Monday, March 17, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays: The Joy Weekend Club.

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

The older munchkins are off to school, bellies filled with dyed green pancakes and steamers, as per tradition (see here for recipes). It's amazing, the simple things that will get kids out of bed in the early morning. Our girls' school begins at 7:30am here. Which presents all sorts of atrocities in the first hours of our day, let me tell you. 
But gosh, the promise of bright green food had them dressed, brushed, squealing, and at the breakfast table pronto. Anytime I use food coloring, especially the bright neon kind, I wonder why I don't use it more often? Like on a random Thursday, ordinary morning?  Who's to stop me? Why don't I just knock their socks off and add a smidgen of exciting color to the pancakes I'm making, or even to the milk poured over their plain, protested, non-sugary cereal? Ya know, it would make the world a better place, this drop of neon dye on a Thursday morning.

Maybe they would consider that their tyrannical, healthy cereal Mom used be a pretty fantastically cool kid too. A kid full of fantasies and determination and future goals. Goals and dreams which included driving to 7-11 EVERY SINGLE DAY for slurpees when she grew up. EVERY DAY. Especially on SUNDAYS AFTER CHURCH. No, scratch that. Sundays DURING church. Promises to spend all of her future money only on candy. And not only that...I would NEVER go to bed. EVER.

As I'm thinking through this, maybe here lies the secret to uncovering the street cred I really deserve. I will just whip up a stack of neon pancakes on that ordinary Thursday morning and SHAZAMM!, we'll momentarily unite in sheer childhood solidarity, if even for but a brief moment before I have to become all boring and responsible and pay mortgages and dentist bills and worry about type II diabetes and blah blah blaaaaah.

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, how was your weekend?

We had a good one. In fact, one of those rare gems of perfect weekend-ish-ness. Say that out loud, it's got a nice ring to it. Weekendishness. A weekend that actually felt like a weekend. Full of lovely, simple sorts of activities that sort of sprang up organically and made me glad I was in the mood to pull out the camera again. 

Here were the ingredients that made for really happy {and even affordable, cheap!} weekendishness. 

Friday 

-  Game Night.


Mom's Loaded Nachos

you'll need

Ground beef {or turkey or chicken}
 Packet of Taco seasoning
 Package frozen corn
 Can Black beans
Chips
Shredded Cheese
Toppings of your choice
{we love lots of avocado, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice)

Cook beef till done. Drain excess fat. Add taco seasoning according to package directions (usually includes 1/2 cup-1 cup water). Add corn and black beans to cooked beef and cook till heated. Then, layer chips in a big pan. Top with cooked mixture. Add cheese. Place under broiler on low until cheese has melted. Top with your preferred toppings and serve!



- Pandora's "Walt Disney" Soundtrack playing.


- Dress-up Dance Performance.



 {Lundy girl felt shy and chose to snuggle instead. Emerson was in bed for the evening.}


Brave makes an appearance!

The artist formerly known as Brave? NOT HAPPY.

All better. {Spoiled}.

Saturday

- The Hike
Daddy was unexpectedly called to work in the morning for a few hours. We decided to do our Haack girl-power! hiking thang. 

This is it. I just know it. THIS is the photo I will look back on someday and die over. My rowdy little girls who grew up. Why am I crying already?!!!...



I couldn't believe the areas we were discovering. So beautiful I kept getting squealy. 


California. Oh California. Your trees! Oh your trees!!!!


I can't believe I didn't know these spaces were so close to our house!


This magic field just opens up, right here like this. 
Breathtaking.

Who wants to live near the ocean? All that traffic! And congestion!
I vote OUTSKIRTS! The outskirts will always be the place for a girl like me. 
And I mean that in more ways than one. 



 Emerson. Oh Emerson. Your Mama is so crazy about you.
Look at you. One shoe off and one shoe on.


This is what we call "Emerson's key to happiness."
Riding attached to Mom.

It is also what we call "Mom's key to perpetual denial over the age of her baby"
Slightly oversized for a Bjorn, but hey! As long as I can cram a kid in it I don't have to consider the thought of another pregnancy. 


More hidden coves. As we crossed over this terrain, Lily assured me,

"Mom, follow me.
TRUST ME.
Rocks are MY LIFE."



  
On the way home, Ellie Jane just sat and refused to move. It's an irritatingly regular tactical strategy on her  part, but I kinda respect her logic behind it. Even if she's begrudgingly dragged by me the rest of the way, as long as she remains firm in her resolve to not take another step, it really works for her.


Lucky for her, she's got big sisters. Really good ones too.





and that leaves us with...

Sunday

- Ode to Spring, dinner on the patio


Spring has been doing all sorts of Sprangin' around these parts. The sun is glorious and warm and the birds are chirping everywhere. We've had to relocate meals outdoors on Sunday. It's impossible not to. I grew up with many a Sunday dinner on the porch. Ty and I miss our big ole'  meshed family most on Sundays. Perfect day for a family hang-out.


I have begun the tradition of only using a slow cooker on Sundays. It's all a part of this theory of TOTAL JOY that I have in regards to Sunday. You simply MUST walk in to the smell of something roasting through the house, greeting you at the door as you return from church. Now that's what I call A SABBATH, knowwhadimsayin? 

A few weeks ago I totally nailed it too. Crockpot meal AND homemade bread timed in the oven to be complete the moment we walked in. Sigh, I just died thinking about it. I'm sorry, it's so boasty/bragging, but if anything were ever to be written on my tombstone, I prefer it to be:
Here lies Rachel Haack
One Time,
she perfectly coordinated a crockpot meal AND two loaves of Homemade Bread
so that everyone could smell it the moment they walked in the door from church.
RIP.






And that's a wrap!

Did you really make it through this whole thing?!

Then you, my friend, deserve more recipes.

Below is a delicious weekend meal for your family!
{click on titles for links}


in the slow cooker.
 People! This is SO GOOD.

serve with...



I serve the short ribs right on top of a big scoop of polenta, with the carrots, and let the juices run all around. MMMmmmm.

Happy Monday!




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rae's Ultimate Guide to a Nervous Breakdown: The San Francisco Edition.



So a few weeks ago, Tyler left on business for a week. Towards the end of the week, I made a decision to pack up and head to San Francisco by myself with my girls. Four days later, locked into a non-refundable hotel booking, exhausted, missing my husband, and listening to incessant squabble-screeching of my children as we crammed into bed, I came to the conclusion that I am, in fact, 
a very poor decision maker.

I'm not even going to get into the details because it will just re-trigger the substantial amounts of PTSD I have suffered since. I would love to spin it into a humorous tale, but alas even now, as I reconsider these memories, I find my hands still shaking as I type and must fight back the overwhelming urge to crawl back into bed and reconsider my previous stance in opposition to alcohol abuse. 

Let's just say a million bazillion things went awry during this excursion and I had no business traveling such a distance with four children by myself. To a busy, expensive, tourist jammed city, WITH NO MOTHER FREAKING PARKING over VALENTINE'S DAY WEEKEND?!!!?

DUH .DUH. DUH. rae!!!!!
.
.
.
.

But! 

There were a few highlights I CAN happily record. I think my kids did manage to have a lot of fun, so it was sacrificial-San-Francisco-alter that I suppose I can be {a little} happy I offered my sanity to.

Suprising Sawyer!!!



Let's go play!

 {i die over Soyboy's hands on his legs in this pic. he swung like this the entire time}


 {auntie sarah!}



 {ellie's "BoyFWend". No, seriously. she said that. AAAAaaaaaaAAA!}

 {Emerson chillin' in her ride}


 {Uncle Cwistomer!}



The Views...

The Presidio. {I think my favorite place in all of San Francisco}




The Golden Gate Bridge!

The Discovery at the Bay Museum. Awesome.














The Pier....
{Cinnamon Sugar hot donut bucket. YUMMMM.}


{Sea Lions!!}


 {Nice Asian boy who asked to take a picture with us. lol. I love the Asian tourists. Especially when they flash peace signs in the photo.}




Aquarium at the Bay....






 {Hey Bill Nye the Science Guy,
 meet Lily-Nye the Science GIRL. That's what we call her.} 
She eats this stuff up and I LOVE IT.

 {Our lovely little San Francisco family!}



 {Sigh, I love him so much. I have the best nephews.}

 {so do they. cousins for life.}





The end!