Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Really Love Family Time

Weekends are great.  I love how we have little routines that we never really intentionally established, but that are there all the same.  We have fun type dinners on Friday nights with lots of snacking prior and a movie for the girls after.  In the summer we usually spend our Saturdays cleaning early, then errands and then family time.  While I make dinner we usually find a movie on Turner Classic Movies for the girls to watch and for me to enjoy them being engrossed in (it is very sweet to see them piled up together mesmerized with a timeless classic or jumping up and dancing along with a musical).  After dinner we wash the girl's hair.  We have a system for that, but it's really just a draining and painful part of our day:) so I'll spare you the details.  Then Richard and I have our movie night ... and we stay up late later talking and talking and talking.  I love the late nights in a clean house after a full day.  
I absolutely love them.  

This weekend has been off to a great start with some of the same little routines.  The  first few photos are from last night, the last are from today.  

We took the girls to see Toy Story 3 today and my heart just ached with love and the whole event was oozing with bittersweetness.  Seeing our whole family on a row, clad with 3D glasses and hearing giggles and chattiness and pure, simple joy ... and then watching a movie that embraced the magic of childhood and knowing that we still have lots of years to enjoy Olivia in this stage, but seeing Hanson Ellis being done with it ... oh, oh!! the emotions were almost too much.
Life is such a gift.  Every single moment of it. It can seem painfully slow at times, but we all know that within a blink it really is gone.  

We have some amazing memories.  
Today was one of those.  
Having Richard home this summer (this is really the first summer he's been home this long ... KS doesn't count:) and just having the opportunity to do things as a family is really amazing.
It is a blessing that we sometimes don't know what to do with, but that we definitely don't take for granted.  

I hope we continue to notice the good and give thanks to the giver of those blessings.  
May we honor Him in our days, in our lives, in our hearts.  

At the end are two great recipes that I made this weekend.  ENJOY!

I caught Richard, despite his trying to escape!  No, we don't have a green egg, but our 15$ Silver Saucer (sorry Amy, I thought he dubbed it spaceship, but I was corrected, it is saucer) works wonderfully.  
We made my brother's famous Chicken on the Barbie with Pepper Jack Cheese.  
Perfectly simple and yuuuuummmmmy!  
Missed having them over this weekend to eat with us.

The start of our dinner (above) and then the next two images (below) are just typical after dinner sights.  I looked around and commented that it looked like we had a party or something.
I guess we did. 
We do every night!
It's exhausting and fun all at the same time. 
I can only image when the grandkids come .... oh help!!

Rich Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars (you can't eat just one!) ... see recipe below

I know this is not the most flattering image captured of me:), but I don't care.  It was hot, hot!! And Richard and I had run that morning and then pretty much went to the movies straight after with the girls.  I love this image anyway.  
It is me and my sweet Parker.  
My quiet California girl ... my girl who has her Momma's heart. 
 I don't have many photos with her and I'm glad I captured a moment with her.
(regardless of the way I look!!)

Patterson was really our first daughter to carry a baby doll around. 
Olivia is the second to do so. 
Very appropriate that Patterson is pushing her here.  
She loves doing this and is the only one who ever asks to do so.
She was pretty hot at this point, but kept trudging on:).

Now for some recipes!!!

Rich Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
(passed along to me by my SIL, who received the recipe from her friend Amanda)

2 & 1/3 c all-purpose four
2/3 c packed light brown sugar
3/4 c butter 
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 c (12-oz pkg) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 c coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 c (8 oz) heath bits o' brickle toffee bits, divided

Heat oven to 350.  Grease 13x9x2 inch pan.  
Combine flour and brown sugar in large bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (I didn't have mine at room temp, so I just nuked it about 20 secs to soften it some).  
Add egg; mix well.  Stir in 1 1/2 c choc chips and nuts (if using them). 

Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture.

Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.  
Bake 10 minutes.  
Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over hot crust; set aside 1/4 cup toffee bits and pour the remaining on top of sweetened condensed milk.
Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture and remaining chips and bits over top.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Cut into bars.  

I was interrupted while putting the toffee chips on when I made the batch Friday night.  (five girls, imagine that) and so I sort of got the whole sequence out of whack.  They still tasted d.i.v.i.n.e., but just didn't look all that presentable.  Just so you know ...

Sloppy Joes
(From  The Pioneer Woman blog ... so you know it's good ... but adapted a little by me, b/c that just happens sometimes)

2 Tblsp Butter
2-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1-1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup water
2 Tblsp brown sugar
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
worcestershire sauce, salt, lemon pepper to taste

Melt butter.  Add beef.  Brown.  Drain.  
Put back in dutch oven or skillet (whichever you are using) and add onion and bell pepper. Cook until softened.  
Add remaining ingredients and simmer 15 minutes.  

You can add garlic and tabasco if you like.  I just didn't have any garlic on hand (did I just hear some of you gasp??!!) and all of my girls aren't tabasco fans, so ...

Serve on any kind of bread you like!  We had it plain with a baguette we had left over from last night.  
It would also be great on a bed of rice, too!


  1. Good gracious alive a real grill! I don't blame you at all for hiding.

  2. look how much I have to catch up on after a weekend away - I love this post! Those dessert bars look incredible, yum!! Thanks for posting the recipe, I'm going to give it a try!