Friday, September 12, 2014

Cheesy Cheesy

SuSu and Kristy came through town a few weeks ago on their way to move Kristy into her PhD apartment, so of course we took them up on their offer to meet up for a dinner. And where else do you go with two little girls in tow? Chuck E. Cheese!

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Gah the fact that she was running all around in these tubes makes her such a big kid...she couldn't even get up there the last time we were here!

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The girls roped SuSu into a dance party with Chuck E.

Crazy Like a Fox

Last month our sweet neighbors invited us to come with them on a Mary Poppins sing-a-long at the Fox Theatre, an Atlanta historic landmark. I had no idea what that meant but hey, Mary Poppins, so yes of course we were game!

The sing-a-long was at probably the worst possible time for us - 2:00-5:00 p.m. Which is essentially naptime. Great planning, Mommy! But tickets were bought and we were excited so off we went.

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The girls were SO excited for their "sprise" (surprise). And they knew their friends next door were involved so they were even more excited!

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Making their "Fox" signs.

The Fox Theatre is a very neat place. Our high school actually used to host their annual prom here, although Steve and I never attended together as dates (a major shortcoming in our relationship, I can assure you). It's always fun to get a chance to come back and experience this venue...I have a few fond memories of this place growing up!

The Mary Poppins sing-a-long ended up being a screening of the movie with all of the song lyrics shown on screen. It was actually really fun to watch the movie with a live audience behind it, especially as parents who have recently seen this movie at least three dozen times over the last two years. There were genuine chuckles, enthusiastic singing, and an energy unmatched by our dear living room couch.

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This is Anna and Rebecca touching up their "lipstick" in the Fox Theatre ladies' lounge.

The girls promptly started melting down about halfway through so we cut our losses and ran for it (leaving behind an embarrassing mess of popcorn), but the first half was so much fun and we are glad for Emily and Rebecca and their family sharing it with us!

Bubble-Up Enchilada Casserole

One of my favorite blogs in my reader is EmilyBites, and her recipes have been batting almost 100% with the family. A month or two ago, I ran across an updated recipe to one of her original recipes, called the Bubble-Up Enchilada casserole. Steve loves anything Mexican-food-esque so I gave it a whirl.

One of the best things about the EmilyBites recipes is the comment section. Emily's recipes are very adaptive and her comment section is always full of tweaks and additions and suggestions. I cobbled this version of the Bubble-Up Enchilada recipe from her recipe and the comment section, but really - this recipe has proven to be a great dumping ground for all the leftover veggies I tend to have in the fridge. Mushrooms? Sure, toss them in. Bell peppers? Yep! Onions? Of course. It's such a great way to clean out the fridge and to "beef" up this recipe without adding many calories.

Here is the original adaptation of the recipe that I came up with, although each time we make it tends to vary depending on what vegetables need to be used up in the fridge. Regardless of what goes in it, it's always been a win!

Bubble-Up Enchilada Casserole

  • 1 ¼ lbs extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (7.5 oz) can refrigerator biscuits, cut into quarters*
  • 1 cup shredded low fat Mexican Cheese 
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  * Atlanta folks - our local Publix only stocks these sized cans of biscuits in the 4 packs by Pillsbury. If you aren't overly concerned with the calories/Weight Watcher points, and your store doesn't have this size, then just get the closest-sized cans.

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I love to use my cast iron skillet for this recipe - truly a one-pot dish because you brown the meat, mix everything together, and pop it right in the oven.

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2) Cook the onion and the green pepper in a little bit of oil until almost tender. Add the ground turkey and the mushrooms, sprinkle in the cumin and garlic powder, and cook until the meat is browned.

3) Add the enchilada sauce, tomato sauce and black beans and stir to combine. Stir the biscuit pieces into the meat mixture.

4) Put pan in oven for 25 minutes (if you aren't using a cast iron pan, lightly mist a 9x13 baking dish and spread your enchilada mix evenly in there and then put in the oven).

5) Add cheese to the top and cook for 10 more minutes.

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I love to serve this with black bean refried beans and Spanish rice (and by Spanish rice I mean the Uncle Ben's stick it in the microwave Spanish rice, let's not be fancy here!).

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Hairy Situation

Anna has really been into "big kid" art projects, and was overjoyed when I bought her a pair of preschool scissors to practice with at home. She only was allowed to use them when I would sit down with her at the table, and we had multiple (MULTIPLE) conversations about how we only cut paper - not hair, not skin, not clothes, not Kingsley.

One day I was in the shower and Anna somehow managed to get into my desk area, procure herself a pair of scissors, and cut herself some bangs. So we can go ahead and knock that one off of the universal childhood bucket list!

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I shared this picture on Maddie's birthday post but this is the best picture I have of her "bangs".

I enlisted the pros to help me fix it, and took her to my hair salon. Anna was very entranced by Miss Mary and felt like such a grown-up. And my heart absolutely melted when Mary asked her how she wanted her hair to look, and she said "I want my hair to be pretty like Mommy's". Swoon!

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Mary worked wonders getting Anna's hack job blended and layered and blow-dried. Anna was totally intrigued with the wonders of the salon and keeps asking to go back. I am sure we will go back soon - Anna's bangs are growing out and she's currently in this sheep-dog phase where her hair is constantly in her face but she won't keep a hair clip in or let me put it in a ponytail. Thank goodness for Frozen
braids!
 

Play Days

We have been busy playing the last few weeks, trying to take advantage of the last few days of summer (an ironic thought here in Atlanta, where it will still be hot as hell for at least another month...come on, Fall!).

Here are some cute pictures!

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We hadn't been to Catch Air in probably six months, so I was blown away with how much better the girls could play here without my help. Maddie even climbed all the way up this slide, by herself! And they had a blast playing in the big jungle gym structure all by themselves. Anna showed Maddie where to go in the structure to get to the best slides - what a good big sister!

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Helping Daddy pick hops

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Our babysitter "Miss Janie" brought the girls these tiaras the last time she visited, and the girls have worn them almost nonstop. This is also Anna's new favorite dress - she picked it out at the store and it's been a serious struggle convincing her to let me wash it on a somewhat regular basis.

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Helping Daddy make pizza.

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The elementary school nearby has been installing new playgrounds, so of course we had to go check it out! These little spinning chair things were a hit with Anna.

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Picnic at the park

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