Friday, June 27, 2008

Smoovy Time!

I know, I know, everybody calls them "smoothies" - except in our house. I started on a smoothie kick, and Kelton would always ask if he could have a "smoovy" too...and so began "Smoovy Time." Smoovies are quite delicious, and it didn't take long for David to get hooked on them too. On most days, I typically find myself making about 2 a day, one for each of us. If you'd like your own smoovy, here is the basic recipe (and a blender is required!)

The Basic Smoovy
1 scoop vanilla ice cream (I use the Dryer's Slow Churned, but use what you like)
1 cup milk
1 banana, broken into pieces
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon olive oil (because its healthy, and you need it, and you CAN'T taste it!! I promise!!)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar if you need it a little sweeter. (I actually use the Splenda granule sweetener, if I use any sweetener at all. David likes to use about 1-2 teaspoons of honey.)
**Add it all to a blender, and mix until smooth.

And now for the fun part ~ the variations! I always keep (all frozen fruits, no sugar added) peaches, raspberries, blueberries, mangoes and pineapple. In my smoovies, I also add in 1 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup raspberries, and about a 1/2 cup of water. Yum! David likes to have mango and pineapple added to his, and the two fruits together usually adds about another 1 cup. If you add the extra fruit to the basic recipe, you'll need to add about a 1/2 cup of water to help thin it down to a drinkable consistency. Really though, the possibilities are endless. I've used orange sherbet instead of the vanilla ice cream, and that is delicious! I've also used strawberry-apple juice instead of the milk...You can use orange juice, mango juice, or pineapple juice; whatever you want. That's the fun of a smoovy - it's all up to you! There is no need for ice because you are using frozen fruit.

I love these things for so many reasons ~ they make a great breakfast or evening snack. Even if I only make the basic smoovy, I still get 2 of my 5 daily required fruits and vegetables, 1 of my 2 servings of dairy, and 1 of my 2 healthy oils. That's a lot packed into a smoovy! It also really fills you up, and keeps you full for quite a while. Ok, ok, I can hear it now about the olive oil...I swear, you really can't taste it, and it is a great way to get an oil serving. Have you ever just taken a swig of olive oil? I have! I'd rather get it in without tasting it...I'd rather have it in a smoovy!

So, there you have it - the basics for a great smoovy. Have fun with it, and enjoy it!

~a very different side of Jordan~

I'm not sure where Jordan got this trick; it wasn't from me. But ever since he started doing it, I've called it his Goofy Nose Trick. He has performed the trick for many people, and he always the gets that same puzzled "how did he do that?" look! And let me tell you, it can make Kelton laugh from the bottom of his toes! I'm not totally sure if its the face, or the noises that come with it...whatever it is, it's hilarious! It cracks me up every time!!!!! See for yourselves!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What's my thumb color?

Green thumb, black thumb, what color is Shannon's thumb? I guess we'll see, won't we?! I have a couple plants that my Mom gave to me, and I've managed to keep them all alive for the past 2 years. (Although, I'm still convinced that she gave me plants that are on the "It doesn't matter what you do or don't do to them, they won't die" list, but she says otherwise!) Well, I decided I should try to expand my number of real houseplants, and see if I could keep this green thumb streak going. So, I loaded the kids up in the car and headed off to our local nursery in search of the perfect houseplants. We had so much fun looking at all the different plants and trying to decide which ones to get ~ and I say "we" because the boys seemed to get into the groove and wanted to help and be a part of it all! Had I left Jordan in charge of picking, he would have packed up the entire Houseplant section and brought it home. Kelton, on the other hand, just wanted to carry whatever he could pick up. Since the plants weren't well labeled (they simply said "Houseplant, most like medium light and moderate moisture") I knew that I'd have a lot of research ahead of me to figure out what each plant was, and what its' special needs would be. I ended up calling Mom, the Plant Guru, and having her help me determine what treasures I had just bought. Well, I ended up at the nursery two more times getting a few more plants to try to round out what I had. I could honestly go back this very minute and buy more plants!!! I've really gotten into this whole thing! I will say that I've learned a lot, and still have a lot to learn. I bought a book to help me out, and I had to make my own little list just to keep all the care instructions straight! I took all the plants and placed them on the table and found places for each one based on its specific needs. Looks like I'm going to be needing that list for quite a while!! It's going to take me a bit for all of this to become second nature. I have to say, though, that the house just has a warmer, homier feeling now with all the plants. I wonder how long it will be until I find myself back at the nursery looking for something else to add to my house.....according to David, it will be sometime today, and I doubt my boys would complain!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fire and Smoke

If you have heard the news, California has a bunch of wildfires currently burning. Thankfully, there aren't any in our immediate vacinity. Unfortunately though, it has made the air quite unbearable. For the most part, the fire along the Solano/Napa county line is the one that has wreaked the most havoc for the Sacramento valley. Aside from the fact that it is smoke, and smells like smoke, it feels like we are in fog. Yesterday was pretty bad, so I took a few pictures to show you.

This picture is looking out our backyard towards the east.
This is in the canyon. For those of you who know where we live or have visited, it normally is a very beautiful sight. This picture makes that hard to believe.
Our famous foot bridge...
This is a picture of my normally most favorite view. It's back behind the Sizzler, if you have any idea where that is. If you have visited here, I'm pretty sure I've driven you by this to show it to you. On a clear day, you can see the snow-capped mountains in Tahoe. As this picture shows, you really can't see past those trees. I'm still not sure if you can actually see ridgelines, or if I'm seeing them simply because I know that they really are out there. Either way, the smoke is bad.

Today wasn't nearly as bad as yesterday was. We could still smell the smoke, but it wasn't quite so heavy. Weather wise, we aren't going to get any winds that will be strong enough to push the smoke out of the valley. So, until that happens (hopefully by early next week), this is what we get to look at....and smell.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Baby Blues

Last night I enjoyed playing with my new camera. I didn't really have a specific reason for taking the pictures that I did, but as I was viewing them on the computer this morning, I'm glad I took them. We all have blue eyes, but how different they all are!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Hope you all enjoy your day!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New style tattoo

One of the fun things Jordan's class did on the last day of school was to get temporary tattoos. He was quite pleased with his choices of a sword and skull and cross-bones on his right arm, and a treasure chest on his left. Because we don't often have temporary tattoos, I haven't made a huge fuss about washing them off. Maybe I should have............If you notice in my last post, the top picture of Jordan shows the treasure chest on his arm. I decided after being at the lake that it was a good time to take them off. Do you see where this is going yet?! Here are pictures showing his "slightly more permanent" tattoos.
Believe it or not, he really did have sunblock applied a few times while we were at the lake. Thankfully he had a life jacket on most of the time, so his whole back and chest didn't get red. Just the arms............around the tattoos!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summertime fun

Yesterday we did the epitome (in my opinion) of summertime fun. We spent the day at the lake with some friends and went boating, jet skiing, swimming and just had plain fun! The only thing missing from the day was a BBQ, but we've already discussed how to incorporate that next time we go! Believe it or not, it was David's first time jet skiing...and he's hooked! (It looks like we'll be looking for a pair of our own soon!) Since David had to work for the first part of the day, the boys and I went down early with everyone. Once we got everything set up, I took Jordan out on the jet ski...when I asked how he liked it, all he could say was "AWESOME!!!!!" I think he liked it! Kelton was perfectly content to splash in the shallow water and call that swimming. He didn't want to be any deeper than his knees! And if a jet ski was beached, he was even happier to be "riding" on it! He's still too little to really get to ride with us, so he didn't get that experience...yet. All in all, it was a fun (and exhausting) day! We can't wait to do it again! Here are a few pictures...
Grant was riding the jet ski, and just kept splashing the boys...and whoever was too close to the waters' edge. This specific splash got the boys, Tanya in the boat, and me standing on the shore taking this picture!

It really is beached, even though it doesn't look like it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Presenting.....Recipe Time!

This is a recipe that we love. Can you really ever go wrong with fried chicken?! And this one is definitely much healthier than true fried chicken.

Southern Oven "Fried" Chicken

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cornflakes, crushed
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (fresh cracked it wonderful)
2 pounds chicken parts, skinned
4 teaspoons canola oil or olive oil (I use olive oil)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray

2. Pour the buttermilk into a large shallow bowl. On a sheet of wax paper, combine the cornflake crumbs, flour, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the cornflake mixture, coating completely. Place the chicken on the baking sheet; drizzle with the oil. Bake 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over. Bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes longer.

****OK, here are my notes to this recipe. We like Tapatio hot sauce, and we add about 6-9 drops of hot sauce into the buttermilk and mix together. We use boneless, skinless chicken breasts - 4 of them - and we like the chicken coated, so I double the cornflake mixture. I drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil on each piece of chicken. Simple enough. Also, adjust the cook time if you feel the chicken doesn't need to go a full 45 minutes. I usually cook 15-20 minutes and then flip it and cook another 15-20 minutes...but that is just me!

Enjoy! Its sooooo yummy!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rocking Chairs...

It has always amazed me how various items can conjure up such detailed and specific images. Some of them can stay with you all the time. I love what comes to mind when I see rocking chairs. I picture warm summer days and glasses of iced tea (or lemonade.) I picture wrap around porches and sunsets. Sometimes I hear children laughing and playing. Sometimes I simply see David sitting to my side, slowly rocking, watching the world go by and wishing it would slow down. For some reason, the idea of growing old together has always included a pair of rocking chairs. To me, they represent love, a slower time, and a few less worries or cares.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Today's excitement

It took four years of us living up here, but it finally happened. Today I found a baby rattlesnake on the driveway, just off of the front porch step. I found it accidentally. Cash was out running around, and I was getting some really cute pictures of Kelton on the front porch. The next thing I knew, the dog ran across the street to bark (up close and personally) at our neighbor, Joe. I started to go get him and for some reason I looked down as I was about to step off the last step. Had I not looked down, I would have stepped right on it. I was barefoot.....and that just scared me to death! I sent Kelton in the house, and I headed across the street to see if Joe was comfortable with getting the snake. Of course I called D at work first so that I could get all of my "OH MY GOSH THERE IS A RATTLESNAKE ON THE DRIVEWAY!!!!" hysteria out of my system and, therefore, I appeared much calmer when I asked Joe! Go Me! Thankfully for me, he was willing to try out his skills in removing 10" snakes...and even better, he was successful! As long as it doesn't come back to life and crawl out of the plastic bag, I think we will be okay!

We've always known that there were rattlesnakes up here, and we've heard many stories of people finding them. But all of the stories have come from people who either live back by the 3rd gate where there is lots of open land, or they live in the next town over. We're in a more 'populated' area of Cool (not that its that heavily populated!) and it has much more of a neighborhood feel. I guess I let my guard down a long time ago when it came to the topic of rattlesnakes. I will be keeping a much more watchful eye from now on...................

I did get a picture of the little bugger, but it was blurry. So I have proof, albeit blurry proof, but proof nonetheless!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Can you believe it?!

Wow, so I have already beat my last record by merely posting a second time! Amazing - the bar was set really high! Haha!!

Let's see if I can go for three...........

Friday, June 6, 2008

Giving it another go ~ and no more school

Ok, so I gave this whole "blogging" idea a try a while ago. Make that about a year and a half ago...that's a while, right?! Or should I just a say "a long, long time ago"!? Anyhow, I'm giving it another go to see how I like it. I've always thought the concept was a great one, but it means that when I sit here at the computer, I have to do other things besides play games! I'm sure that everyone knows about my Picasa Web Album page, and that you have been keeping up with us thru that. However, sometimes I have something to share, but there aren't any pictures to go along with it. So keep up with Picasa page because I'll keep that going. But feel free to check out this one too - you never know, I may have something to tell ya!

On with the sharing...Today was J's last day of 1st grade. That makes him officially a 2nd grader now! I can't believe that he is 1) done with school, and 2) a SECOND GRADER?!!? So, here is a picture showing just how much he has grown up.

This is his last day of 1st grade (above), and below was his first day of 1st grade.

Can you believe how much he's grown up?! You should see the difference from when he started Kindergarten!!! As of right now, we don't have a single "fun" thing planned for summer vacation. D is tentatively taking leave the first 2 weeks in July. We'll see if his vacation is the "lounge around the house" type, or a "let's go somewhere" one. I have a feeling it will be the first one! After the vacation he had in May, he's going to want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the time off without a schedule. Like I said, we'll see....