Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cooking Day continues ...

You may remember me talking about Cooking Day a few weeks ago.

We have had two more since then. I like the idea and hope to continue.

So far, I always end up making a double casserole with Rachael, bake a double batch of something with Rebecca, then do a double batch of pancakes or French Toast with Benjamin (although he may or may not be in the mood for baking much.) Then we have lunch, and I feel like I had a productive morning.

One time I tried to also make a strawberry pie later in the day, and that ended up being too much. I also ended up ruining the pie because I was in a hurry and got some yolk mixed in with the egg whites. The pie didn't gel right and we had to eat it with spoons.

Right now I plan to have Cooking Day be twice a month.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Going to Disney with the FREE Dining Plan!!

You may remember that we went to Disney World in December and stayed at the Grand Floridian.

You may also remember that Rebecca started throwing up the morning of our scheduled Princess Storybook Lunch. Benjamin and I followed suit less than 48 hours later, and Robert had about two days where he felt what I call "Semi-Sick." (And he and Rachael were both "full-blown sick" after coming home.)

So you can understand why we felt gypped out of a Disney trip and driven to schedule another one.

Well, we got the perfect chance when we learned that Disney is having a special free Dining Plan offer in September when you stay at one of the Disney resorts.

So ... we are scheduled to go on September 26 and stay at Port Orleans Riverside. We don't know anything about it, but the pictures on-line look nice.

I'm very excited about this FREE Dining Plan, as I calculated that the Dining Plan would normally cost our family $565.

If you're not familiar with the Disney Dining Plan, free or otherwise, this will give you an idea what a good deal it is:

We have lunch reservations at the Biergarten in Germany in Epcot. Without the dining plan, that single meal would cost us $73. Oh, plus the cost of drinks (which are also included in the plan. Tips are not, by the way, so it's not literally completely free.)

We also have lunch reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern at Frontierland in Magic Kingdom. The pot roast (which I heard is really good) is $17.99. Plus, with the dining plan, you get dessert. Strawberry shortcake sounds good; that's $5.49; plus a drink for another three dollars. That's just for one person, mind you.

We also have reservations for the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue, which would normally cost (believe it or not) $190 for our whole family.

The free Dining Plan for this trip also comes with 25 snacks for our entire trip. Yes, you heard that right. Snacks include anything from popcorn, to Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, to a Napoleon at the French bakery in Epcot, to a cream cheese stuffed pretzel in Tomorrowland.

Twenty-five of them. Completely free.

So I am very excited. I have simple pleasures, I know.

Please cash in with your Disney advice and experiences, as we have never been to Biergarten, Liberty Tree Tavern, or Port Orleans Riverside before.

And please pray that we don't get sick again ...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Movie Night continues ...

We are still having Movie and Pizza Night on Fridays. (Tonight we cheated and had a Trader Joe pizza and popped some microwave popcorn.)

We watched Escape to Witch Mountain tonight, which we all enjoyed.

Last week we watched Pollyanna, with Hayley Mills. I had never seen it before and liked it a lot. It was a little more deep than I had expected.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Marshmallow Treats

My niece Lauren, who is thirteen, came over a couple weeks ago, and all three girls made a recipe from Rachael's American Girl magazine.

You put marshmaallows on a stick, freeze them, then cover them with Magic Shell and sprinkles.

Here's Lauren ...

... Rachael ....

... and Rebecca ....

Then the girls ate them while watching High School Musical 2!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Movie Night Tonight

We started a nice tradition a couple months ago, which probably half the families in America already do:

Every Friday is pizza and movie night.

We made a pizza, and get a movie from the library. How cheap can you get?

Anyway, tonight we saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids. It was not my favorite, but the kids seemed to like it, Benjamin in particular. At first we thought he was scared, but then realized it was a "good scared."

I asked the girls what some of their favorite movies have been so far, and Rachael said The Parent Trap (we saw the newer version).

Becca said her favorite was Chrissa Stands Strong (the latest American Girl movie).

Not surprisingly, I liked The Muppet Christmas Carol. Rob seemed to like that one a lot too.

Dance Recital Photos

I'm a little late with these, as usual, but these are pictures from Rachael and Rebecca's dance recitals on June 6, 2009.

This was the first year that they were scheduled in two different recitals, both at GA Tech. Rachael's was at 10:00 am and then Rebecca's was at 7:00 pm.

Here's Rebecca in her costume.
Her act was called "Hello Kitty from Tokyo."

I like this picture of me and Becca (and Woofie).

Here's Rachael with her Grandma (my mother).
Rachael did ballet this year, and her act was called "China Dolls."

This picture sums up Rebecca pretty well.
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Banana Trees!

This is actually from a few weeks ago.

Rachael had suddenly reminded me of a book we used to use when she was four (I'm amazed that she remembers called Cooking Art by Mary Ann Kohl.

We made banana trees with pineapples, bananas, and cherries. (It would have been better if I had strawberries or blueberries in the house, but I didn't. Oh well.)
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Fun with Ricotta Cheese

It's The Day Before We Go Grocery Shopping, so things are a little lean around here.

I found I had a Pillsbury pizza dough which was about to expire. There was no pizza sauce, but we did have ricotta and mozzerella cheese.

Ah ...

I googled and found Rachael Ray's recipe for White Pizza. I thought it was great. (It probably would be better if I used a better dough.) Kids #1 and #3 liked it, but unfortunately Kid #2 did not.

I had enough ricotta cheese to also whip together a batch of Ricotta Cheese Cookies, which I had never made before. (I didn't make the frosting, but I don't think we even needed it.)

Everybody liked these. The best way to describe it is a "creamy snickerdoodle."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I love this picture!

I decided to bite the bullet and dig into my boxes of old photos so I can start scrapbooking again.

The lighting is bad in the picture (although I'm sure there's a way to fix that), but otherwise it's a great picture, don't you think?

It was taken in September 2007, when Benjamin was 16 months old and just taking his first steps. Rachael was five and cheering him on.