Playing Catch Up

I've always been one of those people that thinks, if you haven't had the opportunity/time/desire to write in your blog, don't worry about it. There's no need to apologize to people or feel guilty for not writing a certain quota for the week, after all life happens! Yet, here I am looking at my blog and feeling compelled to write something because the page has been stuck on Katie's swollen eye for two weeks (just what every one wants to stare at)! Oh well, so much for living by your own advice.

Summer certainly has been going by quickly though, as I'm sure many of you can attest to. We've had our 8th anniversary, family vacation again, party planning, my sister visiting from South Korea to catch up with, children to keep up with (does the energy ever end?). The list goes on. I'm sure I'm not as busy as many, but we certainly haven't had ice cold tea in our hands, watching the sunset go down (well, maybe some of the time). And while I would have loved to write about some of the wonderful memories we have made, or cute comments said by kids in the past two weeks, I think the stories will have to wait another week or so, or just go unsaid and live in our brain bank for the time being. I hope you all are having as wonderful a summer as we have been having, or at least had time to enjoy the beautiful weather from time to time.

See the shining sun.
See us play and run.
Summertime, oh, summertime,
We are having fun.
Watch us as we play.
We play and run all day.
Summertime, oh, summertime,
Please don’t run away.

~Author Unknown~

Our Little One Eye Wonder

Our little Katydid was looking a bit like Quasimodo for the day. All from those stinking mosquitos! Both of our kids seem to be quite allergic to mosquito bites. Their bites have sometimes swelled up to the size of a golf ball! Although most bites have been on elbows and legs. So, when I put Katie to bed and saw that her eye was starting to swell, I felt so bad for her (but figured by morning it would look a lot better). Unfortunately by morning it looked a lot worse. Thank goodness for bene*dryl. The thing was, she didn't even seem to notice! I love how resilient kids are!

Black Eyed Peas

I'm not much of a cook. In fact if you came to our house for dinner, most of the time you would find me making something simple and easy like pot stickers from Cos*tco, spaghetti, or sloppy joes. If it takes me more than an hour to do, I skip it. I guess you could say that I don't exactly have a passion for cooking. However, there are some days my brain steps into high gear, I get an inkling for something different, and become motivated enough to make it. Yesterday was one of those days. With all of the heavy foods we ate over vacation (not to mention the four pounds I put on), I felt like making a salad. I just hoped my husband would go for a salad for dinner, since he's usually a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I already had some chicken thawing, so I pulled out an old cookbook and started perusing. This is what I came up with....

Chicken 'n Peas Tostada Salad
4 bone/skinless chicken halves
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 c torn red leaf lettuce
2 cup iceberg lettuce
2 cup torn spinach leaves
1 cup frz peas, thawed
1 cup canned blackeyed peas, rinsed, drained
1/4 c kernal corn
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 green onion, sliced (of course I omitted because I can't stand onion)
1/4 c fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
sour cream
cilantro sprigs

Cut chicken breasts into strips and place in medium bowl. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, lime juice, and olive oil; strip to coat chicken. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, stirring once. Remove chicken from marinade with slotted spoon. In large nonstic frypan with cooking spray, place chicken and saute' over medium heat about 5 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer pink. In large bowl, place spinach, red leaf lettuce, and iceberg lettuce. Toss gently and add sweet peas, black eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Add cheese and tortilla chips, toss gently. To serve, place salad mixture on platter and arrange chicken strips on top. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro sprigs. Makes 4 servings.
Dressing: In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 c white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 3 tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp garlic pepper, and 1/4 tsp crushed pepper flakes.

I was missing a couple ingredients for the dressing, so we did just use what dressing we had in the fridge, but it was still very good. I loved how summery it tasted. We had fresh cilantro from our garden too (which was quite potent, but yummy). And I was even surprised to see that my hubby liked it, and even brought leftovers to work the next day. The girls however, not so much. I figured they wouldn't like it so much (especially since neither are salad fans), but to their credit they did try it, and Kyra even ate about half of hers (although I think she had more dressing in her bowl than salad). So, there you have it. A recipe from the chef boyr*dee! Of course don't you just love the stale hot dog bun we use as garlic bread! Oh well, works for us. I must have really been in a cooking mood, because later that evening I made banana split banana bread! there's something the kids DID like.

Vacation Viewpoint was a success folks! For the first time in 5 years (basically since I was pregnant with Kyra), I had a nice, relaxing, and enjoyable trip on the annual in-law vacation. The weather was a little cool, but not as bad as anticipated. I still had to duck under the shower head to get a low pressure rinse, not to mention race the clock before my luke warm water turned to cold, but I learned to do without shaving my legs for a week. And of course the hubs still fished almost every day (although to his credit there were select times he opted to spend time with his family instead of head out on the boat with the other guys), while I watched the kids, but to be honest the kids were so occupied by the fun in the really wasn't a chore. Actually it was fun seeing them enjoy making towers, sand cities, and lagoons (I prepared myself in the beginning of the week to let go of my anal retentiveness in keeping their shorts clean, because it simply wasn't going to happen.)

Yes it really made a difference in a year. Last year, Katie was 15 months old and almost more than I could bear. She was putting rocks, sand, and bugs in her mouth. She was constantly racing for the hot water heater in the small cabin, and running full force into the water. She was cranky at times and not always sleeping through the night in her new environment. But this year I simply sat back in my chair, watched her play in the sand, and took in some rays. The girls played well together, and with my husband's cousin's kids. Actually if it weren't for their extended cousins, it might have been more hairy, but they all played so well together. Kyra would say, "bye mom, I'm going to Carlye's cabin!" And off they'd go. The two girls were like peas in a pod. Even though there is a 3 year difference between them, they took well to each other. They even traded flip flops all week long because they wore the same shoe size. And of course when Carlye changed clothes, Kyra had to change clothes. There was really hardly a time they were apart.

Aside from playing in the sand, we took one day to go to Tahquamenon Falls as a family, and apart from the massive mosquitoes had fun there too. I went to a couple of the local stores (which really don't have a whole lot, but it's still fun to see what hasn't left the shelf since last year). We went to their annual 4th of July parade, which anyone is free to take part in, so there are some doozies (the grocery store even takes part and just rolls a few of their grocery carts down the street). But the big attraction is that they throw a ton of candy, so the girls had their bags ready (we basically have a bag full of tootsie rolls just as big as you would get from Halloween. Good bribery for a good behavior award!) The hubs said it was the first time he had ever attended the parade in the 30 years he's been coming! We took in the local fireworks, which for a small town, really does a great job. The hubs took the kids for a couple evening trolls in the boat (which Katie absolutely loved), and even attempted teaching them how to fish off the dock (which was short lived). Of course the guys caught quite a bit of fish too, including perch, herring, lake trout, and salmon. We ate tons of food, and had ice cream almost every night (along with a short walk to try and work off a smidge of what we ate). And what time with friends and family would be complete with out a few card games, and lots of laughter.

So, we have our little cabin booked for next year. And maybe next year I'll actually look forward to the trip in anticipation that it will be as good or even better than this year's trip.