Friday, May 29, 2009

Memory Queen

We started working on the Lord's Prayer just over 2 weeks ago & it didn't take very long for her to learn it! 95% of her practice has been while she is sitting on the toilet....but since taking a video of that would be 100% inappropriate....she agreed to let me video her tonight. She is so excited to say it with the congregation in church this Sunday. Way to go Sofia, we are so proud!
video
She had a very short pause & I thought she needed a reminder......bad idea Rach. "NO! I can do it by myself!!" I don't need reminding that Sofia is now 4 & likes to do things on her own. What shall we tackle next? The Gettysburg Address?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Snapshots

Sock Puppets!
A fun birthday project from the Hassenriks.


Sofia got a Snuggie for her birthday from Uncle Mike.
A little big right now....she LOVES it.
I didn't think we would ever own one of these.
Never say never.


Preschool Field Trip.
Sofia is top row, third from right


Ummm....can Stella wear a bike helmet all the time? Please?


Stretch those legs!
At least she doesn't have her hands in the toilet


Stella, I just love your long flowing hair....


Something tells me that soccer will be a good outlet for her....so long as she can eat chalk during her warm-up.


What? These aren't climbing blocks?


Nice jump Fia


The girls love daddy time

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pet Peeve #21

The Straddler
Last Friday I went to Meijer to run some errands & saw this. I hate when people do this. I simply can not accept that they honestly believe their car is that awesome to deserve 2 spots. I once saw a man do this when I worked at the bank, but it was with his cherry red Ferrari....and it was on the side of the building away from everyone else....totally valid. But this? Apparently this owner did not get the memo that their Dodge Caravan is not worthy of 2 spots. I'm not harping on vans...because I am a proud owner....but I also don't feel entitled to 2 spots. Please don't ever be this person...unless you suddenly become the owner of a Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce or something comparable....and then you can let me take your car for a joy ride.



The Back-Inner
I also hate when people unnecessarily back into parking spots. Sometimes I pull into a space & the next one happens to be free so I pull forward into that spot. I have no patience for people who take extra time awkwardly backing into a parking spot Austin Powers style throwing their car from Drive to Reverse 30 times.....especially if there are other cars waiting for them to finish. Sure, no one else has anything to do....just go ahead & take your merry stinkin time....because my time is completely worthless.....& go back to driver's training!!


I can't believe this man's patience. I still can't watch this video without getting completely annoyed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicago!

This past weekend Peter & I made a long overdue trip to Chicago to visit some of my best friends, Megan & her husband, Stephen. Megan & I met during my short years at Butler. Despite living in different cities, we remain close because our friendship does not require "maintenance." We will go for months without talking & always pick up right where we left off.

More exciting is that this was the first time I met their son, Calvin. Megan & I have decided that Calvin & Stella will marry & then we'll be the poster United Nations family. And no, they do not usually wear matching clothing.

Peter & I woke up at 5:30am on Saturday & were on the road by 6:00am to avoid traffic....it worked.....absolutely no traffic & a full day ahead of us! We began our day by walking down to a local bakery to get the most delicious rolls & pastries on earth. Everything that is fantastic & wonderful has been packed into these delightful treats. I wish the picture of this wedding cake did it justice.


Ham & Egg stuffed rolls?!? Soooo delicious!


Then we stopped at the neighborhood park.


Stella insists on doing the parts that require us to lift her


They live only a few blocks from the beach!! It was awesome. The weather was perfect. Calvin got extra sleepy at the beach because the sound of waves usually lull him to sleep on his sound machine.


Stella was very suspect of the sand & water between her toes. But Sofia was there for moral support & encouragement.


It didn't take her too long to decide that the beach & water are awesome.


She loved the waves!


In retrospect.....I think wearing bathing suits would have been better. I didn't think it was going to be so warm. :)


The waves kept washing away her letters.


Stella ate sand....then kept trying to get it out of her mouth with her sandy fingers.


I should have helped like a good mom.....but for some reason I found myself just laughing at her & taking pictures....I think Peter had it handled.


On Sunday, we borrowed Megan & Stephen's bus passes & headed to Lincoln Park Zoo because it was something fun to do & it's free!


Stella's favorite were the lions. She kept roaring.


And of course.....the city. Peter loves big buildings & big cities.


It was an exhausting few days. Stella is not a very good sleeper in strange places or in the car. This sums up how she felt on Sunday before we left.


We left Sunday evening & headed up to Muskegon to Peter's cottage on Lake Michigan.


Stella has only slept in the car a few times. Of course, she slept the whole way to Muskegon & then was wide awake till wee hours of the morning.


Thanks again Megan & Stephen! We had so much fun & can't wait till our next visit.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a staple of our meals. I really like this recipe because it is flexible, easy, fast, & yummy! You can easily cook the chicken ahead by grilling it, sauteing it, or even boiling it. I cut the sauce portion in 1/2 & it feeds 2 1/2 people.....me, Peter, & our girls.

I almost always make it with broccoli, but I have also added zucchini & it was delicious. On this particular occasion, I added cashews, & sesame seeds.

Ingredients:
  • Cooked chicken cut into small pieces
  • Cooked vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, pea pods, whatever strikes your fancy)
  • Rice (I've used brown rice too.....but Peter prefers white rice)
  • Optional - cashews, sesame seeds, bean sprouts (for crunch)

Sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp white wine or dry sherry
Directions:
  • Cook chicken (however much you think your family will eat)
  • Cook vegetable & set aside on paper towel.
  • Cook rice, set aside
  • Mix sauce ingredients, set aside
  • Add chicken to wok (or saute pan) with a little oil
  • Once chicken is warmed, then add sauce
  • Stir sauce in hot pan until it just starts to thicken
  • Add vegetables & stir until sauce is thicker veggies are warmed
  • Pour over hot rice & serve immediately

And now the step-by-step part.....

My beginning ingredients:
I've already started boiling the broccoli. I used two medium sized heads for our family....put in a pot with cold water. With the lid....I think it was about 12 minutes (on my stove with my pans) from start to finish.


I always strain it, run cold water over to stop the cooking & set aside on paper towel to absorb extra water. If you don't do this, then too much water gets in the sauce & it won't thicken. I have also cooked the broccoli earlier in the day & kept in the fridge until I needed it.


The Basic Ingredients
I used chicken I grilled from earlier in the week. Click HERE to see the grilled chicken recipe. You could also saute it or boil it. Click HERE to see boiled chicken from my enchilada recipe. And yes, I use instant rice because it's so much easier. If you want to be overzealous & spend 30 minutes cooking brown rice.....go for it. I've done that too....it's usually not worth it.


The Sauce: Ingredients
* I like cayenne pepper to give ours a slight kick....this is optional *


Pretty simple, just measure, mix, & set aside


The Final Steps
Heat oil in large wok (or skillet). I used olive oil, but sometimes I use peanut oil...which give it a nice flavor.


Heat chicken....stir constantly to get even heating


Then I added cashews & sesame seeds. I did 1 Tbsp of cashews for each adult & a few shakes of sesame seeds.


Add sauce, stir constantly. Once the sauce just begins to thicken....add broccoli. Once the sauce hits a certain temperature & begins to thicken....it goes from very runny to a thicker sauce very quickly.


Add broccoli & stir till broccoli is warm. Adding the broccoli always adds very small amounts of water....which slows down the sauce thickening step....which allows time for it to heat up in the pan.


Stir until sauce is thickens


Pour over rice & enjoy!


* Fresh lime juice is an excellent addition, especially if you added red pepper or hot sauce *

Sofia Graduates

I am not one of those people who think we should make events for non-event happenings....the ones that celebrate mediocrity & ultimately lessen the excitement when something or someone is actually awesome.....but I digress. That being said, I admit that I was happy to attend Sofia's preschool graduation. All they did was sing a couple songs & pass out certificates.

Outside School: St. Mark Lutheran School & Preschool


Sofia nervously held her dress about 85% of the time....such a lady.


She was the flower


The certificate & her teacher Miss Stacie


St. Mark Lutheran School & Preschool is attached to our church. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to send Sofia to this school so she can continue to learn about God's love. Last week we were in the car & after a long time of silence she randomly said, "Mom, you never have to worry because you always have Jesus with you because he is in your heart." What a wonderful reminder. Thanks Sofia.
 

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