Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Pasta Casserole

I found this recipe on the internet a while back but hadn't had a chance to try it until tonight.  My hubby is not a fan of casseroles or alfredo sauce, so this would not go over well with him. Tonight, however, he was out of town and I decided to give it a try. It was great!! All three of my girls cleaned their plates - that's really saying something at my house!!!  I just had to share - Enjoy!! :)

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Casserole
1 box  (16 oz) penne pasta
2 jars alfredo sauce (16 oz. each)
16 oz. frozen, chopped broccoli
4 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bit size pieces (I cheated and used the Perdue Shortcuts pre-cooked chicken!)

  • Boil pasta according to package directions. 
  • In the last couple minutes, add broccoli to boiling water and pasta. Drain.  
  • Mix pasta, broccoli, alfredo sauce, chicken, and 2 cups of the cheese together.  
  • Pour into greased 13x9 casserole dish.  
  • Top with remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

**Since it was just the girls and me tonight, I cut this recipe in half and just used an 8 inch square pan.  I still had leftovers!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Changing the World

If you know my kids at all or if you have read anything on this blog about Rachel, you have probably figured out that she is a very determined and intense kid.  Sometimes that determination and intensity comes across as stubborness that makes me want to repeatedly bang my head against a wall.  Once in a while, though, her determination and intensity lead to a moment of intelligence and creativity that takes my breath away.

One of those moments happened this past weekend.

On Saturday, I saw her at the kitchen table writing, but I was caught up in my own chores and busyness.  I didn't pay much attention until she handed me a piece of paper and asked, "What do you think?"

Here's what it said:
(written almost flawlessly in her newly learned cursive handwriting)

Change the World Ideas
  • car pools
  • pick up trash
  • use both sides of paper
  • don't litter
  • help animals find food
  • use reusable towels
  • recycle
  • use less water
  • use earth day to clean and plant more trees
  • be sure to turn off lights
  • use less electricity
  • make posters to get people to help you
  • use every day as earth day
  • use led lights to save energy
  • use reusable cups
  • remember that one million starts with one (This one is my favorite.)

She's 8.  She's amazing.  She truly comes up with this stuff on her own.  David and I are all for being earth-friendly, but it is not something we "preach" or intentionally discuss very often.  However, Rachel just seems to have this natural drive to make this world a better place - from saving animals to saving trees to saving the whole world. I wish I could take more credit for her "drive," but I can't.  I don't honestly know where she gets it.  What I do know is that she is going to do some great things in her life.  In fact, if there is anyone out there who can truly change this world, I'll place all my bets on Rachel anytime!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quotes from the Weekend

Here are some quotes the girls gave us this weekend.  It is amazing how you can "see" their personalities shine through in just a few words!!!

From Rachel - We were out to lunch and she asked, "Mommy, do you believe that everything happens for a reason??"  This led to a rather philosophical and theological conversation that I simply couldn't beleive I was having with an 8 year old!!

From Megan - We were getting ready to go NIGHT swimming.  She came running down the hall completely naked.  I asked, "What are you doing?!?"  She replied, "I've got to get some sunscreen!"  Typical Megan - a flurry of energy, not always a lot of common sense! (And I mean that in a very loving, motherly kind of way!)

From Emily - She was in the pool chatting with David on Sunday (Father's Day).  She told him that Father's Day and Mother's Day were her two favorite days of the year.  He asked, "What about your birthday and Christmas?"  She replied, "They are not as important."  Ahhhhhh, parenting success!!! :)

There you have it - 3 girls; 3 quotes, 3 very different personalities!

Friday, June 17, 2011


It is blissfully quiet at my house right now.  All my kids have gone up the hill to harass spend quality time with their cousin and my in-laws.  I really should be working on my grocery list, planning what to make for supper, or cleaning something, but I'm not.  Instead, I have been sitting here cruising some of my favorite blogs and it gave me an idea for this blog.

You see, many of the mom bloggers I like have given their family members nicknames.  Maybe it's for privacy; maybe it's for humor - whatever the reason, it seems to be a very popular thing to do.  I have chosen not to do that here on my blog, but while I was reading the others today, I started thinking about what nicknames I would give my family members if I ever decided to change.  Here's what I came up with:

Rachel would definitely be called "The Vegetarian."  That's a no-brainer!  For those who don't know the story, Rachel LOVES animals.  The day before Thanksgiving in 2009 (she was 7) she heard a stat on the radio about the number of turkeys that would be "consumed" in the U.S. the following day.  It was one of those "light bulb moments" for her.  She realized that all those turkeys would be killed.  Same for cows/hamburgers, chickens/chicken nuggets, etc.  Through tears, she vowed that she would never eat meat again.  As of today, she hasn't!

If I had to give Megan a nickname, I would probably call her "Red Bull" for two reasons.  First, when you are around her, you might think she's had a few Red Bulls to drink. She is constant motion and energy - from sun up until sun down (and then some!).  Secondly, she also tends to be a "bull in a china shop."  If there is anything broken or spilled, it is a pretty safe bet that Megan had something to do with it.  She has walked into walls (literally), fallen down stairs and in the shower, and spilled or broken too many things to count.  (I guess the broken leg at 18 months old should have been a clue, huh?)

I would probably refer to Emily as "Rapunzel."  She is currently fascinated by all things Disney Princess.  This fascination was sparked by the Tangled movie.  For several weeks, she wanted to dress up like Rapunzel and even got creative by putting tablecloths and blankets on her head, pretending they were her long hair.  She has decided she wants to be Rapunzel when she grows up.  In fact, she even came home from preschool one day with a project in which teachers had asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up.  The project occurred pre-Rapunzel phase, and she had given a different answer.  When she brought it home, she insisted on making a brand new one that said correctly that she would be Rapunzel when she grows up!

Finally, there's my wonderful hubby.  A nickname for him would be pretty easy.  He is the only guy in the house, so he could be called "The King" (i.e. the King of the Castle).  However, continuously being referred to as "The King" might give him the wrong impression (we all know who really runs this place), so maybe I would just call him by his initials, D.W.

Maybe I will use these from time to time in my blog posts.  Mostly, though, this was just for fun.  What do you think??  If you know my family, do these names fit??  Do you think I should use them more often???

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Zoo

Tuesday was a beautiful day in NC - only about 84 degrees and very low humidity (very unusual!).  So, on a bit of a whim, I decided to take my girls to the NC Zoo for the day.  My mom (Memaw) came down and joined us and we had a wonderful day.  Some highlights of the trip -

  • We saw a short 4D Dora & Diego movie.  All of us got a kick out of the 4D effects.  Even Rachel & Megan giggled through the whole thing (although they are no longer interested in Dora at all.)
  • We got very close to an actual giraffe - he even ate leaves out of Rachel & Megan's hands!
  • We saw a baby chimp!!  She was born in August 2010 and was absolutely adorable!! :)
  • We rode the carousel (which Emily continuously called the "roller coaster!")
  • We got soaked by a man-made geyser on the "prairie."
  • We finally found the Dippin' Dots!!!
It is so much fun to see the kids in a different setting from time to time.  It exaggerates the qualities that I know are there, but lose sight of occasionally.  For example:
  • I was reminded how much Rachel really loves animals.  Of course, she is already a vegetarian, but sometimes I forget about the maturity and commitment that takes and just focus on how difficult it makes things.  At the zoo, though, she led the way.  She studied the map and made sure we didn't miss a single animal.  She spouted off facts about the animals.  Most importantly, she giggled and smiled all day.
  • I was also reminded just how energetic Megan can be.  By the end of the day, we were all pretty tired (after all, we had basically been walking around the zoo for over 6 hours).  When we got in the car, though, she was still her silly, giggling self.  In fact, she didn't slow down until her head hit the pillow that night!
  • If you have ever studied or heard of The Five Love Languages you will understand this one - Emily's love language is definitely "gifts."  I have known this for a while, but it was very evident at the zoo.  She was minimally interested in the animals, but thanked me profusely for taking her to see Dora.  Then, she spent the day asking when we could ride the "roller coaster" (the carousel) and when we would "go to the store."  (Memaw had promised them a trip to the gift shop for souvenirs.)  She was the first one to pick out her souvenir - a small, stuffed polar bear - and has carried it around with her ever since! 
In short, it was a fantastic day.  I love spending that kind of time with my girls - truly watching them and taking them in.  They are amazing!!

**Don't forget to "Like" the Golden Spoons on Facebook!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The "Blankie Situation"

Here's a picture of Emily with her blankie:
Here's another one:
The good news is that these "blankies" are nothing but cloth diapers which means they are inexpensive and easily replaceable.  They also bring her instant comfort and they made weaning her from her pacifier (when she was 1 year old) a lot easier.

The bad news is that she's almost 4 and THEY'RE STILL HERE!!!  In fact, they are everywhere. . . . 
In the bathroom . . . 

On the couch in the den. . . .

On her bed. . . . 

And in the laundry pile. . . .

Some days, I feel like the blankies are taking over our lives.  I hoped Emily would outgrow this attachment (at least a little), but I think it is actually getting worse.  In fact, she's become so attached that sometimes the blankies get in the way.  Just yesterday, I took her to a birthday party at one of those places that has all the inflatable, bouncy things.  She was trying to climb up one of the "ladders" to go down the big slide and kept slipping because she had a blankie in her hand.  Heaven forbid we ever forget to take one with us, too.   Then I become "that mom" who has the screaming child all the way through Target/the grocery store/etc.  I've only made that mistake once or twice.     

Anyway, this summer I am hoping she can become a little a lot less dependent on these blankies.  However, I have mentioned it to her a couple times and she is NOT happy about it.  She immediately says "No!" and will even get teary at just the thought of not having a blankie in her hand at all times.  I have tried the "You're not a baby anymore" approach as well.  The only problem is that, in our house, Emily is the baby and she knows it!  So, that doesn't work either.

My plan is to start by insisting that the blankies stay in the house or in the car.  Eventually, I hope to work our way up to blankies staying in the bed or in the car only.  Just getting that far will be a monumental task.  If When we get there, I will try to figure out how to make them disappear completely.  

If this plan doesn't work, I suppose we could just go "cold turkey," but that would unleash several days of pure torture and I am just not quite that desperate - yet!  (We might have to go this route if she still wants to take them to college with her!  It might be that long before I get that desperate, too!)

In the meantime, cross your fingers, wish us luck, and look for an update on the "Blankie Situation" later this summer!

(Also, if you have any surefire methods or additional suggestions, I'd love to hear them!!  Leave me a comment.  If your idea works, you win a prize - about 50 extremely valuable blankies!!!) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ooooh - Sparkles!!!

Due to the crazy busyness of the end of school, I haven't posted anything on here in a while.  But, after this happened, I just had to "write" it down somewhere so it would be preserved for me to share with my girls later in life when they have their own children.  It's one of those classic "this must be payback" moments!  So here's a little anecdote for you . . . .

Yesterday, Rachel had stayed home from school because she was recovering from a strep throat like virus she had over the weekend.  Megan had her end of year party, after which I just brought her home.  So here we were with nothing much to do for the afternoon and it was seriously hot outside.  So, logically, we spent the afternoon in the pool.  For two and a half hours, we splashed, laughed, and just had a great time.  When we got out, it was already 5:00, so I decided to go ahead and have the girls get their baths/showers.  Then they could relax while I cooked supper.

My plan was going just perfectly until they came to the table.  David helped Emily into her booster seat and said "Is that glitter in your hair?"  Now for all you moms out there - have you ever done anything with glitter that didn't make a fantastic, sparkly mess????  Well, as it turns out, there was some glitter that had been left within their reach amongst the art supplies in the playroom.  Apparently, Megan decided it would be a great idea to put glitter in her and Emily's hair, which, by the way, was still damp from their showers.   On what planet would that ever be a good idea?!?!?!  (Rachel swears that Megan got this idea from TV show, so I am contemplating suing Disney for emotional angst!)

Anyway, after supper I took them into the playroom.  Emily was given a wet cloth to wipe up the table and Megan was given a vacuum cleaner to clean up the floor.  Then, back to the shower they went.  I personally scrubbed their scalps, but alas, the glitter remains.  Heaven only knows how many shampoos it will take for the glitter to disappear completely.  In the meantime, at least i can say I have saved this anecdote for posterity (and to hold over their heads when they are mommies!).  And, if the sun shines in just the right angle on their heads today and you notice a glare - well, now you know why!  Sometimes we just have to laugh. . . . .

Unfortunately, I was too busy trying to control my temper to take a "before" picture.  This is an "after " picture of Emily I took this morning.  As you can see, her glitter was purple.  Megan's was silver.

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