Monday, September 26, 2011

pioneer woman: perfect pot roast

my pioneer woman recipe for the week was pot roast. i know, i know, pot roast is a pot roast is a pot roast. i thought the same thing. until now. i have been making pot roast for years in the crock pot. just throw it in, cook the heck out of it and serve it up. 

well when i was meal planning last week i was dreaming of fall, and i thought i would see what the pioneer woman had to say about pot roast. i dug up an old post from a few years ago and thought it sounded good. although to be honest i really thought that it was way more complicated than my crock pot variety. i decided against it, then changed my mind a couple times and finally i put it on the menu. what the heck. 

IF you are one of those people that is saying, "oh that's nice but pot roast isn't really my thing." please do me this one favor and try this recipe. if in fact you still don't like it, then you can proudly announce that pot roast really just isn't your thing. but i am telling you people, this is really the most perfect pot roast. hands down. 

now, IF you don't have 4 hours to sit home with a pot in sick. just once, so you can enjoy this. or you could always make it on a weekend, that may be a better option. 

side note: i had planned this meal out a week in advance and it just so happened that she made the perfect pot roast on her cooking show the same day i made it. i think i am starting to channel ree drummond. 

so i totally agree with ree on not putting potatoes into your roast. they get over cooked and are just not very substantial to the meal. i am sure that her mashed potatoes are delightful. but i really really love these easy garlic red mashed potatoes. they are so easy you can make them on a weeknight. in fact i might start calling them weeknight mashers. i like that. 

alright, get cooking. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

a birthday and a half

today was namaste' the white bengal tiger's 13th birthday and we got invited to his birthday party at the zoo. okay, so did everyone else. it was pretty packed. it turns out that coen is becoming more like his dad and having large crowd anxiety. he wasn't really interested in being around all the people, he just wanted to see the frogs (his favorite right now) and the monkey's (always my favorite). so we went with it, and he warmed up eventually.

namaste' was feeling lazy and slept the whole time we were there, but i borrowed this picture from the pana'ewa rainforest zoo so that you could get a look at the birthday boy. he sure is pretty!

after a tour of the frogs, coen decided he wanted to play the treasure chest game and he won! oh wait, it's an everyone wins game. good thing, cause two-year-olds don't take loosing very well.

and look at this cute mama peacock and her sweet little babe. did you know that the big beautiful peacocks are actually the boys? the ladies are quite brown and boring. just stating the facts.

we even discovered a little bit of fall while we where out. this viney canopy was blooming with vibrant orange blossoms. i took fifty million pictures of it, here are six. 

here is proof that fallen leaves do in fact exist on the island. 

oh, and also wes likes to sit on park benches. but you knew that. 

annnnnnnd it just so happens that exactly two and a half years ago today this little skeleton came into our lives and shook things up. yup, it's coen's half birthday and in two-year-old fashion he has been kind of a train wreck today. but we still love him, and he adores his new pj's. i had to seriously work him to get them off and washed since he peed in them. i really don't think he cared one bit, pee and all. 

happy {half} birthday scary scary skeleton boy. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

for the love of fall

today is officially the first day of fall. i blogged a while back about how i was excited to create new fall memories and traditions on the island, even though i wasn't quite sure what that would look like. i am determined to look outside the box of traditional fall and discover what the island has to offer this time of year. 

to get myself inspired i printed off this fall bucket list that i found on pinterest. i am 99% sure that we can accomplish a version of all these things. and hey, maybe next year i will be able to add a few new items to the list. if your heart loves fall, (or maybe it doesn't, but it should) you can print this lovely bucket list off and join us in making the best of this wonderful season, no matter where you live! 

earlier this week i was driving down by the bayfront and my jaw dropped open at the sight of the orange, red, and yellow trees lining the street. nope not your typical fall leaves changing, but the most beautiful blooming flowers just bursting with color. as i drove along the tree lined street it almost felt like i was back in washington. the colors were just breathtaking. 

so on this beautiful first day of fall coen and i set out for an adventure to celebrate the season. first mission: to get up close and personal with some very very beautiful fall-ish tress. 

i didn't lie did i? they are just gorgeous! our next order of business was a trip to the most adorable candy store on earth, sugar coast candy. i let coen pick out anything he wanted. seriously. i gave him total freedom and he grabbed a tootsie roll and some sixlets and thirty seven cents later we were on our way. 

of course a day out to celebrate the first day of  fall would not be complete without having my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. thank goodness starbucks cranks it's air conditioning, i actually curled up in a cozy chair and sipped on my hot fall-in-a-cup, while i chatted with my sweet cake pop eating date. (yes, the candy store AND a cake's a special day. geese.) 

such a fun day out with my little man, who is now napping peacefully. tonight i am cooking up a pot of chilli and cornbread, and to finish off our first day of fall celebration we will give coen some new halloween pj's. i have a serious problem with holiday pj's, and when i spotted these from old navy i fell in love with the pumpkin heart. i mean really, so cute. 

 wishing you a big warm happy fall day, enjoy where you are and love who you're with!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

looks like you chose shut

i'm standing in the kitchen cooking dinner. my wild thing (coen, not wes) walks by with the kitten (who is being held upside down) and tosses him into the playroom and shuts the door leaving it open just a crack. as he peaks in at the cat the following dialogue takes place;

coen: "you are not being a sweet boy. when you are ready to be sweet you can join us again.
would you like the door open or shut?"


coen: "oh, it looks like you chose shut." 

{door slams}

coen: "mama, he is not being a sweet boy" 

me: "he isn't? that's a bummer."  

coen: "his crying hurts my ears!" 

me: "yes, crying hurts my ears too."

coen: "i'm going to check on him." 

{cracks door} 

coen: "are you ready to be a sweet boy and join us? your not? well, your crying hurts my ears, 
i will come and get you when you are ready to be a sweet boy."

{door slams again} 

wild thing is now occupied with something else. probably being a superhero.

the kitten is thrilled to be playing alone in the playroom. safe. 

can you guess how many times coen has lived this very scenario? 

your guess is as good as mine. i lost count. but clearly he is paying attention. 

bless his sweet wild soul. 

love & logic: gaining control through choices

hear, my child, and accept my words, 
that the years of your life may be many. 
proverbs 4:10 

i am going to make this pretty short and sweet. impressive i know. but the thing is that choices really do help you avoid control battles. but not always. kids will test. and test and test. and we all have weak moments. 

so here are 3 rules for control battles: 

1. avoid control battles at all costs. 
2. if you are going to get into one, win at all costs. 
3. pick the issue carefully. whenever a control battle is lost, it is because the issue was not chosen carefully.

another important thing from this chapter are these rules for giving choices. as we offer choices to our kids, we should remember these five basic points. 

1. always be sure to select choices that you as a parent like and can live with. don't provide one you like and one you don't, because the child will usually select the one you don't like. 

2. never give a choice unless you are willing to allow the child to experience the consequence of that choice. 

3. never give choices when the child is in danger. 

4. always give only two verbal choices, but make sure the child knows there is an implied third choice: if he doesn't decide you'll decide for him.  

5. your delivery is important, try to start your sentence with one of the following: 

your welcome to ____ or____. 
feel free to ____or____. 
would you rather ____or____. 
what would be best for you, ___or___. 

there you go, as short and sweet as i could. impressed? 

oh, wait one more thing...happy parenting! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

bringing up boys

i have officially finished up parenting with love and logic, although i still need to catch up on the blogging notes. like i said before, i love going back and blogging out a chapter, it helps me retain more of the information. but i am excited to tell you about the next book i am reading, bringing up boys, by dr james dobson. i just started last night and invite you to read along with me, or follow my blog for the "cliffs notes" version. 

i thought this paragraph from the first chapter summed up boys pretty well, 

if you host a birthday party for five year olds, the boys will probably behave very differently from the girls. one or more of them is likely to throw cake, put his hands in the punch bowl, or mess up the games for the girls. why are they like this? some would say their mischievous nature has been learned from the culture. really? then why are boys more aggressive in every society around the globe? and why did the greek philosopher plato write more that 2,300 years ago, "of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable"?

oh boy, oh boy! happy parenting! 

ps: if you don't have a boy there is a girl version, bringing up girls. although i won't be blogging about that one. not yet anyway. 

pioneer women: pasta with pesto cream sauce

i successfully cooked up my second pioneer woman recipe...and it was gooooood. also it was insanely easy. mostly because when i make pesto, i make a double batch and freeze half. so i got to skip the whole pesto making step. if you aren't the pesto making type (although, it really is WAY better fresh) i won't judge you. you should buy some pesto from the store and make this anyhow. it is delightful. 

i did a couple things different, but the sauce is really were it is at. so don't change that. 

i used whole wheat penne, to balance out the 1/2 cup of heavy cream. those balance out, right? 

i topped it with grilled chicken. my husband insists that if it doesn't have meat it is just a snack. 

i sprinkled it with shaved parmesan. cause that is all i had, and love parmesan. 

like i said, the pesto cream sauce it really the ticket. it would be good on anything. 


here kitty kitty

welcome, 'a 'a! 
(pronounced ah, ah)

'a 'a is a rough and rocky type of lava flow, and this little kitten is a little rough around the edges. it was simply meant to be. well, as far as i was concerned. wes needed some major convincing. here is the story of how 'a 'a became part of our family. friday night we headed out to the hawaii county fair. while browsing through the 4-h tent coen and i happened upon the humane society booth. wes quickly moved past us. we oohed and awed over this little kitten and wes shook his head in total disapproval. i put up a REALLY good fight for this kitten to come home with us, but to no avail. we drove home with no kitten, and i pouted the whole way. now, we really really didn't want to have another cat. both wes and i agreed on that when we moved to the island and had to leave our cat behind. but for some reason when i spotted this sweet raggedy guy i threw it out the window. imagine that, emotion throwing logic out the window. when i woke up staurday morning i still had kitten on the brain. i had a "logical" conversation with wes, and was soon on the phone to the humane society to see if he was still available. next thing i knew i was driving to target to pick up the necessities and then driving home from the humane society with a cat on my head. the end. 

coen is obsessed, and the cat will be lucky to live to it's first birthday. 

hey coen, where is 'a 'a? 
oh, um...he's in my box. so he won't leave. 

hawaii county fair

it's county fair time here in hilo, and we don't really know what that means but we decided we best check it out. so friday night we headed out and ended up having a pretty darn good time. the best part about taking your 2.5 year old to the fair is that they are too small for rides, and don't understand that you could actually pay money to play the games. so we got out of there pretty cheap. i totally understand that these days are limited, and we will enjoy them while the last. 

i love watching coen's face when he experiences something new for the first time. 
this is one of the many joys of being a parent. 
he was just in awe of the lights, music, and people. 

the 4-h tent was a lot of fun. he liked seeing the animals, and riding the tractors. 
we also had a run-in with the humane society booth...details to come! 

you cannot, i repeat can NOT go to the county fair without eating a funnel cake. 
it is a crime, and i will turn you in if i find out about you. 

just as we were full of funnel cake and ready to head home i spotted this, 
"no time limit, everyone wins" game. 
so coen stepped up to catch a turtle, and win a prize. 

it was way harder than it looked, coen kinda lost interest, but wes saved the day!

the prize...a laser light sword! 
totally and completely something we really needed. 

 oh yeah, we are all about the hawaii county fair...see you next year! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

now i lay me

since coen was very small i have whispered this classic prayer to him at bedtime. last week he sat up and said, "i want to say the prayer!" um, okay go right ahead mister. he looked right up at me and recited it to me perfectly. it was the sweetest, cutest thing and it totally shocked me. he has never mentioned a word of it before, and then just like that, he's got it. these little souls are sponges i tell you, soaking up all the good (and not so good) stuff. 

i begged and pleaded with him to say his bedtime prayer for the video camera. it didn't come out quite as  softly as it does at bed time, but it is still one of the most precious things  my ears have ever heard. my sweet, sweet boy. 

speaking of sponges, we had lunch up at wes' office yesterday. something we do every week. since the weather was not so great we sat inside and ate with some other people from wes' office. coen took a big ol' drink from his can of passion fruit juice, slams it down on the table and says, "ahhhhhhhh, i finished my beer. that was good beer."  


Monday, September 12, 2011

bestie brown sugar cookies

i haven't eaten lunch today. i didn't say i haven't eaten, just not anything that would classify as a sustainable meal. you see the reason is because my bestie over at thatsjustcrazypersontalk put out a cry for help. it was desperate. she loves chocolate chip-less cookies (that means she likes brown sugar cookies, if you were confused), and recently she has been on the hunt for the best, yes BEST brown sugar cookie recipe. since i have never made brown sugar cookies, i wasn't much help. well, i did tell her to search pinterest for recipes...but that wasn't super helpful, i guess. last week i received this text, "didn't you say your aunt makes good chocolate chip cookies?" i took the hint and got to work. today has been spent baking and sampling a modified version of my aunts recipe to create what i think is the perfect brown sugar cookie. remember though, this is the first and only time i have made or eaten brown sugar my opinion may be a little under educated.  

let me walk you though my trials, as i worked out the details to perfection. 

batch one: a little flat and a little boring 

batch two: still flat, but sprinkled with brown sugar just as they came out of the oven. 
a little less boring. 

batch three: perfection. chilled dough, rolled into balls, dipped in brown sugar before baking. 

the biggest bummer is that we don't live close enough to sample together. i considered sending her a batch priority mail, but i decided that if she likes them, she need to learn how to make them. sorry. but i will share the recipe. i am calling them bestie brown sugar cookies. but please note, i am not claiming that they are the best, they were just created for my bestie. got it? good. 

bestie brown sugar cookies 

2 1/4 cups flour
1t baking soda 
1t salt 
1 cup butter, softened 
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 small package of vanilla pudding mix 
3/4 cup brown sugar 
2 t vanilla 
2 large eggs
extra brown sugar for topping

combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl, set aside. beat butter, granulated sugar, pudding mix, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. add eggs one and a time and beat well. gradually beat in flour mixture. 

cover and chill for at least one hour. 

just before baking, roll dough into balls and dip the tops into a bowl of brown sugar. place onto greased cookies sheet, do not flatten. bake for 9-10 minutes at 375 degrees. let cool on pan for one minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

mmm, mmm, good. the only thing i may have done differently is used dark brown sugar. i think it would have given the cookies a prettier color. other than that all i have to say is... brown sugar, why do you taste so good? 

love & logic: tip #17

don't freak out, you haven't missed the previous 16 love & logic tips. i haven't actually shared any of the tips up till now, although they are all good and insightful. i am having a hard enough time sharing the basics without just rewriting the book, you know copyright laws and such. but this one is good. this one is something i have always always believed in, even before i knew it was a love & logic tip. i have used this very same outlook in all my years of teaching, lesson planning, and nannying. if you can keep this in the back of your head, using thinking words will start to come more naturally. promise. here you go, taken straight out of the book, love & logic tip #17:

let your "yes" be "yes", and your "no" be "yes" too

the word "no" is one of the biggest fighting words in the parental arsenal of commands. it is a child's call to arms, a shot across his bow. kids hear it far too often. in fact, parents of two-year-olds are known to say "no," in some form or another, 77% of the time. children gradually tire of hearing it. in fact, they hear it so much that the first word many children learn to say is "no" and variations of it. when kids hear "no" half of the time they ignore it. they hear it so much that sometimes they think it means "maybe," and other times they think it really means "yes." 

the rule with "no" is that we use it as seldom as possible. but when we use it, we mean business. all of the other times we are tempted to use "no," we can avoid a fight by replacing "no" with "yes" to something else. in this way we use thinking words instead of fighting words, and we establish the behavior we want. 

compare the two: 

fighting words: "no, you can't go out and play until you practice your lesson." 
thinking words: "yes, you may go out and play as soon as you practice your lesson." 

fighting words: "no, you can't watch television until your chores are done." 
thinking words: "yes, you may watch television as soon as your chores are done." 

a new beach

 we have been working very hard in our yard the past couple of weeks. those of you who have visited us know how insane and overwhelming our yard is. i kind of wanted to post some pictures of what we have done, but unless you have been here it wouldn't look like much. so i am going to save the pictures for when we have made a little more progress. this way my feelings don't get hurt. 

coen is usually a trooper in the yard. we set up some toys and snacks and he kind of just rolls with it. usually. this weekend when he saw us getting our gloves on he said, "ahhhh i don't want to move more rocks." that should have been my warning that he was spent. should. have. been. after a couple hours of trying to keep him happy/entertained/stable we decided to call it quits. we headed out to a new little beach in hilo for an evening picnic and swim. 

 coen is getting more and more interested in playing in the ocean. 
this is a big step from just playing in the sand next to the ocean. 
it also means we have get off our booty's and play in the ocean too. 

speaking of, he got a little boogie board lesson from wes. 
it was so so cute to watch them ride the waves. 
i was trying to capture the cuteness, and i captured a full water submersion! 
coen shook it off pretty good, he said he was "like a real surfer." 

after a good swim we enjoyed a delicious quinoa salad picnic, even coen loved it. 
we also enjoyed this rainbow.
hey, new beach that i can't remember your actual name, we'll be back! 

pioneer woman

i came across a recipe on pinterest that i thought looked delicious, as most things on pinterest do. over the weekend i pulled the recipe up and it just so happened to be from the now-famous-blogger, the pioneer woman. i know of her, but have never ever visited her blog let alone cooked one of her meals. shocking, right? well let me just say this, i am hooked. this meal was amazing and easy and delicious and a huge hit with my boys. huge. annnnnnd, it just so happens that the food network gave her her very own show! it starts this saturday, and i have already set the dvr. told you i was hooked. i think i am going to try one new pioneer woman recipe a week. lordy lou, i better start working out.

so here is it, the pioneer woman's grilled chicken with lemon basil pasta.  a couple things, coen looooved it, so i have no reason to think that your kids won't either. also, it makes A LOT and would be great to serve if you are having company. we may or may not be eating the left overs tonight, because i may or may not be refusing to leave the house today, and may or may not have an empty fridge/pantry. you'll never know. 

i do know this, the pioneer woman is kind of a big deal. i mean she has her own show now, so i am a little bit jumping on the train a little late. if you have been a fan of hers and have some recommendations of good pioneer woman recipes, send them my way. my stomach is growling. oh, and below is my version. i hope those left overs make it till dinner time. 

side note: her pictures of food are stunning, i had no idea pictures are food could be so captivating. so aside from being a good cook, she is also a good food photographer. i think photographing food is tricky. 

Friday, September 9, 2011


here are some more coenisms from the past couple weeks. happy friday! 

one night wes wrapped coen up in his bath towel and said, 
"i wrapped you up like a tuna!" 
every night since coen asks him, 
"will you wrap me up like a petunia?"

while wrapped up "like a petunia", coen 
shuffled himself across the hallway to his room. 
wes says, "your a little penguin!" 
coen replies, "yep, i am a little penguin. cock-a-doodle-doo!"

coen loves singing along to his praise cd. especially to this song,
actual lyrics:"everything that, everything that, 
everything that has been praise the Lord."
coen's version: "everything's bad, everything's bad, 
everything's bad praise the Lord."

me: coen will you love me forever?
coen: i'll love you for always.

at each and every meal, coen looks at his plate and says, 
"i just eat this all the time!"

some new catch phrases:
"that's dangerous!"
"whoa, that's amazing!"
"are you kidding me?"
"that's my favorite."
"i'm too tired!?
"um, because..."

currently little mr man is obsessed with; 
airplanes, frogs, jet boat, big engines and halloween.