Early 5s class at a church preschool.  She thrived there thanks to the environment and her wonderful teachers.  The second half of the school year looked very different though.  Our move from Georgia to Kansas meant she would be transitioning to kindergarten at an actual elementary school - K through 6th grade!
The first few weeks were exhausting for Marlie since she was in school from 8am to 320pm and she had previously just been going half days.  She enjoyed taking her lunch to school, eating in the cafeteria and even getting to buy lunch one day per week.  We were blessed with another great teacher who definitely helped her adjust.  In addition to her main classroom, Marlie loved having 'specials' each week like science, library, art, music and PE.
Although we weren't comfortable with her riding it both ways yet, we also allowed Marlie to ride the bus home from school in the afternoon.  She definitely enjoyed how this made her feel like a big kid.  (Luckily for me, the bus stop is directly in front of our house!)  Marlie also enjoyed going on a field trip to Ernie Miller Nature Center, participating in the kindergarten music program, having field day and showing off her talent of hula hooping in the school variety show.
I think I'll always be nervous about her being the youngest in her class, but she makes me look silly for worrying.  One staff member at school told me that Marlie is definitely a leader among her peers.  When we had our parent-teacher conferences at school, I was pleased to learn that Marlie is reading at a 2nd grade level and her teacher considers her to be one of the top 3 readers in her class of 21.
I'm so glad that Marlie will be able to stay in one state/school/class for her first grade year, and I can't wait to see how she continues to thrive!

First day of school (August 2012)

Last day of school - May 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Berry Super Smoothie

My breakfast of choice seems to always involve bread or a pastry of some kind.  Overall, I'm a pretty healthy eater but I've been in a breakfast slump lately.  Those who know me well can tell you how much I love frozen drinks like smoothies and icees/slurpies/whatever you want to call them.  I finally got intentional about coming up with a healthy breakfast that I could look forward to.  Enter my Berry Super Smoothie!

Here are some of the basic ingredients I like to use.  Obviously you can substitute or use more or less of something according to your taste.  My typical smoothie includes:

1/2 to 3/4 cup 2% Greek Yogurt
1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 to 3/4 cup spinach (I have been using kale some lately)
1 Tbsp local honey or sweetened coconut
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1/2 to 3/4 cup orange juice

Just throw it all in the blender and puree.  Even my girls love sneaking sips of my smoothie!

Here is the approximate nutrition info for the smoothie using the 1/2 cup measurements.

Calories: 282
Carbs: 31
Fat: 7
Protein: 17
Sodium: 38
Sugar: 21

Some of the biggest benefits of this smoothie can't be found in the numbers above.
Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium and probiotics, which improve your digestive health and immune system.
Frozen berries are a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Spinach also provides you with many great antioxidants including those that fight cancer!  One cup gives you more than your recommended daily allowance of vitamins K and A, and almost all the manganese and folate you need.
Local honey, when eaten daily, is known to help with seasonal allergies.
Ground flaxseed meal is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, lignans, and insoluble and soluble fiber.  These components may be able to help protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation and hot flashes.
Orange juice is another great source of Vitamin C and can protect against inflammation, improve diastolic blood pressure and decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Redleg Knits

In my free time, I love to knit and crochet.  Here are a few of the items I have made in the past.  If you are interested in a scarf, hat or dish/wash cloths, please let me know.  Prices of items start as low as $5 but vary due to the yarn used.  I would love to create something for you!  Email me at  to learn more. 

Infant Beanie

Newborn Hat with bow




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mothers Day 2013

With the school year coming to a close, things have been BUSY around here!  I usually try to write a quick blog post during nap time, but most days lately I have been needing to get other things done.  I mentioned our race on Mother's Day in a previous post, but wanted to share about the rest of our weekend.
I guess Mother's Day is supposed to be about honoring mom, but to me it's more about celebrating being a mom to my children.  Even though some days as a stay at home mom can be long and tough, I am so thankful that I get to be here with my girls and see how they grow and change everyday.  People often say they wish their kids were still babies, but I don't feel that way at all.  I love each stage my girls are in even more than the one before it.  It all sounds cliche, but my daughters bring me so much joy and I feel beyond blessed to be able to raise them.
In addition to it being Mother's Day weekend, that Friday was also Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Bryan surprised me with some beautiful Gerber daisies.  I actually couldn't believe he even knew that it was a day to honor military spouses.

After the run on Saturday, Marlie & I had an appointment to get pedicures.  She loved feeling like a big girl and I enjoyed being able to spend a little special time with her.  After our feet were pampered, we walked around in town a little bit and got ice cream.  For dinner we all went to a local sushi restaurant that I've wanted to try since we got here.

Even though Bryan & the girls treated me to a lot of nice things on Mother's Day weekend, the only 2 requests I actually had were to sleep in on Sunday and get a picture with the girls before church.  I'm always the one behind the camera and I feel like I never have a picture taken of the 3 of us.  The picture  almost didn't happen because we started running behind a little bit.  Thankfully, we were able to squeeze in a quick photo!  

On Sunday night Bryan made us one of my favorite dinners -  burgers and Bacon Cheese Fries.  It was a delicious ending to a great weekend!  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Running for Children & Chickens

Bryan & I both love participating in races.  We've done 5ks to full marathons and a sprint triathlon.  Not  that she needs to be any more active than she already is, but we are so glad that our love for exercise has had a positive impact on Marlie.  She has been saying for months that she would like to participate in a race and we have promised her that we would find one that she could do.
A friend from church recently offered me entrance into The Global Orphan Project Family 5k.  I haven't had a chance to do a race since we got here so I jumped at the chance.  I was even more excited about the race when I learned that they also had a half mile kids fun run!
After we completed the 5k, the kids took off on their run.  They all received a free medal and Marlie was so proud to have one to go along with the collection that Bryan & I have acquired.
The race was held at English Landing Park in Parkville, Missouri.  Parkville is a super cute little town and once we could finally drag the girls away from the playground, we picked up some goodies at their farmers market.  I would definitely recommend this race to families that are looking for one to do.  It was stroller friendly and in addition to the playground, they had bounce houses for kids.  I think one of my favorite parts of the race was the free Chick-fil-A breakfast for the runners!

M was working SO hard!

The girls were proud of their medals

E had fun running around and playing on the playground

We had a great start to Mother's Day weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bacon Cheese Fries

Cheese fries are one of my favorite foods.  On the rare occasion that we eat at a chain restaurant, I usually order a salad and cheese fries.  When I came across this recipe from Oh So Delicioso, I knew I had to try it right away.  I fell in love.  Bryan offered to cook dinner for us last night for Mother's Day and asked me to choose the menu.  I'm sure he was relieved when I requested a meal as easy as hamburgers and these cheese fries.  Some of our friends think Bryan makes the best hamburgers and he was on his game last night.  This meal totally hit the spot!

The perfect burger (topped with mayo, lettuce, cheddar, pickles and ketchup) and some amazing bacon cheese fries!

Bacon Cheese Fries
4-6 potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
seasoning salt

Sour Cream / Ranch sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1/4 cup green onions

Cut potatoes into fries.  Place in a large ziplock bag and pour in olive oil.  Gently shake bag to coat fries.
Place fries on a foil lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with seasoning salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix sour cream, ranch dressing & milk.  Smooth out 3/4 of the mixture on a large baking dish.
Place hot fries in baking dish on top of sour cream-ranch mixture.  Drizzle remaining mixture on top of potatoes and sprinkle with toppings.
Place under broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sporting Kansas City

Growing up in Georgia, soccer was never on my radar.  Bryan played football, basketball and baseball.  I played softball, basketball, tennis and cheered.  Soccer wasn't even offered in our area.  Now that we have kids of our own and have lived in other states (and another country), we've been exposed to soccer a little more.  We still don't know much about it, but we love sports enough that we are trying to figure it out.
This past weekend, Marlie & I went with some friends to see our first professional soccer match.  Sporting KC is Kansas City's very own professional soccer team.  When we arrived, there was a small activity area for kids.  Marlie jumped on an inflatable and got a free t-shirt (that looked more like a dress) that she put on immediately.  We found our seats just in time for the game to start!  Apparently the pregame excitement was a little less than normal, but we thought the blue smoke & "I Believe That We Will Win" cheer were both fun!

You can't go to a sporting event without partaking in the stadium food!  
Marlie's picks for the day were a green slushie and cotton candy.  
I stuck to a cherry lemonade.  

I don't think she watched 30 consecutive seconds of the match.

But the kids had LOTS of fun celebrating when KC scored!  
"We" won 4-0 & Marlie loved it all 4 times they sprayed blue confetti!

 The kids were still wide open after the match!  
Marlie is the only one that has never played soccer, 
but I think this exposure to the sport helps her get excited about trying it out in the fall.

We had a fun time watching Sporting KC!  
I hope all 4 of us can go back so Bryan & Emma can experience their first professional soccer matches.  Maybe before we PCS again, we might even know a little bit about soccer!  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Roast Sticky Chicken

You know those yummy looking warm rotisserie chickens that tempt us at the front of every commissary (or grocery store)?  You can make your own at home and it's almost as easy as picking one up at the store!
Roast Sticky Chicken is another one of our favorites that Bryan & I have been making since we were first married.  You can prep it the night before and then throw it in the oven for a few hours before you want to eat.  It has such a great flavor yet it's "healthy" and perfect for those who prefer to eat Paleo (or related meals).
Our family has our own funny way of eating our chicken too!  Marlie always gets a leg, Bryan eats a thigh and/or wing and ALL the skin and Emma & I eat whatever they don't want.  If we still manage to have some leftovers, those get made into some chicken salad the next day!  How does your family eat a whole chicken? ;)

Roast Sticky Chicken - Rotisserie Style
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 5 hours
Ready in: 9 hours 10 min
Serves 8

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 onions, quartered
2 (4 pound) whole chickens

In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

In case you haven't heard, this is Teacher Appreciation Week.  I've always done a little something for Marlie's preschool and pre-K teachers, but it's usually at the last minute.  This year I would like to put forth a little more effort to do something before the end of the year to acknowledge Marlie's teachers and some of the school staff.  It would also be great if we could figure something out for Marlie's teachers that she had for the first half of the year back in Georgia.
The internet is so great for sharing ideas so I would love to hear what you think about Teacher Appreciation.  If you're a teacher or part of a school staff, what are your favorite gifts to receive?  If you  will be showing your appreciation to a teacher, what are your favorite gifts to give?

Like so many other military kids, Marlie split her kindergarten year between 2 different schools and amazing teachers! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sears Military Family & Friends Event

If there is one department store where I would choose to spend my money, it is definitely Sears.   When there is a particular item that I am looking to buy, I will usually check to see if Sears has it.  I am happy to give them my business because they are such great supporters of veterans and military families.  I have a couple of posts on my old blog about Sears' commitment to military families and you can learn even more on their website.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, I'm excited to share this great deal from Sears. On May 5, Sears is having its Military Family & Friends sale where all military members and their families can shop and save 15% off their purchase, or get 25% in SHOP YOUR WAY REWARDS ℠ Points added to their account. And, with Mother’s Day about a week away, it’s a perfect opportunity to get that hero in your lives what she loves. Here are some great options:

·         Canon ELPH camera is $129.99 (reg. $169.99)
·         1-cttw stud diamond earrings are $329.99 (reg. $989.99)
·         Covington® sleepwear for her is 40% (reg. $26-$40)
·         TIMEXArmitronRelicBULOVA and other branded watches are 25% off
·         RCA 42” 1080p HDTV is $379.99 (reg. $499.99)
·         Laura Scott™ sweater cardigans - $19.99 (reg. $42.00)
·         Joe Boxer® sleepwear for her is 40% off at $8.40-$12 (reg. $14-$20)
·         Diamond mom ring (SS 1/20 cttw) - $99.99 (reg. $349.99)

Can’t make it on Sunday? Shop these deals online at May 4, from 8 p.m. CT – May 7, at 7 a.m. CT!

SHOP YOUR WAY is a free, Members-only program and shopping community that offers rewards, personalized deals, product reviews and services like e-coupons and e-receipts for faster returns and exchanges – join at