Friday, December 14, 2012


My little ballerina turned 3 last weekend, and I just had to shout about it.   We started off the morning with hugs, kisses and donuts.   Then we let her open a few family gifts (mostly because I knew her Aunt Lynn had sent her some tutus that she could wear to her party).  We then rushed upstairs for one of the more effortless mornings to get her dressed.   
Her new tutu's from Aunt Lynn

 I then set everything out for her Ballerina party including:

*Fancy wine glasses for their Fruit Punch (found at the DOLLAR STORE) 
*Pink Pretzel Wands (Pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar crystals)
*Cotton Candy (Wrapped in scrapbook paper cones...also found at the DOLLAR STORE)
*Sliced Strawberries
*Peppermint pink swirled marshmallows (TARGET)
*Pirouettes (DOLLAR STORE)
*Ballerina cupcakes (just a toothpick/wrapper set I found at TJ MAXX) 
*Pink Lilies (that are STILL going strong...$5.99/Whole Foods) 
*Free"Hello Kitty Ballerina" print off
*The makings for a "fairy wand" (I found it all at HOBBY LOBBY)
*Tutus for each of the party guests made like THIS.  If you don't know how to sew (or don't want too) I have heard great things about THIS method.  (Again, I found it all at HOBBY LOBBY...@ Christmas they have 10 yards of tulle on sale for $5!)
*Every wall mirror stripped down and laid on the floor so the girls could dance in front of them.
*Ballerina books checked out from the library scattered throughout the party. 

 Once the party guests arrived, they went right to work making their fairy wands.   We wanted to make sure they were dry for our dance party!  

K's dad thought it was easiest to finger paint the rod...he was right!

Anna crying over a hang nail (that she is still nursing)

Daddy finally calmed her down so she could make the perfect wand.

The girls dancing with their wands and tutus.

E teaching Anna a cool new dance move.

Eating cotton candy and punch.

Blowing out her candles on her birthday cupcake.

Super happy (and pumped with sugar).

Waiting to open presents.

Opening "fairy dust" from Miss Rachel.

Loving the gift opening. 

Below is a video of Anna with her friend "K" just dancing and singing while we cleaned up.   This is pretty much how Anna likes to spend her days...we still have the mirrors down for her enjoyment : )  
Happy 3rd birthday my little ballerina!  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Magical Getaway: Final Farewells


Day 6:  Unfortunately the night before I caught some sort of stomach virus (in which Todd caught 24 hours later) so we had to stay on the ship at the Cozumel port.  It sounds like they had a great time soaking up some rays,  seeing a pirate ship, seeing a movie in the on board theater and hanging out with my parents.   

Day 7:  So we may have been too wiped to take pictures : )   With Todd being sick and me recovering the kids spent some time in the Oceaneer Lab and the Oceaneer Club on the last day and really seemed to enjoy it (Eli didn't want to come out each time I went to check on him).   We then decided to skip dinner* and see the Final Farewell Show and I'm glad we did.  Both kids were in awe, and Anna kept on saying, "WOW".   
*That was the one problem with our kids ages...we never had time for the night activities because they were always passed out...and so were we!

All in all, we had a MAGICAL time and made many memories.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!!   

P.S. If this wasn't enough, my mom also did a more thorough series of blog spots found: 



(I told you she was more thorough...) 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Magical Getaway: Day 5


Day 5: Our second day off the ship found us at the beaches of Costa Maya.  We decided to go rogue this day and go of the beaten path.   We found a taxi and headed to the restaurant Tropicante where they served great food and drinks at great prices with free lounge chairs for us to enjoy on their slice of the beach.  This is by far the least expensive way to see the beach!!!  This was Anna (and technically Eli's) first time experiencing the beach.  They loved was hard to even tare Eli away.  That night we ate dinner at Parrot Cay where we enjoyed yummy Caribbean fare.

Final 2 days Tomorrow!  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Magical Getaway: Day 4


Day 4: Our first day off the boat!   We went to Grand Cayman to Boatswains Marine Park where the kids were able to swim with sea turtles (supposedly the only place you can) and Eli learned to snorkel in a huge lagoon with sea turtles and 200 different types of fish.   It was a great day and the kids were able to experience so much.   Once back on the ship we got ready for Pirate night!   This was such a great time...Eli still enjoys dressing up like a pirate at home.

Day 5 Tomorrow!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Magical Getaway: Day 3


Day 3:  This was a special day because it was my Mom's birthday!  After dropping Eli off at the Oceaneer Lab (different from the club,  more science type activities) we took Anna down for more dancing : )  They had a program every morning called "Wake up With Disney Junior" where they had choreographed dances for the kids to go with their favorite Disney songs.   She was in heaven.   Todd then stood in line early for the Disney Princess meet and greet.   It was well worth it!   Anna's face was as Todd put it, "like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert".  For dinner we went to Lumieres a french restaurant based on the movie Beauty and the Beast.  Magnifique!

Day 4 Tomorrow!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Magical GetAway: Day 2


Day 2:  Each group was invited to a character breakfast and ours was first thing on our first morning.  The kids were beyond excited to meet everyone...Eli even got some autographs!   We then proceeded to enjoy our day.  We played shuffleboard, checked out the princesses (which we thought Anna would be ok seeing from afar...she was not!  We had to wait in line the next morning).   That night we got all dressed up for our Prince and Princess Dinner.   After a delicious dinner we decided to check out the "lounge" complete with a lounge singer and dancing.  Next to the princesses this may have been Anna's favorite part.   (We think she like how the singers dress and microphone matched...)   

Day 3 Tomorrow!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Magical Get Away: Day 1

Now that I no longer feel like I am rocking, I want to document our magical adventure before I start to forget all of the details. 

Day 1: We ended up staying at a hotel the night before that offered free parking throughout the week...this made it not as stressful the next morning as we waited to board the ship.   Once the shuttle dropped us off at port we were greeted by a friendly staff!  We wish we would have checked more bags but weren't sure just how long it would take to get them back that night.   After meeting Mickey and reading up on the boarding activities we were welcomed on board the ship!   We headed straight up to the pool for some lunch and exploring.  We were immediately struck by the enormity of the ship and the water surrounding us.  After some swimming we checked out the Oceaneers club (available for ages 3-12) and they were gracious to let Anna in even though she is still 2.  We then showered for dinner at Animators Palate (Eli's personal favorite because the pictures came to life while we ate) and Anna and I weren't even able to make it all the way through : )   (Anna passed out and I was still suffering from early pregnancy symptoms : ) ) 

Day 2...Tomorrow!

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Direction

So I'm going to make this very straightforward just so you aren't confused because of this previous post:   I AM PREGNANT, AND WE ARE EXPECTING OUR THIRD CHILD IN MAY 2013.   

No, we were not "expecting" this, but YES we are absolutely excited.  God knows I wanted a third child, and this is how He has chosen to bless us.  I am extremely thankful.  This pregnancy has been my most difficult thus far and I have had what's felt like the stomach flu for the past 6 weeks.  (No worries, my body refuses to lose weight, even when I throw up 5 times a day).   So if I have failed to call, email, text, facebook, smile at you, etc. just know I have been in survival mode the past few months.

What does this mean for our adoption?  It is on hold indefinitely.   I called the agency right away to let them know, and they said I could call them back once the child was 9 months : )   I will never say never, BUT I do not believe that will be happening.  To be completely honest, while sitting in those classes I coveted the empty nesters and their stage of life.   My heart upon hearts was longing for an older child either in middle or high school.   With the ages of our kids however I didn't think that was the best move for our family.   I'm not going to try to guess God's plans for our life, but that is the most sense I can make of the events that have lead us to this moment.

Todd's one request is that we don't find out the sex of the child, so sorry...just like me you'll have to wait until May to see how this all unfolds : )

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SPD...a new chapter

I can't believe it's been a month since I posted!   Believe me there has been plenty to post about, just not the time.   I did want to take a post and celebrate Eli.   It's been over 1 1/2 years since his initial diagnosis with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).   We've seen 3 occupational therapists, a functional neurologist and a behavioral therapist.    All (well except his OT in St. Louis) are in agreement that Eli is at a point where we can cease external therapies and focus on home therapy for his disorder.    I am reluctant because they have been so helpful, but trust that they are the professionals.  This is great news!    It doesn't mean he's "cured" but it does mean it's become more manageable for him and our family.
Currently this is what I understand to be true about Eli's brain/nervous system:   
*he has a difficult time regulating serotonin (the happy feeling ).     Once it gets released from his brain he over reacts in some way...flapping his arms, jumping, yelling, squeezing or baring down with his jaw, acting slap happy
At home tips: explain exciting activities to him BEFORE they happen so that he gets a spike of serotonin rather than a surge, talk him through what's expected in those moments, give him chewing gum, remove sugar from school/anyplace we need home to be "calm" (er).   
*his vestibular system (controls all of our senses) doesn't always function as it should.   This results in him running into walls, "acting drunk", appearing to be in another world
At home tips: before school I brush him with a therapy brush and give him joint compressions, after school I do the same and give him some sort of huge movement activity (trampoline, swing, crashing into pillows) followed by some "hard work" ( taking laundry downstairs, play dough, trying to push me over).  
The below 2 changes have really helped.  They were acting like "gas pedals" for Eli, when we really need to strengthen his "brake pedal".   
*decrease screen time: we were down to 1/2 hour a day but it's snuck up to almost an hour this fall.  We just try to keep him in a 3 dimensional world as much as possible.   His brain is way more prone to addiction of electronics and it makes the above 2 issues harder to control.    He does however enjoy it (as does the rest of the world) so we are trying to find a happy medium.   
*removal of casein: I still don't fully understand this one but you can read about it here.   Some how the casein (milk protein) in dairy, processed foods, fortified cereals and processed meats, acts like an opium to his brain and he doesn't metabolize it correctly. Again it affects our first 2 concerns.   (we have not been awesome with this one this fall either).   I am hoping to looking into more dietary additions/removals to see if we can't achieve just a bit more progress and optimum brain function for him.   

All in all he acts just like a 5 year old boy and is awesome.   He is extremely smart, loving and hilarious.   I want to pull my hair out FAR LESS now than before we started (some of that is age and change in me I'm sure!).   I just hope and pray that I can stay on top of *most* of this for his sake!   Thank you for all of your support along the way.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Need

In my initial adoption post I described a growing knowledge that I was being called into foster parenting.  One of the first seeds that was planted over the last few months in my heart and mind is the NEED and the CALL for humanity to take care of the least.

"He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.   Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

He will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' " (Matthew 25:30-45) 

Jesus shared the above parable with his closest followers in the final days of his life (which he knew), so much like someone on their death bed we would assume his last messages were urgent and a high priority.    Jen Hatmaker, (who is an INCREDIBLE author/blogger) says, "Jesus threw his weight behind those at the very bottom of the pile.  Last will be first.  Blessed are the poor.  Proud will be leveled.  His highest rank on behalf of the lowest class."  She then continues to say, "This parable is an indictment on humanity's violent resistance to God's revelation of the dignity of every human life.  In the last century alone, millions have been killed in the Middle East for the sake of homeland and nation.  Six million Jews were systematically murdered during the horror of the Holocaust.  Eleven million Hindus and Muslims were slaughtered at the dawn of the Indian independence.   Twenty million were massacred in the purging of Communist China.  Rawanda, Serbia, Darfur all sank under the tidal wave of genocide.  Men, women, and children of every color, tribe, race and creed were bound, traded and killed upon birth, such was their disvalue.   Away from the fields of war, unborn babies are destroyed in their mothers' wombs under the umbrella of preference.   Seniors are cast aside in their twilight years, a burdeon on our amibitions.  Our teens learn to kill with their words, repeating patterns they've learned from Hollywood and home.  Our veterans sleep under bridges, forever damaged by trauma and neglect.   The cycles of poverty churn out unparented children, who act out with violence and confusion."

I can't ignore this.  Jesus' very words won't let me.   But how does a white, middle class, stay at home mom of 2 do something about it?  The first response is to pray.  The second is to stay aware about what is going on in the world outside of my brick, cozy house.  The third again is to pray.  Then slowly, but surely, my hope is that He will reveal ways and open my eyes to ways I can be a part of His plan for redeeming the ugliest parts of our world.          

Friday, September 28, 2012


I promised 1 of my 4 fans that this next post would not be a sad one, but after this it's fair game ; )  

*Todd's Aunt and Uncle have a cat named "Precious", whom she adores!   Her Grandaddy, however, calls Anna precious to which she responds: "I'm NOT Precious, I'm Anna!"
* She calls her "CareBear" "Scary Bear".   (For no other reason than she thinks the names sound similar)
*While in the kitchen with her Grandaddy she accidentally put her Nonny (blanket) on the stove top and it...burned.   She woke up the next morning asking for ' HOT 'Nonny.
*When we went to Broken Bow Lake this past summer (in which we spent majority of the time on a boat), we finally were able to get her to go potty on the various islands.   When we came home my friend Rachel watched the kids while I taught.  Well, we trained Anna well because she went potty (Not #1!) in her backyard :(  We still owe Rachel a steak dinner!
*When blinking her eyes she said "Look Mom!  My eyes are lightening."  (Try it, she's right)
*She has a little bow on the back of her swimsuit that she refers to as her "little wings".  
*She has begun putting her life to song...sharing her fears, joys and general randomness...proceed to video below.

*In the kids' bathroom I have Mickey Mouse Soap dispensers (Method brand found at your Target!) and Eli said, "This soap even smells like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!"
*While at his 5 year check up we were making animal noises to try to calm Anna down (she apparently had remembered what happened last time she was there) and Eli pulls out a really strange noise.  I said, "What is that Eli?"  He responded (in front of his Dr.), "It's a MACHINE GUN and its shooting the bad guys that are coming".  Niiiiiiice.  The Dr. now thinks I let him play video games with guns all day long.   (Now that I think about it his Star Wars Wii game may have a bit of that)
*When he turned five he made comments all day like, "I can reach Dad's sink now!" and "I can fit into these shoes now!", like he'd grown overnight : )
*One day while driving he said, "Mom I think your tires are flat."  I responded, "Why do you think that, Eli?"  He said, "because your driving so Slowwwww".
*He showed us a craft he made one day and said, "This is from SOB".  It took me a second to process. Finally it occurred to me...VBS (Vacation Bible School).   (DONT ask where he pulled SOB from, maybe that's in his Star Wars game too...)
*Todd was in the middle of telling me while in the car that I was being too loud (go figure).   After a second of silence Eli said, "Awk-ward".   Ha!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We are growing...

...our family, but not in the traditional sense.   The Warren family is planning on growing through adoption from the state of Texas.   Yes, we are planning to "foster to adopt".   I want to answer some big questions that you may or may not have.

1) Why?  (or as my father in law put it fantastically...'you guys are out of your friggin minds' : ) We loved him so much in that moment for being honest.)   

- It starts out quite simply.   Ever since Anna ( and the miscarriage) I have not felt "done" with our family.   I felt like we were missing someone.  Todd felt "done", like he didn't want to grow our family but he always added, "If we were to have another child, I want to adopt".   Yep, he said it first.   So over a year later after grieving our loss of a third child, and praying through why I wanted another one we continued our discussion.   We were at the same crossroads: Leah: "I want to grow our family"... Todd: "I don't want to, but if we do I want to adopt".   I started to focus on his BUT : )  (Get your head out of the gutter...) I continued to pray about it and so did he..."God please change one of our hearts so we are on the same page!".   Well he put us on the same page, but def. not the page I was looking for.  I thought we would either biologically have a third, or say "done!".  

I always applauded people that could adopt or foster parent, but never thought I was capable.  I'm still not!  I am, however, completely trusting in the one who has said over and over to me this past summer, "I am capable".  (That's Jesus, of course.) Even when the thoughts started entering my head I would try to swat them away with reasons why it's not a good fit for our family.  Todd doesn't like chaos, I like to be in control, what about our 2 biological kids, who's going to help me when I go crazy, financially it won't work, will I never sleep again, what if the damage that has been done to this child will make my life hard for 18+ years, what will our extended family think, what will our friends think, I am not capable.  
 One way God showed me truth was: "What do you mean how will your extended family take this?!?   Look at these 2 precious nephews, and 2 beautiful sister-in-laws that I have that are...adopted!  Your family loves these kids.  That was one of the crazy questions that didn't take long for me to look foolish : )  My sister, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law that have gone before me will be a HUGE support system as well!  


I am NOT saying that everyone should do this and if you don't you should feel guilty.   I put it in the same category of ministry, being a doctor, being a teacher, being a mother, and plenty of other things... you have to be called to do it or you are going to be joyless and bitter while doing it.  Again, everything came down to "I am not capable", or was rooted in fear, selfishness or trying to please others.

2) How do I know I am "called" to do it?   

-I not only sought out Jesus in this decision through prayer, but had conversations with my husband that reconciled that the same was going on to him.   You find books that lead you to think about it, you find blogs that make you think about it, you meet random people in line that make you think about it, you hear sermons about it, you hear songs about it (can you say HOME by Philip Phillips?), you overhear conversations about it...ITS EVERYWHERE.  It's like you can't turn it off.   When I shared our 'why' to the foster agency last night he laughed and gave me a perfect analogy.  He said, "Its like the story of Jonah.  He's asking you to do something uncomfortable and no matter how hard you try to escape it God finds you. "   Yep, that sums it up, and before I get swallowed up by a whale I am going to trust him.  I can honestly say I did not seek this out.   It sought us out.

3) So what now?   

-We have a series of 8 classes that we have to take to train us on how to become a foster parent.  These are required by the state, and most states are the same.  We have decided that instead of working directly with the state we are going to work with an agency...Covenant Kids.  I typically like to stay out of a Christian bubble, but for something like this I need someone who has the same belief system I do and I am soooooo thankful that there is an agency here like that.  Covenant Kids will teach our classes (each one is 3-8 hours long!) and supposedly there is paper work a mile long (I thought the application was bad, but apparantly that is just a drop in the bucket).  Once we are done with those classes (they say on average it take 3 months) we will be put on a list to accept foster kids.   Supposedly the wider the window we give them, the faster the calls will come in.   As of right now we want this child to be younger than Anna and other than some extreme disabilities we are willing to take either sex and any race.  So this child will be our youngest child.  They also tell us that for parents that want to adopt it could take up to 3 years : ( One thing I remind myself is that at least I will be there for the "in between" for our child's life.  While they won't technically be ours, we are the ones that have cared for, nurtured and made memories with this child.  Yes, I know I will potentially have to give children back that I've mothered but as they explained to us last night, I have to go into this with a fostering ministry/mentality.   As a foster parent I am not only to care for this child to the best of my abilities but pray that they are restored to their families!  That's going to be a tough prayer at times, but ultimately that is a GOOD thing for the child if their parents begin to fight for them and do what they need to be parents again.  I should celebrate for that child, still grieve losing them, but celebrating for them.  (Yep, that's gonna suck.)    

I plan on blogging throughout this process not only because they strongly encouraged us to keep our friends and family in the loop (God knows I need the support system to encourage me through this) but I want our 3rd child to know that they were thought of and prayed for often just like Anna and Eli were.  I will update what we learned in our fist class in a few days, but didn't want to write an essay for my first blog entry (oops, already did).     

Thursday, September 13, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things


Those of you that know me well, know that I love food.   Some would call me a "foodie", some would call me "obsessed" and others call me "Ms. Leah, or Mrs. Warren".   Regardless, food is my thing.  One thing I am NOT though is a food snob.  I just love good food.  As I've "matured" I've been wanting to  look beyond just the way food tastes, and what it does for my body.   I'm also wanting to stop focusing on the "bad" side of food (calories, fat, pounds on my booty) and wanting to focus on it's good can it help my body?   I've been evolving and there is now a name for where I'm at in my relationship with food: clean eating.  According the Livestrong website:

"Clean eating is a diet program based on the idea that the best way to eat is to abundantly enjoy whole foods -- that is, foods as close to their natural state and you can get them. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins instead of pre-packaged, processed foods or fast food. Clean eating is also committed to replacing saturated fats with healthy fats. Many on the plan don't count calories, but instead trust in good quality, healthy food."

Here are some lifestyle changes I've been making as a result in this shift of thinking: 
1) Buying less products with a UPC code.   In other words FRESH fruits and veggies, FRESH meats and grains in bulk.  (ok, they all still have a UPC code technically, but you know what I mean)
2) The things we eat a lot of, trying to make it as true to it's original state as possible.   ie. peanut butter and jelly (and yes, they are more expensive this way, but you do save costs in other areas)
3) Trail mix and popcorn are great snacks that don't need to be "Fresh"
4) Dusted off my bread machine.   It's like the discovery of the crock pot all over again : ) 
5) Replacing Sour Cream and Cream Cheese with Greek Yogurt
6) Making hearty breakfasts on weekends that we can munch on throughout the week (granola, pancakes, breakfast burritos, muffins) 
7) Where I shop.  It just is the nature of the beast...whole foods, sprouts, and farmers markets really do have the most variety.   I do love that when I shop at Kroger (they are the best after the above here in Mckinney) they don't know what it is I'm buying (i.e. fennel and leeks) so they just charge me 99 cents : )  
7) Trying to limit high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and anything that I can't pronounce on a label.   While these things make our food taste good (they are designed to make our brain think that), they can be pretty harmful to our bodies.  
8) Piggy backing off the ladder change, trying to give ourselves some grace.  All food is fine, in moderation (I would hate to be without my Chik fil A) .  I'm just trying to change the "everyday" things we eat.   I DO NOT want to be a food snob, nor do I want my kids to go off the deep end when they aren't with me.   

It's no secret that I <3 eMeals.   Their "clean eating" plan is A-MAZING.  Here are my fave meals that we had this week.  Hope I've tempted you!     

Marinate 4 - 8 Hrs
Cumin Rubbed
Pork Chops
Black Bean, Orange, Feta
and Cilantro Salad
(3 t cumin)
(2 T apple cider vinegar)
(2 T honey)
(2 T olive oil)
(2 t salt)
(1 t pepper)
6 pork chops
15 oz can black beans, drained
1 Navel orange, segmented and cut into small
1/2 red onion, shaved
4 T feta, crumbled
4 T cilantro leaves
(3 T olive oil)
(2 T apple cider vinegar)
(Salt and pepper to taste)
Combine cumin, vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Rub spice mixture on pork chops and marinate for 4 - 8
hours. Grill over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes.
Combine black beans, orange segments, red onion, feta
and cilantro. Toss with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Mushroom Tart
Spinach and Pear Salad
(2 T butter)
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 c sliced mushrooms
2 c Greek yogurt
6 eggs
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 T whole milk
(1/2 t salt)
(1/4 t pepper)
(1 t Tabasco sauce, optional)
3 c fresh baby spinach
2 Bosc pears, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
(4 T olive oil)
(2 T sherry vinegar)
(1 t Dijon)
1 garlic clove, crushed
(Salt and pepper to taste)
Heat oven to 350° F. Heat butter in skillet over medium
heat. Add onion and cook for 7 - 10 minutes or until soft. Add
garlic cloves and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add
mushrooms and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring often.
Combine yogurt, eggs, Parmesan, milk, salt and pepper.
Add mushroom mixture and mix well. Add Tabasco if
desired. Pour into a greased pie dish. Bake for 25 - 30
minutes. Cool for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing.
Toss spinach, pear and shallots. Whisk olive oil, vinegar,
Dijon, garlic, salt and pepper. Dress salad lightly. Serve
alongside mushroom tart.

Herb Roasted Salmon
Caramelized Leeks
Red Lentils
11/2 lb side of salmon
2 T chopped dill
2 T fresh thyme
(1 t salt)
(1/2 t pepper)
(2 T softened butter)
(2 T salted butter)
1/2 lb leeks
(Salt and pepper to taste)
(2 T olive oil)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
11/2 c red lentils
3 c chicken broth
Heat oven to 400° F. Remove bones from salmon.
Combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and butter. Rub herb
mixture on salmon. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes.
Heat butter in skillet until slightly bubbling. Add leeks and
cook over low to medium heat until soft. Add salt and pepper;
cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. Heat olive oil over
medium heat. Add red bell pepper and shallots; cook until
soft. Cook lentils according to package directions, substituting
broth for water. Add peppers and shallots to lentils 5 minutes
before cooking time ends. Season with salt and pepper to

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Missouri Tour: Part 2

Continuing on with our tour, we went to St. Louis to visit old friends and to hang with my parents.  The weather continued being awesome and (despite allergies) we thoroughly enjoyed it!   

Our first day there we decided to check out all of the hype at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens and see the Chinese Lantern Festival.  It was GORGEOUS...I can only imagine what it must look like at night.   

Seeing our friend Emma at the Botanical Gardens

Blue Water!   

The next day we went to an oldie but goodie...the Museum of Transportation!   My kids (and mom) love this place and we always seem to have a good time.  

That night we met our friends Annie and Julie for dinner and even though Annie and Anna are only days apart Eli and Anna seemed to really get along :)  Supposedly Annie keeps on calling him "Elijah James" and giggling...

We then headed to the St. Louis Zoo to see the new Sea Lion exhibit (and of course see Bailey, Penelope and Arie). 

That night my friend, Emily, graciously invited us over for a yummy dinner and the boys got along so well!   They played with toys, baseball and even worked together digging a hole to who-knows-where in their backyard ; ) 

We all really started to feel under the weather (103 temp for Eli!), and while recovering we had to miss out on seeing some folks and revisiting our beloved church, Riverside.   After getting some cuddle time we were on the road to recovery.   The kids and I ended up staying some bonus days in St. Louis and used that time to recover and see some sights with my Mom.  

Anna on her first Carousel ride

The Butterfly House

Seeing the Magic Tree House (Eli's fave books!) exhibit at the Magic House
 We then rallied on our last morning and met some friends at a playground for an impromptu play date.  
Katrina and Me

Arie selling Anna acorns

Getting some snuggle time with Grandpa
We then headed to Buffalo, MO to see our Nana and hang out on her farm.   It is so beautiful and peaceful out there and the kids LOVE the animals.   Anna would not leave their cat, Radar, alone.   (yes, we are in trouble.)

Feeding their new horse.

Loving on Radar.
While it is always a good time visiting with family and friends, we couldn't wait to get home to see our our Daddy (and Grandaddy).   Apparently, they missed us too : )  

Our 'Welcome Home' sign, candy and flowers :)